Helping out our Flat Faced Friends

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Jul 252006
Authors: Kate Dzintars The Rocky Mountain Collegian

When you walk in the door of the modest house sitting at the end of a courtyard off of South Shields Street, it could be any college students’ house. A shelf of DVDs camps next to a couch across from a T.V. in the front room. There is no air conditioning, so the heat of the Colorado summer has parked itself in the living room and kitchen. A cat meows a greeting. Then another cat . then another cat. Then two Great Danes, more like small ponies than dogs, lumber up the stairs to say hello.

A trip down the stairs reveals this is no ordinary bachelor pad. Kennels of kittens and cats line the walls, and a fan runs full blast to ward off the heat.

It’s the home of two CSU students and their non-profit organization Flat-Faced Friends Rescue.

The two vet-hopefuls take in stray cats from as far as Colorado Springs and Cheyenne and from owners who can no longer care for their pets.

“It’s just what I’ve always done,” said Brandon Sonn, who works at Fort Collins Veterinary Emergency Hospital. “I’ve always taken in strays anyway. Now I’m just licensed to rescue animals.”

Sonn, who is trying to get into the veterinary school, and roommate Allen Simon, a senior biology/pre-vet major, don’t do it alone. Right now, they have 13 foster homes where they place animals to help socialize them and accustom them to being around people and different environments.

They say that foster care is a perfect solution for a college student who wants a pet, but not the long-term commitment. Cats usually stay in foster care for one to three months, before they are put up for adoption.

They also have about five volunteers who help feed, medicate and clean up after the animals at the house.

Tanja Pliler, a Fort Collins resident, discovered the rescue when she took a stray cat with an injured leg the vet and saw their business card. Five weeks ago, she found another stray, called up Flat-Faced Friends and became a volunteer.

“I had this fear that it was going to be ‘the crazy cat lady,” Pliler said, “but I was really impressed that two 22-year-old guys take care of all these animals. They are really professional about it and really organized.”

Sonn and Simon hold a Pet Animal Care Facilities Act (PACFA) license to board animals. Flat-Faced Friends Rescue is also registered with the IRS as a 501c3 non-profit organization, so all donations are tax deductible.

“The more donations we have, the more we can do,” said Sonn. “There is only so much we can do on a limited budget.”

Currently, the shelter houses 17 cats and kittens, although it has the capacity for 60. They’ve had a record adoption rate of 46 cats in the last month.

When an animal first comes to the three-year-old shelter, it’s put in quarantine for at least two weeks. Once it has been vaccinated, de-wormed and checked for diseases, it’s ready to be spayed or neutered.

Healthy animals are allowed to enter the “general population,” that is, have free reign to run about the house, play with other cats or be mothered by the Great Danes, or they go to foster care.

All adoptions go through PetSmart, at either the Fort Collins or Broomfield location, although they have more cages in Broomfield. After a month of not being adopted, the cat comes back to the house or foster care for a while to avoid the depression and boredom of being cooped up and alone all day.

The problem with running a rescue mission for furry felines? Getting attached.

“I swear for every week I’ve been here, I find a new love in my life,” Pliler said.


Send donations to

1440 Edgewood Ct.

Fort Collins, CO 80526

(970) 988-6548

Wish list:

Bags of dry, unopened cat and kitten food (Iams, Purina 1 and Eukanuba)

Unopened cans of wet cat and kitten food

Paper towels

Clorox bleach

White copy paper

HP Color LaserJet 2820 Toner Cartridges – High Capacity Cyan, Yellow, Magenta, Black, and Imaging Drums

High Quality Stethoscope

Large ceramic bowls

Clavamox tablets (62.5 mg and 125 mg)

Unused, not reconstituted Clavamox drops

Fel-O-Guard Plus 4 Vaccines

Felv/FIV combo tests

Gift certificates to PetSmart/Poudre Feed/Target

Also wanted:



Foster homes

Veterinary care

Kate Dzintars can be reached at

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Llamas and horses and dogs; Oh My!

