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Vol. 10 No. 9 - September 4, 2010


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Fox Run adventure park plan criticized at meeting

Photos by Kate Wetterer.

By Kate Wetterer

Three extra picnic tables were brought in to accommodate the crowd at the second public meeting for Chris DeCirco’s Aerial Adventure Park proposal, held on Aug. 31. About 200 people clustered beneath the same pavilion where last month’s meeting was held.

The purpose of this discussion, according to Tim Wolken, El Paso County Parks and Leisure Services Department director and leader of the meeting, was to explain the park idea and further assess the public’s reaction.

"Our goal here, really, is to evaluate the benefits… and the impacts of the proposal," Wolken said.

An aerial adventure park normally consists of play equipment, such as zip lines, ropes to climb, or hanging bridges, strung up between trees. The current proposal would place such a park in Fox Run’s Fallen Timber area, a patch of forest dedicated to raw nature and trails. The county remains neutral toward the idea, Wolken said, though it is being viewed as a potential source of much-needed revenue for all the parks.

The vast majority of attendees at the meeting were not convinced. One man asked, "How can we effectively and in the most organized way prevent this from happening?" Many spoke out against such ideas as a concession stand and the fencing off of equestrian and hiking trails. Wolken mentioned that Fox Run’s trees may not be sturdy enough for an adventure park. An arborist is expected to give a professional opinion if the plan proceeds.

When Wolken commented on the increase in interested citizens, one explanation resounded throughout the crowd: Nobody knew about the last meeting.

Concerns raised by those in attendance included:

  • Loud, buzzing zip line machinery could potentially be heard as far away as Rollercoaster Road.
  • Zip lines are dangerous and sometimes deadly. Lawsuits and safety breaches are possible.
  • Wolken has repeatedly cited Montgomery County in Maryland (near Washington, D.C.), where a similar park has generated some financial success. Meeting participants hailing from Montgomery County described the area as crowded and remarkably wealthy, without many natural recreation areas. The demographic is nothing like that of El Paso County.
  • Roads and parking facilities may not be adequate for visitors to the adventure park, and so would need to be enhanced.
  • The change in environment may lower property values, which would in turn cause a decrease in government tax support.
  • More people coming to the park means more potential for crime, which is apparently a problem in Montgomery County.
  • There are already fancy play centers in the area, like Mr. Biggs. Fox Run is a natural, undeveloped place for children and adults. That should not necessarily be sacrificed.
  • Some suggested moving the aerial adventure park to Black Forest Regional Park.
  • There could be other, less dramatic ways to generate financial support for Fox Run and the entire park system.

The planning process is still at step one, Wolken said, adding that another main goal of the county is to "balance a regional park system with still being good neighbors."

Wolken said that information from the meeting will be posted on the county website including the date and time of the next discussion opportunity. He can be reached at TimWolken@elpasoco.com, or (719) 520-6981.

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D-38, Aug. 5 and 19: Bauman describes goals

By Harriet Halbig

At two August meetings, Interim Superintendent Ted Bauman addressed the Board of Education regarding its priorities and expectations. He encouraged members to attend meetings of district committees and to attend school functions to be more visible to the community and to develop a comfortable relationship with administrative and teaching staff members. In this way, he hoped that candid and informal discussions of policy and budget matters could be held as the year progresses.

He also suggested that the board informally meet with the principals of the district, perhaps before a board meeting, to get acquainted.

Bauman assured the board that he intends to serve as superintendent only for the 2010-11 school year and will do his best to maintain the strength of the district’s academic performance while seeking support from the community. He said that, since his retirement as superintendent in 2003, he has been active in other community groups, and he feels that these ties will enable him to reach out to those in the community with no direct ties to the schools. He has contacted the chamber of commerce, the towns of Monument and Palmer Lake and other organizations and will soon speak to Kiwanis and the Tri-Lakes Women’s Club.

Bauman reported that test scores from this spring are very positive, with the district placing in the top 10 percent for CSAP, ACT and AP tests, and in some cases ranking in first place. The district has also been accredited with distinction by the state, placing it in the top 10 percent of over 150 districts.

Board opposes ballot issues 60, 61, and 101

Assistant Superintendent for Operations Cheryl Wangeman explained the potential impact on the school district of the passage of three ballot initiatives. The issues are:

  • Proposition 101, which would result in loss of revenue from the tax on cars, boats, and recreational vehicles.
  • Amendment 60, which would result in loss of one-half of property tax revenues (requiring that the state make up the loss from other sources).
  • Amendment 61, which forbids public entities from incurring debt. At present the board has had to take out short term non-interest loans to cover payroll expenses in January until tax revenues are received. This amendment would forbid such action as well as incurring debt to cover building of new facilities.

Due to the present state of the economy, it is unlikely that the state would be able to make up any shortfalls, resulting in considerable cuts at the local level, Wangeman said.

At its Aug. 19 meeting, the board passed a resolution stating: "The Board of Education officially declares its opposition to Amendments 60, 61, and Proposition 101 because each of these proposals will significantly interfere with the ability of the State of Colorado and local governments, including school districts, to provide the public services and infrastructure that the citizens expect and deserve and because collectively, these three proposals will cripple the ability of the State to meet its obligations to sufficiently fund public education, leading to more budget cuts, larger class sizes, and fewer teachers and programs to meet the educational needs of this community."

This resolution was drafted by Colorado Association of School Boards and distributed statewide to its membership.

The entire resolution and another document describing the impact of the initiatives on the school district may be found on the district’s website, www.lewispalmer.org, under Board of Education Supporting Documents.

In addressing an appeal from the District Accountability Advisory Committee (DAAC), the board discussed an information flier that outlines the impact of the ballot initiatives on the school district, the library district and the local fire district. The flier was developed by the Committee for Political Achievement, a subgroup of DAAC.

DAAC appealed the board policy that such information could not be distributed in schools. A 2009 policy forbids "material which in any way promotes, favors or opposes the candidacy of any candidate for election or the adoption of any bond issues or any public questions at any general, municipal or school election" from being distributed in schools.

Upon further discussion of the flier, the board concluded that it presents information without advocating that a citizen vote in a particular way. Members stressed that anyone distributing the information not encourage recipients to vote in a particular fashion but only inform them of the potential impact of the measures.

The board passed a resolution to change its policy in this case, pending legal advice, and agreed to notify DAAC after five working days as to its final decision. In its draft policy, the board said that approved materials may be posted on a designated bulletin board or other location or placed on a designated school community information table or area. Students will not be compelled to accept any materials.

Such materials may not be distributed through the district’s e-mail system or the district’s mail delivery system.

Also, it was agreed that members of the board should not address the ballot issues while speaking during back-to-school nights lest they appear to be encouraging individuals to vote in a particular manner.

Board member Jeff Ferguson said it might be instructive for community members to know what the district would look like if these measures passed, in terms of lost services and programs.

Refinancing of leases approved

In anticipation of the possible passage of Amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101 on the November ballot, the board has two major concerns. The first of these is difficulty with cash flow to cover payroll expenses in January, and the second is the inability to incur debt of more than 10 years’ duration to cover such expenses as improvements on buildings, bus purchases, and other major expenditures.

At a previous meeting, the board had instructed its financial advisor, David Bell of Stifel, Nicolaus and Co., to investigate options for refinancing three leases on the school administration building. The previous leases had been executed for the renovation of the building and increasing energy efficiency in that and other buildings within the district.

Bell and Wangeman answered numerous questions from the board regarding this decision. Of primary concern was the objection to incurring what the board referred to as legacy debt—a debt that would be passed on to succeeding boards. Secondary to this was the fact that any refinancing, whether or not it proved necessary based on the results of the November election, would involve expense in the form of closing costs.

The board passed a motion to refinance the leases and to obtain additional working capital of $2.4 million. The motion declared that the board will review this refinancing semiannually and place the additional funds and interest in a reserve account that cannot be used without board approval. The vote was 4 to 1, with Pfoff objecting.

Board OKs revisions in Internet policies

Director of Personnel and Student Services Bob Foster and Lewis-Palmer High School Assistant Principal Lori Wagner briefed the board on developments in the district’s Internet policies for students and staff.

They said that the former policies did not keep pace with technology and that they wished to strengthen consequences for misuse by staff. The policy encompasses cell phones as well as laptops.

Students may bring in their own laptops, and the proposed policy would allow staff to capture the addresses accessed while the student is on school property. Laptops must be registered and students must sign a form stating willingness to comply with the policy. Terms of use are displayed whenever one logs on.

When using a laptop on site, students obtain access to the Internet through the district’s filter system. In addition to research capability, there is a student drive where a list of projects may be found.

Wilson asked whether the ownership of intellectual property developed online has been addressed. Foster said that this issue is not addressed in the policy but that he would consult legal counsel.

The board voted to approve the revised policy.

Adopt a Class program explained, expanded

District Community Relations Manager Robin Adair introduced the Adopt a Class program to the board. This program, in use for many years in other parts of the country, allows individuals and businesses to make an annual tax-deductible contribution to the school of their choice in support of its programs.

The contributor may choose to adopt a teacher or class, a grade, or an entire school. At the high school level, one may sponsor a team or program (such as the music program). Once the donation has been received, the teacher may make a purchase of supplies and submit receipts to the school secretary for reimbursement. The donor receives a tax receipt, mention on the school’s website, and a thank you letter.

Georgina Gittins, a parent from Bear Creek Elementary, researched the program and brought it to her Building Accountability Advisory Committee and DAAC. She learned that the program has been a success elsewhere, with individuals often making an annual contribution. Local businesses find it to be a convenient way to support the local schools without holding frequent fundraisers. A local bank has adopted the district’s Bear Creek Elementary School for the year.

The donated funds in District 38 can be processed through the Learning Points system, therefore avoiding extra processing expense.

Gittins and Adair requested that the board allow the expansion of the program beyond the pilot Bear Creek Elementary program into the rest of the district. Gittins offered to explain the program to the other schools.

In response to board members’ concerns about inequities, Gittins and Adair assured them that when a particular class has obtained a sponsor, donors are notified of which classes still require support.

Any items purchased through the program become the property of the school.

The board agreed to the expansion of the program.

District students score well

Marie Revak, the district’s director of assessment, presented the district’s scores in CSAP, ACT and AP tests for the year.

In comparison with other districts with more than 100 students at grade level, the district ranked first in six categories, second in six categories, third in six categories and fourth in six categories. The number of districts in any one group varied from 58 to 61, thus placing District 38 in the top 10 percent.

Regarding Advanced Placement (AP) tests, Revak said that 79 percent of those students who took these tests scored high enough to get college credit in that subject. In addition, Palmer Ridge High School is offering two courses that allow students to earn college credit.

To view the scores, go to www.schoolview.org

Revak said that the CSAP will be phased out in the next few years, and there will be an added stress on workforce readiness in future tests.

Board member Gail Wilson commended the staff for achieving such excellent results and added that special education students who took the tests all scored within the acceptable range.

Superintendent’s report

Bauman reported that the early days of the school year have gone well. He reported that, as of this date, the district has 28 students more than budgeted.

He reported that none of the schools is at its capacity, with Lewis-Palmer Middle School at 95 percent, Lewis-Palmer Elementary and Palmer Lake Elementary at 85 percent, Kilmer and Bear Creek elementaries at 75 percent and Lewis-Palmer High School at 65-70 percent.

In closing comments, Ferguson said that he and board Treasurer Mark Pfoff have met with members of other boards of education regarding their response to the November ballot initiatives. In addition, the boards discussed doing other things, such as purchasing fuel as a group to reduce costs. The districts involved include Districts 11, 20, 49, and 2.

The board also passed a resolution approving such routine items as minutes of previous meetings, resignations/retirements of licensed staff, a list of substitute teachers for 2010-11, and items requiring board signature.

The public meeting was adjourned at 9:15 p.m., after which the board convened an executive session to discuss matters of personnel and to consider the next step in an employee grievance matter.

**********

The next meeting of the Board of Education will be held at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 14, at Palmer Lake Elementary School, 115 Upper Glenway, Palmer Lake.

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D-38 District Accountability Advisory Committee, Aug. 17: Fact sheets list likely effects of ballot measures

By Harriet Halbig

Lewis-Palmer School District 38’s District Accountability Advisory Committee (DAAC) held a special meeting on Aug. 17 to address concerns about getting the word out on November ballot initiatives that could have a serious impact on school district finances.

Cori Tanner, co-chair of DAAC and chair of the Committee for Political Achievement (CPA), said that her group had developed an easy-to-comprehend fact sheet demonstrating the effects of the passage of measures 60, 61, and 101 on the school district, the library district and the fire district. She said that it is critical for the public to understand the impact of these measures on public entities and stressed that the fact sheet is an informational document and not a campaign document.

The ballot measures involve such things as the ability of public entities to take on debt for longer than a 10-year term, the virtual elimination of specific property tax on such items as cars and boats, and the lowering of state income taxes.

Tanner explained that, due to present Board of Education policies passed in early 2009, members of CPA and other volunteers are not permitted to distribute the fact sheets in school buildings. Mention can be made of the materials in a meeting, but attendees must receive the materials outside. The printing of the material was not funded by the school district. To date, the sheets have been distributed in parking lots outside of school buildings.

Broader distribution sought

Tanner urged the DAAC to pass a measure requesting that the school board amend its policy to allow distribution of the material at back-to-school nights, parent-teacher conferences, and school committee meetings held within the school buildings.

The committee passed a resolution to appeal to the board to allow distribution of this information in schools. At the suggestion of board liaison Gail Wilson, the committee will attach to the letter a copy of the present policy and information on the procedure for changing the current policy.

In a related discussion, Tanner said that, regarding the Board of Education charge to DAAC, it will be unnecessary to hold a Meet the Candidate night this year, because the local state senator is not up for re-election and the local state representative is running unopposed. Tanner suggested, instead, that the committee be allowed to hold public information meetings regarding the ballot initiatives. The committee agreed.

In continuing discussion of the committee’s charge, Wilson pointed out that the committee will probably be actively involved in the national search for a permanent superintendent for the district.

Other activities for the committee will include the continuing involvement of CPA with state legislators regarding school-related subjects and DAAC monitoring of school improvement plans and committees reporting on gifted/talented, early childhood education, whole child task force, and special education developments.

The committee discussed its proposed calendar for the coming year, agreeing to continue rotating the location of the meetings in different school locations, allowing members to tour the facilities and compare notes on programs and resources.

Interim superintendent reaches out

Interim District 38 Superintendent Ted Bauman introduced himself and said that he has enjoyed rejoining the district. Having served as superintendent until 2003, Bauman has been retired and involved in other community activities since that time.

In his first impressions, he said that parents seem pleased to have sixth grade once again part of the elementary school, and the sixth-grade students seem pleased to have a semi-middle school experience.

Bauman said that he has met with the chamber of commerce, the towns of Monument and Palmer Lake and the Tri-Lakes Marketing group to acquaint them with the district’s current situation.

A major concern of Bauman’s is reaching the portion of the community that has no direct involvement with the schools. He said that this segment of the population is primarily concerned with real estate values, fixed income, and the quality of life, and it should be made aware that a thriving school system has bearing on all of these concerns. In the near future he will visit with the Kiwanis Club and the Tri-Lakes Women’s Club in a continuing effort to reach out.

Bauman distributed a list of test scores for this year, demonstrating that School District 38 remains near the top of the state in performance. He said that this demonstrates that the district has great teachers, interested parents, and hard-working students. The district also has a supportive community that passed a major bond issue in 1999 to reduce class sizes, expand the gifted/talented program, and add text books and other resources. Bauman feels it is now time to ask for additional support to maintain the present quality of the district’s offerings.

Bauman said that the fliers that Tanner described have been left at town halls and other public places. He can answer questions from the public and, once the school board passes a resolution to oppose them, he can inform people of that fact.

Regarding rumors, Bauman said that Palmer Ridge High School will not close and Grace Best will probably not reopen in the near future. He said that the public must be convinced that the Board of Education will make wise, fiscally responsible decisions. In support of this goal, Bauman said that members of the board will be more visible at committee meetings and back-to-school events, in addition to frequent school visits where they may interact with the parents and staff.

Concern over Blanch’s exit

In the committee’s closing discussion, Co-Chair Steve Braun and committee member Georgina Gittins of Bear Creek Elementary expressed continuing concern over the departure of former Superintendent Ray Blanch. They felt that the action was taken entirely in closed sessions and no community input was accepted. As a result, there is a lack of trust in the board.

They suggested that trust can only be restored by increased transparency of board actions, fewer executive sessions, and fewer meetings where community comment is not allowed. The process of selecting a new superintendent should occur during the school year so that the community is continually informed of board actions.

**********

The District Accountability Advisory Committee meets on the second Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. Locations vary. Due to a conflict with another district meeting, the September meeting will be held on Thursday, Sept. 16, at the Lewis-Palmer High School Distance Learning Lab, 1300 Higby Road, Monument.

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Monument Academy Board of Directors, Aug. 19: Consultant group evaluates school

By Candice Hitt

The Monument Academy Board of Directors said at its Aug. 19 meeting that it has hired the consulting group Front Range Executive Services Co. (FRESC) as a result of the growing student population at Monument Academy (MA) and the need for leadership reorganization.

FRESC has been collecting data and performing evaluations at the charter school. FRESC hopes to be done with its evaluations by the end of August and submit its recommendations to the board in the months following.

In addition, Dr. Don Griffin was brought on by the school board as MA’s acting interim director to provide training to the board and be the lead negotiator in renewing MA’s charter with School District 38. The current charter contract expires in June 2011.

Two new board members started their terms in June. These members are board Secretary Bob Lindza and Vice President Jason Douglas.

