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Dr. John Ezzard and his wife Martha toast to the success of Tiger Mountain Vineyards.
Remember Martha Ezzard – former political figure and resident of Cherry Hills Village? She was a press aide to the governor, raised her family while getting a law degree and served in the state Senate while practicing law. She has been an award-winning writer for the Atlanta Journal Constitution and a columnist for 10 years.
“It’s easier to pontificate than vote yes or no,” she quipped.
She had commuted from Denver for three years to make all these changes work when her husband wanted to return to Georgia to save his family’s farm.
She was recently on a book signing tour in Denver at the Tattered Cover on Colfax where a crowd of friends, former neighbors from Cherry Hills and Denver, former political colleagues, alumnae sorority sisters and fans gathered to hear her humorous overview of The Second Bud.
“I’m so glad to be at a local bookstore,” she said. “And, you don’t have to grow grapes to enjoy this book!”
The Second Bud is Ezzard’s memoir about a vineyard venture – growing fine wine grapes in the land of sweet tea. It’s a story of her husband’s love affair of the land, 110 acres in the mountains of north Georgia where he was born. Imagine Martha in a yellow pickup truck or “peddling” 25 cases of wine from Savannah to Sea Island.
“It reminded me of door-to-door campaigning,” she said.
The couple’s three children are also involved – John Jr. with his MBA helps with the business side; Shelly, who still lives in Colorado, designed the wine labels at the Ezzard home at the winery, and Lisa does the special events.
If they were going to plant grapes in the Bible Belt at Tiger Mountain’s altitude of 2,000 feet, they wanted to grow fun. John traveled to Virginia for research on which fine European grapes would grow in the fertile soil of this Georgia farm.
The winery is a small “boutique-type” that became a boon. Being near three resorts and garnering national awards has also captured wine club members. There are exciting annual festivals and the tasting room is open year-round. Depending on the season, approximately 2,500 cases of handcrafted wine are produced and available for shipping. (There’s even a Malbec – this writer’s personal favorite.)
Have a second bud.
“That’s a metaphor for our lives, the land and each other,” explained the author.
Her husband was back at the vineyards pruning (the surgeon in him being released).
Martha stressed three universal themes for the book: Risk Taking – we took a giant leap of faith; The Importance of Family Farms – the values of being close to the land, the community where class strata is diminished and Locally Grown – it’s the idea of being all about the soil, a sense of taste of a place – the Appalachian Mountains, some of the oldest mountains on earth.
For more information about the winery, visit www.tigerwine.com.
The red barn was converted from the original dairy farm and now serves as the entry to the Ezzard Vineyards. In 2012, the Red Barn Café was added.
Award winning (for labels as well that daughter Shelly designed) Tiger Mountain wines, including a Double Gold – Best of Class at the 2012 Los Angeles International Wine Competition.
More of the group of sorority sisters who attended Martha’s book signing at Tattered Cover on Colfax – Shera Eddy, Carol Spensley and Mary Grace Wake. There’s talk of a caravan to Georgia. Book signing photos by Scottie Taylor Iverson
Martha Ezzard, who is from Atlanta and was initiated at the University of Georgia, with two of her Denver Kappa Alpha Theta alumnae sisters Gail Karsian and Maggie Dillon
Theta alumnae members and their chapters of initiation celebrating 50 years of sisterhood and witnessing the installation, front row: Katie Wiles – Auburn University, Marilyn Reyelts – South Dakota, Diane Young – University of New Mexico and Ginny Fuller – University of Colorado; back row: Lurlie Bickford – San Diego State, Nina O’Kelley – Newcomb/Tulane, Jo Borg – University of Nebraska, Mary Elster – University of South Dakota and Donna Chrislip – Oklahoma State University
The first Greek letter fraternity for women, Kappa Alpha Theta, is rich in history and is well known for community service and academic achievements. Once initiated on a college campus, membership is for a lifetime. The Denver Alumnae Chapter strives for excellence has won numerous as well as the highest awards at National Conventions and supports its Colorado collegiate chapters. New officers were recently installed and the ceremony was witnessed by Thetas celebrating 50 years of sisterhood.
