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Vol. 11 No. 12 - December 3, 2011


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Contents

the PDF file. This is a 23.1 Mbyte high-resolution file with color photos.

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Red Kettle Campaign

Below: (L to R) Major John Bennett, El Paso County Salvation Army Coordinator and Steve Stevenson, President, Monument Hill Kiwanis, are ringing bells at the Monument King Soopers. Monument Hill Kiwanis is participating in the 2011 Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign at the Monument Safeway, Walmart, and King Soopers stores. 100 percent of donations to the kettles will be given to the El Paso County Salvation Army. Last year, as a result Tri-Lakes area donations, a record $40,074 was collected at the Red Kettles located at these three stores. Photo by Mike Wicklund.

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Big R store proposed for Tri-Lakes area

By Steve Sery

Big R, a farm/ranch-oriented business, similar to the old Brookhart’s without the building materials, is proposing a store near I-25 and Baptist Road on the northeast corner of Struthers Road and Spanish Bit, south of Baptist and north of Northgate Road.

It is proposed on an approximately 10-acre site that is part of the Chaparral Hills subdivision. This parcel and others were reserved for commercial use by the developer. It is currently zoned R4, an obsolete zone. This particular part of the zone is designated multifamily. The developer/builder, Hammers Construction, is asking for a zone change to CC, commercial community.

A neighborhood meeting, hosted by the developer, was held Nov. 15. About 20 residents of Chaparral Hills attended. The site plan, elevations and artist’s sketches of the project were displayed. The main points of concern were the appearance of the building (a generic metal structure); the access off Spanish Bit, a residential road (El Paso County Engineering will not permit an access off Struthers Road); and the overall incompatibility of the building and the business with Chaparral Hills. The covenants, in reserving the area for commercial use, stated it must be compatible, which is difficult to define.

Hammers Construction and the Big R owners noted the concerns of the residents, made some revisions, and are holding one-on-one meetings with the residents who attended the meeting to see if they can get support for the project.

Once the developer has prepared the final plans, it will submit them to the county Development Services Department. If the department is satisfied with the changes, the next step will be to present the zone change and the proposed Big R store to the county Planning Commission and then to the Board of County Commissioners.

The public will have an opportunity to be heard at both hearings. If approved, the business could open in about one year.

Steve Sery can be contacted at stevesery@ocn.me.

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Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District, Nov. 16: District receives Colorado Ambulance Service of the Year Award

Below: From left are Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District President Charlie Pocock, District Training Officer Mike Keough, Treasurer John Hildebrandt, Director Rod Wilson, Battalion Chief of Emergency Medical Services Greg Lovato, Fire Chief Robert Denboske, Director Roger Lance, EMT Rudi Gillette, Director Barbara Kelly, and EMT Keegan Black. They welcomed the Colorado Ambulance Service of the Year Award for 2011. Photo by Bernard Minetti.

By Bernard L. Minetti

On Nov. 16, Battalion Chief Greg Lovato presented the Colorado Ambulance Service of the Year Award to the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District Board of Directors and to Fire Chief Robert Denboske. Lovato had received the honor on behalf of the district and for Denboske at a meeting of the Emergency Medical Services of Colorado.

The award is presented by Emergency Medical Services and the Colorado State Board of Health. District Board President Charlie Pocock congratulated Lovato for being instrumental in the acquisition of this honor in his post as battalion chief of Emergency Medical Services and remarked that it was one of the highest awards ever received by the district.

Pocock added that the award was received because of the high standards of professionalism demonstrated by the district’s fire medical personnel and that they are all to be congratulated.

Financial update

Treasurer John Hildebrandt said that through October, the district had received $3.2 million, or 98.51 percent of the budgeted property tax revenues and $237,448, or 86.62 percent of the budgeted specific ownership taxes for the year. Ambulance revenues were $505,635, or 103.19 percent of the annual budget.

He also noted that impact fee revenues for the year to date were $158,108, or 263.51 percent of the annual budgeted amount, and that the district had collected $128,260 in September from the Blevins apartment complex (179 units) and added another $6,372 in October. Hildebrandt noted that the administrative expenses are coming into budgetary alignment after the one-time expenditures early in the year. Ambulance collections and the county treasurer’s fees were high at this point because revenues were high. Medical expenses were high due to the cost of the maintenance contract and supplies. Utilities overall were 15.29 percent under budget, while in September they were 11 percent under budget. Fuel costs remained high and were increasing. Specific payments exceeding the 2011 budget were attributed to insurance policy payments and one-time contract payments.Hildebrandt said that repairs to Stations 2 and 3 and to the administrative building were over the yearly budget by $4,479. Station supply costs were all under budget except for those at Station 1. Overall expenses were at 82.65 percent, or 0.68 percent under the 2011 budget for the year to date.

Denboske reviewed the proposed 2012 budget, saying that property tax revenue would be approximately $291,208 less than in 2011. To make up for that, the board had voted to allow the use of impact fees to cover the 2012 equipment lease-purchase fees. The amount transferred will be $281,097.

Total revenue expected for 2012 is $4.4 million, compared to $4.8 million for 2011. The projected expenses for 2012 were estimated at $3.9 million, compared to $4.2 million for 2011. The budget will be voted upon at the Dec. 7 board meeting.

Relocation approved

Denboske reported on the plans to house the fire Station 1 ambulance at the Donald Westcott fire station. Also, there would be an ambulance at fire Station 3 and at the Donald Westcott site. The district would receive ongoing reimbursement for this equipment and personnel relocation. He advised that the relocation would provide more comprehensive emergency medical service coverage to the district. The relocation plan passed unanimously.

Toys needed for Santa-on-Patrol

Office Manager Jennifer Martin said the district was preparing for the sixth annual Tri-Lakes Santa-on-Patrol Toy Drive. Toys or other unwrapped gifts may be dropped off at any D-38 school, the D-38 administration building, the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District administration building, or at any of the fire stations, Monument and Palmer Lake’s police headquarters, and the Palmer Lake volunteer Fire Department.

The toys will be distributed Dec. 17. For more information, contact Martin at 719-484-0911.

Training report

District Training Officer Mike Keough reported that the total personnel training hours for October amounted to 273.5 man-hours. Of that amount, 178.5 were fire/all hazard specific and 65 were EMS specific. Physical fitness hours logged in October amounted to 30 total personnel hours.

**********

The next Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District board meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec.7, at the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District Administration Center at 166 Second St. in Monument. For further information regarding this meeting, contact Martin at 719-484-0911.

Bernard Minetti may be contacted at bernardminetti@ocn.me.

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Lewis-Palmer District 38 Board of Education, Nov. 17: Board reorganizes, adopts state standards

Photos by Harriet Halbig

Below: Brett Mischlich’s class performs a line dance for the board. Pictured are Kyah Voelker, front, and, from left, Emily Warner, Micah Tedeschi, Joseph Price, and Makayla Anderson.

Below: Brody Watson demonstrates his skill with his robot.

By Harriet Halbig

On Nov. 17, the Lewis-Palmer School District Board of Education announced a reorganization following the Nov. 1 re-election of John Mann, Robb Pike, and Dr. Jeff Ferguson.

The board has been reorganized as follows:

  • Ferguson is the new president
  • Mark Pfoff is the new vice president
  • Gail Wilson is the new treasurer
  • Robb Pike is the new secretary
  • Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Wangeman was appointed assistant treasurer
  • Secretary to the Board Vicki Wood was appointed assistant secretary

Members of the board thanked community voters for their support during the election and were pleased that there was no political interference in the election. They also commented that the margins in the election confirmed that their actions over the last several years meet with public support.

The board voted to approve a number of items:

  • The board’s charge to the District Accountability Advisory Committee (DAAC) was approved. Wilson, who serves as board liaison to the committee, added to the charge the responsibility to review and provide input regarding educator assessment under Senate Bill 191. Other responsibilities include the monitoring of School Improvement Plans, the Political Achievement Committee, and assistance with school district elections.
  • The board adopted Colorado Academic Standards. Director of Assessment, Gifted Education and Technology Lori Benton explained that academic standards have changed significantly since the introduction of No Child Left Behind. The CSAP test has been replaced by the TCAP (Transitional Colorado Assessment Program) test, which stresses graduation and post-secondary success and the development of 21st-century skills such as collaboration and independent thinking. Benton said that a new state assessment program should be put in place in 2014 with new national assessment standards in 2015. The district will revise its curriculum over the next few years, using its curriculum mapping software to identify gaps and overlaps.
  • English Language Learner (ELL) Coordinator Stephanie Johnson reported that the district now has about 279 students who receive services and are tracked until graduation to ensure that their skills are sufficient as technical vocabulary needs increase in later grades. There are now standards for language proficiency in math, science, and social studies. Students must be able to speak, read, and listen appropriately and are assessed at five levels. The board passed a resolution supporting the ELL program in adopting Colorado English Language Proficiency standards.
  • The board approved revisions in operational policies with regard to improving graduation rates by assisting each student in developing a post-secondary plan, beginning with the transition from eighth to ninth grade. Students receive a brochure explaining the program, and the class of 2015 will be the first to participate in this program. This will have a major impact on guidance counselors. Superintendent John Borman commented that the first part of implementation of this program is the most burdensome, but in practice, such a plan will help students to decide which classes to take. An electronic resume will be maintained for each student. Directors Wilson and Ferguson expressed concern regarding the increased workload on counselors. The board voted to adopt the program.
  • The board voted to adopt the proposed 2012-13 school calendar, based on the 2011-12 calendar. The only comment was that students and staff seemed to prefer the later start to the year this year. Utility savings also resulted from the new calendar.
  • The board approved a carryover of $246,000 from the 2010-11 budget to the 2011-12 budget.
  • The board approved minor adjustments in the 2011-12 budget. Among these was a decrease in revenue due to fewer services provided to Monument Academy and an increase in revenue due to increased enrollment in the district. Additional adjustments involved the expense of the recent district financial audit ($4,200) and potential payment for horizontal movement by staff.

Borman describes initiatives

Borman provided information on two recent initiatives undertaken by the district.

He said that discussion continues regarding desired characteristics and skills of Lewis-Palmer graduates. Among these are civic responsibility, critical thinking, self-direction, and information literacy. He continues to meet monthly with a local pastors group and members of the business community, discussing their thoughts on community expectations of graduates. Once the characteristics are identified, the curriculum mapping method will be used to integrate them into the district’s curriculum.

Borman reported that the district is developing a strategic communications plan to ensure that whenever something significant happens, the word will be distributed internally and externally in a timely manner. A marketing plan will also be developed, beginning with the open enrollment period and including radio and TV spots, open houses, and improvements in the district’s web presence.

Borman said that he hopes to have both plans in place in a few months.

Borman also reported that discussions continue on the development of a home school enrichment program, with hopes of beginning next fall, one day a week. He said that the district has received a number of phone inquiries and that leaders of groups of local home schoolers have been identified. Such programs are successful in adjoining districts.

The October count of students showed that the district was up 104.5 full-time students over the budgeted number. Twenty-three more students came to the district in November. This was the first large increase in enrollment in several years, and Borman said that he hopes it is the beginning of a trend.

Innovative classes

Palmer Lake Elementary School Principal Julie Jadomski spoke about some innovative exploratory classes offered to sixth-graders at her school. Among them is the robotics class, taught by Matt Rotter. It is offered on a trimester basis and presently has 14 students enrolled. The school’s Parent Teacher Organization purchased the kits used in the class. Students Zach Hester and Brody Watson demonstrated their skills with their robots.

Physical education teacher Brett Mischlich offers a dance class to sixth-grade students. Dances are of several types, including line dancing and hip hop. The teacher sometimes does the choreography and the students also participate. His class performed a dance for the board.

The board approved a number of routine items such as minutes of previous meetings, ratification of closures due to inclement weather, appointments and resignations, list of substitute teachers, contracts and course proposals (including several new Advanced Placement offerings).

**********

The Lewis-Palmer School District Board of Education meets at 6 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month at the district’s learning center, 146 Jefferson St., Monument. The next meeting will be held on Dec.15.

Harriet Halbig may be reached at harriethalbig@ocn.me.

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Lewis-Palmer District Accountability Advisory Committee, Nov. 8: Borman gives update on D-38

Below: From left, video producers Hannah Filer, Cori Holden and Madi Stone present LPMS Principal Caryn Collette with an LPTV T-shirt. Photo by Harriet Halbig.

By Harriet Halbig

On Nov. 8, District 38 School Superintendent John Borman reported to the District Accountability Advisory Committee (DAAC) that the student count on Oct. 1 showed 1.5 full-time equivalent students more than at the same time last year. The school board had planned the 2011-12 budget assuming a loss of 120 students, so these figures are encouraging.

Borman also spoke of his visits to many schools and the creation of student advisory groups at Lewis-Palmer Middle School, Lewis-Palmer High School, and Palmer Ridge High School. These groups of 35 students at each school meet with him once a month to discuss various issues.

Borman reported on the board’s discussions to develop a list of desirable traits for graduates from the district. Among these are the ability to solve problems, development of transferable skills, the ability to speak comfortably to individuals and groups, and such workplace traits as punctuality and a strong work ethic. He said that the development of these traits will be approached in the same way as curriculum mapping approaches academic achievement.

An internal and external communication plan for the district is being developed, so that achievements in the district may be made known in a timely fashion. The district website is often the first thing seen by a new resident, and the site will be improved in the near future. A marketing plan is also being developed.

Borman said that the district is considering offering a home school enrichment program next year, perhaps one day a week. Plans are being made to gauge interest in the community before rolling out the program. He said that many of the students living in District 38 and attending classes elsewhere are home school or charter school students and that District 20’s home school program has a waiting list.

Borman also reported that the district was placed on the AP (Advanced Placement) District Honor Roll for gains in AP access and student performance for the 2010-11 school year. District 38 was one of two districts in the state (the other was Boulder Valley) and one of only 400 in the nation to receive this recognition.

Legislative update

Board of Education Legislative Liaison Gail Wilson reported that in the Nov. 1 election, Proposition 103 proposing a tax increase to benefit k-12 education failed and all incumbent members of the board of education were re-elected to their positions.

Wilson said that the state Legislature requested that the University of Denver’s Center for Colorado’s Economic Future offer advice on future planning. The report generated in response to this request was very disturbing with regard to education funding, as the Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights (TABOR) restricts the rate at which growth may occur when the economy begins to recover.

It is anticipated that 13 of the next 14 years will see decreases in school funding.

Update on Lewis-Palmer Middle School

Lewis-Palmer Middle School Principal Caryn Collette spoke briefly about her school and showed a video, This is LPMS, created by Dan Marcus’ film class, LPTV.

Collette said that the school has 814 students, about evenly divided between seventh- and eighth-graders. Of these students, 192 have been identified as gifted/talented, 80 as special education students, 71 eligible for free or reduced cost lunch, and 40 as English language learners (27 of whom receive direct services).

The school offers a wide variety of exploratory classes in addition to required core instruction in language arts, math, science, and writing, Collette said. Students at LPMS achieved the highest rating in all standardized tests last year.

In terms of student growth, there are some gaps in the population of students with disabilities and those needing to catch up in the area of math, she said. Teachers are developing supplemental materials for these students.

A Writing Across the Curriculum program was begun in the 2010-11 school year, and a Reading Across the Curriculum program is planned for next year. All teachers will receive additional training to implement these programs.

Intramural sports are enabling many students to participate, Collette said. Leadership and service organizations such as the Student Council, Peer Mediators, and Where Everybody Belongs (eighth-graders working with seventh-graders to integrate them into the school) are active at LPMS. There are many clubs, including robotics, forensics, and Science Olympiad, and students participate in many academic competitions.

Each student also participates in a service learning project such as reading to younger children, community cleanups, and organizing a community blood drive.

This year also saw the beginning of a program called Positive Behavior Intervention Support, an initiative to support the behaviors of persistence, respect, initiative, dependability, and empathy. Students earn tickets for displaying these behaviors and may redeem the tickets for a variety of items.

**********

The District Accountability Advisory Committee meets at 7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month. Locations vary. The Dec. 13 meeting will be held at Prairie Winds Elementary School, 790 Kings Deer Point East, Monument.

