Home  About  Advertise  Archive  Calendar  Contact  Help  Links  Maps  Subscribe  Topics  Updates
Our Community News - Home Vol. 10 No. 12 - December 4, 2010

 Any word  All words   Help
Category:     Results per page:     Sort by date

Prior Up Next


the PDF file. This is a 25.7 Mbyte high-resolution file with color photos and will take about 149 minutes to download using a dial-up modem. To view and print the file, you will need to download and install the free Acrobat Reader Program. Click here for help with PDF downloads

Return to the top of the page

Volunteers pack gift boxes for soldiers

Photos by Bernard Minetti.

Below: (L to R) Dylan Eaton, J.C. Coulter, Faith Robertson, and Peyton Coulter pack gift boxes for the Tri-Lakes Networking Team project "Caring for Our Soldiers." The children are all from Journey Chapel. This year, the team adopted four platoons of soldiers with 20 to 30 men and women per platoon. 

Below: Merchants and volunteers helped make the project a great success. 

By Bernard L. Minetti

On Nov. 7, the Tri-Lakes Networking Team project "Caring for Our Soldiers" was set in motion at the Sundance Mountain Athletic Center. Volunteers, merchants, donors, and others gathered to facilitate filling gift packages to be sent overseas to service men and women for the Christmas holiday season.

Networking Team President Janine Robertson said that "TNT," as they call themselves, was formed by local businesswomen in the early 1990s. They enjoy networking, building relationships, and supporting each other in their business and personal lives. They welcome all businesswomen to join their team. The goal of the group is to help each other to succeed in business by building relationships with each other and to make a difference in the community.

Robertson said they had estimated that about 40 care packages would be assembled. At last count, she reported that there were 100-plus packages being assembled. She said that they were extremely appreciative for all the volunteers’ efforts and for all the goods donated to be included in the care packages. For further information, Robertson may be contacted at 719-266-0246 or at oasisangelstudio@gmail.com

Bernard Minetti can be reached at bernardminetti@ocn.me

Return to the top of the page

The Red Kettles are here

Above: Jim and Marian Taylor of Monument Hill Kiwanis are ringing bells for the 2010 Salvation Army Red Kettle campaign at the Monument Safeway. Last year, kettle donations in the Tri-Lakes community totaled $37,014.43. One hundred percent of the money collected is given to the Salvation Army and used to help those in need in the Pikes Peak area. Photo by Mike Wicklund.

Return to the top of the page

Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District Board, Nov. 15: Tri-Lakes firefighters receive 3 percent pay raise

Below: (L to R) Fire Chief Robert Denboske receives a photo of Monument Scout Troop 6 from Ethan Buchnall and Cole Turner, right. The gift was in appreciation of the support received from the district in their recent exercise to qualify the youngsters as amateur radio technicians. Photo by Bernard Minetti.

Below: Some of the members of Monument Scout Troop 6 participanting in a Geofox event Oct. 2 as part of qualifying as amateur radio tachnicians. Photos by Bob Witte.

By Bernard L. Minetti

At the Nov. 15 Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District meeting, Director Roger Lance reminded the board that the 3 percent raise for firefighters had been delayed from earlier in the year. Board President Charlie Pocock said that the ballot issues that delayed the consideration of a pay raise and that would have impacted district funding had been voted down and were no longer a threat. Lance then made a motion to raise firefighters pay by 3 percent effective Jan. 1, 2011. The vote for approval was unanimous.

Treasurer John Hildebrandt presented the treasurer’s report. He stated that the total ambulance revenues, which now amounted to $475,580, had already reached 103 percent of the annual budgeted amount for this line item. Total revenue income for the district had reached 96.49 percent of the budgeted total. He said that the excess salary expenditures had been reduced from the previous month’s 7.99 percent overage to October’s 5.27 percent excess of budgeted amounts.

Fire sprinklers "lesson"

Pocock read the first of the "lessons" that he had indicated at the October meeting would be a part of educating citizens of the Tri-Lakes area through print media on the changes to the National Fire Code.

He read a short essay he authored, titled "Fire Sprinklers or No Fire Sprinklers, Article 1":

"Every three years the National Fire Code is reviewed and revised. Generally, Colorado, El Paso County and the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District approve and adopt the changes; however, this year there is an added appendix that is being rejected by about half of the states in the nation. This change requires fire sprinklers in all newly constructed homes. There are good arguments on both sides of the issue and in the next few months we’ll explore these arguments because our most important mission is to serve the residents of the Tri-Lakes district and we don’t want to impose rules and restrictions which are not in the best interest of our citizens. The two main arguments are that fire sprinklers save lives, both residents and firefighters; vs. adding fire sprinklers will add significantly to the cost of new homes. As with all major changes there are myths among the realities so we’ll explore these. Some communities have had this rule in place for over 10 years and we’ll examine their experience alongside of similar communities who have not had the rule in place. At the conclusion we’ll ask for your opinion."

Training Officer Mike Keough presented the training statistics for October. He reported that total personnel training hours amounted to 356.5. Of these, 266.5 were fire/hazard specific, 68.5 were EMS specific, and 21.5 were dedicated to physical fitness.

Toys sought for the needy

District Administrative Assistant Jennifer Martin read an invitation for citizen participation in the Sixth Annual Tri-Lakes Santa on Patrol Toy Drive. This event will take place at the District 38 Administration Building at 1 p.m. on Dec. 18. The public is invited to come at 10 a.m. to see "Santa on Patrol" as he parades through the Tri-Lakes area with emergency vehicles.

Martin said that last year, 1,000 toys were delivered to needy children in the area, and assistance is required to reach that number for this year’s event. To donate to Santa on Patrol, unwrapped toys and gift cards can be delivered to Monument Police Department, Palmer Lake Police Department, Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department, Tri-Lakes Monument fire stations 1, 2, and 3 and the administration building at 166 Second St., and all D-38 elementary schools.

Contact 719-484-0911 with any questions.

Scouts thank district

Stu Turner, an assistant Scout leader for Monument Troop 6, told the board that in addition to his Scout position, he represented the Fire Communications Auxiliary. In October, the group held its third annual Amateur Radio Technician Licensing Course. He remarked that there were 22 entrants, 19 of whom passed the course. He stated that the groups were indebted to the Fire Protection District for allowing them to use the auxiliary radio facilities at Station 3. In particular he thanked Fire Chief Robert Denboske and firefighter and paramedic Elliot Link for their support and assistance.

Turner said that as a result, eight of the new FCC technicians who qualified were Scouts from Troop 6. He, with Scouts Ethan Buchnall and Cole Turner, presented Denboske with a photograph of the troop as a token of their appreciation. Denboske said that the district is always ready to help young people grow and learn.


The next Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District Board meeting will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 8, at 7 p.m. at Tri-Lakes Station 1, 18650 Highway 105 west of Monument near the bowling alley. For further information regarding this meeting, contact Martin at 719-484-0911.

Bernard Minetti can be contacted at bernardminetti@ocn.me

Return to the top of the page

Donald Wescott Fire Protection District, Nov. 17: Chief Edwards’ retirement announced

By Jim Kendrick

On Nov. 17, Donald Wescott Fire Protection District Assistant Chief Vinny Burns announced that Chief Jeff Edwards would be retiring in December. Edwards will be receiving 100 percent military medical disability retirements from the Air Force Reserve and the Veterans Administration due to stage IV pancreatic cancer, which he has been fighting for more than a year.

Board President Scott Campbell praised Edwards and said, "He’s an inspiration. He’s beat the odds on his illness. He’s served his country and this department and we’re all better off for his service. I hope that he can come back and participate here. His retirement mandates by law that he can’t earn an income elsewhere. That doesn’t mean he can’t be here."

The absence of Harland Baker was excused.

Station 3 report

Burns reported that the external design of the new district Fire Station 3 had been coordinated with Shamrock Ranch owner David Wismer, who donated five acres to Wescott on the southeast corner of Highway 83 and Stagecoach Road. Wismer made recommendations for minor cosmetic changes to the exterior building design that are within the district’s design budget during a recent regular meeting with general contractor Colarelli Construction Inc.

The final design has been submitted to Pikes Peak Regional Building Department for permit approval, with approval expected around Feb. 1. Colarelli is contacting all the utility companies to arrange for service to the Station 3 lot.

The Colorado Department of Transportation has issued a permit for the Highway 83 access design at the Stagecoach intersection. Wescott is paying some of the costs for replatting the 35-acre lot on the western boundary of Shamrock Ranch that Wismer has subdivided from the rest of the Shamrock property. When the parcel is re-platted, Wismer will formally donate the five-acre lot. For more background information, see www.ocn.me/v10n7.htm

Board Chairman Scott Campbell reported that consolidation talks with the Black Forest Fire Rescue Protection District had been stopped at the request of the Black Forest board due to their current financial issues with meeting fulltime staffing expenses. The next consolidation meeting will be held in January.

2011 budget public hearing scheduled

Administrative Assistant Cheryl Marshall stated that the special board meeting to hold a public hearing on the final 2011 budget, scheduled for Dec. 1, had been formally advertised. The board unanimously approved the 2011 budget and the new district staff organizational structure proposed at the previous board meeting. There was consensus that the specific economic long-term goals of the district’s new organizational and pay structure should be attached to the 2011 budget.

The board directed that the total payroll increase associated with the reorganization will be implemented in three equal increases that will be integrated into the next three budgets, if the district’s economic situation permits. The board unanimously approved adding back full payments for family dental care insurance in the 2011 budget.

Campbell praised the board members and staff leadership for the changes that have been integrated in the district budget over the past three years that have enabled the board to approve a new station, purchase of new fire engines, and reorganize the staff. Burns thanked Marshall, Edwards, and the three shift captains for their work in researching and finalizing the entries in the reformatted 2011 budget.

The board went into executive session to discuss personnel matters at 7:45 p.m.


Meetings are normally held on the fourth Wednesday of the month at Station 1. The Dec. 15 meeting has been canceled. For more information on the next two meetings, call 488-8680.

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

Return to the top of the page

Burns appointed to succeed Chief Edwards

During the DWFPD meeting Dec. 1, Chief Edwards announced he would retire Dec. 31. The board then appointed Assistant Chief Vinny Burns as the next Wescott chief. A new assistant chief will be selected in December. See our Jan. 8 issue for more on the Dec. 1 meeting.

Return to the top of the page

Lewis-Palmer School District 38 Board of Education, Nov. 4 and 18: Board discusses superintendent search, budget

By Harriet Halbig

At meetings November 4 and 18, the Lewis-Palmer School District 38 Board of Education continued its search for a new superintendent.

The board voted in October to retain the Colorado Association of School Boards (CASB) as its agent in the search. In November, Interim Superintendent Ted Bauman presented the board with a timeline for the process. In mid-November there were a series of community forums and staff meetings to get input on the qualities the community and staff value in a superintendent.

CASB representative Bob Cito met with 10 groups to seek input on what people thought were the strengths and challenges in the district and what qualities they would seek in a new superintendent. See the article in this issue for details on one such meeting.

A brochure describing the position and containing questions for applicants will be prepared before the end of November so that it would be available to those attending a CASB conference at the Broadmoor in early December. Deadline for applications will be Jan. 20.

Interviews will be conducted in early February, with a selection date of Feb. 17.

Board members said that they hope to have local applicants and that the announcement will be distributed nationally. They hope that the candidate selected will be able to start before the departure of Bauman, but recognize that a candidate who is presently a superintendent in another city will need to fulfill his/her tenure at his/her present location.

Budget discussion

In the wake of the November election, the board discussed the state of the district’s finances. The failure of three tax initiatives prevented the loss of revenue to the district and prompted reconsideration of the refinancing of the district’s administration building, approved in August (see article in the September OCN).

Following discussion, the board voted to revisit the possibility of repaying the refinancing early after hearing options from Assistant Superintendent of Operations Cheryl Wangeman at a work session in early December.

An alternative option would be to use some of the funds received from the refinance to purchase infrastructure improvements. Wangeman reminded the board that closing costs would be involved in any change in the refinance.

District Planning Task Force announced

Bauman announced that a new Planning Task Force has been selected to identify options for the district over the next 18-24 months.

He said that the group includes community members and staff, with a diversity of ages and viewpoints. He said that the charge to the task force is three-fold:

  • What are options for saving money without cutting staff?
  • What are options for saving money with some staff cuts, but no cuts in instructional staff?
  • If reconfiguration becomes necessary, how will that look in the future?

Bauman said that the task force is tasked with presenting information only, not recommendations. He will act as facilitator to get the task force in touch with appropriate staff members for information it requests.

Board President John Mann commented that the task force should also consider ways to enhance the district’s revenue such as a mill levy override, rental of district facilities, enhanced enrollment, and recruitment of home-schooled students as part-time attendees.

Bauman said that he and Wangeman should have a good idea by January of the amount of state funding to be expected, and he hopes that the task force could report to the board in early February.

Staff bonus approved

The board charged Bauman and Wangeman to develop a plan to give members of the district staff a bonus, using funds from increased enrollment and not rehiring for a director position.

Bauman presented the plan to divide the staff into groups according to longevity and to give bonuses at a flat rate to administrators. All staff would receive a bonus of some sort, to be presented before the holiday vacation.

The message to the staff is that the board appreciates their efforts, and the board will send a letter along with the bonus checks.

New position announced

Bauman announced that there will be a new director of Assessment and Student Achievement position created due to the departure of Director of Assessment Marie Revak and Assistant Superintendent for Student Learning Shirley Trees.

He said that candidates for the position must have an ability to analyze and interpret a great deal of data that teachers and principals use to make improvements in their effectiveness.

Trees said that the district must develop its own assessment instruments such as common assessments across campuses. Without this position, the district would have to rely on data from the Colorado Department of Education, which does not analyze the raw statistics, she said.

The position has been posted internally, and there are two candidates. Bauman said he would prefer to hire before Revak’s departure so that there would be some overlap.

Director of Personnel and Student Services Bob Foster agreed that the position is an important one, especially in light of the fact that Senate Bill 191 requires the district to base 50 percent of future teacher evaluations on student growth.

2011-12 school calendar

Community Relations Manager Robin Adair reported that the calendar for the 2011-12 school year is being formulated. The committee is looking for potential savings in utilities and transportation in its considerations.

Adair said that while community members view Aug. 11 as too early for the start of the school year, students wish to complete their exams before the holiday break in December.

District acknowledges awards

Lisa Simms and Gerrie Maixner, co-presidents of the Tri-Lakes Women’s Club, were presented with a plaque at the November meeting in gratitude for the club’s donation of over $21,000 to the school district in support of equipment and materials for several programs in the district.

District employee Jim Kerby was recognized for winning an award from the Colorado Association of School Executives for Best Safety Practices in School Districts.


The Lewis-Palmer School District 38 Board of Education meets on the third Thursday of each month. The next meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on Dec. 16 at the district learning center, 146 Jefferson St. in Monument.

Harriet Halbig can be reached at harriethalbig@ocn.me

See the photos on page 6 in the on-line version of this issue

  • Board of Education President John Mann thanks Co-Presidents Lisa Simms and Gerrie Maixner of the Tri-Lakes Women’s Club for their contribution to the district. 
  • Board President John Mann and Assistant Superintendent of Operations Cheryl Wangeman congratulate district employee Jim Kerby on winning an award from the Colorado Association of School Executives for Best Safety Practices in School Districts. Photos by Harriet Halbig.

Return to the top of the page

Community gives advice on choosing a superintendent

By Harriet Halbig

Bob Cito of the Colorado Association of School Boards (CASB) met with several groups in the community as part of the search for a new permanent superintendent of schools for Lewis-Palmer School District 38.

The group on Dec. 16 consisted of parents, teachers and other interested community members.

When asked the function of a school superintendent, Cito likened it to a chief executive officer in a corporation. The superintendent manages the day-to-day functions of the district while the Board of Education determines the focus of the district.

Cito said that the purpose of the meetings was to develop the questions that would be asked of candidates for the position. He wished to determine the nature of the community that the district serves, its strengths and challenges, and the qualities that the district values in a superintendent. Cito’s function was not to interact with those in attendance, but only to record what he hears.

