Help the Girls in Laps for Learning!

Later this week Clara and Mariana will both be running in their school’s only fundraiser, “Laps for Learning”, and would love your help!

Both girls are asking for a one-time pledge for the laps they’re going to run. Mariana claims she’ll run 13 laps, while Clara thinks she’ll run 2 (each lap is about a 1/4 mile).

This is the school’s only fundraiser for the year and 100% of all money raised will stay within the school. Mariana’s school plans to improve its outdoor learning garden as well as purchase interactive boards for its classrooms. Clara’s school will be using its funds on technology and wellness.

The girls will be running this Thursday, October 5! Any contribution, no matter how small, will help them reach their goal! Your contribution is tax-deductible, and I can work with you to get a receipt from the school if you’d like. You can give online using the buttons below, or if you’d like to mail a check or use another service to send the funds, I’ll donate on your behalf – email me and we’ll figure it out! – jeromey [at] . Thank you for supporting public education!

Photographing TMule vs Nic Clark at FoCoMX

Photographing TMule vs Nic Clark at FoCoMX

I got way behind on posting photos from shows that I’ve shot, and am still going through the few bands I was lucky enough to capture at FoCoMX 2023. I made sure to go check out TMule vs. Nic Clark at The OBC Wine Project. I discovered these two amazing musicians last year when the Clearview Library District in Windsor featured TMule’s “Tiny Mule” act, which caters to kids. I loved the energy so much that I was anxious to see the “grown-up” version and they did not disappoint!

This was also my first time at the OBC (Odell Brewing Company) Wine Project, which has a beautiful patio right next door to the Odell Brewery. If you’re out and about and see TMule, Nic Clark, or BOTH on a live music lineup, do yourself a favor and plan on seeing them!

My daughter’s first phone – and first contract

After being a parent for over ten years, a moment I had feared had finally arrived: the day my oldest daughter got her first phone. I was hoping to have held off until middle school – but with all of the activities Clara has on her plate: being at the dance studio for 4 classes over 2 nights (with homework breaks between her classes), volleyball practice at different locations, juggling two different homes – the need for accessible communication has become too much.

I picked up her new phone today, and now Clara is going to party like it’s 2004:

Based on what I’ve read and heard, I was hoping to avoid giving my kids a cellular-service smartphone for as long as possible. Both of my daughters have iPads on Wifi, along with hand-me-down smartphones that rarely leave the house. By getting her a flip phone, I’m hoping to enable enough of our communication needs and delay having a smart phone for a few more years.

Nonetheless, the potential consequences of having a call phone isn’t lost on me, so I worked with Clara’s mom to come up with contract that sets our expectations with tween cell phone use. I wanted to offer it here for my other fellow parents that may have a similar predicament, and would love to hear about your experience in this matter.

Balderrama Cell Phone Contract

Having a cell phone is a major responsibility. The reason you have it is so that you can contact your parents and family when you need to check in, arrange rides, change plans, feel unsafe, or need help. You can also use this phone to keep in touch with friends in a responsible way.
By using this cell phone you agree to the following terms:

  1. Understanding this phone is a tool and not a toy. When the phone is used as a toy, it could result in additional charges on the bill, damage to the phone, or accidentally calling police, firefighters, and paramedics.

? Phone as a tool:

  • Making phone calls to family and friends
  • Texting family and friends
  • Calling 911 if you need help

? Phone as a toy:

  • Bringing it on rough activities (jumping on the trampoline)
  • Randomly pressing buttons
  • Opening and closing it unnecessarily
  • Using it in “pretend” play
  1. The phone will remain off and in your backpack during school hours unless and until a teacher gives you permission to turn it on to contact your family. To prevent theft, we recommend not bringing your phone to school.
  2. The phone will be charged outside of your bedroom during bedtime hours.
  3. While your parents respect your privacy, they reserve the right to immediately inspect your phone, call logs, and text messages upon request.
  4. Scammers will often text you pretending that they know you or are texting the wrong number. You will not call or text people you do not know, and inform your parents if you receive any text messages from phone numbers you do not recognize and delete the message. Do not click any links in text messages.
  5. The camera should only be used to take appropriate pictures. Please keep in mind that once a picture leaves your phone, you have no control over where it goes or how people may use it. You shall not take pictures of anyone without their permission.
  6. Your sister is permitted to borrow the phone, but only to call family and immediately return it upon completion. If you lend the phone to any friends, keep in mind that you are still responsible for what they do with your phone.

