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Alternative Wellness: Reset your body from the ground up with an ionic detox foot bath

Editor’s Note: The Vail Daily’s Tricia Swenson searched the valley for alternative wellness modalities that are lesser-known and have proven benefits. Follow along each Sunday in January and discovery other ways to work wellness into your life in 2023.

New Year, new habits, right? At least that is what you tell yourself. But, one way to get on a healthier track is to reset your system to prepare for the changes you want to make habitual. The ionic detox foot bath at Vail Valley Wellness is a good place to start.

I’d heard about detoxification through the feet and how “black” the water can get, so I was very curious about the process and benefits behind putting your feet into a copper tub full of warm water with little red and black cables that remind me of what I jump my car with. Becky Burgess, Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese medicine and owner of Vail Valley Wellness in EagleVail, quickly put me at ease, explaining the scientific process and procedure.

“Basically, we all have this buildup of positive ions and that’s from stress and toxins such as environmental toxins, from being sick, from surgeries, poor diet, all of that. What we’re trying to do is remove free radicals from your system and remove cellular waste so that we can bring your body back into ideal balance,” Burgess said.

At Vail Valley Wellness, Ionic Detox Foot Baths have been done on kids as young as 5 and adults as old as 90.

“It’s really safe for nearly everyone and it’s great if you are trying to reset your body. If you’ve been sick for a while, this reset cleans your system. This is good if you are about to start a new habit, like eating healthier or just make a big change in your life,” Burgess said. “It is equal to a seven-day cleanse over a 35-minute period while you’re sitting down enjoying a cup of tea.”

I did get a cup of tea that I selected from a whole wall full of jars of loose-leaf tea. Then, it was time to dip my feet into the process, literally.

A copper foot tub is used to amplify the effects of the detoxification process.
Tricia Swenson/Vail Daily

“We have you in a copper foot tub because that is going to amplify the effects of this detox. The main unit in there is called the optimizer and then you have a positive and a negative electrode in there, then we connect it to our machine and we add some salt to the tub and the salt is going to be your connector, so right now we are creating a circuit,” explained Burgess.

“Your body is made up of mostly water so we are working via osmosis. We are trying to pull out the toxicity and refill your cells. When your cells get toxic and taxed, they start to shrivel up like raisins and we want them to be full like grapes. So, you can kind of think of this as if we are using clean water from the tub to refill your cells and then we’re pulling any free radicals and cellular waste out so we can optimize your pH,” Burgess said.

I must admit, I really wanted my water to look as clean as possible, almost like I was trying to pass the test, or be the “best” at the Ionic Detox Foot Bath challenge, but slowly and surely, my water turned many dark colors.

“Nearly everyone’s water looks pretty disgusting,” Burgess said. “The good news is that it is out of your body and not in your body.”

Burgess went on to explain the different colors we were seeing and what they mean. The lighter yellow in my tub referred to the digestive system, the orange can indicate oxidative stress on joints, the darker black areas indicate kidney function. Foam can highlight issues with your lymphatic system.

“Something like dry brushing is going to help relieve your lymphs and you just need to clean out your lymphs because they’re not going to move on their own,” Burgess said. “We’ll look at your foot bath, read your results and we’ll make some recommendations based on that. Everything from taking probiotics to doing a candida cleanse to dry brushing, so then you can take that information and use it not only to detox but also as a tool for diagnosis, so that you can help yourself moving forward.”

Throughout the 35-minute process, various colors appear and indicate different factors about your wellness.
Tricia Swenson/Vail Daily

Burgess said the benefits range from improving blood circulation and skin tone and texture, to decreasing swelling and easing chronic pain. She also said Vail Valley Wellness uses this a lot to help those who have lime disease and mold toxicity.

“Most people, after they do this, feel lighter, they feel more clear-headed, like their brains are just working a little bit better. Ideally, if they are starting to feel sick, they feel that congestion just break up and are able to heal much, much faster,” Burgess said.  

I will admit that I did feel lighter. I felt like I was ready to tackle some projects and was clear-headed. And, it was only 35 minutes. It was a time where I could relax and drink some delicious tea. I realized could get used to this. They even have a room where you can bring a few friends and you all do the Ionic Detox Foot Bath at the same time. It’s the ultimate catch-up session while doing something good for the group.

Some people will do just one ionic detox foot bath every now and then, just for a reset, but if you are really focused on what detoxing you can do for you, Burgess suggests you do one a week for five weeks.

“Ideally, you do see the bath get lighter and lighter each time, but it’s never going to be clear. That is something that the naysayers point out and say, ‘oh, well, you can do this without feet” and we’ve experimented where we have that (the tub) next to you and the water turns a light yellow but that is because our water is toxic, our air is toxic, we’re lining the copper tubs in plastic, things like that, so it will never be completely clear, but ideally you see a change. It’s going to pull where you need to detox, from where you need it most first, so when you are doing the series, you can get a little deeper,” Burgess said.  