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Jul 252006
Authors: Erin Aggeler Liz Sunshine, Tanner Bennett The Rocky Mountain Collegian

While strolling the grounds of the remote Denkai Animal Sanctuary, a 14-year-old Arabian named Jasmine closely follows visitors and occasionally shoves her brown head into the conversation.

Later, after passing a pen where furry Dotty and Frosty live, one learns that llamas take turns going potty in the exact same place, a practice from the wild that makes it more difficult for predators to find them.

Jeb, a 26-year-old former dude ranch mule, likes a morning bath.

This foursome is part of a larger animal family being cared for at the Denkai Animal Sanctuary, a dusty, sprawling ranch nearly three dozen miles north of Fort Collins, just outside of the scarcely populated town of Carr.

The operation, run by chatty Floss Blackburn, is similar to other sanctuaries in that it accepts a variety of animals in varying conditions. But at Denkai, Blackburn has also sought to establish a low-cost spay and neuter clinic and vet services. The site offers adoptions, animal sponsorships, educational tours and volunteer opportunities.

Volunteer Shannon Canfield said she’s involved with the three-year-old sanctuary because of her lifelong love of animals.

“Animals are just people in fur,” Canfield said in a telephone interview last week.

For $30 a month, Canfield sponsors a 3-year-old black and white paint horse named Black Majic [sic] that was saved from death.

“(Black Majic) came to the sanctuary as her previous owner was entirely afraid of her,” Blackburn explains on the Denkai Web site. “Black Majic would charge her and try to bite . The woman tried to give her away for free, but since nobody was able to catch her, she could not find a home. Luckily she did not get snatched up by a killer buyer and shipped to slaughter.”

History of Denkai

In addition to llamas, horses and the mule, Denkai Animal Sanctuary is home to nearly 90 animals, including turkeys, sheep, chickens, dogs, cats and miniature horses.

Also living there is Eldora the goat and the pot bellied pig Deputy Dangles, both 11.

Blackburn, the 27-year-old founder of the sanctuary, was raised in the ranching community of Cortez in deep southwestern Colorado. Blackburn was named after her grandmother Florence’s nickname.

Although she had never previously owned a farm or ranch, animals were always around, Blackburn said of her childhood. Since starting the sanctuary – a non-profit operation that began in Ault just east of Fort Collins – Blackburn has worked tirelessly to gather the animals, care for them and begin the sanctuary’s various programs.

She named the site after her two young children. Denali, who is 6, and 3-year-old Kaia.

After moving from Cortez to Ault, Blackburn started working at PetSmart with its animal adoption program and eventually her reputation for animal care grew. The local humane society gave Blackburn several goats to care for. Also at this time, she was given a 2-year-old miniature horse named Sweet Pea, who had an extreme case of clubbed feet, and Spirit, a 2-month-old buckskin colt. Both horses are now permanent residents at the sanctuary.

After leaving Ault, she moved to Windsor, where Blackburn volunteered at a dog and cat sanctuary. Later, she moved to an area outside of Nunn in Weld County but decided to relocate after a year because the home she was living in with her kids was, in her words, worse than the facilities for her animals.

Two months ago, Blackburn leased the ranch outside of Carr, where she works full time running the sanctuary and raising her two children.

The Animals

Animals arrive at the Denkai Animal Sanctuary as a result of several situations. The local humane society has donated some and others are the result of court battles, which include neglect cases or animal custody matters. Occasionally, Blackburn or a volunteer find strays or strangers call and ask to donate an animal.

Some animals, such as Sweet Pea and Spirit, stay at the sanctuary indefinitely while others are adopted by people in the community. All adopted animals are spayed, neutered and vaccinated.

The entire operation is run by volunteers and operates on donations.

As an alternative to adoption, people can also sponsor an animal. For example, $5 a month sponsors a chicken and $8 a month will help feed a turkey. People who donate will receive a framed picture of their sponsored animal and the story behind it.

