Re-Framing the Education Conversation

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May 092013

Author: Mary Willson

          In the US, the average life expectancy is 83 years, according to the US Social Security Administration.

       A college semester is four months, which is .6 percent of that average. A university bachelors degree is generally obtained in four years, just 4.8 percent of the general American life.


            Personally, I am finishing up my sophomore year. I have given 2.4 percent of my live to higher education to date.

 This identity of what I have become: class, exams, papers, extracurricular, jobs; internships seem to define me sometimes. All of the scholarly labels seem to be the aspects of me that my parent’s friends ask about. They don’t go around asking what I believe in, what I am passionate about, or what my favorite way to spend a sunny Colorado day is. They ask what I am studying, and what I want to do with the rest of my life. I find myself challenging this, wanting to lash out and rebel.  And then I remember, they are asking this because I am lucky. I am in college.

            As finals week comes into full swing, I notice social media highlights this negative conversation. Instagram snaps the scene of Morgan Library at 3 am, Facebook statuses about the burdens of hard tests, and twitter posts dedicated to hating chemistry or anatomy class. I am definitely guilty of this in one form or another as deadlines; finals and classes take their toll.

 Yet, the high traffic of this negativity we all show and feel toward the end of the semester causes an uneasy feeling every semester, and particularly this semester, as my life view has been rocked recently.

            This semester, I have completely been re-taught what education means to our world. I am from an education-focused family, my dad is a professor here on campus, my sister graduated from CU, and I have always been on the path to graduate from CSU. It is just how my middle class, Fort Collins raised life has been set. And there is nothing wrong with that, until I found myself forgetting I am lucky.

Francis and Isaya pose in December in front of a local school. Francis is finishing up his High School education this year and wants to get a degree in Agriculture and Tourism and become an educated tour guide in order to bring income back into his village.

Francis and Isaya pose in December in front of a local school. Francis is finishing up his High School education this year and wants to get a degree in Agriculture and Tourism and become an educated tour guide in order to bring income back into his village.

Brett Bruyere, Warner College of Natural Resource professor and Samburu Youth Education Fund founder talks with local teacher at a scholarship award ceremony in December.

Brett Bruyere, Warner College of Natural Resource professor and Samburu Youth Education Fund founder talks with local teacher at a scholarship award ceremony in December.

     In December, I traveled to Kenya, Africa through SLiCE’s Alternative Break Program. As cliché as it is to narrate how students will give anything to be in a classroom, to get the opportunity to have education–it is actually true. That played up sentence is not just from the Compassion International commercials. In fact, it is the reality of millions of normal college-aged students around the world.

     It is fun, energetic young adults, just like us—that are in love with education. The CSU group I was with became close with four students. These students have had their education funded by the Samburu Youth Education Fund—a donation based scholarship program set up by CSU’s Warner College of Natural Resources professor Brett Bruyere.

A doctor, professor, tour guide, and chef they want to become, and they all travel hours to days to get to school, where they stay for five consecutive months to learn. And they know they are lucky, because they are the only peers from their village to get this education.

            The passion felt for having a future outside of their environment in the rural bush area of Archers Post, Kenya was invigorating after I felt worn out from a rough semester of 18 credits.

            An additional wake up call I felt mid-college experience this spring is visiting my sister, who has dedicated two years to teaching low-income students in Charleston, South Carolina through the non-profit organization Teach for America (TFA). TFA places passionate post-grads or professionals and matches them with failing schools, in order to keep skilled teachers in the system. My sister’s sixth graders are all extremely low-income, extremely below grade reading level and math due to lack of school funding, limited parental support and little educational influence. These students have never felt they even have the option to get a higher education and most don’t know anyone who has other than their teachers. They aren’t on the college track like I was, and most unfortunately will not ever be.

         My sister works hard to remind her students they can go on to be a college student, her room is decked out with Buff swag, her alma mater, and she is constantly highlighting students who have beat the odds like she believes they can. Yet, the culture shock she has felt moving from her college-dedicated life in Colorado to the juxtaposed life in South Carolina has sparked my realization as well: we are all an exception.

My sister, Laura, also coaches a cheerleading team as a TFA teacher.

My sister, Laura, also coaches a cheerleading team as a TFA teacher.