After the ionic detox foot bath is over, your feet are rinsed and lotion with magnesium is applied.
Tricia Swenson/Vail Daily

The ionic detox foot bath is priced at $49 per 35-minute session or five sessions for $200.

“This is totally manageable, I feel like this is our “gateway drug” for holistic medicine. Especially for men coming in here and it might get minds thinking about what else I can do for their health. It’s a low-cost investment that doesn’t take much time and it’s a good way to get the wheels turning,” Burgess said.

So, grab a friend and take some time, 35 minutes at least, to reconnect, have some tea and reset your body for good things to come in the new year. For more information, go to VailValleyWellness.com.

Dogma Athletica: Where physicality meets psychology

Dan Swenson believes in following your passion and purpose-driven living. That’s why he decided to leave a successful career in finance in Chicago and buy a gym post-pandemic in Edwards.

“Every few years I actually sit down and re-evaluate what I think my purpose is in life. For a long time, my purpose was using my skills in corporate finance to be an executive leader and create opportunities for others to provide fruitfully for their families,” Swenson said. “A few years ago, I realized that my values were the same but the way I wanted to live those values out had changed and I identified that I really wanted to have more of an intimate impact on people through the health and wellness industry.”

Swenson is no stranger to wellness. He’s a long-time endurance athlete, participating in ultra races and Ironman triathlons. But Swenson realized it’s more than just a workout, it’s where muscle meets mindfulness.

“I had a call with the founder of Dogma, Rod Connolly, when I heard it was for sale and the first question I asked him was, ‘What is your philosophy for Dogma Althletica?’ And he said, ‘to really bring connectedness and to help individuals find their center, physically as well as psychologically,’ and when he said that I knew this was it, this was the perfect fit,” Swenson said.

Rod Connelly and his wife, Michelle, opened Dogma Athletica in 2006 and had built a strong base of clients and developed relationships throughout those years.

“Dogma Athletica translated means a belief in the athletic process and in getting to know Rod and Michelle, we came to appreciate how authentic relationships are the basis for how Dogma Athletica and its wonderful staff express that translation,” Swenson said.

Dogma Athletica believes in fitness with a purpose – a holistic approach to how the business interacts with staff, clients and the broader Vail Valley community.

Swenson kept the same staff and trainers and is picking up where the Connolly’s left off.

“The focus is having trainers who have advanced degrees, so they are really well-informed experts of the human body and human movements, but then they also have their own authentic voice in helping our clients find that centeredness,” Swenson said.

The pandemic was hard on fitness centers and many gyms across the country had to close, but Swenson believes people want to get back to doing workouts in person.

“We are social animals, we crave connectivity and community and there were a number of opportunities I looked at that were more virtual or self-instruction or remote types of gyms but I identified that people wanted to connect,” Swenson said. “It’s like the “Cheers” bar, where ‘everybody knows your name’ when you come through that front door, that’s the wonderful thing about this sense of community and belonging and relationships we form.”

Swenson believes that after the COVID-19 lockdowns, people are ready to get back into the gym and have that sense of community again.

Beyond the relationships and the fitness results people see after consistently working on their health, Swenson wants his clients to have a ripple effect of positivity.

“I want everyone who comes across that threshold to feel wonderful when they walk out. Physically wonderful but also psychologically wonderful and thinking, ‘Hey, I’ve really found my center through my time at Dogma and I can use that to benefit my other relationships throughout the day.’”

Abortion rights protesters ‘rage’ at Friday rally in Eagle

EAGLE — Around 100 pro-choice protesters gathered at the Eagle County campus on Friday evening to rally in support of reproductive rights. 

Black-clad protestors lined the East lawn along Sixth Street, chanting and waving signs with pro-choice messaging (often witty and often written in pink). Activity at the rally went on from 7 p.m. through around 8:30 p.m., eliciting almost exclusive support in the form of honks and thumbs-ups from cars driving past. Counter-protesting came in an unconventional form as a single motorcyclist sped by with a revving engine. The rider was promptly pulled over by Eagle police.

Remove the Eagle County building from the background, and the image could be mistaken for any number of parallel protests across the country. 

The demonstration kicked off what organizers called the “Summer of Rage” in the Eagle River Valley, a nationwide protesting movement borne of the Supreme Court’s recent Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling. The landmark decision cleared the way for states to reshape abortion rights in the U.S, overturning Roe v. Wade nearly 50 years after the court first held that women have a fundamental right to abortion under the United States Constitution.

In Colorado, access to abortion at all stages of pregnancy remains legal. Gov. Jared Polis signed an executive order on July 6 strengthening abortion security statewide. The mandate implemented new protections for individuals and organizations that provide abortions, including those who have traveled to Colorado from out of state to obtain the procedure.

Protesters encourage drivers to honk for abortion rights during Friday’s rally in Eagle.
Tess Weinreich/Vail Daily

Outside of Colorado, roughly half of the states in the country have enacted (or are in the process of enacting) legislation to ban or severely restrict abortion. Neighboring states such as Arizona, Kansas, Nebraska, Utah, and Wyoming have uniformly sought to implement anti-abortion laws, leaving Colorado and New Mexico as strongholds for legal abortion care. 