Finances look good

Treasurer Jay McKeown gave the financial report. He indicated that MA has continued to stay on track with finances. Net income for July was $280,000, including $108,000 in an escrow account.

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The Monument Academy board generally meets the second Thursday of the month at 7 p.m. in the school library, 1150 Village Ridge Point, Monument. For information, go to www.monumentacademy.net or call 481-1950.

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Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District Board, Aug. 25: Sprinkler system requirement proposed

By Bernard L. Minetti

Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District Fire Chief Robert Denboske advised the board Aug. 25 that Colorado Springs was adopting a fire code that requires sprinkler systems to be installed in all new residential construction. He recommended that the board consider adoption of this requirement by 2011. He estimated that this installation would add $15,000 to $25,000 to the cost of a new home.

Denboske said this requirement would not be retroactive and would only affect new construction. He advised the board that Fire Marshal Curtis Kauffman would present details at the September meeting that would also be of interest to builders and developers.

At the July meeting, Director Bruce Fritzche had asked whether possession of commercial driver’s licenses by district drivers would make insurance cheaper. Denboske advised the board it would not affect insurance premiums.

Financial report

Treasurer John Hildebrandt gave an overview of the district’s finances. July represented 58.33 percent on the budgetary timeline for the district. Hildebrandt noted that the district had received 95.24 percent of the allocated property tax revenues and 53.67 percent of the specific ownership taxes and that ambulance revenues were still ahead of schedule at 65.58 percent. Ambulance revenues were at $301,674.

Hildebrandt also advised the board that expenses were 60.64 percent of the budgeted amount for the year which was 2.31 percent over budget. Hildebrandt advised that the primary reasons for the excess expense figure were a sewer and water bill that had been pending in the amount of $3,200, a safety expenditure of $3,105 at Station 1 for installation of roof snow guards, and a plumbing expense of $1,700.

Training officer Mike Keough presented the training statistics for July. He stated that the overall personnel training hours for the month totaled 560. The breakdown included 501 hours that were fire specific and 59 hours that were dedicated to EMS personnel.

Denboske then advised the board that the transition of accounts and working overview with Vectra bank had exceeded the district’s expectations. He advised the board that the cooperation and interest in district transactions by the bank had been exceptional.

New fire truck demonstrated

Lt. Keough then provided a hands-on presentation of night operations of the new five-platform fire truck known as "2231." Board members and this reporter were elevated in the personnel bucket at the end of the extendable ladder. When firefighter Rudi Gillette had strapped us in, he elevated the ladder to almost maximum. The ladder with the bucket was extended to 85 feet at an angle of 65 degrees above the fire truck. He said compensation for leveling and balancing was accomplished automatically to alleviate the need for operator personnel to be distracted from primary rescue operations. He also pointed out the water nozzles that could provide a 2,000 gallon per minute stream of water onto a rescue scene.

Board members Roger Lance and Bill Ingram also were in the bucket. The board members noted that Tri-Lakes-area residents were being afforded the latest and most versatile fire equipment available by their purchase of this equipment. It was also noted that the extendable ladder could be lowered below horizontal level to effect water rescues within the range of the ladder’s capability for extension, which is about 100 feet. It was also noted that this equipment could rescue victims who fall through ice without endangering rescue personnel as long as victims are within the truck’s limits for ladder extension.

Gillette then demonstrated the function of the lighting system, which turned night into day 85 feet below. He indicated that these bucket flood lights would provide emergency personnel with more than sufficient light to conduct night rescue procedures.

**********

The next Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District board meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 22, at Tri-Lakes Station 1, 18650 Highway 105 west of Monument near the bowling alley. For further information regarding this meeting, contact Fire District Administrative Assistant Jennifer Martin at 719-484-0911.

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Donald Wescott Fire Protection District, Aug. 25: Two new volunteer firefighters join Wescott

By Jim Kendrick

On Aug. 25, Donald Wescott Fire Protection District Chairman Scott Campbell swore in two new volunteer firefighters, Matthew Volkmann and Tory Frech. The board approved a 15-year lease-purchase agreement with Wells Fargo for $1.65 million to finance the new fire station to be constructed on the southeast corner of Highway 83 and Stagecoach Road. The board also approved the final draft of the 2009 district audit.

Volunteer Battalion Chief Mike Badger advised the board that volunteer Lt. Tim Hampton would be interviewing 16 volunteer firefighter candidates for approximately eight open volunteer positions. A joint Firefighter 1 academy for the new volunteers will be held with Black Forest Fire Rescue District in October. The next wildfire academy will be held locally, which should save a significant amount of training money that would otherwise be used for travel expenses.

Capt. Scott Ridings reported that the district’s annual "Fill the Boot" fundraising campaign for the Muscular Dystrophy Association will be starting on Sept. 1. Wescott has been very successful in raising money for this charity.

Lower estimate for new station

During a lengthy discussion, Assistant Chief Vinny Burns reported that the original estimate of $1.8 million for the new fire station had been lowered. After an on-site meeting with the Colorado Department of Transportation, the state determined that no acceleration and deceleration lanes will be needed on Highway 83. This will save over $100,000. Other projected savings for building components added another $35,000 in savings.

The vote on the lease-purchase agreement with Wells Fargo for $1.65 million was 4-1, with Director Dennis Feltz opposed.

Auditor Tom Sistare of accounting firm Hoelting & Co. told the board that his final report gives the district a "clean" or unconditional audit. Sistare praised the new leadership program that gives several members of the staff "ownership" of administering and controlling various portions of the budget to improve training and experience for future positions of higher responsibility.

Sistare noted that Chief Edwards, Burns, and Administrative Assistant Cheryl Marshall had resolved all payroll problems that occurred during the period when a consultant check writing firm had been hired to manage payroll. Sistare said there were no remaining cash problems.

The meeting adjourned at 9:30 p.m.

**************

The next meeting will be held one week early at 7 p.m. on Sept. 15 in the Station 1 conference room, 15415 Gleneagle Drive. Meetings are normally held on the fourth Wednesday of the month. Information: 488-8680.

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Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority, Aug. 18: PPRWA to propose merger with county water authority

By John Heiser

On Aug. 18, at the regular monthly meeting of the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority (PPRWA), the members decided to propose to the El Paso County Water Authority (EPCWA) that the two entities be merged under the name Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority.

The members of the PPRWA are the Cherokee district, the City of Fountain, the Donala Water and Sanitation District, the Town of Monument, the Town of Palmer Lake, the Triview Metropolitan District, the Woodmen Hills Metropolitan District, and the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District. All of them are also members of the EPCWA. Additional members of the EPCWA are El Paso County, the Colorado Centre Metropolitan District, the Forest Lakes Metropolitan District, the Fountain Mutual Irrigation Co., the Security Water and Sanitation District, the Stratmoor Hills Water and Sanitation District, the Sunset Metropolitan District, and the Widefield Water and Sanitation District.

The proposed dues for the merged entity would be similar to the current EPCWA dues and would range from $650 to $2,500 per year. For comparison, the current PPRWA annual dues for districts serving or with the potential to serve 1,200 or more single family equivalents (SFE) pay $15,000 per year, and districts with fewer than 1,200 SFE actual or potential customers pay $5,000 per year.

It was proposed that Gary Barber, manager of the EPCWA and PPRWA, would continue as the manager of the combined entity but at a substantially reduced level, and Dick Brown, the legislative consultant to the PPRWA, would become the legislative consultant to the combined entity.

The combined entity would continue to administer the transit loss model currently being administered by the EPCWA. The transit loss model measures and records the amount of non-native Fountain Creek watershed stream flows owned by several municipalities and water districts. The amount of this water added to native stream flows by external sources, such as effluent from wastewater treatment facilities, can be exchanged or reused. The model calculates how much of the added water is lost.

The proposal to merge the two water authorities was scheduled to be presented at the EPCWA meeting Sept. 1.

Members agree to submit Flaming Gorge project participation agreement

At the May 19 PPRWA meeting, representatives of Monument, Triview, and the Woodmoor district formally agreed to participate in the feasibility study phase of the Flaming Gorge project through Donala’s membership in the Colorado Water Authority (CWA). The project’s feasibility phase is expected to be completed by mid-2011.

The CWA is a coalition of Colorado water providers that is looking into bringing water from the Flaming Gorge Reservoir in northwestern Colorado to the Rueter-Hess Reservoir, a 70,000 acre-foot facility being constructed three miles southwest of downtown Parker.

The current members of the CWA besides Donala are the Parker Water and Sanitation District, the South Metro Water Supply Authority, the Board of County Commissioners of Douglas County, and the Town of Castle Rock.

At its June meeting, the PPRWA decided to conduct participation in the CWA as a project. The costs, in this case $20,000, would be split among the participants. Duthie was designated as the PPRWA’s representative with Barber as alternate.

At the July 21 meeting, Rick Fendel, attorney for the PPRWA, reported that he had been in contact with the CWA’s attorney and had prepared an intergovernmental agreement and participation agreement to convert Donala’s membership in the authority into a PPRWA project membership. Due to concerns about additional potential legal fees, the matter was tabled.

At the Aug. 18 meeting, it was agreed to forward the participation agreement to the CWA to see if they will sign it. Jesse Shaffer, manager of the Woodmoor district, said that if the agreement is not approved by the CWA, the Woodmoor district will not participate in the project.

**********

The next regular monthly meeting of the PPRWA will be held Sept. 15 at 8:30 a.m. at the Woodmen Hills Metropolitan District Community Center West, 11720 Woodmen Hills Drive in Falcon. The meetings are normally held on the third Wednesday of each month. The location is rotated among the PPRWA members.

The PPRWA Web site is www.pprwa.com

**********

Correction

The article on the July 21 PPRWA meeting as published in the Aug. 7 OCN said, "Duthie objected to paying a one-fourth portion of the legal expenses to include the other three entities." That is incorrect. Duthie’s objection was to requests from Rich Landreth, Monument’s Public Works director, and Jesse Shaffer, manager of the Woodmoor district, to provide an estimate of any additional legal fees involved in completing the assignment transfer. OCN regrets the error.

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Donala Water and Sanitation District, Aug. 19: District approves water reuse engineering study

By John Heiser

At the regular monthly meeting of the Donala Water and Sanitation District Board of Directors Aug. 19, the board unanimously approved a $182,695 engineering study contract to investigate potential ways to implement indirect potable reuse (IPR) of effluent from the wastewater treatment plant. There is the potential to reclaim about 400 acre-feet of water per year that is currently being discharged down Monument Creek. An acre-foot is 326,851 gallons.

The study, to be conducted by engineering firms GMS and Leonard Rice, is to be called the Donala Expanded Water Supply Study and will take about a year.

The study includes coordination with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and approximately $35,000 in public information efforts to be conducted by Floyd Ciruli and Associates.

Donala General Manager Dana Duthie said, "The idea is to investigate the use of state-of-the-art and natural treatment technology to ensure we supply drinking water that is as safe and pure as what we provide now. As we start mixing new supplies of water, there will be new challenges. We will be investigating all of our options, and we plan on getting the public involved early on. In fact, we plan on asking for volunteers for a Citizens Advisory Committee as sort of a sounding board once we narrow down our available options."

At the district’s water workshop July 7, Roger Sams of GMS outlined one possible Donala IPR project using wetlands and ponds to treat effluent from the wastewater treatment plant. Such treatment requires significant land area. Sams suggested that part of the Gleneagle golf course could provide the needed area.

The engineering study will also look at various other ways reclamation of the water could be accomplished.

Duthie said the first engineering study update report to the board will be at its Oct. 21 meeting.

Despite irrigation-rationing program, high water use continues

Duthie noted that water use in June was more than twice the use in May. More than 325 customers used over 40,000 gallons during June, two used over 100,000 gallons, and one had a water bill of $1,200.

There was more rain in July than in June, but still almost 100 customers used more than 40,000 gallons and five used over 70,000 gallons. The highest bill was $613.

The irrigation-rationing program applies from May 31 through Sept. 6. The district has sent 81 first-warning letters for violations and 11 second-warning letters. So far, no fines have been levied this year. Additional information is posted at www.donalawater.org/conservation/rationing.html

Duthie noted that even though the rationing program has not significantly reduced overall demand, it has substantially reduced the daily peak demand.

He concluded that only higher water bills are likely to lead to increased conservation and said that will be a consideration when he proposes the water rates for 2011. His proposal will be discussed at the board’s September meeting.

Other matters

  • During the three months from May 1 through July 31, the district’s $3.76 million in investments managed by Davidson Fixed Income Management showed a yield of 0.37 percent, achieving a goal of beating the Colotrust Plus fund, which yielded 0.12 percent during the same period. The weighted average maturity of the district’s investments is 5.2 months.
  • Duthie reported that those opposing the district’s Willow Creek Ranch water court case were hosted at the ranch. Twenty representatives came on July 26 and seven came Aug. 4.
  • Duthie reported on the July 21 and Aug. 18 meetings of the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority. See PPRWA article.

Following the public meeting, the board went into executive session to discuss personnel and negotiation issues.

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The Donala board will hold its next regular meeting on Sept. 16 at 1:30 p.m. at the Donala office, 15850 Holbein Drive.

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Upper Monument Water Quality Management Association, Aug. 19: Consultant explains negotiations on proposed tighter state phosphorus and nitrogen standards for treated wastewater

By Jim Kendrick

On Aug. 19, consultant Tad Foster briefed the Upper Monument Water Quality Management Association on current and upcoming regulatory issues regarding the amount of phosphorus and nitrogen compounds that will be allowed in local wastewater treatment facilities’ discharges to Monument Creek. He discussed proposals he will be making to the Water Quality Control Division of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment for alternative methods of establishing appropriate statewide limits for total phosphorus and total nitrogen, which are nutrients for all aquatic life.

Foster stated that these alternative proposals for site-specific standards will have a much stronger scientific basis that is more directly tied to the site’s individual ecosystem. The alternative proposals would result in more cost-effective treatment of wastewater than the limits currently being required of the state Health Department by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Foster stated that these very technical issues need to be worked out with the Health Department through the state’s Colorado Water Congress before new state regulations are presented to the state Legislature.

This article covers some of the regulatory issues raised in Foster’s lengthy and very technical discussion of a series of meetings he had with the state Health Department’s Water Quality Control Division over the past 18 months. Foster’s discussions have focused on how the division might be able to better negotiate with the EPA on its new nutrient standards to prevent inappropriate requirements for state wastewater facilities to install very expensive new treatment process equipment. This equipment might not improve water quality in state streams, rivers, lakes, and reservoirs, may not reduce the amount of chlorophyll-A and algae in state waters, or may not be cost effective. The legal basis for Foster’s effort is the positions taken by EPA’s Science Advisory Board in September 2009 in opposition to EPA’s own method of setting nutrient standards.

Mike Poeckes of Donala Water and Sanitation District is the facility manager of the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Facility and the chairman of the Upper Monument Association. He was unable to attend the Aug. 19 meeting due to a schedule conflict with Donala’s monthly operations meeting for Upper Monument Creek. Jim Kendrick, Monument Sanitation District Operations, presided in his absence. Kendrick represents the Upper Monument Association at numerous state meetings on this issue. Others attending the meeting were Becky Orcutt (Palmer Lake), Randy Gillette (Woodmoor), Dave Frisch of GMS Inc. (Donala), Rich Landreth (Triview), Anthony Pastorello (Academy), and Bill Burks (Tri-Lakes).

Purpose of the Upper Monument association

The Upper Monument association was created by the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments (PPACG) under the federal Clean Water Act requirement for implementation of a regional water quality management plan. The association provides the initial round of engineering and environmental reviews of proposals for new wastewater facilities or expansions of existing facilities and infrastructure in the Tri-Lakes community. The Upper Monument association is composed of the special districts that own the three wastewater treatment facilities in the Our Community News coverage area.

The Upper Monument association reviews, approves, and makes recommendations on these wastewater construction proposals to the larger Water Quality Management Committee of the PPACG, which in turn reviews, approves, and makes recommendations regarding these proposals to the regional elected officials who have been appointed to the PPACG board. This management committee is composed of the wastewater district managers within the Pikes Peak region as well as a representative of Colorado Springs Utilities.

The construction proposals are then reviewed by the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners and forwarded to the Water Quality Control Division for final approval by its staff.

Foster’s role

Foster is the environmental attorney for the local Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility and the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility. These two facilities are located on Monument Creek, on the north side and south side of Baptist Road respectively.

Foster is also the environmental attorney for Fountain Sanitation District and Security Water and Sanitation District.

Foster represents these four wastewater treatment facilities at monthly state Water Quality Control Commission hearings, the numerous monthly meetings of various other state Health Department Water Quality Forum work groups, and monthly Colorado Wastewater Utility Council meetings.

The Tri-Lakes facility is jointly owned by the Monument and Palmer Lake Sanitation Districts and Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District. The Upper Monument Creek facility is jointly owned by Donala Water and Sanitation District and the Triview and Forest Lakes Metropolitan Districts.

The following special districts and towns are members of the Upper Monument Water Quality Management Association:

  • Academy Water and Sanitation District
  • Monument Sanitation District
  • Palmer Lake Sanitation District
  • Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District
  • Donala Water and Sanitation District
  • Triview Metropolitan District
  • Forest Lakes Metropolitan District
  • Town of Monument
  • Town of Palmer Lake

Note: Because there has not been any development in the Forest Lakes subdivision to date and none is expected before 2012, Forest Lakes does not currently deliver any wastewater to the Upper Monument facility. Forest Lakes does actively participate in the association or the PPACG review and approval process for proposed wastewater infrastructure construction.

