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Articles from the 'Left Hand Laurel' series


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  • Left Hand Laurel - Leigh Suskin

    Maria Karagianis|Aug 24, 2022

    Born in Kansas, educated at an Ivy League college in Massachusetts and having worked as a management consultant for 20 years at the Watergate Building in Washington, D.C., Leigh Suskin – owner of Farmers Insurance Agency in Cottonwood Square – is truly a Renaissance woman. Whether serving root beer floats at Niwot's "National Night Out" celebrating first responders, or studying for her Ph.D. in East/West psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, or raising her...

  • Left Hand Laurel - Karen Quinn

    Maria Karagianis|Jun 29, 2022

    Karen Quinn is kind. She is also modest, so she probably will not like being described in this way. A passionate gardener, talented photographer and deeply spiritual long-time resident of Niwot, Quinn also, by giving of herself and her talents, recently raised $1,600 for Ukrainians. We are sitting outside on a recent warm and sunny day on her patio, overlooking colorful gardens, alive with lupines and peonies and iris. Quinn is sharing her story over cups of tea and tasty homemade pumpkin...

  • Left Hand Laurel - Tom Wilke

    Maria Karagianis|Jun 1, 2022

    Tom Wilke Up-a-Creek-Robotics "A robot is a machine that can perform tasks," explains Tom Wilke, taking a sip of his drink outside at lunch in Niwot's Cottonwood Square. "A self-driving Tesla, for example, is a robot." Wilke is a retired mechanical engineer and adjunct professor at CU Boulder, who is also a mountain climber and author and chairman of the board of Boulder Meals on Wheels. But what we're talking about this particular day is a huge victory he shared as a mentor to...

  • Left Hand Laurel-Kate Head

    Maria Karagiais|Mar 30, 2022

    Reading nightmarish news about the Ukraine crisis and doing nothing wasn't working for Kate Head, owner of Pebble Arts Jewelry. "Like everyone in the world, I was feeling helpless. The news was keeping me awake at night" she said, standing behind the counter of her small shop at the front of Niwot Market. .A kind woman in her early 60s, Head added, "I had to dial it back on news. It's important to be aware, but not to stay awake all night." So this jewelry designer and long-time Colorado...

  • Left Hand Laurel--Bert Steele

    Maria Karagianis|Mar 9, 2022

    As the Niwot Market approaches its 20th anniversary this month, its owner Bert Steele admits, "I still work more than I have to." Yet it's apparent he loves his work, which he's been doing since the age of eight. That's when Steele first started bagging groceries at his parents' grocery store in Fort Collins. A modest, self-deprecating man, involved in many community activities from helping to organize a pancake breakfast for Niwot's 4th of July celebration, to sponsoring Friday antique car...

  • Left Hand Laurel - Judy Seaborn

    Maria Karagianis|Feb 9, 2022

    Turning fear into hope was a gift long-time Niwot resident Judy Seaborn drew from her experience of the Marshall fire. For her efforts to assist fire victims and her commitment to provide food to those in need, Seaborn is the recipient of the February Left Hand Laurel. Co-owner with Curtis Jones of Botanical Interests, a large Colorado seed and garden company whose goal for the past 27 years has been "to inspire and educate the gardener in you" by supplying garden centers nationally and home...

  • Left Hand Laurel: Deborah Read Fowler

    Jocelyn Rowley|Jan 12, 2022

    On the gusty morning of Thursday, Dec. 30, Niwot realtor Deborah Read Fowler and her family were on US Highway 36 headed to Breckenridge when they noticed something alarming: a plume of dark smoke rising on the outskirts of Boulder. As they drove on, the scene quickly escalated from alarming to frightening as it became clear that the wind-driven fire was out of control and headed east. For the rest of the drive, she and her husband stayed tuned to radio reports, which only confirmed their worst...