Dylan Roberts, who represents Eagle and Routt counties (District 26) in the Colorado House of Representatives, and is running for the District 8 seat in the state Senate, was among the crowd at the Eagle protest. Roberts commented on Colorado’s unique geopolitical relation to the issue of abortion.

“In Colorado, the right to reproductive health care is the law of the land. I’m very thankful that this is a place where women haven’t lost their freedom,” Roberts said. “As a state, we have a responsibility to the people who live here and also the people who come here from across the country seeking health care. We have to do what we can to protect them and make sure that their freedom and liberty are not taken away by other states trying to persecute them for making certain choices,” he continued.

‘It feels like a funeral for our rights’

According to Nancy Tashman, a rally organizer and precinct committee person for the Eagle County Democrats, one of the primary goals of the rally was to make local Coloradans more aware of the important role their state will play in a Dobbs-era America.

“We have to encourage each other to continue the fight. We’re not going to give up on what we can do to help women in other states,” she said.

A crowd gathers outside of the Eagle County campus of buildings for Friday’s “Summer of Rage” protest in support of reproductive rights. Parallel protests have been happening across the country since the Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to abortion last month.
Tess Weinreich/Vail Daily

Tashman added that she, Ross and co-organizers Jennifer Filipowski, Lisa Lewis, Megan Peyton hoped that the rally would provide time for community members to process the ruling collectively.

“It feels like a funeral for our rights. We need a space to express our sorrow and anger that this has happened,” Tashman said.

Indeed, for protestors on Friday, “Summer of Rage” signified more than a banner head or rallying cry. Many expressed feelings of disappointment, disbelief and indignation in reaction to the court’s decision.

“Women have been delegated to second-class citizens and that’s not OK with me,” said Hannah Ross, a member of the Eagle County Democrats and co-organizer of the demonstration. “We can’t be silent.”

For many present, the issue of abortion is more than legal abstract, but rather a deeply personal issue.

Kay Delanoy, a longtime Eagle Valley resident recalled feelings of triumph when Roe was initially passed in 1973. Her mother suffered lifelong health complications after undergoing two illegal abortions during the Great Depression.

“We’ve been fighting this fight for a long time, too long a time,” she said. 

According to Stephen Gordon, a former doctor of obstetrics and gynecology who attended the protest, medical problems from unsafe, illegal abortions are not something from a bygone era. 

Gordon practiced for almost 40 years in Missouri and Kansas before retiring to Eagle five years ago. While the duration of his career was post-Roe, he recalled professors and mentors’ “horror stories” of women suffering sometimes-deadly complications caused by illegal abortions.

“It’s going to happen again,” he stated. “If women can’t get safe abortions … women are going to die. It should be their choice between them and their doctor.”

“I spent 36 years of my life taking care of women, and their daughters, and their mothers, and their granddaughters. It worries me as to what’s going to happen next,” Gordon said.

Helping people manage grief: Local church program a big asset as Eagle River Valley works to strengthen behavioral health services

Grief over loss can make for heavy burdens and leave people in crisis. A support group offered for free and now in its third year at Gracious Savior Lutheran Church is helping people who are struggling with grief find the support, coping skills and healing needed to move forward in their lives.

Kris Miller said the group is something the community needs — and something she herself has needed. “There’s other support groups, and the more the better, no matter what, but this one is free of charge. That makes a big difference. So many people don’t have the means to pay for a group of some sort,” she said.

Three years ago this month, Miller faced the tragic death of her husband, Kenny Dahlberg, a longtime local business owner in Avon who ran the Brass Parrot bar for 21 years. “I couldn’t make any decisions, I couldn’t do anything,” Miller said about the grief she was feeling at the time.

Miller learned about the GriefShare program that the Gracious Savior Lutheran Church in Edwards was starting and decided to give it a try. She attended sessions with a friend who helped her through the difficult process.

“What it gave me was absolutely a sense of understanding that other people were going through similar feelings I was going through, and that I wasn’t as alone as it seemed like I was,” Miller said. “It forced me to get out of the house, to be functioning, because I certainly wasn’t. It gave me something that meant something to go through every week, a little bit of strength each week.”

The 13-week GriefShare program offers a video-based curriculum featuring counselors and others who specialize in the grieving process, and provides a safe and welcoming environment for people struggling with loss to openly talk about their challenges.

Kris Miller said she couldn’t make any decisions or do anything after the tragic death of her husband Kenny Dahlberg three years ago. Dahlberg ran the Brass Parrot bar in Avon for 21 years. The GriefShare program at Gracious Savior Lutheran Church helped her through her grieving process, and today she leads programs at the church to help others.
Special to the Daily

Pastor Jason Haynes said Gracious Savior Lutheran Church started offering the nationally-available program three years ago after a series of tragic and unexpected deaths among its congregation. The church offers the GriefShare program three times a year. 