            I am currently in a mentorship program through CSU’s Access Center called the Dream Team, which was started at Washington State University, and has grown nation wide throughout the last years. The program’s objective is to give guidance, support and resources to higher education to first generation high school students in the community. Through this program, we have a weekly class in which we learn about the education system, identity and ourselves.

        Through the astonishing statistics about the nations true education system is daunting after growing up in suburbia Fort Collins, with the excellent Poudre School District.

            Overall, through these experiences, the reality of my college experience seems damn great compared to what the majority of countries, states, demographics and individuals face. I am in college, and I will graduate—just like most of us reading this.

            While the stress of school is real, and the dedication to education is widely apparent on campus, I cant help but think what if we all reframe the conversation. Together, we could change the conversation from negativity, to positivity. Instead of “finals will be the death of me,” what if we all reframe it to be “I am lucky to be working hard to get my education,” because the reality is, we are lucky.

Summer abroad, don’t mind if I do

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Apr 162013

Author: Cassandra Whelihan

It’s been nearly three years since Rebecca Robinson last took off to travel the world. The expression on her face as she

Rebecca Robinson experiencing the culture of Edinburgh, Scotland. Photo courtesy of Rebecca Robinson.

Rebecca Robinson experiencing the culture of Edinburgh, Scotland. Photo courtesy of Rebecca Robinson.

describes her summer plans for Florence, Italy radiates pure excitement.

“I traveled by myself at 19 which was almost three years ago and you get the travel bug the first time you really go out on your own. It doesn’t go away, you’ll be infected with it your whole life and so I’m like, ‘yeah I really wanted to go to Italy.’ I really wanted to live in Italy and just experience it rather than jumping from place to place,” said Rebecca Robinson, a journalism and history double major. “You learn so much about yourself — you learn how much strength you actually have to be independent and to do things on your own. You realize the skills you can pull on when crisis happens, when you get lost. Leaving Colorado is just a really good opportunity to grow as a person, I suggest it for everyone.”

Also leaving Colorado for the summer, Jennifer Robinson prepares to embark on an adventure to Freiburg, Germany. Jennifer Robinson will be practicing her German while taking roughly 12 credit hours.

“We are supposed to speak in German the entire time we are there,” said Jennifer Robinson, a senior German language and international studies double major. “I think that immersing myself in the culture is going to help my speaking skills a lot. So instead of taking these courses at CSU I’m taking them in Germany. I think that I’m going to learn a little more.”

The Study Abroad Program at CSU offers opportunities to travel to almost any country in the world. According to their website, with approval, you may also study abroad through an unaffiliated program or enroll directly at a foreign university.

“We have programs in Prague, in Costa Rica, in Ireland, Japan, in Morocco, in the Bahamas, in Italy — I mean the list goes on. There are some things like advanced language courses in Spain for people studying Spanish or there’s things like criminology or criminal justice in Prague,” said Kayla Rivers, finance major and peer adviser at the Study Abroad Office. “I think summer programs in particular are really important for students who feel like they can’t fit it into their academic schedule, but who want to have that experience and want to be able to see this new country and experience a new culture.”

Mona Lisa frameless

Mona Lisa frameless (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The opportunity to be immersed in the history of unique cultures around the world is extremely moving and powerful, according to Rebecca Robinson.

“When I saw the Mona Lisa in the Louvre Museum about three years ago, I was just balling my eyes out because I was just so overwhelmed by ‘you know this is actually da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. This is the real deal. I’m standing in the same room as this masterpiece that was painted centuries before by someone I deeply admire,’” said Rebecca. “I’m really excited. I get to see the ‘Birth of Venus’ at the Uffizi Gallery and the Statue of David, so those are like the top two art things in Florence I’m excited about.”

Going Green: Recycling in your community

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Apr 152013

Author: Allison LeCain

Colorado State University Flag

Colorado State University Flag (Photo credit: tylerkron)

Colorado State University is considered a ‘green’ university, but it wasn’t always that way. In the past 15 years, CSU’s recycling rate has gone from 26 percent to 57 percent, ranking in the top 5 percent of recycle-friendly universities in America for the past 10 years, according to RecycleMania.