Aspects of the community and schools

Some aspects of the community that were mentioned were: financially diverse, large retired community, well-educated, parents with high expectations for their students, a large volunteer base, and financially conservative.

The strengths of the schools were stated as excellent teachers, committed parents, a focus on the whole child, programs to help students compete in a global market, availability of advanced placement and honors classes, a graduation rate of 98 percent, and many scholarships awarded to students. It was felt that teachers are dedicated to the district despite compensation lower than that in adjoining districts and that the students in general are a respectful group.

The challenges are to keep class sizes small, maintain the present curriculum, maintain competitive salaries for staff, cope with declining enrollment related to the cost of housing in the area, cope with the fact that it is one of the lowest funded districts in the state, cope with high transportation costs due to the geography of the district, cope with the fact that the new superintendent will immediately have at least $1 million a year to work with, overcome the distrust in the district due to a feeling of secrecy about the board’s actions.

Superintendent qualities

The qualities desired in a superintendent were quite varied:

  • A background in business with a proven track record for long-range planning and a global perspective.
  • A strong communicator with the board, staff, and public.
  • Someone with an education background who has vision and is not totally concerned with financial matters. A person with vision is most likely to improve morale among staff.
  • A leader as well as a manager. Must be a good motivator.
  • Someone who will stand by a decision once it is made.
  • Someone who is comfortable with financial matters and able to communicate them to the board and the community.
  • Someone who is familiar with the community and how it works.
  • Someone who will stay a while. Cito said that the CASB team includes attorneys who will craft a contract in such a way that the district will no longer compensate those who leave before their contract expires.
  • Someone who is willing to be seen and ask for staff input.
  • Someone who focuses on excellence and forms partnerships with colleges and the academy nearby to enhance the curriculum.
  • Someone who will connect politically to help with funding.
Cito said that the position would be announced to the American Association of School Administrators to ensure that there is a broad choice of candidates.

Harriet Halbig can be reached at harriethalbig@ocn.me

Return to the top of the page

District Accountability Advisory Committee, Nov. 9: Committee celebrates election results, tables academic integrity debate

By Harriet Halbig

The defeat of ballot measures 60, 61, and 101 was celebrated by School District 38’s District Accountability Advisory Committee (DAAC) at its Nov. 9 meeting.

Interim Superintendent Ted Bauman congratulated Committee for Political Achievement Chair Cori Tanner for the success of her efforts to avoid the financial damage that would have been caused by passage of the three tax reduction initiatives. The measures would have prevented the district from incurring debt for longer than 10 years and would have severely reduced revenue from real estate and vehicle taxes.

Bauman stressed, however, that it is important to keep the issue of revenue in the public eye. The Board of Education is already aware of significant cuts in state funding over the next year and the likelihood of a continuing decline on enrollment, he said.

He said that the Littleton and Poudre (Fort Collins area) school districts passed funding measures in this year’s election, specifying cuts in state funding and the need for updated infrastructure and technology as the reasons for needing the funds.

Bauman recommended that the Lewis-Palmer School District consider developing a mill levy override proposal for the next election. He and board liaison Gail Wilson stressed that the impetus for the measure must be in the community rather than the board. The success of the Littleton and Poudre initiatives encouraged them to begin the process.

Bauman distributed a timeline for the selection of a new superintendent (see Board of Education article for details). He said that the annual conference of the Colorado Association of School Boards will be held at the Broadmoor on the first weekend of December and that the board would like the job description and announcement to be made public before that date.

Academic integrity

The committee returned to the discussion of academic integrity as part of its charge. At previous meetings, DAAC considered developing a program at all grade levels to address the problem of cheating and other issues.

Many committee members said that their specific schools already had a program in place. In some cases the issue is addressed in the student handbook. In others it is a classroom program.

District Assistant Superintendent of Student Learning Shirley Trees suggested that the schools share their processes with one another.

Bauman suggested that school student councils be included in the process and said that parents must also be involved.

Following a lengthy discussion, the committee voted to remove academic integrity from its charge for this year.

Committee for Political Achievement

Cori Tanner, chair of the Committee for Political Achievement, reported that, despite the election results, the economy is still a problem and the district still should be communicating with legislators. She has written a letter to state Rep. Amy Stephens, who is now the majority leader of the state House, congratulating her on her re-election and reintroducing the school district. A letter to governor-elect John Hickenlooper is being developed.

In addition to the potential for developing a district mill levy override initiative, she said that the organization Great Education Colorado is considering a statewide initiative to increase school funding next November.

In other business, the committee passed a bylaw amendment to recognize that the district now has two high schools. Jim Woodman, an at-large community member of the committee, was introduced.


The District Accountability Advisory Committee meets on the second Tuesday of each month. Locations vary. The committee has voted not to meet in December. Its January meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 11 at Palmer Lake Elementary School, 115 Upper Glenway, Palmer Lake.

Harriet Halbig can be reached at harriethalbig@ocn.me

Return to the top of the page

Exceptional Students Learning Team, Nov. 10: Team hears about computer security and bullying

By Harriet Halbig

The Exceptional Students Learning Team (formerly the Special Education Advisory Committee) heard a presentation by Mark Pfoff, a member of the District 38 Board of Education and a detective with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, regarding safe use of the Internet and social networking sites.

Pfoff speaks to middle school students at least once a year about the dangers of predators on the Internet. He specializes in computer crimes against children and spoke about cyber-bullying via e-mail, texting, instant messaging and Facebook. He said the most common targets of abuse are those with low self-esteem and that the grooming of a victim for personal contact often takes place over several years.

Pfoff advised parents to not allow their children to have a computer in their bedroom because sometimes the webcams in a laptop can be activated remotely. Software is available that lets parents see what their children have been accessing online and to monitor text messages, he said. It is also possible to retrieve messages from cell phones. By listing themselves as administrators on a child’s account, parents have access to everything done on a laptop or phone.

In some cases, it is possible to limit numbers that can be accessed on a phone.

Positive Behavior Support Initiative

District student Ben Faber spoke about his efforts to prevent hurtful name-calling in school. He said that his mission is to stop kids from teasing one another.

Lewis-Palmer Middle School Principal Caryn Collette said it is her goal to institute a culture in the school that will promote respect and support among students. Students, teachers, and parents will all be made aware of expectations at the beginning of the next school year.

Representatives of the school have visited other areas that have implemented such programs. A school first creates a motto involving such aspects as respect, kindness, and accountability.

Each team within the school will participate in a service learning project because students who help others are more self-assured.

Within the school is a group called the Builders Club, a group of students who run food drives and other initiatives and develop leadership skills. Also, there are peer mediators who are trained to mediate conflict.

Special Education Director Mary Anne Fleury explained the Colorado School-Wide Positive Behavior Support Initiative, which involves establishing a culture of values in each school. Once implemented, it is estimated that 80 percent of students will comply with the program. The remainder of students will be coached into compliance.

Students will learn a list of expectations for their behavior and be rewarded when they behave appropriately. Families also will be involved.

Amber LaBandt, a significant support needs instructor, briefly described her program for those who frequently have trouble with social skills. She sees them every day and discusses such issues as boundaries, hygiene, and manners.

The December meeting of the Exceptional Students Learning Team will be about technology in the classroom.


The Exceptional Students Learning Team meets on the second Wednesday of each month. The next meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 8 at the Lewis-Palmer School District’s Learning Center, 146 Jefferson St. in Monument.

Harriet Halbig can be reached at harriethalbig@ocn.me

Return to the top of the page

El Paso County Water Authority, Nov. 3: Water authorities make final preparations for merger

By Ashley Andersen

The El Paso County Water Authority (EPCWA) is proceeding with a merger with the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority (PPRWA), a plan that was voted on in October and will become official in December. The EPCWA will give up its name and adopt the existing PPRWA name.

The El Paso County Water Authority, which met on Nov. 3, is composed of the Cherokee Metropolitan District, the City of Fountain, the Donala Water and Sanitation District, the Town of Monument, the Town of Palmer Lake, the Triview Metropolitan District, the Woodmen Hills Metropolitan District, the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District, El Paso County, the Colorado Centre Metropolitan District, the Forest Lakes Metropolitan District, the Fountain Mutual Irrigation Co., the Security Water and Sanitation District, the Stratmoor Hills Water and Sanitation District, the Sunset Metropolitan District, and the Widefield Water and Sanitation District.

The first eight districts in this group also make up the PPRWA.

Over the next month, Cole Emmons of the El Paso County Attorney’s Office plans to work with PPRWA’s attorney, Rick Fendel, to draft the two needed resolutions and a contract. Part of that agreement will include the PPRWA transferring its existing projects to the EPCWA. Project participants will be given the authority to regulate who can be involved in a project.

Dana Duthie, Donala’s general manager, said that the PPRWA needs to look at its projects to determine if the new water authority might start from scratch on its project participation agreement.

The PPRWA will not transfer any finances over to the EPCWA, but will instead distribute the remaining funds back to its members.

Emmons said it will be tough to be ready to merge by the end of the year since the second amendment to the EPCWA Establishing Agreement needs to be approved by the governing body of each member, which "might be too restrictive." The merger could be accomplished in one or two meetings, depending on how the separate bodies approve the amendments.

EPCWA member Roy Heald presented a draft proposal of the current budget, and the EPCWA agreed on a budget that includes the following annual dues changes:

  • No changes for small entities, including Forest Lakes, Sunset Metro, and Paint Brush Hills
  • A 60 percent increase for medium entities, including Stratmoor, Triview, Monument, and Palmer Lake, to $3,200
  • A 60 percent increase for large entities, including Donala, Woodmen Hills, and Woodmoor, to $4,000
  • An 86 percent increase for supersize entities including Cherokee, El Paso County, Fountain, Security, and Widefield, to about $4,650
  • A 31 percent increase for associate members, to $450

The attendees agreed to the changes. The increase of the dues is offset by the dissolution of the PPRWA, so those members will go from paying two sets of dues to one.

The plan is for the PPRWA to officially dissolve the third week of December after merging into the EPCWA. Then the combined authorities will adopt the name Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority, starting in January 2011.


The EPCWA normally meets the first Wednesday of each month. The next meeting will be held at 9 a.m. Jan. 5 at the El Paso County Building. 27 E. Vermijo.

Ashley Andersen can be reached at ashleyandersen@ocn.me

Return to the top of the page

Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority, Nov. 17: Dissolution of the PPRWA anticipated

By Ashley Andersen

The Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority (PPRWA) held its next to last meeting on Nov. 17, as it prepares to dissolve, effective Dec. 31, and transfer its projects to the El Paso County Water Authority (EPCWA).

The PPRWA was started in 2007 to provide cooperative water efficiency and conservation and to develop renewable water supplies.

The current members are the Town of Monument, the City of Fountain, the Town of Palmer Lake, Triview Metropolitan District, Cherokee Metropolitan District, Woodmen Hills Metropolitan District, Donala Water and Sanitation District, and Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District. They join eight other entities in making up the El Paso County Water Authority.

The duties and the projects of the PPRWA will be absorbed by the EPCWA in January, but the remainder of the funds will be returned to the members in proportion to their contribution.

Over the next month, Cole Emmons of the El Paso County Attorney’s Office plans to work with PPRWA attorney Rick Fendel to draft the two needed resolutions and a contract. Part of that agreement will include transferring the existing projects.

Southern Delivery System update

Katie Fendel from Leonard Rice Engineers Inc. presented a proposal to look at the legal requirements for the Town of Monument, Triview Metropolitan District, Cherokee Metropolitan District, and Donala Water and Sanitation District, to use the Southern Delivery System (SDS) to pipe up water from reservoirs in southern Colorado.

The next phase of development for the SDS is establishing the different legal requirements that the participating members will need to meet.

According to Fendel, the first phase of her assessment would determine the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requirements, then they would look at the specifics of meeting the 1041 Regulations that Pueblo County imposes on SDS participants.

In January after the dissolution, Leonard Rice Engineers will likely begin its assessment under the direction of the EPCWA.

Stormwater infrastructure backlog

Gary Barber, manager of the PPRWA and EPCWA and executive director of the Fountain Creek Watershed, Flood Control and Greenway District, updated the PPRWA on recent developments in the stormwater management of Fountain Creek. Barber said there is about a $50 million backlog of unconstructed stormwater infrastructure, and present facilities have not been maintained.

Carol Baker of Colorado Springs Utilities said that the utility hopes to have an amendment for stormwater funding on the 2012 ballot. To do this, a white paper assessing the current problems and possible solutions will need to be approved and completed in the near future.

Dana Duthie, Donala’s general manager, suggested that these issues be passed on to the EPCWA in order to include El Paso County in the stormwater management issues.

Flaming Gorge project update

Duthie said he is continuing to monitor the progress of the Flaming Gorge project. The Flaming Gorge feasibility study is looking into bringing water from the Flaming Gorge Reservoir in northwestern Colorado to the Rueter-Hess Reservoir, a 70,000 acre-foot facility being constructed 3 miles southwest of downtown Parker.

The study’s first phase has been completed. There are several potential customers, so the project is waiting to see who will be getting involved. "Now things are being put into a six-month hold until the Bureau of Reclamation puts out their model," said Duthie.

According to Duthie, the Bureau of Reclamation wants to look at the impact of global climate change on the water supply.


EPCWA meetings will be held on the first Wednesday of the month, and the third Wednesday be set aside as a project day for optional projects.

The next and final PPRWA meeting will be Dec. 15 in Fountain.

Ashley Andersen can be reached at ashleyandersen@ocn.me

Return to the top of the page

Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility Joint Use Committee, Nov. 9: Planning to add treatment capacity begins

By Jim Kendrick

On Nov. 9, Jim Kendrick of Monument Sanitation District Operations gave the Joint Use Committee (JUC) of the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility an update on recent EPA and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) decisions regarding water quality that will require the purchase and installation of new capital equipment to improve removal of phosphorus and nitrogen constituents from wastewater.

The committee also discussed the structure of both of these water quality agencies and the roles each of the principal decision-makers have in reviewing and setting new standards for reservoirs, lakes, rivers, and streams on a recurring basis.

Tri-Lakes Facility Manager Bill Burks and Monument Sanitation District Director Mike Wicklund explained the preliminary discussions they have already had with consultant engineers Mike Rothberg and Joe Tamburini of Tetra Tech Engineering on various options and probable timeframes for responding to the near certainty of plant expansion. Burks passed out copies of a slide presentation from an Oct. 22 meeting he had attended on available options for various biological and chemical nutrient removal technologies.

The committee directed the facility manager to conduct year-round monthly sampling of Monument Creek for total phosphorus and total inorganic nitrogen, E. coli, fecal coliform, and heavy metals. Burks will start engineering studies on various methods of removing nutrients biologically and enhancing these new processes through chemical precipitation and filtration. There will be four sampling sites in Monument Creek:

  • Just above Monument Lake
  • Arnold Avenue
  • The effluent mixing zone just south of the Tri-Lakes facility
  • Baptist Road

The draft 2011 facility budget was amended slightly to account for these requirements and was unanimously approved by the committee. The public hearing on the final 2011 budget will be held on Dec. 14 at 10 a.m. (See www.ocn.me/v10n11.htm for more budget details.)

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 boards.

Palmer Lake’s representative and JUC President Dale Smith and Monument Director Lowell Morgan attended this meeting. Woodmoor’s alternate representative, Director Jim Taylor, filled in for Director Jim Whitelaw, who was out of town. The three district managers—Wicklund (Monument), Duane Hanson (Palmer Lake), and Jessie Shaffer (Woodmoor)—and several other district board directors also attended.

In the past two years, the committee has done preliminary reviews of options for the Tri-Lakes Facility that would cost up to $50 million to meet the stream standards initially demanded of the state by the EPA. These various hearings and meetings are very likely to lead to implementation of substantially tighter statewide nutrient regulations for waters of the state as well as stricter individual discharge permit limits for wastewater treatment facilities statewide. If enacted as proposed, these new regulations and permit restrictions will require the installation of new, very expensive tertiary treatment equipment at every equipment wastewater treatment facility in Colorado.

