Stories From Around Broomfield

First a Bravo to the Broncos for their win on Sunday. I realize it doesn't mean we'll have a winning season, but it is Sunday afternoon football and as a fan I will be there. In addition, one of my son's has been the stage manager for CBS for 25 years and stands close to the Coash and the players. Oftentimes he shares with me the 'real dope' of why plays happen and who fell down on the job. So, I'll take the win and pray our defense can keep the Chiefs off the field. next Sunday,

Beginning in 1970 when Monday night football began to air, Broomfield had to make some changes. And I thought this small chapter of Broomfield History may lighten up some of the previous chapters I've written about on more serious topics, like on Rocky Flats.

In my research on Monday night football, I learned many reasons how it came into being and its effects on Broomfield.

In the early 60s Pete Rozelle the NFL Commissioner envisioned the possibility of playing at least one game weekly during prime time for a larger audience. Friday nights were ruled out as so many communities had high school games and Saturday afternoons were set aside for college games.

As an experiment, Pete Rozelle scheduled Monday night prime time games on CBS in the 1966-67 season. Followed by NBC in 1968-69 scheduling the American Football League on Monday nights.

In 1970 the completion of the merger of the NFL and the AFL was finalized. This coincided with negotiations of new television contracts. Pete Rozelle offered all 3 networks the opportunity to bid for Monday night football. Some of the networks were reluctant to give up their prime-time slot, to televise only one football competition shown nationally. NBC and CBS were reluctant to move their heavily favored programs on Monday nights, and so by default ABC was given the contract to air, nationally, Monday night football.

They held this contract until 2005. Despite its popularity, ABC lost millions of dollars in the '90s and 2000s.

Broomfield in the 70s was still a small town, maybe population at the most of 10,000, I guess. Our city council had four wards, represented by two elected councilmen each and the mayor. They met twice a month on Monday nights. That is until Monday night football began to air. By then there was increased absent council people on Monday night. Many valid excuses were given for members not being present. With no apparent reason, a motion was brought forward to change council meetings from Monday nights to Tuesday nights. However, we all figured it out what was behind this change in time and day.

It's ok, I guess, but was their heart into serving the community and sacrificing watching Monday night football or serving the community?

Celebrate today and remember we are here to walk each other home.

PS In 1968 with three small children and George studying for his master's at DU, I decided to run for city council from Ward one. First woman to attempt this. I lost by 4 votes. I could have asked for a recount however with 3 small sons and a husband in school, I did not.


When I first wrote about the community involvement with Bal Swan, I was unaware of some of the original history. I think you will find it heartwarming to learn about the role our fellow Rotarian, Bill Markel, played. Bill is now in his 90s and still lives in Broomfield with his wife, Jean. He was the first family doctor in Broomfield, delivering many babies, stitching up many kids, and treating the ills and conditions of this small community.

In the 1960s, Broomfield had about 6,000 people with stay-at-home moms and only one car per family. Moms often walked their babies after their afternoon nap through the neighborhood. There were no texting or cell phones; it was just a way for us to meet each other and share our lives, joys, and hurts.

On this day, as I walked with my son Carl, I met my neighbors deep in discussion at the corner of 2nd and Coral. The discussion revolved around what a few of these mothers were going to do with their newborns who had Down Syndrome. Bill and Jean lived on Coral Street near these mothers at that time.

According to Anne Hoffman, who provided me with this information, Bill met with the parents of eight children to discuss a different way to raise these children. He aimed to find a location, a director, and a program to help develop the motor skills and mental skills of this group of eight children. The alternative was to do the best they could as parents by keeping them home or sending them to Ridge Home and making them wards of the state. These were difficult decisions for young families.

Bill asked his part-time nurse, Ann Hoffman, who had nursing and educational degrees, if she would head up this new concept of a school. Initially, this fledgling school was called the Broomfield Foundation for Retarded (Exceptional) Children. Located at the cottage school on the corner of 8th and Kohl, the program began running from 10 AM to 2 PM each day. Anne explained to me that they followed ‘the pattern of therapy program’ to develop the children’s physical and mental growth.

There were many community volunteers, including boys’ and girls’ parents and other organizations. Some mothers would bring their own children when they volunteered, lacking babysitters. To everyone’s surprise, these children began to interact with the disabled children. The staff found that the students were more receptive to learning from their peers than from the staff. A new concept of teaching began with children helping each other, a technique that is widely used today in many mainstream schools.

