Steamboat briefs: Deadline to donate gifts has been extended to Wednesday |

Steamboat briefs: Deadline to donate gifts has been extended to Wednesday

The deadline to donate items for Routt County United Way’s Holiday Exchange Market has been extended to Wednesday. The organization is seeking donations of outdoor clothing for all ages, toys and $25 gift cards for groceries from local stores. Drop boxes are placed in several locations around town for donations, and gift cards for groceries can be dropped off at the United Way office.

Dance & Drum classes to be offered at Perry-Mansfield

The Steamboat African Dance & Drum Ensemble and Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp will sponsor community classes with internationally acclaimed Guinean dancer Youssouf Koumbassa and Denver-based West African drummer King Salim Ajanku on Thursday evening in the Steinberg Pavilion at Perry-Mansfield.

Drum class is from 5:30 to 7 p.m., and students should bring their own drum, though a few drums may be available for loan. Dance class with live drumming is from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Originally from Guinea, West Africa, Koumbassa studied under Sekouba Camara, artistic director of Ballet National Djoliba, and Kemoko Sano, the acclaimed artistic director of Les Ballets Africains, developing his talents as a dancer, musician and choreographer. Since moving to the United States more than 20 years ago, Koumbassa has established himself as the preeminent teacher of dance from Guinea, and now travels widely throughout the world as a much-sought-after master teacher exposing the rich and varied cultures of Guinea to audiences around the world.

In 2007, Koumbassa participated in “Slow Dancing” a video featuring 43 iconic dancers (including the likes of Wendy Whelan and Judith Jamison)  from various backgrounds, each filmed for five seconds and projected in slow motion. The film was featured at Lincoln Center in New York and the 2008 Venice Biennale.

Recently relocated to Colorado, Ajanku is a co-director at Creative Strategies for Change and the artistic director of the renowned Sankofa Dance Theater. He was born into a family of dancers and musician and has been performing and teaching for more than 20 years.

Ajanku has traveled throughout the U.S. and West Africa learning from such  master musicians as Abadou Konte, Mamady Keita, Famadou Konate and Baile McKnight. As an artist, he has performed and toured with Roy Ayers, Ron Brown, Wunmi, Wyclef Jean, Neon Hitch and the Baltimore and Cleveland Symphony Orchestra.

Dancers should plan to dance in bare feet and wear comfortable clothes. The cost for each class is $15 cash or check at the door; no pre-registration is necessary. Both classes are suitable for all experience levels. Call Jennie Lay at 970-846-9695 for more information.

CSU’s Master Gardener Training begins in January

The CSU Routt County Extension Office is accepting applications for 2015 Colorado Master Gardener and Colorado Gardener Certificate training. Taught by CSU professionals, the program teaches all aspects of growing plants, trees and lawns in a mountain environment. Reduced cost for attending the program can be obtained by volunteering with the Routt County Master Gardener program. Training sessions will be held every Thursday from Jan. 29 to April 9. Participation is limited to 20 people, with priority given to those who have completed an application by close of business Jan. 5. Call 970-879-0825 or visit for an application or more information.

CDOT accepts input on plans through Jan. 4

The Colorado Department of Transportation’s blueprint for improving the state’s transportation system throughout the next 10 to 25 years now is available for public review and comment, according to a news release. 

Known as the Statewide Transportation Plan, it includes CDOT’s goals and objectives to enhance safety, mobility, maintenance and economic vitality. 

“The plan is a fully integrated document, not only about improving the highway system but also about combining strategies to enhance transit, rail, aviation, freight, bicycling and pedestrian travel,” CDOT Executive Director Don Hunt said in the news release. “It identifies the required strategic steps to achieve our goals and the priority corridors we need to focus on over the next decade.”

Interested parties are encouraged to view and provide comment on the overall SWP, on Colorado’s first Statewide Transit Plan and the 10 rural Regional Transportation Plans at through Jan. 4. The site is divided regionally, allowing residents to view interactive maps and transportation plans for their area. 

“Public participation was crucial while we were developing these plans and is just as vital now during the comment period so they reflect the priorities and needs of our citizens,” Hunt added. “As we implement the plans, we’ll continue to engage the public on our progress so that we can all work together to deliver the transportation system Colorado deserves.”

More than 60,000 residents participated in crafting the SWP, the STP and all 10 RTPs. 

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