The television screen will be filled tonight with images of Times Square and all kinds of merriment. Miley Cyrus will be prancing around on stage with her tongue and other body parts hanging out. What an appropriate entrance she would make astride the New Year’s ball. Legendary Melissa Ethridge will be singing John Lennon’s Imagine and showing the true grit that made her not only a music phenom but also a successful cancer survivor.

As exciting as that all sounds, I’d rather be 2000 miles away nestled into the foothills of picturesque Colorado. Today is the birthday of one of the state’s legends, John Denver, who so aptly captured the majestic quality of our state when he wrote Rocky Mountain High. I’m not referring (no pun intended) to our state’s lenient marijuana laws. As a Libertarian, I supported that controversial bill even though I do not personally imbibe. Instead, I’ll be spending it my favorite way- welcoming the new year with a great meal with great friends.

When I first moved to Colorado twenty years, finding a great restaurant outside of Denver city limits was as difficult as panning for gold. I had moved from the Santa Barbara area where great food seemed to be as plentiful as sand grains on the beach. To compound the problem, I had moved to Parker, then an equestrian town 20 miles southeast of Denver. Since that time, our community has gone from horses to houses and become a suburban bedroom community. This evolution includes the addition of tasty dining choices depending on one’s palate and budget- Junz, Indochine, Vines, Trappers, Café Monet and Tequila Joe’s.

Many South Denverites have a fear of driving “all the way” out to Parker, especially on a night that will have the road plastered with drinking drivers, so I’ll share some excellent dining options in the more centrally located Denver Tech Center-

Ecclectic – Cool River, Great Northern, The Tavern, The Wooden Table, White Chocolate Grill, YaYas, Zink

Italian– Chianti, Maggianos, Pizza Republica and Venice

Steak– Brooks, Del Frisco, Mortons, Shannahan’s

Seafood and Sushi– Bonefish Grill, Hapas, Jing, , McCormicks, Pappadeaux, Rice Bistro & Sushi, Sonodas

Grab your Passport!- La Fogata (Mexican), Saharas (Middle Eastern), Yani’s (Greek)

These are just a few of the delicious local options to whet your appetite to bring in the new year in a tasteful way. And when you hear tomorrow that Dick Clark’s ghost was seen by revelers or co-hosts Elizabeth Hasselbeck and Anderson Cooper share unsavory words about Miley, you can rest assured that you brought in the new year tastefully.

And don’t forget The Original Pancake House for tomorrow’s breakfast. Happy New Year!

Karen Loucks Rinedollar is the Executive Director of Denver Speakers Bureau and Founder of the children’s charity Project Linus. She has appeared as a guest on Oprah and uses her public platform to share the messages of personality accountability and positivity to audiences large and small. To book Karen for an upcoming event, you may contact her at Karen@denverspeakersbureau.com

What do President Obama, Mitt Romney and Karen Loucks Rinedollar have in common?

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Karen Loucks Rinedollar  Creator of Project Linus, The Linus Effect and Author of Working for Peanuts: The Project Linus Story

Like the presidential candidates, Karen will also be presenting this week at D.U. – with slightly less fanfare and without road closures.  As the presidential candidates focus on breaking each other down, Karen will be working on building up her audience and making America, and our world, a better place- without raising taxes!

Obama and Romney have consistently used their presidential platforms to pledge promises of how they will bring the United States back to its glory days of productivity and respect in the world. However  these promises are falling on increasingly deaf ears,  especially of the undecided voters, as the candidates are not devulging clear plans on how they will accomplish such deeds.

Karen, on the other hand, will be presenting The Linus Effect- Five Steps to Making a Difference. This talk contains concise strategies that anyone can implement without infringing on the pocketbooks and wallets of citizens. Attendees will leave her presentation feeling positively impowered versus the dazed and confused aftermath of the presidential debates.

Hear Karen’s motivational message at the Daniels School of Business, Friday October 5th, at 1pm in room 310. Daniels is located on the corner of University & Evans Ave. From I-25, take the University exit (#205) and head south on University. It is located on the right side of the street after crossing Evans Ave (3rd stop light). Parking can be a challenge so it’s recommended you arrive early and try sidestreets Josephine or Columbine (just east of University).

Admission tickets and security clearances are not required. If you have further questions, please contact info@thelinuseffect.com or 303-478-6652.

For those unable to attend Friday’s D.U. talk, Karen will be leading a National Make a Difference Day project on Saturday, October 27 from 9-12 noon. It will be held at the Parker Chamber of Commerce. This will include blanket making activities as well as a one mile leisure fun/fundraising walk benefiting the seriously ill and traumatized children served through Project Linus. More info may be found at www.workingforpeanuts.org/project-linus-denver