We’ve adopted changes over the years that make recycling easier, such as single-stream recycling, trash audits and participating in RecycleMania. Now CSU recycles almost two million pounds each year, according to CSU’s green website.

What is RecycleMania?

RecycleMania is a nation-wide competition that promotes recycling and waste-reduction at universities. The event takes place over eight weeks each spring. Recycling and trash is measured on a per-capita basis each week. CSU took 16th place out of 630 universities last year.

During this time, there’s an on-campus competition between residence halls and university apartments to see which have the best recycling rate. Each RecycleMania starts off with a trash audit. A day’s worth of trash is collected from all residence halls and sorted. Last year’s audit revealed that 75 percent of what was thrown away was trash and 25 percent could have been recycled, according to Sheela Backen, CSU’s Integrated Solid Waste Program Manager.

How CSU went ‘green’

In the ’80s, CSU didn’t have a single-stream recycling system. Nearly all materials were trashed in a landfill. In 1990, CSU received a $26,000 grant from the Colorado Office of Energy Conservation that allowed them to start a new recycling program, called Recycle Colorado State. Since then, the number of dumpsters has been cut in half and the first automated recycling truck was purchased. CSU switched to single-stream recycling in 2007, making the recycling rate go up to 57 percent.

Backen has taken the lead role in changing the way faculty and students view sustainability on campus. She focuses on educating students so they know what to recycle and care enough to do so. One of the common misconceptions she says students have about recycling is pizza boxes. She said as long as you clean the pizza out of it, the boxes can be recycled, as can bottles and their caps.

Though the recycling rate is rising, Backen thinks the university can do even more for sustainability.

“One of the things I really want to work on is compost,” Backen said. “We’re already doing some compost, but we can expand into paper towels and stuff like that to take more stuff out of the landfills. Every year they’re supposed to add another commodity we can recycle in Larimer County – anything that they’ll add, we’ll add.”

How does recycling work?

According to Backen, the recycling starts out in bins around campus. The custodial staff empties those into larger bins outside, which are picked up by trucks. Trucks pick up recycling daily from Lory Student Center and two to three times a week for other buildings. Those trucks take the recyclables to the Larimer County Landfill, where they have an Intermediate Processing Center. There the material is bailed and shipped to Denver’s Waste Management plant. Then a machine uses electric eyes to sort the recyclables.

“They can tell a white piece of paper from a pink piece of paper – it’s really neat,” Backen said. “They use magnets for steel cans and blow air at the aluminum cans to pop them over into where they want them.”

At the end of the machine’s line, there are people pulling out materials that are not suited for recycling. Backen said the recycling process costs more because of the trash people throw in. She suggests taking the time to rinse recyclables of food material so they make it through the recycling inspection.

What can you recycle at CSU?

  • Clean #1 through #7 plastic bottles, tubes, containers
  • Glass bottles and jars
  • Aluminum and steel cans
  • Metal jar lids and bottle caps
  • Empty aerosol cans
  • Aluminum foil
  • Newspapers and magazines
  • Office paper
  • Phone books
  • Corrugated cardboard
  • Brown paper grocery bags
  • Paperboard
  • Some electronics upon request

National recycling rate according to Fort Collins Government

Aluminum cans 51.2%
Glass Bottles 22.0%
Steel Cans 62.0%


Living out the legacy

By working hard to educate future students and faculty, the recycling rate will continue to grow and CSU will become a waste-free campus.

“If we’re composting, and giving the compost back to our grounds people, we’re completing that loop so everything that we create on campus is used on campus,” Backen said.

In knowing what to recycling, the CSU community can reach this goal in 20 years, Backen explained.

“People just need to concentrate on what they’re doing – they just need to get it into the right bin.”


Apr 052013

Author: Anna Palmer

“You are the creator of your own happiness and well-being.”  More than a philosophical statement, this motto has become inseparable from the life and passion of a vibrant, openhearted and authentic soul in the Fort Collins community.

Combining psychotherapy with yoga, meditation and spirituality, Gwyn Tash, in essence, has created a new emerging field of counseling that she intuitively and whole-heartedly believes in.