However, during the past six months the Water Quality Control Division of the state’s Health and Environment Department has started to look favorably at an interim set of standards that would remove about 80 percent of the phosphorus and nitrogen nutrients over the next 10 years. The preliminary estimate for constructing capital improvements to meet these interim standards is $1 million to $3 million. It is still too soon to tell what the Division’s final proposal to the Colorado Water Quality Commission will be for new nutrient standards at the June rule-making hearing, or if the EPA will allow new state nitrogen standards to be postponed for five years as initially proposed by the Division earlier this fall.

Treatment options discussed

Kendrick gave a lengthy technical presentation on the varied treatment options that might work at the high elevation and cold temperatures of the Tri-Lakes facility as well as the need for ecosystem data collection and analysis to determine the effects of varying levels of phosphorus and nitrogen nutrients in Monument Creek, given the unique combination of creek bottom and shoreline conditions that are hostile to the development of aquatic life in the Tri-Lakes region.

Typically, algae consume excessive amounts of dissolved oxygen in the still waters of "degraded" reservoirs and lakes that have insufficient amounts of macro-invertebrates to support their ecosystems. There is no significant algae problem in Monument Creek. The absence of macro-invertebrates is due to the lack of plant life in the gravel bottom of the creek or in the riprap walls installed along much of the creek’s shoreline to prevent erosion during very high stormwater flows.

However, the initially proposed state standards for phosphorus and nitrogen limits in Monument Creek were based on the assumption that excessive nutrients were limiting macro-invertebrate densities to an "unacceptably low level," rather than the naturally hostile rocky environment of the creek, which prevents the availability of the types of plant life needed by these forms of aquatic life.

There is significant and substantial disagreement among the wastewater, drinking water, and environmental communities on what water quality standards are appropriate in the eight different geographical regions of Colorado. There is also significant and substantial disagreement between the EPA and the state Health Department on how and where varying levels of controls should be applied. The EPA focuses on maintaining or restoring specific uses of state waters, while the four program managers within the Water Quality Control Division are still trying to form a consensus on how to seek water quality improvements over the short and long term in a manner that takes construction and operating costs and the practical limits of taxation and rate increases into account, particularly for the seven small sewer districts in the Tri-Lakes region: Academy, Donala, Forest Lakes, Monument, Palmer Lake, Triview, Woodmoor.

There are numerous state-level meetings sponsored by the Health Department each month involving representatives of these regulatory agencies, treatment facilities, and other affected operator communities such as stormwater, agricultural, and housing and building associations to further negotiations on the new nutrient regulations prior to a final hearing on June 13 before the Water Quality Control Commission. The state’s wastewater treatment facilities are represented by the Colorado Wastewater Utility Council, the Colorado Nutrients Coalition, and the Colorado Water Congress.

Kendrick represents the local wastewater community as the Upper Monument Water Quality Management Association spokesman at about 10 meetings each month, a small fraction of the total number of state Health Department meetings held each month on a wide variety of ecological issues. The Tri-Lakes Facility’s environmental attorney, Tad Foster, also represents the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility, the Colorado Wastewater Utility Council, and the Colorado Nutrients Coalition at these numerous meetings.

Payment to Nutrient Coalition approved

The JUC unanimously approved a payment of $1,000, the third $1,000 payment for 2010, to support the Colorado Nutrient Coalition. The JUC also approved a payment of $500, the third $500 payment this year, to the Wastewater Utility Council for expert statistical representation by Tim Moore at a December Wastewater Utility Council rule-making hearing on temporary modifications in the Arkansas River basin. There was unanimous agreement that the JUC needed to remain aggressively proactive in preparing engineering and test data documentation to support Foster and Burks in future negotiations with the division for the next five-year discharge permit for the Tri-Lakes facility. This paperwork will also be very useful in seeking low-cost loans from the state for capital expansion.

Burks reported that the copper level in the effluent dropped from 16 parts per billion in September to 5 parts per billion in October, the minimum amount that can be detected. The September test result would have resulted in a permit violation without the temporary modification that increased the maximum allowed individual sample result from 11.7 to 24.6 parts per billion.

Temporary permit modifications, which last the life of a five-year discharge permit, are currently set to expire in 2011. They will be replaced by a process for individual discharger-specific variances that can last up to a maximum of only three years. EPA officials have contradicted state Water Quality Control Division program manager statements during negotiating sessions on rulemaking that discharger-specific variances could be renewed.

This difference in policies may lead to EPA issuing its own more restrictive discharge permits and numerous facilities not being able to modify their plants in time to meet the EPA’s tighter discharge standards due to the complexity of getting process modifications approved by the division’s engineering review unit. The complexity of getting state engineering reviews/approvals completed in a timely manner made otherwise "shovel ready" local wastewater projects ineligible for American Recovery and Reinvestment Act "stimulus" funding in 2009.

Burks noted that the new facility security system had been installed. The facility may be eligible for a $690 refund on its property insurance.

District manager reports

Hanson reported that he had obtained new sewer line easements and that the district board would not raise rates in 2011. Smith added that the currently charged fees are not enough to cover Palmer Lake’s operating expenses. Smith said, "We’re going to be dipping into our capital reserves for the balance of this year so they don’t have to raise any rates. We’re extremely concerned with what’s going to happen in budget year 2012."

Wicklund reported that the new Monument lift stations for Wakonda Hills should be completed by the end of November. The district’s 2011 draft budget review was nearing completion. He urged an early review by Tetra Tech to determine whether expansion costs could be paid for with reserves, grants, general obligation bonds, or revenue bonds, which would require the districts to raise fees.

The JUC went into executive session on personnel issues at 11:20 p.m. The JUC came out of executive session at 11:30 a.m. and adjourned.


The next regular meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on Nov. 9 at the Tri-Lakes facility lab building, 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

Return to the top of the page

Monument Sanitation District, Nov. 18: 2011 budget discussions continue

By Jim Kendrick

On Nov. 18, Monument Sanitation District Manager Mike Wicklund and district accountant Ray Russell of Haynie and Co. presented their analysis of the final draft 2011 budget. Wicklund also reported that construction of the district’s two new lift stations on the southwest corner of Wakonda Hills should be completed by the end of November.

The absence of Director Lowell Morgan was unanimously excused.

Financial report

Wicklund noted that the wages for the district’s part-time operations employee would exceed the amount budgeted for 2010 by about $7,900 due to the higher than anticipated number of hours required for attendance at the numerous state Health Department regulator meetings in Denver. As a result, total wages for 2010 are currently projected to exceed the budget of $158,000 by about $3,400. Savings from other operating expense line items will be re-allocated to fund this increase.

Wicklund reiterated that direct district participation is essential during negotiations that will affect the district’s new discharge permit limits and the mandated expansion of the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility to add new treatment processes to increase removal of total phosphorus and total nitrogen.

Wages increased in draft budget

Russell and Wicklund noted that they had increased the amount budgeted for wages in 2011 by 5 percent to account for the increase in costs for continuing district participation in the state Health Department negotiations in Denver. They noted that the district must be represented at these meetings to constantly remind the EPA and the state Water Quality Control Division that asking small sanitation districts with only 1,000 customers to spend up to $12 million for expansion of their treatment facilities to meet EPA’s demands for pristine waters may require property tax and fee increases that are not sustainable.

Wicklund said that Tri-Lakes facility manager Bill Burks would have engineering consultant Tetra Tech Engineering start an engineering study on options for biological and chemical nutrient removal of total phosphorus and total nitrogen (nitrates/nitrites/ammonia/total inorganic nitrogen/etc.) in early 2011. The new discharge limits just recently proposed by the state’s Water Quality Control Division are 1 part per million for total phosphorus and 10 parts per million for total nitrogen.

The wastewater facilities that are members of the Colorado Nutrient Coalition and the Colorado Wastewater Utility Commission have tentatively endorsed these proposed limits for the time being, based on the division’s previously announced plan to defer implementation of the new total nitrogen limit for five years—until 2017. (See www.water-research.net/phosphate.htm, www.water-research.net/nitrate.htm and www.water-research.net/Watershed/ammonia.htm for general information and additional links on these water quality issues.)

However, these recently espoused limits are 10 to 20 times higher than the total phosphorus and total nitrogen limits that are being demanded by the EPA and that were initially endorsed by the division until the regulated community formed the Colorado Nutrient Coalition to oppose this state position.

There is national consensus in the regulated communities of wastewater and stormwater operators that the much tighter nutrient limits that the EPA is demanding are unattainable with currently available technology. There is also national consensus in the regulated community that the interim requirements that the EPA may allow as a fallback position are also unattainable. This is because the relatively lower but still enormous costs for construction and operation of "limits of technology" equipment that would have to be built at every wastewater and stormwater facility in the nation are too high to be initially affordable or sustainable in the long term for residential and commercial/industrial customers.

Hearing will determine new nutrient limits

A rule-making hearing on new nutrient limits is scheduled for June 13, 2011, before the state Water Quality Control Commission. It will not start to become clear until after that June 13 hearing whether the state and/or the EPA will demand that some form of biological nutrient removal is required or if some form of chemical precipitation and filtration will be allowed. The division’s proposed wording for this new regulation will be published at the Jan. 10 commission hearings. (www.cdphe.state.co.us/op/wqcc/Meetings/LRSandNotes/wqlongrange.html)

Also, it will not be clear until the June 13 nutrient hearing whether the Water Quality Control Division will adhere to its previously announced position that total nitrogen limits should not be imposed until 2017. This delay would allow wastewater facilities to gather data on site-specific ecosystem relationships between total phosphorus, total nitrogen, chlorophyll-A, algae, and dissolved oxygen in still waters (lakes/reservoirs) and flowing waters (rivers/streams/reaches) during the next round of the five-year permit renewal cycle to determine what treatment options are most likely to be technically feasible, affordable, and cost-effective. EPA representatives continue to oppose this option in negotiation sessions in Denver.

With currently available technology, processes for simultaneous removal of total phosphorus and total nitrogen interfere with each other. This fact will require balancing compromises on how much of each nutrient can be feasibly removed. Currently, it is more feasible and cost-effective to remove total phosphorus than total nitrogen.

No state has yet set a total nitrogen limit despite the demands of the EPA. Several states—Florida is most prominent currently—have taken the EPA to court over the phosphorus and nitrogen limits. The states have won in every case because the EPA cannot show a scientifically defensible basis for these very tight and expensive limits. The EPA’s own Scientific Advisory Board has stated that the limits have no credible scientific basis.

Currently 75 percent of the Water Quality Control Division budget is funded by the EPA through a Partnership Performance Agreement, so there is considerable financial and political pressure to comply with EPA wishes. However, the division alone is left to implement whatever plan is mandated by the Water Quality Control Commission.

The Water Quality Control Division’s permit unit, under the water pollution control program director, and the division’s standards units, under the watershed program director, are entirely independent of each other. The division’s equally independent financial solutions unit, under the operations program director, is in charge of distributing low-cost state loans to special districts for capital improvements via the state revolving fund of the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority (CWRPDA).

The authority is on record that it cannot finance even a tiny fraction of the loans that will be required by the current proposed state mandate for the much tighter nutrient controls that are being advocated by the division’s standards unit, much less finance the much higher capital costs that would be required to meet the EPA’s nutrient removal demands on the state.

Wicklund stated that there would likely be no large "surprise" funding requirements for capital expansion in 2011. However, the board will inevitably face a decision on using a mix of grants, revenue bonds, and general obligation bonds to finance the inevitable expansion of the Tri-Lakes facility.

Russell reiterated that the board cannot let its capital reserves continue to dwindle given the economic and regulatory challenges it currently faces to meet the new nutrient discharge permit limits that will be imposed. He stated that the board must increase the reserve by $400,000 as soon as possible. Wicklund added that the Zonta and Willow Springs ranch developments, in El Paso County, should eventually be a source of a significant amount of tap fees.

Wicklund and Russell reviewed the steps that will be required of every sanitation district to hold a bond election in the near future.

Grinder pumps approved

The board unanimously approved a motion for the district to pay for and retain ownership of eight grinder pumps and associated tank and alarm equipment that will have to be installed for Wakonda Hills homes that cannot be connected to the district’s collection system by gravity service lines. Property owners will pay for the installation of the pump assemblies and associated equipment.

District ownership of these pumps, tanks, and alarm systems will ensure that they are all standardized and can be promptly and readily swapped out if a failure occurs. Prompt grinder pump replacement will limit the liability of the property owner and the district from the very heavy fines that the EPA imposes for wastewater spills that may occur.

The board unanimously approved having Wicklund sign a contract with the Colorado Statewide Internet Portal Authority to have the district added to a system of state special district websites.

The board unanimously approved two resolutions for eight liens on properties that are extensively delinquent on payments and the inclusion of eight tracts in Wakonda Hills, one tract in Scrub Oak Acres, and another tract next to Wakonda Hills.

Wicklund described testing he had conducted with Burks to determine the size of copper concentration spikes that are registered by the Tri-Lakes facility for Monument influent wastewater in the district’s north and south metering vaults and help in determining when and where the use of copper sulphate has occurred.


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

Jim Kendrick can be reached at jimkendrick@ocn.me

Return to the top of the page

Academy Water and Sanitation District, Dec. 1: Lightning strike knocks out well motor

By Susan Hindman

A lightning strike from a storm on Nov. 15 caused a high-voltage surge 750 feet down well 2, blowing two small holes in the motor and causing it to fail, operator Anthony Pastorello told the Academy Water and Sanitation District board at the Dec. 1 meeting. He said that after an electrician verified the problem was in the well, he called Colorado Well Pump to replace the motor.

"He grounded the casing, so if we get hit again, it would hopefully take the charge down the casing, not down to the motor," Pastorello said, adding that inline surge protectors to the wires would also add protection. The $8,100 repair is covered by insurance.

Petition for exclusion results

At the July board meeting, residents Raymond and Carole O’Mara requested that their home on Raton Road be excluded from the district because they do not use the water or sanitation services. They hoped to avoid paying the portion of property taxes that goes toward the district’s general operating expenses.

The board denied their petition for exclusion unless certain conditions are met. Those conditions will be outlined in a letter to the couple, who were not present, and the board will await their response. The couple hopes to have this resolved before the end of the year.

Drawings show road change plans

The district is hoping to reconfigure the access roads around wells 1 and 3, and drawings of the plan were made available and discussed. Switching from circular to rectangular easements would allow easier access in and out of the area by service trucks. The wells are on private property, but easements had been given to the district years ago.

"We had never really gotten documentation laid out for the easements," Pastorello explained, "and while we were doing it, we wanted to make sure (of) the square footage we were given around the wells, that we would be able to access them without getting on private property."

The plan would allow for enough space to work on the well when necessary. When the wells do not require work, the property would exist as open space.

The next step will be for Pastorello to discuss the road’s dimensions and boundaries with the homeowner, in hopes of gaining approval to go ahead with the new configuration of easements.

Past-due account dollars

Treasurer Walter Reiss reported that the district is owed $3,300 from 13 past-due accounts. Two homes delinquent the longest risk having their water shut off on Dec. 15.

The county assessor’s office reported a change in valuation of the district: It went up $19,620, which changes the mill levy by .06, "almost insignificant," Weiss said.


The Academy Water and Sanitation District board usually meets at 7 p.m. the first Wednesday of every month at the fire station on Sun Hills Drive. The next meeting is Jan. 5.

Susan Hindman can be reached at susanhindman@ocn.me

Return to the top of the page

Palmer Lake Town Council regular meeting, Nov. 4: Five awards presented for service to Palmer Lake

By Jim Kendrick

Palmer Lake Police Chief Kieth Moreland and Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department (PLVFD) Chief Shana Ball presented three town Distinguished Service Awards and two Community Service Awards at a combined regular and workshop meeting on Nov. 4. The meetings were combined because of the Veterans Day holiday on Nov. 11.