“We just saw a need within our congregation and we knew there was a need in the community as well,” Haynes said. “That need is still huge.”

The church has also partnered with the nonprofit SpeakUp ReachOut to offer a six-week GriefShare program specifically for people who are grieving the loss of a loved one to suicide. And on Nov. 9, the church is offering a single-session GriefShare program aimed at helping grieving people make it through the holidays, when pain associated with loss can be especially hard.

‘It’s a long, long process’

Three years later, Miller still struggles with the loss of her husband. Birthdays, anniversaries, holidays and other triggers can bring painful thoughts right back to the surface.

“It’s not a fast journey, like you can skip to the last chapter of a book and be well. It’s a long, long process. You have forward movement and you move backwards. It’s an ongoing process, but this program definitely gives you some skills,” Miller said. “For me, I am so grateful for the church for starting this program and offering it to the community. It had a big influence on my life at a time that I needed it most.”

Participants in the program have also found healing by helping others navigate challenges with grief. Today, Miller is leading GriefShare groups at the church. So are Terry and Mike Mutter, whose daughter Lauren died unexpectedly in March 2019 after a heart attack at age 31. 

A graduate of Vail Christian High School, Lauren Mutter returned to the valley after college and worked for the school as director of admissions and student life. She also coached soccer and volleyball for the school and helped mentor youth throughout the valley with Young Life.

The Mutter family, Mike, Caitlin (front), Lauren, Terry and dog Baylor. Lauren’s unexpected death at age 31 last year left the family reeling, unsure how to cope and move forward. Terry and Mike Mutter are leading GriefShare programs to help others deal with devastating losses.
Special to the Daily

“She was so young and so healthy. It was such a shock,” Terry Mutter said. The loss left the family reeling, unsure how to cope and move forward. Terry and Mike Mutter attended the final session of an ongoing GriefShare program shortly after Lauren’s death, and then attended a full 13-week program, and another one after that.

“I think when you first lose somebody and sit through a session like that, it’s healing on one level, but you can’t absorb it all because you’re hurting so much,” Terry Mutter said.

Today the Mutters are facilitating GriefShare programs at the church, and, like Miller, trying to help others deal with devastating losses that upend their lives.

“We understand that loss of someone you love so much, the questions of how do you move forward, and this program helps you do that,” Terry Mutter said. “That person wants you to be happy again, to find joy again, but it’s a hard thing to do. This group has helped us do that.”

People suffering grief need support, Mike Mutter said. That can be as simple as a hug or someone who can listen and understand. The GriefShare program offers both of those things, as well as tools and resources for people to proceed on their own and reach out for help when it’s needed.

“We are hoping to share Lauren’s legacy of unconditional love, respect and caring with people within the community who are going through the grieving process,” Mike Mutter said.

An ongoing challenge

Local behavioral health officials said programs like GriefShare are a valuable asset for Eagle County. Like many rural areas in the West, the county has long struggled with a shortage of timely, affordable services for people trying to manage grief, anxiety, depression, substance abuse and other mental health challenges that have only been compounded by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

In 2019, Vail Health pledged to invest $60 million over 10 years to strengthen the Eagle River Valley’s behavioral health system and improve access to services. Chris Lindley, the executive director of Eagle Valley Behavioral Health, and Dr. Casey Wolfington, its community behavioral health director, said the area is already making progress on those goals.

Eagle Valley Behavioral Health, an outreach of Vail Health, has brought more than 25 new service providers to the area over the last 18 months and is working to bring more. It has placed behavioral health providers within Colorado Mountain Medical clinics, strengthened therapist services at local schools, and is also working to build partnerships with universities and programs to help provide a pipeline for more highly-qualified providers to come to the community, Wolfington said.

“We were so far off what the recommended number of clinicians per population was that every time we add a provider, that person becomes full. When we add another, that person becomes full. Every provider has crisis appointments available, but what we’re seeing is we don’t even really know how to estimate the need because it’s almost a never-ending well,” Wolfington said.

Eagle Valley Behavioral Health created an online navigator service to help people easily determine if their insurance covers behavioral health services. And predicting a growing mental health toll from the coronavirus pandemic, it accelerated a planned launch of Olivia’s Fund to March of this year, creating a scholarship program to help ensure people get needed behavioral health services even if they can’t afford them. 

Every person who has applied so far has been approved, some multiple times because they needed more than six sessions.

“We never want someone’s financial state to be the reason they don’t seek services. We want people to get help first,” Wolfington said.

Now in its eighth month, the pandemic has made the area’s mental health challenges greater than ever, Wolfington and Lindley said. The long, slow-moving daily crisis has upended nearly every aspect of life, from work and school to parenting and the social interactions that many people rely on for their emotional and mental health. Fatigue is setting in, but the pandemic is far from over. 