Officers installed: Adrienne Babb – VP Fraternity, Antonette De Lauro Smith – VP Communications, Sarah Hittner –VP Finance, Lauri Nitz – Recording Secretary and Val Lunka – President elect
Kelli Edelen – VP Programs, Leslie Franklin – VP Membership, Jenny Koch-VP Fundraising and Michelle Krecklow –VP Service. Not pictured: Leigh Miller – VP Programs and Sue Giovanini – VP Special Interests
Jane Siekmeier, Miami University (Ohio) accepts the gavel and presidency of the award-winning Denver Alumnae Chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta from immediate past President Martha Doughtie, William & Mary
Colorado Chief Deputy Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, candidate for Colorado attorney general, surrounded by Bette Todd and Candy Figa. By Scottie Taylor Iverson
Colorado’s Attorney General John Suthers is term limited and Cherry Creek Republican Women staged a forum for the Republican candidates vying to take his place. Colorado State Rep. Mark Waller was unable to attend, but Colorado’s Chief Deputy Attorney General Cynthia Coffman was poised to share her background and vision for the office.
Hers is a natural and noble pursuit and she is laser focused. The transplant from Georgia has been a lawyer for 23 years – 17 of those in Colorado. Although she gained strategies and tactics experience by helping husband U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman for five varied campaigns (both have made careers of public service), this is her first. She has always been sought after.
Jane Norton, while leader of Colorado’s Department of Public Health and Environment, appointed her director of Legal and Regulatory. Coffman considers it a privilege to have been tapped by Bill Owens as the governor’s chief legal counsel or in-house attorney. Suthers made her an offer she couldn’t refuse and she has been Colorado’s deputy attorney general for nine years managing the state’s 275 lawyers. Suthers frequently extols her virtues.
“The most important goal with John Suthers is to leave the office better than you found it. There’s still important work to be done in the AG’s office and I am not ready to leave. The AG is the chief lawyer of the state and has lots of clients, but the most important clients are the citizens of Colorado,” she said.
She explained that AG takes an oath to defend the laws of the state and does not get a choice of which laws to defend, including protection from federal overreaching.
“This position is about integrity, ethics and experience,” she said.
Jenny Ly with Aurora Ogg – Colorado Republican Committee’s Asian Coalition regional director, Helen Newcomb – owner of Subway franchises and Jennifer Kim – financial credit examiner for DORA’s Division of Banking
Colorado Treasurer Walker Stapleton, Arapahoe County’s forensic pathologist Dr. Kelly Lear-Kaul, who is running for coroner, and Paul Schauer, who is running for CU Regent
By Scottie Taylor Iverson
Jenna Stapleton, who is also a member of CCRW, with the youngest of the three Stapleton children, 3-month-old Olivia supporting her dad and Karen Blilie
Cherry Creek Republican Women launched 2014 with a fiscal responsibility and education theme and who better to address those than Colorado’s own Treasurer Walker Stapleton? Stapleton was elected in 2010 and took office on Jan. 11, 2011. He is the only Republican statewide official up for re-election in 2014. He is an elected executive officer in the Colorado government and is the state’s chief financial officer overseeing the Department of the Treasury that acts as the government’s bank as well as managing the state’s investment funds and disbursements. He holds a BA from Williams College, a Master’s from the London School of Economics and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.
Stapleton believes in the future of education, but is concerned about the amount of every school district’s contribution to the pension system (1/5).
“If there is an increase in revenue, it should go where it belongs – in the classroom. Colorado is an economically responsible state and fiscally conservative,” he said.
This is evident with the overwhelming defeat of Amendment 66. When Stapleton was no longer invited to attend anymore meetings as a trustee of PERA (Public Employees’ Retirement Association) and denied requested information, he hit the road. He traveled speaking to 50 Rotary groups, newspaper editorial boards, teachers and rooms full of Democrats – speaking to anyone who would listen and it paid off.
“We have an opportunity to take back the state of Colorado whether Democrat or Independent. The Rate of Return is the linchpin of everything. You cannot deny a math problem,” he said.