The recipients of the Distinguished Service Awards were Assistant Palmer Lake Fire Chief Greg Lokken, Deputy Town Clerk Tara Berreth, and Monument Police Department Lt. Steve Burk. The recipients of the Community Service Awards were Meredith Muhs and Makensie Putman.

The Palmer Lake Police and Volunteer Fire Departments’ Distinguished Service award recognizes members of these two organizations who have "raised up" the level of service provided or "have served honorably under adverse conditions." The departments’ Community Service Medal recognizes individuals and organizations who contribute their time, talent, and resources to benefit town public safety first-responders.

Later in the meeting, Fire Trustee Bryan Jack called for a special council meeting to take citizen input on his proposal to eliminate the Volunteer Fire Department and to cut costs, including consideration of layoffs, at the town Police Department.

The absences of Trustees Gary Coleman, Nikki McDonald, and Joe Polonsky were unanimously excused.

Three Distinguished Service Awards announced

Ball stated that Lokken is the longest-serving member of the Volunteer Fire Department—since 1992—and has served in every firefighting capacity. In recent years he has been the department’s training officer, "grooming dozens of new applicants and trainees into fully-accredited certified firefighters." She added that many of those benefitting from Lokken’s leadership have progressed to full-time professional careers with departments such as Colorado Springs and Denver Metro.

Moreland stated during the presentation to the other two recipients of the Police Department awards that they had been recommended by their co-workers for the work they had voluntarily performed as additional duties during the difficult two-year transition following the death of former Palmer Lake Police Chief Dan Gilliana.

Berreth was recognized for her outstanding performance in January 2008 in becoming the Police Department’s part-time records clerk and putting together a funeral service for Gilliana complete with police honors that required the emergency purchase of a complete set of new Class A uniforms for all department members, while sustaining her full-time role on the town staff.

Burk was recognized for filling a "vacancy at the top," particularly during the difficult period after the departure of the previous police chief in March 2009. By taking over the lead on administration development of a policy and procedure manual, Burk enabled the Palmer Lake officers to fulfill their primary supervisory and patrol duties during the transition to Moreland taking over as chief.

Two Community Service Awards presented

Ball noted that on Sept. 19 Muhs provided CPR to a woman who was having a heart attack while alerting others to make a 9-1-1 call. The woman momentarily regained consciousness, but then Muhs had to resume administering CPR until paramedics arrived on the scene to transport her to a hospital. Family members of the victim were extremely grateful for the additional four days of life Muhs provided to allow them to get her affairs in order and to say goodbye.

Moreland stated that on Sept. 7, Putman noticed that a 12-year-old boy had been stabbed in the neck by another 12-year-old boy in her driveway a few steps from a local school bus stop. She applied pressure to the wound with her bare hand to protect the victim’s collapsed esophagus, which saved his life until paramedics could take over.

Budget discussion includes surprise amendment proposal

The council’s discussion of the second draft of the 2011 budget was enlivened by Jack’s lengthy proposal to consider elimination of PLVFD and one or more town staff employee positions in 2011 to save money and to provide funding for other line items he considered to be a higher priority based on his analysis of the November election results following conversations he had with citizens at O’Malley’s Pub and the town library. Jack said he was seeking a savings of $140,000 to $180,000 with changes that would not be noticed by the citizens.

Jack discussed several options he wanted the council to consider:

  • Elimination of the administrative clerk/receptionist position to save $26,000 by assigning the duties of that position to the clerk and deputy town clerk.
  • Combining the town’s water billing with Palmer Lake Sanitation District sanitary sewer billing.
  • Outsourcing the accounting responsibilities of the clerk to a private CPA.
  • Combining the water, roads, and parks departments into a single public works department to eliminate a supervisor position and save $40,000 to $50,000.
  • Elimination of the current contract for a paid firefighter/EMT during the workday, Monday to Friday.

Town Attorney Larry Gaddis said the council would need to evaluate specific proposals to determine their potential effects on the town’s water enterprise and the low-interest state loan that is financing the water treatment plant expansion.

The council scheduled a special meeting for public comments on the 2011 budget on Nov. 13 at the Inn at Palmer Divide. (See the article below for details.)

Committee reports

Mayor John Cressman reported a light month of repair and maintenance activity for the staff due to good weather. He added that there would be no Parks and Recreation or Economic Development Committee reports.

Some of the numerous PLVFD activities Jack reported were:

  • PLVFD had responded to 27 calls in October.
  • Jeremiah Carpenter received a gift certificate for Texas Roadhouse under the new PLVFD incentive program for September volunteer hours contributed to the department. Chili’s Restaurant has donated a gift certificate for the October winner.
  • The open house held on Oct. 3 raised $270 in donations.
  • A Firefighter II certification course began on Oct. 5 with final testing scheduled for Nov. 15.
  • The department conducted several training activities and a Halloween Kids Carnival for local schoolchildren.
  • The PLVFD pumper and five firefighters participated in a mutual aid structure fire in Ellicott performing water operations and interior firefighting duties.
  • The department’s rescue vehicle required a $2,900 repair to its motor and transmission. Part of the cost will be paid for by proceeds from the sale of the fifth-wheel trailer previously used by volunteers for sleeping at the station.
  • The annual Thanksgiving chili supper will be held on Nov. 27 and will include the annual lighting of the Palmer Lake star, following annual repairs and bulb replacement by volunteer firefighters.
  • Ball logged 157 hours of volunteer time attending courses and meetings, collecting donations, writing grant requests for EMT training, completing computer activity reports, and attending the Monument Police Department’s Citizen Academy.

Trustee Dennis Stern reported that there were 181 total police calls in October, including one search and talk warrant for possible marijuana cultivation at 695 Highway 105. The ongoing evidence and property room audit resulted in designation of another 450 items that are slated for destruction or disposal. An internal investigation has been initiated regarding alleged misconduct by a full-time Palmer Lake police officer who has been "assigned to home" and relieved of his badge and ID card while the investigation continues.

Trustee Max Stafford reported that town water production continues to taper from the summer highs. The town made its first annual water loan payment of $28,363. Final plans for the water treatment plant expansion are at the state Health Department for approval. External electrical improvement work has already begun.

Jack questioned the location of the new power poles for this project. Cressman said the pole locations were the most economical possible. Three hundred feet of new six-inch distribution lines are being installed near Highway 105. The conservation trust fund will contribute $20,000 of the $70,000 cost to support the new water supply to the baseball field.

Stern reported that three town roads were rebuilt with 3,000 tons of material to repair damage caused by water lines freezing during past years at a cost of $22,463. The stormwater culverts in front of the Rock House ice cream store on Highway 105 were removed and replaced to improve drainage.

Town Clerk Della Gray stated that the lowest bid submitted for replacing the library roof was Summit Builders’ bid of $7,250, This bid was unanimously approved by the council.

A new business license was unanimously approved for Nathan Liljestrand, owner of Custom Creations, which is a licensed general contractor at 223 Upper Glenway.

The council unanimously defeated the proposed ordinance regarding snow removal for the new sidewalk built from Highway 105 to Palmer Lake Elementary School as a result of numerous heated complaints from the affected homeowners. The Palmer Lake Roads Department will now be responsible for clearing the snow off the sidewalk. The town will be eligible for an additional Safe Roads to Schools grant reimbursement of about $14,000 for engineering fees now that the new sidewalk has been completed.

There was a brief discussion regarding the previously approved proposed plans to develop the vacant 23-lot Kemper Filing Subdivision in northern Palmer Lake, which is east of Columbine Road between Gillia Street and Aurelia Avenue. The plans were approved by the council on May 12, 2005. An expanded water distribution line would have to be installed to service the area for the third and fourth phases of the project. The developer did explain how he would pay for installation of the new six-inch water distribution line.

Public comment

Will Perrault of the Palmer Lake Wellness Center asked the council to consider redefining the limits on the amount of medical marijuana it is allowed to grow to meet increasing patient needs for the quality and quantity they desire in his products. He invited all council members to tour his business to see how it has developed. He is currently limited to 30 plants and would like to grow more plants to meet up to 100 percent of the demand for 100 patients.

Palmer Lake Riding Stables is closing and seeking homes for the 22 horses at the facility. Information: 559-1345

Resident Richard Allen praised Chief Moreland for the assistance he has provided to Allen’s homeowner’s association. He asked that all budgeting information be made available to him and other citizens who may wish to add their suggestions to his and Jack’s.

The meeting adjourned at 7:38 p.m.


The next workshop will be held on Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. in Town Hall, 28 Valley Crescent. The next regular council meeting will be held on Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. in Town Hall. Information: www.ci.palmer-lake.co.us or call 481-2953.

Jim Kendrick can be reached at jimkendrick@ocn.me

Return to the top of the page

Palmer Lake Town Council, Nov. 13: Trustee presents controversial proposals at forum

By Jim Kendrick

The Palmer Lake Town Council held a public forum to receive citizen input on town budget issues for 2011 at the Inn at Palmer Divide on Nov. 13. Trustee Bryan Jack started the two-hour discussion of his proposals that he first made publicly at the Nov. 4 council meeting.

See the other town council article for the list of proposals Jack made at the Nov. 4 Town Council meeting to cut costs and town staff positions.

Some of the points that Jack made were:

  • He was appointed to the council in Aug. 2007 and elected in 2008.
  • His job is "not to maintain a seat on the board and maintain the status quo."
  • His job is to look "for where we can make significant improvements and also where we can function within the confines of our current funding mechanisms" because "at our current levels we have some significant flexibility" to make "definite service improvements and reduce the cost of our operations" to "reinvest" savings "back in our community to make some lasting improvements."
  • The Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department (PLVFD) is probably the most controversial budget issue at $142,000 per year, including $30,000 for contract services for a single firefighter on duty during the work day from Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • Discussions regarding collaboration or merger with neighboring fire districts started in 1974.
  • Palmer Lake’s current volunteer firefighters are "outstanding" and "dedicated" to the community. However the town should determine what alternative contract services can be obtained for $30,000 through a public bidding process, to include a fire truck manned with four firefighters with very specific response criteria.
  • Jack stated, "Is it the best service, is it the best value for what we pay for?" He added, "I think we could do better" to provide improved service at reduced cost "through complete elimination of the department and 100 percent contract services" or a "new cooperative agreement" with another agency.
  • The PLVFD fire station is probably not sustainable over the long term but may be a historic building, because it was constructed by the Public Works Administration during the Great Depression.
  • Several issues and recommendations regarding the Palmer Lake Police Department have not changed because they have not been addressed since the results of a 1999 survey of citizens were published. They include the need for neighborhood watch and community involvement programs.
  • The concerns listed in the summary report of the 2004 committee on citizen awareness have also not changed, again due to not being addressed.
  • In 2009, the council conducted a comparative study of employee wages and benefits in municipalities similar in size to Palmer Lake.
  • Overall assessed property values and tax revenues in El Paso County are forecast to drop 35 percent, though it is difficult to predict if the decline in Palmer Lake will be more than 25 percent.
  • Discussions of staff position eliminations are not popular, but are a primary topic for today’s forum.
  • Jack proposed elimination of the administrative assistant position, leaving only the town clerk/treasurer position and the water billing/deputy town clerk/court clerk position.
  • The town does not have an accountant and should outsource payroll, accounts receivable, and accounts payable at a cost of up to $10,000 per year, netting a savings of about $16,000 per year.
  • Monthly residential and commercial water billing should be coordinated between the town and Palmer Lake Sanitation District, which bills the same commercial customers on a monthly basis based on information provided by the town.
  • The town’s cleaning services budget of $5,300 per year "disappeared and got rolled into a different line item" for contract services "so you don’t see that anymore" and should be subject to a public bidding process.
  • The town website should provide the ability to download forms.
  • Can the police chief become the head of public safety and take over supervision of the Fire Department as well?
  • State training funds used to pay town police officer salaries while they receive training are not being correctly accounted for. Proper accounting would save $14,000 per year.
  • The town’s population has increased from 500 to 2,100 people since 1980, but only by 200 in the past 10 years.
  • General fund revenue has increased from about $568,000 to about $735,000 since 2001, with most of the money going to an increased number of employees.
  • The town should return to having a single public works department for water, roads, and parks to eliminate one of the two supervisory positions for roads or water, reducing the staff from five to four full-time equivalents to save about $45,000 per year.
  • The loan for the new drinking water filter plant is being paid for by increased water fees.
  • The town tennis courts are the only area of continuing citizen concern about town parks.
  • Any transitions or changes should "go slow."

Mayor John Cressman stated that the town needed to explore proposals for new service contracts with different professionals for auditing, engineering, and legal services. "We’ve had the same guys for too long."

Some of the points PLVFD Chief Shana Ball raised regarding Jack’s proposal to eliminate the volunteer department were:

  • She is open-minded to Jack’s proposals even though his proposal directly affects her future.
  • Volunteer training hours increased from 2,376 in 2009 to 2,399 through October 2010.
  • Volunteers have the exact same certifications as mandated by Colorado for EMT with IV, Firefighter I, Firefighter II, Hazmat operations, and Hazmat awareness and the same annual training hour requirement.
  • PLVFD calls for the past three years were 289, 247, and 286 through October.
  • Total volunteer hours for the past three years were 1,551.5, 2,143, and 13,892 through October.
  • PLVFD responds to calls in other districts through the North Group mutual aid agreement just like all the paid fire districts.
  • The number of community events PLVFD supported in the past three years increased from 11 to 16 to 19 through October in providing EMT and fire service as well as Muscular Dystrophy Association collections, a barbecue for the Old Time baseball games, hot dogs at open houses, a wine and beer garden at Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts, Fourth of July, several D-38 school events, the annual chili supper fundraiser at Town Hall, Estemere tours, Santa on Patrol, and the Yule Log event.
  • PLVFD is a stepping stone for its volunteers to gain training and experience with the necessary integrity and professionalism to become dedicated full-time paid career firefighters at other agencies. Jack, a career firefighter at the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District noted that he had been a PLVFD volunteer for two years.
  • She asked the board to think very carefully before eliminating PLVFD.

Some of the citizens’ comments were:

  • Jack did not provide any details for the option to eliminate the town’s volunteer fire department that recognize the social contributions made year-round by the volunteers.
  • There was a separate parks and recreation director when there were four staff members in the town office in the 1980s.
  • Several citizens spoke in favor of obtaining contract CPA services or having volunteer accountants perform accounting duties.
  • Former Trustee Richard Allen said that Palmer Lake’s proposal to the Town of Monument to merge their police departments was rejected within five minutes because the current $331,000 Palmer Lake budget was insufficient. Allen also noted the extent of support he had received as a trustee from Town Clerk Della Gray to learn about the budgets of all the town departments.
  • Former Trustee Jan Bristol said the council "put a target on Della [Gray’s] back a long time ago and gave her way too much to do." Bristol added that no CPA contract would be less than $1,000 per month and that renewing large contracts without a request for proposal process is illegal.
  • Bristol also stated that closing the police and fire departments "to contract these services out" would "make it real hard to get them back" in operation at a later date because of the loss of volunteer "heart" and equipment. She added that costs had gone up in the past two years because of maintenance and vehicle replacement that had been avoided for years, and that these kinds of costs should not recur if correctly managed in the future.
  • Palmer Lake Sanitation District Director Gary Atkins said that the district has a local accountant that has provided "wonderful" service—"We couldn’t be happier."
  • The town hall phone could be answered by volunteers or part-time people.
  • The town should get a proposed cost for a direct outsource contract with a firm that provides police services with very specific performance and range of service requirements in order to see what is available for the same current annual cost of $331,000 or see what additional services of the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office could be purchased for this amount.
  • There is value in having local police and fire personnel who know the town’s people by name and will respond more quickly than other county agencies.
  • The total dollar amount provided to the Volunteer Fire Department from the town’s sales tax revenue is insufficient to pay for the truck loan and the $30,000 contract for services.
  • The additional funding from the town’s general fund is still insufficient to provide all necessary equipment. The remaining funding is raised by volunteers of the Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department Association conducting a variety of fund-raising events that are very popular.
  • The town should include itself into the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District and taxpayers should vote in favor of paying the district’s 8.5 mill property tax for this service.