Bre Hunter, a CSU senior biology major who works at the Boyd Lake Vet Center in Loveland, volunteers her time and sponsors animals at Denkai Animal Sanctuary.

“I have always had a thing for animals . I had a variety of different pets growing up (including) snakes, dogs, rabbits, ducks and cockatiels,” Hunter said. She currently sponsors two animals at Denkai; a thoroughbred horse named Latch and a box-pit-bull puppy named Jasmine.

Other opportunities include volunteering time. Blackburn needs help on a number of fronts, including grant writing, fundraising and barn helpers who perform maintenance, office administration and public relations.

Denkai also is always in need of monetary contributions as well as donated food, equipment, minerals and oats. Other necessities are listed under a “Wish List” on the sanctuary’s Web site at

Any assistance toward Denkai serves an even larger purpose, Blackburn says. In addition to saving lives, the site is visited by at-risk youth and mentally or physically challenged adults and children.

The visitors learn more about the animals; how to prevent animal abuse and occasionally the animals are used in various communication and socialization exercises to help adults or children.

Erin Aggeler, Liz Sunshine and Tanner Bennett can be reached at

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Only 1000 tickets left!

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Jul 252006

As of Friday at 1 p.m., there are about 1,000 student tickets left for the CSU-CU game, according to the Rams Ticket Office.

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Karen Hammerschmidt dies

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Jul 252006

Karen Hammerschmidt, the wife of CSU’s offensive coordinator Dan Hammerschmidt, passed away July 19 after battling cancer for nearly eight years.

Hammerschmidt, 37, was in Richmond, Texas to visit her parents when she suffered from a liver failure. Dan has been a coach for CSU’s football team in various capacities for the last ten seasons.

Hammerschmidt is survived by her son, Michael and her daughter, Holly. She was buried in Richmond on July 22.

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Jul 252006

An article in the July 19 issue of the Collegian concerning Reva Jeanette Miles, the former CSU employee convicted of theft from the University Counseling Center, should have stated that she was sentenced to 30 days in jail, which she can serve on weekends without having to spend the night in custody. Further, Miles was ordered to spend four years on probation. The Collegian regrets the errors.

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Welcome to the Extreme Sports Capital of America

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Jul 172006
Authors: Mike Donovan

The state of Colorado is not known as a great athletic breeding ground or host of major athletic events. However, there is one type of sports that have always found a home in the Centennial State. For the last decade, extreme sports have flourished in Colorado with major competitions held throughout the state.

When the Dew Action Sports Tour rolled through Denver over the weekend, a hundred thousand or so excited fans were there to greet it. Coloradans have always taken kindly to sports that were once considered too different or too out there. Professional BMX biker and Denver native Jay Eggleston thinks that the residents of Colorado have a different mindset than most.

“The people here are way more open-minded when it comes to these kinds of sports,” Eggleston, 34, told me after a fifth place finish in the BMX vert event Saturday.

While the Dew Action Sports Tour and the X Games are definitely marketed to teeny-boppers and college students, any outsider to these games will be struck by the number of families and baby boomers who actually attend the events.

Any age group can appreciate the tricks performed by these athletes, and it seems that Coloradans have recognized this fact before most. The athletes who participated in Denver proved it as they went above and beyond almost anything that had been seen before.

The most impressive trick of the weekend belonged to 37-year-old BMX vert biker Keith McIlhinney – he performed the first front-flip in the history of his sport in front of an ecstatic Denver crowd. McIlhinney told the audience after the trick that he was glad he was able to debut the trick in front of the Denver fans.

Colorado, which has hosted seven X Games, is definitely a premier action sports destination according to native son Eggleston.

“Colorado is definitely one of the best places in the world for us, there are a ton of outdoor parks and different places to do all sorts of sports,” Eggleston said.

When it comes to Colorado’s competitors for the fictional extreme sports crown, there are really only two contenders. Greenville, North Carolina is home to six of the top 20 BMX riders, however, Greenville is only known for biking and does not compete with Colorado when it comes to the number of sports played.