EPA will demand major sewer fee increases by local districts

The Academy, Upper Monument, and Tri-Lakes treatment facilities cannot meet the division’s proposed nutrient standards without expensive major capital improvements. The EPA’s proposed standards are far more restrictive than those proposed by the division and would incur even higher costs. The expected expansion costs for Academy and Tri-Lakes to meet the state’s and EPA’s proposed nutrients limits will likely be more than the current worth of their existing facilities.

EPA policy currently states that the cost that communities will be expected to bear for adding new tertiary treatment equipment for nutrient removal to existing wastewater facilities is proportional to a community’s median income. Under this policy, EPA will demand that monthly residential sewer fees increase to roughly $80 per month before the members of the Upper Monument Association could apply for "discharger specific" variances from the state for widespread economic hardship. This is roughly three times what these local wastewater districts are currently charging. Districts and facilities can also apply for discharger-specific variances to obtain the time required to gather the evidence needed to refine standards and meet compliance schedules for putting new capital improvements on line.

Coalition works to enhance negotiations

Foster stated that he had initiated the creation of a new organization called the Colorado Nutrient Coalition, which operates under the Colorado Water Congress in Denver, to increase the effectiveness of wastewater entities’ negotiations with the division for stream and facility standards that are based on their specific local ecosystem.

The Water Congress is a state-authorized nonprofit that acts as the principal voice for the state’s water community. Its mission is to be an advocate for a strong, effective, and fair state water program for its members to the state Legislature and governor as well as U.S. senators, representatives, and federal agencies. See www.cowatercongress.org for more information.

Most wastewater facilities discharge treated effluent directly into a stream or river that flows into a lake or reservoir that is used as a supply for drinking water. Foster noted that there is a need to involve members of the drinking water, wastewater, stormwater, water purveyor, and agricultural communities in the common problems that will be created for them all by the proposed regulations calling for drastically reduced levels of phosphorus, ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites in the nation’s waters.

Foster first discussed a white paper that he and consultant attorney John Hall had submitted in early July to the Water Quality Control Division. Foster noted that Hall has an undergraduate degree in mathematics and a master’s degree in sanitary and environmental engineering, and was working for the EPA as a mathematical modeler for water quality while he attended law school at night.

Hall formally presented the paper on Aug. 10 at a Colorado Water Quality Forum Nutrient Criteria Work Group meeting. (See http://cwwuc.org/reference/nutrients.html for the white paper.)

The Nutrient Coalition’s white paper cites the lack of a valid scientific basis that has resulted in a fundamentally flawed multi-metric index statistical analysis by the division staff regarding the harmful effects of existing phosphorus and nitrogen concentrations in various state lakes and 13 state reservoirs. The paper says that the state and EPA incorrectly assert that phosphorus and nitrogen nutrients currently being discharged from wastewater facilities directly cause increases in the concentration of chlorophyll-A in lakes and reservoirs and the subsequent growth of algal blooms that destroy aquatic life by using up all the available dissolved oxygen. Hall cited several examples in the state’s own data set for its multi-metric index analysis that he said clearly demonstrate that there is no correlation between nutrients and chlorophyll-A and algae growth.

The coalition’s white paper also notes that no significant controls or reductions have been proposed for agricultural runoff of excess fertilizer nutrients, which could possibly produce much more meaningful reductions of nutrients contained in stormwater flows into state waters.

Foster and Hall have also submitted several other lengthy technical papers to the division on technical evaluations and analysis of alternative proposals for setting nutrient standards. These papers are based in part on successful alternative negotiations with EPA by other states and court cases in which other states have successfully sued the EPA to overturn nutrient restrictions similar to those it has proposed for Colorado. Some of these papers are listed at http://cwwuc.org/reference/nutrients.html

Foster noted that if either the state’s or EPA’s much stricter proposed total phosphorus and total nitrogen nutrient standards are imposed, there will most likely be a much larger number of stream segments throughout the state that will be listed as environmentally impaired. New wastewater sources will not be allowed to discharge into these numerous impaired segments until existing nutrient loads are reduced, including wastewater facility discharges, stormwater runoff, agricultural runoff, and atmospheric deposition of nitrogen that is consumed by algae.

It is also likely that existing wastewater facilities on impaired segments will not be allowed to expand. Fountain Creek, into which Monument Creek flows, has already been designated as impaired. These types of restrictions may also be imposed on Monument Creek due to the new standards.

A very likely outcome of these new restrictions and the subsequent major increase in new impaired stream listings could be a widespread moratorium on growth. The member districts of the Stormwater Utility Council is also very concerned about the cost of meeting new nutrient restrictions on existing and potential future stormwater discharges.

Foster said that Colorado law currently does not require permits for moving water from place to place, as is proposed by the Southern Delivery System of Colorado Springs Utilities. The movement of much lower-quality agricultural irrigation water, which certainly cannot meet proposed new federal standards on phosphorus and nitrogen, could become the subject of new regulations. Permits may be required for the resulting return flow of this transported low-quality agricultural water to streams and rivers that become listed as impaired for nutrients or E. coli.

Foster noted that he has represented the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association and that the Colorado Livestock Association may join the Nutrients Coalition.

A recent change in Colorado regulations has eliminated the current procedure for obtaining temporary modifications to wastewater facility discharge permits, such as Tri-Lakes’ temporary modification on dissolved copper, when there is uncertainty about what a specific standard or permit limitation should be.

A new system of three-year discharger-specific variances has been implemented by the Water Quality Control Commission with the understanding that wastewater facility variances could be renewed for up to 20 years by the state. However, the EPA has indicated that it may restrict facilities to one three-year renewal. This change would lead to widespread major problems for many Colorado facilities. The Academy, Upper Monument, and Tri-Lakes wastewater facilities cannot meet proposed nutrient standards without major capital improvements.

Effects of nutrients are highly variable

Foster stated that "There is no good correlation between total nitrogen and impacts on plant growth as measured by chlorophyll-A, the greenness of the plant. It’s highly variable, a factor of 10 variability, just huge. And there’s so many factors that influence whether small concentrations of nutrients will cause large growths of periphyton on the bottom of the stream or high concentrations of nutrients will cause no growth of periphyton on the bottom of the stream. Really, really variable, unlike almost all the other parameters that we deal with where variability depends on water hardness or pH."

Foster added that this variability has resulted in the lack of significant progress in solving the low dissolved oxygen problems in Chesapeake Bay despite EPA controls initiated in 1972 and the continuing dissolved oxygen problems in the Gulf of Mexico near the confluence with the Mississippi River. He added that EPA administrator Lisa Jackson is pushing very hard for nutrient controls nationwide despite this fact.

Jackson rejected a proposal similar to Foster’s for site-specific regulations on nutrients from the state of Florida in January. The entire Florida congressional delegation signed a letter telling Jackson "to back off."

Foster noted that in 2008, the Pennsylvania congressional delegation forced the EPA to submit its proposed statistical methodologies to EPA’s Science Advisory Board. The board strongly criticized EPA’s standards in April for not being based on good science.

Foster and Hall are proposing a range of possible Colorado nutrient limits that would be based on whether streams, rivers, lakes, and reservoirs are warm or cold, high or low altitude, are isolated or urban, and whether there is a lot or a little plant life, shading, sediment, rocky bottoms, or stormwater, agricultural, and mineral runoff to mention a few relevant factors of each individual ecosystem. These proposals have been developed by the Nutrient Coalition for the past 18 months.

Hall has also proposed that wastewater facilities be allowed by the division to install lower cost interim system improvements, where appropriate, that significantly reduce total phosphorus and total nitrogen, if possible, so that the state can "buy some time" from the EPA to conduct more site-specific stream and reservoir studies to determine what methods will control the loss of dissolved oxygen, excessive growth of algae, aquatic life shifts that dramatically change the pH of the water, and the cause/effect relationship of other individual ecosystem disturbances.

Hall and Foster met privately with Water Quality Control Division Director Steve Gunderson, Water Pollution Control Program Manager Dave Akers, Watershed Program Manager Dick Parachini, and their attorneys on Aug. 17 to seek ways the Nutrient Coalition can help the division establish a science-based regulatory system that accounts for the wide geographical variety in Colorado and ecosystem parameters that create this variability.

Foster also reviewed a variety of site-specific nutrient regulatory approaches being used by other states that the EPA has accepted. However, EPA has refused to accept the same previously approved approaches in Colorado. These previously approved alternative approaches would cause far fewer stream segments to be declared impaired. Foster noted that other environmental specialists will need to be hired by the Nutrients Coalition to develop these site-specific regulatory proposals for streams, lakes, and reservoirs.

Foster mentioned a proposal by Kansas dischargers to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus discharges by 30 percent in the short term while analyzing appropriate long-term standards. The Sierra Club immediately threatened to file a pre-emptive lawsuit against the EPA to prevent acceptance of this counterproposal. Foster said the EPA advised the Sierra Club to back off for the time being and accept the major reduction in pollutants being offered voluntarily by wastewater facilities.

Flexible, site-specific alternatives sought

Foster and Hall will be presenting their recommended alternatives for establishing new flexible site-specific regulations for total phosphorus and nitrogen at the next Nutrients Workgroup meeting at the state Health Department in Denver on Sept. 8. Foster said he expects that their recommendations will very generally include a mix of the following as appropriate:

  • Use concepts successfully implemented by other states.
  • Focus initially on creating alternative solutions for regulating man-made reservoirs rather than natural lakes, tackling the largest problem first.
  • Establish different regulatory categories for these reservoirs based on their actual uses, and create standards based on acceptable ranges of needed chlorophyll-A and total phosphorus for a healthy environment throughout the year.
  • Develop narrative standards for various stream segments based on prevention of excessive plant life densities in existing environmental conditions and habitat, setting narrative standards where excessive amounts of existing nutrients can be confirmed.
  • Establish an antidegradation standard rather than a nutrient standard for pristine lakes and streams.
  • Initially require the addition of chemical treatments for removing phosphorus in wastewater facilities located on impaired streams.
  • Postpone the requirement for adding mechanical capital equipment to existing lagoon systems to determine if total phosphorus and total nitrogen treatment credits can be traded with adjacent wastewater facilities to meet new overall stream standards.

Foster also discussed establishing a stream sampling process for Monument Creek for the Upper Monument Creek and Tri-Lakes facilities, including a baseline study for the types of aquatic life and the various concentrations of nutrients that currently exist downstream of the mixing zone where effluent is discharged to the stream. The sampling for each facility would cost about $1,600. The final written report would cost about $2,600 whether one or both plants were to participate in the contract proposed by GEI Consulting. If both facilities participate, the total cost would be about $2,900 each. Foster said he expects these samples and reports would be required once a year. Other samples may be required for Academy as well.

GEI currently performs a number of monthly tests for required entries in both facilities’ discharge monitoring reports.

Current coalition funding exhausted

Hall and Foster receive their funding for the Colorado Nutrient Coalition by voluntary contributions from members of the Colorado Wastewater Utility Council and members of the Colorado Water Congress. The cost of their work for the Nutrient Coalition so far this year has been about $85,000, the amount collected to date. They will be seeking a roughly equal amount of additional funding from new voluntary contributions from coalition members for their continuing efforts over the last four months of the year. Further additional funding will be required prior to the nutrients criteria hearing that will be held by the Water Quality Control Commission in June. Foster will continue to solicit new member districts and facilities for the Nutrient Coalition.

The Tri-Lakes facility has contributed $1,000 to the Nutrient Coalition through the Wastewater Utility Council. The request for additional funding will be discussed at the Joint Use Committee meeting scheduled for Sept. 14.

After Foster’s presentation, those in attendance briefly discussed matters occurring at their facilities that are of mutual concern.

The meeting adjourned at 5 p.m.

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Meetings are normally held once a quarter. The next meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on Nov. 17 in the facility conference room at Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility, 16510 Mitchell Ave. Information: 481-4053.

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Monument Sanitation District, Aug. 19: Wakonda Hills road construction nearing completion

By Jim Kendrick

On Aug. 19, Mike Wicklund, district manager of Monument Sanitation District, advised the board that the contract with Brannan Construction for completing the expansion of the collection line system in Wakonda Hills would be finished soon. Brannan still needs to finish reseeding and paving the roads that were excavated to install new lines and manholes.

While the Brannan contract was not completed in July as expected, total costs are likely to remain within the $2 million limit of the EPA’s forgivable loan for the project. This grant was issued under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Wicklund also reported that he would be having a pre-construction meeting with T. Lowell Construction to start building the two lift stations that are required for service of homes that cannot be connected by gravity to the new collection system.

Wicklund reported that he would inspect the Synthes plant in September. Synthes has applied for an expanded industrial discharge permit for its industrial waste. A representative of the Environmental Protection Agency will join Wicklund for that inspection.

Wicklund reported that one of the two pumps in the Trails End subdivision lift station was running longer than it should at times, setting off automatic alarms that he had been responding to, mostly at night. Wicklund hired a pump consultant to evaluate the problem and has ordered a replacement pump, which will be installed in September. The faulty pump will be rebuilt after it is replaced so it can become a spare pump for future needs.

Wicklund presented a first draft 2011 budget for the directors to review and comment on after the meetings. Consultant accountant Ray Russell of Haynie and Co. was unanimously appointed as the budget officer.

Jim Kendrick, District Operations, reported on the results of the Aug. 9 Water Quality Control Commission and several Water Quality Forum Work Group meetings he attends on a monthly basis in Denver. The district’s environmental lawyer, Tad Foster, has been very busy organizing the presentation of alternative options that are less costly and likely to be far more cost effective in reducing chlorophyll-A and algae in downstream reservoirs and lakes than proposed tighter state and EPA limits on total phosphorus and total nitrogen for the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility.

See the Upper Monument Water Quality Management Association article for more details of Foster’s research.

The meeting adjourned at 8:40 p.m.

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The next meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Sept. 16 at the district conference room, 130 Second St. Meetings are normally held on the third Thursday of the month. Information: 481-4886.

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Forest View Acres Water District Board of Directors, Aug. 26: Improvement project to begin Sept. 7

By Candice Hitt

On Aug. 26, the Forest View Acres Water District Board of Directors reviewed the Arapahoe well project along with improvements to be made in the surface water treatment plant. The project is on schedule with a projected start date of Sept. 7 and finish date of Dec. 23.

Rick Goncalves of RG & Associates was present at the meeting to discuss the current project, including construction plans to optimize improvements and review the timelines for each phase. Overall improvements include replacing transmission lines, booster pump station modification, Arapahoe well rehabilitation, and improvements to the water storage tank and surface water treatment plant.

Operations report for August

Erik Tameler of Southwest Water Co. gave the operations report for August. The Arapahoe water plant has been operating normally, he said, but water levels at the plant are becoming dangerously low, especially after pumping for a day or more. Water levels recovered to greater than 50 to 100 feet after a day off from pumping. In addition, after a few line repairs, the Arapahoe water levels have increased by 36 percent.

Audit completed for 2008 and 2009

An audit of Forest View’s basic financial statements has been completed by Schilling & Associates for the years 2008 and 2009. The audits were conducted for the purpose of forming an opinion on Forest View’s financial statements. As stated in the independent auditor’s report, Schilling & Associates opinion is that the financial statements fairly present the financial position of Forest View.

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The next board meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 23, at the Mounment Water & Sanitation District board room, 130 Second St., Monument.

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Monument Planning Commission, Aug. 11: New Jackson Creek apartment complex approved

By Jim Kendrick

On Aug. 11, the Monument Planning Commission unanimously approved planned development (PD) site plans and plats for the new Tri-Lakes Disposal parking garage on the northwest corner of Highway 105 and Washington Street and the new Vistas at Jackson Creek apartment complex on the north end of Leather Chaps Drive.

Planning Commissioner Bill Baker announced his resignation, stating that he is moving his business out of the area to another part of the state. However, Baker said his surveying business will continue to provide services in the Tri-Lakes region.

Tri-Lakes Disposal plat approved

Monument Principal Planner Karen Griffith said BR Investments LLC had applied for a subdivision of its industrial 4.27-acre BR Business Park property lot, which is zoned Planned Heavy Industrial Development, into two industrial lots. Lot 1 to the north will be about 1.73 acres, Lot 2 will be about 1.92 acres, and the remainder of the parcel will be dedicated to the town as an approximately 30-foot-wide frontage strip for right-of-way to widen Washington Street north of the Highway 105 intersection.

Griffith explained how the proposed preliminary/final plat conformed to the criteria in the town’s subdivision regulations. Some of the items she noted were:

Grading equipment will substantially reduce the current steep grade of Washington Street.

A sidewalk will be added to the west side of Washington in the dedicated right-of-way along the business park frontage to the shared entrance of Lot 1 and Lot 2. The sidewalk will be extended to the northeast corner of the business park when construction begins for the planned Rod Smith Business Park across Washington Street, which the Planning Commission approved on May 13, 2009. (www.ourcommunitynews.org/v9n6.htm#monpc

When traffic warrants have been met, a traffic signal will be installed at the intersection of Washington and Highway 105. The Rod Smith Business Park will share expenses for the signal installation with BR Investments. The Tri-Lakes Disposal vehicle storage area to be built immediately on Lot 1 will not generate enough additional traffic to require the installation of a traffic signal.

Off-site easements are in place for extension of Monument Sanitation District sanitary sewer lines to the site. A 30-foot-wide east-west easement has been dedicated to Monument along the northern boundary of the BR property. The Monument collection lines and BR service lines have not been installed. A condition of approval was recommended that these lines be installed prior to issuing a land use permit and building permit for the BR property.