At the end of the meeting, Jack asked for consensus on several topics and received large rounds of applause for his proposals to eliminate an administrative staff position, eliminate a public works supervisor position, obtain outside accounting services, and leaving the PLVFD in place while obtaining an alternative contract service for the $30,000 now being spent on having an individual contractor at the PLVFD station on weekdays. Cressman called for creating a vision statement based on the recommendations supported by the citizens.

This special forum meeting adjourned at 11:05 a.m.

Jim Kendrick can be reached at jimkendrick@ocn.me

Return to the top of the page

Monument Board of Trustees, Nov. 1: U.S. Taekwondo Center donates $40,000

By Jim Kendrick

On Nov. 1, Mayor Travis Easton presented a plaque from the Town of Monument to Master Jay Lee, director of operations for the U.S. Taekwondo Center at Monument Marketplace, to formally recognize the raising of $40,000 for First Giving’s "The Best Christmas Ever" fundraising campaign at the center’s fifth annual Break-a-Thon event. Easton noted that he had broken some boards at the event held in Colorado Springs on Sept. 18. See photos below.

The entire proceeds of this fundraiser will help provide Christmas to 8,000 lower-income children and families in Colorado Springs on Dec. 21, providing them with a gift, play time at Mr. Biggs, 5825 Mark Dabling Blvd., and a full Christmas dinner to take home. See www.firstgiving.com/ustaekwondocenter and www.thebestchristmasever.org for more information on this program or contact Lisa Leidenberger at lleidenberger@familyblackbelt.com or 719-488-4321.

Easton also said that he, Mayor Pro Tem Rafael Dominguez, and Monument Police Community Youth Officer Chad Haynes had attended the first community meeting on children’s safety held the last week in October at the U.S. Taekwondo Center.

For more information on Haynes’ work with children at the center and with local schools, search "Haynes" on www.ocn.me

Lee thanked the board for the plaque and said, "It’s my privilege and honor to be here tonight with you." He noted that $40,000 was their largest donation so far. The event will also provide an opportunity for the families to meet with several nonprofits to educate them on programs for transportation to jobs, education, and better business and personal financial management. Lee also noted that the community meeting on child safety focused on bullying, a problem that his organization will be working on for a long time with other members of the Tri-Lakes community.

Trustees Rafael Dominguez and Stan Gingrich did not attend the meeting.

Code change on prohibition of livestock approved

Tom Kassawara, director of Development Services, gave an overview of an amendment to the existing section of the town code on keeping livestock within the town limits. He said that the staff had been receiving complaints centered on cattle breaking out of their pastures and damaging adjacent homeowners’ property, as well as complaints about noise and manure odors. These cattle are typically grazing on leased land that has already been zoned for urban development but construction has not yet started. When the land is being leased for livestock grazing, it is taxed at a lower rate.

The proposed amendment adds language to define the standards and requirements regarding the town’s revocable land use permits for livestock grazing in residential zones. The new language states that livestock must be fenced in—managed so that flies, excessive odor, dust, erosion, devegetation, and noise are minimized—and that surface and ground water are protected.

Some of the new requirements in the amendment are: livestock and manure management plans, enclosures for livestock, protection from health hazards, standards on devegetation of the grazing areas, and a time limit on permit approval (12 months.)

A written warning will be issued for the first offense, followed by a $100 fine for the second offense, and permit revocation for the third offense. However, if a third party damages a fence resulting in an incident with neighboring properties, it will not be counted if the landowner and/or permittee repairs the fence in a timely manner.

The amendment ordinance was unanimously approved.

New police vehicle purchase approved

Town Treasurer Pamela Smith reported that the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department had donated a slightly used Ford F-150 4WD pickup truck to the Monument Police Department. Town Manager Cathy Green, Public Works Director Rich Landreth, Police Chief Jake Shirk, and Police Lt. Steve Burk answered numerous trustee questions and described the increasing maintenance budget due to the current policy of deferring maintenance on the town’s entire aging vehicle and public works street equipment fleet.

Shirk said that the Police Department must start replacing two vehicles per year to avoid having to buy several vehicles per year in a few years. Smith stated that she preferred a four-year lease-purchase to a cash purchase to preserve the town’s cash reserves. She said the town will be in better shape to start a fleet replacement program in 2012.

After a lengthy discussion on other options to re-assign the truck rather than trade it in for a more appropriate police vehicle, the board approved the following actions:

  • The donated Ford truck will be re-assigned to the town engineering inspector.
  • The inspector’s Saturn Vue will be reassigned to the public works director.
  • The director’s pickup truck will be reassigned to the town mechanic, who had been using his personal vehicle for town business.
  • The board unanimously approved a cash purchase of a 2010 Chevy Tahoe 4-by-4 plus auxiliary lighting and radio equipment for about $42,000 to avoid about $1,500 in lease-purchase interest.

The board unanimously approved:

  • The annual liquor license renewal for Borriello Brothers NY Pizza at 15910 Jackson Creek Parkway.
  • A payment of $180,760 to Triview Metropolitan District for its half of 2009 annual property tax revenue.
  • A payment of $7,883 to All Purpose Paving for asphalt pavement repairs to Old Denver Highway at the Baptist Road intersection.
  • The August and September financial reports and the October sales tax report.

Smith noted that collected sales tax through the end of October is $130,688, or 7.3 percent, below the amount projected in the 2010 budget. General Fund revenues are higher than the budgeted amount by 3 percent or $70,378, while expenditures are 11.9 percent less than the amount budgeted, or $310,769, yielding a net of $381,147 in unused cash. Water fund revenues are higher than the budgeted amount by 11.6 percent or $96,927, while expenditures are 12.8 percent less than the amount budgeted, or $122,982, yielding a net of about $219,909 in unused cash. Tap fees are about $18,000 more than budgeted.

2011 draft budget discussed

During an hour-long discussion, the staff answered a number of trustee questions on numerous 2011 budget line items and submitted formal written answers to questions raised at a previous budget workshop meeting on Oct. 29.

Staff reports

Landreth reported that the restroom building in Limbach Park that was purchased from Larkspur has been completed and is now open. He noted that Third Street had been seal coated from Highway 105 to Beacon Lite Road, crack sealing had been completed on several roads, striping had been completed for the year, and all planned patching on Old Denver Highway had been completed. The pump for Triview’s A4 well had been pulled and sent to a contractor for evaluation. Triview water production for September was the highest on record due to little rain. Triview striping has also been completed for the year.

Willow Springs will not be annexed

Kassawara reported that the Willow Springs Ranch annexation had never been completed because the landowner, MHW LLC, and the developer, Infinity Land Corp., had gone bankrupt before filing the annexation documents with the county clerk and recorder. The annexation and site plans were approved by the Monument Board of Trustees on March 3, 2008. See www.ocn.me/v8n4.htm#bot0303 for additional information.

Integrity Bank and Hillcrest Bank of Kansas have now taken over the former Watt Ranch property via foreclosure and asked the town to eliminate the required extension of Mitchell Avenue as well as developer construction of the proposed park and open space requirements in the planned development (PD) site plan for this remotely located parcel. The new, smaller park is located away from the old buildings and ponds for the existing eastern Watt residence, which eliminates many natural features that made it desirable for conversion to a park space.

When the town staff declined to waive the conditions of approval for the site plan, which are required by the town code, Infinity and Hillcrest opted to leave the property in unincorporated El Paso County rather than file for the town annexation. The banks recently filed for a rezone of the property from RR-5 to conceptual planned urban development (PUD) and a replat with the county.

Kassawara listed the details of the letter he wrote on Oct. 18, 2010, to Project Manager Tony Deconinck of El Paso County Development Services providing the town’s comments on the new development proposal that tries to avoid town requirements. Some of the points in his letter were:

  • The town did not receive copies of most of the supporting documents mentioned in the new developers’ letter of intent, so these comments are to be considered incomplete by the county until the town staff can review them.
  • Monument is asking for the same commitments as those listed in the town’s approved PD site plan and annexation agreement.
  • The banks stated in their PUD proposal that this is the same plan proposed to Monument, but it is not the same because many commitments to the town on the approved PD sketch plan were removed.
  • There is inadequate infrastructure and insufficient commitments to support the density and number of units proposed in the PUD application to the county.
  • Provisions for potable water need to be determined. There is no commitment to provide water service by Forest Lakes or Triview Metropolitan Districts, the only entities with planned future potable water service lines that are near this proposed development. The Town of Monument does not provide water outside the town’s boundaries.
  • The lack of facilities and services in the new PUD application that should be provided by the developer will place an undue burden on Monument facilities and services.
  • There is inadequate access and an inadequate road network.
  • There is no commitment to construct parks as the previous developers had agreed to do.
  • It is unclear that the parks are being dedicated to the county at no cost as the town required.
  • The town questions whether the county can provide adequate police service with prompt emergency response, which would add a burden to the Monument Police Department under a shared emergency response agreement with no revenue or reimbursement to the town to pay for the additional service demands on the town’s police staff.
  • The proposal to complete development of Willow Springs without extending Mitchell Avenue south to Baptist Road as a minor arterial is inconsistent with chapter 6 of the Tri-Lakes Comprehensive Plan, which calls for a connected, efficient, safe, aesthetically appealing, and environmentally sensitive transportation system as required in the town’s annexation agreements and PD site plan.
  • The amount of right-of-way being dedicated for Mitchell Avenue is only a small portion of the actual requirement. Although the previous developers agreed to share the costs of extending Mitchell Avenue, this proposal only offers a small amount of right-of-way if the county chooses to require such a donation.
  • The portions of Mitchell Avenue and internal roads that are addressed in the new PUD proposal are not within the town boundaries, so town participation in construction and maintenance will not occur, adding to the overall costs to the county compared to the previous developer’s proposal.
  • The Mitchell Road extension to Baptist Road is needed to provide for faster wildfire evacuations from the adjacent unincorporated areas.
  • The northern half of the proposed Willow Springs development would add to the traffic on Mitchell Avenue and worsen backups that occur at the Second Street intersection due to frequent passages of trains at the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad crossing.
  • The required new traffic study for the revised proposal must be forwarded to the town so that it can determine town traffic impacts that should be built by or cost shared with the new developers.
  • A town construction permit will be required of the new developer to connect development roadways to adjacent town roadways.
  • The proposed internal development emergency access route crosses the 100-year floodplain where bridges have been washed out in the recent past. This access route would also not be available during heavy snows as proposed. Easements for this emergency access route should be clearly shown on the PUD site plan and dedicated to the county prior to filing of the subdivision plat.
  • The commitment to comply with the town’s requirements for preservation of trees and avoidance of building on steep slopes on the portions of the development most visible to I-25 have been removed in the new PUD plan, making this plan inconsistent with the Tri-Lakes Comprehensive Plan.
  • The elementary school site to be provided to the Lewis-Palmer School District in the adjacent proposed Forest Lakes development has been deemed unworkable by D-38 because it is too narrow. The previous developers agreed to the town’s requirement to pay $1,350 per single-family home or $607,500 to D-38.

Trustees’ comments

Trustee Jeff Kaiser reported that the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce will work with local merchant Julie Bille’s Monument branding committee, the Tri-Lakes Region Destination Project. Kaiser also attended Chief Shirk’s safety and security meeting that was held to educate local church leaders.

Trustee Gail Drumm said that the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department had reported that housing starts in September were the worst in the past 10 years—down 62 percent from 2009 and down 30 percent for the year to date compared to 2009.

Public comments

Bille inquired about the town’s promotional activities for its annual Small Town Christmas event, the "Historic Monument" sign on Third Street, and the banner sign poles on Second Street. Green replied that the Historic Monument Merchants Association is responsible for Small Town Christmas organization and promotion. She noted that the Historic Monument sign is too narrow and fragile to move to Second Street and that banners that have been installed on the existing Second Street banner poles have never lasted more than one day before being ripped to shreds by wind.

The meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m.

Jim Kendrick can be reached at jimkendrick@ocn.me

Return to the top of the page

Monument Board of Trustees, Nov. 15: No significant changes made to draft 2011 budget

By Jim Kendrick

On Nov. 15, the Monument Board of Trustees again discussed the 2011 budget. There was a lengthy discussion regarding adding $50,000 to the roads maintenance budget so Public Works will be able to maintain Old Denver Highway in 2011.

Several proposals were made by Mayor Travis Easton, Mayor Pro Tem Rafael Dominguez, and Trustee Gail Drumm to find an equivalent size reduction in other portions of the budget to pay for Old Denver Highway repairs. Some examples of their proposed benefits reductions for 2011 were:

  • Reducing the size of the staff.
  • Eliminating or reducing the town match for 401K contributions to individual employee retirement plans.
  • Paying only 70 percent of employee health insurance costs.
  • Making no contribution to employee health benefits rather than the current 50 percent.
  • Scanning all required stored documents in rented storage units and shredding them to reduce the cost of the units.
  • Eliminating the town’s annual $2,500 contribution to the cost of the Palmer Lake fireworks display.
  • Eliminating the annual town Christmas party that is used to host many volunteers and partners in town projects and activities from the Tri-Lakes area.

Trustee Stan Gingrich said he did not like the idea of "trying to balance the budget by coming up with money from the employees." Tommie Plank said she was happy with the budget as proposed, without additional changes.

Town Clerk Scott Meszaros said it would be cheaper to buy new archive scanning software and have the staff trained to perform digital records management. Previous attempts using summer help led to the inadvertent loss of a lot of mandatory hard copy records. There will still be a considerable amount of hard copies of documents that cannot be electronically archived due to various statutes.

Town Manager Cathy Green said this will be a long-term project that needs to be performed in Town Hall rather than in the exposed storage units. Meszaros and Police Chief Jake Shirk said there will always be more records (records of police investigations, cemetery documents, deeds, etc.) that have to be stored than there is available storage in Town Hall.

Trustee Jeff Kaiser did not attend the meeting.

The board unanimously approved a resolution setting the Board of Trustees meetings on the first and third Monday of the month. The Tuesday exceptions, due to Monday holidays, will be: Jan. 4, Jan. 18, July 5, and Sept. 6.

The board unanimously approved two annual liquor license renewals for:

  • Eric’s Monument Grill at 1455 Cipriani Loop
  • Chili’s Grill & Bar at 15898 Jackson Creek Parkway (Monument Marketplace)

The board unanimously approved two payments over $5,000:

  • $109,917 to Triview Metropolitan District for September sales tax ($104,567), October motor vehicle tax ($4,849), and Regional Building sales tax ($489)
  • $5,733 to Wingfoot Commercial Tire Systems Inc. for commercial loader tires

Staff reports

Chief Shirk asked everyone to participate in the Dec. 18 Santa on Patrol event he organizes each year. This year he is getting a lot of help from the Triview Women’s Club and Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce. (See the Santa on Patrol article for details.) He also held a meeting with 17 local clergy to organize providing emergency help to families at night.

Public Works Director Rich Landreth reported that the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority would be dissolved at the end of the year. El Paso County Water Authority will add its role to its mission and change its name to Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority. He also took a day-long tour of the Southern Delivery Systems project sponsored by Colorado Springs Utilities.

Triview’s A4 well pump is being repaired. The power correction project at the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility has been completed.

Kassawara reported that three new single-family land use permits had been issued, bringing the total for the year to 47—31 are in Triview Metropolitan District. He also reported that Hillcrest Bank of Kansas, one of the two banks that foreclosed on the bankrupt Willow Springs development, has gone bankrupt itself. No additional information is yet available. See article on Nov. 1 BOT meeting for details of the Willow Springs issue.

Green announced that Triview Metropolitan District would be hiring a temporary district manager to a six-month contract.

The meeting went into executive session at 8:08 p.m. to receive legal advice from the town attorney and to discuss personnel issues.