“We want people to prepare and know this will not all be fixed in a month or two,” Lindley said. “We’re probably six to eight months out from having any viable vaccine in our community, so the entire late fall, winter, and early spring, we’re going to be living in the same scenario we’re living today — wearing masks, washing hands and keeping distance.”

The hope is that more people will take proactive steps to improve their physical and mental health. Another hope is that the pandemic could help reduce any lingering stigmas associated with people getting needed help for emotional and mental health challenges. 

From schoolchildren to parents and grandparents, nearly everyone has struggled in some way to deal with the pandemic and the economic uncertainty, isolation, disruption and anxiety it has caused. More people are talking openly about the toll the pandemic has taken on their mental health and that’s a good thing, Lindley said.

“I truly believe there is not one person in this valley that is not affected by this in some way. We are all stressed more, with increased anxiety and uncertainty, and that is okay and to be expected,” Lindley said. “We need to talk about it and recognize everyone will handle it differently. We want people to seek out resources. If you have a sore tooth, you go to the dentist. If you have anxiety or other concerns, go see a provider. There’s no barrier to getting in. Go talk to a behavioral health provider and get reset and get the help you need and continue to thrive.”

For more information about providers, support groups and other behavioral health resources, visit eaglevalleybh.org.

Breast density and what it means for you, according to the new medical director of Shaw Cancer Center’s Breast Care Program

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and in addition to reminding women to do self-breast-exams regularly and schedule a mammogram per their doctor’s recommendations, there is another topic that women should be aware of: breast density.

Dense breast tissue refers to the appearance of breast tissue on a mammogram and is a normal and common finding. Dense breast tissue is detected on a mammogram and can be found in all sizes of breasts.

“Half of the women who have a mammogram will have dense breast tissue,” said Dr. Julie Barone, medical director of the Breast Care Program at Shaw Cancer Center in Edwards. According to the Shaw Cancer Center, women with dense breasts have a four to six times higher risk of developing breast cancer and in Eagle County, more than 60% of women have dense breasts.

According to Dr. Barone, dense breast tissue is more common in:

  • Younger women (breast tissue tends to become less dense as women age);
  • Women with lower body mass index (women with less body fat are more likely to have dense breast tissue)
  • Postmenopausal women who take hormone replacement therapy

“Dense breasts can make it more difficult to detect breast cancer on a mammogram since dense breast tissue can hide a potential cancer,” Dr. Barone said.

The phrase “finding a snowball in a snowstorm” is a good way to describe it. Dense breast tissue appears whitish in color on mammograms, which is similar to how cancer appears on mammograms. In addition to an annual mammogram, women with dense breasts may benefit from additional technology.

“Mammograms are still the most effective screening tool for detecting breast cancer. Women with dense breasts should get a 3-D mammogram or breast tomosynthesis,” Dr. Barone said. “Tomosynthesis uses X-rays to collect multiple images of the breast from several angles to form a 3-D image of the breast,” Dr. Barone said.

At Sonnenalp Breast Imaging at the Shaw Cancer Center, they offer automated whole breast screening ultrasound. Breast ultrasound may detect some cancers not seen on a mammogram.

“A breast MRI is another imaging modality which is useful in patients with dense breasts who also have a greater than 20% risk of developing breast cancer based on a risk calculation performed at the time of mammogram or performed at the time of the visit with the breast surgeon,” Dr. Barone said.

Despite all the advanced technology available in Eagle County, Dr. Barone says being your own advocate is key.

“In addition to an annual mammogram, women should get an annual breast exam with their doctor. Not all cancers can be seen via breast imaging. If you or your doctor feels a lump, even if the imaging does not show an abnormality, you should see the breast specialist for evaluation,” Dr. Barone said. “If we can detect breast cancer early, we can save lives.”

Pumpkin races, artwalks, mindfulness and live music: Tricia’s weekend picks 10/09/20

ARTwalk in Eagle

It’s the second Friday of the month and that means that Eagle ARTS is hosting another ARTwalk from 5-8 p.m. Parts of Broadway in downtown Eagle will be blocked off so guests can stroll down the street take advantage of specials at participating businesses. Stop by the various booths that line the street and celebrate the arts and celebrate the fact that you have a fun, socially-distanced activity to do on a Friday night.

In addition to the art and business offerings, there will be a special street dance performance by students of More 2 Dance Studio at 6:30 p.m. and live music by The Evolution from 5-7 p.m. Then DJ Kirby will start spinning tunes at Katch of the Day from 7–9 p.m.

Don’t miss this month’s ARTwalk Scavenger Hunt, which has become popular. Download the app and follow the clues to different businesses on Broadway. Finding unique art could earn you a prize.  

The Vail Valley Art Guild’s Eagle Gallery at 108 W. Second Street will be having its Second Friday event in conjunction with the Eagle ARTS event. From 5 to 8 p.m., stop by the gallery and view the work of featured artist Missy Octave. In addition to Octave, other artists include Cindy Kelleher, Soodi Lick, Christine Sena and Barbara Holden. The gallery will also feature works by photographers Raymond Bleeze, Rick Spitzer and Jon Sheppard as well as ceramics by Ann Loper and woodworking by Ken Kolano.