Colorado’s other extreme sports rival is the state of California, which has also hosted seven X Games. Home to numerous professional extreme sport athletes and the state that invented skateboarding, California has always been at the forefront of extreme sports culture. Even Eggleston told me that California is definitely a hot bed for action sports.

Despite these facts, California is brought down by its size. Each extreme sport hot spot seems to hundreds of miles away from each other. Skateboarders love the Bay Area, while BMXers prefer SoCal and winter sport athletes love the mountains by Lake Tahoe.

In Colorado, the entire state is filled with numerous extreme sport venues. And that is why Colorado is king. Because almost every sport and athlete is welcome.

As Olympic gold medalist and California native Shaun White told me after I asked what he thought about the action sports scene in Colorado, “Well, Denver is a pretty cool place to kick it in.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Mike Donovan can be reached at

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Dew drops into Denver

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Jul 172006

And they did it all in Denver this weekend at the Dew Action Sports tour.

Results from Right Guard Open

FMX Motocross

1. Travis Pastrana

2. Nate Adams

3. Kenny Bartrum

Skateboard Vert

1. Shaun White

2. Sandro Dias

3. Bucky Lasek

Skateboard Park

1. Jereme Rogers

2. Nyjah Huston

3. Rodolfo Ramos

BMX Vert

1. Jamie Bestwick

2. Chad Kagy

3. Kevin Robinson

BMX Park

1. Daniel Dhers

2. Ryan Nyquist

3. Alistair Whitton

BMX Dirt

1. Ryan Nyquist

2. Anthony Napolitan

3. Luke Parslow

Future Dew Action Sports Tour Events (All events on NBC and USA)

-Vans Invitational Portland, Ore. August 17-20

-Toyota Challenge San Jose, Calif. September 7-10

-PlayStation Pro Orlando, Fla. October 12-15

Other Future Action Sport Events

-Summer X Games Los Angeles, Calif. August 3-6 (ESPN)

-Mile High BMX Nationals Dacono August 11-13

-Winter X Games Aspen January 25-28, 2007

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Jul 172006

In Wednesday’s edition of the Collegian, the e-mail address for naming the Ram Fans section was incorrect. Send any suggestions to

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Alums bring Italian desserts to Old Town

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Jul 172006
Authors: Kate Dzintars

If you’re melting from the heat, two new ice cream shops might just be the ticket to relief.

Gelazzi Gelato Italiano Caf/ is owned by two CSU alums: Jan Robert Horsfall and Tom Davis graduated from CSU in 1982 and 1981 respectively.

The original Gelazzi has been open in Larimer Square in Denver for 18 months.

The Fort Collins location will open this week.

The duo plans to open another branch in Tampa, Fl., in the fall.

The store offers 32 flavors of gelato (also known as Italian ice cream), made fresh daily from ingredients imported from Italy. Diners will also find specialty Italian coffees and gelato cocktails – spiked concoctions containing different flavors of gelato and alcohol.

“We don’t just make gelato,” Horsfall said. “We make great gelato.”

Opening up in Old Town can be hit or miss, said the executive director of the Downtown Business Association.

“People are attracted to the atmosphere and traffic downtown,” David Short said. “But it all depends on the business. If they have a quality product and a good customer base, they’ll survive.”

Short said that even though Gelazzi sits right next to Kilwin’s (a candy and ice cream shop), their concepts are different enough for them to attract different crowds and co-exist.

A co-owner of Kilwin’s said he wasn’t worried yet about competition from Gelazzi, because he didn’t know much about the new shop.

Jack Vogt has owned and operated the franchise with his wife Donna for ten years.

D & J’s Olde Tyme Ice Cream Shoppe opened on Tuesday.

The classic shop inhabits an old Victorian-style house neighboring El Burrito at 410 Linden St.

The owners of D & J’s aren’t worried about a scoop shop struggle either.

“It’s one of those things; you open up and competition is good for you,” said Jesse Godinez.