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

Jim Kendrick can be reached at jimkendrick@ocn.me

Return to the top of the page

Monument Planning Commission, Nov. 10: Code amendment on temporary uses approved

By Jim Kendrick

On Nov. 10, the Monument Planning Commission unanimously approved an amendment to the town code regarding temporary uses and improvements to update the existing language, add an intent statement, remove the public hearing requirements for a kiosk-oriented business and replace it with an administrative review process, create a permit process, and add approval criteria.

Principal Planner Karen Griffith noted the following code sections and changes that were added:

  • Sections describing temporary use permits and the permit process
  • A section with an intent statement
  • A section with approval criteria
  • Sections with specific information on permit conditions, expirations, renewals, and revocations
  • Sections on abandonment, exempt activities, prohibited uses and activities, natural disasters and emergencies, and other uses

Griffith stated that a section of the code that outlined the public hearing process and requirements for a business operating in a parking area was removed.

Griffith added that the administrative staff review process will now assess:

  • Conformance with the zoning code and other town codes
  • Compatibility with surrounding properties and neighborhoods
  • Drainage, erosion control, and weed control
  • Vehicular and pedestrian circulation
  • Provision of necessary services such as electricity, sanitary facilities, and refuse disposal
  • Assessment of excessive noise, light pollution, glare, or traffic congestion
  • Whether the applicant has a business license, if required
  • Significant impacts to wildlife, natural vegetation, existing landscaping, and scenic, historic, or geologic features
  • Provisions for site cleanup, restoration, and collection of a deposit if necessary

Griffith answered a few informational questions from the commissioners. A motion to approve the new code wording was unanimously approved with a few recommended minor wording changes.

The meeting adjourned at 7:16 p.m.


The scheduled Dec. 8 commission meeting was canceled. The next meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 12 at Town Hall, 645 Beacon Lite Rd. Meetings are normally held on the second Wednesday of the month. Information: 884-8017.

Jim Kendrick can be reached at jimkendrick@ocn.me

Return to the top of the page

Woodmoor Improvement Association Board, Nov. 17: Replacement, repair of signs approved

By Harriet Halbig

The board of the Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA) voted Nov. 17 to spend up to $2,500 to replace and refurbish signs designating common areas in the community. An additional $2,300 was approved to improve a path near the Twin Ponds common area.

These improvements should be completed by the end of the calendar year.

Anne Stevens-Gountanis of the Architectural Control Committee, said that she had recently received a bill from the northern El Paso County group of homeowner associations (NEPCO). She encouraged the board to rejoin the group as voting members, because WIA is one of the largest groups in the state. Board President Chuck Maher asked Stevens-Gountanis to investigate the cost of the action and bring it to the next meeting of the board

In his report on covenants, Director of Covenant Control Ed Miller said that October had been an active month, with many reports of suspicious vehicles and parking issues such as RVs parked too long on association property and an excessive number of vehicles parked outdoors at a residence.

Paul Lambert, director of public safety, said there were 56 reports of suspicious vehicles during October. In some cases it appeared that the owners were homeless and were living in their cars. Lambert reminded homeowners to lock vehicles parked outside and never leave them running unattended in the driveway.

Vice President Jim Hale reported that three potential candidates have come forward for the January election. The board needs to confirm the candidates’ eligibility before the December newsletter is mailed.

There has been no further action on planning a community social event in December. The board will consider hosting an event in February on the theme of safety.


The Board of Directors of the Woodmoor Improvement Association generally meets on the fourth Wednesday of the month. Due to the holidays, the next meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Dec. 15 at the Barn, 1691 Woodmoor Drive in Monument.

Harriet Halbig can be reached at harriethalbig@ocn.me

Return to the top of the page

November Weather Wrap

By Bill Kappel

Finally it was back to "normal" weather during November, with temperatures and precipitation right about where they should be. Temperatures averaged slightly below normal for the month, with two distinct cool periods. Precipitation averaged slightly above normal for the month, but November is usually one of our driest months during the year, so unless things are way out of whack, having slightly more precipitation than average doesn’t make much difference in the overall water year.

The first week of November started off with a quick shot of winter, as a cold front moved through in the morning and briefly turned the winds to the north/northeast. This produced snow from around 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., giving us our first measurable snow of the season. However, sunshine quickly returned with high pressure again building over the region. Temperatures warmed under clear skies over the next few days, with southwesterly flow bringing in some mild weather. Temperatures reached into the upper 60s from the 5th through the 8th, just missing record high territory.

More typical weather took hold of the region during the second week of November, as a couple of rounds of snow moved cross the area. The week started off quiet and mild, with mid-60s on the afternoon of the 8th, as breezy southwest winds warmed up temperatures. This was ahead of a storm system gathering strength over the Intermountain West. The storm blasted through the region during the early afternoon of the 9th, with a sharp drop in temperatures and sprinkles turning to snow just before 2 p.m. Light snow continued through the evening, with 1-3 inches accumulating in many areas. Temperatures stayed below average for the remainder of the week, with highs only reaching into the 30s. The chilliest afternoon was the 11th, with highs holding in the 20s under plenty of lows clouds and fog. Overnight lows were on the cold side as well, with teens and single digits common.

A mixed bag of weather affected the region during the week of the 15th. We started off on the cool side, with a couple rounds of quick-moving snow and gusty winds. Next, we warmed up under plenty of sunshine only to return to some snow to end the weekend. Temperatures were held in the 30s for highs on the 15th as a cool and unsettled pattern continued from the previous week over the area. This produced several rounds of snow and blowing snow from mid-morning through mid-afternoon. Many of us received 1-2 inches of snow during this period of unsettled weather, making for some slick roads on the morning of the 16th.

Westerly winds kicked in through the afternoon of the 16th before another strong but quick cold front blasted through. This produced a brief window of heavy snow and wind around 5 p.m. on the 16th, making for a fun commute home. Temperatures were again chilly the next day, with highs holding in the low to mid-30s. Strong west/southwesterly flow returned to the region ahead of a very active storm track to our northwest over the next few days. This helped push temperatures to above normal levels from the 18th through the 20th, but also kicked up the winds.

Then, after a mild and breezy start to Sunday the 21st, cold air rushed in from the northwest and produced a couple rounds of heavy snow showers, putting down just enough to cause some slippery roads for Monday morning. The strong flows from the southwest to the northwest brought downslope winds to us, but the mountains have been doing great, getting a nice head start to the snow season with several feet piling up.

The last week of the month again saw a little bit of mild weather and another shot of cold and snow. Temperatures were right around normal from the 23rd, then some cold air made a brief intrusion into the area from the 24th through the 25th. This made for a cold Thanksgiving, with highs only reaching the 30s and overnight lows in the single digits. However, the moisture associated with this cold air mass moved to our north and west, leaving us high and dry.

A brief warm-up moved back in over the remainder of the Thanksgiving weekend, with 40s and 50s under sunshine through the morning of the 28th. But just in time to end the month, another cold front, this time with some moisture, blasted through during the late afternoon of the 28th. Snow and wind kicked up 2-4 inches of fresh snow during the evening of the 28th through the 29th and temperatures were chilly. Highs didn’t get out of the low 20s on the 29th and overnight lows fell below zero in some of the colder spots during the morning of the 30th.

A look ahead

December can be cold around the region, with highs often staying below freezing. The month is generally dry, however, with several light, fluffy snowfalls. Gusty winds are common during the month. December 2004, 2008, and 2009 had a well-timed snowfall just before Christmas that left behind clear skies and a beautiful snow-covered landscape for Christmas Day. December 2005 started off cold and snowy and then ended up mild and dry. Of course 2006 was very exciting, with two blizzards moving through, one right before Christmas and one right after. For a complete look at monthly climate summaries for the Tri-Lakes region, please visit www.thekappels.com/ClimateSummary.htm

November 2010 Weather Statistics

Average High 46.9° (-2.0°) 100-year return frequency value max 55.5° min 38.5°
Average Low 18.2° (-2.0°) 100-year return frequency value max 27.5° min 14.1°
Monthly Precipitation 0.67" (+0.06") 100-year return frequency value max 3.80" min 0.16"
Monthly Snowfall 9.1" (-1.7")
Highest Temperature 69° on the 6th
Lowest Temperature -7° on the 30th
Season to Date Snow 9.1" (-18.4") (the snow season is from July 1 to June 30) 
Season to Date Precip. 6.34" (-4.26") (the precip season is from July 1 to June 30)
Heating Degree Days 973 (+59)
Cooling Degree Days 0 (0)

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

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

Bill Kappel is a meteorologist and Tri-Lakes resident.

Return to the top of the page

Letters to Our Community

A thank you to voters

Students and all who support a high-quality education, and the ability of Lewis-Palmer School District 38 to deliver such, appreciate your vote of Nov 2.

Had any one of the three ballot issues (Amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101) reducing funding to the pre-K-12 public education system passed, the quality of education inevitably would have decreased. Not because teachers would not be working just as hard to deliver education, but because classroom sizes would have increased, programs and curriculum would have been cut, safety would have been compromised, etc.

Even with the outstanding students and parents, volunteers and faculty in D-38, it takes money to deliver quality education. Your support is noted and appreciated.

Gail T. Wilson

Return to the top of the page

Between The Covers at the Covered Treasures Bookstore: Don’t forget the books, Santa!

By the staff at Covered Treasures

If you’re playing Santa to children, grandchildren, or young friends, you’ve probably noticed that they want every other toy advertised on TV. In addition to toys, though, every child deserves at least one good book for Christmas. Here are a few new titles to delight readers from preschoolers through teens.

Llama Llama Holiday Drama
By Anna Dewdney (Penguin) $16.99

"Llama Llama holidays—Jingle music, Lights ablaze—How long ‘til that special date? Llama Llama has to wait." This charming tale about how hard it is to wait for the holidays to arrive will entertain children and adults alike.

Beautiful Oops!
By Barney Saltzberg (Workman) $11.95

Hooray for mistakes! This interactive full-color book shows young readers how every mistake is an opportunity to make something beautiful. Pop-ups, flaps, tears, holes, bends, and smudges demonstrate the magical transformation from blunder to wonder.

By Ingrid Law (Penguin) $16.99

An enchanting companion to the Newberry Honor Book, Savvy, this story stars a cast both fresh and familiar. Nine years after Mib’s journey, her cousin Ledge turns 13, but Ledge’s "savvy" is a total dud, and things keep falling apart. The tale brilliantly melds the author’s signature heart and humor with the legendary Wild West.

By Laura Buller, Susan Kennedy and Jim Pipe (DK Publishing) $19.99

Open this juvenile reference book with extreme caution! Readers will encounter animals with sharp claws and killer jaws, deep-sea monsters, and frogs falling from the sky, as well as some of the world’s most accident-prone humans. The book is in full color with funky mixed media design, facts, stats, and stories.

Look Now: The World in Facts, Stats, and Graphics
By Joe Fullman, Ian Graham and Sally Regan (DK Publishing) $24.99

This volume is half encyclopedia, half almanac, and 100 percent awesome! Our world and its people are conveyed through spellbinding infographics—facts, figures, graphics, illustrations, and photographs—which examine the physical world and the different, yet interconnected, spheres of human activity.

By Andrea Cremer (Penguin) $17.99

Calla Tor has always known her destiny is to be the mate of an alpha wolf, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. By saving a beautiful human boy, she violates her masters’ laws and may lose everything. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?

Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer
By John Grisham (Dutton) $16.99

Thirteen-year-old Theo knows every judge, policeman, and court clerk in Strattenburg. He dreams of being a great trial lawyer, but Theo finds himself in the middle of a sensational murder trial where a cold-blooded killer is about to go free, and only Theo knows the truth.

The Scorch Trials
By James Dashner (Random House) $17.99

Thomas and the Gladers from The Maze Runner were supposed to get their lives back by solving the maze. Instead, they must cross the Scorch and arrive at a safe haven while avoiding vengeful Wicked and murderous Crank.

Wild Alphabet: An A to Zoo Pop-Up Book
By Dan Green (Kingfisher) $19.99

Young children will love this A-Z of the fiercest, friendliest, and fastest animals in the world. From antelope to zebras, they will discover fascinating facts about their favorite animals with the help of brilliant pop-ups and moving parts.

Potato Chip Science: Book & Stuff
By A. Kurzweil & Son (Workman) $17.95

High in saturated facts, this wildly imaginative kit introduces more than 30 experiments using potato chips, potatoes, chip bags, tubes, and lids. Merging creative fun with scientific principles, the kit includes over a dozen items used in the "snacktivities"—all packaged inside a potato chip bag.

Trains: The Slide-Out, See-Through Story of World-Famous Trains and Railroads
By Philip Steele and Sebastian Quigley (Kingfisher) $19.99

Unfold the enthralling history of trains as they spread across the globe in this eye-catching, hands-on exploration from the invention of steam locomotives to the advanced technologies of high-speed rail. Dramatic die-cuts, sliders, and see-through panels reveal amazing details of the world’s iconic trains.

Holiday toys soon break, or are put aside, but a new book can delight a child over and over again throughout the year.

Until next month—and next year—happy reading.

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

Return to the top of the page

High Country Highlights: Water is essential to your Christmas tree

By Woody Woodworth

When Christmas trees are cut, they seal over the injury with sap until it hardens, allowing nothing to penetrate the wound. That is Mother Nature’s way of protecting the tree from insects and disease.

Since Christmas trees are cut all the way through on the bottom, we need to open the cells again to ensure the tree drinks water. Cut about two inches off the bottom of the tree and immediately place it in a tree stand or bucket of water. You have about two hours before the sap will close the wound again.

Once your tree is securely in a stand, keep the reservoir full of water at all times, frequently checking the water level. Like cut flowers, adding water is most important. If your reservoir dries out, the bottom cut will close again and your tree will not be able to drink water.

There are products available in small bottles to help preserve your tree. There is usually enough concentrate in a bottle for preserving the life of your cut tree through the holiday season. Try to position your tree out of the sun and away from any heating vent. The Colorado sun is strong and the high temperatures created through your window will quickly dry out the tree.

Use the same methods for all your other holiday greenery. Wreaths, garland and swags can be misted with water to keep their fresh aroma and feel. We use a spray bottle and try to mist them daily with some water.

So follow the basic rules on keeping your holiday season full of supple greens.

  1. Pick your greenery wisely. Look for the freshest you can and make sure it has a good feel to it.
  2. Keep your tree in plenty of water and don’t let it dry out.
  3. Mist your greenery as often as you can think of it.

Woody, Cathy and the entire staff at High Country Home & Garden wish you a safe and fun holiday 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.

Return to the top of the page

Bird Watch on the Palmer Divide: Snowy owl

Click here to view a drawing of Snowy Owls

By Elizabeth Hacker

Early one morning last February while birding with a friend, I saw a big white bird sitting on a fence post. It was a good thing I wasn’t driving, because I’m sure I would have driven off the road when I realized I was looking at a snowy owl. This is one bird I never expected to see here, but birding on the Palmer Divide is full of surprises and I’ve come to expect the unexpected.

Fortunately my friend was able to turn onto a side road where we set up a viewing scope and were able to observe it for almost an hour. It sat perfectly still on the same post for about 20 minutes, slowly moving its head back and forth. It then swooped down, flew close to the ground, and rose up again to land on a fence post a little closer to us. Apparently we were not a threat to it, which allowed us to get a clear look at its striking yellow eyes when it turned its head in our direction.

The snowy owl is a large bird about 2 feet tall with an average 5-foot wingspan. It was amazing that I even noticed it, because the fresh blanket of snow that covered the landscape was as white as the snowy owl. However, when driving along a road I always look for birds perched on wires and fence posts, so a bird this size was hard to miss! We assumed it to be a male because it was almost completely white. Females and adolescent snowy owl feathers are white but have dark speckles and barred edges.

Snowy owls are a circumpolar Arctic species, which means that it can be found around the world at the same polar latitudes. In its Arctic habitat, snowy owls feed almost exclusively on lemmings. Unlike other owls, the snowy owl is diurnal, which means it hunts during the day. It may also hunt at night but not often.