Harriet Halbig can be contacted at harriethalbig@ocn.me

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Lewis-Palmer Special Education Advisory Council, Nov. 9: Council discusses strategies for inclusion

By Harriet Halbig

On Nov. 9, the Special Education Advisory Council of the Lewis-Palmer School District discussed strategies for inclusion of special education students in the general education classroom. General education teachers will receive additional training and in some cases team with special education teachers and parents to educate special needs students in the least restrictive manner.

Amber LaBandt, special education teacher at Kilmer Elementary, explained how a special education teacher and a general education teacher can work together to support a special needs student in a classroom. For example, class information can be provided in advance to the student’s parents so that the student could become familiar with core concepts before their introduction in class.

In this way, not only is the student better prepared for the subject matter, but the teachers can determine what accommodations and modifications are required during the class. For example, the student may read a less advanced version of a story, may use pictures as part of a spelling lesson, or may perform simplified arithmetic exercises.

LaBandt said that, in addition to the cooperation and partnership between the teachers, parents must realize the value of "para-educators" in the education of special needs students. These individuals often work one-on-one with students and help with their individual needs.

District 38 Superintendent of Schools John Borman spoke about his experiences as a high school English teacher and athletic director in Greeley, a district with a large number of English language learners. He said that teachers often would not receive an IEP (Individual Education Plan) for a student until several weeks after classes began, putting the teacher at a great disadvantage and causing frustration on the part of the student and parents.

Borman said that the goal of inclusion is important to the philosophy of the district. He stressed that in public schools, all children are accepted and should be given every opportunity to achieve to the best of their ability.

He stressed that teachers should be well trained to work in a classroom with students of a wide range of abilities. He said that in the past, the problem was often that of fear of the unknown—such as a general education teacher with a limited understanding of the special needs students’ abilities and how to structure lessons to reach all students.

Charmain Thaner, educational consultant and liaison from Visions and Voices Together, a group advocating inclusion to the benefit of all students, spoke of her experiences as a special education and general education teacher and her advocacy for maximum inclusion. She said that, when she began teaching, intellectually disabled children were completely segregated from the general population in schools. They were only mainstreamed during gym class and lunch.

Today children are increasingly being integrated into the general classroom, which benefits them socially as well as intellectually.

Thaner said that she has learned over time to stress the strengths of special needs students before addressing their challenges. This allows parents and students to enter the process with a greater sense of self-worth and possibility.

Lewis-Palmer Middle School Principal Caryn Collette said that students with an IEP in sixth grade are helped in transitioning to the middle school starting the spring of sixth grade. They have already learned about moving about the building to change classes and have a different teacher for each subject, but subjects such as math become more difficult at a much faster rate in middle school than in elementary school. The social needs of adolescents add a new layer of complexity to the lives of students in middle school.

Members of the council were given an exercise in planning lessons for a student with special needs, addressing the student’s learning style and attention span in the process of introducing subject matter. Examples were a simple math lesson for the third grade or a unit on Egyptian mummies for middle school and what materials would be required.

Mary Anne Fleury, director of Exceptional Student Services for the district, reported that there is a new program at Prairie Winds Elementary School for students with dual diagnoses.

A new assistive technology committee is being created to help maximize the use of such resources as netbooks and devices that allow students to listen to textbooks as they read them. Because all federal funds have been spent, it is critical to make optimum use of these devices, she said.

Fleury said that a state team will be in the district in early December as part of the Continuous Improvement Monitoring Program. The team will examine IEPs of district students and determine compliance with all state requirements.

**********

The Special Education Advisory Council meets at 6:30 p.m. on the second Wednesday of each month at the district’s Learning Center, 146 Jefferson St., Monument. The next meeting will be on Dec. 14. The subject of the meeting is the effect of nutrition on student performance.

Harriet Halbig can be reached at harriethalbig@ocn.me.

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Monument Board of Trustees, Nov. 7: Changes in town code approved

By Jim Kendrick

On Nov. 7, the Monument Board of Trustees unanimously approved two ordinances for town code revisions regarding uses by special review and the process for designating zoning districts.

Trustee Stan Gingrich was absent.

Uses by special review

Tom Kassawara, director of Development Services, said the uses by special review ordinance provided several "cleanup changes" to this regulation. The changes are designed to improve its organization and to clarify and improve the town staff review process in assessing the compatibility of a proposed use with surrounding land uses and developments. This is considered necessary because of the range in size, intensity, and activity levels of the proposed uses.

There were no citizen comments during the open portion of this public hearing.

Zoning districts designated

Kassawara noted that the zoning district designation ordinance also provided several "cleanup changes" to this chapter of the town code, which establishes the various zoning districts and addresses the town’s zoning map. The staff added provisions to clarify the interpretation of the zoning district map and the zoning district boundaries.

The next step will be to present the new official zoning map to the Planning Commission and board for approval. Kassawara noted that the new map will have planning commissioner and trustee signatures to strengthen its legal validity in traffic and district court cases.

There were no citizen comments during the open portion of this public hearing.

Financial reports and updates

Town Treasurer Pamela Smith presented the August sales tax and September financial reports.

September general fund revenues exceeded the budgeted amount by 5.6 percent or $206,000, an increase of $126,000 compared to August revenues.

September general fund expenditures were less than budgeted by 4.1 percent or $140,000, an improvement of $63,000 over August.

The general fund was under budget by $346,000. This was a $146,000 improvement from the end of August.

The water fund was under budget by $87,000 in September, an improvement of $31,000 from the previous month.

Net sales tax revenue was less than the amount budgeted through August by 0.8 percent or $8,837, a decline of $7,000 from July.

The board approved the continued August financial report and the September financial report.

The board unanimously approved eight payments of $5,000 or more:

  • $111,713 to Triview Metropolitan District for August sales tax ($106,525), September motor vehicle tax ($5,002), and Pikes Peak Regional Building Department sales tax ($184)
  • $183,706 to Triview for its 50 percent share of annual property tax
  • $25,378 to the Colorado Intergovernmental Risk-Sharing Agency (CIRSA) for the town’s fourth-quarter workers’ compensation insurance
  • $13,577 to CIRSA for the town’s fourth-quarter liability insurance
  • $13,440 to National Meter and Automation Inc. for 168 new Orion water meters
  • $5,760 to National Meter for 72 new Orion water meters
  • $10,821 to Drive Train Industries Inc. for parts and installation of front axle CV joints and half-shafts for the town’s 1995 GMC dump truck that is used for snow plowing
  • $5,286 to Lytle Water Solutions LLC for general water engineering hydrologic services

Smith asked for written comments from the trustees on the draft preliminary budget for 2012.

Staff reports and updates

Town Manager Cathy Green and Town Clerk Scott Meszaros briefed the board on the process of holding a mail ballot election in April, which is cheaper than a polling place election and traditionally has more voter participation. People can still vote in person at Town Hall on Election Day, April 3.

The board consensus was to add an election question to extend "de-Brucing" of any excess revenues for another four years. "De-Brucing" refers to holding an election to have residents vote for a temporary waiver on a provision of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights Amendment 1 to the state constitution. This amendment was authored by El Paso County politician Doug Bruce. This amendment places strict limits on the maximum amount that tax revenues and government spending can increase. Hundreds of local jurisdictions have had repeated success on ballot initiatives to waive the amendment’s limits on tax revenue.

Meszaros noted that there is no practical method for returning excess revenues. However, the town has never had to use this previously approved option because Monument has never had excess revenues as defined by Amendment 1. Green asked the board if excess funds should again be restricted to uses for parks, recreation, and seniors. The board will vote on approving a ballot question for "de-Brucing" at a future board meeting.

Kassawara also briefed the board on the Board of County Commissioners’ (BOCC) initiative to minimize restrictions in county commercial zones. However, the town staff would like the vacant county commercial property adjacent to the east side of I-25 on Monument Hill to have a zoning overlay with the same restrictions as those of the town’s commercial section on the west side of the I-25 corridor.

The county staff will not concur without a vote of approval from the BOCC in December. The county staff does not believe the county commissioners will vote to add restrictions for the county commercial area between Higby Road and County Line Road.

Mayor Travis Easton agreed to have Kassawara arrange a meeting with county Commissioner Darryl Glenn and county Planning Commissioner Jerry Hannigan to lobby for an overlay. Trustee Rafael Dominguez said that one of the I-25 corridor subcommittee’s "primary goals was to avoid what we currently have on I-25 on the western side. You have the bus depot. You have the RV storage lot. You have the trailer park along the freeway. And that gives us a pretty bad image." There is vacant county land farther north on the west side as well, up to County Line Road.

Kassawara said the town is adamant to eliminate the possibility of sexually oriented businesses, equipment storage, and outdoor storage. Easton said that the town should achieve a "middle ground" with the county to avoid strip clubs in the local area along the interstate. Green noted that when she was a planner in Pueblo, sexually oriented businesses along I-25 were "a huge problem down there with the truckers" and "there were a lot of them."

Trustee Jeff Kaiser asked for the town to paint dotted lines for left-turn traffic turning north and turning south on Jackson Creek Parkway at the Leather Chaps Drive signal.

Trustees’ comments

There was a 15-minute discussion on town cemetery operations, adjusting rates, and making future plans. Green noted that the staff had held a meeting on this issue recently. Several staff attempts to coordinate a cemetery meeting date and time with Trustee Gail Drumm over the past seven months were unsuccessful and the staff scheduled a recent cemetery committee meeting to develop a master plan without him. Green suggested holding another meeting on the morning of Nov. 9. Drumm agreed to attend.

Kaiser asked Green about the process that would be used for filling the vacant Public Works director position next year. Plans had not been finalized.

Easton noted that the town’s dues for membership in the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments would increase from $4,800 to $5,200 for 2012. Easton said the town needed to continue its membership to remain eligible for grants.

Guest presenters

Four Black Hills Energy employees presented an annual briefing to the board on Black Hills Energy’s organizational and personnel changes, as well as current plans, natural gas production and wholesale purchase policies, and operational changes in the region:

  • Corporate spokesperson Larissa Long
  • Colorado gas operations General Manager Susan Bailey
  • Field operations supervisor Corey Koca of the Monument Black Hills Energy facility on Base Camp Road,
  • Regional Supervisor Brad Wallace

Long noted that new meters with automated meter reading are being installed to couple with email billing and Internet bill payments to improve efficiency. Utility vehicles powered by natural gas are being added to the Black Hills fleet as well. Black Hills Energy contributes $495,000 in payroll, $169,000 in property taxes, $80,500 in franchise fees, and $24,000 in state and local taxes within the town of Monument.

Koca listed the pipeline upgrades, weatherization, energy audit, automatic metering replacements (17,400 units installed), and tree planting projects his staff is working on. For more information, see www.blackhillsenergy.com/services/programs/homes-heateff-co.php

The meeting adjourned at 7:50 p.m.

**********

The next meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 5 in Town Hall, 645 Beacon Lite Road. Meetings are normally held on the first and third Monday of the month. Information: 884-8017 or 481-2954.

Jim Kendrick can be reached at jimkendrick@ocn.me.

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Monument Planning Commission, Nov. 9: "Human sign" code revision approved

By Jim Kendrick

On Nov. 9, the Monument Planning Commission approved an ordinance for revisions to separate code sections regarding "moving signs" and "exempt signs." This item had been continued from the Oct. 12 Planning Commission meeting due to unresolved questions about people wearing costumes and waving signs at the side of a road to advertise a business.

Commissioners Becki Tooley and Dave Gwisdalla were absent.

Moving and exempt signs

On Oct. 12, the moving and exempt signs revision proposal generated a lengthy discussion about balancing free speech rights, suitability of costumes, the safety of the people carrying signs and passing drivers, and an appropriate maximum for the number of people and number of locations to be allowed for this type of advertising.

Town Principal Planner Karen Griffith stated that the proposed revised sign code language for exempt "human signs" had been changed based on two motions passed by the Planning Commission on Oct. 12. The first motion, passed by a vote of 4-3, provided direction regarding the number of exempt human signs recommended for businesses. The second motion, passed by a vote of 5-2, provided direction regarding the number of exempt human signs allowed for charitable events. The revisions were:

  • One sign carried by a person is allowed per entrance to a property or per entrance to a shopping center per business establishment at any one time.
  • Signs carried by people advertising charitable events shall not be restricted in number or location, but shall otherwise conform to the provisions of the exempt signs code.

Griffith also reported on questions raised by the commissioners on Oct. 12 regarding how a nuisance is defined in order to enforce the provision that a sign carried by a person or persons shall not become a nuisance. Nuisances are defined in the town code section 8.04.010 as "Anything which is injurious to the health or morals or indecent or offensive to the senses or an obstruction to the free use of property so as to interfere with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property is declared a nuisance and as such shall be abated."

Griffith noted that Town Attorney Gary Shupp said on Oct. 12 that "a nuisance is also defined by the facts of a particular circumstance. Any exempt human sign that becomes a nuisance will be addressed by the town’s code enforcement officer."

These revisions arose from incidents in which a human sign for one tax preparer was conducting intrusive and harassing advertising in front of and on the property of another tax preparer’s office.

There were no citizen comments on the code revision during the open portion of the public hearing.

Commissioner Kathy Spence stated that she still preferred allowing only one human sign per business at a time. She said that a liquidation sale at a shopping center could create lots of human signs at each entrance and may lead to a situation that "looks pretty bad and is unsafe."

However, Spence also stated that for kids advertising carwashes, "You really don’t want only one girl out there in her short shorts waving at people. … The kids don’t want to be out there alone." Griffith added, "Or even one little kid out there advertising cookie sales or brownie sales." Commissioner Glenda Smith agreed with both of them on the safety aspects of allowing multiple human signs for nonprofit organizations.

The commission approved the revised sign code language for exempt human signs as amended by a 4-1 vote with Spence opposed.

Zoning district and boundary map approved

Griffith stated that zoning maps have been administratively approved by the town staff in the past. Now the staff is recommending review, approval, and signature by members of the Planning Commission and Board of Trustees to document the authenticity of the map. This new ordinance will be particularly helpful to the Monument Police Department for traffic and law enforcement and will make the zoning and boundary map more legally defensible.

She noted that this new map includes the two most recent annexations, Family of Christ Lutheran Church and a small portion of Forest Lakes property along the southbound on-ramp for I-25, as well as one de-annexation at Woodcarver and Baptist Roads that corrected an error in a boundary description in a previous Forest Lakes annexation document.

Smith asked about the zoning of the Lake of the Rockies property, listed now as planned commercial development. Griffith stated that the sketch plan was never recorded with El Paso County and the zoning has been changed administratively.

Background: For years, this now-vacant property on the southwest corner of the intersection Mitchell Avenue and Second Street had been a controversial campground with access to the southeast shoreline of Monument Lake. (See www.ocn.me/v4n2.htm#monbotjan20 and www.ocn.me/v4n2rvs.htm for details.)

The Board of Trustees subsequently approved a residential planned development sketch plan and conversion of the property to residential zoning on April 3, 2006. (See www.ocn.me/v6n5.htm#bot0403 for details.)

The campground structures and buildings were then demolished and removed. The now-vacant property is currently being used for leased grazing of livestock.

The commission unanimously approved the adoption of a Monument zoning district and boundary map.

Two hearings continued

A public hearing on a proposed preliminary/final planned development site plan for a Kum & Go convenience store to be built on the southwest corner of the intersection of Highway 105 and Knollwood Drive was unanimously continued until a Nov. 16 special meeting. The postponement was caused by some missing information in the original hearing notice that was corrected.

A public hearing on a Comprehensive Plan Amendment for the I-25 Gateway Corridor Land Use Plan was unanimously continued. Griffith briefed the commissioners on town staff negotiations with the El Paso County Planning Department to have the county adopt the same kinds of restrictions that apply to town commercial property adjacent to the interstate on the west side of Monument Hill. The town staff is asking the county to apply these town standards to county commercial property on the east side of I-25 to protect the view corridor.

Griffith noted that applying town standards with a zoning overlay to the commercial property between Monument Hill Road and Lewis-Palmer Middle School is of particular interest to the town staff.

Griffith said that the Board of County Commissioners would likely hold a hearing on the new county zoning called Community Commercial in December now that the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce Barriers to Business committee is lobbying the commissioners to have the reduced restrictions of Community Commercial zoning apply countywide.