  • Left Hand Laurel – Taz Chaudry

    Vicky Dorvee|Dec 15, 2021

    Taz Chaudry is full of life, full to the brim and then some. Chaudry's passion for helping others is undeniable in all that she does. Owing to her outpouring of positive energy, Niwotian Chaudry was selected as this month's Left Hand Laurel recipient, coming to the forefront in particular for her volunteering at the Colorado Therapeutic Riding Center (CTRC). "I believe we're all here to help each other and my purpose of being...why I'm here, is to remind people of joyful being," Chaudry said....

  • Left Hand Laurel – Liz Stroh-Coughlin

    Vicky Dorvee|Nov 17, 2021

    More than 550 lions, tigers, bears, and other carnivores call 800 acres on The Wild Animal Sanctuary (TWAS) just outside of Keenesburg their forever home. It's the first and longest operating facility of its kind in the world. Niwot, where Liz Stroh-Coughlin lives, is just 45 minutes from this incredible zoological non-profit facility. A Colorado native who lived in Los Gatos, Calif for 32 years, Stroh-Coughlin decided to make Niwot her family's home two-and-a-half years ago when she and her...

  • Left Hand Laurel – Victoria Keen, Deborah Read Fowler, and Dawn Server

    Vicky Dorvee|Oct 20, 2021

    Victoria Keen, Deborah Read Fowler, and Dawn Server were busy bees getting together one humming hive of a festival on August 28th. The first ever Niwot Honey Bee Harvest Festival was buzzing with activities from a speaker series to a spelling bee, informational tables to retail booths, free bee antennas to candle making classes. All of the themed moving parts made for a fabulous new festival that will live on, and for that the Courier honors these three women's creativity and hard work with a...

  • Left Hand Laurel – Thom Lynch

    Vicky Dorvee|Sep 22, 2021

    This month's Left Hand Laurel goes to Thom Lynch. Lynch moved to Niwot in September 2018 and decided the best way to meet folks and to make a difference was to jump in with both feet. So, the new guy in town joined the Rotary Club of Niwot and not long after became the president-elect of the organization. Lynch had been an active Rotarian for a year before he moved to Niwot, after being recruited to the organization by his then girlfriend who was the president of a chapter in Syracuse, NY "I...

  • Left Hand laurel – Chad Fletemeyer

    Vicky Dorvee|Aug 25, 2021

    To a lay person, the new downtown Niwot parking lot on Murray Street may seem like one of the simplest of construction projects. But don't be fooled....it took a lot of planning, red tape, managing, and time to get it to this stage. Integral in that process was this month's Left Hand Laurel recipient, Chad Fletemeyer. In July, the Niwot Local Improvement District (LID) was tapped for additional financial assistance owing to unforeseen expenses needed to comply with Boulder County mandates.... Full story

  • Left Hand Laurel – Jeff Lally

    Vicky Dorvee|Jul 28, 2021

    Gunbarrel-based nonprofit Cultivate is focused on meeting the needs of our community's seniors. How this plays out is by way of seven programs: Carry-out Caravan (shopping/delivery), Fix-It (home repairs and upgrades), VetsGo (medical appointment transportation), YardBusters (outdoor clean up), SnowBusters (shoveling), RSVP (AmeriCorps Retired Senior Volunteer Program), and File of Life (documents for emergency preparedness). In honor of his volunteerism with the organization, Cultivate wanted...

  • Left Hand Laurel – Jim Eastman

    Vicky Dorvee|Jul 7, 2021

    To paraphrase an old adage, "Man plans, the universe laughs." In Jim Eastman's life, at least two major events sent him off the expected path. Thankfully, the world is a better place, and Eastman would likely concur, that he's better as a result. A rollover car accident in 1990 caused Eastman to sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI) which led to profound changes cognitively and, over time, physically as a result of stress. A decade later, he experienced another turning point - the discovery tha...

  • Left Hand Laurel – Shana Oehmke

    Vicky Dorvee|Jun 2, 2021

    This month's recipient of the Left Hand Laurel is Shana Oehmke, uber-parent volunteer at Heatherwood Elementary School (HES). Living just three blocks away from the school for the last 15 years, the Oehmke children had an easy commute to HES; Henry is a third-grader this year, Charlotte is in seventh grade at Platt Middle School, and Amelia is a sophomore at Fairview High. HES school office manager Marlys Lietz wrote, "Shana has worked hard to keep our school finances in order and has been...