Admittance to the ARTwalk is free and tickets to participate in the scavenger hunt are $5 per person and available for purchase at www.eaglearts.org.

Gypsum Fall Festival

Gypsum is hosting its Fall Festival by spreading people throughout the town hall and library parks, Lundgren Amphitheater, and even Lundgren Street to provide a socially-distanced celebration.

Costumes are encouraged as folks come out to enjoy the various activities for all ages. Zone One (Lundgren Amphitheater) will have a “daylight friendly” movie screen and will be showing “Ghostbusters” at 1, 3 and 5 p.m. followed by a costume parade.

Zone Two (Gypsum Library Pavilion and Lawn) will house the food and live music with bands from 1 to 7 p.m. Food trucks will be available and don’t forget to sign up for the Apple Cider Holding Competition at 2 and 5 p.m. There will be adult and child categories.

Zone Three (Lundgren Blvd.) features a pumpkin decorating contest, pumpkin race and ax throwing. Heats in the pumpkin race will go off at 1:15, 3:15 and 5:15 p.m. Ax throwing will happen between 1 and 7 p.m.

All information on the races, costume contest and decorating contest can be found at townofgypsum.com.

World Mental Health Day

Saturday is World Mental Health Day and local suicide prevention group SpeakUp ReachOut has several ways to get involved.

“World Mental Health Day is a day to remind us to slow down and acknowledge what we need for mental wellness,” said Erin Ivie, executive director of the nonprofit SpeakUp ReachOut. “This year we are offering most of the sessions online so that more people can participate. Intentional mental health care is more important than ever as we navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ivie said.

Schedule (some events are in-person and streaming):

8 a.m. – Virtual Meditation with Becky Hesseltine

9 a.m. – Yoga/Meditation with Twyla Gingrich of Samya Yoga Healing

10:30 a.m. – Mindfulness Mandala with Alpine Arts Center

12 p.m. “A Mental Health Toolkit for COVID-19” – Lunch and Learn with Dr. Justin Ross

1 p.m. – Financial Wellness Basics w/ Michelle from Cornerstone Financial

2 p.m. – “Practical Steps to Taking Control of Your Life” – Tess Johnson of the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team.

If you don’t have enough time to participate in these events online or in person, Ivie said they are suggesting that everyone takes 10 minutes out of their day to just be still.

“Suicide is complicated and is rarely caused by one factor. The pandemic affects everyone in a different way and therefore it is difficult to predict how this will affect suicide rates in our community. With that said, being aware of your own mental health and what is happening for your friends and loved ones is more important than ever, ” Ivie said. To learn more, go to speakupreachout.org.

Pop-Up Music

Scott Rednor, musician and owner of the Shakedown Bar in Vail Village has been busy playing all over the place this summer. Where there’s a stage, there’s a show and Rednor and his talented team of musical friends will host a few more pop-up shows before the month is over.

This Saturday, follow the sounds of the music in Lionshead and sit back and listen to free live music between 2 and 7 p.m. This week’s band is Mark Levy & Friends featuring Scott Rednor, Joey Porter and Garrett Sayers.

Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, Rednor hasn’t been able to host musical performances at Shakedown Bar at the top of Bridge Street. He created Shakedown Presents and approached the town of Vail with a few ideas for music during the pandemic. Rednor has so many connections in the music world that he’s been able to bring plenty of performers to the Vail Valley and play at pop-up locations throughout town and at the main stage in Ford Park.

“It’s been a blast!” Rednor said. “It’s been fun to explore all the new opportunities. The town of Vail has been supportive and we’ve learned a lot about what live music can do for businesses who are near the pop-up stage,” Rednor said.

If you miss this Saturday, Shakedown Presents will host shows from 2 to 7 p.m. for the next four Saturdays with a special Halloween show on Oct. 31. For more information visit shakedownpresents.com.

Cocktails and Canvas

The Alpine Arts Center is hosting its popular Cocktails and Canvas event this Saturday where adults get to show their creativity while also having an adult beverage. Alpine Arts Center provides all the supplies and instruction for a group project.

Advanced registration required and it’s $45 per person to attend the class. Due to COVID-19, classes are available in-person or virtual. You can still participate via Zoom and that cost is $25 per person, but it doesn’t include materials. You can purchase class kits if you don’t have the right supplies at home.

Get those creative juices flowing with wine or beer for $6 a glass. Please note, you can’t bring in your own alcohol, all alcoholic beverages must be purchased through the Alpine Arts bar. There are some non-alcoholic beverages and snacks available, too.

This Saturday’s class is painting on canvas, but Alpine Arts mixes up the mediums and also has classes working with clay, glass etching, encaustic wax and more.

Follow Alpine Arts Center’s social media pages and website for more details on which classes are offered and look for Halloween-themed classes this month. For more information, go to alpineartscenter.org.