This small community of 6,000 residents took these little ones into their hearts. Volunteers showed up each day to massage and exercise their limbs and softly speak to them. This began to give the children confidence so they were not fearful of being touched and spoken to by a variety of people.

I must also give credit once again to Frank Grey, who during the summer months cradled these children in his arms as he introduced them to water at the Broomfield swim and tennis club.

One of the earliest volunteers was Malene Putnam. After Anne Hoffman had the school up and running, Marlene took over in its third year of operation. She was the director for many years until her retirement. The program grew to 15 children who may have otherwise been sent to Ridge Home and become wards of the state.

Two young boys, whom Anne recalled were Robbie Hallen and Dennis Carber, attended the Bal Swan School. Robbie’s family lived on Coral Way at the time, across from the Markels. We discussed one of their children on a late sunny day in Broomfield. We have no information on Robbie. As Anne shared the story of Dennis, I realized that one should never give up hope on a person who initially does not fit into our society. According to Anne, Dennis was nonverbal and had few interactions with people. Through the Pattern Therapy program, he made small progress. But it was progress. When he was too old for Bal Swan School, he went to Laradon Hall. He grew in his development, to the point of being a leader of young men. His duty was to oversee this group doing assembly line work. This was not just busy work for these young men, it was the assembling of nose cones for the space industry. What a contribution they made. I have always believed Broomfield found solutions to the needs of others with kindness and dedication. I think this is a wonderful example of the heart of the people, especially of our friend Bill Markel. He was the leader that implemented the success of this school. 

Thank you, Bill.

Broomfield 9/11 Memorial
By Dotti Moyer
Although this is late, I still wanted to do a piece on 9/11,
The anniversary of 9/11 always brings a heavy heart for me.  I take the time during 8;30 and 10;30 to be still.  No cellphone, no email, no face book.  All in an effort to feel the depth of this tragedy.  I know each one of us remembers where we were and what we were doing on that morning.  
For me, it brings back memories of being a child during Worl War 11. 
At least once a month during the war, we had air raid drills.  I helped my mother pull all the shades down, turning out the lights and going to the dirt cellar to sit by the coal furnace to stay warm. This was practice for if an enemy attack took place, they would only see darkness.  There was no radar, and like other countries it was only the means of disguising our homes. My Mother was a frail little lady, because of childhood diseases, my baby brother and me, waited for the ok to go back upstairs.  My Dad taught school all day and then went to his second job, teaching young men to read so they would be eligible for the draft.  Our country was running low on eligible young men that could read, so my father taught them to read, and my mother was in charge.

Through the years thousands of 55-gallon drums of the waste were stored outside, in an unprotected earthen area called the '903 pad, became corroded and leaked radionuclides over the years contaminating and leaching into the soil, as well airborne in the heavy winds of the Front Range and contaminating offsite areas to the south and east.  

Throughout the many reports after the 1967 fire, one realizes the regulations and safety issues to the highest standards necessary to contain the plutonium, were lacking. The large glove boxes which held the microscopic particles of plutonium were destroyed releasing radioactive smoke to escape the building and become airborne to the surrounding offsite areas.  And management not enforcing safety rules to the highest degree for their employees.   

After the 1969 fire, and an awareness of health hazards, demonstrations began to occur with thousands of people protesting the continuation of Rocky Flats which beginning in 1975 was managed by Rockwell International.

Dr Carl Johnson in 1981 showed a study of a 45% increase of congenital birth defects, with an overall 16% increase in cancer rates for those living closest to the plant.  His findings were not accepted by the powers that be and thus he was fired.

Broomfield still used the Great Western Reservoir as part of their water supply.  Those living west of Main St were served by the Great Western Reservoir and those living east of Main St having its water supply furnished by Denver Water. As for the Moyers, George and I decided in 1974 to move east of Main.  Neighbors would ask why we were moving, and not wanting to be an alarmist, verbally I simply would say, we wanted a two-car garage.  

By the time we moved, I was selling real-estate.  When buyers who financed their homes with FHA or VA loans, were required to sign a statement acknowledging they understood they lived within a 10 miles radius of Rocky Flats.  If they financed with a conventional loan putting 20% down no disclosure of the dangers of Rocky Flats was required. I did verbally disclose to all my buyers they should be aware of living within 10 miles of Rocky Flats.  By the 70's things were monitored and potentially there was no danger.

