Community Briefs
by Watch Staff
Nov 04, 2010 | 1690 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Food Donations Needed in Ridgway

RIDGWAY – The Ridgway Community Food Pantry (Love Is Feeding Everyone, or LIFE) plans to open before Thanksgiving and food donations are being accepted now.  

Located in Trail Town, across from Avalanche Graphics and the Weehawken Dance and Art Studio in Ridgway, the Community Food Pantry will be open Thursdays from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

The Ouray County Food Bank continues to be open on Tuesdays.

Help the Ridgway Community Food Pantry get up and running in time for Thanksgiving so that much needed food can help supplement the groceries of neighbors in need.

Call Linda at 626-5692, Saundra at 714-357-1479 or Brenda at 626-4376 to arrange for delivery of your food donations.

Paradox Strengthening Community Fund Awards Over $250,000 in Round Two

SOUTHWEST COLORADO – Last week, the Paradox Strengthening Communities Fund grant review committee awarded $250,500 in grants to 17 regional community based groups. These grants, benefiting the communities of western San Miguel, Montrose, Dolores and Montezuma counties, will be used to build these organizations' capacity to address broad economic recovery issues.

The Strengthening Communities Fund grant program is the result of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus funding from the Department of Health and Human Service, which the Telluride Foundation, in partnership with JVA Consulting, received at the end of 2009. The purpose of the Strengthening Communities Fund is to improve the ability of nonprofit and faith based organizations and community groups to promote the economic recovery of their communities. Rural communities are typically at a disadvantage in developing their communities due to the lack of access to funding opportunities. Over $600,000 in grant funding as well as technical assistance and training has been made available to nonprofits and community based organizations to build the capacity of their nonprofits in order to address the broad economic recovery issues present in these rural communities, including helping individuals secure and retain employment, earn higher wages, obtain better-quality jobs, and gain greater access to state and Federal benefits and tax credits. The primary focus of the grant is the western and rural portions of San Miguel, Montrose, Dolores and Montezuma counties, including the communities of Norwood, Redvale, Egnar, Naturita, Nucla, Paradox, Dove Creek and Rico.

Angel Baskets received $5,000 to open a food bank in the Dove Creek/Egnar area; Arts, Community, Education of Norwood received $15,000 to increase the art education classes and workshops in Norwood and expand into the Naturita/Nucla area; the Center for Independence received $3,000 to send a community independent living specialist to the Nucla/Naturita area to perform outreach activities, including: meeting with senior groups, town officials, and service providers to promote education and access to benefits for people with disabilities.

Colorado Provisions received $25,000 to build the capacity to create a regional producers agriculture co-op to facilitate the marketing and retails of West-end agriculture producers; KSJD Community Radio will get $25,000 to complete the KSJD Connected Communities Project that supports media training and the economic and cultural connections of communities in Dolores, Montezuma and San Miguel counties; Hunny Do received $25,000 to start a nonprofit dedicated to providing services to rural seniors performed by other senior citizens with the goal of enabling seniors to stay in their homes and provide safeguards in procuring needed home maintenance services for the Dove Creek/Egnar area; the Little Angels Learning Center received $20,000 to purchase educational supplies and durable equipment that will enhance and support the early childhood development centers hands-on curriculum, learning activities and programs in Nucla.

Montrose West Recreation received $25,000 to increase tourism by rerouting the historic mountain bike/multi-use Paradox Trail closer to Nucla. Funds will be used to perform the required trail planning including design, trail kiosks, maps and promotional brochure.

The Norwood Chamber of Commerce received $15,000 to purchase specialized computers and software to provide training to increase marketing and sales capabilities for Norwood region organizations; the Paradox Valley School received $27,000 and jointly with the West-End Public School District, will conduct an analysis of the high school education needs in the Nucla/Naturita/Paradox region; Shiloh Springs Ranch received $3,000 for technical assistance and training towards sustainable farming practices; Spruce & Columbine Garden Club received $6,000 to provide a design plans for one new and one upgraded community parks in Nucla; the Crooked Fence Farm received $3,000 for technical assistance and training towards the acquisition of a commercial processing facility for dairy milk and cheese products; and Tiny Seeds Early Learning Center received $10,000 to develop family, infant, and preschool services for a newly establish early childhood development center in Naturita.