  • Left Hand Laurel – Lyla Herman

    Vicky Dorvee|May 5, 2021

    In 2006, Niwot resident Lyla Herman said yes to a friend in her women's hiking group when asked if anyone would like to join her in cooking meals for the kids at Attention Homes. That's how the Trekking Chefs came to be and how Herman became a committed volunteer at the youth safe haven, recently renamed TGTHR (pronounced as Together). Herman is this month's recipient of the Left Hand Laurel, because of her many years of dedicated community service at TGTHR. What was once a home kitchen has...

  • Left Hand Laurel – Allan Trumpler

    Vicky Dorvee|Mar 31, 2021

    Living in pandemic times we realize more than ever that our homes are our refuge. But for 45 years, Habitat for Humanity has been focused on just that - offering permanent affordable shelter to families around the globe. Habitat for Humanity of the St. Vrain Valley (HFHSVV) makes local low-income families' dreams come true by paving the path for them to own a safe, well-maintained home. Located in Longmont, HFHSVV engages volunteers to work hands-on improving the living situations of well-deserv...

  • Left Hand Laurel - Lydia Moy

    Patricia Logan|Mar 3, 2021

    School volunteer Lydia Moy looks at every opportunity and raises it up a notch. "Your job is not to do 10,000 cutout Valentines for second grade, your job is to spread the love," Moy said. Moy has been spreading the love for 14 years in elementary, middle and now high school. She's a realtor who used to work with emerging markets in finance, which she said helped her think about the big picture, "I'm a long term person." That mentality influences the way she approaches volunteering. When she...

  • Left Hand Laurel – Deborah Read Fowler

    Vicky Dorvee|Feb 10, 2021

    The adage, "When the going gets tough, the tough get going," typifies Niwot's Deborah Read Fowler. Read Fowler, owner of Deborah Read Fowler Real Estate (DRF), was already resolutely involved with the community when along came COVID-19, shifting her dynamism into overdrive. With her can-do attitude, optimistic outlook, and a keen sense of humor, Read Fowler simply gives her all to Niwot, which is why she is the recipient of this month's Left Hand Laurel. "What is new is my concern, and I'd say...

  • Left Hand Laurel – Erin Hofer-Shall

    Vicky Dorvee|Jan 6, 2021

    Longmont based HOPE, short for Homeless Outreach Providing Encouragement, cares for some of the most vulnerable members of the community. Founded in 2007, HOPE has supported the homeless community with the end goal being self-sufficiency. The organization exists to fill people's most basic needs of shelter and food, in addition to providing forward momentum resources such as one-on-one advocacy. Gunbarrel resident Erin Hofer-Shall is an angel of HOPE. While that sounds very ethereal, she and...

  • Left Hand Laurel – Lawson and Suzanne Drinkard

    Vicky Dorvee|Dec 2, 2020

    Lawson and Suzanne Drinkard of Niwot put their energy into making sure members of Recovery Café are wrapped in the warmth of connection with others. Built upon the premise that recovery from challenges with addiction, homelessness, and mental health is made possible through a sense of belonging and being valued, Recovery Café Longmont (RCL) opened its doors a little over a year ago and the Drinkards were committed to support the impactful organization from the start. "Being a part of a caring c...

  • Left Hand Laurels - Mike and Becky Fellows

    Vicky Dorvee|Nov 4, 2020

    Married for 51 years, Gunbarrel residents Mike and Becky Fellows are partners in life and community service. As a couple, they deliver meals to seniors and those who aren't able to shop for food and prepare meals on their own through the non-profit organization Meals on Wheels Boulder (MOWB). Lisa Hughes, MOWB manager of volunteer services, said, "Mike and Becky are such great volunteers. They deliver meals for us every week to Gunbarrel and often substitute drive as well. They are very...

