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Very Important People

Irene Lofland, from Soviet emigré to vice president

Irene Lofland, from Soviet emigré to vice president

Irene Lofland lived the first six years of her life in Minsk, Belarus, but she has no memories of that life.

Irene’s parents Jacob and Elena Garelik fled the Soviet regime in search of religious freedom and a better life for their daughter, whom they brought to Denver in January, 1977. That’s where Irene’s memories begin.

“I imagine it was the challenge of the change that my memory starts here,” Lofland reasons.

“I started first grade more than half-way through the year in February. I didn’t speak a word of English.”  In fact, she didn’t speak a word of English for a few months, which concerned her parents.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 29 October 2015 14:30 )

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Toby & Mort Mower, newcomers to Denver making their mark

Toby & Mort Mower, newcomers to Denver making their markToby and Dr. Morton Mower, Denver’s newest power couple, reside at an address fit for royalty. Original paintings by Renoir, Monet, Degas and Picasso transform the upscale condo into a veritable museum. Within minutes, their Baltimore accent, comfortable demeanor and humorous banter — the latter primarily directed at each other — make one feel right at home. Toby, 76, and Mort, 82, officially arrived in Denver a year-and-a-half ago but have lived part time in Breckenridge, Telluride, Bea...

Last Updated ( Thursday, 29 October 2015 14:30 )

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Mordechai Hoffman, business mind behind Hillel Academy

Mordechai Hoffman, business mind behind Hillel AcademyEIGHT YEARS ago, Hillel Academy’s fiscal situation was a train wreck. There was even talk of closing the venerable school, Denver’s oldest and original Hebrew day school. Then came Mordechai Hoffman, a man with a British accent, a good sense of humor and a no-nonsense business approach. He turned Hillel Academy’s fortunes around. Today, the day school is fulfilling its educational mission in a financially responsible manner and with a sparkling new addition.

Last Updated ( Friday, 13 November 2015 13:51 )

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Gail Klapper, veteran political activist

Gail Klapper, veteran political activistEverybody seems to know who Gail Klapper is — she’s been a player on Colorado’s political, social, policy and educational scene for decades. The tough question, really, is what Gail Klapper is. It is perhaps a good indicator of her character that when she is asked to describe her own professional status in a single word or simple phrase, she has no ready answer. “I haven’t thought about that,” the energetic and articulate Klapper replies after a moment, then gives it a try....
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Rev. Leon Kelly, Moses in the land of gangsters

Rev. Leon Kelly, Moses in the land of gangstersRev. Leon Kelly is on speakerphone in his downtown office, speaking to a man in another city. As his visitors wait for him to finish the call, it becomes apparent that the man lived in Denver some years ago, that he was involved in gang activity here and that he came perilously close to death because of that activity. “Do you remember when they wheeled you into the emergency room,” Kelly asks the man, “with a bullet in your head?” The man on the other end of the line chuckles softly, h...

Last Updated ( Thursday, 29 October 2015 14:30 )

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