Gwyn Tash

Gwyn Tash

Outlining her methodology at OM Counseling and Yoga, Tash describes it as a mix between yogic and Buddhist psychology.  Seen as natural and in-the-flow, she views counseling as going hand in hand with spirituality.

“There isn’t another way to do psychotherapy.  [Traditional talk therapy] is just ‘psycho-babble’. [It’s] all about the illusion of life,” Tash said assuredly.  By approaching psychotherapy from a more natural, spiritual place, she encourages her clients to find acceptance of one’s nature through ‘karuna’ (Sanskrit for ‘compassion’).

Throughout childhood, Tash struggled with depression, low self-esteem and distorted body image.

“My own life struggles made me adept at what I do,” she said.

A graduate of the University of Maryland, Tash moved to Colorado in 1989.  She worked as an addiction specialist at LARICO Center for Youth Addictions for about two years, commenting on the “rough, over-her-head type work.”

After leaving LARICO, Tash worked in senior and elderly counseling before the “depressing” nature of the work encouraged her to take a job as lead counselor at Island Grove Regional Treatment Center in Greeley, Colo.

Meanwhile, she struggled to keep her head above water in her personal life, amidst the grips of an emotionally and physically abusive marriage.

Feeling “burnt out in the field” and struggling to be a mother and wife, Tash reached her breaking point.

“I was extremely overweight, and didn’t take care of myself,” she said. “I got to the point where I knew I couldn’t live that way any longer.  I wanted to commit suicide.”

After 11 years of marriage with one daughter between them, Tash courageously left.  This turning point in her life led to her reacquired yoga practice and immersion into the yogi lifestyle.

“After a period of time, I fell in love with yoga.  It helped me heal and reconnect with my body,” she said.  “Yoga brought me to a space of empowerment.”

Tash continued to heal through yoga and meditation until she worked up the strength to attend a yoga teacher training.

“I was paralyzed with fear and almost didn’t do it.  I ended up getting the last space in the class,” she said.  “It brought me back to my body and healed me in so many ways.”

A little over a year ago, a life-threatening spider bite almost turned the table for the worst.  Deathly ill and incapacitated, Tash was highly poisoned.  After seeing a naturopath, she was finally diagnosed and put onto a strict anti-parasitic diet to detoxify.  She never thought she would teach yoga or counsel again.

However, the diet built up her immune system to the extent where it fought off the deadly infection and she slowly began to heal.  Returning to yoga this past June, she is grateful for her life.

Since recovering, Tash has become lead songwriter and vocalist for a yoga, spiritual rock band, called “Leelah.”  After not singing for 25 years and not feeling like she had a voice, she was initially hesitant.

“I was petrified.  Fear was not a good reason not to do it.  It was really hard, but it was meant to be,” Tash said.

Her main focus though, with this on-the-side “creative and expressive” outlet, is her yoga teaching and her counseling.  As someone who “works for herself,” she is able to combine all the elements she deems fit for psychotherapy: yoga, meditation, self-inquiry, self-reflection and spirituality.

“I work intuitively.  I zone-in on where that person is and what they need.  I take something that they’re wounded from to help them heal and question themselves,” Tash said, identifying herself as a ‘guide’ rather than a ‘fixer.’

As someone who is also “constantly healing,” she uses her authenticity to encourage her clients to find acceptance and move away from the ego.

“We are all spiritual beings.  It’s not religious at all.  It comes so naturally,” she said.

Identifying this process of spiritual growth as a “constant evolution, a constant trust,” Tash urges others to send out the energy they wish to get back.  She empowers others to recognize their role in changing and controlling their thought patterns.

Tash also combines a form of hand-free “massage-like” energy work, called Reiki, into her counseling approach.  This method of transferring her healing energy for emotional, physical or spiritual pain is concluded with the client’s self-reflection on the experience.

She encourages others who are just beginning their spiritual journey to take up a meditation practice to break away from the ego’s inner dialogue.  By tuning into and listening to the authentic inner voice and breadth, one can find a place of mindfulness.

“We’re not always ready to let go.  The first thing to do is acknowledge the thoughts and feelings.  Allow, don’t push it away or change it.  Honor it (write about it, talk about it) and then let it go,” she advised.

