Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Vicki & Wendy

Partners Vicki and Wendy Thompson do yard work at home in Loveland in June 2014. Vicki took a break to paint her toenails purple.

Vicki and Wendy Thompson met in Spearfish, North Dakota in 1993. Vicki was 29 and had two young children, 5 and 7, from a previous marriage. Wendy was 21. Both women were only beginning to find their identities when they found each other.

"I didn't grow up knowing anything about gay people. Nothing ever," said Vicki. "Two boys from California came walking through our little town and everyone was talking about it for 3 months...It sounds so funny, but it was in the '70s. It's still like that some places."

They moved to Colorado in 1999.

The women look through photo albums, holding up photos from their wedding ceremony.

The Thompsons were married in California in 2008 during the brief period when same-sex marriages were legal before the passage of Proposition 8, a state amendment barring such marriages. At the time, California was only one of two states, including Massachusetts, to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Through a series of lawsuits, Proposition 8 was eventually declared unconstitutional. Colorado legalized same-sex marriages in October 2014 and the Thompson's marriage is now recognized in their home state.

Rev. Hal Chorpenning, a long-time friend of Vicki's and Wendy's, greets them before a service at Plymouth Congregational Church in Fort Collins.

Rev. Hal Chorpenning performed a ceremony for Vicki and Wendy in 2006 at Plymouth Congregational Church, prior to their legal marriage in California. It was only the second same-sex wedding ceremony held at Plymouth.

Vicki and Wendy play outside with their 5-year-old granddaughter, Gretchen, who visited in August 2014 with her parents. Cassie, Gretchen's mother and Vicki's daughter, was pregnant with her second child.

Cassie is Vicki's oldest child and lives back in South Dakota with her husband and her 5-year-old daughter, Gretchen. They visit frequently, often meeting in Wyoming halfway between Colorado and South Dakota.

"In the first year that [Gretchen] was born we went there 13 she's sort of our life," said Vicki.

Wendy said their decision to be married at Plymouth and later legally married in California really helped solidify their family.

"There are so many kids that just need the security of knowing that their parents are married," she said. "It's important, not only for the protections they get, but for the identity of family."

Micah, their second grandchild, was born on October 7, 2014, the same day same-sex marriages were legalized in Colorado.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Tim & Ken

Top photo: Tim Sagen and Ken Hoole stand in their backyard in Fort Collins in June 2014.

I have finally completed a project I started working on in June 2014. This is the story of Tim and Ken, partners of 47 uears, who were finally married after Colorado legalized same-sex marriage in October 2014. Thank you to my wonderful subjects, of course, and to my friends and colleagues who helped me edit and finish this story.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Rocky Mountain Faceoff

CSU beat CU 5-3 at the Rocky Mountain FaceOff Colorado State University versus the University of Colorado hockey game at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland Thursday, Nov. 6, 2014.

Election Day

Republican candidate for Larimer County Commissioner Lew Gaiter, top, and Republican candidate for Colorado House District 53 Tim Bessler, at the very dark fondu watch party at The Melting Pot on Election Day Thursday, Nov. 4, 2014.

Second Lady

Dr. Jill Biden, wife of the vice president, donned her best skull-and-crossbones pirate shoes at a rally for Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Udall at the Colorado Democratic Party Fort Collins Field Office Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014.


Georgia Gould, in blue, barely beat out Katie Clouse in the muddy women's elite race at Cross of the North cycylocross at The Ranch in Loveland Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014. Gould and Clouse placed first and second, respectively.

In Jail

(Top) Inmates watch television in one of the newer intake areas at the Larimer County Jail Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014.

(Second from bottom) Lt. Staci Shaffer with the Larimer County Sheriff's Office demonstrates the new video-chatting capabilities with an inmate at the Larimer County Jail Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014. Controversial plans at the jail include phasing out face-to-face visitations. Instead, people will be able to video-chat with inmates using one of the video stations at the jail or remotely.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Mock life flight

Coloradoan reporter Jason Pohl and I worked with Windsor Severance Fire Rescue, Poudre Valley Hospital EMTs and members of the Air Link flight crew to document a mock heart attack scenario in which Pohl was the heart attack victim. EMTs worked on him in a park next to Severance Fire Station 2 and loaded him into an ambulance. The Air Link guys flew in from Medical Center of the Rockies and transferred him into their tiny life flight helicopter. We got a scenic ride back to the hospital and a tour of the cath lab before Jason was allowed to be healthy again. Great group of people, very professional, and a fun learning experience for both of us. Check out the story and video we made here:

Inside look: Life-saving flights in NoCo