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Our Community News - Home Vol. 11 No. 6 - June 4, 2011

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Life of Wescott Chief Edwards honored

By Jim Kendrick

On June 1, 40 fire trucks formed a procession in honor of Chief Jeff Edwards, of the Donald Wescott Fire Protection District. He died at age 48 on May 25 after a heroic two-year battle against stage IV pancreatic cancer.

Shown above is the procession turning from southbound Voyager Parkway for the memorial service held June 1 at New Life Church, attended by about 300 people.

Edwards earned the nickname "Never Give Up" while living far beyond the six-month prediction he was given when diagnosed in 2009. He continued to work full-time at Wescott and even won a body building contest during his illness.

Firefighters from throughout El Paso County were joined by numerous Wyoming Air National Guard firefighters Edwards served with for many years, including three deployments to Iraq in recent years, to help render full fire service and military honors.

Edwards previously served on active duty as an Army Ranger in special operations for 15 years, including numerous classified assignments to Central and South America before joining the Guard.

He rose through the Wescott ranks since 1995 from volunteer to chief in 2006. He is survived by wife Deborah, daughter Amber, and son Brian.

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

Additional coverage of local fire protection districts starts here.

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Woodmoor district approves multi-million dollar water deal

By Candice Hitt

On May 12, the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District Board of Directors approved a contract to purchase water rights and reservoir storage on 3,500-acre JV Ranch in southern El Paso County about four miles southeast of Fountain. The board also approved sending a letter to district residents explaining the proposed purchase.

The purchase would provide rights to 2,500 to 3,400 acre-feet of water per year, which would cover a significant part of the district’s annual demand for water. An acre-foot is 326,851 gallons. The reservoir is a 70-acre facility with decreed water storage rights for approximately 700 acre-feet.

The district would need to pursue, through water court, conversion of the agricultural water rights for municipal use.

The purchase cost is approximately $25 million to $31 million, depending on the final water rights approved by the water court.

The district has up to 120 days to conduct due diligence investigations into the ranch property, the storage reservoir, and the water rights. Assuming the purchase goes ahead, the district does not anticipate being able to close on the property until the end of the year.

Survey shows satisfaction with district

District Manager Jesse Shaffer and Assistant Manager Randy Gillette presented the results of the spring 2011 opinion survey sent out to customers to gather feedback on the current service provided by the district and consumer knowledge of the current and future water supply.

A summary of the survey indicated an overall favorable opinion of district operations and customer service. Most of the 611 respondents expressed satisfaction with district water quality and delivery. Results also indicated customers have a high knowledge of limitations of water sources as well as the role that water conservation plays in potentially delaying future cost increases.

The opinion survey included areas that need improvement by the district, specifically, better website and rebate program promotion. The results are posted on the district’s website, www.woodmoorwater.com.

The district plans to continue to raise public awareness and education on the need to conserve water.

2010 financial audit results

The results of the 2010 financial audit were given to the district by Pat Hall, CPA. The results showed the district had $37 million in net assets.

Corrections to poster contest information

Some of the "Be Water Wise" poster contest results were incorrect in the May edition of OCN. The posters "Save Water" by Jonathan Van Dyke, a fourth-grader from Lewis-Palmer, and the poster "Low Flow Toilet" by Julia Howe, a fourth-grader from Monument Academy, won first place. The schools that participated in the poster contest were Monument Academy, Lewis-Palmer, and Prairie Winds Elementary.


The next regular board meeting will be held at 1 p.m. June 9 at the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District Office, 1845 Woodmoor Dr., Monument. For information: 488-2525.

The district’s website is www.woodmoorwater.com.

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

Additional coverage of local water and sanitation districts starts here.

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Donald Wescott FPD special board meeting, May 10: Fire station construction contract signed

By Jim Kendrick

The Donald Wescott Fire Protection District board held a special public meeting at 7 p.m. May 10 in the Station 1 conference room to sign the design-build contract award with Colarelli Construction for the new fire station that will be located on the northeast corner of Highway 83 and Stagecoach Road.

Wescott Chief Vinny Burns, Assistant Chief Scott Ridings, Brad Schmitt from Colarelli Construction, and Paul Anderson, Wescott’s water attorney, also attended the meeting.