With flowing curly hair, a nose ring and most importantly, an open, authentic heart, Tash appears to be living out the life she was intended for.  “I’m just myself and I’m doing it my own way,” she said with a humble, yet confident smile forming on her lips.

Contact Info:

Gwyn Tash

OM Counseling and Yoga

(970) 690-1045

Apr 042013

Author: Nicolle Fagan

Silver Grill Cafe in the 1930s. Picture provided by John Arnolfo.

Silver Grill Cafe in the 1930s. Picture provided by John Arnolfo.

The warm, gooey rolls emerge from the oven, spreading their cinnamon aroma throughout the café. Icing melts over the sweet bread, satisfying hungry customers and warming their hearts and stomachs.

The signature cinnamon rolls at Silver Grill Café have received national recognition, but their charm lies in the home-style recipe and their local history.

The Silver Grill Café has been baking the local treat for 28 years, but the restaurant’s history dates back even further. As the oldest restaurant in Northern Colorado, the Silver Grill Café dates back to 1933 with roots as far back as 1912.

From 1912 to 1918 the restaurant operated under the name of Uneeda-Lunch Café, but was closed when the owners pursued other opportunities. Years later, former owner Leonidas “Flossie” Widger reopened the business under the current name. Now, 80 years later, John Arnolfo runs the Grill and aims to keep the integrity of the restaurant’s past.

Arnolfo, a CSU alumnus, bought the Silver Grill Café in 1979. As a frequent diner-goer during his college years, he was pleasantly surprised to find the Grill for sale when he moved back to Fort Collins in 1978. In the 34 years that he has managed the Silver Grill Café, they have expanded from one building to five. The original diner grew from its 40 seat accommodations to a restaurant that can house 150 guests plus 30 on an outdoor patio. Arnolfo credits the restaurant’s success to its ability to adapt to changing times.

Flossie Widger, first owner of the Silver Grill Cafe in 1933. Picture provided by John Arnolfo.

Flossie Widger, first owner of the Silver Grill Cafe in 1933. Picture provided by John Arnolfo.

“It is the general public’s impression that a long history means success,” said Arnolfo. “That’s not necessarily true. You must be able to change with the times to succeed.”

And the Silver Grill Café has certainly changed in its lifetime. They still make all their food from scratch, but they feature a range of menu items from their home-style chicken-fried steak to gluten-free breakfast specialties.

“This is the Silver Grill’s 80th anniversary year, and we have a lot of fun anniversary plans,” said Public Relations Coordinator Tosha Jupiter. For instance, if you stop by the restaurant between April 13 and April 21, you will spot staff members wearing old-fashioned uniforms similar to the green dresses worn in the 1930s.

In addition to the fashion throwback, the Grill will hold specials throughout the month of October to honor the restaurant’s opening on Oct. 28, 1933. With an owner who is big on history (and big on Old Town), the Grill plans on keeping their historic roots in mind as they move forward.

“I see the history of the Silver Grill continuing,” said Arnolfo and the future is bright for the historic business.

So as a college student needing breakfast before finals or a faculty member wanting to get off campus for a home-style lunch, the Silver Grill Café offers good food at a reasonable price. Whether you are hoping to sink your teeth into the sugary delight of their famous giant cinnamon rolls or pick the classic duo of salty bacon and fluffy eggs, you can’t go wrong with the Silver Grill Café.

Apr 032013

Author: Logan Martinez

Wanting an escape from all the construction clinging and clanging? Next fall, you will have a home away from home.

rams bookstore

The Rams Bookstore, on the corner of Laurel and Mason Streets is implementing The Boot Grill. Photo by Logan Martinez

The Rams Bookstore, located at 130 Laurel St. since 1970, is implementing The Boot Grill, a CSU themed sports bar and grill. It will feature the restaurants well known prime rib, house-made green chili, a vast burger menu and a variety of daily lunch specials, while still hosting textbooks and CSU merchandise.

Griff Kull, owner of the Rams Bookstore since 1977, said due to the fluctuation in textbook sales throughout the year, with high sales times at the beginning of each semester, it was time to consider a new way to utilize the space.

“We are looking to do something different with the building at this point because we have half of the space allocated for college textbooks, which is only necessary for about four or five months of the year, and the rest of the year that space isn’t used as much,” Kull said.