“We also own El Burrito restaurant. We opened that (the ice cream shop) because the house was vacant. We already owned it, so we didn’t have to pay high rent.”

More than one CSU alum have opened a business near their alma mater, even though Horsfall said, “You never think about putting up a business where you went to school, so it still feels weird.”

Dan Dolan, owner of Freakshow Tattoo and Body Piercing, 1232 W. Elizabeth St., decided to move from Boulder to Fort Collins for school.

“I came up here because the school seemed to have a lot less pretense,” said Dolan. “It reminded me of Boulder about 10 years ago.”

Even though he moved for the school, Dolan stayed and set up shop in Fort Collins because of the town and its people.

“It impresses me, with the clientele of the shop, the level of education,” said Dolan. “So many people have such interesting degrees.”

He said that the students the university draws, both in-state and out-of-state, as well as the people who live in Fort Collins provide for economic diversity if not ethnic.

Dolan, it seems, made a good choice.

“Business is great. The university has supported us to no end.”

Not everyone waits for graduation to open the door to the business world.

Eric Haywood, a senior chemical engineering major, opened Goode Tymes Restaurant, 1232 W. Elizabeth St., six weeks ago with his dad.

“It’s a lot of hours and hard work,” said Haywood. “Organization is the key to everything.”

He also emphasized the importance of networking.

“Whatever friends you have who have done this before are a godsend. We wouldn’t have been able to do this without their help and experience.”

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UCC thief will serve 30 days in jail

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Jul 172006
Authors: JAMES BAETKE The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The former CSU employee who stole $17,000 from the university will spend 30 days in prison and have to complete 300 hours of community service in addition to five years probation.

District Court Judge Terence Gilmore sentenced Reva Jeanette Miles, 55, on Monday for her involvement in mishandling cash at the University Counseling Center (UCC).

Convicted in a June trial on one count of felony theft and misdemeanor credit card fraud, Miles still maintains she did nothing criminal. She was facing up to 12 years in prison but only received one-third of the jail time recommended by the Larimer County District Attorney’s office.

Last year, an internal CSU audit and five-month police investigation found evidence of departmental misconduct implicating Miles with depositing checks but not cash, inappropriate ACARD purchases (cards university employees can use to make approved, business purchases), personal phone use and faulty sick leaves.

Miles subsequently was arrested, posted bond and later resigned from her 30-year post at the UCC. She was earlier chastised in a 1992 audit that criticized the same type of accounting practices.

“This is a white collar crime and Miles abused the system at every level,” said Deputy District Attorney Leah Bishop at the sentencing hearing.

Bishop said Colorado taxpayers should take this case as a “slap in face,” describing Miles as vengeful and deceptive.

“Miles still takes no responsibility,” Bishop said. “This is the ‘lets blame the someone else’ game.”

Miles’ attorney, Joeseph Taylor concedes Miles’ actions were irresponsible only because she was following a broken accounting system.

“Miles is guilty of bad judgment; she is guilty of doing what her boss told her to do,” Taylor said at the hearing.

Miles remained mostly silent throughout the sentencing hearing. When the judge asked whether she wanted to make a statement, she said, “No thank you, your honor.”

Almost a dozen family and friends were present, some crying, while others clasped their hands over their mouths when the judge rendered his sentencing. Two people spoke on Miles’ behalf, including her older sister Judy Miles.

“My family was stunned when Jeanette was accused of theft. Jeanette is honest,” Judy Miles said, pausing at times to cry. “She did not financially profit from these inadequate practices.”

Gilmore said he did not hand down the maximum sentence because of Miles non-existent criminal history and her long-standing commitment to CSU and the community.

“I’m still left with no explanation to where $17,000 disappeared. The defendant must have profited to some degree,” Gilmore said.

As Miles waits to serve her prison time, her supervisor and UCC Director Charles Davidshofer will learn his fate likely some time next week in County Court on charges of official misconduct.

An additional court hearing is set for early August to debate the nearly $19,000 in restitution the District Attorney is asking for.

James Baetke can be reached at

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