There was no public comment during this special meeting. After all the details in the contract were discussed and finalized, the board approved the contract by a 4-1 vote, with Directors Scott Campbell, Joyce Hartung, Harland Baker, and Bo McCallister in favor. Director Greg Gent voted against the motion to approve the contract because he opposed starting construction prior to issuance of a well permit.

The value of the design-build contract is approximately $1.8 million. About $100,000 has also been spent on permitting and related site expenses. Also, about $150,000 has been budgeted for furniture and other building operational requirements that are not part of the Colarelli contract.

The meeting adjourned at 9:04 p.m.

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

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Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District, May 25: District receives regional EMS Agency of the Year award

Below: From left are fire medics Max Mabrey and Erin Lamb-Smith, Battalion Chief Mike Dooley, and fire medic Keegan Black. Lamb-Smith receives her Achievement of Excellence Certificate from Dooley. Photo by Bernard Minetti.

Below: From left are Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District Board Director Barbara Kelly and Battalion Chief Greg Lovato as President Charlie Pocock displays the Plains to Peak regional EMS Agency of the Year award received by the district. Director Bruce Fritzche looks on from the right. Photo by Bernard Minetti.

By Bernard L. Minetti

Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District Board President Charlie Pocock announced May 25 that the district has been recognized as the Emergency Medical Service Agency of the Year by the Plains to Peaks emergency medical and trauma service region, consisting of Teller, El Paso, Lincoln, Kit Carson, and Cheyenne counties.

He added that Battalion Chief Greg Lovato and fire medic Erin Lamb-Smith were instrumental in the district achieving the award through their dedication and professionalism.

At a photo session at Station 3, paramedic Lt. Max Mabrey mentioned that Robert Ferris, Memorial Hospital’s medevac coordinator, nominated the district due to the unusually high number of cardiac arrest "saves" that had been achieved by the district’s EMS operations. He said Lamb-Smith was instrumental in helping to achieve that quality of emergency care for the fire district. Lovato is the coordinator of training and operations of the EMS section of the district’s fire force.

Financial report

In his financial report, Treasurer John Hildebrandt noted that property tax revenues had exceeded the goals for the April 30 report by approximately 11 percent. He also pointed out that specific ownership taxes had slightly exceeded the monthly goal but that the total was $46,903 less than last year at this time. Ambulance revenues were a little more than 12 percent ahead of the monthly objective. Certain monthly expenses were up slightly due to individual one-time payments that caused higher monthly totals. Overall expenses were 3.53 percent lower than the budgeted expectations.

Residential sprinkler systems

Board President Pocock read the seventh article concerning residential sprinklers into the record. This report amplifies the need for an antifreeze solution in home systems.

"Residential Fire Sprinkler System or No Fire Sprinkler System, Article Seven

"This is an update to the use of antifreeze solution in a residential fire sprinkler system. As of March 21, 2011, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has approved the use of two kinds of antifreeze. This is the wording from NFPA 13D (2010 edition), ‘Premixed antifreeze solution: a mixture of an antifreeze material with water that is prepared and factory-mixed by the manufacturer with a quality control procedure in place that ensures that the antifreeze solution remains homogeneous.’

"Glycerin type in a 50 percent solution provides protection down to minus 20.9 degrees and propylene glycol type in a 60 percent solution provides protection down to minus 6 degrees. But we need protection down to minus 40 degrees in El Paso County. The antifreeze solution needs to be tested on an annual basis to determine if the solution has settled.

"Antifreeze solutions are heavier than water. If the protection of the pipes is a concern, extra insulation can be placed over the pipes, dry-pipe system or a preaction system can be used instead of a wet pipe system. We need a better antifreeze solution or perhaps a compressed gas or dry-type of extinguishment agent.

"Please visit NFPA.org for more information not only for residential fire sprinkler systems. There is information on smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms and other safety information in and around your home."

Fire Chief Robert Denboske noted that the district will take part in the 2011 Summer Soulstice event. The district is a member of the Historic Monument Merchants Association and as such participates as an educational feature by teaching and demonstrating various pieces of firefighting equipment. The district also explains fire safety to whoever is interested.