A standard intergovernmental agreement between the Monument and Palmer Lake Sanitation Districts has been executed that allows the planned Monument on-site collection line to discharge into a nearby Palmer Lake manhole and collection line on the opposite (west) side of the railroad track. BR Investments will have to bore under the railroad tracks to construct the Monument collection line. This arrangement allows gravity wastewater flow to the Palmer Lake collection line and avoids Monument having to require BR Investments to install a lift station.

Griffith proposed four conditions of approval for the plat:

  1. No land use or building permit shall be issued until the town receives written assurance from the Monument Sanitation District that sanitary sewer lines have been extended to the site and sanitary sewer service can be provided.
  2. The developer shall convey to the town by special warranty deed all water rights associated with the property and the amount of water is deemed adequate to serve the needs of each plat as determined by the Town Code. The form of the deed shall be approved by the town’s water attorney and the director of Development Services, and shall be executed prior to recordation of the plat and recorded immediately upon filing of the plat.
  3. Any necessary technical corrections shall be made and approved by staff.
  4. All referral agency comments shall be resolved prior to recordation of the plat.

The plat and the four conditions were unanimously approved.

Tri-Lakes Disposal site plan approved

Griffith presented the Tri-Lakes Disposal preliminary/final planned development site plan for BR Investment Lot 1. The proposed Tri-Lakes building is 25 feet tall and 3,636 square feet. There will be a maximum of seven trucks parked at the facility overnight and up to 15 employees on site during business hours. Some empty roll-off storage containers will be stored in the center of the site.

Griffith explained how the proposed preliminary/final site plan conformed to town site plan and zoning criteria for heavy industrial uses. There were no significant unresolved key issues or referral comments from other agencies.

Consultant engineer John Schwab of JPS Engineering answered several questions about drainage and the planned detention pond. Griffith added that the drainage plans meet all town standards. Town Attorney Gary Shupp said the property cannot release more than historical flows for a 100-year storm from the property. If that were to occur, neighboring property owners could pursue civil litigation against BR Investments.

Griffith proposed four conditions of approval:

  1. A site plan improvement agreement shall be executed by the applicants and surety provided for all improvements prior to issuance of any permits. The agreement will include provisions for the applicant’s future contribution of their proportionate share of the traffic signal at Washington Street and Highway 105, the amount of which will be determined when the signal is warranted.
  2. A site development permit cannot be issued until the town is assured in writing by the Monument Sanitation District that sanitary sewer service will be available to the site prior to occupancy of the building.
  3. No refuse shall be stored on site, and trash trucks shall be parked in the bays designated on the site plan.
  4. All referral agency comments shall be resolved prior to recordation of the site plan.

The commissioners asked Tri-Lakes owner Brian Beland several questions about drainage, landscaping, and how the new facility would be operated day-to-day. After this series of question and answers, the site plan and the four conditions were unanimously approved.

Vistas plat approved

Vision Development and Jackson Creek Land Co. have proposed the development of an apartment complex called The Vistas in north Jackson Creek. Lot 1 for this project is 10.4 acres of vacant land between Broken Timber Drive in the Jackson Creek Commerce Center, on the northeast corner of Jackson Creek Parkway and Leather Chaps Drive, and the electrical substation to the north. The property would be zoned for multifamily residential use.

Griffith noted two outstanding issues regarding the plat.

Documentation is required ensuring there is adequate groundwater on the property for the proposed 177 residential units and amenities. The applicant must dedicate all water rights for the parcel to Triview Metropolitan District for this purpose.

There is also an existing utility easement through this parcel where a garage building is proposed to be built. This easement must be vacated before construction can begin and removed from the plat prior to recordation.

Griffith explained how the proposed preliminary/final plat conformed to the criteria in the town’s subdivision regulations. She proposed four conditions of approval:

  1. Any necessary technical corrections shall be made and approved by staff.
  2. The existing utility easement shown on the proposed plat must be vacated by the Board of Trustees by separate action prior to recordation of the plat.
  3. All referral agency comments shall be resolved prior to recordation of the plat, including dedication of utility easements for the electric distribution lines to the satisfaction of the town staff and Mountain View Electric Association.
  4. The developer shall convey to the Triview Metropolitan District by special warranty deed all water rights associated with the property and the amount of water is deemed adequate to serve the needs of each plat as determined by the Town Code and the Wet Water Policy of the annexation and development contract between the town of Monument and Regency Group and successors. The form of the deed shall be approved by the town’s water attorney and the director of Development Services, and shall be executed prior to recordation of the plat and recorded immediately upon filing of the plat.

Rick Blevins of Vision Development explained the details of Mountain View Electric’s revised plans for installing new power lines for this project and the new utility easement in the plat for the revised plan.

Blevins formally objected to condition 4.

Note: There is a long-standing dispute between Jackson Creek Land Co. and Triview Metropolitan District over ownership of water in the district. The town has decided to enforce its own code requiring dedication of water as part of every land use approval process to break this logjam that the Triview board has left unresolved for over 20 years via a de facto town moratorium on new development approvals within Jackson Creek. Triview’s progress in negotiations is not known to the public because all discussions are held in executive session.

The plat was approved unanimously with the four proposed conditions.

Vistas Lot 1 site plan approved

Griffith described the proposed site plan. Some of the features she noted were: a community park in the center of the development with playground equipment, open space for a community garden, a pool, a clubhouse with indoor workout rooms, and parking garage buildings. There are access points on Broken Timber and Leather Chaps Drives.

Griffith explained how the proposed preliminary/final site plan conformed to town site plan and zoning criteria. She recommended four conditions of approval:

  1. The preliminary/final plat for Vistas at Jackson Creek must be recorded prior to recordation of the preliminary/final PD site plan for Vistas.
  2. Any necessary technical corrections shall be made and approved by staff.
  3. A Site Plan Improvement Agreement shall be executed by the applicants and surety provided for all improvements.
  4. All referral agency comments shall be resolved prior to recordation of the site plan, including verification that the site plan accommodates the turning radii of the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District’s new ladder truck.

Blevins praised the staff for its cooperation with Vision Development in preliminary reviews leading to this hearing.

Architect Paul Campbell, who specializes in apartment buildings, described the design of the various buildings. There are 66 one-bedroom units, 96 two-bedroom units, and 15 three-bedroom units.

Engineering and architectural consultant Chad Kuzbek, owner of Westworks Engineering Inc., gave an overview on layout and amenities, noting that the amount of irrigation water that will be required is only a third of the maximum allowed by Triview.

After Blevins, Kuzbek, and Campbell answered general questions, the site plan was unanimously approved with the four proposed conditions.

Vistas Filing 2 plat approved

This 3.74-acre filing is located northeast of Lot 1. Griffith’s presentation was very similar to that for Lot 1. She proposed four conditions:

  1. The developer shall convey to the Triview Metropolitan District by special warranty deed all water rights associated with the property and the amount of water is deemed adequate to serve the needs of each plat as determined by the Town Code and the Wet Water Policy of the annexation and development contract between the Town of Monument and Regency Group and successors. The form of the deed shall be approved by the town’s water attorney and the director of Development Services, and shall be executed prior to recordation of the plat and recorded immediately up filing of the plat.
  2. Written permission from Tri-State Transmission must be provided that states the utility and access easement dedication is not in conflict with its existing easement.
  3. Any necessary technical corrections shall be made and approved by staff.
  4. All referral agency comments shall be resolved prior to recordation of the plat, including dedication of utility easements for the electric distribution lines to the satisfaction of town staff and Mountain View Electric Association.

Blevins objected to condition 1 requiring the water dedication to Triview prior to the completion of water purchase negotiations.

The Filing 2 plat was unanimously approved with the four conditions.

Vistas Filing 2 site plan approved

The discussion regarding this application for another 90 apartment units in four buildings on 3.74 acres was quite similar to the discussion for Lot 1. El Paso County has asked for an easement for construction of a regional trail that will ultimately connect Fox Run Park to the Santa Fe Trail. The easement will be located next to the existing high power transmission lines owned by Tri-State Transmission.

Griffith explained how the proposed preliminary/final site plan conformed to town site plan and zoning criteria. She recommended seven conditions of approval:

  1. Reciprocal access easements providing vehicular and pedestrian access to Vistas at Jackson Creek Filing 2, and to the club house, park, community garden, other amenities, sidewalks, and drives located on Vistas (first filing), must be dedicated prior to recordation of the Vistas at Jackson Creek Filing 2 plat and site plan.
  2. An amendment to the Regency Park Fourth Amended Development and Rezoning Plan that designates a trail and open space corridor acceptable to the town and county replacing the trail link south of the substation connecting Homeplace Ranch to the Santa Fe Trail shall be approved prior to recordation of Vistas at Jackson Creek Filing 2 Preliminary/Final PD Site Plan.
  3. A written commitment to provide easements dedicating a suitable trail/open space corridor to replace the link south of the substation, install landscaping, and the trail for any segment that will not be constructed by the county in a timely manner, must be provided by the land owners in the relocated trail/open space corridor prior to recordation of the Vistas at Jackson Creek Filing 2 Preliminary/Final PD Site Plan.
  4. The plat for Vistas at Jackson Creek Filing 2 must be recorded prior to the recordation of the Preliminary/Final PD Site Plan for Vistas at Jackson Creek Filing 2.
  5. A Site Plan Improvement Agreement shall be executed by the applicants and surety provided for all improvements prior to issuance of any permits.
  6. All referral agency comments shall be resolved prior to recordation of the site plan, including verification that the site plan accommodates the turning radii of the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District’s new ladder truck.
  7. Any necessary technical corrections shall be made and approved by staff.

The filing 2 site plan was unanimously approved with seven conditions.

The meeting adjourned at 9:16 p.m.

***************

The September Planning Commission meeting has been canceled.

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Monument Board of Trustees, Aug. 16: Planning commissioner appointed to advisory committee

By Jim Kendrick

At its Aug. 16 meeting, The Monument Board of Trustees unanimously appointed John Dick, a member of the Planning Commission, to replace Steve Meyer on the Community Advisory Committee of the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments. Meyer recently moved out of state. Dick has been a resident of Monument for two years.

Trustees’ comments

Mayor Travis Easton asked about the status of the connection of the NAVSYS building at the south end of Woodcarver Road to water and sewer.

Public Works Director Rich Landreth said he had made arrangements for a sewer connection to Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility with Dana Duthie, district manager of Donala Water and Sanitation District once NAVSYS obtains a permit. Donala operates the Upper Monument Creek Facility for co-owners Triview and Forest Lakes Metropolitan Districts. Landreth added that Triview will provide re-use water from the Upper Monument Creek Facility for the NAVSYS fire hydrant via Triview’s "purple pipe" near the NAVSYS building, until drinking water is provided to the property by Forest Lakes.

Town Manager Cathy Green said the town will pay the $1,500 connection cost because the town was supposed to provide this connection when the NAVSYS property was annexed by Monument eight years ago. Forest Lakes will not provide drinking water to the NAVSYS building until it begins to provide water in its own development. Construction in Forest Lakes is not expected to begin until 2012 at the earliest.

Baumann briefs board on D-38 issues

School District 38 interim Superintendent Ted Baumann said he wanted to introduce himself to the new trustees and give an overview of "what’s going on in our schools." He noted his concern about how best to communicate with the 75 percent of D-38 voters who do not have children in D-38 schools and "about 15,000 voters over 65 with no kids in our schools."

He added that they are not checking the school’s Web site to learn about the district’s continuing high test scores, which enhance D-38 property values, and the continuing need for D-38 financial support. He distributed a sheet summarizing test scores to board members and staff. For more information, see http://lewispalmer.org/ 

Baumann expressed real concern about the financial consequences that D-38, fire districts, and library districts would experience if Amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101 were to be passed in the November election. These facts are available at http://lewispalmer.org/ under the Board of Education tab. Click on the Supporting Documents link at the bottom of the board page.

Bauman noted that there was an "interesting" rumor that Palmer Ridge High School would be closing after this school year, resulting in seniors saying, "We’re the first and last senior class at Palmer Ridge." He added, "Obviously it isn’t closing" because Lewis-Palmer High School has 875 students and Palmer Ridge has 1,200 students. Neither school is large enough to handle all these students.

Baumann also noted that D-38 has about 5,200 students, the same as when he retired as superintendent in 2003, rather than the 8,000 to 10,000 that were projected back then for this school year. However, actual enrollment this year is 140 students higher than expected, which provides more money for the budget.

Baumann said parents of sixth-graders are "real pleased" about Bear Creek Elementary School being "preschool though sixth" and all seventh- and eighth-graders are at Lewis-Palmer Middle School.

Baumann praised the success of the Options 38 alternative schools setting for non-traditional students—"round students that don’t fit in square holes."

Trustee Tommie Plank noted that she, Easton, and Green will be regularly meeting with Baumann and two D-38 board members to facilitate town-district cooperation and mutual support. The subject for the first meeting will be the effects of Amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101.

See the D-38 board article for information on the board’s approval of a resolution expressing concern over the consequences of voter approval of Amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101 in November.

Chamber requests town funding

Dave Van Ness, executive director of the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce, discussed his written request that the board add a line item to its 2011 budget for $2,500 "to help sustain" Chamber activities. He noted that the Chamber had received about 900 calls and 3,000 visitors to the Chamber building in the past 12 months requesting information on the Town of Monument. He reported that there were 2,350 visits in 2009.

The Chamber sponsors the annual Fourth of July Street Fair on Second Street. It has also represented the town as a member of the Southern Colorado Business Partnership for the past three years at a cost of about $1,500 per year.

Van Ness noted Easton’s and Green’s attendance at Partnership meetings.

In return for this $2,500 contribution, the Chamber will add the town logo to its Web site, which links to the Monument Web site. The Chamber site has about 100,000 visits per year.

Trustee Tommie Plank asked Van Ness if the $2,500 would be in addition to the town’s dues, or would replace them. Van Ness said the donation "would essentially become your dues." Green said the town has been classified as a 50-person company in the past ($565) and a nonprofit currently ($170) for annual dues. There was board consensus on adding a preliminary 2011 budget line item for $2,500 for the Tri-Lakes Chamber, which would receive final consideration by the board later this year.

Van Ness then changed baseball caps, from his Chamber of Commerce cap to his Tri-Lakes Chamber Foundation cap, to discuss his written request for town assistance for this 501(c)3 nonprofit that the Chamber created earlier this year. He described the foundation’s "Transport-59 Program" which he also called "T-59." There are three volunteer drivers who currently provide rides for people 59 and under who need transportation to and from Tri-Lakes Cares for food, job, and nursing assistance, plus the downtown Colorado Springs Veterans Administration clinic and the county Human Services Department in conjunction with the Health Advocacy Partnership. This new service will supplement the ongoing Mountain Transport program for seniors who are 60 or older run by local resident Faye Brenneman with $27,000 in Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments support.

The board approved a $400 contribution for the 2010 budget of $2,000 to the "T-59" program to reimburse the volunteers for their private vehicle mileage at the standard federal mileage rate, which Van Ness said is currently 50.5 cents per mile. Van Ness also requested a line item in the 2011 town budget for $1,000 for the T-59 program. The board agreed to add a preliminary line item for this $1,000 contribution.

Van Ness thanked the trustees for their consideration and stated that if the full amounts could not be awarded, that any amounts for his two 2011 requests would "be better than a poke in the eye" and "a Godsend," respectively.

Basketball hoop ordinance change requested

Jackson Creek resident Andrew Williamson, who lives on a cul-de-sac at 16099 Bridle Ridge Drive, stated that he had received notice of a code violation the previous week for his free-standing basketball hoop that was in the street in front of his house. He called Town Hall to inquire about a "variance" process and that he was attending the meeting to inquire about changing the town’s ordinance.

Green advised the board that there is no "variance" process for sidewalk and roadway obstructions. A change in the town ordinance would be necessary to address Williamson’s request. The main purpose of a town variance is for "very specific land use issues" such as for less than required set-back distances on an irregularly shaped lot.

Green stated that she does not know of any jurisdiction having or allowing such items to be in the roadway due to liability issues and related problems created when town street sweepers and snow plows throw gravel and snow on them, resulting in damage. Green said the town could not remain silent on the issue, citing the example of a car hitting someone playing basketball in the street. Shupp said that the town could be sued for an incident if it gives permission to permanently allow hoops in the street.

Williamson said that he knew that the basketball hoop is not allowed in the street or on the sidewalk and "could possibly cause an OSHA can of worms." He presented signatures from his neighbors stating that they did not oppose putting the basketball hoop in the street, similar to parked cars and trash cans awaiting pickup.

Green said she would research the issue and provide Williamson with more information before the next board meeting on Sept. 7.

Driver’s education program support requested

Stephanie Greeder, owner of Driving With Cops LLC, asked the board for permission to be able to use a Monument police officer as part of her Driver Education Curriculum in conjunction with the National Driver Training Program offered at Palmer Ridge High School. The course, "Building Unity Between the Cops and the Community," will be offered three times annually and would require about 7.5 hours of officer time.

Greeder thanked Monument Officer Chad Haynes, who instructed the curriculum "to promote the safety and public relationships between new drivers, parents, and law enforcement officials," giving learning drivers invaluable information regarding traffic stops and how and what to do during driving situations.

Greeder said she would pay the required overtime rate for a Monument officer’s official "on duty" participation, in uniform, in the program because of the passion for his job that Haynes demonstrates to student drivers. Greeder said she plans on a five-year initial agreement with the town. National Driver Training charges about $250 for the courses it privately offers in leased space at the high school.

Haynes and Monument Police Chief Jacob Shirk stated that they approve of participation in the curriculum and would like to support the program. Shirk said he needed the board’s and the town attorney’s input on supporting this "for-profit" entity. The board and town attorney approved having Shirk charge time and a half for the 24 hours of officer time per year to support the program. Town Attorney Gary Shupp said no contract is required and officer time can be invoiced to Greeder for each class.