The Boot Grill has been open for two years at a locally owned Loveland location. The opportunity to move to this location near campus arose and they wanted to cater to the CSU audience of students, faculty and fans. The bar will feature live music, much like their Loveland location. Marlena Bartlett, assistant general manager of The Boot Grill, is looking forward to creating a fun and inviting atmosphere for their Fort Collins audience.

“We want to bring in fun customers that are looking for a delicious meal — lunch or dinner — and want to enjoy country and classic rock music,” Bartlett said. “We have seen success at our Loveland location and many of our guests tell us that they look forward to having a place like The Boot Grill in Fort Collins.”

Kull is looking forward to this fun atmosphere to compliment the bookstore.

“We were looking for something to complement the apparel and gift business, imprinted Colorado State officially licensed merchandise business,” Kull said. “It seemed like having someone come in with a sports bar and grill would be beneficial for both of us.”

In the tri-level store, The Boot Grill with be located half on the main level and take up the full upper level of the building. On the main level and anticipated rooftop patio, patrons will be able to enjoy looking out onto the Mason Corridor and MAX transit system.

“We will offer live music on Friday and Saturday nights, as well as a roof top outdoor patio and a comfortable welcoming atmosphere,” Bartlett said. “We want it to be a fun environment, lively, and a place where people really enjoy their dining out experience.”

Implementing The Boot means food and beverage near campus, but does not mean textbooks are leaving The Rams Bookstore.

“We are partnered with a company with a good online presence, so it is going to allow us to rent more books and be more competitive with our rental prices,” Kull said. “Throughout the semester, if you are waiting to buy the book until you are sure you need it, we should have good prices available.”

The bookstore will still be open throughout the renovation and is planning to have both sides open for the kickoff of fall semester.

Five Fort Collins boutiques that rock

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Apr 032013

Author: Michaela Koretko

Fort Collins is all about the trendy, quirky, funky, and chic. The small, locally owned boutiques help define Old Town and make it unique. Here are five of the must-visit boutiques in town:
GG Boutique
This boutique is young and fun, full of contemporary style apparel and accessories. It features clothing with bright colors and bold patterns in both casual and dressy styles.
Kansas City Kitty
This quirky store sells mostly clothing, featuring many locally made personal and home accessories. It receives new items two or three times a week, but only gets the same item in once.
Killer Rabbit
Named after the beast from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Killer Rabbit sells young men’s clothing, especially hats and plaid shirts. This is the only exclusively men’s boutique in Old Town, and currently features the mustache fad.
Repeat Boutique
Located just east of campus, Repeat Boutique sells gently used clothing, accessories, shoes, toys, and home decor. The styles they consign and sell are mostly trendy and retro.
White Balcony
This store is owned by the same people as Killer Rabbit. It has a large variety of odds and ends, from cards, journals and home accessories to clothing and accessories. One employee described the boutique as “a color-coded treasure hunt.”

GG Boutique: Where clothes create family

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Mar 312013

Author: Kendall Greenwood

GG Boutique

GG Boutique is located at 204 West Laurel. Photo by Logan Martinez

Walking into GG Boutique you will be greeted by a plethora of colorful designs. The staff will be friendly and you will get honest opinions about what you are trying on. GG Boutique goes beyond a store mentality by making you feel welcome.

GG Boutique, a women’s clothing store in Fort Collins, opened its doors on Aug. 23, 2012 by owner Laura Ludwin, 37, with the goal of offering customers more than clothes. Ludwin wants store-goers to have an experience.

“I want to offer our customers an experience where they walk in and find [GG Boutique] to be a happy place,” Ludwin said. “[I want them] to find something that makes them feel good without having to spend all the money they have.”

One way GG Boutique achieves this is with the items they stock.

“What you see when you open a magazine is what we aim to have here at an affordable price,” Ludwin said.

New items are on the floor every day. This is what sales associate Julia Chenoweth, 41, enjoys most about the store.

“I think that always makes it fun and fresh, not only for the customers, but for [the staff] as well,” Chenoweth said.

Emily Davies, a 20-year-old CSU sophomore, shops at GG Boutique because she knows she will find unique items.