The event takes place in downtown Monument on June 18 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Some of the highlights will be the pottery demonstrations, a band called Gloss, a Garden for the Soul potting party for kids, bean bag tosses, caricature illustrations, fun at the Front Street Corral, the Lewis-Palmer High School trombone quartet, and a presentation of new art at the Monument Town Hall.

District Training Officer Mike Keough presented the training statistics for April. The total personnel training hours were 266.5. Of this total, he noted that 142 were Fire/All Hazard Specific, 86 were EMS specific, and 38.5 were physical fitness hours. Most significant, Keough explained, was the S212 training, which consisted of wildfire chainsaw tree cutting. Members of the B shift of the firefighting force were certified or recertified in this two-day event.

Battalion Chief Greg Lovato advised the board that Keough, who was the event instructor, did a superb and most professional job teaching this certification event.


The next Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District Board meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, June 22, at the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District Administration Center at 166 Second St. in Monument. For further information regarding this meeting, contact Fire District Administrative Assistant Jennifer Martin at 719-484-0911.

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

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Donald Wescott Fire Protection District, May 25: Pension board hears status changes for fund members

By Jim Kendrick

On May 25, the Donald Wescott Fire Protection District board first held a semi-annual volunteer firefighter pension board meeting, then a regular board meeting. Directors Joyce Hartung and Greg Gent and Chief Vinny Burns were excused from the meetings.

Pension board meeting

Volunteer firefighter Lt. Bryan Ackerman attended the pension board meeting, along with Directors Scott Campbell, Harland Baker, and Bo McCallister and Assistant Chief Scott Ridings.

Volunteer firefighter Lt. Tim Hampton was sworn in by board President Campbell to fill the vacancy created by the recent retirement of Battalion Chief Mike Badger, a former pension board director and volunteer firefighter.

Ackerman reported on changes in status of some of the members of the pension fund:

  • One volunteer firefighter had moved into fully retired status and started receiving a pension as of Jan. 1.
  • One volunteer firefighter was moved into non-active but fully vested status with his pension to begin in two years.
  • One volunteer firefighter was moved into active status and is now also vested.
  • The seven newly sworn-in volunteer firefighters will not be formally added to the program until they complete one year of service, though all their service will count.
  • Two former volunteer firefighters are now non-active due to moving to the paid staff.

The pension fund’s current balance is about $882,000. The Colorado Fire and Police Pension Association recently analyzed the district’s pension program and found that it is fully funded from an actuarial perspective. The association analyzes each participating district’s or department’s pension program every other year.

The pension board adjourned at 7:30 p.m.

Regular board meeting

The three directors present then called the regular meeting to order at 7:32 p.m. Directors Joyce Hartung and Greg Gent and Chief Vinny Burns were excused.

Campbell reported the death of medically retired Chief Jeff Edwards on May 25, after his two-year battle against stage IV pancreatic cancer. Campbell noted that the department would continue to look after Edwards’ wife Deborah, and children, Amber and Brian. "Knowing that this was going to happen doesn’t make it any easier," Campbell said.

A memorial service for Edwards was scheduled for June 1 at New Life Church after this meeting adjourned. Click here for a report on the memorial service. Information about Edwards’ contributions to the nation and district is available on the district’s home page at www.wescottfire.org.

Financial report

Administrative Assistant Cheryl Matthews reported that 31 percent of the 2011 annual budget had been expended through the end of April. Budgeted wildland firefighting supplies were purchased in April in preparation for wildfire season. Matthews noted that she would now be presenting monthly requests for payment by Colarelli Construction to the board for approval.

Board Chairman Campbell and Secretary Gent are authorized to sign the checks to Colarelli.

Matthews and Ridings also recommended that the district hire a consultant CPA to support Matthews and the chiefs in budget preparation for 2012.

Chief’s report

Ridings reported that there were 116 calls in April, with no injuries. Baker asked that the staff prepare reports for the board on response times once the new fire station on Highway 83 is opened and analyze the changes that result in quality of service.

Ridings said a contract remains to be signed between Chief Burns and Shamrock Ranch owners David and Mary Wismer, who donated five acres to Wescott for the new station, regarding maintenance of the retention pond for the site. This is the last step required for county approval for construction to begin.