Discussion items

Green reviewed the status of each item remaining on the capital improvement program list. The board concurred with the staff’s recommendation not to incur debt at this time to complete any more items. Items in the plan that cannot be funded as previously planned in 2010 were shifted to later years.

A draft intergovernmental agreement between the town and Triview Metropolitan District was distributed by Trustee Dominguez. The draft agreement is a general statement of the types of work that the town staff will perform for Triview to operate and maintain its infrastructure.

Triview has no operational employees, relying on the town department heads to manage the work performed by line staff for the past year and a half. Triview pays for the work performed for it by Shupp. A separate intergovernmental agreement covers the work performed by Public Works employees.

Triview does not pay the cost for the work performed for the district by department heads Landreth, Town Treasurer Pamela Smith, and Director of Development Services Tom Kassawara.

Green, who is acting as Triview’s district manager, has asked the Triview board to hire its own district manager and support the development of intergovernmental agreements to provide the town full compensation for the work being done by town employees. Separate addendum contracts will have to be drafted to cover specific duties and compensation for work performed for Triview by town department heads.

Currently, subcommittee meetings are being held by Mayor Easton, Trustee Dominguez, and Triview directors Robert Fisher and Steve Remington to iron out the structure and wording of the various required intergovernmental agreements to formalize the current operating arrangement.

The board also discussed taking a position on Amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101. After a lengthy conversation, the board decided not to pass a resolution on these items that will be on the November ballot.

Staff reports

Landreth provided an update to the board on the progress of getting a certificate of occupancy for bathrooms installed at Limbach Park. The town purchased the used building from the town of Larkspur after the I-25 rest areas in Larkspur were closed.

Because the modular building was moved from Douglas to El Paso County, the building is no longer "grandfathered" and must meet recent code revisions for handicapped access that were put in place after its initial fabrication. There is not currently enough room for a wheelchair to turn around inside men’s and women’s restrooms.

Landreth said he expects modifications to be completed in time to have the building fully operational for the Chili Cook-Off event on Sept. 18.

Green reported that the Oct. 18 board meeting will be held at Palmer Ridge High School for the annual trade show for local nonprofits and community service agencies.

The meeting adjourned at 9:45 p.m.

**********

The next meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 7 (due to the Labor Day holiday), at Town Hall, 645 Beacon Lite Rd. Meetings are normally held on the first and third Monday of the month. Information: 884-8017.

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Palmer Lake Town Council, Aug. 12: Liquor license fees will not increase

By David Futey

A separate Palmer Lake Liquor—Medical Marijuana Licensing Authority meeting was held by the Palmer Lake Town Council on Aug. 12 before it conducted its regular meeting. This article covers both sessions.

By unanimous decision, the licensing authority decided not to increase the application fee for liquor licenses. The fee is presently $500. The state liquor enforcement agency advised the town that the maximum fee that can be charged by a municipality had increased to $1,000 as of July 1.

By unanimous decision, the licensing authority set the survey boundary for High Country Wine & Liquor, 790 Highway 105. After citizen input, the survey was set to a 250-foot radius from the business location.

During the discussion on the survey, Palmer Lake resident Gary Atkins commented that the typical 250-foot survey radius would not include many residents to survey. Atkins requested the authority extend the survey to 25 to 30 homes in the Elephant Rock area or increase the survey area. Atkins said some of the properties and businesses near the proposed business are presently vacant. He then requested a 1000-foot radius and asked the authority to consider that the location is close to Pinz Bowling Alley, where liquor is served.

Mayor John Cressman said the property is zoned for the proposed use. Trustee Joe Polonsky suggested obtaining a more representative sample. Trustee Nikki McDonald said this business is a drive-in/drive-out, thus not serving any alcohol, and it is located on the highway and should not impact traffic on side streets.

The Licensing Authority meeting adjourned at 7:11 p.m.

Palmer Lake Town Council meeting

During discussion of consent items, Trustee Bryan Jack said repairs on the primary fire truck were $8,470. He said these repairs related mostly to preventive maintenance issues that had not been addressed for five or six years.

District 38 interim Superintendent Ted Baumann addressed the council about his return to the district and the status of the district. Baumann said he was "pleased to be able to be part of the community again." D-38 has more students than was predicted in the budget.

Baumann also said:

  • Because of the increased number of students, the district should meet the 2010-11 budget.
  • This is the first year Palmer Ridge High School will have all nine through 12 grade levels. The enrollment is 1,150 students.
  • Lewis-Palmer High School has slightly less than 900 students.
  • Rumors that Palmer Ridge High School will be closed are not true.
  • The district did very well in state test scores.
  • The district had $3.5 million in budget cuts last year.
  • The school district wants to have cooperative spirit with the Town of Palmer Lake.

McDonald thanked Baumann for returning to the district. Baumann said the district will be searching for a new superintendent for 2011 and beyond.

Parks and Recreation/Economic Development

Among his recent activities, Trustee Gary Coleman said he:

  • Attended three Rocky Mountain Chautauqua meetings.
  • Met with Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts Executive Director Susan Adams about the Palmer Lake Arts and Community Event (PLACE) to be held on Sept. 25-26. Coleman encouraged residents take part and be involved in PLACE.
  • With his son Travis, he set a model train display for the Chautauqua Dinner Theatre held Aug. 7. Coleman said "it was good to see many members of town council involved in the Chautauqua."

Trustee Polonsky spoke with Christine Ramshur of the Getting Stuff Done (GSD) committee. Ramshur said she could get only two volunteers to help paint the gazebo at the lake. Before painting can be done, sanding is needed and boards must be replaced where the fire damage occurred.

Polonsky reviewed the Conservation Trust Fund Web site and found the weeds along the reservoir would fall into the maintenance criteria. Polonsky will seek funds for the removal project.

Polonsky asked the council about the process for allowing non-motorized boats on the lake. Jack said that since the original lease terminated in July, there are no rules guiding boat use. Town Clerk Della Gray said the council should discuss the matter because insurance would be needed, and Jack said he would like citizen input on the matter.

From the audience, Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department (PLVFD) Chief Shana Ball said she and Palmer Lake Police Chief Kieth Moreland "do not want to see boats on that lake because of risk and liability, and it’s not a very clean lake." Ball also said the lake is too small for boating and she could foresee conflicts between boaters and fisherman on the shore. Ball suggested that those interested in boating should "go to Monument Lake, since it is a lot bigger." Jack said, "We need board input, citizen input, department head input, and insurance agent input" on the matter.

Fire Department

Jack said the Fire Department had 34 calls for the month, which gives them a total of 183 calls for the year. There was a total of 1,333 volunteer hours for the month.

The department will be participating in the 9/11 stair climb at the Denver Qwest building and will have an engine in the Fallen Firefighters Parade.

The department changed its rank structure so that now it includes the chief, assistant chief, captain and two lieutenants.

Police Department

McDonald said the 13 Palmer Lake Police Department (PLPD) Case Report numbers for July were the lowest monthly total for the year. The PLPD lost two part-time officers due to conflicts with their full-time positions. The department intended to hire two new part-time officers later in August.

Trustee Max Stafford said the construction plans for improving the surface water treatment plant have been completed and submitted to the state for approval.

Regarding the Safe Routes to School project, Trustee Dennis Stern and Town Roads Supervisor Bob Radosevich reported that an engineering error was discovered regarding the height of the recently poured curb on Upper Glenway. Upon discovery of the error, Stern, Cressman, and Jack held a number of meetings with the contractors and engineers to determine how to resolve the problem. It was finally determined that the entire curb would be removed and a new curb would be poured at no cost to the town. The new curb was scheduled to be poured on Aug. 16.

Drainage issues on Greeley

Stern also brought up a longstanding issue concerning drainage on Greeley. Cressman said he got involved with the problem in the past because a "homeowner had a lot of water going through his property that caused a ton of damage that he was a victim of. He was quite cooperative with the town. I (Cressman) thought we were going to get sued." The issue is the construction of a culvert in the middle of the property that directs the water directly toward the home. There are also water lines and town encroachment on the property.

Cressman said he encouraged Radosevich and Steve Orcutt to do what they could by constructing some ditches. Cressman said the town is obligated to protect the town utilities and the homeowner. Jack said the situation began when the upper part of Greeley was plated, designed, and built out, causing all the drainage to flow down behind Pinecrest to this property.

Jack said the town did ditch improvement and installed a berm and culvert closer to the roadway. Stern said problems are being created downstream. Cressman said water should have been maneuvered farther down the hill to the stream. Stern and Radosevich will evaluate the situation further and make recommendations. Cressman said a concrete ditch will probably be needed.

Town staff

Gray informed Coleman and Polonsky that an Eagle Scout wants to do a project related to parks in the town. She will be setting up a meeting between the Scout and Coleman and Polonsky.

Gray asked how many bids would be needed for repair of the library roof. Three bids were suggested. The Pikes Peak Library District (PPLD) repaired the railing at the library, and the town needs to repair the roof. PPLD acted in good faith to do the ramp.

Commission Secretary Tara Berreth said the Planning Commission would like to change the sign ordinance process. Jack said the council has talked for the past two years about allowing the commission, which has a better grasp of the sign ordinance, to approve signs. Berreth said the commission wants to retain the option to send a particular sign issue to the council. Jack said sign approval still requires a public meeting, which would be held by the commission. Gray said Town Attorney Larry Gaddis must be contacted to amend the sign ordinance to reflect the change.

Employee insurance

Jack said that at the end of last year, town employees approached the council about increasing benefits. There is a $7,800 cafeteria plan for employees. What is not used at the end of the year can be used in another benefit account like retirement. The employees requested an increase to $9,100 per employee. The council did not honor that request. Jack said the council "shopped around" for a better program. As a result of the search, the council received an overview of possible benefit programs and changes from Dick Welch of Benefit Design Services LLC.

Deputy Clerk Barreth said that after analyzing other insurance options, the program suggested by Welch was determined to be the best option for the employees and the town. Jack said employees want more benefits but the town "wanted to find something that would not cost us (the town) more." Stern asked how the benefit package will get resolved. Gray responded that "the employees will get together and decide who wants to join and who does not want to join, and we will sign the paper and move forward." The cost to the town will remain the same, so no council approval was needed.

Attorney Jim Kin, Gaddis’ law firm partner, briefed the council members on Gaddis’ need for their input before he could draft the new sidewalk ordinance and medical marijuana ordinance. Cressman said the sidewalk ordinance, which covers sidewalk snow removal among other items, is needed for the Safe Route to Schools so "kids are not walking in a plowed street." Radosevich put together a draft of the sidewalk ordinance for the council to review and approve it before it is sent to Gaddis to be finalized.

The change for the medical marijuana ordinance concerns reducing second business application fees from $500 to $250 if it is under the same operator. The council was in agreement on this change. These ordinance items will be put on the agenda at the next workshop so public input can be received.

The council meeting adjourned at 8:20 p.m.

**********

The next regular council meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Sept. 9 at Town Hall, 28 Valley Crescent. Information: www.ci.palmer-lake.co.us/index.shtml or call 481-2953.

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Woodmoor Improvement Association Board, Aug. 25: Board elects new member, finalizes Marsh trail contract

By Harriet Halbig

Jim Wilson, secretary of the Woodmoor Improvement Association’s (WIA) Board of Directors, submitted his resignation effective Aug. 26. Wilson’s term expires in January 2011.

In the association’s newsletter, the board solicited candidates for the office. To qualify, a candidate must be a homeowner in the Woodmoor community and a member in good standing of the association.

Homeowner W. Lee Murray was approved to join the board. Former Common Areas Director Craig Gaydos will assume the office of secretary, and Murray will serve as Common Areas director.

It was determined that Wilson may remain on the nominating committee for January’s WIA election.

Common Areas report

Gaydos, in his former position as director of Common Areas, reported on a number of developments:

  • He contacted the contractor for the trail in the Marsh common area and reached an agreement to terminate the contract with no further construction. The contractor has been paid for work completed. There had been plans for an additional portion of trail to the south of the completed portion. The board voted to approve this action and instructed him to send a letter to the contractor to confirm their agreement.
  • He has created a new map showing which areas require mowing and other maintenance and proposed to create a calendar indicating how frequently maintenance should be performed.
  • He said that, based on resident response, there will not be a fall cleanup day, but that proposed work by the Forestry Committee should take care of storm damage, and residents should be encouraged to pick up litter in their neighborhoods
  • He proposed that money left in the budget for common areas should be applied to maintenance of the Marsh and North Park trails, additional signage (such as those prohibiting vehicles from common areas), and maintenance of signs at the entrances to the community. He said that he will seek bids for all work.

Public Safety Director Paul Lambert suggested that some homeowners whose property abuts common areas have extended their landscaping onto association property. He requested that Gaydos investigate whether it is appropriate to notify these homeowners of the boundaries. The association has previously chosen not to resurvey property lines, but Gaydos acknowledged that it may become necessary.

Woodmoor Public Safety Chief Kevin Nielsen suggested that local Eagle Scout candidates be offered the opportunity to help with such projects as sign maintenance and the purchase of benches for common areas.

Fall festival proposed

Board President Chuck Maher said that the Woodmoor Business Group, an organization of Woodmoor residents who own businesses, has offered to host a fall festival. The group proposed to provide the labor and planning in exchange for funding by the board.

Following a lengthy discussion, it was decided that the board would be willing to hear from a member of the group about its plans, but that the board members were hesitant to provide funding for an event that would provide free advertising to local businesses.

Maher said that he was disappointed that no other residents of the community had come forward to volunteer to plan such an event, although he had requested such input on several occasions.

Last year there were four community events, and the recent resident survey indicated that this number was appropriate.

**********

The next meeting of the Woodmoor Improvement Association Board of Directors will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 22, at 7 p.m. at the Woodmoor Barn, 1691 Woodmoor Drive, Monument. For information, call 488-2693 or go to www.woodmoor.org

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August Weather Wrap

By Bill Kappel

August was somewhat uneventful for the majority of the month as far as extreme weather goes. We started off cool and wet and ended warm and dry. Overall, the month was drier than normal, with temperatures slightly warmer than average. The warmth was helped by numerous mild nights, while daytime highs were actually a little below average. We didn’t manage to hit 90° this August, but several nights didn’t get out of the 50s. Normally, we would see many mornings starting off in the 40s and even upper 30s, especially during the second half of the month.

August started off with a continuation of high levels of moisture affecting the region as the southwest monsoon continued to bring above average moisture to the Palmer Divide. Thunderstorms, with heavy rain, have developed somewhere in the region each afternoon and evening. Fortunately, there hasn’t been much severe weather, just heavy rain at times. Highs have been held to normal and slightly below normal levels with all the clouds and moisture, while overnight lows have been warmer than average for the same reason: less heating from the sun during the day, but less heat escaping at night because of the clouds.

After a wet and stormy start to the month, slightly drier conditions returned for the majority of the time from the 9th through the 15th. Temperatures remained right at or slightly below normal for mid-August, with highs in the 70s and low 80s. The week started stormy on the 9th with brief heavy rain and hail during the early afternoon and early evening. Dry air moved in over the next couple of days as the monsoonal plume, which had been keeping us wet, shifted away from the region.

Clear to partly cloudy skies were common on the 10th and 11th with temperatures jumping into the upper 70s and low 80s. A quick shot of afternoon thunderstorms blasted through the region during the afternoon of the 12th, with gusty winds and brief heavy rain. Dry air again moved in over the next couple of days with mostly sunny skies and calm conditions. Plenty of moisture in the low levels moved back in Sunday morning, producing low clouds and fog and helping to keep temperatures down to end the weekend.

A little bit of everything occurred during the week of the 16th as we jumped from sun to rain and warm to cold. We started off with cool and wet conditions on Monday, with morning low clouds and fog, then afternoon thunderstorms. This held temperatures down into the upper 60s and low 70s, about 10 degrees below average. Temperatures warmed quickly over the next few days, as high pressures built in and moved the southwest monsoon moisture out of the region. Highs jumped into the upper 70s on the 17th and mid-80s on the 18th. Moisture moved back in on the 19th with a round of thunderstorms during the afternoon dropping some brief heavy rain and gusty winds. Dry air again returned just in time for the weekend, with warm temperatures and mostly sunny to partly cloudy skies.

The last week of the month started off wet and ended dry, windy, and warm, with highs hitting the 80s from the 26th through the 29th under mostly sunny to partly cloudy skies. Temperatures started out the week right around normal with mid-70s on the 23rd. A line of thunderstorms developed that afternoon and raced through the region with brief heavy rain and gusty winds. Temperatures the next day were cooler, with highs only hitting the 60s after some morning low clouds and drizzle.

Quiet and warm weather then quickly returned through the rest of the week and into the weekend as high pressure built back in to the region. This pushed out any monsoonal moisture and put a lid on the atmosphere, not allowing any thunderstorms to develop. Breezy, southwesterly winds brought back a little moisture on the last two days of the month, which led to some light rain showers and a few rumbles of thunder. More importantly, these stronger winds, associated with the jet stream, are a signal of the changes to come as we move toward fall. The storm pattern out of the northwest begins to strengthen and gets more active, allowing more intrusion of colder air and stronger impacts from low pressure systems traversing the region.

