Posted 7/10/09

Englewood resident Denise Vega has won the Colorado Book Award and the Colorado Authors’ League Top Hand Award for her young adult novel, “Fact …

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Englewood resident Denise Vega has won the Colorado Book Award and the Colorado Authors’ League Top Hand Award for her young adult novel, “Fact of Life #31,” which tells the story of Kat Flynn, a 16-year-old girl who works with her mother, a home-birth midwife.

As she navigates her relationship with her mother, her friends, and a potential boyfriend, Kat struggles to overcome her feelings of inferiority as she begins to recognize where her strengths truly lie.

Vega’s first novel for young people, “Click Here (to find out how i survived seventh grade),” won the Colorado Book Award for Young Adult Literature in 2005.

She will be reading from and signing two new books at 10:30 a.m. July 25 at the Tattered Cover Highlands Ranch.

Arapahoe County is challenging its residents and employees to make a pledge through Nov. 30 to save energy by driving smarter and using energy-efficient light bulbs as part of the National Association of Counties Green County Contests.

The Drive $marter Challenge is a fuel-efficiency campaign to help consumers lower their gasoline costs by keeping their vehicles in good working order, driving less, and driving more fuel-efficiently. The campaign Web site,, asks participants to pledge to take six actions, such as keeping tires properly inflated, removing unnecessary weight in the trunk and curbing aggressive driving, and calculates their savings of money, gasoline and greenhouse gas emissions.

The Web site also offers money and gas-saving tips in English and Spanish and provides extensive resources ranging from where to find the cheapest local gas to information on public transportation, biking, car sharing and carpooling.

The Change the World, Start with ENERGY STAR campaign encourages residents and employees to make a pledge to take small actions to reduce household energy use, such as changing one light bulb in their home to an ENERGY STAR-qualified bulb, power-managing computers, choosing ENERGY STAR appliances, and properly programming thermostats.

Make your pledge by visiting The top three counties earning the most pledges for the Drive $marter Challenge will receive a $3,500 cash grant courtesy of AutoZone. Those winning the Change the World contest will earn a $5,000 cash grant, courtesy of Walmart.

Arapahoe County was the first government in Colorado to be recognized for its energy-saving efforts. By upgrading heating and cooling systems in 2007, Arapahoe County saves more than $915,000 annually in energy costs.

Earlier this year, Arapahoe County was awarded the ENERGY STAR designation for five County buildings, a mark of superior energy performance and efficiency.

For more information or to take the challenges, visit and view “What’s New.”

The Arapahoe County Fair, July 22-26, offers a multitude of ways for residents to compete and participate.

Rocky Mountain Armwrestling Classic is included in general admission July 25. All fairgoers can enter to compete in the classic; those under 18 require parental consent. Registration is done the day of the event. Trophies will be awarded to winners and runners-up.

Demolition Derby. Cars and drivers are needed for the demolition derby July 26. Drivers will smash and crash their way to get a piece of that $6,000 purse. It’s an all-amateur event, open to drivers with a valid license. Those younger than 18 must provide a notarized parent/guardian consent form. Entries are $50 per vehicle. Visit rules.html for rules and entry form. Pre-registration must be postmarked by July 11, although entries are accepted the day of the event.

Mutton Bustin’. Sponsored by the City of Littleton, this event is for wee thrill seekers to see if they have the chops for rodeo. Unlike many other major events across the state, the Arapahoe County Fair makes it incredibly easy for a child to participate in the mutton bustin’ competition. Any child who weighs less than 50 pounds can sign up 30 minutes before each schedule show. Mutton bustin’ takes place daily and has two to four competitions a day.

Other contests include the Dutch oven cook-off, open class competitions, cow patty toss, Potestio Brother’s back seat driver contest and much, much more. General admission is $10 and includes all entertainment, concerts and events. For $5 Wednesday and Thursday and $10 Friday through Sunday, you can upgrade your ticket to unlimited carnival rides. Visit Volunteers are needed to help with the fair, visit to learn more.

Amateur hobbyists are invited to enter their handiwork in the Open Class competition of the 2009 Arapahoe County Fair, July 22-26. Submit your best — from quilts and floral arrangements to landscape photographs and and apricot jam — to earn a blue ribbon and bragging rights that last a year.

Residents of all ages and from all counties can enter in the following divisions:

Fiber arts: Quilting, knitting, felting, crocheting and various needle arts.

Culinary arts: Varied breads, cakes, cookies, jellies, jams, preserves, and canned, pickled or dried foods.

Visual arts: Photography, drawing, painting, collages and other fine arts.

Horticulture: Vegetables, fruits and herbs.

Floriculture: Flowers, ornamental grasses and arrangements.

Contest guidelines, categories and an entry form can be found in the Open Class Fair Book, available at or by calling 303-730-1920.

Walk-in entries are accepted. Culinary, visual and fiber arts entries cost $2 and must be submitted between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. July 20 or from 8-11 a.m. July 21. Horticulture submissions must be entered at the fair from 7-10 a.m. July 24. Floriculture entries are due from 7-10 a.m. July 25. Both horticulture and floriculture entries cost $1.


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