The district will offer chopped firewood for sale to the community from the trees removed from this site prior to breaking ground. Proceeds will be used for the department volunteers’ "Rescue One" fund.

Fire Marshal Margo Humes reported that 16 businesses have been visited in the past four months. Campbell suggested that the staff automate district fire marshal recordkeeping in cooperation with the Colorado Springs Fire Department to facilitate sharing of data.

Humes noted that the district had sponsored a successful cleanup and chipping day in Pleasant View Estates. Two dumpsters were filled.

Two training sessions for district residents on cleanup and landscaping for wild fire mitigation will be presented in Fox Run Park on June 6 and June 18. For more information, call 488-8680.

McCallister asked Ridings to update the district’s website more promptly. Matthews and Ridings said they were negotiating a contract for web hosting and site maintenance. The cost will likely exceed the amount budgeted for 2011. Campbell said that savings from other line items could be used to cover additional costs.

The meeting adjourned at 8:19 p.m.


The next regular meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on June 22 at Station 1, 15415 Gleneagle Drive. Meetings are normally held on the fourth Wednesday of the month. Information: 488-8680.

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Students honored for fire safety video

By Bernard L. Minetti

Under the direction of video production class teacher Dan Marcus, students at the Lewis-Palmer Middle School submitted a fire safety video on the subject of smoking safety to the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District Fire Marshal’s Office. It was judged best in content and video techniques.

On May 20, Fire Marshal Curtis Kauffman presented certificates to the winning students and gift certificates for Papa John’s Pizza and Game City. The students also were treated to a ride on a fire truck from Station 3, at which time Fire Capt. John Vincent, engineer Mo Ayala, and fire medic Morgan Cudney explained the techniques of truck operation and firefighting to them.

The winning student producers included River Jones, Wyatt Bagnall, Anthony Brandt, and Justin Harrell.

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

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Lewis-Palmer District 38 Board of Education, May 5 and 19: Departure of students to other districts examined

By Harriet Halbig

The Board of Education of Lewis-Palmer School District 38 discussed the issue of students leaving the district to attend schools in neighboring districts at its May 5 work session.

Cathy Wilcox, a member of the District Accountability Advisory Committee (DAAC) and a district parent, reported that a small committee had formulated a survey that was sent to parents who requested transcripts or other school records for their students who were transferring to neighboring districts. Focus groups of parents, Building Accountability Advisory Committees, (BAACs) and Parent Teacher Organizations (PTOs) were also consulted.

The study determined that District 38 students enroll in 14 districts or schools in addition to District 20. Several of these students attend an online academy. District 38 enrolled students from about six districts, including D-20, Falcon, and Douglas County. It is difficult to be specific in numbers, because students need only reapply when transitioning from elementary to middle school and middle school to high school. Parents also often enroll in several places, making the decision of which to attend at the last moment.

The board and study group discussed various study options in neighboring districts and whether it would be practical to adopt any of those models in D-38. In some cases, it appears that similar offerings are already in use, but D-38 is not branding and publicizing them to the extent of the other districts.

Interim Superintendent Ted Bauman commented that some of the cultural aspects of schools, such as requiring uniforms or offering a formal character education curriculum, may not be appropriate for D-38, while it offers superior advanced placement classes and music and sports options. He said that the district considered creating magnet schools in the mid-’90s and rejected it.

Bauman also mentioned the discomfort of parents with the idea of instability, following the reconfiguration of the district this year. There is no realistic way to predict when such a change will be necessary in the future, he said.

District 20 is cooperating with the Mormon Church by allowing high school students to leave campus during school hours to attend seminary. District 38 could offer a similar option, because the church is located between the two high schools. In this way, the students would not have to attend seminary before school hours. While this may not result in students returning to the district, it may attract those moving to the area.

The board discussed various options to improve communication between parents and their schools and the board and options for recruiting students from Monument Academy when they leave eighth grade. They also discussed recruitment for kindergarten from local preschools.

Parents of special needs children also need to feel assured that requirements for intervention and accommodation in their child’s 504 or Individual Education Plan (IEP) are being met.

The board agreed that it must promote the district and only put in place programs that it can do well, perhaps considering one new option per year.