Stapleton emphasized the element of common sense, equality of information and mentioned that even Gov. Hickenlooper has joined forces for transparency. The treasurer attended a conference in North Dakota where he learned each citizen received a return. Quite a contrast with the public workers in Michigan.
Evie Ashmore, CCRW’s recording secretary, Arapahoe County Undersheriff Dave Walcher, who is a candidate for sheriff, Commissioner Nancy Sharpe and recently-elected Centennial Councilwoman Kathy TurleyPhotos by Scottie Taylor Iverson
1st Place Essay Contest winner Esther Varghese with her dad Georgey Varghese, Challenge School principal Edie Alvarez, Karen Fisher, Cherry Creek School Board, and David Chung, proprietor of Fireside Books in Englewood, who presented a prize to each overall winner. Esther’s seventh grade humanities teacher is Rachael Kessler.
In addition, Cherry Creek School District essay competition winners were presented by essay contest chair Mary Conroy.
“It was impressive to hear such profound thoughts from middle school students,” said Conroy about the 80 entries. “These overall winners achieved their ranking not only because of their sensitive and well-crafted essays but because of their resounding oratorical skills.”
Cherry Creek Academy Principal Dr, Jay Cerney with 2nd Place Essay Contest winner Carson Smail and his parents Jill and Randy Smail. Carson’s teacher is Juliana Cenname.Photo by Georgey Varchese
The title of the Essay Competition was: ‘What is Veterans Day and Why Should We Observe It?’ CCRW was treated to the readings by the top three overall winners. Excerpts from their dramatic deliveries follow.
Jack Stevenson, 3rd Place, stated: “Veterans Day shouldn’t be just a day; it should be celebrated all throughout the year. The people that we are honoring gave their lives for us, some lost their limbs and some escaped injury but…they served our country and deserve our respect. Who are heroes? We often think of heroes as peers, famous athletes even teachers and parents. However, the heroes we honor on Veterans Day are different because some of them…gave up their lives so we could enjoy life as we know it. One day as I was walking through a hallway I saw a poster of a veteran who had lost both legs and an arm. The caption under the picture read ‘Regrets…I have none.’ This made me realize even more that veterans who have been severely injured in a war don’t think about their own losses. They don’t feel sorry for themselves because they know it was worth fighting for freedom and justice.”
Third Place Essay Contest winner Jack Stevenson from West Middle School with his parents Michael and Marie Stevenson
Jack urged projects – raising money for troops and veterans, sending care packages to those serving, thanking them for sacrifices, and reiterating the theme we need to honor these heroes every day.
Carson Smail, 2nd Place, began his essay dramatically: “The sound of machine guns spitting, the blast of the bomb they could have been killed by. All these terrifying sounds play back in our veterans’ heads. These brave men and women endured all the harsh and gory scenes of war for you, for me, and for all U.S. citizens. Our protectors go into every day prepared never to see their friends and families…so we can be free. Veterans Day is our day to give back and show the soldiers that we care…shake their hands and say thank you. A hug would mean the world to any veteran.”
Esther Varghese, 1st Place, began with a quote from Abraham Lincoln. “‘The nation which fails to honor its heroes, and the memory of its heroes. Whether these heroes be living or dead. Does not deserve to live and it will not endure.’ These strong words…penetrate our hearts and our minds forcing us to ruminate and contemplate…Men and women have put their lives on the line for the sake of their country since World War I and in Afghanistan today. All these service members have much to risk…imprisonment…death…being away from their loved ones. With posttraumatic stress disorder…research that has uncovered that 22 veterans commit suicide every day…with the mental issue therapy is a necessity. We should observe Veterans Day for it is not only a chance for us to say thank you, but also for us to see reality. Nothing comes free. This day is one that teaches us not to take our beloved country for granted…our hard working troops …fight for our freedom, our rights, our chance to make a living at what we love, a chance to strive for success and the opportunity to chase after our dreams.”