“The grants committee had an obligation to ensure that these federal stimulus dollars were not only well spent, but will continue to improve our communities for years to come. Our number one priority was to make sure that all money spent was put towards critical needs in our communities and given to organizations that would be effective and sustainable. The Paradox Strengthening Community funding opportunity gives us a chance to diversify our regional economy, while limiting the affects of our current economic crisis, “ said Montrose County Commissioner and chair of the Paradox Strengthen Community grants committee David White. “We were able to help some great community institutions continue to shape the communities we love. But perhaps the most exciting applications came from social enterprises, organizations that use earned income models to perform social services, with the opportunity to meet critical needs within our communities with no additional governmental support. The best ideas to create jobs come from people on the ground because they are the experts on the local needs and demands in their communities. Economic growth and job creation is a community-wide effort and it starts from the ground up. We set some vigorous but achievable goals for the organizations we funded, in an effort to maximize any money spent. To chart a path forward for our area, we need to focus on our historic roots as we explore new revenue streams.”

Organizations were solicited from throughout the region over the past year for the second round of Strengthening Communities Fund grants. Round 1 grants totaling $305,000 were awarded to 25 organizations in March 2010. Along with grant awards, organizations receive comprehensive capacity building training and technical assistance.

The grants were reviewed by the seven-member Paradox Strengthening Communities Grant review committee, made up of representatives of the west end communities: Andrya Brantingham, Norwood; Elaine Fischer, San Miguel County Commissioner; Rick Gersch, Dove Creek; Paul Koski, Nucla; Mike Epright, Nucla; David White, Montrose County Commissioner; and Ernie Williams, Dolores County Commissioner.

“We worked hard to make fair equitable decisions that were focused on sustainable projects that will have concrete impacts on our communities for years to come” said Koski, a member of the grants committee from Nucla. “This grant funding opportunity is a great opportunity for us to diversify our local economies and strengthen our communities. This grant is essential to the growth and maintenance of the infrastructure that attracts new jobs, new members of our communities, and new investments that will help our communities thrive and will strengthen the region’s economy over the long-term.”

New Literacy Program at Telluride Elementary School

TELLURIDE – The Daily Five is a new literacy program being implemented in all classrooms at the Telluride Elementary School. This program was discovered by two teachers and piloted last year in various elementary classrooms. News of the Daily Five spread throughout the school and this year we decided as a faculty to adopt it for all K-3 classrooms.

The Daily Five focuses on building independence through five components of literacy instruction that should happen every day within a 90-minute period. These components are: Read to yourself; Read to Someone; Listen to Reading/Text; Spelling/Word Work and Work on Writing.

The program gives the students the responsibility to choose books from a basket or bag full of books on their individual reading level. “The staff was amazed at how much longer (even our youngest students) would sit and read when they had their own basket of ‘good fit’ books,” wrote TES Principal Trish Scherner. Teachers have worked with school and town librarians and parents to help stock book baskets and change the selections every week to two weeks depending on the age level of students.

The second component requires students to “Read to Others,” wrote Scherner. “What may have been looked at as off-task whispering amongst students is now a daily ingredient in literacy success; pairs of students reading, talking, listening and sharing books. By viewing text together, they can read and hear what the text sounds like while helping one another sound out or identify new vocabulary and develop their reading fluency. Students are asked to retell the story to their partner when finished reading. This provides them the opportunity to recall and restructure the text in their own words and as a means to measure their reading comprehension.”

Students are asked to listen to reading daily and they do this by listening to books on tape, electronic books on the computer and soon thanks to a grant from the Telluride Education Foundation listen to stories recorded on iPods. By listening to text students have the opportunity to hear new words and stories, connect to text above their reading level, develop better fluency, listen to a favorite story over and over again and further develop a positive connection to books.

Spelling and word work have always been a part of the elementary literacy program, but when integrated into the Daily Five, students have more ownership over their learning. Working individually or in small groups kindergarten students focus on building their phonemic awareness (ability to identify/generate letter sounds and names) while older students work on mastering individual spelling lists with words often taken from their own writing.

The final component is work on writing, which is nothing new, but when integrated into the Daily Five schedule becomes a more independent activity that is naturally linked to reading. Students will often draw/write a response to their reading, summarize the story, or write a different ending to the book. By linking writing into the reading instruction children can more closely model their writing after published authors they are becoming familiar with.

“A very important element of literacy instruction is what we call ‘Guided Reading,’” wrote Scherner. “When a teacher meets with four to six students to read and discuss a common book, they are guiding the students reading. During this direct instruction teachers choose book sets that are at a higher reading level so they may guide them through the book teaching them about comprehension, author’s purpose, discovering new words by using the context clues, plot, main character, setting, etc. Guiding reading is one of the true joys of the school day, but can often be difficult to manage with the rest of the class doing something else. The Daily Five provides a structure of independent activities that allow teachers to meet with a small group of students daily and without interruption. Teachers no longer feel they need to create “busywork” for students since they are actively involved in meaningful and effective literacy instruction that helps students take ownership of their own learning.

“The Daily Five has received positive praise from teachers, students and parents while helping our teachers focus in on the important task of nurturing a lifelong love of reading.
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