The town staff is asking the county staff to endorse a zoning overlay along the east side of I-25 between Highway 105 and County Line Road that would prohibit commercial uses such as sexually oriented businesses, equipment storage, and outdoor storage.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:03 p.m.

Jim Kendrick can be reached at jimkendrick@ocn.me.

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Monument Planning Commission, Nov.16: Kum & Go site plan approved

Below: On Nov. 16, the Monument Planning Commission held a special meeting at the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District for a hearing on the Preliminary/Final Planned Development site plan for a Kum & Go convenience store with gasoline service. This new store is proposed to be built on the southwest corner of the intersection of Highway 105 and Knollwood Drive. Engineer Joshua Erramouspe, of Olsson Associates in Golden, is shown briefing the commissioners on the unique architectural design features of this first store to be built along the Front Range. This store is intended to serve as a model for four or five other stores to be built along the Front Range in 2012. On the left is Kum & Go real estate development representative Dave Lemons, from Des Moines, IA. Behind Lemons is realtor Mark Useman of Sierra Commercial Real Estate, Inc. in Colorado Springs. On the right is Commissioner Jim Fitzpatrick, who voted against the site plan because of concerns about the county’s traffic signal timing that makes it difficult to make a left turn from Knollwood to go west on Highway 105. Photo by Jim Kendrick

By Jim Kendrick

On Nov. 16, the Monument Planning Commission approved a Preliminary/Final Planned Development (PD) site plan for a new Kum & Go convenience store with gasoline sales to be constructed on the southwest corner of the intersection of Highway 105 and Knollwood Drive. This property is a platted Lot 4 Valley Vista Estates Filing 3. The plat was approved in the mid-1990s.

This public hearing was unanimously continued during the regular Nov. 9 Planning Commission meeting until Nov. 16 to ensure sufficient public notice. No citizens attended the meeting.

The absences of Commissioners Glenda Smith, John Dick, and Dave Gwisdalla were excused.

Town Principal Planner Karen Griffith presented an overview of the proposed store. She explained how the proposal met the 12 PD site plan criteria in the municipal zoning code and the various provisions of the Town of Monument Comprehensive Plan.

Lot 4 is 1.57 acres with an eastbound right-in-only entrance from Highway 105 to the northwest corner of the lot. This proposed access lies within El Paso County’s Highway 105 right-of-way and will have to be separately approved by the county.

There would be a right-in-right-out-only restricted access to Knollwood Drive at the center of the east side of the lot, between Highway 105 and Cipriani Loop. There would be a two-way access to Veterinary View, a private road, at the center of the west side of the lot, opposite the existing two-way entrance to Integrity Bank (Lot 3). A right-turn lane would be constructed for northbound traffic on Veterinary View from the Cipriani Loop intersection to the west access for the Kum & Go store.

The store would be 4,958 square feet and would be located at the rear—south side—of the lot, with 30 parking spaces. Ten gasoline pumps would be located under a canopy in front of the store on the north side of the lot. The site plan meets all the setback, height, and lot area restrictions of the previously approved existing plat and the PD site plan for Filing 3 that was filed with the county in 2002. The site plan improvement agreement between the landowner and the town has not been completed and will have to be approved by the staff before any construction permits are approved.

Griffith noted that there are currently no sidewalks for the vacant areas near Lot 4. There is an existing section of 5-foot sidewalk on the east side of Lot 4. Kum & Go will extend this sidewalk along Knollwood Drive and along Cipriani Loop on the south side of Lot 4. The town has notified the county of its desire to have sidewalks installed along both sides of Highway 105, to include Lot 4, but not until after the planned widening of the highway in the future.

This widening is expected to occur when the Village Center commercial parcel to the east is sufficiently developed to trigger offsite roadway improvements that were town conditions of approval for Village Center. If these sidewalks were to be installed now, they would have to be demolished when the widening is improved.

Griffith also explained her analysis and that of Director of Development Services Tom Kassawara regarding the county’s controversial Knollwood Drive intersection traffic signal on Highway 105. Some of her specific comments of how the staff’s traffic impact analysis showed that the proposed vehicular circulation system provides adequate capacity, connectivity, and accessibility were:

  • Drivers sometimes experience minor delays when attempting to turn left from northbound Knollwood to westbound Highway 105 "due to the lack of protected turns."
  • The short-term traffic analysis shows that 122 vehicles make left turns from northbound Knollwood to westbound Highway 105 during the afternoon peak hour.
  • This currently existing peak load meets the specifications for town standards for site plan approval by the staff.
  • After the Kum & Go store is completed, the afternoon peak will rise to 200 vehicles, which still meets the specifications for town standards for site plan approval.
  • The long-term traffic analysis for complete buildout of all lots served by Knollwood Drive, including the already approved Village Center commercial development on the southeast corner of this intersection, will still meet current town standards.
  • At every stage of development in this area, a traffic study will be submitted by the developer and analyzed by the town staff.
  • The site plan for the Village Center development has its own set of required offsite traffic improvements that will have to be constructed by the developer when certain vehicle-count thresholds are met at a future stage of development, including building two dedicated left-turn lanes for northbound Knollwood traffic, with longer left-turn green light timing set by the county.
  • The dedicated right-in access from Highway 105 to the Kum & Go lot will avoid additional right-turn queuing delays onto southbound Knollwood.

In response to Griffith’s code compliance analysis, Commissioners Jim Fitzpatrick and Becki Tooley made extensive remarks about difficulties making the left turn onto westbound Highway 105 from northbound Knollwood during rush hour due to the fixed green-light timing of one minute and 15 seconds for Knollwood Drive residents. For commuters and Monument Academy parents dropping off or picking up students, it would create "a bad and irritating situation." He added, "We can’t wait 15 years to have two dedicated turn lanes."

Fitzpatrick and Tooley also stated that the Kum & Go would be a valuable addition to Monument and provide services that do not exist. Griffith concurred. Fitzpatrick and Tooley brought up the fixed limited timing of the county’s traffic signal each time some aspect of traffic flow was discussed, while also noting that they wanted the Kum & Go store to be built and planned to shop there regularly.

Tooley also expressed concerns about lighting for the movie rental vending machine that would be located out front of the store, under the front awning.

Griffith reported that the town staff had not yet received referral comments on the proposed eastbound right-in-only access from the county Development Services Department Engineering Division, which has jurisdiction over Highway 105 and controls access.

The Woodmoor Improvement Association referral letter opposed:

  • 24-hour operations due to proximity to a Woodmoor residential area
  • Alcohol sales due to close proximity to the Monument Academy Charter School
  • Gas and fast food sales due to traffic congestion

Griffith noted that the community commercial zoning for Filing 3 was approved in 1998 and included all these uses as a standard property right for commercial landowners. She added that the town could not legally disapprove any of these uses opposed in Woodmoor’s referral letter.

There were no citizen comments during the open portion of the public hearing.

Three representatives of Kum & Go were present for the applicant’s presentation:

  • Joshua Erramouspe, professional engineer of consultant firm Olsson Associates of Golden
  • Dave Lemons, real estate development representative of Kum & Go of West Des Moines, Iowa
  • Mark Useman, senior managing director of Sierra Commercial Real Estate Inc.

Erramouspe stated that during peak traffic periods, the line of vehicles making a left turn is about 225 feet long, or the full length of the east side of Lot 4. Fitzpatrick responded that no more than three cars can turn per signal cycle when any car enters the Highway 105 intersection. Olsson’s traffic engineers have shown that a single dedicated protected left-turn lane would allow most, but not all cars to turn left.

Griffith said Kassawara would discuss this issue with the County Engineer before the Board of Trustees hearing on this proposal, but again noted that the existing level of service already meets town requirements.

Lemons added that traffic signal improvements will benefit Kum & Go as well as nearby homeowners. He spoke at length about his company’s local management, marketing (no pornography sales and breakfast/lunch/dinner service), and ownership policies (no franchisees and donations of 10 percent of profits to charities focusing on children and education.)

He also explained the negotiations he held with the town staff on architectural features for this first store to be built in this area, noting it will be the model for all the others, because of its unique energy and environmental design features. Lemons said four to five stores will be built in this area in early 2012.

Spence asked for details on how alcohol sales such as the location of the 11-door cooler in the store and deterrents for sales to teenagers.

The commission approved the PD site plan with five conditions by a 3-1 vote, with Fitzpatrick opposed due to the unresolved issues with the county traffic signal timing and unprotected left turns.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:25 p.m.

**********

The next meeting will be held Jan. 10 at 6:30 p.m. in Town Hall, 166 Second St. The Dec. 14 meeting was cancelled on Nov. 30. Meetings are normally held on the second Wednesday of the month. Information: 884-8017.

Jim Kendrick can be reached at jimkendrick@ocn.me.

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Tri-Lakes Joint Use Committee, Nov. 8: 2012 budget approved

By Jim Kendrick

On Nov. 8, the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility Joint Use Committee (JUC) held a public hearing on its 2012 budget. Facility Manager Bill Burks stated that operating costs for engineering consultant fees and effluent sampling will increase by about $22,500 in 2012 due to new Colorado Water Quality Control Division requirements in the draft five-year discharge permit (2012-16) issued in September.

New metals have been added to the effluent sampling list in the discharge permit. Additional engineering consulting is required for designing and installing a pilot plant for phosphorus removal and conducting a study and writing a report on the evaluation of the sources of all the metals in the new permit. The report must be submitted to the division by the end of 2012.

The other major changes in the permit were a reduction in the copper limits—9.7 parts per billion on average and 15 ppb for a single test result—which will be very difficult to achieve during dry winter periods. The current temporary permit modification allows levels of 24.8 ppb and 36.4 ppb and will be extended for three years for the new permit, delaying enforcement of the reduced limits until 2015. The effects of adding phosphorus treatment to the plant onto the plant’s existing ability to remove copper are unknown and will be analyzed once the division issues a permit for the pilot plant.

The Tri-Lakes facility operates as a separate public utility and is jointly owned, in equal one-third shares, by Monument Sanitation District, Palmer Lake Sanitation District, and Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District. The three-member JUC acts as the board of the facility and consists of one director from each of the three owner districts’ boards: Dale Smith from Palmer Lake, Lowell Morgan from Monument, and Jim Whitelaw from Woodmoor. Typically, several other district board members and the district managers also attend the JUC meeting. Tri-Lakes CPA Jackie Spegele attended this meeting to participate in the 2012 budget hearing.

James Taylor, Woodmoor’s alternate JUC representative, filled in for Whitelaw’s absence.

Financial reports

Burks stated that engineering costs in the 2012 facility budget for the new discharge permit will increase by $8,500 to $43,500, and sampling and analysis costs will increase by $14,000 to $54,000. While 2011 sludge removal costs dropped from $165,650 to $58,010 due to unforeseen operational problems, a new previously unplanned sludge removal cost of $127,825 had to be added to the 2012 budget.

As a result, the final draft of the 2012 budget showed that Monument’s facility costs for 2012 would increase from $221,658 to $226,946. Palmer Lake’s facility costs would increase from $179,281 to $183,557. Woodmoor’s facility costs would increase from $454,352 to $466,290. The total operating cost for 2012 increased from $854,292 to $876,792.

There was consensus to drop the plan to build a new storage building in 2012, which would have resulted in a capital construction cost of $75,678. If financial conditions improve significantly, there was consensus that the budget could be amended during 2012 to add the building back as a budget and appropriation amendment. There was also consensus to add $15,000 in capital costs to the 2012 facility budget for reimbursing Monument Sanitation District for the cost of having Jim Kendrick attend various Water Quality Forum workgroup meetings in Denver as a Monument employee.

The 2012 budget resolution and 2012 appropriation resolution were unanimously approved as amended. The JUC also unanimously accepted the facility’s financial reports for October.

The JUC unanimously approved a letter of engagement with Spegele Numeric Strategies accounting firm for 2012.

District manager reports

Monument District Manager Mike Wicklund reported that he had visited Walgreen’s, Vitamin Cottage, and Safeway, sellers of large amounts of dairy products, in response to increasing concentrations of biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) in Monument’s waste totals. He discovered that Walgreen’s pharmacist/manager had been dumping unsold milk and ice cream down the store’s drain and rinsing with hot water. He advised the Walgreen’s staff that this was a violation of Monument’s sewer regulations and was resulting in excess district treatment billing due to the additional oxygen demand for the bacteria used in the facility’s activated sludge process to consume improperly disposed dairy products.

Wicklund will send out a letter to all district restaurants and stores selling dairy products to remind them of the prohibition of disposing of dairy products. Monument Director Chuck Robinove noted, "Obviously Mike is milking this for all it is worth."

Wicklund also reported that a contractor had been discovered digging on lot 2 of Pine Hills near Mount Herman Road. Wicklund said the contractor had not contacted Monument, Palmer Lake, and Woodmoor for the required sewer line location visit prior to beginning excavation. Wicklund also said he had advised the contractor that he was very lucky not to have damaged the Woodmoor sewer interceptor that runs through this lot, carrying 350,000 gallons per day, or the Monument line carrying 200,000 gallons per day. Wicklund told him, "The fines for breaking these lines would have put him out of business."

Woodmoor Assistant District Manager Randy Gillette and Palmer Lake District Manager Duane Hanson reported that neither district had any operational issues since the last JUC meeting.

Facility manager’s report

Burks reported that October’s copper sampling had yielded a maximum sample result of 6 ppb and an average of 3 ppb. Four copper samples will be taken each month under the new data collection program just started. Non-detect results are set at zero under the state procedure for calculating the average when the limit is barely higher than the detection limit for the state-approved testing method. Burks continues to use split samples to ensure that both samples yield the same lab results to validate the contractor’s testing method at these extremely low concentrations.

All other numbers in the October discharge monitoring report were far better than the limits. Burks added that the very low cyanide sample results had shown that there was no reasonable potential for exceeding the limit, and cyanide testing was discontinued in the new permit.

Burks also described the new spreadsheet format for reporting the results for the new testing regime required for the new permit’s metals source study. There was a lengthy technical discussion on how to conduct this additional data gathering and analyze new and existing copper data in particular. This analysis is necessary to protect district constituents now that treatment of Town of Monument drinking water with caustic soda to reduce its aggressiveness in leaching copper from household pipes has been discontinued by the Public Works staff.

Denver meetings report

Kendrick gave a summary of the meetings he attended in Denver. He noted the work of the Colorado Rural Communities Coalition with state Rep. Marsha Looper in sending separate letters asking Water Quality Control Division Director Steve Gunderson to have the information on total phosphorus and total nitrogen removal costs segregated by contractor CDM in the final Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority cost-benefit study report.

Environmental attorney John Hall also drafted a letter for the Rural Communities Coalition asking that the March Water Quality Control Commission hearing on nutrients be delayed. The letter states that there is not yet sufficient evidence provided by the division to scientifically show any significant correlation between total phosphorus and heightened algae or chlorophyll-A nor any correlation between total nitrogen and heightened algae or chlorophyll-A.

The division vigorously opposed both of the Rural Coalition’s requests.

The Rural Communities Coalition consists of the wastewater districts in the Tri-Lakes region and Fountain. Wicklund signed both Rural Communities Coalition letters. Jim Heckman of the Fountain sanitation district leads coordination with Looper.

Note: After this JUC meeting, Wicklund, Kendrick, Heckman, and the facility’s environmental attorney, Tad Foster, spoke in opposition to the Water Quality Control Commission’s approval Nov. 14 of the prehearing draft package for the March nutrient hearing. The commission approved the prehearing package after noting it could separately address proposed phosphorus and nitrogen limits in both the proposed nutrient control regulation 85 and basic regulation 31 at the March hearing.

Wicklund told the commissioners that this statement regarding the commission’s ability to reject parts of the two proposed regulations and/or parts of their accompanying Statements of Basis and Purpose is unprecedented in the decade of workgroup meetings and hearings regarding nutrients. "We’ve never heard that before," he said.

Kendrick is coordinating Rural Coalition efforts with state Rep. Amy Stephens to seek legislative review of nutrient limits again in 2012 to prevent the Water Quality Control Commission and the EPA from imposing arbitrarily low phosphorus and nitrogen wastewater effluent limits state-wide that the Rural Coalition says will produce little or no benefit at extremely high per capita costs to small-district homeowners.