It sits perfectly still and uses its keen sense of hearing to detect movement under the snow or in the grass. Once prey is detected, it quietly descends on it, grabs it in its talons, and breaks its neck with its beak. In captivity, often the only part of a rodent the owl will eat is its head. In the wild, owls swallow the whole lemming. Undigested bones and fur are expelled in compacted pellets.

During my childhood years in Minnesota, every few years we would see a snowy owl hunting near barns and grain bins, and we collected the pellets. I always thought it must have been the cold Arctic winds that drove the snowy owl to a more temperate climate. Not many birds can survive the frigid conditions found on the Arctic tundra, but the snowy owl is one species that thrives in these harsh conditions. Even its feet are heavily feathered for protection from the cold. It often overheats and pants and spreads its wings to cool itself. It is unlikely that weather would be the determining factor.

It is more likely that snowy owls expand their territory in search of food. Lemmings are little furry, hamster-like rodents that produce large litters every five weeks. Animals including ermine, arctic fox, and wolves as well as snowy owls depend on lemmings for survival. Every four years or so lemmings overpopulate and deplete the limited supply of tundra seeds and berries. When this happens, lemmings gather in large groups and migrate in search of food. It is during this mass migration that many of these little rodents drown while trying to cross bodies of water.

During these cyclic events, the snowy owl’s survival depends on its ability to expand its range and to adapt its diet. If in fact this is the reason snowy owls stray from its normal range, it’s unlikely that we will see a snowy owl again this winter, but I will continue to look for them.

I’m often asked what makes a good gift for those special birders. A Swarovski spotting scope is on my wish list! Quality binoculars are essential for clear viewing, but optics are somewhat specific to the person using them. I have a steady hand so I don’t need stabilizers, but other birders swear by them.

I am always on the lookout of new technology and bird books. Birdcoutr is an iPod application featuring 900 North American birds. It is truly amazing the amount of information that is provided on each bird, including their songs. Thayer also offers phenomenal bird identification software. Identification guides are a must. I have several. I like them all, but find I most often refer to the Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western North America.

My husband Randy wants a squirrel-proof feeder (wish me luck finding one). My friend Mary wants a hummingbird feeder. I’ve tried ornate hand-blown glass feeders, but my hummers avoided them. I’ve had the best luck with the basic glass jar feeders that have the red plastic multiple feeder stations.

I often give my neighbors and friends gifts for their backyard birds, including suet, feeders, seed (avoid mixes with millet because it attract starlings), and a heated bird bath. Happy holidays!

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

Return to the top of the page

Art Matters: Art and curious facts of gift economics

By Janet Sellers

How does art work its way into your life? In numerous cultures around the planet, art figures in to a huge part of gift-giving at all levels. From a cheerfully wrapped gift, to party decor, to the highly ornate art designs on the place of celebration itself, art plays a part in our life and culture locally and all over the world in terms of gift-giving.

The enlightenment of a gift economy is as old as humankind. A gift is an offering that seeks no equal response, and is freely offered, although it’s frequently created or purchased and distributed on behalf of a recipient. A gift carries a wholesome intention, one of hopefulness that the recipient will enjoy it, and aesthetic beauty is an intrinsic expectation on all sides of the custom.

So where do these artful gift ideas come from, and how old are they? Well, most have been a part of human life for many thousands of years. I’ve put together a list of commonalities for these ideas and customs with the religious sector of gift economics, because it is so interesting. Anthropologists study the economics of gift-giving as a social science; Americans enjoy the whole shebang for the fun of it.

Is your family hosted at the hereditary leaders’ place for food, merriment, and gifts (potlatches of Northwest Coast native cultures)? Are you involved with helping others financially and physically as a goodwill gesture (Judaism)? Do you or your business sponsor a feast and gifts of money or products (Southeast Asian Buddhism)? Do you give gifts of special foods to the teacher (Hinduism)? Do you help the poor and needy with gifts of support in money, time or materials (Islam)?

The Roman Saturnalia practice of exchanging gifts for good luck was outlawed by the early Catholic Church, but later reinstated as a reflection of the gifts of the Magi to the Christ child at the time of the Christ’s Mass.

The term "Christmas Gift" is an expression traced back as early as 1844 in the southern United States as well as Ohio and Kentucky. It is derived from the tradition of saying "Christmas Gift!" among typically poor African American and Anglo farming families in rural areas, when people would wake on Christmas morning and rush to say "Christmas Gift" before anyone else. The person being told "Christmas Gift!" is expected to present a gift to the person saying it.

As an informal social custom, a gift economy stands apart from a barter economy or a market economy, although the gift economy may use the latter two. It appears our national gift economy has stirred from its recent slumber once again before this calendar year ends its cycle.

The following are some innovative ways to give to a loved one and support our cultural arts scene locally.

Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts

The annual Resident Artists’ Exhibition, Dec. 1-28, Tuesdays through Saturdays, noon to 4 p.m. Ten resident artists will exhibit their works in a new show for your thoughtful viewing and art buying. Bring your sweetie and see what they love at the show and the gift shop. While they are perusing the rest of the show, you can sneak back to the shop and buy that gift before somebody else does.

Southwinds Fine Arts Gallery

Southwinds Fine Arts is offering a holiday art sale on December weekends, noon to 4 p.m. and as late as 9 p.m. when the music is still jammin’. You can pick up some last-minute gifts that save the world, and your pride, one gift at a time. The gift items include paintings, prints, glasswork, jewelry, sculpture, note cards, and gift certificates. Most of the artists at the gallery are local to our town, and some of your purchases will qualify for a percentage donation to local charities via the Angel Tree in the gallery lobby. 16575 Roller Coaster Road Colorado Springs, CO 80921 (719) 481-6157.

Tri-Lakes Women’s Club Ornament Collection

I met John Anderson and Yvonne Jennings over lattes at our local Taste of Life store recently. They were telling me about the new limited-edition ornament offered by the Tri-Lakes Women’s Club this year. Anderson designed this year’s ornament image of a holiday tree made up of tiny stars.

For the past three years, the club has had a local artist create a design for the ornaments, which are a fund-raising item to aid in areas the club supports: schools, fire, police, and other organizations providing services to residents of the Tri-Lakes area. So far, each of the ornaments in the collection are still available for $16. Contact Jennings at 719-649-4413 to purchase them. Ornaments are also available at local merchants.

Janet Lee Sellers is an American painter and sculptor who works in paint, metal, and concrete. She can be reached at JanetSellers@OCN.me

See the photo on page 29 in the on-line version of this issue

  • Artist/owner Jim Wider prepares for the 2010 holiday art show and winter sale at his immense Southwinds Gallery. Wider’s long history of public service (national and local), fine art, and generosity to our community is legendary. He has opened up his gallery showings to include eight local artists as well, and says the Angel Tree in the gallery lobby offers the opportunity to buy local art gifts and help local charities in the process. Photo by Janet Sellers

Return to the top of the page

Snapshots of Our Community

Taekwondo Break-A-Thon raises $40,000, Sep. 18

See the photos on page 30 in the on-line version of this issue

  • The students of the U.S. Taekwondo Center who participated in the Sept. 18 Break-a-Thon fundraiser helped raise $40,000 for "The Best Christmas Ever" campaign (www.thebestchristmasever.org) . Photo provided by U.S. Taekwondo Center
  • Steve Bigari (L), CEO of Mr. Biggs, receives a symbolic check from Master Jay Lee, Director of Operations for the U.S. Taekwondo Center in Monument Marketplace. The total on the check is $37,500, was a preliminary number before all of the donations had been tabulated. 100 percent of the proceeds of the fundraiser will provide Christmas to 8,000 lower-income children and families in Colorado Springs, providing them with a gift, play time at Mr. Biggs, and a full Christmas dinner to take home. Photo provided by U.S. Taekwondo Center.
  • At the Nov. 1 Monument Board of Trustees meeting, Mayor Travis Easton (R) presented a plaque and proclamation honoring Master Jay Lee, Director of Operations for the U.S. Taekwondo Center in Monument Marketplace for his leadership in raising $40,000 for "The Best Christmas Ever" campaign. For more information see www.firstgiving.com/ustaekwondocenter. Photo by Jim Kendrick

Return to the top of the page

TLCA Holiday Extravaganza, Nov. 13

See the photo on page 30 in the on-line version of this issue

  • On Nov. 13, the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA) hosted a Holiday Extravaganza Arts and Craft sale. The sale provided shoppers an opportunity to purchase painting, ceramics, jewelry, glassware and many other unique items. This is the 3rd year that artist members of the TLCA sold their fine arts and fine crafts and one-of-a-kind items. Photo by David Futey.

Return to the top of the page

Wine and Roses tops last year’s event, Nov. 5

By Harriet Halbig

The Tri-Lakes Women’s Club held its ninth annual Wine and Roses event Nov. 5 at the Blue and Silver Press Box on the Air Force Academy campus.

Nancy Iverson-Herbert was the chair for the event, which featured tastings of wine and foods from the area and the ability to order wines from Dirk Stamp of The Wine Seller for future delivery. Iverson-Herbert mentioned in her thank you letter to all participants that the proceeds for this year’s event far exceeded last year’s.

New this year were online ticket sales, a doubling in the number of corporate sponsorships for items needed for the event, and a raffle in addition to the silent auction held on previous occasions.

Celebrity pourers for the event included local media and government personalities and representatives of School District 38 and Tri-Lakes Cares. Food vendors were from the Monument and Palmer Lake area and Old Colorado City.

Wine and Roses is one of two major fundraisers for the Women’s Club, the other being the Pine Forest Antiques show in the spring. Proceeds go to support various nonprofit groups such as the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, fire districts, and school districts.

Over the past 34 years, the club has distributed over $600,000 in the community.

Harriet Halbig can be reached at harriethalbig@ocn.me

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

Photos by Harriet Halbig.

  • From left, event Chair Nancy Iverson-Herbert, Barbara Betzler, Jan Vaughn, and co-presidents Lisa Simms and Gerrie Maixner were the organizers of this year’s event.
  • Palmer Lake Police Chief Kieth Moreland and Natalie Mix of Cravings caterers were among those pouring wine and offering food samples.
  • Alexandra Elliott, left, and Diane Sisemore of Mya Bella Cupcakes in Old Colorado City offered delicious samples. 

Return to the top of the page

Monument Santa on Patrol scheduled for Dec. 18

By Bernard L. Minetti

During a meeting Nov. 19, Monument Police Chief Jacob Shirk discussed the origination of the Monument Santa on Patrol program. Shirk said the original "patrol" began in Aurora in 1994.

Shirk was a police captain at the time and had become very discouraged during the 1993 Christmas season. There had been death threats made against the Santas who were in malls, stores, and elsewhere. As a result, the commercial businesses felt that it was more prudent to cancel the Santas’ appearances rather than take the risk of injury to the Santas or the youngsters. He said that the kids were devastated because of this.

Shirk said that it really struck him that the children of Aurora would be deprived of being able to visit Santa because of the threats. Not to be deterred, Shirk arranged to be a Santa in the city courthouse. He noted that as a police officer, he was within reach of a weapon should it be needed. To ensure safety, he had police snipers staged on the floors above as a form of protection for the children who would come to talk to Santa.

As a result of that Christmas experience, he felt that it would be safer to have Santa go to the kids rather than have any problems with "public" Santas. He added that he organized the police and fire departments the following year to gather toys and gifts and take them to the children where they were in the playgrounds or any areas where they gathered.

Shirk said he continued the Christmas patrols in Aurora until his departure to become the Monument police chief in 2005. That year he began the Santa Patrols here in the Monument area. This year the event will be staged on Dec. 18. The "patrol" will begin at 10 a.m. and will travel randomly through the area and end up at the D-38 Administration Building at approximately 1 p.m. "Santa" will be distributing toys and gifts to the youngsters in our community who would otherwise be deprived of the true Christmas experience.

Chief Shirk said that he was overwhelmed at the response of the community in 2009 with their generosity in providing for those who were Santa’s "clients" that year. Shirk said that this year, he had arranged for the Palmer Lake and Monument police and fire offices and stations to be the collection points for the toys and gifts that are donated from the community to help the community. Shirk has in effect made each police officer and firefighter an "assistant Santa." Besides those collection points, all D-38 elementary schools have been designated as drop-off points.

Monetary donations are not a good idea, Shirk said, because by law they had to be placed in the town’s coffers. He suggested donating gift cards from stores such as Walmart, King Soopers, and Safeway. They can be dropped off at the sites mentioned. Toys and other gifts are most desirable.

A central drop-off and information point is the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District administration building located at 166 Second St. A lady assistant Santa named Jennifer Martin will be happy to assist you with questions, donations, etc. Her phone number is 719-484-0911.

Bernard Minetti can be reached at bernardminetti@ocn.me

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

  • Monument Police Chief Jake Shirk sits at his desk during the 2009 Santa on Patrol event. Photo by Shauna Shirk.
  • Chief Shirk as he tells the story of Santa on Patrol in his office in the Monument Police Department Nov. 19. Photo by Bernard Minetti.

Return to the top of the page

Many donations, volunteers assist Thanksgiving dinner

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

  • On Nov. 25, the second annual Thanksgiving Coming Together event was hosted at Rosie’s Diner. Pictured are some of the volunteers that took part in assisting with the event. The dinner was open to Tri-Lakes area residents who would not have "access to a traditional meal." Chuck Roberts, one of the many volunteers who had coordinated the event since early September, expected 200 residents to take part in the free Thanksgiving dinner being offered. Rosie’s owner A.B. Tellez was overwhelmed with the donations received for the event because it indicated a "pride for living in the community."

    First National Bank of Monument, Rocky Mountain Oil Change, Tri-Lakes Printing, Town of Monument, Town of Palmer Lake, Nobel Sysco, Mosaic, Tri-Lakes/Monument Fire Protection District, Monument Hill Kiwanis, Tri-Lakes Mary Kelly and Randy Dice, Pinecrest Event Center, Lewis-Palmer School District 38, Eric’s Monument Grille, Tri-Lakes Women’s Club, Tri-Lakes Health Advocacy Partnership, Tri-Lakes area churches, and Tri-Lakes Cares were among the many organizations and individuals that provided support and services for the dinner. Roberts said that any leftovers would be provided to Colorado Springs nonprofits so all donations were put to a good use.
    Photo and caption by David Futey. He can be reached at dfutey@ocn.me

Return to the top of the page

Hundreds celebrate lighting of the Palmer Lake Star, Nov. 27

By Candice Hitt

On Nov. 27, Palmer Lake officially launched the Christmas season with the annual lighting of the star. To celebrate, a chili supper was sponsored by the Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department. The star lighting event has been held since 1935.

Over 400 people were in attendance and were served chili, potato soup, hot dogs, and cinnamon rolls.

Guests had the opportunity to win door prizes and raffle items donated by local businesses. All proceeds from the sale of raffle tickets and meals at the event will go toward the maintenance of the star, located on Sundance Mountain in Palmer Lake.

The star was lighted at 8 p.m. after Vicki Baker, a volunteer firefighter for 11 years, gave a brief history of the event, told stories, and led carols. The star will remain lit for the month of December.

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

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

  • Over 400 attended the event Nov. 27. 
  • Volunteer firefighter Vicki Baker gets some assistance from Dylon Hitt in selecting the winning tickets for door prizes. Photos by Candice Hitt.

Return to the top of the page

TLCA member show held during November

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

  • The Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts Member Show was held during the month of November, Pictured are some of the 67 artists represented in the show, which included 13 brand new artist members of the TLCA. In all, 170 pieces of art were on display in mediums including glass, photography, fiber art, acrylic, oil, and watercolor paintings and sculptures. Information about upcoming events at the TLCA can be found at www.trilakesarts.org. Photo by David Futey.

