Briefs: Mobile Junction December 20, 2008

CASSIE HEWLINGS/The Daily Sentinel
STUDENTS IN KAREN STONE’S second-grade class at Dos Rios Elementary show off their teacher’s collection of more than 400 nutcrackers to preschoolers as part of a class project.

Teacher is ‘nutty for nutcrackers’

• Karen Stone received her first nutcracker in 1966 when she was a senior in high school.
Forty-two years later, her collection has grown just a bit, and more than 400 nutcrackers of all shapes and sizes occupy every bit of free space in her second-grade classroom at Dos Rios Elementary.
“She’s nutty for nutcrackers,” said one of her students, 8-year-old Dillon Wardle. “It’s fun being around them and having them in class.”
Stone’s nutcrackers aren’t just for Christmas decorations either. This year marks the 10th year Stone has used her collection for a class project at Dos Rios.
Starting after Thanksgiving break, Stone brings in her collection and asks each student to pick a nutcracker.
“For these couple of weeks, I lend one to each of my students,” Stone said.
The nutcrackers become the centerpiece of each student’s project, Stone said, that includes writing a paper on why they chose the nutcracker they did, drawing the nutcracker and researching the history of the “Nutcracker” play.
“We learn everything about nutcrackers like the folklore and the history,” said Genevieve Calder, one of Stone’s students. “We even learned what inspired the play.”

Chocolate statue of Santa a work of art

• Who knew a 2-foot-tall Santa Claus could inspire awe?
Gelato Junction, 449 Main St., has a white, dark and milk Belgian chocolate statue of Old St. Nick that weighs about eight pounds and does just that.
The statue is the work of Belvedere Belgian Chocolates, run by two chocolatiers who immigrated from Belgium to Castle Rock, owner Paula Hawkins said. The intricate chocolate work makes the statue look less like a piece of chocolate and more like a piece of art.
“Belvedere is a castle in Belgium,” she said. “That’s why it’s named that.”
The Santa mold costs $185, Hawkins said, but the store carries smaller versions of him along with other chocolates for the pocketbook conscious.
“We thought it would help us get through the winter,” Hawkins said of their chocolate offerings.
Hawkins makes gelato, or Italian ice cream, and ice cream daily in her store.
She said she uses fruits grown in Palisade as well as local dairy products in her recipes.
“Gelato is about a day’s process,” she said.
Hawkins and her husband Jim have been in the gelato business for four years, she said, and had a shop in Idaho Springs before moving to Grand Junction.


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