  • Left Hand Laurel - Rich Anderson

    Vicki Dorvee|Oct 7, 2020

    For five years, Niwotian Rich Anderson has brought nurturing and nutrition to homebound community members through Longmont Meals on Wheels (LMOW). The organization's motto is Delivering Hope One Meal at a Time, and Anderson does that in batches of 12 to 16 deliveries per shift, each one providing greatly appreciated smiles and sustenance. "Being retired," Anderson said, "I felt I needed something besides the activities in life I normally get engaged in. I just can't sit around the house. I...

  • Left Hand Laurel – Leonard Sitongia

    Vicky Dorvee|Sep 9, 2020

    Leonard Sitongia is an essential worker, or more fittingly, an essential volunteer for the Niwot community. Even before Leonard and his wife Christine moved to their Niwot home in 2014, while waiting for their North Boulder house to sell, he stepped up to be an area representative for the Niwot Community Association (NCA). For the past three years, he's also been the organization's secretary. Hearing about his history, it's clear that connecting through community engagement is Sitongia's modus...

  • Left Hand Laurel - Diane Zimmermann

    Patricia Logan|May 13, 2020

    She howls, sews masks, plots to honor grads, helps kids learn, gets them moving, organizes the occasional birthday car-parade, and that's just some of the stuff Diane Zimmermann does during a pandemic. Supporting others is a way of life for the Niwot resident. "Anywhere there is room for helping out. I'm always up for that," Zimmermann said. Some of her volunteering is organized, such as her work for the Niwot Community Association and the Niwot Historical Society, and some she does on her own....

  • Left Hand Laurel-Lori and Russ Lindemann

    Abigail Scott|Apr 8, 2020

    Lori and Russ Lindemann moved to the Gunbarrel Estates neighborhood in 1994 with their two children and niece in tow. For the past two and a half decades, they have called Boulder County home and have done a huge part in making it a terrific place to live for its variety of residents. The Lindemanns are no strangers to hard work and have spent much of their free time volunteering throughout the community. Lori has volunteered with the St. Vrain Valley School District, the VA in Denver, the DA's...

  • Left Hand Laurel: Vicki Maurer

    Amy Scanes-Wolfe|Feb 26, 2020

    Vicki Maurer's approach to life and volunteering is probably best put in her own words: "We do what we have to do and get it done." Maurer has been involved with many community organizations over the years, from Niwot Youth Sports to the Left Hand Valley Courier to the Niwot Cultural Arts Association. Appreciation for her efforts is widespread. "She's really easy to work with, enthusiastic about the town...and fantastic at what she does," said Michelle Henzel, treasurer of the NCAA. "Vicki is...

  • Left Hand Laurel: Meg Heitlinger

    Amy Scanes-Wolfe|Jan 29, 2020

    Meg Heitlinger moved here from Minneapolis in 2006 for the same reason many people come to Colorado--"the idea of living from snow to sunshine." Twelve years later, Heitlinger became the much beloved president of the Parent Teacher Organization at Heatherwood Elementary. "It seems that Meg is here at Heatherwood more days than she's not," said Mary Lietz, Principal's Assistant. "She is constantly pitching in, supporting our school and leading our PTO Crew. She is smart and eloquent and delivers...

  • Kamilla Macar - Left Hand Laurel

    Vicky Dorvee|Dec 25, 2019

    Retiree Kamilla Macar is anything but re-"tired." She's incredibly active, positive, outgoing, and caring. Each week, among the long list of other happenings keeping her busy, the 83 year-old will be found giving her time and energy to Cultivate, a nonprofit organization serving a variety of needs of local seniors. Macar is a person who loves to keep moving, and she's also an avid steward of the environment. For the past two years, twice a week, she's walked the mile each way between her house...

  • Jim Thomas and Archie – Left Hand Laurel

    Vicky Dorvee|Nov 27, 2019

    Medicine on a leash is how this month's Laurel recipient Jim Thomas refers to his faithful companion, Archie the fox red Labrador retriever. As part of the organization, Therapy Dog Boulder County (TDBC), 65-year-old Thomas and six-year-old Archie are weekly visitors at Superior Elementary School. All 76 pounds of the wagging pooch exudes love, so it's the perfect gig for him. His human partner is all about being there for others too. "My mom and dad brought us up to help people," Thomas said...

