Around Town 6

Douglas County Learns How to Sign

For many deaf men and women, communication barriers make living in a suburb difficult. Lack of public transit and non-communication jobs push those in the deaf community away from the suburbs and into more urban areas. But that is changing in Douglas County, thanks to the robust American Sign Language program in Douglas County high schools. American Sign Language was officially recognized as a language in 1960, but wasn’t accepted as a foreign language option nationally in schools until 2006. When Castle View High School opened in 2006, so did the ASL program, with a part-time teacher. The next year, Nadelle Payne, who lost her hearing at age two after a case of spinal meningitis, took over as a full-time ASL teacher. By the program’s fourth year, there were four ASL teachers. ThunderRidge, Mountain Vista and Highlands Ranch high schools and eDCSD—the district’s online school—also have ASL programs with a mix of hearing and deaf teachers. Course guides at Littleton, Arapahoe and Heritage high schools don’t show that sign language is offered as a world language. The ASL program has created a community of people more open minded to those who are different than themselves, Payne said. “It is so nice to go into restaurants and stores and there is always someone who can communicate with me.” For students in the program, it’s not only about learning a language, it’s also about communicating with people they know.

The Divide Music Festival

Team Player Productions is pleased to announce a new addition to its summer event’s calendar; the inaugural The Divide Music Festival will debut on July 22–24, 2016, in Winter Park, Colorado. This must-attend, three-day outdoor music and camping festival will feature A-list national acts, the best of Colorado’s music scene and gorgeous camping sites surrounded by the Rocky Mountains. During the three-day festival, music lovers and outdoor enthusiasts will have the opportunity to participate in various activities including mountain bike tours, guided trail runs, morning yoga sessions and other group-inspired happenings.  The event will also feature the finest Colorado craft beers, gourmet food, and crafters and artisans from across the country. There will be ample tent camping and RV park campgrounds available. Equally important to the festival’s inception is uncovering new ways to give back to the community. As a result, Team Player Productions partnered with Grand Foundation, a philanthropic organization serving all of Grand County, Colorado. The Foundation seeks to improve the quality of life in Grand County by proactively addressing current and future needs in the areas of health and human services, arts and culture, education, amateur sports and the environment. The Divide Music Festival is designed to be a national event with an estimated attendance of more than 35,000 fans.

Butterflies at Chatfield Farms

Butterfly Pavillion and Denver Botanic Gardens present another season of the habitat experience called Butterflies at Chatfield Farms that showcases native Colorado butterflies, including monarch, painted lady, common buckeye, queen black swallowtail, viceroy and red admiral. Species vary on any given day and new butterflies arrive each week. The 1,500 square foot structure features a garden with more than 50 indigenous Colorado plant species that serve as a habitat for the butterflies. In addition, hundreds of annual flowers provide a colorful oasis and nectar for the butterflies. The seasonal exhibit is on view May 28-late September and is open daily from 9 a.m.- 4p.m..

Local HR Woman Plays on ‘Wheel of Fortune’

Pam Lavene, of Highlands Ranch, wasn’t an avid “Wheel of Fortune” watcher, but last December she was offered a spot on the game show and took it. Pam ended up walking away with over $10,000. The money from the show is essentially free so she says she is going to donate it to Journey Church, off County Line Road and South Holly Street. The church’s current location is too small. Members are raising money through a building campaign to build a 350-person location in Lone Tree near Interstate 25 and RidgeGate Parkway. Lavene said her decision was easy. “I won some money that I didn’t earn or even expect,” she said. “It’s God’s money—let’s use it to build a church.”