Kendrick noted that each coalition district should ask for "party" status for the March Water Quality Control Commission nutrient criteria hearing to allow Foster to speak about a variety of topics using each district’s time as well as the Colorado Nutrient Coalition’s time. He will provide forms for each district to use to file for party status by the middle of December.

The Rural Coalition made a formal request to separate the March nutrient hearing into two hearings on phosphorus and nitrogen limits and delay the nitrogen hearing until the water quality division separates its data on each and provides it all to the regulated community. Kendrick said Florida was very successful in getting the EPA to back off on simplistic statewide nutrient limits. The EPA recently said it would allow Florida to set its own site-specific nutrient criteria for each of its various ecosystems based on data the state has collected over the past 11 years.

Wicklund listed all the achievements that have been helpful to the small districts of the Upper Monument Water Quality Management Association during Kendrick’s participation in Denver regulatory meetings:

  • The hearings on the proposed nutrient regulations were postponed from August to March.
  • Had they not been postponed, the new Regulation 31 nutrient limits currently scheduled to be implemented in 2022 would have been applied immediately last August to the new discharge permits for Tri-Lakes, Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility, and Academy Water and Sanitation District. That would have created an immediate EPA demand for installation of costly treatment equipment without sampling and analysis to determine the effectiveness of alternative treatment options.
  • Small districts like Academy (300 customers) with lagoon systems are now exempt from ammonia standards they cannot meet.
  • There is now a well-known representative of the Tri-Lakes community at all Denver regulatory meetings.
  • The Tri-Lakes permit was issued a year before expected due to attendance at permit issues meetings.
  • Local engineering design proposals will now be approved promptly under the halo effect created by the lost ARRA funding for the Wakonda Hills lift stations due to participation in engineering regulation workgroups.
  • The relationship with Rep. Stephens was established due to participation in the safe disposal of pharmaceuticals workshops Wicklund attended.
  • The relationship with Jim Heckman and his participation with Rep. Looper were spawned during meetings of the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments (PPACG) and the Colorado Wastewater Utility Council.
  • Participation by the facility’s environmental consultants in the engineering subgroup of nitrogen limits for 10 years of data collection and analysis that were not considered possible a few years ago.
  • The creation of a new workgroup in the past month to create a structure for cooperative cost-effective sampling throughout the Fountain Creek watershed under the auspices of PPACG and the U.S. Geological Survey to ensure credible consistent statistics that have been unavailable to date from the Water Quality Control Division.

Burks said he would schedule the annual JUC meeting for 6:30 p.m. Dec. 8 at the Villa in Palmer Lake.

The meeting went into executive session at 12:16 p.m. to discuss a personnel matter.

**********

The next meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on Dec. 13 at the Tri-Lakes WWTF conference room, 16510 Mitchell Ave. Meetings are normally held on the second Tuesday of the month. Information: 481-4053.

Jim Kendrick can be reached at jimkendrick@ocn.me.

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Triview Metropolitan District, Nov. 8: Board asked to decide on Triview services contract

By Jim Kendrick

At the regular Nov. 8 meeting, during public comment, Monument Town Manager Cathy Green asked the Triview Metropolitan District board to make a final decision on the town’s proposed administration management intergovernmental agreement (IGA) by Dec. 16, noting that she could not get the issue on Triview’s posted agenda.

Town department heads had managed Triview for several years for free and, until recently, the town had been providing free office space for those town employees operating the district under separate IGAs. There had been occasional negotiations throughout this "partnership period" on the administration IGA, but never any real progress toward a formal document. No significant details had been discussed publicly before Green’s public comment statements.

Green stated that the town had been asked to extend the current separate Water Operations IGA and Parks and Streets IGA for three months, through the end of March. The Monument Board of Trustees agreed that it would approve these short extensions on the condition that a Triview/town administration IGA is signed by Dec. 16.

After handing out copies of the proposed administration IGA, Green said the agreement has some flexibility in its coverage and cost. The minimum IGA will cover payroll, benefits support, basic fleet maintenance, and emergency assistance for $1,518 per month. The full range of services offered in the administration IGA contains items such as office space and technical office support for a maximum monthly charge of $2,972.

No personnel services or related charges are included in the town’s proposed administration IGA for items such as accounting or direct expenditures by the Triview board. Green stated that a previous proposal for administration had an annual cost of about $71,000, but no details were released regarding that proposal.

Green noted that if the Triview board does not make a final decision by Dec. 16, the Monument Board of Trustees would "consider this a decline of the town’s IGA offer." If the administration IGA is not executed by Dec. 19, the board would exercise its right to give 30-day notice to the Triview board that it will dissolve the water and streets/parks IGAs and ask Triview to find space outside of Town Hall for its offices.

The town document listed a "menu" of "items" with unit costs, a minimum number of units, and the total cost for each item. Items that were mandatory to accept the administration IGA and avoid dissolution of the water and streets/parks IGAs were listed as priorities.

There would continue to be no charge for use of the board room in Town Hall by the Triview board. Green said the Triview board could determine its own personnel costs and the cost determinations would be "cleaner" for the town.

Several changes were listed as conditions as well. Some of these were:

  • The administration IGA must be in place before a new water IGA or new streets/parks IGA is signed.
  • Triview will sign an IGA with the town for salary and benefits service under these two IGAs, but these employees must be Triview, not town, employees.
  • These two IGAs can be discontinued, but another monthly fee must be paid to the town for administering separation packages.
  • Any required costs incurred for unemployment will be directly billed to Triview.
  • Any legal expenses incurred due to a Triview employee suing for wrongful termination will be paid by Triview.

The mandatory administration IGA items were:

  • Payroll (per Triview employee)
  • Human resources support
  • Basic fleet maintenance
  • Emergency assistance

The town’s water and streets/parks IGAs propose that Triview hire:

  • One supervisor for water
  • One supervisor for streets/parks
  • Two water operators
  • One billing clerk/general clerk
  • Two streets/parks technicians
  • Two seasonal workers

Green also noted that the town would no longer have to draft and negotiate a service plan with Triview because the Triview board would direct Triview operations, although the Triview board still would have the option of authorizing an executive director and giving this director some authority to manage district operations.

Green said the other two IGAs need to be done but could be completed by late March if the Triview board approves this administration IGA. All the IGAs have 30-day termination options.

Booster pump proposal discussed again

There was a 90-minute technical discussion of the Promontory Pointe booster pump system goal, which has been changed. Originally the booster pump system was supposed to provide an interim solution for low pressures in homes on the high ground at the northern end of Promontory Pointe and adjacent Homestead houses on Saber Creek Drive.

Director Robert Fisher had recently gotten consensus from the other Triview board members to change the requirement for this system study and preliminary design project to ensure that every home in Jackson Creek would never experience low water pressure during irrigation season. However, Fisher was upset at this meeting that the cost of the consultant services contract had increased because of this much larger requirement that will require more work for studying all the pressure relief valves in Jackson Creek and cause more risk for the primary engineering consultant, Applegate Group Inc.

The increased scope of the study and booster pump system demands would cause increased uncertainty because the engineering consultants would have to study a much larger amount of water distribution infrastructure for design flaws and equipment failures. As a result, the Applegate increase was proposed to "not to exceed amount" by 25 percent to protect itself from this increased uncertainty. Other directors were also unhappy with Applegate’s amendments to the proposed independent consultant agreement.

Merrick & Co. was selected as Triview’s second engineering consultant to monitor Applegate’s proposals and performance. During the discussion, engineer Barney Fix suggested that Merrick replace Applegate as the lead consultant for preliminary testing and modeling of the existing infrastructure. No Applegate representative attended the Nov. 8 meeting to discuss its proposed consultant agreement revisions.

After a contentious wide-ranging discussion, the board asked Fix to return for a special meeting Nov. 15 to present an alternative contract proposal for pre-construction pressure and flow testing, modeling, and evaluation prior to determining the site for the booster pump station.

Financial reports

Town Treasurer Pamela Smith presented the August sales tax and September financial reports.

September general fund revenues exceeded the budgeted amount by 20 percent or $808,000, an increase of $254,000 compared to August revenues.

September general fund expenditures were less than budgeted by 24 percent or $804,000, an improvement of $254,000 over August.

The general fund exceeded the budgeted amount by $1.866 million. The balance at the end of September was $2.2 million. However, a second $1 million bond payment was due before the end of November.

The enterprise fund exceeded the budget by $1.4 million in September, due mostly to fees collected for every unit of the new Vistas apartment project. September enterprise fund expenditures were over budget by 11 percent or $114,000, an improvement of $65,000 over August. The net enterprise fund balance was $1.3 million larger than the amount budgeted. The balance at the end of September was $1.32 million.

Net sales tax revenue exceeded the amount budgeted through August by 1.0 percent or $7,958. Total sales tax revenue is up 2.0 percent or $21,140 more than last year.

The board accepted the August sales tax report and the September financial report.

Smith presented four payments over $5,000:

  • $8,140 to A-1 Concrete Leveling South Colorado Inc. for sidewalk leveling work on several Jackson Creek streets to eliminate trip hazards
  • $36,823 to Applied Ingenuity, LLC for removing Well D-7 pumping equipment
  • $6,232 to Felt, Monson, & Culichia LLC for legal services
  • $5,000 to Stockman Kast Ryan & Co. for a cost analysis study

The $5,000 invoice for Stockman did not give any details of what kind of study was conducted or what costs were analyzed.

Water and sewer tap fees are starting to come in from Remington Hills, and several are expected soon from Promontory Pointe due to 15 presales of home lots.

Triview loan meeting results discussed

Board President Bob Eskridge and Secretary/Treasurer Steve Remington discussed the meeting they and District Manager Mark Carmel attended in Denver with staff members of the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority on Nov. 4. Triview has low-cost loans of $5 million and $2 million with the authority for partial financing of the district’s cost share for capacity improvements to the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility. The other facility owners are Donala Water and Sanitation District and Forest Lakes Metropolitan District.

A condition of the two loans is that Triview is obligated to retain 110 percent of the total annual payments for both loans in a cash reserve. The authority ordered the Triview board to raise its sewer rates for all customers by at least $4.92 on July 28. The board approved a $5 monthly fee increase on Oct. 3. The board held a special meeting on Oct. 25 to explain the fee increase to Triview constituents. For more details see www.ocn.me/v11n10.htm#tmd and www.ocn.me/vllnll.htm.

Eskridge said that the board confirmed that the loan agreement has a yearly basis for segregating the reserve funds, not quarterly, as previously asserted by some Triview board members. Triview had been out of compliance all year. The authority proposed that Triview create a rate stabilization fund with a lot more accounting. Remington explained that about $500,000 would be put in the fund on Jan. 1. The amount in this fund would increase during high water production periods and could be removed later in the fall when water revenue decreases. The amount in the fund would have to be reset at $500,000 again on the next Jan. 1.

Smith said the rate stabilization fund could be set up in Colotrust before the end of 2011. Carmel said he would give Smith the specific language from the loan covenants for her to use in setting up and managing this fund and performing the accounting to meet state requirements. Smith also said that reporting revenues by the 15th of the month will not allow real/actual revenues to be reported. The use of some accruals appears to be necessary which would be a change in reporting methods currently used by Smith.

Operations report

Triview Operations Supervisor Steve Sheffield noted that the motor for the D-7 well pump was "burned up" and replaced with a new motor. Applied Ingenuity also lowered the well by 60 feet. Monument Water Superintendent Tom Tharnish said that the town staff would start conducting performance tests on all the well pumps to identify problems before burnout failures occur on the deeper wells.

The replacement blowers are operating at Upper Monument Creek. The failed Excelsior blowers have been shipped to the manufacturing plant for failure analysis.

Carmel reported progress on negotiating alternative protected Preble’s mouse habitat negotiations in south Jackson Creek.

The board went into executive session after taking a recess at 9:15 p.m. No executive session was listed on the agenda nor posted to the public. No reason was provided for the executive session nor were the subjects of the planned discussion noted.

**********

The Triview Metropolitan District board normally meets the second Tuesday of each month at the Monument Town Hall Board Room, 645 Beacon Lite Rd., Monument. The next meeting will be held Dec. 13, 5 p.m. For information, call 884-8017.

Jim Kendrick can be reached at jimkendrick@ocn.me.

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Triview Metropolitan District, Nov. 15: Monument asks board to decide on services contract by Dec. 16. Board terminates contract with District Manager

By Jim Kendrick

On Nov. 15, the Triview Metropolitan District board awarded a contract to engineering consultant firm Merrick & Co. to lead the project to model the existing water distribution infrastructure in Promontory Pointe and Jackson Creek. Merrick will also do a preliminary design and siting for a booster pump station to ensure adequate water pressure, particularly during prime irrigation season, for all homes in these two developments.

No representative of engineering consultant firm Applegate Group Inc., the former lead consultant attended this meeting.

The absence of Director Steve Remington was excused.

After Barney Fix of Merrick described the milestones of the project proposal, there was consensus that the first decision milestone meeting and report would take place on Dec. 13 during Triview’s regular board meeting. The board will determine if the model is set up correctly and correctly modeling pressure at each point for residential taps. The other aspect of field-testing the model is whether it accurately predicts water pressure drops at various points.

Directors Robert Fisher and Steve Cox noted that they had not received a copy of the new consulting contract proposed by Merrick. Fix said that the costs for Applegate’s work are included in this first contract. Fix also said that barring unforeseen or unknown problems in the existing Triview water distribution infrastructure, the total installation cost should range from $100,000 to $130,000.

Board President Bob Eskridge noted that he would need a moment to look at the contract again before taking a vote. Director Steve Hurd said he had read the Merrick contract and had no questions for Fix.

After further reading, there was consensus that creating and testing the model prior to beginning the final design and construction was the best way to proceed. The board unanimously approved the proposed Merrick independent consultant contract.

In other matters, the board unanimously approved a motion to give a 30-day notice for termination of the independent consulting contract agreement for District Manager Mark Carmel.

On the advice of Attorney Gary Shupp, the board unanimously approved a motion to appoint Secretary/Treasurer Steve Remington as the primary Triview contact for management issues with the Monument staff and Fisher as the primary contact for management issues for the members of the town staff working for Triview under the existing two intergovernmental agreements.

The meeting went into executive session at 5:42 p.m. after Shupp announced that the board would be discussing a personnel matter.

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The Triview Metropolitan District board normally meets the second Tuesday of each month at the Monument Town Hall Board Room, 645 Beacon Lite Rd., Monument. The next meeting will be held Dec. 13, 5 p.m. For information, call 884-8017.

Jim Kendrick can be reached at jimkendrick@ocn.me.

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Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District, Nov. 10: Board says "Multiple options" were considered in ranch purchase

By Candice Hitt

At the Nov. 10 meeting of the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District board, Woodmoor resident Ken Ford discussed with board members concerns over the JV Ranch purchase. Ford said, "I applaud you for your move, I think it was the right thing to do. However, the concern is how it’s being paid for."

Specifically, Ford’s concern was whether the board had looked into other means of paying for the purchase as an alternative to the water investment fee.

Board President Barrie Town replied, "We looked at multiple options" and added, "If we purchase we will own water and resources to utilize a position for the district." The district’s mission is to be self-sufficient.

Operations report

Assistant Manager Randy Gillette gave the operations report, saying well 7 equipment failed and has been replaced, along with an update to the electrical system. The well was expected to be up and running the following week.

Gillette said the lake is doing well and getting some water out of Monument Creek. Woodmoor has water rights in Monument Creek and during high flows is able to pump surface water to Lake Woodmoor, where the district also has storage rights. This pumped surface water reduces the demand on Woodmoor’s Denver aquifer wells.

Ninety-three percent of the treated potable water produced is being accounted for by the district, a high percentage. Woodmoor’s construction along Higby Road has been completed and there are no other construction plans in the works, he said.

**********

The next regular board meeting will be held at 1 p.m. Dec. 8 at the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District Office, 1845 Woodmoor Dr., Monument. For information: 488-2525 or www.woodmoorwater.com.

Candice Hitt can be reached at candicehitt@ocn.me.

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Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority, Nov. 4: 2011 budget amended; 2012 budget approved

By Jim Kendrick

During public hearings on Nov. 4, the board of the Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority (BRRTA) amended the 2011 budget to allow early payoff of some of its privately held revenue bonds using money from the first $3 million payment of the promised Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) reimbursement of $16.3 million.