  • Left Hand Laurel - Kristin Bjornsen

    Jocelyn Rowley|Oct 23, 2019
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    In late 2017, Gunbarrel resident Kristin Bjornsen was at an impasse. Following a "spectacular loss" in her lawsuit against Boulder County over violations of Colorado's sunshine laws, the full-time mother-of-two was torn on whether to proceed with a costly and time-consuming appeal or whether to leave the legal battle for government transparency to more seasoned professionals. "On the one hand I felt like the issues were clear, and I felt like I had clarity if I could just clear away the muddle...

  • Kellie Beran – Left Hand Laurel

    Vicky Dorvee|Sep 18, 2019

    In the scheme of a community with a two block downtown, Left Hand Valley Grange No. 9 is almost a super structure. The austere corner building with a single third-story window at the peak makes for a big cream colored wall wrapping around the corner. A simple sign sits above the front door. The door is disproportionately small not just in comparison to the building's bulk, but because of all that has passed through it and what that entryway symbolizes. A 35-year resident of Niwot, Kellie Beran l...

  • Left Hand Laurel – Emily Sewell

    Vicky Dorvee|Aug 14, 2019

    Gunbarrel’s Emily Sewell, this month’s Left Hand Laurel, is a round-the-clock mother, with a full-time career. For the last eight years, she’s also given her time to Voices for Children as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), transforming the lives of abused and neglected children in Boulder County. Program Director Dana Walters said, “Emily has quietly worked to help victims of child abuse and neglect recover from trauma. She never seeks recognition and she doesn't require much directi...

  • Left Hand Laurel – Tom Theobald

    Vicky Dorvee|Jul 3, 2019
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    Tom Theobald only will allow the Courier to bestow a Left Hand Laurel to him if his community involvement is qualified as being historical. Not a problem, because he did begin making a difference quite a while ago. But, we can’t resist saying he’s still a force for what’s good and continues to contribute greatly to this community and beyond. Seventy-six year old Theobald reminisces about his days growing up on a lake in Delavan, Wisconsin roaming the fields, wearing a bathing suit all summe... Full story

  • Left Hand Laurel: Terry and Cathy Olkin

    Jocelyn Rowley|Mar 27, 2019

    Longmont-based Up-A-Creek Robotics is home to one of the top high school robotics teams in the country, thanks in large part to Niwot couple Terry and Cathy Olkin, recipients of this month's Left Hand Laurel. When the Olkins signed on for a stint as mentors to the Up-A-Creek Robotics team five years ago, they were just hoping to spend more time with sons Jake and Zach. Before long, however, the naturally competitive duo found themselves enjoying not just their extra time with the boys, but also... Full story

  • Left Hand Laurel – Melinda Coburn

    Vicky Dorvee|Feb 27, 2019

    Flagstaff Academy parent Melinda Coburn became a Dragon Volunteer when her oldest child entered preschool four years ago. Each week Coburn helps kindergarten students with their math and first-graders with reading. Those interactions lead to students learning and feeling cared for. But those are just a couple of examples of how Coburn’s energy, dedication, and kindness are bringing a ripple effect of positivity to the world. Coburn and her husband Sean met in junior high school while growing up... Full story

  • Left Hand Laurel - Scott Deemer

    Jocelyn Rowley|Nov 28, 2018

    What started as a proposal for a modest “connectivity point” at the southwest corner of 79th Street and Niwot Road blossomed into a high caliber public art space thanks almost entirely to the efforts of Niwot resident Scott Deemer, recipient of this month’s Left Hand Laurel. “It was Scott Deemer's artistic vision and the generous contributions from his company, Outdoor Craftsmen, that changed the Connectivity Project from something ordinary into something extraordinary,” Chuck Kluber of the Ni... Full story

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