“If you go in once a week, there is [always] something different,” Davies said. “And, [even though] I know a lot of people shop there from CSU, there is a good chance no one else will have what you [buy].”

The atmosphere created by the staff also makes this store different. For one, the employees refer to themselves as “Team GG.” They have created a family, which Chenoweth embodies when helping customers.

“We try to get a feel for what it is they are looking for and what their style might be,” Chenoweth said. “[So we will] be able to suggest things in the store they might like.”

Davies has seen this herself.

GG Boutique Dress

GG Boutique has a selection of dresses and other contemporary womens’ fashion. Photo By Logan Martinez

“It’s not one of those retail stores where it’s like, ‘Hey do you need help, hey can I help you with that, you should really buy that,’” Davies said. “They’re like, ‘yeah that looks good on you.’ It’s not pushy at all.”

GG Boutique started with the family in mind. Ludwin named the shop after her grandmother.

“I was extremely close with her,” Ludwin said. “I [even] have her chandelier and dress in the store.”

GG Boutique stays connected to their customers with their Facebook page, where they hold giveaways every Monday, so customers can win gift cards, and post new looks.

Davies tries to go to GG Boutique every other week.

“I always get compliments on the stuff that I buy there,” Davies said. “It is a little pricey because it’s a boutique, but [the clothes] are really good quality. [The items] will last me a long time.”

The shop is located at 204 West Laurel St.

Ludwin said she enjoys being able to sell colorful outfits to all generations.

“They can all find something here,” Chenoweth said.

FoCoMX gets rock and rolling for the fifth year

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Mar 292013

Author: Tony Vessels

Fort Collins is a great city for artists. Not only do we have CSU, which has a fantastic program for music, theater and dance, but the city of Fort Collins also has multiple foundations and groups dedicated to the arts and to the many fans of music and art.

The Fort Collins Music Association, or FoCoMA, is one such group. Founded in 2009 by Greta Cornett and Kevin Micke, FoCoMA concentrates on local music, aiding bands with getting up on their feet.

Dead Floyd playing at the Aggie Theatre at FoCoMX 2012. Photo by Allison LeCain.

Dead Floyd playing at the Aggie Theatre at FoCoMX 2012. Photo by Allison LeCain.

The Fort Collins Music eXperiment (FoCoMX) is a weekend long annual music festival in Fort Collins run by FoCoMA, and this year marks the fifth time around.

FoCoMX features a wide variety of local bands and music types, including (but not limited to) reggae, Latin, metal, pop, blues, jazz, electronic and rock.

“I love FoCoMX because it really lets me experience what our city is all about,” said Bradley Vogel, a Fort Collins native. This year will mark the third year in a row Bradley has attended FoCoMX.

“I love seeing the city, and I love hearing the music in such a friendly space,” Vogel said. “It’s almost like I have a personal investment in all these bands because they’re homegrown. And I love witnessing their growth.”

The venues widely vary and are all over Old Town Fort Collins and the northern part of the city. From bars, bowling alleys, and movie theaters, FoCoMX has become a great way to get a good taste of local music in the truly unique setting of Fort Collins.

Sponsored by FoCoMA, the City of Fort Collins, the Bohemian Foundation, Odell Brewing Co., and many others, it truly is a great example of local sights and sound.

“I’ve been looking forward to the festival ever since I first heard about it. It sounds amazing,” said Sarah Julie. FoCoMX5 will be her first time going to the festival.

“I think it’s amazing how Fort Collins is so dedicated to music. This is an amazing opportunity for the bands and us fans alike,” Julie said.

FoCoMX5 accepts hundreds of volunteers every year, from working the door at venues, assisting with production or staging, helping with will-call and ticket stands, or even emceeing a stage. FoCoMX prides itself in allowing volunteers to help out, making it a great time for all.

FoCoMX5 is happening on the nights of April 19 and April 20. Wristbands can be purchased online at for $20 through April 7. After that, they can be purchased online or at Rock ‘N’ Robin’s for $30. FoCoMX is for all ages, with only a few venues exclusively 18+ or 21+.