Sacred Cycle hosting virtual, in-person event on Wednesday to empower survivors of sexual abuse, assault

Due to this year’s COVID-19 pandemic, nonprofits have had to come up with new ways to support their missions. The Sacred Cycle, which empowers survivors of sexual abuse and sexual assault through therapy and cycling, is hosting a month-long virtual fundraiser with a goal of raising $30,000.

The virtual fundraiser started on Sept. 14 and goes through Oct. 12. Beyond asking for donations, the Sacred Cycle Virtual Heal Campaign also fosters community by hosting group bike rides, picnics, live painting classes on Zoom and virtual happy hours with games and other means of interaction between participants and more.

During its final week of the Virtual Heal Campaign, Sacred Cycle will host an event called Defining Success with keynote speaker Trish Kendall and panelists on the topic of overcoming obstacles on Oct. 7 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Kendall’s story starts at the pit of her despair and how she overcame many obstacles to find the success and happiness she embraces today. Kendall believes that her single most important lesson in life is that love is your choice.

There will also be a panelist discussion after Kendall speaks that will focus on how to support a survivor, watch for signs and build awareness offering the expertise of these local experts:

This will be an in-person event as well as streamed online to accommodate COVID-19 regulations and also allow this message to be heard by more people. The Highline Hotel in West Vail will host the event in the ballroom and is limited to 50 people. The Sacred Cycle asks that you RSVP for free or donation-based tickets at EventBrite.

The goal of the Virtual Healing Campaign is to raise $30,000 and was chosen because that amount covers the price of a five-month program for 15 women. Sacred Cycle helps women in Eagle County, Denver County and the Roaring Fork Valley, so it is looking to serve five women per region.

Sacred Cycle was founded in 2016 by Heather Russell during a long mountain bike training ride. Russell was a victim of sexual abuse and found that being out in nature and biking helped her heal. Through her graduate studies and working with sexual trauma survivors, she believed that biking, therapy and a sense of community could heal others. Sacred Cycle helps clients discover barriers and break through them to become more confident in their personal recovery journey. For more information, visit sacredcycle.org.

The Walk to End Alzheimer’s was everywhere this year

Pandemic or not, Alzheimer’s is not waiting to afflict loved ones with a disease that wipes out memories, alters personalities and adds strife to families who love and care for those who have it. This year’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s fundraiser looked a little different than in years past, but the COVID-19 pandemic did not stop those fighting for the Alzheimer’s Association’s mission: a world without Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

The Vail Valley has hosted the local Walk to End Alzheimer’s for the past two years at Brush Creek Park in Eagle. The event usually brings out hundreds of people wearing purple and walking together in honor of loved ones. Due to COVID-19, participants this year were asked to walk with family and friends in smaller groups around neighborhoods and on trails.

“This year, the ‘Walk is Everywhere’ motto worked so well for the Vail Valley because many of our participants have a favorite hike or walking path or picked a special route on that day,” said Melinda Gladitsch, chairperson for the Vail Valley Walk to End Alzheimer’s. “I think we are lucky that we have so many beautiful neighborhood streets and trails to choose from, it really worked out well for our valley,” Gladitsch said.

Teams were spread out all over Eagle County taking treks up the Minturn Mile, West Lake Creek, Allie’s Trail on Beaver Creek Mountain and Berry Picker on Vail Mountain.

“One of the benefits of having the walk everywhere is that we had team members walking all over the country. I had team members walking in Seattle, Vermont and Iowa,” Gladitsch said.

Ellen Miller of Edwards took the Walk to End Alzheimer’s to new heights. She logged 4,000 vertical feet and 15 miles to show her support on Mount Massive, which is 14,429 feet above sea level.

“As an Alzheimer’s disease caregiver, I wanted to make damn sure it was meaningful,” Miller said in her Facebook post. Miller is a former Himalayan mountain climber who has summited Mount Everest two times.

Locally, 39 teams and over 200 people participated in this year’s event. At press time, over $83,000 had been raised and the goal is to get $130,000 by the end of the year.

“The Alzheimer’s Association is self-funded, so the money we raise through our 13 Walks to End Alzheimer’s around Colorado is critical, as it enables us to continue to provide education, programs and services to all Colorado families at no charge,” said Catie Davis, development manager at the Greater Boulder and Mountain Region of the Alzheimer’s Association. In addition, these funds support the Alzheimer’s Association’s aggressive research program to find a cure for the sixth-leading cause of death. Currently, the Alzheimer’s Association has $208 million invested in 590 scientific investigations.  

“There currently are nearly 6 million people across the United States living with Alzheimer’s disease, including 76,000 Coloradans. We owe it to them and the many millions of family members who care for them around the clock, to continue raising money to end the scourge of dementia. Alzheimer’s is relentless, but so are we,” said Amelia Schafer, executive director of the Colorado chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. For more information or to donate, go to act.alz.org.