Return to the top of the page

AARP recognizes veterans and Lutheran Church, Nov. 10

See the photos on page 36 in the on-line version of this issue

  • The Nov. 10 meeting of the Black Forest AARP Chapter honored the chapter’s veterans and widows of veterans. Pictured: Standing L-R: Ted Lunacek, Louis Schwarzman, Marty Brauns, Howard Pease, Bill Bishop, Jim Hidy, Don Von Gunden, Charles Karlstrum, Ray Rozak, Stan Beckner, Nick Kneebone. Sitting: Waldo Pendleton, Jim Walker, Catherine Arnold, Lexie Manfrin, Norma Jean Richardson, Carolyn Jaworski, Gwen Burk, Electa Beckner.
  • At the same meeting, the Black Forest Lutheran Church was presented one of the four statewide 2010 AARP Colorado Community Partner Awards. Pictured L to R: Black Forest Lutheran Church staff member Lisa Regennitter and Pastor Ken Hohag received the award presented by Stanley Beckner, AARP Colorado Outreach Specialist. The award recognized the outstanding church programs and activities during 2010 that measurably contributed to the local community. The Black Forest AARP Chapter partnered with the church in several activities that were free and open to the public. Photos and information provided by Stanley Beckner.

Return to the top of the page

Tri-Lakes Cares receives Empty Bowl proceeds, Nov. 13

See the photos on page 36 in the on-line version of this issue

  • The Empty Bowl event held Oct. 13, raised $18,277.02 which included the $2500.00 in matching funds from Modern Woodmen of America. Tom Nelson, President of Monument Hill Kiwanis, presents check to Haley Chapin, Executive Director of Tri-Lakes Cares.
  • Jack and Ginger Frank of Modern Woodmen of America present check to Chapin. Photos by Warren Gerig.

Return to the top of the page

November and December library events: Library celebrates release of Harry Potter movie

By Harriet Halbig

The Nov. 19 release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part I was celebrated by a group of teens at the library. While making wands and school ties, the group feasted on snacks and butter beer and enjoyed a drawing for Potter-related prizes.

The drawing program presented by Monart on the 13th was also well attended and a lot of fun.

Also in November, representatives of Playaway came to the library to tell patrons about their book player product, a player that can be worn around the neck and listened to with headphones. Playaways have proven popular with those who jog or walk because they do not skip. Those who travel by car can plug the player into the car’s sound system. A variety of titles are available for all ages.

December’s Read it Before You See It program for kids age 9 to 12 features Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis. Read the book and come to the library to discuss it before its premiere. There will be crafts, snacks, and a chance to win a pass to see the show. Register online or call 488-2370. The program will be on Wednesday, Dec. 8, from 4:15 to 5:15 p.m.

On Saturday, Dec. 11 there will be a Circus Toy Workshop with the Salida Circus. The Salida Circus elves will need some new recruits to try out some toys: bucket stilts, juggling scarves, spinning plates. Are you willing to give our circus elves a hand? Best for ages 4 through 14. The program will be at 1:30 p.m.

The Monumental Readers will discuss The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho on Friday, Dec. 17, at 10 a.m. New members are always welcome and no registration is required.

Bask in the pleasure of holiday music by teenage musicians during your Saturday visit to the library. Come for Holiday Harps and colossal cookies on Saturday, Dec. 18, from 1 to 3 p.m. It’s sponsored by the Tri-Lakes Friends of the library. Enjoy a concert and decorate cookies to take home.

The artwork on the walls during December is Out of the Darkroom—Into the Light, photography by David Vessey.

In the display case will be a Christmas collection contributed by Aimee Perdue.

Palmer Lake events

Palmer Lake’s Paws to Read dogs will enjoy listening to you in December. Newfoundland Jax will be at the library on Saturday, Dec. 4, at 11 a.m. Sheltie Misty will be on hand on Thursday, Dec. 16, at 4:30 p.m. Read to a dog and select a prize.

Children are invited to decorate colossal cookies on Saturday, Dec. 18, at 10:30 a.m. Plenty of frosting and sprinkles will be available for creative kids.

The Palmer Lake Book Group will discuss The Samurai’s Garden by Gail Tsukiyama at 9 a.m. on Jan. 7. New members are welcome and no registration is required.

Happy Holidays from all of us at the library!

Please note the following holiday schedule changes: The libraries will be closed all day on Friday, Dec. 24, and Saturday, Dec. 25, will close at 4 p.m. on New Year’s Eve and remain closed all of New Year’s Day.

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

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

  • Elizabeth Padrnos views the options for decorating a wand at the Harry Potter party. Photo by Harriet Halbig.

Return to the top of the page

Committee formed to stimulate business and tourism

By Bernard L. Minetti

On Nov. 8, the Tri-Lakes Brand Committee met to discuss and implement methods and means to put the Tri-Lakes area and its businesses, towns, and scenic attractions "on the map."

The committee consists of local entrepreneurs and Chamber of Commerce members. During the discussions, marketers from a TV station and a local radio outlet presented their ideas on a program of publicity and exposure that could draw "target" persons to the area. Corey Bishop from Fox21, a Colorado Springs TV outlet, and Deborah Brewster from KBIQ FM radio, suggested ideas to achieve that end utilizing their respective media.

Bishop and Brewster emphasized the use of media to "get the message out." Bishop explained that it was necessary to target the right audience. He said that the "right message" should convey a distinction and be consistent across all media and, more importantly, the message must be singular.

Bishop explained that the message should be exhibited in high frequency repetition and in a few distinct and receptive places. The message must dominate in electronic media outlets that afford the message a massive presence so that the message is not diluted.

Students participate

A highlight of the session was the involvement of Lewis-Palmer DECA students who were invited with their advisor, Sara Mossman, to become involved in the project. Mossman explained that "DECA" is an acronym for the original organization, Distributive Education Clubs of America. Now the term is used to describe the participation of students in commercial marketing and service programs. Julie Billie, committee coordinator and emcee, told the group that the students were invited so that they might have an opportunity to "brainstorm" their ideas and plans to the Brand Committee.

Mike Diamond, Lewis-Palmer marketing teacher and DECA advisor, added that some of the goals of the DECA group could be to answer questions such as "What do people value?," "Why does anyone come to this community?," "What do tourists and others generally like or dislike?" and to conduct general marketing surveys to obtain a simplified demographic of the community. He indicated that surveys might have as their objective the ascertainment of who we want to come to the area and to question tourists, business people, and citizens as to their likes and dislikes about the community and how to generally exploit the area’s assets. Diamond is a 1987 graduate of Lewis-Palmer High School.

Monument Vice Mayor Rafael Dominguez added that the DECA students might design an overall perspective for presentation to the committee. This would provide a simple operating overview. Billie added that an additional assignment for the students in the DECA group might be to create a phrase tagline to describe the project and to submit a colorful and catchy name to cover the entire area. Students Garrett Gilkey and Chris McGaughran from Lewis-Palmer High School indicated that they were enthusiastic about the project.

Pre-event coverage urged

Local photographer Mark Kirkland discussed his ideas concerning the need for more pronounced pre-event coverage of Tri-Lakes area happenings. He vigorously endorsed the need for pre-event publicity as opposed to newspaper items that describe what has already happened. This would encourage more participation, he said. One participant suggested that an insert in the local paper would serve that purpose. Another participant challenged the insert cost.

Those involved in the discussion agreed on the need to obtain funding for this and for other purposes. Kirkland also stated that the committee should approach the objective of attracting people to come here by recognizing that area residents live here by choice due to the natural assets in the local area.

Heather Buchman, a local businessperson, advised the group that her husband, Douglas, had done a project that consisted of contacting travel magazines to obtain exposure on a generally cost-free basis. His project was offered to the group for its use.

Those present, through a show of hands, decided to postpone any decisions concerning actions to be taken until a smaller planning group could be formed to address these issues. Its primary task would be to set a planning agenda and to present the steps to activate the larger objective of exposing the Tri-Lakes area and its communities to the general public.


The next meeting of the Tri-Lakes Brand Committee will be at the Sundance Lodge on Monday, Dec. 13, at 6 p.m. Local entrepreneurs and those interested in publicizing the Tri-Lakes area should consider attending. Further information may be obtained by contacting the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce at 719-481-3282.

Bernard Minetti can be reached at bernardminetti@ocn.me

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

  • At the November Tri-Lakes Brand Committee meeting, from left, orthodontist Dr. Chad Watts, DECA students Garrett Gilkey and Chris McGaughran, DECA advisor Sara Mossman, and Deborah Brewster discuss ways to make the Tri-Lakes area become a place for tourists and others to stop and shop or visit. 
  • Left to right, Fox21 TV marketing representative Corey Bishop, gives a marketing presentation attended by Sundance Lodge managers Reese and Sandra Rodriguez, local orthodontist Dr. Chad Watts, and entrepreneur Maggie Williamson. Photos by Bernard Minetti.

Return to the top of the page

Palmer Lake Historical Society, Nov. 18: Women miners and professionals had significant roles in mining camps

By Bernard L. Minetti

In "Go West, Young Woman," presented to the Palmer Lake Historical Society on Nov. 18, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Professor Bridget Hollingsworth emphasized the dearth of readily available information concerning women and their roles and activities in early Colorado mining. She also demonstrated through a slide presentation that early Colorado newspapers did have stories about women prospectors, miners, and other professionals. Somehow, this journalistic history of women in early Colorado mining did not carry over to present times.

Hollingsworth said women in the late 19th and 20th centuries did play significant roles in mining camp activities. Besides being miners and prospectors, they were wives and professional women such as doctors and lawyers.

She said one of the women who prospected in Colorado mines was Ellen Elliott Jack, also known as Captain Jack. Jack was widowed and had lost her four youngsters to scarlet fever and then began prospecting in the Gunnison area. Eventually she became part owner of the Black Queen mine.

Hollingsworth noted that one of the impediments to women participating in the mining industry was that miners and mine owners would not employ women. Women involved in professions and those who owned businesses also had a difficult time due to their non-acceptance in the mining communities.

Hollingsworth told the story of another young lady named Susan Anderson. She said that as a young woman, Anderson came to Cripple Creek with her family. The next year at the age of 23, she enrolled in the University of Michigan as a medical student. During her training she contracted tuberculosis from one of her patients. Anderson returned to Cripple Creek to live with her grandparents, hoping that the climate would help her get well, and there tried to set up a medical practice. It was extremely difficult, Hollingsworth said, for any woman to succeed in a profession especially in a very skeptical mining area. No one trusted women doctors in those days.

Hollingsworth told several of these stories concerning the difficulties encountered by women trying to break into professions in the mining area. She concluded by saying that she had asked people in Colorado to give their impressions of life in the mining camps in Colorado. As a result, she found that these varying descriptions and stories were almost exclusively male-oriented.

At the end of Hollingsworth’s presentation, a member of the audience stood and revealed that she was a miner and had been one most of her life. Monument resident Mary E. Glenn, also known as Cripple Creek Mary, told her story about her gold mining experiences in California, Alaska, and Colorado. She is well over 75 years old and says that she still does occasional mining.

Palmer Lake Historical Society board member Hans Post asked for any society member that might be interested in becoming a board member to contact him at 719-487-7405. He is looking for candidates to be nominated for prospective board member positions beginning in 2011.

Upcoming events

Due to the holiday season, there will be no meeting in December. The annual society Pot Luck will be held at 7 p.m. Jan. 20 at the Palmer Lake Town Hall.

Bernard Minetti can be reached at bernardminetti@ocn.me

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

  • Anthropology Professor Bridget Hollingsworth prepares to present a talk on the roles that women played in the mining camps of Colorado at the Palmer Lake Historical Society’s November meeting. The talk was titled "Go West, Young Woman." 
  • Following the presentation, Monument resident Mary E. Glenn, also known as Cripple Creek Mary, told some of her life experiences. She stated that she had been a gold miner most of her life. She told the group that she had mined gold in California, Alaska, and Cripple Creek. Asked if she still mined, Glenn replied an emphatic, "Yes!" Glenn is well over 75 years old. Photos by Bernard Minetti.

Return to the top of the page

Workforce Center rep talks to vets about job opportunities

By Bernard L. Minetti

Retired Air Force Maj. Bill Spindler addressed a group of veterans at a Monument VFW meeting Nov. 16 to explain the U.S. Labor Department’s efforts at restoring employment to local veterans and civilian unemployed. Spindler works at the Labor Department-funded Pikes Peak Workforce Center. He is a veterans employment and training specialist and a Disabled Veterans Outreach Program specialist. He explained that his efforts are directed not only to the veterans but also to civilian unemployed.

Spindler explained that the center provides one-on-one assistance, resume, and interviewing assistance, vocational guidance, job referrals, job development, education/training assistance, work/study opportunities, credentialing/apprenticeships, government employment opportunities, and bonding assistance. He said opportunities are available and that what is needed is the ability to tie into the system to find the openings.

The center assists in locating those employment opportunities. Spindler urged all those seeking employment to contact his office at 719-667-3724.

Bernard Minetti can be reached at bernardminetti@ocn.me

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

  • Retired Air Force Maj. Bill Spindler. Photo by Bernard Minetti

Return to the top of the page

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.

Historic Monument Small Town Christmas, Dec. 4

This day full of holiday activities includes a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus, holiday crafts for the kids, reindeer, miniature donkeys, carolers, hayrides, hand-painted holiday banners, a Christmas tree lighting, merchant special events, and refreshments throughout historic downtown Monument, Dec. 4, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Pick up a location and event flier from a participating merchant or call Vicki Mynhier, 884-8016, for more information.

Toys for Tots at WMMI, Dec. 1-18

The Western Museum of Mining & Industry (WMMI) will try to fill an ore cart with toys for needy children Dec. 1-18. Donate a new unwrapped toy for Toys for Tots and get one free admission when a second admission of equal or greater value is purchased. Museum hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Museum tours begin at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. WMMI is located at 225 North Gate Blvd. (I-25 Exit 156 A) in Colorado Springs. For more information, e-mail rsvp@wmmi.org, call 488-0880, or visit www.wmmi.org

Santa on Patrol, Dec. 18 - Police and Fire Departments’ Holiday Toy Drive

The Monument Police Department and the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Department need toys for the annual Tri-Lakes-area Santa on Patrol. Last year 1,000 toys were delivered to children in our area, and your help is needed to reach that goal again. If you would like to donate to Santa on Patrol, bring unwrapped new toys or gift cards to the Monument Police Department (645 Beacon Lite Rd.), the Palmer Lake Police Department, Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Department fire stations 1, 2, and 3, the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Department Administration building (166 Second St., Monument), or any District 38 elementary school.

Monument Police Chief Jacob (Santa) Shirk and the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Department elves will deliver toys to children in the Tri-Lakes area Dec. 18, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The public is invited to visit with Santa and the elves at 1 p.m. at the Lewis-Palmer School District 38 Administration Building, 146 Jefferson St., Monument. For more information, call 484-0911.

Clear snow and ice around mailboxes for letter carriers

Letter carriers are instructed to not deliver to mailboxes and locations that are too hazardous or difficult to access. Support your letter carrier in providing safe and timely delivery of your mail. Following snowstorms and bad weather conditions, please clear a safe path to your mailbox or business.

Help for heating bills

The Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) helps residents struggling to pay their home heating bills. LEAP benefits provide assistance to help families with their heating bills but are not intended to pay the entire bill. Last winter, 15,999 households in El Paso County received help from the LEAP program. The eligibility period for LEAP runs through April 30. Applications are accepted each year during the eligibility period. Application packets will automatically be mailed to residents who received LEAP assistance last year at the address where they were living at that time. For more information about LEAP benefits, call 1-866 HEAT-HELP (1-866-432-8435).

Sheriff’s Office announces YouTube channel

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

Donala’s Customer Assistance Program

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

Senior Beat newsletter—subscribe for free!

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

Return to the top of the page

Prior Up Next

Home  About  Advertise  Archive  Calendar  Contact  Donate  Help  Links  Maps  Subscribe  Topics  Updates
Contact us at (719) 488-3455, ads@ocn.me, editor@ocn.me, or P.O. Box 1742, Monument, Colorado 80132-1742.
This page was last modified on January 24, 2023. Home page: www.ocn.me
Copyright © 2001-2023 Our Community News, Inc. All Rights Reserved.