The contract amendment for reimbursing BRRTA for the construction of the I-25 Baptist Road interchange using borrowed BRRTA funds was approved at the Oct. 7 meeting. The amendment also established the procedure for future CDOT repayments to BRRTA, "as state funds become available."

The board also approved the 2012 budget and appropriation. The board will switch to a quarterly meeting schedule to save fees for its administrative, legal, and engineering consultants’ participation. In 2012, meetings will be held on the second Friday of the second month of each quarter in Monument Town Hall, 645 Beacon Lite Road at 2:30 p.m.

The board reviewed and unanimously ratified the final 2010 audit report. This audit was performed by Biggs Kofford P.C. of Colorado Springs.

The BRRTA board is composed of three El Paso County elected officials and two members of the Monument Board of Trustees. The current membership is:

  • District 1 County Commissioner Darryl Glenn
  • District 4 County Commissioner Dennis Hisey
  • County Clerk and Recorder Wayne Williams
  • Monument Mayor Travis Easton
  • Monument Trustee Jeff Kaiser

Kaiser and Hisey did not attend this meeting.

Denise Denslow, of Clifton Gunderson LLP in Greenwood Village, provides district manager services. Carrie Bartow, also of Clifton Gunderson LLP, provides accounting and financial management services. BRRTA’s attorney is Jim Hunsaker of the Grimshaw and Harring PC law firm in Denver. Gary Heckman of Jacobs Engineering, the contract management consulting firm for the I-25 Baptist Road interchange expansion, also attended this meeting.

CDOT repayment being processed

Denslow reported that CDOT was still processing the amendment paperwork to make its promised payment of $3 million to BRRTA now that the contract amendment has been signed by BRRTA. CDOT is also processing an acceptance letter to take over ownership of the Baptist Road interchange.

There is a condition on all BRRTA’s revenue bonds that allows them to be called, or paid off, by the BRRTA board whenever the state makes a reimbursement payment. The board chose to recall as many bonds as possible using this "extraordinary redemption" process using CDOT’s first reimbursement payment of $3 million that will be deposited in BRRTA’s excess facility’s fund.

2011 budget amended; $852,894 in interest will be saved

The board unanimously approved an amendment of the previously approved 2011 budgets and authorizations for two funds.

The total expenditures for the debt service fund will increase from about $1.3 million to $2.7 million to pay for the additional costs of extraordinary redemption. About $1.45 million of the increase will come from a transfer from the capital projects fund to the debt service fund to pay about $1.72 million in principal. About $200,000 from the debt service surplus fund will be needed to pay all of the remaining debt service fund expenditures for 2011, dropping the surplus fund total to about $310,000.

Total expenditures for the capital projects fund will increase from about $2.18 million to $2.27 million because about $100,000 more than expected was left in the fund at the end of 2010. The capital projects fund will still have a zero balance at the end of 2011, due in part to the transfer of $1.45 million to the debt service fund for Dec. 1 bond payments and a total of $827,175 for I-25 Baptist Road interchange capital construction costs (see the discussion on the THF Realty settlement below in this article.)

There was no public comment during the open portion of the hearing.

Bartow noted that the total interest savings for the "extraordinary redemption" of three series of bonds on Dec. 1, using CDOT’s expected payment of $3 million, would be $852,894. The total redemption fees for these called bonds will be $1.485 million.

2012 budget approved

Williams asked Bartow to adjust the costs for accounting, district management, and legal fees in her proposed 2012 general fund budget to the same amounts as her latest revised estimated total costs for 2011. Bartow said higher amounts had been entered as placeholders in case there were to be actual construction for widening Baptist Road west of I-25 next year. Williams said the 2012 budget could be amended next year if construction were to occur.

There was no public comment during the open portion of the hearing.

The various 2012 budgets and appropriation for the various BRRTA funds were unanimously approved with Williams’ three requested line item changes to the general fund.

Financial items

The board ratified the following payments presented by Denslow:

  • $3,600 to Biggs Kofford P.C. for auditing
  • $7,503 to Clifton Gunderson for accounting ($4,638) and district management ($2,865)
  • $1,143 to Grimshaw and Harring for legal services
  • $750 to UMB bank for miscellaneous expenses

Bartow presented the Sept. 30 financial statements, which included some good news.

Bartow noted that BRRTA’s governmental funds balance sheet has cash reserves of about:

  • $906,330 in the general fund
  • $3.06 million in the debt service fund
  • $1.5 million in the capital projects facility fund

BRRTA’s liabilities as of Sept. 30 were $84,000, for a total net balance of $5.46 million.

Year-to-date general fund revenues were $196,802, exceeding the budgeted amount of $108,300 for all of 2011. Bartow said the additional revenue is primarily from the road use fees from the Vistas Apartments 177-unit project being constructed at the north end of Leather Chaps Drive—"a nice surprise." The 2011 budget included total general fund expenses of $202,000, but actual expenses have only been $87,641 for the first three quarters. Total budgeted revenue for 2011 was to be $93,700 less than budgeted expenses, but the current revenue surplus for the first three quarters is $109,161.

However, Williams and Bartow pointed out that about $63,000 in eminent domain legal fees that were included in BRRTA’s 2011 general fund budget for litigating the THF Realty release and settlement payment have instead been charged to BRRTA’s I-25 Baptist Road expansion capital project because this money was used for acquiring the land for the northbound I-25 on-ramp. This change will allow the total amount requested from CDOT for reimbursement to increase by $63,000.

Had this accounting change not been made later in 2011, the $109,161 general fund surplus noted above would have been drastically reduced. Only $15,941 has been charged against the $75,000 line item for other routine operating legal expenses in the general fund legal services line, leaving an "unused" total of $59,502.

The settlement payment of $800,000 from the capital projects fund to THF Realty was ratified at the Aug. 5 meeting. Capital projects expenditures have exceeded revenues so far this year by $774,057. The net capital projects balance on Sept. 30 was down to $1,498,617.

For details of this expensive lawsuit regarding THF’s loss of road access to the former hardware store property on the northeast corner of the I-25 Baptist Road exit, see the article on the Aug. 5 meeting at www.ocn.me/v11n9.htm#brrta. THF demolished and removed the vacant hardware store building for liability reasons because it was being occupied by homeless people who were lighting fires inside the vacant retail building for warmth.

Bartow stated that BRRTA’s sales tax revenue for the debt service fund was $603,762 through Sept. 30, much less than the $1.15 million budgeted for 2011, which she called a "lofty goal," but still 1.26 percent more than for this period last year. Interest income was also less than budgeted, $1,666 versus $14,000. Expenditures through Sept. 30 from the debt service fund have been $529,939. However, another principal and interest payment was due to be paid on Dec. 1.

The board unanimously accepted Bartow’s financial reports.

Manager’s items

The board unanimously approved letters of engagement for 2012 for district management and accounting services from Clifton Gunderson, legal services from Grimshaw and Harring, and auditing services from Biggs Kofford. The board also unanimously approved the annual resolution for administrative matters required by the state for statutory compliance.

Attorney’s items

The board unanimously approved an annual renewal of the intergovernmental agreement with Pikes Peak Regional Transportation Authority for revenue sharing in those areas where both authorities overlap. The amount to be split in half by these two authorities for July 1, 2011, to June 30, 2012, will be $30,159.

No action was taken on the scheduled annual renewal of the intergovernmental agreement with Pikes Peak Regional Building Department.

Board member items

Just before the meeting started, Williams noted that his county staff had counted and posted the Nov. 1 election results by 11:14 p.m. on Nov. 1, which allowed the final results to be posted in the Wednesday morning papers, a first. Williams also discussed a number of technical issues about trade-offs between mail-in ballot elections and polling place elections of interest to board and staff members.

The meeting adjourned at 3:30 p.m.

**********

The next meeting was scheduled for Dec. 2 at 2:30 p.m. in Monument Town Hall. Meetings in 2012 will be held once a quarter, on the second Friday of February, May, August, and November. Information: 884-8017.

Jim Kendrick can be reached at jimkendrick@ocn.me.

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Woodmoor Improvement Association Board of Directors, Nov. 16: Board continues election planning

By Harriet Halbig

The Board of Directors of the Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA) continued planning for its January election at its Nov. 16 meeting.

Vice President Jim Hale reported that the nominating committee had continued its discussions with the League of Women Voters regarding the format of the ballot to be mailed to the membership in December. The League requested that WIA rent a post office box in Colorado Springs so that it would be more convenient to pick up ballots.

In the past, League members had to come to the Monument post office.

The annual meeting of the association will take place in late January.

Hale also reported that only one association member has placed his name in nomination for one of the three vacancies on the board.

Association Manager Matt Beseau reported that the WIA still requires around 925 additional member signatures to approve changes to the association’s governing documents. In the past month, a little over 50 signatures had been received in response to phone calls and door-to-door solicitation.

Association President Chuck Maher suggested sending a special mailing to those members who have not yet responded to the call for approval. The board approved a measure to spend up to $1,000 to send such a mailing to those members.

Homeowners apply for suite additions

Director of Architectural Control Anne Stevens-Gountanis reported that two homeowners have recently applied for approval of mother-in-law suites to be added to their properties. One of these would be in the basement of a home and other an addition to the exterior of a residence.

The county requires that there be a door between the main residence and the suite. The suite is defined as a portion of the property to include a kitchen, specifically a stove.

One homeowner addressed the board to say that he had signed the required form with the county, agreeing that the suite could not be rented or leased. When the property is sold, the suite will transfer to the new owner, who would sign a similar agreement or dismantle the kitchen to change the status of the structure.

The Architectural Control Committee had previously disapproved the request of the homeowner to construct this addition. The board passed a resolution approving the construction, requiring that a copy of the agreement with the county be on file in the association’s office.

Woodmoor Public Safety Chief Kevin Nielsen reported that there had been two mountain lion sightings in Woodmoor during November, both in the eastern part of the community. He also reported that there continue to be vehicle break-ins in the Woodmoor Park area, always into unlocked vehicles.

Treasurer Nick Oakley reported that the association was 1 percent over budget on income and 1.9 percent under budget on expenditures as of Oct. 31.

**********

The Board of the Directors of the Woodmoor Improvement Association generally meets at 7 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of the month in the association’s Barn, 1691 Woodmoor Drive in Monument. Due to the holidays, the next meeting of the board will be held on Dec. 21.

Harriet Halbig can be reached at harriethalbig@ocn.me.

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November Weather Wrap

By Bill Kappel

It was a dry and somewhat mild November across the region, with temperatures averaging a little above normal and precipitation about 50 percent below normal. We also did not see the temperature fall below zero during the month, but did see plenty of days with highs in the 50s and low 60s. Interestingly, almost all the monthly precipitation fell during the first two days of the month and was easy to forget.

An active weather pattern continued to affect the region during the first week of November, with 4 to 8 inches of new snow greeting us in the first two days of the month. Once again, temperatures were chilly as well, with lows dipping into the single digits on the mornings of the 2nd and 3rd. Quieter conditions did return for the 3rd and 4th, as temperatures warmed from the upper 30s and low 40s on the 3rd to the mid-50s on the 4th. The mild and breezy conditions on the 4th were ahead of another storm moving through the region, but this time the low pressure developed a little too far north and east for us, and we stayed on the downsloping dry side of the storm, with the mountains the big winner as far as snow.

The week of the 6th started off uneventful enough, with below-average temperatures and mostly clear skies. Some of the recent snow continued to melt, but for the week no measureable precipitation fell. Temperatures warmed through the week, starting with highs in the 30s Monday through Wednesday, before warmer southwesterly winds began to invade the area ahead of a series of powerful Pacific storm systems. The jet stream associated with these storms was much more powerful than normal, and by the beginning of the weekend it was centered in a favorable location to produce strong winds in the region.

Starting later on Friday and into Saturday, winds really began to blow around the region. Numerous reports of wind gusts from 60 to 90 mph occurred in the region, with some reports over 100 mph (equivalent to a category 2 hurricane) occurring over the mountain ridges. Unfortunately, several reports of damage, mainly downed trees, were received during this windstorm as well. Having a windstorm like this during this time of the year is uncommon, but the magnitude and duration of the event were extraordinary.

Quiet and dry weather then took hold of the region for most of the remainder of the month. This was the result of a ridge of high pressure anchored over the Southwest, which effectively blocked storms from entering the region. The storm track remained very active along the West Coast, with heavy rains and mountain snow common from Washington down through California.

However, the energy and moisture of these system was split around the Front Range, with some going north and some going south. In fact, no precipitation occurred in the area from the 6th through the 25th. Although November is usually one of our driest months of the year, this long of a streak with no precipitation is certainly unusual. This also meant numerous days of sunshine and mild temperatures.

With the exception of a couple brief incursions of cooler air, temperatures consistently reached into the 50s and even low 60s from the 10th through the 25th. A cold front arrived late on the 25th and into the early morning hours of the 26th. This cold front brought a quick shot of snow and wind, with around a half inch dusting the region. But more noticeable than the brief snow was the sharp drop in temperatures, as highs only reached the low 30s on the afternoon of the 26th. But once again, high pressure and mild conditions quickly rebuilt into the region, with temperatures jumping back into the 50s and low 60s over the next couple of days.

November 2011 Weather Statistics

Average High 49.3° (+0.8°) 100-year return frequency value max 55.5° min 38.5°
Average Low 22.0° (+1.8°) 100-year return frequency value max 27.5° min 14.1°
Monthly Precipitation 0.40" (-0.33") 100-year return frequency value max 3.80" min 0.16"
Monthly Snowfall 7.5" (-3.3")
Highest Temperature 62° on the 24th
Lowest Temperature 6° on the 2nd
Season to Date Snow 22.7" (+0.1") (the snow season is from July 1 to June 30)
Season to Date Precip. 11.65" (+1.75") (the precip. season is from July 1 to June 30)
Heating Degree Days 889 (+59)
Cooling Degree Days 0 (0)

Bill Kappel is a meteologist and Tri-Lakes resident. He can be reached at billkappel@ocn.me.

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Letters to Our Community

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Letters to Our Community should not be interpreted as the view of OCN even when the letter writer is an OCN volunteer. Click here for letter guidelines.

Alcohol, not marijuana, is the gateway drug

Wake up, people. The fact is, alcohol is the No. 1 drug of choice and does the most harm to the human body, from top to bottom, than any other drug out there.

People, you need to be better educated. Marijuana does zero percent damage to the human body and is not a gateway drug. Alcohol is the gateway drug. If you do the research, you will find that people who use coke, heroin, crystal meth, and so on are most likely to drink alcohol, the No. 1 drug of choice, at the same time.

Look, I do not want to drag this out. I want to be simple and clear in saying let’s get with the times and please do the research. Marijuana is not harmful. Alcohol is the most harmful drug out there.

John D. Wedgewood

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An open letter to the Monument Academy School Board

I’m writing to inform you that there is a potentially tragic accident just waiting to happen in front of Monument Academy. Every morning when the sun is out, I see a woman escorting a young lady (one of your students, I assume), along with their small dog, across Highway 105. They will wait for a break in traffic, cross to the center line, then wait for another break in traffic to complete their crossing. This happens directly across from the LDS church, and it happens during the busiest time of the morning.

This morning, they almost got hit by the car directly ahead of mine, traveling westbound on 105. It is just a matter of time before they get hit and most probably die, and who knows who they will take with them. There is a crosswalk about 500 yards down the road where they can cross safely.

If you know this woman and her daughter, please gently remind them that it is illegal to cross where they are crossing, and that they are not only taking their own lives in their hands, but perhaps that of another.

The speed limit through that area is 50 mph, and there are young drivers on the road, as well. This is a deadly witch’s brew that can only end one way. Also, if you do know these folks, inform them that the next time I see them doing it, I will call the police. This is not because I’m a jerk, but because I don’t want to see a community tragedy occur.

Thank you for taking the time to give this some attention. It’s not a matter of if something is going to happen, it’s a matter of when.

Bret Wright

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Direction 38! thanks supporters

Thank you to all those in the Tri-Lakes and surrounding communities who supported Direction 38!’s 2011 "Get Educated" summer series. Each of the four forums was designed to inform the public of critical national, state, and local issues impacting our public schools. As witnessed by the nearly 200 attendees, the summer series was a resounding success.