Reception and JPP supporters Lance and Lynn Johnson with special guest former Colorado Gov. Bill OwensPhotos courtesy of Jeffco Prosperity Project
Popular and gracious hosts Brian and Patricia Watson opened their idyllic Greenwood Village estate for a reception benefiting the Jeffco Prosperity Project with special guest former Colorado Gov. Bill Owens. JPP is a collaboration of community, school, business and county partners working together to create opportunity and help Jefferson County families break the cycle of generational poverty. JPP assists young children and families in poverty in order to promote educational and family success.
Those on board in support of the fundraiser included Rep. Cheri Gerou, Rep. Libby Szabo, Patricia and Brian Watson, Rick O’Donnell, Matthew J. Knoedler, Kevin McCaskey, Katy Atkinson, Sheriff Red Mink, Mag Strittmatter, Lance and Lynn Johnson, and Dr. Mark Johnson.
Hal Straatmann visiting with Patricia Watson
Coquette Boutique is known as an irresistible destination with color, flair, warm hospitality and customer service.Photo by Scottie Taylor Iverson
The very chic Meltem Yilmasturk, owner of Coquette BoutiquePhoto by Jeanine Thurston
Meltem Yilmasturk was born and raised in Turkey in a small city with a population of 60,000 – 70,000. Her father was the first college graduate in the family (construction engineer) and the family ran the family businesses that grew to four factories, apartment and office building construction and a hotel.
Meltem’s sense of fashion began when she was 6 years old. The family’s first business was a fabric shop. She had fun unfurling the yardage and playing with the patterns. She was influenced by her parents’ good taste. By the time she was in sixth grade, she was telling her parents what to buy and emphasizing quality over quantity. Her father traveled extensively and would bring home one “killer” outfit for her instead of multiples making the quality over quantity impression indelible.
She went to Istanbul for higher education and studied economics.
“My roommate and best college friend’s entire family were stylists and designers. I was in Heaven,” she said.
One of her roommate’s aunts was a designer who shopped the world. She brought back samples of Armani, Chanel and the likes that filled two rooms.
“We all wore the same size and same size shoes so we played and borrowed and talked fashion for three years,” Meltem said.
One of those family members is now in New York launching her own shoe label after a position as head designer for a large company.
Meltem met her husband, Haluk, during her last year of college. They had a long distance courtship for one year. She was the only person in her family to live outside Turkey. While living in London for seven months to learn English, she found the malls fascinating with their offerings compared to small shops in her own country. Although the selections were overwhelming, she shopped smartly.
Meltem (whose name means sea breeze – from mountain to sea) with her sister Dilek and well-dressed mom Gulseren at a family wedding in Turkey.Photo courtesy of Meltem Yilmasturk
Meltem was from the northern part of Turkey and Haluk was the south so there were numerous engagement celebrations. She returned to Istanbul and worked for a bank and traveled to her fiancé’s hometown for design adjustments and fitting of her gown. Her mother-in-law was into fashion and preferred everything custom created.
Haluk’s brother had been in Denver for 20 years and was Americanized. Haluk came to Denver to earn his masters in Marketing Management at University of Colorado-Denver. Meltem had wanted to settle in New York, but they landed in Denver. Two years after their wedding in Turkey, Meltem was helping her friend, who in 1998 opened Coquette, a boutique in Cherry Creek North. She and Haluk returned to Turkey where they both had corporate jobs – hers with Xerox. After the devastating earthquake that killed 50,000 people, the aftershocks and economic crisis, the couple moved back to Denver. Meltem landed a job the first day and spent six years in retail. When her friend who owned Coquette decided to move, Meltem insisted on purchasing the store.
“My goal is to find the lines that have European flair – classy and elegant. Coquette carries the largest inventory of Joseph Ribkoff in Denver. I chose this line based in Canada because the fabrics are very high quality and the pieces are timeless. I call it updated classic with a European flair,” said Meltem.
She has also carried Komarov for 13 years because the European designer who lives in Los Angeles is an Emmy winner offering very special and distinctive crinkle fabric. Currently, Meltem is focusing on dresses for which Coquette is known.
Lines such as Elena Kattan (European designer whose fabric is from Europe, but cut in Miami where she lives), Desigual, a designer from Spain who features fun, print dresses, skirts and tops. Others include three dots, red23, Tart, level99, Nally and Millie, and Petit Poi.