There were studies done finding people were 2.5 times as likely to have brain cancer as well as chronic beryllium disease and issues they deal with today.

There were many studies and report done, all with conflicting results.  Life had us turning to other milestones in our life, and if per chance we were not touched personally my Rocky Flats, it just became part of our history.

A developer did build a community called Candelas, south of Rocky Flats.  Although there was some opposition, if you drive out there you will see a large community, complete with commercial buildings and offices.  It tells me that people will always discount danger if something looks bright, and shining and new.  The new term for Candelas is called a "plutonium dust bowl."

Today there are still disputes regarding Rocky Flats.  One being the completion of the E-470 parkway through this area.  As of today, it has been put on hold.  The fear being digging up the soil that is still contaminated with plutonium will become airborne.  

The second was the opening of the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge Act drawn up in 2011.  It is today enjoyed by many for hiking, biking and walking their dog.  Some are still skeptical of the possibility of the remains of particles of plutonium.

In conclusion Dr. Mark Johnson states in the book 'Doom with a View, ' ""...the more I learned about the nuclear and hazardous waste pollution occurring around the plant, the more I came to question the underlying narrative that this was fundamentally a patriotic enterprise protecting America from its enemies.  The ultimate lack of accountability, it appeared to me that the Rocky Flats contractors had contaminated Jefferson County and its residents indiscriminately with no fear of consequences.'

I have attempted to give you a few of the highlights from Wikipedia 'Rocky Flats contamination from the Rocky Flats Plant.'  You may wish to read the whole article, as I may

have interpreted some areas incorrectly.

My hope is this is Informative.

Next week we'll look at some lighter history of Broomfield.

Here's to a victory of CU over Nebraska and the Broncos over the Raiders!