Thank you also to the experts who participated in the four forums: Colorado elected officials, Colorado Department of Education deputy commissioners, local school district superintendents and administrators, and renowned experts on public school choice, reform, and innovation.

Direction 38! Will sponsor another "Get Educated" series next summer. Details for the 2012 summer series will be announced soon. We welcome suggestions from the public. Please submit suggestions to www.lpd38.org.

Ana Konduris
Direction 38!

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Size of D-38 administration questioned

The electorate has spoken in the reelection of the D-38 school board incumbents. Although 42 percent felt we need a change, more than half want business as usual. What is business as usual besides a place where questions and controversy are painted as negative distractions instead of the most integral and necessary obligation of responsible constituents?

Last summer, a group of D-38 patrons researched area school districts, seeking answers to how they were dealing with the budget cuts affecting us all. We met with several area superintendents including Walt Cooper, head of Cheyenne Mountain D-12.

D-12 is very similar to D-38 in size and demographics. Cooper’s highest priority continues to be creating a climate of true accountability and transparency. His central administration consists of 12 staff members compared with D-38’s 40 people, and he does the job that nine do at D-38.

One area that achieves significant savings is that he shops for district insurance every year rather than just accepting the next increase from CEBT. In addition to keeping his central administration more efficient, he has also been able to close an elementary school when needed, build district reserves up to 36 percent, not freeze teacher salaries, and pass a mill levy override this November.

With per pupil funding being lowered further in school year 2012-13, would it not be a lofty goal to try to cut D-38’s central administration staff to 20?

Stephen Boyd

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Between The Covers at the Covered Treasures Bookstore: "Magic Carpets" for children

By the staff at Covered Treasures

When my grandchildren compose their Christmas wish lists, there are plenty of toys, but I was thrilled last year when my granddaughter included some specific books. I said I would only buy one toy they really wanted, but that I would wrap up several books. I know that books can carry them to other worlds, and their favorite stories will be remembered long after the toys are broken or forgotten. Here are some suggestions for the children in your life.

Michael Hague’s Treasury of Christmas Carols
By Michael Hague & Kathleen Hague (Sterling Children’s Books) $9.95

This beautiful collection of four familiar carols features a red velvet cover and Michael Hague’s adorable illustrations that will delight children and adults alike. Interesting historical background on each of the carols is included.

The Giant Book of Giants
By Saviour Pirotta with illustrations by Mark Robertson (Sterling Children’s Books) $19.95

This oversize collection features giants from all over the world, as well as the clever young heroes who outwit them. Clamber up the beanstalk with Jack, sail the Seven Seas with Sinbad, meet the Curious Giantess, and help Coyote, Momotaro, and Finn McCool rid their people of ferocious giants. Pop open the giant 3-D poster and meet a mighty giant who is taller than you. Look closely, and you will find he is carrying many strange and wonderful keepsakes that belonged to his giant ancestors.

The Wizard of Oz: 10 Classic Scenes from Over the Rainbow
By Rufus Butler Seder (Workman Publishing) $14.95

The magic of Scanimation meets the wonderful "Wizard of Oz," bringing to life 10 memorable scenes from the movie that has enchanted generations of viewers. This is a delightful gift book for any age.

Cassandra’s Angel
By Gina Otto with illustrations by Trudy Joost (Sterling Children’s Books) $14.95

Cassandra is a little girl who just can’t seem to do anything right, but she discovers that she is not alone. She has an angel with a secret to share that will give her hope and the strength to believe in a new story told in engaging verse. Follow Cassandra on a journey that just might change your life.

Richard Scarry’s Christmas Tales
By Richard Scarry (Sterling Children’s Books) $6.95

Join the Christmas fun with Lowly Worm, Huckle Cat, and all the Busytown friends. But watch out for Mr. Frumble—wherever he goes, holly, jolly trouble follows. This delightful mini-book collection makes a great stocking stuffer, and is handy for moms and grandmas to keep in a purse for those times when children need a fun way to pass some quiet time.

Bedtime for Bear
By Brett Helquist (Harper) $16.99

Wintertime is here, and that means it is bedtime for Bear. But Bear’s friends don’t think so. They want Bear to come and play outside in the snow. Bear can hear his friends calling, laughing and playing. Bear can’t sleep. But it’s bedtime! What’s a bear to do?

Inheritance
By Christopher Paolini (Alfred A. Knopf) $27.99

Eragon and his dragon Saphita have come farther than anyone dared to hope. But can they topple the evil king and restore justice to Alagaesia? The fate of an entire civilization rests on their shoulders in this astonishing conclusion to the best-selling Eragon series, which has been enjoyed by middle readers through adults.

The Cheshire Cheese Cat: A Dickens of a Tale
By Carmen Agra Deedy & Randall Wright (Peachtree) $16.95

Tired of dodging fishwives’ brooms and carriage wheels, alley cat Skilley yearns for the comfort of Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, a popular London inn. When he hears that the innkeeper is in need of a mouser, he hatches a scheme so audacious it will surely set him up for the rest of his nine lives. Skilley’s adventures and the charming illustrations by Barry Moser will entrance readers of all ages; this would be a great read-aloud book for the entire family to share.

My daughter and son, now in their 30s, still remember and treasure some of their favorite childhood books. Why not give the children on your list a memorable gift to treasure?

Until next year, happy reading.

The staff at Covered Treasures Bookstore can be contacted at books@ocn.me.

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High Country Highlights: Consider evergreens for your landscape

By Woody Woodworth

December and January are two of my favorite months in which to appreciate the evergreens in the landscape. The colorful blue hues of the dwarf blue Colorado spruce look magnificent when flocked by a light frost or snow or silhouetted against the setting sun. The upright junipers are stately tall and provide great cover for the wild birds. Many of the new, dwarf globe spruces and weeping spruces are among the more interesting ornamental evergreens for small spaces.

If your landscape is lacking conifers for year-round interest, consider planting some. Not only will they add color and interest, but some will produce cones and provide great outdoor Christmas trees. The Tri-Lakes area is a USDA Hardiness Zones 3b or 4a, and our soils are a mix of well-drained to clay. Most conifers prefer a well-drained soil, so be prepared to amend your soil with composted material, and provide an adequate amount of water for a few growing seasons to get them established. A few of my favorite conifers are the Austrian pine, piñon pine, Colorado blue spruce, white fir and bristlecone pine.

Not only are the varieties listed above very resilient trees for our elevation, but some produce pinecones. You can use them for winter decorations, or scoop up the windfalls in sacks during the winter and use them as mulch around the base of shrubs and specimen trees. They will help keep stray cats from using the area as a latrine. Pinecones also will keep down the weeds to a certain extent and look attractive as mulch.

Winter is also a good time to take inventory of your houseplants and check for any signs of stress or pest problems. Discover insect or disease problems early and you won’t be plagued by a major problem later on. Glossy-leaved houseplants such as philodendrons, rubber plants, and palms should be sponged off periodically to allow them to breathe. Plants that have fuzzy, textured, or other non-glossy type leaves should be set in the sink and sprayed gently with room temperature water until the dust is cleaned away. Be sure that the foliage is allowed to dry completely. Provide your houseplants with extra humidity by grouping plants together, or by setting the pots on leak-proof trays filled with moistened pebbles.

Be sure to leave plenty of air space around grouped houseplants. Check for spider mites every two or three weeks and use a mild soap solution or check your garden center for natural products to control pests. Remember to repeat the same treatment seven to 10 days after the first so you kill the hatch of the pest that is in the soil.

Here are a few tips if you received or purchased a poinsettia plant this season. With the proper care, these Christmas plants will remain beautiful for many weeks.

  • They prefer to be kept on the cool side, 65 to 70 degrees during the day and 55 to 60 at night.
  • Keep them in bright, natural light whenever possible.
  • Keep them away from heat sources.
  • Keep them out of drafts.
  • Be sure to water them when they become dry.
  • Never allow them to stand in water for more than an hour.

There are relatively few outdoor garden projects to be done in wintertime other than watering, so it’s a good time to turn your attention to planning for next season’s garden and landscape. Hopefully, you have been keeping a garden journal or notebook or at least a partial listing of last season’s garden observations. This will help you plan on what needs replacing, or if you intend to start a new project or garden bed.

It is so much easier to make a sketch on paper and have the time to play with it until you have the right plants for the right places. It’s less painful to erase a plant selection on paper than to dig it out because it was planted in the wrong location, especially trees and shrubs.

Take time to read the newest seed and nursery catalogs that seem to arrive every other day or browse the websites of your favorite garden center. They are filled with colorful photos of the newest flowering annuals, perennials, vegetables, vines, and shrubs. This time of year can inspire you to grow some of the more unusual plants, as well as more familiar ones next season.

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. He can be contacted at woodywoodworth@ocn.me.

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Bird Watch on the Palmer Divide: Northern cardinal

Click here or on the drawing to zoom in.

Below: Drawing of Northern Cardinals by Elizabeth Hacker.

Click on the drawing to zoom in

By Elizabeth Hacker

The northern cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) is the quintessential bird illustrated on holiday greeting cards. Several years ago I found a vintage Christmas card with a vibrant red cardinal postmarked 1910 at the annual Tri-Lakes Antique Show. It caught my eye because the cardinal was a dear aunt’s favorite bird and she was born that year. I had collected photos of her that I wanted to frame in a collage and I thought this card was a way to pull it all together. She loved it. Sadly, she passed away at the tender age of 102. Her family still treasures the collage and says it is the gift that keeps on giving.

The northern cardinals’ name came from the red robes worn by Roman Catholic cardinals. It is so loved that many organizations and businesses use its name and image. Anyone remember who won the 2011 history-making World Series?

Readers might be wondering why I’m writing about a bird rarely seen here. The Cornell School of Ornithology credits the male northern cardinal as the reason many birders picked up their first birding guide. How many of the more than 48 million birders in the United States would say it is their favorite bird? Many Tri-lakes residents have told me stories about this bird, so I will share what I know about it.

Range

The northern cardinal is commonly found in states east of Nebraska. Its range extends from Canada south to Texas. It moves within a small region but doesn’t migrate and generally stays within a few miles of its territory. During tough climate conditions, many birds including the cardinal expand their range in search of food and water, to escape extreme heat or cold conditions, or to avoid a wildfire.

Northern cardinals have been observed moving westward along the North Platte River corridor from Nebraska into Colorado. It is uncommon in Colorado but mating pairs have been reported in the Denver area. No one is really sure why single birds are occasionally spotted in Colorado Springs. To my knowledge, no mating pairs have been reported.

Description

The cardinal is a mid-size songbird about the size of a robin but a little broader. The male is bright red with a long tail that points downward, a black mask that extends from its eyes to the top of its breast, a crested head, and a coral-colored beak. The female is similar to the male but is a dull fawn or gray color with hints of red, and her mask is less well defined. Young male birds resemble the female until the fall when they molt.

Song

During mating season, cardinals are territorial songbirds. The male and female fiercely defend their territory and will fight with their own reflection. The male perches near the top of a tree singing a loud what-cheer what-cheer song to his mate. Cardinals learn their song from their parents and variations occur among different regions of the country. The songs in Canada are remarkably different from the ones in Texas.

Birders learn to identify birds by sound because until the leaves fall, these creatures are masters at hiding. While in Texas a few years ago, I kept hearing this bird that kind of sounded like a cardinal but the song was different from the one I knew from Iowa. Then I heard the metallic "chip" that cardinals make when startled or trying to locate other cardinals and I figured it was a northern cardinal with a Southern accent.

Habitat

When mating season ends, cardinal pairs stay together but tend to form communities that work together to find food and watch for predators. Cardinals perch in trees in association with robins, bluejays, woodpeckers, and wood warblers. When a hawk is spotted, the alarm goes out, all birds hide, and not a chirp can be heard.

Cardinals are at home in backyards and readily accept food and water supplied by humans. In the wild, cardinals live at the edge of a forest where they forage for food by using their strong legs to hop on the ground and on the limbs of shrubs and trees.

Diet

The northern cardinal diet is made up primarily of fruits, nuts, and seeds but it also eats blossoms, sap, bark, and insects. Chokecherry shrubs and cedar trees are good places to look for cardinals. Nesting birds and the rapidly growing chicks need more protein. During the spring, mating cardinals begin consuming more insects. After the chicks hatch, they are fed only insects such as beetles, grasshoppers, and cicadas. Once the fledglings separate from the parents, cardinals go back to foraging for seeds and berries.

Why are cardinals red?

The males’ red plumage comes from carotenoid pigments contained in their diet. When humans digest carotenoids from foods like carrots and blueberries, we don’t change color but we might if we ate only carotenoids. As the male cardinal digests carotenoids, his feathers become red. The amount of red and yellow carotenoid pigments digested determines how red his feathers will become. In regions where the available food is higher in yellow carotenoids, the male will not be as brightly red as in regions where the food contains more red and orange carotenoids.

As 2011 comes to an end, I think back on the many hours I’ve enjoyed birding. With more than 430 bird species in Colorado, it is one of the top birding states. Consider purchasing a bird guide and see how many of these birds you can find in 2012. Happy birding, I’ll see you next year!

Elizabeth Hacker is a writer and artist. Email her at elizabethhacker@ocn.me to share bird pictures and stories.

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Art Matters: The red and green show—a month of merriment

By Janet Sellers

In the brilliance of our spectacular autumn colors, I can never imagine needing holiday decorations just a few weeks later. Then all the leaves fall off the trees and our outdoor views, while incredibly sunny and pleasant, seem filled with enormous gray and brown logs with sticks poking out of the ground smothered in brown grass skirts.

Well, not all of our trees turn drab, since the pine trees keep their green. But even that dark green could cheer us up more with some added dazzle. For a person born to a place filled with the year-round green of palm trees and the red of poinsettias, it was a real shocker for me when I moved here to have actual snowy days, albeit cold in temperature, that would brighten things up again.

Enter the red bows, holly berries, and the like to adorn our homes and businesses with evergreen conifers and branches, albeit mostly indoors. Red livens up anything. It’s one of the first colors we notice and is so apparent to our perception senses that it is customarily used for urgent notice in emergency vehicles because we detect that color quickly in night and daylight situations.

While some German/Teutonic traditions decorate a chopped-down evergreen tree on Christmas Eve for a next morning surprise, Latin Americans set up tableaus of nativity scenes complete with desert palms and a shed with animals, and a manger area for Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus figures, while other traditions put the entire month of December into a cause for celebration. Given the long nights and short days, I kind of like having a jolly month to enjoy.

Many sources say the tradition of red and green colors comes from Italy. The Italians today commemorate Christmas for an entire month. Just as in the days of pagan Rome with Saturnalia, the period between mid-December and early January is one constant celebration. While many of us think of bagpipes as a Scottish traditional instrument, the Italians have shepherds playing bagpipes for the December events.

Everywhere here, we see singing, trumpets, or bells for the music of Christmas events. Early converted Christians brought some of their old, beloved pagan customs into the new holiday; among them were the Yule log and the Yule colors red, green, silver, and gold.

Some people I know change their holiday style every year or so, some hold to tradition, and some add new things each year. That seems true for many households, and while there are a rainbow of colors to use, the standby red and green prevail. In fact, just try to use those two colors together at any other time of year and you’ll get some comments about "Christmas colors."

Myths about the colors abound, and depending on the reference material, I found everything from spirit of life/trees and green as a basic growth and life color (as well as red as Jesus blood/red) to red as excitement/happiness color. And then we have the Italian flag colors as apparently referencing ancient pagan celebrations.

No other event in the U.S. outside of our Fourth of July’s flag colors has such strong color associations. Tradition has it that green and thereby evergreen conifer branches represent life, as in the chlorophyll that plants depend on for their sugar factory of food they make in their leaves. I was surprised to find out, though, that Santa’s red outfit became a staple after Coca-Cola made ads with this fancy outfit that matched the company’s advertising campaign.

Almost any beloved object seems to get put into a holiday decoration, and just about any material will do: candles, ribbons, paper, wood, glass, porcelain, you name it. One year for our entry at the Colorado Springs Fine Art Center annual holiday tree exhibit, I invented a tree ornament with glittered whole shell peanuts with real feather wings and toothpick beaks for hummingbirds that also had a disco ball effect in a sunny window. It sounds ridiculous now that I write about them years later, but they were pretty.