Failure to follow these terms will result in phone usage being restricted or the phone being taken away. Signed:

We’ll see how this goes. We gave her the phone tonight and while there was some initial excitement, I think my daughter realizes its limitations (being a feature, not a bug).

Family Photos in Jim Thorpe, PA

While planning our Jim Thorpe trip, my sister put forth the idea of organizing a family photo shoot while we were all together. She researched photographers and found Nikki Slivka Photography, who did such an awesome job capturing the beauty (and chaos) of our family of 15.

As all parents know, kids aren’t always cooperative photo subjects. It was a challenge during our session, but the kids enjoyed having some props like a parachute, bubble gun, and a ball, which helped us create awesome candid shots. The rolling hills of Jim Thorpe also created a beautiful setting.

I can’t recommend enough that any time you get together as a family, you seek out a photographer to capture your time together. I know it’s not always cheap, but I’m so glad that we did this.

An unofficial statement regarding the Clearview Library District property on Main Street

Hello, I am a member of the Clearview Library District Board of Trustees, BUT I DO NOT SPEAK FOR THE BOARD. The views expressed here are my own, and in no way reflect those of my fellow trustees, the Clearview Library District, or its staff.

As news propagates regarding the possible development of a grocery store, targeted in part, on land currently owned by the Clearview Library District, I wanted to share my perspective on this matter and some of the considerations faced as a Trustee of the library district.

The Clearview Library District’s land on Main Street was purchased in 2016, authorized by the Board of Trustees at the time, using reserve funds, and that space was designated as a site for a future regional library. In 2017 and 2018, the Library District put mill levy initiatives on the ballot to finance the construction of a  regional library, measures that did not pass in either election. In 2021, as part of the long-range planning initiatives, the Board of Trustees drafted and approved A Plan For the Future Facilities Plan, which specifies the usage of the land:

The district looks to maintain ownership of the property at the intersection of Main Street and Chimney Park Drive. While there are no immediate plans for this property, it may benefit future collaborations for potential shared facilities or a cultural campus.

clearview library district facilities plan, page 26

Given that the library district has previously pursued a library on this property, along with the designation in the Facilities Plan, library law restricts the Board’s ability to list, market, negotiate and sell that property to private entities (such as a commercial grocer) without altering the facilities plan and classifying that property as “Surplus”. Such a designation presents additional caveats and essentially becomes a disavowment of the property for strategic considerations. My understanding is that once it is designated “Surplus”, it is extremely challenging to reverse that classification for potential future use by the library district.

Earlier this summer, at the behest of the Town of Windsor, members of the Board met with a realtor associated with the grocer looking to build on that section of town that includes the library’s land. We attended those discussions in good faith, and with an open mind, explored options regarding a possible sale of this property. It was at that point that we were advised by the library district’s attorney regarding the library laws summarized above and the challenges that arise when considering non-solicited offers for strategic library property.

Speaking only for myself, I firmly believe that planning for a future regional library is essential in serving the needs of our communities. I respect the work of past boards in studying different possible locations and selecting the best option at the time. To preserve the goals outlined in our long-range plan, the library district requires a plot of land on or near a major artery road, in a location near the heart of the library district’s population. Any sale of the library land should enable the continuation of those goals.

Additionally, the purchase price of the property may be utilized for the necessary reserve balances needed to obtain the Certificates of Participation that could fund the Severance branch.

Clearview Library District FAcilities PLan, Page 26

Those that believe a regional library is not in the best interests of our communities must still acknowledge the value of the property as a library district asset, appreciating at a greater rate than the investment options available through library law. As a Trustee, I have a fiduciary obligation to the library district, and as such, take the stewardship of this asset seriously. When considering the land from a fiduciary perspective, I am looking at the land not at today’s value, but at the potential appreciation at a time when its sale would be needed to cover the operating costs of the district.

The need for another grocer in Windsor is not lost on me. As a King Soopers customer, I am all too familiar with the crowded conditions in Windsor and empathize with my fellow east-side residents in having a store closer to our homes. However, my role as a Trustee is to do what is best for the library district first; as well as creatively collaborate to find a solution that is best for Windsor and the other communities in the library district.

Given the friction involved with reclassifying the land and the inability to reverse it, a compelling opportunity that addresses my expressed considerations and concerns is required for my support to modify the Facilities Plan.

It is also important that we as a community engage in conversation over this matter, with opportunities for input in this important dialogue. I welcome your feedback and suggestions and can be reached through email at