A look ahead

September is a transition month for the region, with the last tastes of summer mixed in with our first morning freezes. Leaves begin to change by the end of the month as well, and three out of the last five Septembers have seen at least a trace of snow. The overall weather pattern is generally one of tranquility, with our chances for thunderstorms dwindling and blizzard conditions not quite ready for prime time. We are often greeted with sunny, pleasant afternoons, with highs from the mid-70s early in the month to the mid-60s later in the month. Our first sub-freezing low temperatures usually occur during the second or third week, so prepare those tender plants. For a complete look at monthly climate summaries for the region, please visit www.thekappels.com/ClimateSummary.htm

August 2010 Weather Statistics

Average High 77.5° (-0.8) 100-year return frequency value max 83.9° min 72.9°
Average Low
52.2 ° (+3.5) 100-year return frequency value max 55.2° min 46.8°
Monthly Precipitation
1.99" (-1.31", 60% of normal) 100-year return frequency value max 6.07" min 0.94"
Monthly Snowfall
0.0" 
Highest Temperature 85° on the 18th and 22nd
Lowest Temperature
43° on the 17th
Season to Date Snow
0.0" (the snow season is from July 1 to June 30)
Season to Date Precip.
5.18" (-0.99", 85% of normal) (the precip season is from July 1 to June 30)
Heating Degree Days
51 (+23)
Cooling Degree Days
45 (-4)

For more detailed weather information and Climatology of the Palmer Divide and Tri-Lakes region, please visit Bill Kappel’s Weather Web page at www.thekappels.com/Weather.htm

Remember, weather affects all of us everyday and is a very important part of life for us in the Tri-Lakes region, and we want to hear from you. If you see a unique weather event or have a weather question, please contact us at billkappel@ourcommunitynews.org

Bill Kappel is a meteorologist and Tri-Lakes resident.

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Letters to Our Community

Serteens make switch to Kiwanis Service Leadership Program

For years, dedicated teens in the Lewis-Palmer and Palmer Ridge High Schools’ Serteen clubs have assisted schools, small businesses, and organizations all over the Tri-Lakes area. In fact, the Lewis-Palmer Serteen club is currently one of the largest in the country. Each year, the clubs help at many local charity events, including the Empty Bowl Dinner, Monument Chili Cook-off, and Monument Concerts in the Park, as well as contributing to local organizations like Tri-Lakes Cares and Western Mining Museum.

With the recent change of the Monument Hill Sertoma Club to Kiwanis International, its sponsorship of Serteen will change to Kiwanis Service Leadership Programs. Kiwanis’ Service Leadership Program for High School is called Key Club International. Key Club is a volunteer community service organization that is very similar to Serteen but much larger in scope with more opportunities for the kids. Key Club International focuses on building leadership skills in youths through service work in their community. There are approximately 280,000 Key Club members in 30 countries.

Unlike Serteen clubs, which exist only at the high school level, Kiwanis clubs sponsor youth service organizations in elementary, middle, and high schools and at over 300 colleges. Students build leadership skills early on and continue to develop them throughout the rest of their schooling. Kiwanis’ programs encourage students of all ages to get involved in their communities while meeting and working with kids from other countries. Taking part in these service leadership programs improves college applications and job resumes. The transition to Kiwanis Service Leadership Programs will enhance our community service work in the Tri-Lakes area while building leadership skills at all grade levels.

To find out more about these programs, contact Max Williams at maxwilli@msn.com or visit the LPHS Key Club Web site at www.lpkeyclub.org or Youth and Students at www.kiwanisone.org

Jamie Falvo

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Grassroots group committed to D-38

Direction 38! is a grassroots movement that is the direct result of School District 38’s December 2009 "call to action" to residents to become involved in helping to resolve the district’s financial crisis. Over the past eight months, citizens with similar concerns, anxieties, frustrations, and yes, even anger, have responded. Parents, teachers, and senior citizens—the largest voting block in our district—have reached a common bond: a deep commitment to the success of each individual student, each cherished teacher, and our beloved district.

Direction 38! has two primary goals. First, to affect strong, positive leadership—fiscally conservative, responsible, and accountable leadership. To that end, we deeply appreciate the school board’s selection of Ted Bauman as our interim superintendent.

Our second goal is to ensure the implementation of a long-range plan—a plan that acknowledges our successes and respects, in a genuine way, our values; a plan that will not toss those values out the window during the next budget rescission. Equally important is a plan that accounts for mistakes made. I firmly believe that before D38 declares "water under the bridge" or a "clean slate," they need to "come clean" and claim their failings. That will be the first step in rebuilding the public’s trust.

Here’s what you can expect from Direction 38!:

  • We will continue to attend board meetings and any and all committee meetings open to the public.
  • We will encourage others to attend so they can have a firsthand look at their elected officials at work.
  • We will volunteer for committees and D-38 events.
  • We will continue to publicize D-38 events, fiscal issues, and other items of interest on our Web site, www.lpd38.org
  • We will inform the public about ballot measures that impact public school funding.
  • We will search for and promote fiscally conservative candidates to run for the November 2011 School Board positions.

Bottom line: We will remain alert, involved, and active in D-38 happenings.

Ana Konduris

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Between The Covers at the Covered Treasures Bookstore: Discussable books

By the staff at Covered Treasures

After a lazy summer, are you ready for some "meatier" books that could fuel lively conversation? A number of recent titles will engross and entertain you but also provide some food for thought.

Cutting for Stone
By Abraham Verghese (Random House) $15.95

Moving from Addis Ababa to New York City and back again, this is an unforgettable story of love and betrayal, medicine, and ordinary miracles—and two brothers whose fates are forever intertwined. Born of a secret union between a beautiful Indian nun and a brash British surgeon, Marion and Shiva Stone are twin brothers who are orphaned by their mother’s death and their father’s disappearance. They share a fascination with medicine and come of age as Ethiopia hovers on the brink of revolution.

The Girl in a Blue Dress
By Gaynor Arnold (Three Rivers Press) $15

In this novel inspired by the life and marriage of Charles Dickens, Arnold takes an intimate look at the woman behind one of literature’s most esteemed men. At the end of her life, Catherine, the cast-off wife of Dickens, gave the letters she had received from her husband to their daughter, asking her to donate them to the British Museum "so the world may know that he loved me once."

Cleopatra’s Daughter
By Michelle Moran (Three Rivers Press) $15

When Octavian’s victorious armies swept into Egypt, and Marc Anthony and Cleopatra ended their own lives, their orphaned children were taken in chains to Rome. Only two—the 10-year-old twins Selene and Alexander—survived. A charming, intelligent young woman, Selene must emerge from the shadows of the past, confront the same forces that destroyed her mother, and struggle to meet a different fate. Based on meticulous research, the book presents a fascinating portrait of imperial Rome and of the people and events of this most tumultuous period in history.

Little Bee
By Chris Cleave (Simon & Schuster) $14

This is the story of two women—a Nigerian refugee and a British magazine editor. Their lives collide one fateful day, and one of them has to make a terrible choice. Two years later they meet again, and this page-turning story begins there. Touching on immigration, grief, and the human spirit, Cleve unfolds an unforgettable tale.

Where Men Win Glory
By Jon Krakauer (Random House) $15.95

Pat Tillman walked away from a multimillion-dollar NFL contract to join the Army and become an icon of post-9/11 patriotism. When he was killed in Afghanistan two years later, a legend was born. But the real Pat Tillman was much more remarkable and considerably more complicated than the public knew. A charismatic athlete, he had an insatiably curious mind and embraced old-fashioned values of honor and sacrifice.

Day After Night
By Anita Diamant (Scribner) $15

This dramatic novel is based on the extraordinary true story of the October 1945 rescue of more than 200 prisoners from the Atlit internment camp, a prison for "illegal" immigrants run by the British military near the Mediterranean coast south of Haifa. The story is told through the eyes of four young women at the camp who survived the Holocaust. Haunted by unspeakable memories and losses, afraid to hope, the four of them find salvation in the bonds of friendship and shared experience even as they confront the challenge of re-creating themselves in a strange new country.

Wildflower
By Mark Seal (Random House) $15

Joan Root, a dedicated environmentalist and Oscar-nominated filmmaker, lived an extraordinary life and died a mysterious death in Africa. This shy young woman demonstrated an uncanny ability to connect with animals, married the dashing Alan Root, and embarked on 20 years of nonstop adventure and passionate romance, both in Africa and around the world. After the shattering disintegration of her marriage and the partnership, Root struggles to reinvent herself as the protector of her lakeshore community’s fragile ecosystem—a struggle that leads to her tragic death in January 2006.

Reading is an adventure all its own, but with some books, it is enlightening to discuss the story, the characters, and the issues within a book club or with family or friends.

Until next month, happy reading.

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High Country Highlights: September garden tips

By Woody Woodworth

September is a great time to plant, fertilize, and protect your lawn and gardens. Weather at our elevation will be harsh in a few months, and by preparing now, you can help to ensure your plants will remain healthy and survive adverse conditions.

Plants that are set in the fall enjoy cooler temperatures and ideal growing conditions that give roots ample time to grow into the surrounding soil. Roots continue to grow as long as the soil temperature is above 40 degrees. In our area, that time frame is usually well into mid-December. Even though plants have lost their leaves by then, they are still thirsty and require water and nutrition as they develop their root structure.

It is especially important to mulch after planting in fall. Mulch helps retain moisture and insulates the soil, keeping it warmer longer so root growth can occur. If marginally hardy plants are heavily mulched to survive winter, pull back the mulch toward the end of winter. This prevents premature growth as the sun warms the soil.

Feed all your plants with a good quality, slow-release plant food made for perennials, flowering shrubs, and trees. The fertilizer you choose should contain slow-release nitrogen, sulfate of potash, iron and other micro-nutrients for overall plant growth and development. Organic fertilizers usually require the use of microbes or bacteria in the soil to make the nutrients in the fertilizer bio-available.

Age Old Organics makes a dry fertilizer called Grow Formula that provides organic slow-release nitrogen for bacterial conversion of soil microbes. That type of conversion allows plants to absorb and use the nutrients better. It is also an excellent nutrient addition for potting mixes when repotting your indoor plants before bringing them inside for the winter. One easy way to feed your evergreens, trees, and shrubs is by using slow-release stakes. Pound them into the ground at three or more points along the drip line of the plant and let them dissolve throughout the winter.

Seed a new lawn now or overseed an established lawn to make it thicker and healthier. There are many improved varieties of quality grass seed at your local garden centers. Be sure to avoid generic grass seed that is not designed to grow at our elevation and in our harsh conditions. To overseed a lawn, use a hard rake to gently break the ground in the turf area, then sow new seed over the top at about half the recommended rate for new seeding. Follow that procedure by sprinkling a little top soil or composted material on the top to cover the seed by no more than a quarter inch.

Now is also a good time to apply a grub control to your lawn and garden. One natural product that is most effective at destroying grubs is called Milky Spore. It is not harmful to beneficial insects, birds, bees, pets, or people. Milky Spore is approved and registered with the EPA, will not affect wells, ponds, or streams and is considered by many in our industry as the best way to achieve long-term control of grubs in lawns and gardens.

Control weeds growing in the lawn now, but you cannot weed-kill and seed the same day. If you kill weeds in the lawn first, you must wait three weeks to seed your lawn. Or, if you seed first, you will need to wait until the new seed has germinated and been mowed at least twice before applying a weed killer.

Feed your lawn with a good quality, slow-release lawn food. There are many products available, so be sure to use fertilizer that is made for our region and designed for our growing conditions. Jirdon’s Winterizer fertilizer contains sufficient nitrogen for vigorous root development and helps build carbohydrate reserves in roots for early spring green-up.

Remember to water your lawn, trees, and shrubs deeply and less often. By watering less frequently, you are directing the root growth of your plants downward, and that will help develop stronger root systems. Be prepared to water trees and shrubs during the colder months of October, November, and December. The ground usually isn’t frozen yet, and roots are still growing. Wait for a nice 45-degree day and water mid-day to let the water soak into the root system.

By providing food, water and protection in September, your lawn and gardens will remain healthy, and they will get a jump-start for the growing season next year.

Woody Woodworth is a member of the Garden Centers of Colorado, actively involved in the green industry and operates a garden center in downtown Monument.

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Bird Watch on the Palmer Divide: Osprey

Click here to view a drawing of Ospreys

By Elizabeth Hacker

This summer has been especially rewarding for birdwatchers on the Palmer Divide. A bald eagle was spotted on Monument Lake, and while eagles aren’t common here, they do make an occasional appearance. A bird of prey that I had in my sights this summer that I’ve never seen here before is the osprey. It is a bird commonly seen near fresh water and is found on every continent except Antarctica. Given that there are a number of lakes with fish on the Palmer Divide, it could have been here all along unbeknownst to me.

The osprey is two feet long with a wingspan of four to six feet. The adult female is larger than the male and weighs four pounds. It has dark brown feathers on its back with white on its belly, chest, and legs. Its head is brown and white with a distinctive black strip across its eyes, which is what attracted my attention to it.

I commonly see colonies of nesting ospreys on lakes in northern Minnesota but a single bird being harassed by a jay perched on the top of a ponderosa pine near Woodmoor Pines golf course caught me off-guard. Fortunately it was a quiet day, so I was able to park and use my binoculars to observe this remarkable bird.

Classified as a bird of prey because its diet consists of live fish, the osprey is uniquely different from hawks and eagles and scientifically is in a class by itself. Its wings and feet are more like that of an owl, and its wings bend and are more like those of a gull. Because the osprey eats only fish, it is unusual to see one away from water. Maybe the one I observed had just finished feasting on one of the trophy-size northern pike plentiful in Lake Woodmoor since fishing was banned there several years ago.

The osprey is a skillful hunter well adapted to catching fish. It begins its hunt by slowly flying back and forth over the surface of the water until it spots a fish. It stops in mid-air by bending its wings and propelling its body upward. Instantaneously, it hovers, takes aim, positions its feet, and plunges feet first at speeds up to 80 mph into the water to grab a fish in its talons. This skillful maneuver is aided by a few key adaptations, including compact oily plumage, big feet with spicules (small, bony spines) on the end of its toes to grasp slippery fish, long curved claws to hold the fish, and a reversible toe (thumb) that allows it to carry a sizable fish while in flight. The reversible toe also enables the osprey to turn the fish to face forward to reduce wind resistance.

Ospreys are migratory birds that have a life span of 25 to 30 years. In early spring the osprey flies north from its winter home in Central America to nest near freshwater lakes, marshes, and rivers. The males arrive before the females and spend time arranging nests to entice females to begin breeding when they arrive. Unlike most birds of prey, the osprey is a colonial nester, and the abundance of fish in an area will determine the size of the colony. The colonies on the chain of lakes I kayak in northern Minnesota ranged between three and eight nests, but I’ve read about communities of more than 100 nests and can only imagine the noise. Actually, I can’t imagine it!

Ospreys choose not to hide their nests but locate them in the open high above the ground in treetops, nesting platforms, telephone poles, billboards, and other tall edifices. Like the eagle, the osprey reuses and adds to its nest every year. Nests weigh as much as 400 pounds and are bulky, so it’s hard to miss them. The osprey use sticks, bark, and moss to build nests and adorns them with colorful trinkets. Any item left outside is fair game and may end up in an osprey’s nest. Fishing tackle, dolls, Styrofoam cups, knives, forks, spoons, hula hoops, and more have all been found in osprey nests.

Lifelong pair bonds form at 3 years of age. A breeding female will lay two to four eggs, the size of chicken eggs, and incubate them for 35 to 40 days. Once the eggs are laid, the female no longer hunts and her mate tends to her every need. He preens her feathers, sings to her, and feeds her until the chicks hatch. The chicks hatch a few days apart, and the first chick hatched has the advantage. Depending on the food supply, it may be the only one to survive. Once the chicks hatch, they immediately beg for food and as the chicks grow, their cries get louder and can be heard all over the lake. The parents work tirelessly from dawn to dusk taking turns hunting, feeding, and guarding the nest from predators such as eagles, ravens, and crows.

The chicks are born blind, helpless, and covered with down. The parents feed them regurgitated fish until their second week, when the chicks begin eating bits of flesh. By the third week, nestlings fight to grab the whole fish from the claws of the parent. By week eight, the chicks have grown to the size of an adult and fledge the nest. The fledglings remain close to the parents, because they depend on them to learn the skills necessary for survival.

Fall migration begins in September. First-year birds fly south with their parents to their winter home and remain there for an entire year. At two years, they return north but don’t mate until their third year. I suspect the osprey I observed may have been a 2-year-old that hadn’t yet formed a pair bond. It could have been scouting for a future nesting site. Imagine the possibility that someday ospreys might nest in Tri-Lakes!

The scientific name for the osprey, Pandion haliaetus, comes from the Athenian mythical king Pandion, whose daughters were turned into birds, and the Greek words halos for the sea and aetos for eagle. Ospreys are also called fish hawks.

Elizabeth Hacker is a writer and artist. Prints of the birds she writes about are available on her website, www.ElizabethHackerArt.com, with proceeds benefiting habitat preservation. E-mail her at elizabethhacker66@yahoo.com or call her at 719-510-5918 to share bird stories.

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Art Matters: The beautiful local color

By Janet Sellers

I have often traveled Rollercoaster Road on my way to Fox Run Park from our town. On the way back, I’ve noticed a beautiful area with an art gallery at the corner of Rollercoaster and Baptist Road. Along a road famous for its country road signs of ranches, horses, alpacas, housing communities, and even honey, one place has stood out for me because of its beauty, yet I had not gone in to check it out until this summer.

That was when artist Mike Couillard phoned me to come out and meet him and J. Clark Wider at the Southwinds Fine Arts gallery and learn more about the place, and that’s how I happened on several new art events there.

The founder and owner of the place is J. Clark Wider, renowned artist of African-American art, to which I’ve had a very big introduction lately via interviews for this column with Wider. His spacious, museum-like art gallery holds several decades of his artworks.