Here in our Tri-Lakes area, I think we have more and more fun every year in the winter season. Just drive or walk—or snowshoe—around and you’ll see holiday reds and greens and more sparkling with lights throughout each part of our three little towns. Our famous Palmer Lake star (lit in November) shines brightly for miles and miles.

Current colorful local events include Historic Monument’s traditions of holiday banners, a Small Town Christmas (Dec. 3), and Palmer Lake’s red-ribboned 8-foot Yule log hunt (Dec. 11), where the families wear red or green capes as they run off for the hunt into the snowy green woods. The annual Yule log hunt began in 1933, and the Palmer Lake Fire Department built a stone fireplace just for the event in 1936 at the Town Hall.

Calls for artists

Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts, 304 Highway 105, Palmer Lake (contact TCLA for details):

  • Visions of Light: A juried photographic exhibition. The mission of the 2012 VOL exhibition is demonstrate the use and/or control of light to help define the subject. Entries begin Dec. 1.
  • From the Earth: A juried wood and clay exhibition; submit fine art in wood and/or clay for consideration. Important date: delivery of artwork Sunday, Jan. 8, 1 to 3 p.m.

Janet Lee Sellers is an American painter and sculptor who works in paint, metal and, most recently, concrete. Sellers lives in Woodmoor, Colorado. She can be reached at JanetSellers@ocn.me.

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Snapshots of Our Community

TLCA November Art Shows

Photos and caption by David Futey. David Futey can be reached at dfutey@ocn.me.

Below: From left, artists Julius Shoulderblade, Kristin Atchley, and Anthony Ngo are three of the artists whose works were part of the Military Creative Expression (MCE) Exhibit in November at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts. The MCE is a joint venture between Aspen Pointe and the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. Kim Nguyen, program director with Aspen Pointe, said the MCE program "uses art therapy as a release for what is ‘toxic’" in participating soldiers who suffer from post-traumatic syndrome and traumatic brain injury. Soldiers in the program initially create works with the most controllable medium, a pencil, and then proceed to watercolors and other complex mediums.

Below: During November, the TLCA’s main gallery was alive with the Annual Artists Member Show. Pictured are some of the 31 artists who created the 95 works that were on display. Marianne Gunther, the show’s curator, said, "It was wonderful to see the community produce such a range of interesting works." Information on upcoming events at the TLCA is at www.trilakesarts.org.

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Kiwanis Club presents dictionaries to third-graders

Photos by Bernard Minetti

Below: From left, Kiwanis members Bonnie Biggs, Lynn Manzer, Ron Pitt, and Jim Clemons and third-grade teachers Sue Hilton and Monica Kaler present dictionaries to the third-grade students of Lewis-Palmer Elementary School.

Below: From left, Kiwanis members Bonnie Biggs, Lynn Manzer, and Ron Pitt and Lewis-Palmer third-grade teacher Sue Hilton present dictionaries to the Lewis-Palmer third-graders.

By Bernard Minetti

Four hundred students in the Monument Hill area will receive dictionaries this year through the Monument Hill Kiwanis Club.

The club, as a sponsor of the dictionary distribution project, distributes dictionaries to students annually. The goal is to assist all students in becoming good writers, active readers, creative thinkers, and resourceful learners. It is a part of the primary mission of Kiwanis, which is to "change the world, one child and one community at a time."

The Monument Hill Kiwanis Club, with 150 members, sponsors many youth leadership programs. Among these are the Key Clubs in Lewis-Palmer and Palmer Ridge High Schools, the Builders Club in Lewis-Palmer Middle School, and the K-Kids clubs in the five local elementary schools.

This year Kiwanis members Bonnie Biggs, Lynn Manzer, past president and coordinator of the therapeutic riding program, Ron Pitt, and Jim Clemons assisted in the presentation of dictionaries to the third-graders of Lewis-Palmer Elementary School. Third grade teachers Sue Hilton and Monica Kaler also assisted in the presentation. Principal Lois Skaggs said she vigorously supports the concept.

Bernard Minetti may be contacted at bernardminetti@ocn.me.

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Wisdom from veterans takes the stage

Photos by David Futey.

Below: A dramatic reading along with visuals highlighted the story of veterans from various wars in the TLCA and Front Range Theatre production of Wisdom Within These Walls.

By David Futey

During the weekend of Nov. 11, the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA) and Front Range Theatre presented Wisdom Within These Walls. The program for Wisdom was based on interviews conducted with numerous local veterans, from which stories from World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, and Iraqi War veterans were selected.

The selected stories were presented through readings and corresponding photographs and visuals. Wisdom’s Executive Producer Anne McGhee Stinson said the program reflects on "how we are our story." A WWII veteran who fought in the Battle of the Bulge summed up his participation in the program by stating, "Maybe I was spared so I can tell you my story."

Information on upcoming events at the TLCA is at www.trilakesarts.org.

David Futey can be reached at dfutey@ocn.me.

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VFW assists preparation of care packages

Below: Monument Hill VFW members assist in the VFW Christmas Pack-Up of packages to be delivered to frontline service personnel in Afghanistan. From left are retired Air Force Maj. Tom Dowd, post commander, retired Air Force Lt. Col. Tony Woluski, and Air Force TSgt. Nick Stanger from Camp Schriever. The post sent 54 packages. Photo by Bernard Minetti

Below: Retired Army Master Sgt. Joe Misola and Carol Caniglia deliver gifts for inclusion in the Monument Hill VFW Post 7829 Christmas Pack-Up of care packages being sent to service personnel in Afghanistan. A total of 54 boxes were filled at this event. Photo by Bernard Minetti

Below: Active-duty Army Capt. and physician’s assistant Jill Spack, left, and Air Force wife Judy Stanger help to fill care packages being sent to service personnel in Afghanistan during the 2011 Christmas Pack-Up. A total of 54 gift packages were filled and sent. Photo by Bernard Minetti

Below: Madeline Sanderson, representing Rose Blazi’s St. Peter preschool class, presents notes from each of the students for the service personnel in Afghanistan. Each note is to be included in one of the gift care packages. Photo by Joe Carlson

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VFW presents awards

Photos by Bernard Minetti.

Below: VFW Patriot’s Pen Winners are, in the front row from left, Bear Creek Elementary sixth-grader Abigail Hermann, Lewis-Palmer Middle School seventh-grader Sydney Prichard, Lewis-Palmer Middle School eighth-grader, Kaila Baca, and overall winner Monument Academy sixth-grader Brooke Zarkovacki. From left, rear, are Diane Martin and her husband, retired Air Force Master Sgt. Joe Martin, VFW Post Commander retired Lt. Col. Tony Woluski, and VFW Ladies Auxiliary President Martine Arndt.

Below: From left are VFW Scholarship Awards Coordinator Joe Martin, Teacher of the Year Award winner Pamela Howard, Voice of Democracy Award winner Palmer Ridge 10th-grader Tayanna Todd, and VFW Post 7829 Commander retired Lt. Col. Tony Woluski .

By Bernard L. Minetti

On Nov. 10, the evening before Veterans Day, Principal Caryn Collette and Lewis-Palmer Middle School hosted the annual VFW Patriot’s Pen, the VFW Voice of Democracy awards, and the VFW Teacher of the Year recognition awards.

The Teacher of the Year Program, through the VFW, each year recognizes three exceptional teachers who are noted for their outstanding commitment to teach Americanism and patriotism to their students.

This year, Pamela Howard of Palmer Ridge High School received the VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher Award.

Teacher Award recipients are selected from entries submitted by VFW posts in every state and overseas. The awards include a national $1,000 award to each of the top K-5, 6-8 and 9-12 grade teachers for professional development expenses, a $1,000 award for each winning teacher’s school, plaques for the winning teacher and the school, and an all-expenses-paid trip to attend a VFW conference and receive their award.

The Patriot’s Pen award requires that sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students write an essay on a patriotic theme. State winners compete for $91,000 in U.S. Savings Bonds at the national level. The national winner receives a $10,000 U.S. Savings Bond and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C.

This year’s theme was, "Are you proud of your country?" The winners were: Bear Creek Elementary School sixth-grader Abigail Hermann, Lewis-Palmer Middle School seventh-grader Sydney Pritchard, and Lewis-Palmer Middle School eighth-grader Kaila Baca. The overall award winner is Brooke Zarkovacki, a sixth-grader at Monument Academy.

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) started the Voice of Democracy Scholarship Competition in 1946. The Veterans of Foreign Wars became a national sponsor in the late 1950s. The Voice of Democracy competition requires that high school freshmen, sophomores, juniors or seniors write and record a script on a patriotic theme. They compete for more than $2.5 million in college scholarships and incentives.

State winners receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., where they compete for $149,000 in scholarships. The first-place winner receives a $30,000 scholarship award. The local winner is Tayanna Todd, a 10th-grader at Palmer-Ridge High School. She gave a talk on the subject, "Is there pride serving in our military?"

Teachers and students interested in participating in next year’s competition should contact retired Air Force Master Sgt. Joseph Martin at 719-487-8571.

Bernard Minetti may be contacted at bernardminetti@ocn.me.

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VFW post honors Chili’s for support

Below: From left, VFW members Rich Koenig and Tony Wolusky stand with Chili’s manager, Angel Pagán, who accepted the VFW Post 7829 Order of Merit award for Chili’s general manager, Stacia Hartman, VFW member Juan Gutiérrez is at right. The award now hangs at the reservation stand in the Monument Chili’s restaurant at the Monument Marketplace location. Photo by Bernard Minetti

By Bernard L. Minetti

On Nov. 23, VFW Post 7829 awarded the Monument Chili’s restaurant the 2011 Order of Merit for its support in 2011. The post awards the Order of Merit to any individual, organization, or company that distinguishes itself by support of local veterans and their families in time of need. Chili’s has posted the award on the check-in stand at the entrance for all to see.

The Chili’s restaurant awarded a percentage of their gross income to the local VFW post in August to be used to assist veterans in need. Chili’s is the second company to assist Tri-Lakes-area veterans. Earlier in the year, Whole Foods donated 5 percent of its gross profits from one day, from both of its Colorado Springs stores, to the support of local veterans through Post 7829. This award will be granted or regranted annually for this type of effort.

If there is an interest in supporting veterans, contact Post Commander Tony Woluski at 719-225-7778 or 719-481-4419 for further information.

Donations to assist in this effort or to support veterans and their families may be sent to VFW Post 7829, PO Box 1512, Monument, CO 80132-9998. The VFW Post is a nonprofit corporation in good standing under Colorado law (ID Number 20091530354) and is a federal tax-exempt veterans organization under IRS Code Section 501(c)(19) organization. Donations to VFW Post 7829 are tax deductible as permitted by law and a receipt will be provided.

Bernard Minetti can be contacted at bernardminetti@ocn.me.

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MoZaic of Wishes raises $1,700 for Tri-Lakes Cares

Below: About 175 attended. Photo Provided by Judy Lyle

Below (L to R): John Anderson, president of the Tri-Lakes Cares board and Al Fritts, owner of the Inn at Palmer Divide, were gracious hosts. Photo by Harriet Halbig.

By Harriet Halbig

The Fourth Annual MoZaic of Wishes on Nov. 18 raised $1,700 for Tri-Lakes Cares. The event is an opportunity for local businesses to meet the community and contribute to its welfare.

This year 38 vendors were present. Al Fritts, owner of the Inn at Palmer Divide, offered the use of the facility free of charge and matched raffle ticket sales up to $500. He also offered refreshments, as did several of the vendors. Besides the $1,700, the event brought in 33 toys and 500 pounds of food for holiday baskets for the community.

Tri-Lakes Cares is now one of 15 recipients of funds from the Empty Stocking Fund.

For information on future events, visit the website www.tri-lakescares.org.

Harriet Halbig may be reached at harriethalbig@ocn.me.

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Palmer Lake opens holiday season with star lighting

Photos by David Futey.

Below: Visitors entering Palmer Lake on Highway 105 from Monument are greeted by the star during the holiday season. Monument resident Susan Hunter-Smith had the winning raffle ticket to light up the star.

Below: Sandy Johnson, right, of The Living Word Chapel was among the many volunteers who helped to serve at the Chili Supper.

(Center) Paying guests at the Fire Department’s Chili Supper had their choice of potato soup, turkey chili, mild and spicy chili, hot dogs, and cinnamon rolls.

(Right) The Palmer Lake Town Hall was filled throughout the evening during the Chili Supper and Star Lighting.

Below: Magician Chad Wonder entertained young and old with comedy and a number of magic tricks.

By David Futey

More than 550 people attended the Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department’s annual Chili Supper and Star Lighting on Nov 26. Proceeds from the event are used to maintain the star on Sundance Mountain. The department has been responsible for maintaining the star since 1937.

This year guests had their choice of potato soup, turkey chili, mild and spicy chili, hot dogs, and cinnamon rolls. Guests were also entered into a door prize raffle and had the option to participate in a silent auction and ticket raffle.

An addition to this year’s event was a hayride to and from the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA). The Little Log Church Carolers and a magician were part of the entertainment at the TLCA, along with the opportunity to visit with Santa.

Magician Chad Wonder entertained young and old with comedy and a number of magic tricks at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts. Wonder found his inspiration for becoming a magician at age 7 when a friend showed him the ball-and-vase trick.

David Futey can be contacted at dfutey@ocn.me.

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AARP Chapter Meeting, Nov. 9: Veterans, Black Forest Cares, and TESSA recognized

Photos provided by Stanley Beckner

Below: Black Forest AARP Chapter Veterans and widows join Jim Tackett, Back Row, third from right, to celebrate their service to the country.

Below: Jody Petry of TESSA receives the Black Forest AARP Chapter donations from Gwen Burk, the Black Forest AARP Chapter Community Services Committee Chairperson. Diane Apodaca and Iola Geoger hold the Chapter Banner.

Below: Jim Tackett of the El Past County Veteran Services discusses Veteran’s benefits with the Black Forest AARP Chapter Membership.

By Stanley Beckner

The Black Forest AARP chapter, at the annual Make A Difference Day celebration, demonstrated their dedication to community service and the recognition of local area veterans at the chapter meeting Nov. 9.

The featured program speaker was Jim Tackett from the El Paso County Veteran Services Office. Tackett provided information on benefits available to veterans. He said the primary purpose of the Veteran Service Office is to assist veterans in cutting though the red tape often involved in dealings with government agencies. The El Paso County Veteran Services Office can be reached at (719) 520-7750.

Twenty-five attending veterans and veteran’s widows were recognized during the meeting. These veterans represented service in the Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Marines, and Air Force from World War II to the present.

Chapter President Chuck Karlstrum presented a check of $200 from the chapter membership to Karen Ketels from to the Black Forest Cares Food Pantry. The Black Forest Cares pantry has provided assistance to individuals and families in the northern El Paso County area since 1985. The donation will help provide food to the 200-300 needy individuals assisted each month.

The Black Forest AARP Chapter also recognized TESSA’s mission to help individuals and their children who are victims of domestic violence achieve safety and well being. The chapter presented over 240 items, many of which were handcrafted, to Jody Petry from TESSA. Some of the items were for the TESSA Christmas Gift Shop.

TESSA seeks to empower survivors of sexual and family violence through programs and support such as advocacy and counseling and create a safer future through education and outreach to schools, businesses, and other organizations while challenging communities to end sexual and family violence. TESSA is an agency of the Pikes Peak United Way.

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AARP Chapter #1100, based in Black Forest, works during the year on various community service projects. Individuals of all ages are invited to become involved. To visit the chapter or become a member contact Chuck Karlstrum at (719) 749-9227 for meeting time and location.

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NASA rep. visits St. Peter School

Below: Jay N. Estes, NASA’s deputy manager for the Orion Project’s flight test office, presents to St. Peter elementary school students on Nov. 30 an overview of the new Orion Project, which is the flight testing of a vehicle that should eventually be a platform to move from point-to-point in space. Photo by Bernard Minetti.

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November and December Library Events: Year draws to a close with crafts and festive programs

Photos by Harriet Halbig.

Below: Alexas Kapoor Hood visited with Paws to Read dogs Hula and Hondo on Halloween.

Below: Kayleigh Didovic enjoyed playing with Legos at the Monument Lego day.

By Harriet Halbig

Patrons enjoyed learning new crafts at the Monument Library during November.