MAX Benefit: New transit system to ease congestion in Fort Collins

 Beats, Scene & Heard, The Well  Comments Off on MAX Benefit: New transit system to ease congestion in Fort Collins
Mar 272013

Author: Kelsey Contouris

Let’s face it – getting around Fort Collins can be a pain sometimes. Whether by foot, bike, car or bus, we are often subject to inclement weather, detours and the all-too-common traffic jam. With the city’s population continuing to grow, the traffic will only get worse based on our current infrastructure. To fight the problem, the city’s transportation system is undergoing a major change: the addition of the MAX Bus Rapid Transit service.

A rendering of the completed system provides a sneak peek at what will come to be known as the University station and the "gateway" to Colorado State's campus. Photo courtesy of Max Bus Rapid Transit.

A rendering of the completed system provides a sneak peek at what will come to be known as the University station and the “gateway” to Colorado State’s campus. Photo courtesy of Max Bus Rapid Transit.

Projected to be up and running by May 2014, the MAX transit system will connect North and South Fort Collins via the Mason Corridor, making the whole of the city more readily accessible to residents on either end.

According to the City of Fort Collins website, there will be 12 boarding stations and two transit centers: one just south of Harmony Road and one just north of Laporte Avenue. A total of six accordion-style buses will travel up and down the Mason Corridor, arriving at stops every 10 minutes or so. Passengers can pay at ticket kiosks before boarding buses, giving MAX the convenience of a light rail system. Buses will run Monday through Saturday from 5 a.m. to midnight.

The MAX system will also be integrated with Fort Collins’ regular bus service, Transfort, according to the website. Claire Thomas, the public relations coordinator for the City of Fort Collins, said Transfort will adopt some of the technology that will be used by MAX, such as real-time bus arrival information. Transfort may also change its routes slightly to accommodate the MAX stations, making it easier for passengers to travel east or west from stops.

“It will really up their game,” Thomas said.

Re-routing residents through CSU's campus, construction crews have blocked off a section of Prospect Rd. in between College Ave. and Centre Ave. The closure is scheduled to last until April 14. Photo by Natasha Leadem.

Re-routing residents through CSU’s campus, construction crews have blocked off a section of Prospect Rd. in between College Ave. and Centre Ave. The closure is scheduled to last until April 14. Photo by Natasha Leadem.

Having a new mass transportation system that spans the majority of the city will also be of particular benefit to the CSU community. In addition to stopping at Prospect Road and Laurel Street, buses will stop on campus at a University Avenue station, which will be larger than others.

“There will be a larger plaza area with a berm and some landscaping and a boulder-wall seating area,” Thomas said. “There [will be] many more bike racks than any other station.”

The MAX Transit project also gives Fort Collins the unique opportunity to update the midtown area along College Avenue. There exists the potential for new student housing farther south along the MAX route, according to Thomas.

“We have all these free development opportunities,” she said. “We hope that housing developers will see these opportunities.”

Students  living off campus are looking forward to having an easier way to commute to CSU and travel around Fort Collins.

As the ninth stop on the Max Transit route, the Drake station will be located near Colorado State University's Veterinary Teaching Hospital and Animal Care Center. Photo courtesy of Max Bus Rapid Transit.

As the ninth stop on the Max Transit route, the Drake station will be located near Colorado State University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital and Animal Care Center. Photo courtesy of Max Bus Rapid Transit.

“It would be perfect for transportation around here. I think it’s a good idea,” said Shawna Drewer, junior human dimensions and natural resources major.

With the MAX Transit route so close to campus, it’s a convenient ride for all students.

“I think it will present a lot more opportunity to live farther from campus,” said Amanda Guderjahn, junior business major. “I’ll probably use it a lot.”

Even on-campus students will experience the benefit. Freshman mathematics major Tristan Lee plans to live on campus again next year, and he said the MAX system will make it much easier to get around Fort Collins since he doesn’t drive a car.

“For going out with friends I think it would be a lot better because you could just walk across campus and take it,” Lee said.  “I’d really hate biking on College, so just being able to go right into Old Town would be nice.”

However, Lee would like to see MAX run later than its anticipated schedule.

“Lots of times when I go out with friends we end up going to a 24-hour place like IHOP,” he said. “So I guess for going out at night it wouldn’t really be the best thing.”

Visit for weekly construction updates and more information about the MAX service.