YouthPower365’s new Magic Bus is rolling into Vail Valley neighborhoods

Imagine the looks on the faces of youngsters as a brightly colored Winnebago turns down their street, opens its doors and gives kids a chance to learn and have some fun. That happens weekly with YouthPower365’s Magic Bus, a roaming classroom for preschoolers.

The Magic Bus started out as a mobile library that delivered books to kids in elementary and middle school back in 2000. It soon evolved into a mobile preschool program. This new electric bus will replace an older bus that was on its last legs — er, wheels — and could hardly make it into the neighborhoods.

“This new electric bus will be serving upvalley neighborhoods in Avon and Edwards,” said Kendra Cowles, senior manager of PwrUp Early Childhood programs at YouthPower365, the educational arm of the Vail Valley Foundation. “Our other Magic Bus, which was put into service in January of 2018, serves Eagle, Gypsum and Dotsero,” Cowles said. 

The mission of the Magic Bus is to prepare 3 to 5-year-old children for success in kindergarten. It also serves families and children where they’re at. “By going into the neighborhoods, it eliminates barriers such as transportation and work schedule. We bring the classroom to them,” Cowles said.

According to YouthPower365, 50% of children under the age of five are not in any early childhood education program. The nonprofit also states that 80% of a child’s intellect, personality and social skills are developed in the first five years of a child’s life. This mobile, licensed preschool gives kids what they need for kindergarten success and mimics a classroom setting.

“The kids say goodbye to mom, come on the bus and do routines like taking their shoes off, hanging up the backpacks and then we provide routines that prepare them for kindergarten. It’s everything from the social and emotional side of things to early literacy, emergent math and more so they can thrive in kindergarten,” Cowles said.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Magic Bus has adapted to ensure students can continue to attend class on the bus safely. Children will attend classes in groups of four. The kids meet for a two-hour class twice a week for a total of four hours per week. “It really allows them to mimic what a school-centered base program looks like.” Cowles said.

The electric bus allows YouthPower365 to be part of a cleaner, greener environment and be a good steward in the community. “It also really opened up some new partnerships and sponsorships as well with everyone from Holy Cross Energy to Vail Resorts helping with where we park and charge the bus,” Cowles said.

The only requirement to sign up for the program with the Magic Bus is that children aren’t already enrolled in any other preschool program. The two Magic Buses serve eight different communities throughout Eagle County. YouthPower365 has an online registration program that will get your child either in a class or on a waitlist. Classes run from October 2020 through August 2021. For more information, visit youthpower365.org.

Fill and Refill moves into bigger space, adds pop-up Sprinter van to help the Vail Valley live greener

Deciding to expand your business is always nerve-wracking, but deciding to expand during a pandemic can be even more so. Allison Burgund decided to grow her relatively new business, Fill & Refill, this summer and isn’t looking back.

“I was very scared to make the move and wanted to grow gradually because I didn’t know how this year was going to go,” Burgund said. “But, I also knew that there was a need for this in our valley and I’ve had a great response from customers.”

The need Burgund is talking about is for a refill store, which allows you to bring in your own containers and refill them with household items like soap, shampoo, laundry detergent, lotion and more.

Fill & Refill is dedicated to reducing single-use plastic by selling lots of items that are unpackaged. Allison vets products for bath, body and home that can be sold in bulk, are eco-conscious and sustainable. “I’ve spent a lot of time testing these products out on my family,” Burgund said.

Burgund was a graphic designer in her previous career, but a trip to the recycling center with her daughter’s class prompted her to start her own business. “I saw all the recycling and it was just sad. I thought to myself that there’s got to be a better way,” Burgund said. Directly after that, she collected all of her household’s plastic trash for a month. “I wanted to see how my family was contributing to this and it turns out we were a pretty big contributor,” Burgund said. “You don’t know what you don’t know.”

Burgund has been educating the public since she started setting up a booth at last summer’s Vail Market and Art Show and opened up shop a few doors down from the current location in the Edwards Commercial Park last fall. Burgund soon found that others wanted to ditch the disposables and the business grew. Fill & Refill just moved into bigger digs on August 17.  

In addition to the new location in Edwards, Fill & Refill has a satellite location inside the new Knapp Harvest store in Eagle Ranch. Outside the shop, there is a new Sprinter van that will be used for deliveries up and down the valley.

Businesses have also sought out this sustainable concept. Goat Training, Alpine Arts Center, The Slifer House and Drunken Goat restaurant sport Fill & Refill-logoed bottles filled with soap, lotion and hand sanitizer.

“I think I have the happiest customers of any store and people come in and say thanks for what we are doing here, it’s the best!” Burgund said.

Although Burgund loved her job as a graphic designer, she was led to do something else. “It just came time for me to take that leap and connect more with the community,” Burgund said. “I’ve made a couple of leaps in my lifetime and they are terrifying every time, but they are also greatly fulfilling.”

To learn more, visit fillandrefill.com or follow along on social media at @fillandrefillvail.