The Kumihimo braiding class and friendship bracelet class in early November were well attended. The Legos events were a delightful hive of activity and creativity.

December opens with a teen Book-Eaters meeting featuring a local author, Lisa Bergren, talking about the process of writing and leading a discussion about Waterfall, the first book in her time-travel River of Time series.

On Dec. 9, teens ages 12 and up are invited to join us for Crafty Teens, a program to create holiday ornaments such as craft stick and button snowflakes, origami Ninja stars and shrinky dinks. Bring your friends to enjoy snacks and creativity from 3:45 to 5:15 p.m.

The December Family Fun event is the Salida Circus and Colossal Cookies, thanks to the Tri-Lakes Friends of the Library. The whole family is invited to give the Salida Circus elves a hand to fill the demand for circus toys. Stay to decorate a cookie or two afterward. Nothing goes together better than cookies, icing, and sprinkles. Cookie decorating will run from noon until 4 p.m., and Salida Circus will begin at 1:30 p.m.

The Monumental Readers will discuss The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan on Friday, Dec. 16, at 10 a.m. All patrons are welcome to attend this monthly book club.

On Saturday, Dec. 17, from 2 to 3:30 p.m., bask in the pleasure of holiday harp music performed by teenage musicians during your visit to the library.

Story times and discussion groups will meet during their usual times during December. See holiday closure times at the end of this article.

On the walls in December is Artistic Nature, colored pencil and pen and ink drawings by Barbara Samuel. In the display case will be Holiday Santas, a jolly collection owned by Pat Murphy.

Palmer Lake events

Come read with Misty, our Paws to Read dog, on Thursday, Dec. 8, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Misty is a sweet and tiny Sheltie and loves to listen to young readers. Read to Misty and select a prize.

Knitters of all levels are welcome to join the Palmer Lake Library Knitting Group, which meets each Thursday from 10 a.m. until noon.

Palmer Lake’s Family Fun event for December is Colossal Cookies. All are invited on Saturday, Dec. 17, at 10:30 a.m. to combine icing, sprinkles and holiday cheer. Decorate and take.

The Palmer Lake Book Group will discuss My Name is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliveira on Friday, Jan. 6, at 9 a.m. New members are always welcome and no registration is required.

All Pikes Peak Library facilities will be closed all day Dec. 24 and 25, will close at 4 p.m. Dec. 31, and will remain closed all day New Year’s Day.

Happy holidays and we’ll see you at the library!

Harriet Halbig may be reached at harriethalbig@ocn.me.

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Palmer Lake Historical Society, Nov. 17: A history of the original Air Force Academy grounds

Below: Retired Air Force Col. Jack Anthony, past instructor in Space Systems and Space Systems engineer at the U.S. Air Force Academy, talks about the history of the land on which the Academy is located. He spoke about some of the towns and residents that were located on this site prior to the Academy’s construction. Photo by Bernard Minetti.

Below: From left, Sally and Wilton W. "Buster" Cogswell and his wife, Cathy, completed the publishing of a book about people who lived on the Air Force Academy site before the academy was built. Photo by Bernard Minetti.

By Bernard L. Minetti

The Nov. 17 meeting of the Palmer Lake Historical Society was highlighted by a historical presentation of the events that preceded the construction of the U.S. Air Force Academy. Retired Air Force Col. Jack Anthony, past assistant professor of astronautics at the Academy, discussed in detail the towns of Husted and Edgerton, which existed before the Academy was built.

Anthony described residents who lived on or near the site. These included William Burgess, who lived in a pioneer cabin, and his neighbors. Some of these were the Wilson, Blodgett, Lennox, Capps, Spurlock, and Flegell families, who resided there during the 1860s to the 1880s. He graphically presented the story of Cathedral Rock, which he noted was a "sign in" site for early settlers who wished to let it be known that they passed by the towering natural rock monument. These "signatures" can be viewed today.

He detailed the history of the Lehman Ranch, which is now the soccer field on the Academy. He talked about the communities of East and West Husted, which were located just south of the Academy’s north entry gate. Anthony discussed his explorations of the Husted site with a descendant of the early pioneer Husted family, Bill Husted, and Historical Society member Jerry McDuffee. He noted how Husted remembered items and locations from his childhood. Anthony further described the local Husted operations of the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad, which was located in Husted about 1 mile south of the Academy’s north entry gate.

One of the historic events that brought the era into perspective was the head-on railroad collision that occurred on Aug. 14, 1909, just north of the Husted station. Two passenger trains collided and eight of the 400 passengers were killed.

Anthony described some of the events in the town of Edgerton such as the building of the Teachout Hotel in 1879 and the inception of the Cascade Ice Co. in 1893. The town reached a population of 350 in 1902.

Burgess built his pioneer cabin in 1875. It was dedicated by the Academy in 1960 and is preserved as a historical site on the Academy grounds.

Hester-Jane Cogswell, an early resident of the area, started the compilation of her book, Pine Valley: A Window to the Early History of Colorado Springs and the U.S. Air Force Academy. Anthony presented Cogswell’s son, Wilton W. "Buster" Cogswell, daughter Sally Cogswell-Foutch, and daughter-in-law Cathy, who were in the audience. When Hester-Jane died in 2008, these three finished the publication of the book, which is now available for purchase. The book details the residents of the Pine Valley section of the Academy.

Anthony said he still is exploring the region and writing about the early events on the Academy site.

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The next Palmer Lake Historical Society event will be on Thursday, Jan. 18, at 7 p.m. at the Palmer Lake Town Hall. It will be the annual potluck and membership get-together. Anyone can attend.

Bernard Minetti can be contacted at bernardminetti@ocn.me.

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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.

Wednesday Senior Lunch at Big Red
December Menu

    Dec. 7: Brats, coleslaw, & chips
    Dec. 14
    : Turkey, stuffing, cranberries & salad
    Dec. 21
    : Raspberry chipotle chicken breast, roasted potatoes & salad
    Dec. 28
    : NO LUNCH – D-38 WINTER BREAK

Rolls and butter served with each meal except sandwiches. Dessert also provided.

An activity of Tri-Lakes Health Advocacy Associates. Meals provided by Pinecrest Catering, Palmer Lake; Nikki McDonald, executive chef, 481-3307.

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Santa on Patrol toy drive, ends Dec. 16

Monument Police Chief Jacob Shirk and the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Department will deliver toys to children in the Tri-Lakes area Dec. 17, and they need the community’s support. Please drop off new, unwrapped toys or gift cards by Dec. 16 to fire stations 1, 2, and 3, the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Department Administration Building (166 Second St., Monument), Palmer Lake Police Department or Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department (42 Valley Crescent), or any D-38 elementary school. Any family in need or with questions may call Jennifer, 484-0911.

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Sertoma bellringers at Walgreen’s

Legacy Sertoma of Monument is collecting for the annual Salvation Army Red Kettle campaign at the local Walgreen’s, 265 W. Highway 105, Monument (at Baptist Road), noon to 6 p.m., seven days a week until Christmas Eve. Every little bit helps! For more information, contact Sam DeFelice, 481-8623, or e-mail scdefelice@aol.com.

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CSU Extension Advisory Committee needs volunteers; apply by Dec. 5

Community-minded citizen volunteers are needed to serve as Family/Consumer Science representatives (must have knowledge in food safety and nutrition) and Horticultural/Natural Resources representatives on the CSU Extension Advisory Committee. Applications are due by Dec. 5. Representatives are appointed for three-year terms. The volunteer application is located at www.elpasoco.com and can be accessed by clicking on the "Volunteer Boards" link. For more information, call 520-6436.

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Community Corrections Board seeks volunteers; apply by Dec. 5

Community-minded citizen volunteers are needed to serve as citizen-at-large members on the Community Corrections Board. Applications are due by Dec. 5. The board advises the Board of County Commissioners on community-based and community-oriented programs that provide supervision of offenders being diverted from prison and those transitioning back into the community after prison. Citizen-at-large representatives are appointed for three-year terms. The volunteer application is located at www.elpasoco.com and can be accessed by clicking on the "Volunteer Boards" link. For more information, call 520-6436.

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Volunteers Needed for El Paso County Board of Retirement; apply by Dec. 9

A community-minded citizen is needed to serve on the Board of Retirement for a four-year term. Applications are due by Dec. 9. The Board of Retirement manages the El Paso County Retirement Plan in compliance with Colorado statutes and oversees the duties of the administrator, actuary, custodian, and investment managers, and the investment policy of the plan’s funds. The volunteer application is located at www.elpasoco.com and can be accessed by clicking on "Volunteer Boards." For more information, call 520-6436.

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Tri-Lakes Cares Thrift Shop open Mondays for the holidays!

Hangers—Your Thrift Shop is now open Mondays also until Jan. 2. Normal hours are Tue.-Sat., 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at its new location, 245 Jefferson St., Monument, right next door to Tri-Lakes Cares. 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 website, www.trilakescares.org.

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Empty Stocking Fund: Fill Up Campaign, Dec. 7, 14, & 28

Tri-Lakes Cares, as one of 15 partner agencies of the Empty Stocking Fund (ESF), is asking area residents to dine out in December at restaurants participating in this annual holiday fundraiser. It’s simple: choose a participating restaurant, eat your favorite meal on the day designated to ESF, and then let the restaurant donate a portion of their proceeds to the ESF. Go on Dec. 7 to MoZaic Restaurant, Bella Panini, The Villa Italian Restaurant, or Pikes Peak Brewing Co. If you choose Dec. 14, dine at Bella Panini. On Dec. 28, dine at the Monument Hill Country Club. Tri-Lakes Cares provides food, heat, shelter, health care, educational opportunities, and job placement resources for families in the Tri-Lakes area who need assistance. For more information, call 481-4864.

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Tri-Lakes Music Association Tenth Annual Concert Series, Dec. 9-11

The Tri-Lakes Music Association (TLMA) was formed in 1998 by Bob Manning and Bruce Eldridge with the goal of developing an annual Christmas concert series performed primarily by residents of the Tri-Lakes region–a true community event. The concert series is funded by donations from local churches, individuals, and businesses. A free-will offering is accepted during the performance, which goes to sponsor a local charity, Tri-Lakes Cares, and $1,000 for two Lewis-Palmer senior scholarships. The first nine concerts raised more than $33,000 to benefit Tri-Lakes Cares. This year’s concert features the work, "The Gift of Christmas," and is scheduled for Dec. 9-10, 7 p.m., and Dec. 11, 2 p.m., at Palmer Ridge High School, 19255 Monument Hill Rd, Monument. For more information, visit trilakesmusic.org, or phone Bob Manning, 719-232-4114, or e-mail rwgmanning@comcast.net.

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Colorado Gardener Certificate Training; apply by Dec. 15

Colorado State University (CSU) Extension will offer the Colorado Gardener Certificate training course beginning Jan. 11, 2012. The eight-week course provides low-cost, focused education in best management practices for home horticulture in Colorado. Classes are taught by CSU faculty, horticulture extension agents, and green industry professionals. After completing the training program, home gardeners and green industry workers will have gained skills in identifying and diagnosing the most common insects, diseases, and abiotic problems encountered in the home landscape. The cost is $575 and includes a comprehensive set of CSU’s fact sheets. Applications are due by Dec. 15. For an application or information call Diana Rhodes, 520-7688.

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Black Forest Animal Sanctuary needs volunteers

Black Forest Animal Sanctuary was founded in the late 1990s as the Charlotte & Arthur Romero Wildlife Sanctuary, an all-volunteer and not-for-profit 501c3 that helps all animals. The sanctuary is getting dozens of calls and emails every day begging for them to take in unwanted, neglected, and abused horses and other livestock animals, dogs, and cats from the Front Range area. Their goal is to rescue, rehabilitate, and retrain horses and find them permanent loving homes. They are in immediate need of funding for feed and veterinary care and significant shelter improvements to continue their work. To volunteer, adopt an animal, or make a donation, contact 494-0158, bfasfarm@aol.com, or visit www.bfasfarm.org.

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The U.S. Postal Service 2011 Holiday Mail-by Dates

The U.S. Postal Service suggests the following mail-by dates for domestic mail to ensure packages, cards, and letters arrive before Christmas. Parcel post Dec. 15, first-class mail Dec. 20, priority mail Dec. 21, express mail Dec. 22, DNDC drop ship Dec. 19, DDU drop ship Dec. 22. For information on international mail, contact David Rupert, 303-313-5134 or david.g.rupert@usps.gov.

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Monument Hill Kiwanis elects new officers

The Monument Hill Kiwanis Club inducted its new officers Oct. 1: Steve Stephenson, president; Tom Nelson, immediate past president; Russ Broshous, president-elect; Jim Murphy, secretary; Jack Fry, CFO/treasurer; and Dennis Beasley, sergeant-at-arms. Vice presidents: Programs, Benny Nasser; Service Leadership Programs, Max Williams; Community Services, Ted Bauman; Membership, Rich Strom; and Fundraising, Steve Parker. The granting function has been transferred to the Club’s Monument Hill Foundation, with Bill Kaelin in charge. Directors: Bingo and Raffles Operations, Dennis Daugherty; Member Recognition, Bob Hayes; Public Relations, Barbara Dienes; Planning, Analysis, & Resources, Stephen Plank; Interclub & Social Activities, Jim Taylor; and Special Needs, Ed Tomlinson.

The Monument Hill Kiwanis Club provides more than $100,000 in community grants each year. Along with traditional Kiwanis youth programs represented by Key Clubs, Builders Clubs, and K-Kids in the D-38 Schools, Monument Hill Kiwanis sponsors the Monument Fourth of July Parade, the Empty Bowls Dinner, a Silent Auction in behalf of Tri-Lakes Cares, Salvation Army bell ringing at local stores, and the annual Soap Box Derby in Colorado Springs, among others. A few of the organizations supported by the club are the D-38 schools, the Griffith Centers for Children, Tri-Lakes Cares, Tri-Lakes Little League, the Salvation Army, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for abused children, and many other organizations. The club meets weekly, Saturdays at 8 a.m. at the Inn at Palmer Divide in Palmer Lake. For more information, call 487-1098, e-mail info@monumenthillkiwanis.org, or visit www.monumenthillkiwanis.org.

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Commissioners Close Hearing Room with Historic Meeting

The El Paso County Board of Commissioners (BoCC) closed a chapter in local history as it gathered for its last regularly scheduled meeting in the Hearing Room of the County Office Building at 27 E. Vermijo in downtown Colorado Springs. As part of the El Paso County Strategic Moves plan, the BoCC will move offices to Centennial Hall at 200 S. Cascade Ave. in December and begin scheduling meetings in the Centennial Hall auditorium in 2012. The County Office Building, which once housed all El Paso County elected and administrative offices except for the county sheriff, will become the new home of the Sheriff’s Office in 2012. During the move, the BoCC will schedule most of its regular meetings in the Hearing Room of the Pikes Peak Regional Development Center at 2880 International Circle. The Dec. 15 meeting will be held at the Charles C. "Chuck" Brown Transportation and Environmental Complex at 3275 Akers Dr. For more information, visit www.elpasoco.com.

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Therapeutic Riding Center volunteer open house, Jan. 14

Boots and Saddles Therapeutic Riding Center offers equine-assisted activities to children and adults with cognitive and physical disabilities. Volunteers are needed for sidewalkers to assist the riders during class, as well as for horse handlers, office help, fundraising, and general ranch maintenance. Find out more at the open house scheduled for Jan. 14, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Volunteer training will take place Jan. 21, 9 a.m. to noon. Boots and Saddles TRC is located at 7103 S. Highway 83, Franktown. For more information, call 303-688-1388.

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Library patrons can now download eBooks to their Kindles

Pikes Peak Library District (PPLD) is excited to announce that its eBook collection is now compatible with the world’s bestselling eBook reader, the Amazon Kindle. Patrons can now download popular and classic eBooks to a Kindle device or any mobile device running the free Kindle app, such as iPhone, iPad, Android, and more. PPLD also offers eBooks and audiobooks for use on a PC or Mac computer and popular mobile devices such as a smartphone, MP3 player, and eBook reader like the Barnes & Noble Nook and Sony Reader. To get started, visit www.ppld.org/cybershelf.

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Tri-Lakes HAP Thrift Store in Palmer Lake

The store now 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 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.

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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 email 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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