Wider has owned Southwinds Fine Arts for several decades, but for only about a dozen years in our area. Originally from South Carolina, Wider joined the military and served his country for many years. He settled in the Pikes Peak region, where he opened his first gallery location near Fort Carson. He said he wanted to have a nice place of art for people to bring their families and enjoy some art as beauty as well as history.

Through the years, his reputation and artworks grew in stature and fame, and many of his works are now in various presidential library museums and recorded in the Congressional Record, and they are collected by such luminaries as Gen. Colin Powell, Maya Angelou.

I didn’t ask what an original work of art by Wider would cost these days, but in 1990s dollars they are all in the five-figure range and up. A more affordable level of collecting his work may be in the fine art prints that he sells, which are in the hundreds of dollars.

Even his works that stand in museums can be purchased at the gallery in the form of prints, so we can still see and purchase his artworks that might otherwise be out of reach for us.

A spacious gallery

As you go up the long porch and through the doors, the spacious gallery reveals its high ceilings, endless gallery walls, sculpture stands, and showcases. With the exception of some really nice, small, choice museums in Japan, I have never seen anything like this place for art.

Large enough to show off all the work to its best advantage, it also allows for intimate scrutiny of the art in a quiet, uncrowded atmosphere. It is truly a personal work of art in itself, and a gem of our region.

Wider is, of late, accepting artists’ work for the gallery exhibitions. All participating artists must put in volunteer "gallery hours" each month, and the usual and customary texts of bio, statement, etc., to accompany their work. This also helps the other gallery volunteers to be able to represent each artist at their time rotation as well.

Mike Couillard, a retired Air Force pilot, is the chief organizer of the art events so far. He’s a renaissance man, what with his fine art oil paintings at this gallery and others and providing live music for the events. So far, the oils I’ve watched him paint there at the studio are abstract imagery of his string instruments. Mike is an accomplished mandolin, guitar, dulcimer and ukulele (probably more, too) musician. He only plays one instrument at a time, but I’ve seen him pick up all of the above in one set, sometimes in one song if his group’s jam is long enough.

New to the gallery this summer is a close neighbor to Southwinds Fine Arts, watercolorist Jean Forsyth. Forsyth has been instrumental in the recent gallery events as well. For the three-day events in August and September, she has been helping to show everyone around the large, 5,000-square-foot gallery, making sales and chatting up the art and artists for new guests and gallery regulars. Jean has a number of finely detailed still-life watercolors in Southwinds Fine Arts. Her bio includes world travel and enjoying the art and places of the world, as well as making her own art.

One of the original Southwinds volunteers, Marlene Brown, has recently opened her own business in the heart of town—Coffee on the Go in the little red caboose at Highway105W and I-25. Besides their organic coffees, lattes, and smoothies, I think I may have talked her into letting some of the Southwinds artists put in some art cards and coffee-related art-on-the-go. A fun way to pick up a coffee and last-minute gift, too! A very American idea: a drive-through art gallery.

Events at Southwinds include its End of Summer Sale in August, Labor Day weekend art sale, and upcoming Fall and Holiday Art Market, which are in addition to the usual weekend hours and sales by appointment. The special events have all included free live music, food and, of course, artworks to interest all ages.

Southwinds Fine Arts is located at 16575 Rollercoaster Road at Baptist Road. Southwinds Gallery is open on weekends after 1 p.m. till dusk (or longer if the music is going and the moonlight is right) and by appointment.

Janet Lee Sellers is an American painter and sculptor whose work is exhibited in U.S. galleries and as civic and state public arts projects. She works in paint, metal, and concrete, and her work supports wild (and human) culture and habitat. Sellers lives in Woodmoor, Colorado.

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Snapshots of Our Community

See page 31 in the on-line version of this issue.

Chautauqua brings the past into the present, Aug. 6-8

By Bernard L. Minetti

The 2010 Chautauqua on Aug. 6-8, attended by an estimated 750 to 1,000 people over the three days, was highlighted by a vintage baseball game. The local team manager is retired Army Lt. Col. Bruce Hoover. Also present was the Colorado City Band, which uses antique instruments to present concerts with authenticity. It is led by Dr. Fred Feinsod.

Additionally, Eric Hamer and Dylan Fawaz of Boy Scout Troop 17 of Monument provided a hands-on demonstration of lashing as a knot-tying art and practical experience. John Finger is the troop leader who directed the Scouts’ effort.

Many practical demonstrations were available, such as butter making, quilting, weaving, pickle making, flower arranging, sign language exposure, crocheting and tatting, and the art of making vintage jewelry. The 4H club provided a contrast with the then-and-now aspects of its organization.

Committee reviews Chautauqua

At a post-event meeting of the Chautauqua Planning Committee on Aug. 23, Steering Committee leader Al Walter reviewed some of the pluses and minuses of this year’s event. He stated that while the general consensus of the group was that the event was a success in terms of content, attendance, and presentation, minor problems were brought to light for review and improvement at the 2011 Chautauqua planning committee meetings.

Walter cited publicity of the event as an area that could be improved and expanded. He noted that press releases were distributed, but he thought that now more personal contact was appropriate in addition to the releases. Committee member Bruce Hoover suggested that perhaps the earlier distribution of programs and more direct advertising might facilitate a wider knowledge of the Chautauqua.

Palmer Lake Historical Society President Phyllis Bonser thought the presentation of the Devon cattle by Rollie and Paula Johnson, operators of the Three Eagles Ranch, was explicit as to the nature of the Chautauqua. The Pikes Peak Alpacas represented by Chuck and Linda Staley and the presentation of the miniature donkeys by Loren and Marilyn Burlage were especially in keeping with Chautauqua learning principles.

The committee members discussed the vintage baseball game as one of the central presentations at the event. Hoover requested that next year the central event coordinators be provided with wireless microphones to have better contact with the audience and the players.

All members were in agreement that the Black Forest Chorus was exceptional in its musical presentations and adaptations on Friday evening at the Pinecrest Event Center. In addition, the square dance event was mentioned as a "must have" at the 2011 Chautauqua. Gregg Anderson, the caller and director of the dance, was able to take approximately 150 novice square dancers and make them "semi-professional" by evening’s end.

Walter then mentioned the "awesomeness" of the Fort Carson Mounted Color guard. He publicly thanked Non-Commissioned Officer-in-Charge Stephen C. Roy for the outstanding presentation of the colors at the end of the 2010 Chautauqua and the "charge" by the brigade demonstrating maneuvers employed by the early U.S. Cavalry.

In addition, committee members cited the volunteer efforts of the Monument Boy Scouts of Troop 17. They said their presentation of the various demonstrations was also part of the heart of the Chautauqua learning process. They expressed appreciation to Finger for his efforts to help make the Chautauqua a success.

Walter expressed appreciation to all committee members and event participants for their outstanding cooperation and excellence. He said he hoped that the next leadership co-chairs had the same cooperation that he experienced.

Bonser expressed her appreciation to Walter and all the committee members and participants for their efforts during the 2010 event. The society is the direct sponsor of the Chautauqua event.

The final order of business was the changing of the leadership. Al and Rhetta Walter turned over the reins of leadership to co-chair volunteers Lynne Manzer, owner of the Diet Center At Monument, and Maggie Williamson, owner of Bella Art & Frame in Monument.

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Murder on the menu at dinner theater show, Aug. 6

By David Futey

"Marshal, thar’s been a killin!" With those words uttered, the investigation to solve the dinner theater murder commenced at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA). The dinner theater was part of the daylong events of the Rocky Mountain Chautauqua on Aug. 7.

There were 128 "deputies" in attendance who partook in a meal served by the staff of PineCrest, then proceeded to solve the murder mystery, "Murder at Palmer Lake Station." The highly entertaining and humorous show was staged by the actors of Red Herring Productions.

Leading the investigation was a U.S. marshal, played by Don Moon, who divided members of the audience into teams of investigators. The marshal was just passing through town when he heard about the "free food" being served. Among the suspects was Miss Mollie Truedale, played by Doris McCraw, a mail-order bride from Boston who was in town to meet a "person of substance."

That person turned out to be mountain man Bear Claw (Gene Johnson), a man of little substance. Rancher Kit Chance (Catherine McGuire) and postmistress Mary Kate McCleod (Starr Edgington) rounded out those under suspicion. The victim was the unlikeable railroad detective Britt Dawson (Mike Stevens).

Information on Red Herring Productions is at www.RedHerringProductions.com

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Friends and colorful expression at the TLCA , Aug. 6

By David Futey

The themes for the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts gallery shows in August were friendships and expressive color. Larry Sanchez, Rosie Eylen, and Sheila Campbell got to know each other while taking painting classes from Marilyn Wells in Denver. From there, the trio got together on a regular basis and eventually did collective gallery shows, such as their Three Points of View show at the TLCA.

Sanchez creates brightly colored, tightly constructed vignettes that draw the viewer into the space he creates. Eylen works from photographs to paint landscapes and flowers in vivid acrylics. Though Campbell said, "I just paint," her friend Sanchez offered that her sketches and paintings are "fresh, spontaneous, and crisp."

Two longtime friends not only shared the Lucy Owens Gallery space but also a history with the TLCA. Irmgard Knoth said she usually has a show with her students but decided to "pick a buddy" in Claudette Bedingfield for her show this year. Knoth had a variety of her works, from paintings to sculptures, on display to demonstrate the versatility of her talent.

Through her watercolors and other media, Bedingfield expressed the power of art as a non-verbal, parallel language. These two friends also share a history with the TLCA, as Knoth said it basically started in her basement. She and Bedingfield can remember working to get the present TLCA building readied as an art gallery, transitioning it from a car repair shop. Information on upcoming events at the TLCA is at www.trilakesarts.org.

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Playground takes shape at Bear Creek Elementary, Aug. 7

See page 32 in the on-line version of this issue.

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Blood Drive at Tri-Lakes Cares

See page 33 in the on-line version of this issue.

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After Hours event attracts local nonprofits, Aug. 17

By David Futey

The Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA) and the Tri-Lakes Women’s Club co-hosted Non-Profit Day on Aug. 17, an event that coincided with the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce’s monthly event, Business After Hours. TLCA Executive Director Susan Adams said this was the second year in a row that the TLCA provided its facility for Non-Profit Day, a networking event for local nonprofit agencies.

As part of the programming, the Women’s Club honored its recent grant recipients, and organizations such as Hangers (a thrift shop benefiting Tri-Lakes Cares), the Palmer Lake Historical Society, the Center for Nonprofit Excellence, Monument Hill Kiwanis, and Health Advocacy Partnership provided information on their missions and activities.

Information regarding the Chamber of Commerce and upcoming Business After Hours is at www.trilakes.net. Information on the Women’s Club and its upcoming Wine and Roses event is at www.tlwc.net

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Senior ladies dance Hawaiian-style, Aug. 17

By Bernard L. Minetti

The Aug. 17 senior tea social had a Hawaiian theme. The Wise Wiggles group, headed by dance teacher Denise Hatch, entertained with demonstrations of Hawaiian dance. The meeting was marked by the participation of the senior ladies as they learned to hula in a genuinely ethnic style.

The group consisted of three students and their teacher. The students, Sherry Moore, Mallory Conklin, and Kay Reagan, are seniors who had been training for three months and have performed twice. Hatch stated that her entire effort is directed at involving seniors, and she teaches them various Hawaiian dances. For information or to join the class, call Hatch at (303) 886-3335.

**********

The next senior tea will be held Sept. 21 at 1 p.m. at the senior center at Lewis-Palmer High School. "Old School Days" will be the theme. Senior ladies are invited, and there is no charge. Food and drink will be available.

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Art Hop, Aug. 19

See page 34 in the on-line version of this issue.

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HAP receives grant from Key Club, Aug. 26

See page 35 in the on-line version of this issue.

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Museum says, "Happy birthday, burros"

By David Futey

On Aug. 7, the Western Museum of Mining & Industry (WMMI) held its annual Burro Birthday Bash, celebrating the museum’s mascots Oro and Nugget. Bluegrass music, museum tours, food, sack races, sampling of birthday cake, and other activities filled the day. Information on upcoming events at the museum is at www.wmmi.org

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August and September library events: All Pikes Peak Reads program coming up

By Harriet Halbig

Staffing changes are coming to the Monument Library with the departure of Becky, Julie and Jennifer, who will be working at the Pikes Peak Library District’s newest branch, High Prairie, in Falcon, scheduled to open in late September or early October. They will be missed.

A reception was held for them on Sept. 1. For those who missed it, please stop by to say thanks and offer them your best wishes. They assure us that they will visit and occasionally work in Monument.

September is highlighted by the kickoff of the annual All Pikes Peak Reads (APPR) program. The theme of this year’s program is innovation and enterprise. Titles for adults are "The Devil in the White City" by Erik Larson, "The Invention of Everything Else" by Samantha Hunt, "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" by Brian Selznick for young readers, and "Snowflake Bentley" by Jacqueline Briggs Martin for children.

Larson’s book, set at the time of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, features such historical figures as Nikola Tesla, Harry Houdini and architect Sanford White, at a time of great innovation in science, crime detection, and medicine. Hugo Cabret is a young boy who lives behind the walls in a Paris railway station, maintaining the huge clocks in the building by himself after the disappearance of his father. While the book looks very long, much of it is drawings rather than text. "The Invention of Everything Else" is a biography of Tesla late in life. "Snowflake Bentley" is a biography of a man who developed a way to photograph snowflakes.

The kickoff for the program will be the What If festival, to be held in and around the Pikes Peak Center in downtown Colorado Springs on Sept. 11. The library district, the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, Colorado College, Colorado Technical University, a number of school districts, and various arts and science groups will offer programs and demonstrations with a theme of innovation. In addition, Perkins Motors will bring several electric vehicles to the festival to demonstrate energy-efficient transportation for the present and future.

The APPR program will continue until Oct. 29, with guest speakers including Erik Larson, an original play about Tesla presented by Theatreworks, and many programs for all ages in libraries.

Watch for complete program details in the newspaper and Library Out Loud, the library district newsletter available at all locations.

We hope you will join us for these programs to celebrate innovation.

Of local interest, the programs at the Monument Library in September include the Monumental Readers Book Club on Friday, Sept. 17, at 10 a.m. This month’s selection is "Lightning in His Hands" by Inez Hunt. Registration is not required and new members are welcome.

On Wednesday, Sept. 22, join us for the film "Make No Little Plans" about architect Daniel Burnham. The program will be from noon until 2 p.m. and a light lunch will be served.

The AARP Mature Safe Driving Course will be offered on Sept. 23 and 24 from 1 until 5 p.m. This is a driver refresher course for drivers age 50 and older. Graduates of the course may present their certificate of completion to their insurance agent for a discount on their premium. Charge for the course is $12 for AARP members and $14 for non-members. A minimum of 10 students is required for the class to be held. Class size is limited and registration is required. Please call 488-2370 or go online at www.ppld.org

Dancing with Mathematics

There will be two events at the library on Sept. 25. The first, at 10:30 a.m., is Mathtastic! from Ormao Dance Company. Dancing with Mathematics is a participatory performance investigating math concepts using music, movement, and a curious collection of everyday objects. The performance poses questions and links dance to geometry, shapes, and patterns. Through this process, abstract concepts become tangible, understood, and remembered.

Also on Sept. 25 at 1:30 p.m., there will be a program called Smart Owners, Happy Dogs: Responsible Pet Ownership. This program features a trio of dog experts: Peggy Swager (dog book author and professional groomer), Tina Reinschmidt (dog trainer) and Linda Bollinger (dog book author and professional groomer) who will present this AKC-sponsored program that gives dog owners useful tips and unique ideas for producing well-mannered, happy pets. Come prepared to take notes, because your dog can’t attend.

On Wednesday, Sept. 29, there will be a Read It Before You See It program for tweens ages 9-12. Come and discuss "Flipped" by Wendelin Van Draanen, enjoy refreshments, and enter a drawing to win a ticket to see the movie.

See the Tesla documentary

Nikola Tesla was one of the most fascinating scientists of the 20th century. He invented, developed or imagined the technology that brought us electricity, remote control, neon and fluorescent lighting, radio transmission, and much more. Join us for the inspiring PBS documentary about Tesla’s life. Stay after the film to have a one-on-one question-and-answer session with Tesla, portrayed by Richard Marold. The program will take place on Saturday, Oct. 2, from 2 until 4 p.m.

Other ongoing programs include:

  • Paws to Read—Let your child practice reading and build fluency by reading to a Paws to Read dog. Mondays and Wednesdays from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.
  • Tri-Lakes Knitters and Crafters —All are invited to bring their projects and enjoy conversation while working on them. First, third, and fifth Fridays 3:30-6 p.m.
  • Life Circles—A supportive writing group providing discipline and structure during the process of writing one’s memories or history. First and third Mondays at 10:30 a.m.
  • History Buffs—Each month the group selects a period of history, and members read any book of their choice from that period. The era is discussed the following month. Wednesday, Sept. 22, at 1 p.m.
  • TALK English—An informal conversation circle for adults who want to improve their skills and increase their comfort levels when speaking English. Mondays at 7 p.m.

Ongoing discussion groups for seniors are Senior Synergy, a casual discussion group on Wednesdays at 10 a.m., and Socrates Café, a group that discusses philosophy, religion, spirituality, and common threads among humanity on Tuesdays at 1 p.m.

On the walls at the Monument Library will be "Taking a Blank Canvas," artwork of mixed media by Ronnie Policy, a self-taught artist and teacher who believes that true inspiration can always be found in one’s imagination.

In the display case will be "Historic Sailing Vessels," accurate scale models of 17th an 18th century sailing ships by Bob Conover.