Meltem gracefully balances business and family and looks chic herself – the best representation of her industry. Her son, who is now in fourth grade, is named Peren, which means North Star and her daughter Lara is 2 years old.
Coquette is located at 3003 E. 3rd Ave. in Cherry Creek North. For more information, call 303-355-7770 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow the store Facebook.
Meltem on her wedding day in her custom gownPhoto courtesy of Meltem Yilmasturk
Pageant celebrates ‘Age of Elegance’
You have to be at least 60 years old to apply for the Ms. Colorado Senior America competition. Many could hardly wait until the remarkable Gail Hamilton of Englewood would be eligible.
After winning the Colorado title, Hamilton competed in the National Ms. Senior America pageant held in Atlantic City. She placed in the Top 5. In addition to the talent portion and a five-minute interview with judges, each contestant stated her “Philosophy of life” (developed from a soul searching experience) during the evening gown competition. She enjoys touching people by telling her story. Her objective is to encourage seniors and others to take responsibility for their lives and live a life of love and joy.
“You have a choice in how you live your life. You can be victimized and paralyzed by your circumstances or empowered by them. I choose empowerment. I challenge you to become the creator of your destiny, the composer of your symphony, fly on your wings and live a life of greatness,” she said.
Hamilton is not only talented – artist, author, a powerful vocalist (with wide versatility of styles) and musician, piano and auto harp, teacher, sought-after speaker and counselor – but is well educated by earning two master’s degrees.
She sang an aria from Puccini’s Nessum Dorma and received two standing ovations at Nationals. As 4th Runner Up, she said, “Although I didn’t get the big crown, I got the ovations and had more congratulations and photos taken of me than the National Queen.”
She likes to say, she won the popular vote.
The clever Hamilton’s velocity is high. Upon her return to Colorado, she quickly established her Queen’s Round Table assembling an action-oriented awesome team to help with marketing, speaking engagements and special appearance scheduling, plus book signings and any other details such as wardrobe and salon services required for the remainder of her reign. She has already flown aboard the Prayer One helicopter, been showcased on Channel 9, had numerous articles written about her, ridden in parades, sung for various senior centers, spoken for numerous organizations and inspired countless individuals. One of her wishes is to sing The Star Spangled Banner at a Broncos or Rockies game.
She has wings to fly. She has the desire to soar to greater heights and doesn’t let disabilities hold her back.
“I am the voice of hope and inspiration who has come to earth to empower others to spread their wings and fly,” Hamilton said.
Even though she is blind, she is a visionary.
For more information, visit www.spreadyourwingstofly.com.
Brad Lee Schroeder gave a live concert after gathering kids for Christmas caroling.
In the heart of downtown Golden, Colorado media personality/author/motivational speaker Mark McIntosh and Colorado native/country music artist Brad Lee Schroeder staged a “Tunes for Toys” inspirational concert at Buffalo Rose Bar & Grill. Schroeder’s tour bus was parked right outside on Washington Avenue making donations and new toys easy to deposit for Kempe Foundation and Children’s Hospital Colorado. After he and his band led Christmas carols with the children in attendance, the rising star in the national country music industry gave a live concert for the fans. Schroeder also gave away T-shirts and CDs including an advance preview of “The Nashville Session.”
McIntosh gave an animated presentation (and of course, related stories) of “How to Soar in One Four (2014)” by sticking your neck out, keeping the faith and fighting to the finish. He believes a sweat a day keeps the doctor away and that there is a potential jock in all of us. J –joyful, O-optimistic, C-courageous, K-put it all together and kick ass. He has a Daily Dose of Inspiration prescribed every day at 7:45 a.m. For further information, visit www.seekvictory.com.
The tour bus for Brad Lee Schroeder was prominently displayed on Washington Avenue.
Some of the special toys collected by Keller Williams real estate “ambassadors” who served coffee and hot chocolate while encouraging donations for Children’s Hospital Colorado and Kempe Foundation. Photos By Scottie Taylor Iverson
Mark McIntosh gave an inspirational pep talk for the holiday season and 2014.
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