Grace and peace, 


'Rocky Flats'.  A word familiar to many of us who have been here awhile, and possibly those who are new.  About 5 miles southwest of Broomfield in 1951 a building was built with no fanfare or no ribbon cutting, just a building, a heavily guarded secret, opened, producing fission cores for weapons, used to igniting fusion and fissionable fuel.  Operated by Dow Chemical, it was the sole mass-producer of plutonium components for America's nuclear stockpile. 
In 1957 the fledgling community of Broomfield innocently had its beginnings, and no mention of Rocky Flats was published.  I personally arrived in 1964 and was only familiar with the word 'Dow" in reference to aluminum foil I purchased at the grocery store, not a nuclear facility producing plutonium.
Of course, commons sense should have told me a factory making such a household product was not guarded and fenced in as Rocky Flats was. My top concern was having dinner ready for my husband and a clean house. Newlyweds kept arriving in town buying their first homes and having multitude of children and creating a community. 
In the fall of 1957, the Plutonium Recovery and Fabrications Facility, spontaneously ignited, burning HEPFA filters in a plenum downstream. They eventual escaped from the building exhaust stacks.  It stopped at 10:40PM ending the plutonium release. 
I believe this was the fire that resulted in plutonium settling to the bottom of the Great Western Reservoir, Broomfield's water supply and creek beds.  
One heard whispers and jokes about glowing in the dark but there were so many wonderful things happening in our lives, that any amount of a catastrophic tragedy, surely would not happen to us.
With another fire in 1969 released plutonium and shavings causing a spontaneous combustible fire. This releasing plutonium in the air as well as from the barrels of radioactive waste.  
Then some of our young friends started dying, not by the hundreds but enough to bring fear to many of us. We were young and except for grandparents who died, young friends did not.   For me, it brought an awakening. I watched two young men, under 40 die of brain cancer and several women of ovarian cancer, all living in the 1st and 2nd filings of Broomfield.   
Like many disasters, where there had been money to be made and the government not to hold them liable for people dying of cancer.  They brought out charts and made the fall out of the plutonium innocent and adamantly declared it was coincident.
The Atomic Energy Commission's briefing, that there was a slight risk of light contamination.  No abnormal radioactivity was reported by the Colorado Public Health Services.
The 1969 fire raised public awareness of potential hazards the plant posed and led to years of increasing citizen protests and demand for plant closure.  Releases from previous years had been reported publicly before the; airborne-become-ground borne radioactive contamination extended well beyond the Rock Flats plant but was not reported until 1970. 
I'll bring you up to date on where this story ends. Have a fulfilling week in the cool air, a preview of fall.
Information was obtained from Wikipedia, 
 The title for this week's vignette is community support.  And from the beginning back in the late 1950s this small community of Broomfield came together to not be just a development of individual houses, but a community of families, friends and businesses. Mostly young families with little money to spare, but by working together, as we do in Rotary it was able to grow into a strong and giving community city.
With generous financial backing, Bal Swan helped open the new Bal Swan School to serve the needs of the special needs children in Broomfield.  First located at the corner of 8th and Kohl , volunteers gave of their time under the direction of Marlene Putnam for this fledgling school.  In talking about the Bal Swan school, a wonderful friend of mine, Jan Tecklenburg, daughter of our own Joe Mazzola, (a deceased member of our Rotary Club).    She shared, she and her girl scout troop went once a week after school to read and play with the children.
Needing more room for this expanding school, they built near Northmoor Park.  Originally this land was set aside for a hospital.  Many fund-raising events were held to build these new facilities.  If any of you are missing, getting dressed in white tails and gown for the ladies, the Bal Swan school hold a ball each year.
Broomfield has had some wonderful people who gave of their heart.  One I would like to recognize is Frank Gray.  He taught in June High and was the wrestling coach.  Summers he managed the swim and tennis club on Main Street.  I know he must have taught about two generation of Broomfield kids to swim and dive and compete.
Once or twice a week, the little ones from Bal Swan would be brought to the pool.  I was there many of those days ass my boys were in swim lessons.   
The Bal Swan teacher would hand a toddler to him, this large, well-proportioned man, tanned, a previous army Sargent, would gently cradle this frightened being, who may have never experienced the sensation of water.  Dripping water on the child's back whimpering and shivering, Frank's   soothing voice, would calm them down until a smile crossed their face. It was one of those time when you knew an angel had touched this hurried earth that day.  
So, with a new library named after a Presidents wife, a community supported ambulance, an outdoor pool funded by the citizens, the Bal Swan School for our special needs citizens, a grocery store and police department in the basement of Empire Savings and Loan Broomfield with maybe 3,000 people began to spread its wings.
If there are old timers who remember things, please join in.  Next week a little history and hysteria on Rocky Flats
I'm off to Salt Lake to attend the retirement ceremony for my friend retiring at 59, a Colonel in the Army.  I'm honored to be included.
Enjoy the last days of summer.
In my search to get some facts about the founding of the Bal Swan School, I found some of the history on the founders of Broomfield, among them being Bal Swan.  I thought all of you who are new and know Broomfield only as this sprawling community of 70,000 plus that reaches from Flatirons Mall east to I-25 and Highway 7.  
Bal Swan was the owner, of Empire Savings and Loan, located on the northside of Midway Blvd and Nickel St. In those days, banks were to reflect the solidarity and trustworthiness through the architecture of their building.  This 1930's Frank Lloyd Wright style. I think you will appreciate its design with polished flagstone flooring, long pleated drapes, private offices, a secure room for safety deposit boxes, a private secretary for the president as well as the receptionist.  No ATMs, where money just spews out, that is if you remember your password. Only a well-dressed lady who knows your name. Today that building is a tribute to good design. When you are over that way and you appreciate architecture and design, I think you will be impressed.