Palmer Lake Library events

The Palmer Lake Library invites youngsters to read to three special dogs during September. On Saturday, Sept. 11, come read to Jax, a big cuddly Newfoundland, from 11 a.m. until noon. On Thursday, Sept. 16, from 4:30 until 5:30 p.m., come read with Misty, a sweet and tiny Sheltie, and on Saturday, Sept. 25, join golden retriever Kirby for a reading session from 11 a.m. until noon. Read a story and select a prize.

The September family fun program on Sept. 18 at 10:30 a.m. features a reading of All Pikes Peak Reads selection "Snowflake Bentley" by Jacqueline Briggs Martin. Listen to the story about the wonder and beauty of snowflakes and make a craft.

The Palmer Lake Knitting Group meets on Thursdays from 10 a.m. until noon. Bring your knitting project and enjoy the company of other knitters. Cheri Monsen, expert knitter, will answer questions.

The Palmer Lake Book Group will discuss All Pikes Peak Reads selection "Devil in the White City" by Erik Larson on Friday, Oct. 1, at 9 a.m. New members are always welcome.

The September art exhibit in the library will be "Expressions of Beauty-Shared," a collection of photographs by Laurisa Photography.

We hope to see you at the library!

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Palmer Lake Historical Society meeting, August 19: Early Colorado entertainment was not always wholesome

By Bernard L. Minetti

Author and lecturer Beth Barrett presented a short discussion on early Colorado entertainment at the August meeting of the Palmer Lake Historical Society. She told the listeners that in early Colorado presentations, the sense of theater as entertainment was not always a wholesome perception. "Theater" covered a host of locations and was interpreted in those days as something that occurred on the upper floors of bars, saloons, dance halls, etc. These were considered vice locations and were avoided by "high society."

Barrett told the attendees that for operas, plays, operettas, musicals, and drama to be thought of as worthy to attend, they were presented only in "opera houses." In Colorado Springs, Barrett continued, there were two opera houses. The first was built in 1880 by three local bankers and was called the Colorado Springs Opera House. It seated 800.

The second opera house was The Burns, later renamed The Chief. It came to be built because James Ferguson Burns, a miner, who struck it rich in the gold mines of Cripple Creek, was not considered "proper" by the operators of the Colorado Springs Opera House. When he learned their perception of him, he built his own opera house. It seated 1,400 and had an installed pipe organ that cost $14,000. That pipe organ is now located at the City Auditorium in Colorado Springs. The Burns was torn down in the ‘60s and replaced by a parking lot.

Barrett, in collaboration with her husband Daniel, authored a book that is a history of early drama. It is called, "High Drama: Colorado’s Theaters." It contains much of the early history of entertainment in Colorado.

Upcoming events

  • Join the society on Sept. 16 for a presentation titled, "Florissant, Colorado, Pioneer Cemetery." The presenter will be Laura Moncrief. This event is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Palmer Lake Town Hall.
  • The society will host an expedition to the Pikes Peak summit on a Victorian-era rail car on Oct. 10. The tickets are $33 each. Janis Frazee is coordinating the event and may be contacted at 488-0611 to purchase tickets and for additional details.

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VFW Monument Post 7829, July 20 and Aug. 17: Monument VFW approves Ladies Auxiliary

By Bernard L. Minetti

Veterans of Foreign Wars Monument Post 7829 Commander Tony Wolusky asked members at the July 20 meeting to vote on the establishment of a Ladies Auxiliary. The vote was unanimous for approval.

Wolusky then introduced Martine Arndt, past president of the VFW District 19 Ladies Auxiliary. He explained that Arndt had volunteered to help in the establishment of the local ladies entity. Arndt said 15 candidates must come forward before the establishment of the auxiliary could be finalized. She said any woman wishing to participate should contact her at 719-487-9225.

Arndt stated that eligibility was limited to wives, widows, mothers, foster and stepmothers, grandmothers, daughters, granddaughters, foster and stepdaughters, sisters, half-sisters, foster and stepsisters of those veterans who are eligible for membership in the VFW.

Achievement award presented

Wolusky called Tracy duCharme forward for a VFW Achievement Award. DuCharme was instrumental in developing a food collection program for the Crawford House in Colorado Springs. Wolusky explained that the Crawford House provides a structured living environment for veterans enrolled in a VA treatment program, helping them step back into the community. He noted that the Monument VFW unit was deeply involved in supporting this program.

District 1 El Paso County commissioner candidate Darryl Glenn said that one of the most important issues that he is concerned with is the welfare of veterans and active-duty members of the armed services in El Paso County. Glenn, a Republican, is a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, a member of the Colorado Springs City Council and owner and operator of the Glenn Law firm.

Glenn stated that it was necessary to oversee the funding for projects that had a connection to the armed services and veterans and retirees in these times when funding is in a critical state. He said he was deeply concerned that the federal veterans’ cemetery that was planned for El Paso County remains on track.

Post supports marathon runner

At the Aug. 17 meeting, Post Commander Tony Wolusky introduced Cadet Second Class Malcolm Strong, a marathon runner from the Air Force Academy. He told the group that Strong was going to participate in the Air Force Marathon at Wright Patterson Air Force Base on Sept. 18. He noted that Strong had approached the Monument VFW to ask for assistance in the purchase of hand-size American flags that he would be distributing to the spectators at the marathon.

Strong said he had come up with this idea because he felt that it was important to remember the "fallen service men and women." These little flags could be a constant reminder of their sacrifice for our nation. He further stated that he was forming a 501(c)(3) organization called the "Marathon for the Fallen."

Members approved a measure to support Strong’s effort. There were members of the local American Legion in the building, and they also contributed to support Strong. Wolusky then announced that 3,000 flags would be provided.

Items collected for troops

Wolusky described a request from the American Red Cross at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan. He stated that they were in desperate need of toiletries, sundries, deodorant, disposable razors, shave creams, and similar articles. Wolusky accepted the task and stated that the Monument VFW is collecting these items. He further noted that active-duty Navy Lt. Commander Ted Carlson, the VFW post quartermaster, had volunteered to be chairperson of the Bagram effort.

Carlson told the group that Safeway, Walgreen’s, Vitamin Cottage, and Monument Pharmacy had been instrumental in providing many items for the initial effort. He said the Bagram assistance program would be ongoing and that the Monument VFW would be appreciative of any assistance from the community. Items or cash may be contributed. Contact Post Commander Wolusky for further information at (719) 481-4419.

Wolusky said the Monument VFW would participate in the Hungry Heroes program on the following Monday. Veterans from the Monument VFW met military units returning from Iraq and Afghanistan at the Colorado Springs Airport and provided them with hamburgers, hot dogs, soft drinks, etc. He stated that past efforts of this kind by Tri-Lakes veterans were very well received, since most flights do not serve meals.

Wolusky then introduced Steve Kjonaas, the Democratic candidate for county commissioner in District 1. Kjonaas stressed that he wanted to ensure that water sources were never ending for the county. He further stated that he was most interested in maintaining the infrastructure of the county in safe and efficient condition.

**********

The next meeting of the Monument VFW will be held at 7 p.m. at The Depot restaurant in Palmer Lake on Tuesday, Sept. 21. Interested veterans are invited to attend.

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Special Events and Notices

By Judy Barnes, Editor Emeritus

Although we strive for accuracy in these listings, dates or times are often changed after publication. Please double-check the time and place of any event you wish to attend by calling the info number for that event.

Dog shot in Palmer Lake; police seek information

The Palmer Lake Police Department (PLPD) seeks the public’s assistance with an investigation into possible animal cruelty Aug. 24. At about 1:30 p.m., a 7-month-old German shepherd puppy ran away from its home in the Willow Creek Townhomes on Vale, west of Highway 105. The dog returned home after 10 minutes and was bleeding from its left side. The dog’s owner took the dog to a local veterinarian, who reported the dog had been shot with a .22 caliber bullet. Injuries included three broken ribs and a contusion around the lungs. The dog has since been sent home to recover. If anyone has any information that might assist the police with this investigation, please call the PLPD at 481-2934. You may withhold your name or other identifying information, but doing so could decrease the likelihood of a successful investigation.

Monument Citizen Police Academy, Sept. 7-Nov. 2

The free nine-week academy meets Tuesdays, 7-10 p.m., at Monument Police Department, 645 Beacon Lite Rd., and is open to all who live or have a business in the Tri-Lakes area. Learn about criminal law, patrol procedures, use of force, communications, and community policing, have the opportunity to shoot a variety of police weapons, and much more. Info and applications: visit www.monumentpd.org and click on the Community Services button or pick up an application at the Monument Police Department, or phone 481-3253.

District Attorney’s Office Citizen’s College, Sept. 8

The next session of the Citizen’s College begins Sept. 8 at the 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, 105 E. Vermijo Ave., Colorado Springs. Learn about the roles and responsibilities of the criminal justice system. Instructors are law enforcement professionals who teach participants the basics of criminal law, investigations, victims’ services, trial preparation, and more. The program will be held each Wednesday evening, 6-9 p.m., for 10 weeks. Applications are available online at www.4thjudicialda.com. Just fill it out and submit it electronically. All interested persons must complete the application and give permission for the DA’s Office to conduct a background check to determine if they have a criminal record.

Slash and Mulch season ends this month

The El Paso County Black Forest Slash and Mulch season is almost over. Slash (tree and shrub debris; no stumps) will be accepted until Sept. 12. Mulch is available, while supplies last, until Sept. 25. Hours of operation are: Saturdays, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sundays, noon to 4 p.m.; Tuesday and Thursday evenings, 5-7:30 p.m. The mulch loader schedule is Saturdays only, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. The loader fee is $4 per bucket, approximately 2 cubic yards. The slash and mulch site is located at the southeast corner of Shoup and Herring Roads in the Black Forest area.

The program’s purpose is to teach forest management practices and to encourage residents to clear adequate defensible space surrounding their structures by thinning trees and shrubs to reduce the spread of fire. Spreading mulch on the forest floor holds moisture, delays the spread of weeds, and provides nutrients to the forest. For more information, visit www.bfslash.org or phone 520-7878 or Jeff DeWitt, 495-8024.

Tri-Lakes Community Blood Drive, Sept. 21

Tri-Lakes Health Advocacy Partnership will sponsor a community blood drive Sept. 21, 3-7 p.m., at Tri-Lakes Cares, 235 Jefferson St., Monument. No appointment is needed, just walk in. Donated blood goes to local Penrose-St. Francis Hospitals. For more information, call nurse Jackie Sward, 481-4864 x23. The next blood drive is Nov. 16.

Volunteers needed for fair advisory board

The El Paso County Fair and Events Complex Advisory Board assists with the development, management, programming, operation, and maintenance of the Fair and Events Complex in Calhan. The board also helps to produce the annual county fair. Applications are due by Sept. 24 and can be found at www.elpasoco.com. Click on ‘Our Government,’ then ‘Get Involved.’ For more information, call 520-6436.

Empty Bowl Dinner and Silent Auction, Oct. 13

Monument Key-Clubs and School District 38 present this fundraiser for Tri-Lakes Cares Oct. 13, 5-7:30 p.m., in the Lewis-Palmer High School Commons Area, 1300 Higby Rd., Monument. Home-cooked soup, bread, and dessert are served in bowls handcrafted by local artists, and you get to keep yours! One child under age 12 is free with a purchased ticket. Tickets, $20, may be purchased at the door or in advance in Monument at Covered Treasures Bookstore, Second and Washington Streets; at High Country Home & Garden, 243 Washington St.; at Second Street Art Gallery, 366 Second St.; at Tri-Lakes Printing, Woodmoor Center; at Hangers, 341 Front St.; and in Palmer Lake at The Rock House, 24 Highway 105; or call Bonnie Biggs at 651-1946.

Wine and Roses, Nov. 5

The Tri-Lakes Women’s Club will present Wine and Roses, its annual wine tasting fundraiser, Nov. 5, 6-9:30 p.m., at the Air Force Academy Blue & Silver Press Box. The evening features wines arranged by The Wine Seller, on-site chefs, a silent auction, and celebrity wine pourers. Proceeds benefit the Tri-Lakes community. Tickets are available for the first time this year online. The early bird special price is $48 per ticket if purchased by Sept. 15. For more information, visit www.tlwc.net

Handbell ringers needed for holiday concert

The Tri-Lakes Community Handbell Choir is seeking handbell ringers, especially people with strong arms to help with the larger bells. High school students or adults are encouraged to participate. If you are interested, contact Betty Jenik at 488-3853 or e-mail ljenik@comcast.net

Sheriff’s Office announces YouTube channel

The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office now uses its own YouTube channel to share information on recent events and provide information on numerous office resources. The YouTube channel can be accessed from the front page of the Sheriff’s Office website, http://shr.elpasoco.com, or directly at www.youtube.com/EPCSheriff. This YouTube channel will have a variety of informational videos posted. Currently available are the full press briefing conducted July 8 regarding the Monument death investigation, information on the full scale mass casualty exercise "NOAA’s ARK," and an informational piece on the Sheriff’s Citizen Patrol.

Donala’s Customer Assistance Program

The Donala Water & Sanitation District offers a customer assistance program in conjunction with Tri-Lakes Cares to help Donala customers in financial hardship, unable to pay their water and sewer bills. The Donala Customer Assistance Program (DCAP) will be funded from Donala customers who approve a donation of 50 cents to $1 per month on their monthly water bills. Applications for assistance can be picked up at the Donala office at 15850 Holbein Dr. in Gleneagle or at Tri-Lakes Cares (TLC) in Monument. Donala will provide account history and TLC will determine assistance eligibility. Participation from the donor side is voluntary and can be cancelled by the donor at any time. For more information, call 488-3603.

Farmers markets in our community

  • The Original Monument Farmers Market is open every Saturday through Oct. 9, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., at Monument Plaza (481 Highway 105, behind Starbucks). For information, call 213-3323.
  • Monument Hill Farmers Market is open every Saturday through Oct. 9, 8 a.m.-1 p.m., at Grace Best School and the D-38 Administration Building at Second and Jefferson Streets in downtown Monument. Fifty-plus vendors offer food, produce, home décor items, crafts, honey, jewelry, furniture, pet products, and more. For information, call 592-9420.
  • Palmer Lake Farmers Market is open every Sunday through Oct. 3, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Highway 105 by the lake, at the Gazebo. For information, call 213-3323.
  • Another farmers market is at the entrance to the Western Museum of Mining & Industry, in front of the red farmhouse every Monday and Wednesday, 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m., with fresh vegetables from Pueblo farms, breads, meats, and more. For information, call 488-0880 or visit www.wmmi.org

Bears about; take precautions to avoid conflicts

Bears will exploit any available food supply, including garbage, pet food, birdseed, and home and restaurant table scraps. When people fail to store garbage, pet food, or bird feeders properly, bears will find those sources and cause conflicts in residential and business areas. Bears that become habituated to human food sources can be dangerous and often must be euthanized. Many communities in bear country have ordinances regarding trash storage that apply to wildlife, so abide by those rules. Detailed precautions you can take can be found at http://wildlife.state.co.us/. To report bear problems, contact your local Colorado Division of Wildlife office, 227-5200, or local law enforcement.

Tri-Lakes HAP Senior Center has fun programs!

The Tri-Lakes Health Advocacy Partnership (HAP) Senior Citizens Center is next to the Lewis-Palmer High School Stadium (across from the YMCA) and is open 1-4 p.m., Mon.-Fri. and earlier for scheduled activities. The facility has a lounge, craft room, game room, and multipurpose room. Programs include pinochle, Tuesdays and Thursdays, noon to 4 p.m.; Tai Chi for Health, Fridays, 10:30 a.m.; National Mah-jongg, Fridays, 1-4 p.m.; line dancing, first and second Wednesdays, 1-2 p.m.; bridge, second and fourth Thursdays, 1-4 p.m.; tea time, third Tuesday, 1-3 p.m.; bingo, third Wednesday, 12:30-3 p.m.; crafts, third Thursdays, 1-3 p.m.; no-cash/no host poker, second and fourth Fridays, 1-4 p.m. Also available at the center are ping-pong, Wii video games, various puzzles and board games, refreshments, a lending library, computers with Internet connections, and an information table. For more information about programs for seniors, visit www.TriLakesSeniors.org

Tri-Lakes Cares Thrift Shop in Monument

Hangers—Your Thrift Shop is now open Wednesday-Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at 341 Front St., Monument. Shop for gently used clothing, books, and household items. Proceeds from Hangers will be used to promote the ongoing mission of Tri-Lakes Cares, a community-based nonprofit. For more information, call 488-2300 or visit the Tri-Lakes Cares Web site, www.trilakescares.org

Tri-Lakes HAP Thrift Store: new location

The new store is located at 790 Highway 105 #D in Palmer Lake. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Weekly specials, books, antiques, clothing, and more! The thrift store is a project of the Tri-Lakes Health Advocacy Partnership (HAP) to raise funds and resources for Tri-Lakes Senior Citizen Program activities, provide volunteer opportunities for Tri-Lakes residents, and offer affordable merchandise to all Tri-Lakes residents. For more information, to donate items, or to volunteer, call 488-3495.

Senior Beat newsletter—subscribe for free!

Each monthly Senior Beat newsletter is full of information for local seniors, including the daily menu of the senior lunches offered Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays in Monument. It also contains the schedule of the classes and events for the month at the Senior Citizens Center. There are also articles and notices of events geared toward senior citizens. To subscribe to the free newsletter, send an e-mail with your name and mailing address to SeniorBeat@TriLakesSeniors.org. Senior Beat can also be viewed online at www.TriLakesHAP.org

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