And by the way, the basement of Empire Savings and Loan served as the first grocery store in the newly founded town of Broomfield, as well as later the police department.  
Partnering with K.C. Ensor a builder, Aksel Nielsen, and Spallone another builder formed a corporation called the Turnpike Land CO. Twenty other private investors along with his fishing buddy Dwight D.  Eisenhower. set out to develop this suburb, which once was a farm that grew broom corn. Financed primarily by Empire S & L Bank, the Broomfield Retail Center was built, and water and sewer became available from Broomfield Mutual Services. 
Eventually, after the elementary school was built, the community wanted a library.  As you know the library was named after Eisenhower's wife, Mamie Dowd Eisenhower.   She was a native of Colorado.
Bal Swan's legacy is the Bal Swan School.
I remember standing on the corner of 1st Ave and Coral Way, in about 1966 having stopped my walk with my son in the stroller to pass to the time of day, as we said then.  The topic was about one of the neighbors who may have been there also, looking at options for her child who had down syndrome.  Most parents had made the tough decision to send their children to Ridge Home in Arvada. The only institution that would care for these children. It was an institution that cared for the mentally and severely handicapped children.  This mother was torrn between making him a ward of the state and send him to Ridge home or to try and raise him at home. 
This is my memory, and I may not have everything correct.  What I do know was this was the concept of the Bal Swn School began.  It was the only such school for many years in the metropolitan area of Denver.  The first facility was the brick building at the corner of 8th and Kohl. Marlene Putnam ran this school for many years with compassion and tenderness.  When she passed away, over 1,000 people came to honor her dedication to the many children that attended there.  
There is more to be said about the school and the gifts given to sustain its growth.  I'll save it until next time.
In closing, Bal Swan passed an important piece of advice, directly from the mouth of President Eisenhower sage words that still hold meaning today: "never pass up a chance to use the bathroom" 1
Celebrate Life
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      This is a reprint of Dotti's article from the Broomfield Enterprise.   August 18,2013    
We hear people use the word 'poor', these days and I think of our small family, trying to start our married life and new parents in Broomfield, 1800 miles away from where we grew up.  By today's interpretation of the word 'poor', we were poor. Fortunately, we never thought of ourselves as being poor because we were unable to afford fancy food each night or treat ourselves to a nice dinner, or store-bought clothes, even.  It wasn't until people now adays refer to those who are poor and thinking back of our life in our first home, that I realized we were poor.  The difference was we had hopes of a brighter future. George sometimes working three jobs and I found a bookkeeping position at the Jeffco Airport.  It seemed counterproductive to have a sitter, if we could find one, so I arranged working 4-10 at night.  Preparing a dinner for George and the boys before I left for work, George needed only to watch them and get them ready for bed.  
There was whining about our situation.  
Our food budget was $80 a month.  At the first of the month, I spent $40, on 6lbs of hamburger at 3lbs for.$.99 cents, 1/2 gallon of ice cream, canned foods, pasta, macaroni, day old, bread and one box of cookies. Immediately, on this day, I felt rich, knowing our family would eat well each night. Poor, I guess so, but my boys today assure me they never thought of us as poor.
I had a featherweight Singer sewing machine, which I still have.  Made my boys play clothes and dress clothes.  One time I took a spring coat I had purchased at Bonwit-Tellers, turning it inside out, designed a dress coat for Fritz, and matching bibbed pants.
George instructed skiing on the weekends, so our family enjoyed free lift passes.  To join the swim and tennis club was $125 with $50 annual fee.  I ask, Pete Crouse, who was president of the association, if I could exchange doing the payroll and books for them, for annual dues.  
This small community of transplants always found time to volunteer their time with, Rotary, JCC's, the Elks club as well as the many churches in town. It gave us connections and a foundation on which to grow.
Friendships grew quickly, and there were no lines drawn from the different cultures we represented. All of us came from somewhere else. Some came from small farming communities in the Midwest, some from established cities, some from the deep south and others from ranch country. It was a community of civility and acceptance. And although we were all white, our up bringing were diversified. I may have had blinders on, but I think not. We accepted each knowing each other's strengths and weaknesses. Life seemed simpler and we had the time to listen to a neighbor or help a charity out.  It was refreshing. 
Next week, the formation of the Bal Swan school, Frank Grey, a special teacher, and Broomfield Days. 
George and I arrived in 1964, a few years after Bill Markel and a few others arrived in this small burb of 7,000 people.  
We needed a home, and it was our luck, that George's college roommate and ski instructor buddy lived in Broomfield and encouraged us to settle here. 
Purchasing a 'Cinderella' model home of which there were blocks of the same floor plans, only the brick color and roof line was different.  As it worked out my kids could go in any house and know where the bathroom was.
A prayer that my father wrote.  My Dad was a Rotarian in Penfield NY, a suburb of Rochester.  This club gave their gifts as well as their hearts forming and performing for many groups and veteran's hospitals in the area. He was a gifted musician and along with playing a mean piano, he also played the trombone.  
The funny part of it is, he never read music and would have to listen to the other trombonists one time to memorize it.  His mother was a concert pianist and after arriving from Italy, she performed in and around New York City. He sat under the piano as a toddler while she practiced for concerts and gained a depth of music that touched the soul.
Along with donating his time in the Penfield Rotary Club Band, he read a prayer each week to start their meeting.  
I ran across one of them the other day and thought of our club.
Hear our prayer, Oh Lord
Our father, we would be worthy stewards in thy sight.  We would give of our means, our time, our love, to serve thee and our fellowmen.
Help us, we pray, that this be not lip service alone, but true workable service, wholly acceptable unto thee.
Oh God, hear our prayer.  Amen