Marketing options considered

Board member Jeff Ferguson discussed options for marketing the district, including the plan from Advantage 3 to brand assets in the district.

He said that the district must prove to parents in the district that they receive superior value for their investment in D-38. They have choices in the paths their children take to graduation and can feel assured that their children are safe and valued and treated well.

In considering a marketing campaign, a few basic decisions must be made, Ferguson said. Are we marketing the entire district or each individual building? What is our goal? Ferguson suggested an increase in enrollment by a certain percentage. What does D-38 do better than others in the area?

Approaches to marketing could be quantitative, such as referring to ACT scores or the graduation rate, or qualitative, such as offering profiles of our graduates and where they have gone after graduating.

Sixth-grade evaluation report

Assistant Superintendent of Student Learning Shirley Trees reported on the results of incorporating sixth-grade students into the elementary schools during this year.

Students, parents, BAACs, and PTOs were surveyed in recent weeks. Students liked the core classes, changing teachers, and the range of exploratory subjects offered.

Some teachers of grades K-5 were less happy with the school-within-a-school concept and wished that the sixth grade were incorporated into more school-wide activities such as assemblies.

Various board members said that they have heard only positive remarks from parents and students.

Budget for 2010-11

The board approved the final budget for 2010-11, in which revenues exceeded expenditures by $500,000.

Discussion of 2011-12 budget

Assistant Superintendent for Operations Cheryl Wangeman outlined the reserve accounts for the district for the coming year. She said that the overall focus is to meet budgetary constraints while maintaining the present high achievement level.

Board member Gail Wilson said she has spoken with members of other districts’ boards and learned that there is no optimum level for reserves. TABOR requires a 3 percent reserve, and the D-38 board has voted to retain an additional 3 percent. The public may object to too large a reserve because it is revenue not being spent on the students, she said. Ferguson and board member Mark Pfoff agreed. Board member Robb Pike favors a larger reserve and would like to see a larger return on the investment of the reserve funds (currently less than 1 percent).

Ferguson cautioned that spending nothing on transportation is not sustainable, because the maintenance costs will rise.

The board concluded that there are several suggestions from the Long Range Planning Task Force that may result in further savings. Additional revenue sources are still being examined.

Examination of future priorities

Bauman was asked to list budget cuts over the past few years that he felt would result in lower quality education in the future. His list was long, including the pay freeze for district employees, larger classes, loss of instructional coaches, elimination of the curriculum director, reduction of computers available to students, and various interventions to help students get up to grade level in such areas as reading, math and writing.

Of the list, Bauman said he would first restore smaller class sizes, pay increases, and reading intervention, followed by additional teacher training, instructional coaches and technical support.

Mill levy override discussion

Board President John Mann commented that it is hard to have a long-term plan without knowing what resources will be available. With a mill levy override (MLO), the district could be assured that a certain level of funding will be available.

Wilson commented that state funding will recover very slowly as the economy improves.

Ferguson said that it is critical for the board to communicate to the public about what is needed to maintain the present level of achievement in the district. The board is charged with supplying the necessary information to the voters. He suggested that using some of Bauman’s examples would be useful in framing the discussion.

Salary and wage schedules for 2011-12

The board passed a motion to retain the pay freeze for the coming year, agreeing to readdress the issue when the enrollment numbers are available in October.

Bauman to leave effective May 27

The board approved the resignation of Interim Superintendent Bauman effective May 27. Each member expressed thanks for his hard work and leadership during his tenure. Bauman expressed his thanks to the board and those with whom he has worked this past year.

Citizens’ comments

Dr. David Cloud said that he was asked to decide what would be needed for successful passage of an MLO. He said that he is now prepared to discuss the matter and listed several conditions.

DAAC Co-Chair Steve Braun commended the board for its transparency in explaining and passing the revision in transportation, resulting in the reduction of two bus routes. He said, however, that it is unfortunate that one neighborhood bears a disproportionate burden and that the parents in the district should have been allowed to express their opinions before the vote was taken.

District parent Georgina Gittens congratulated the board for creating an elementary school in Jackson Creek and commented that increased enrollment confirmed the wisdom of the decision. She said, however, that the savings realized by decreasing access to buses may not be realized if parents choose to move their students out of the district.

Local resident Gordon Reichal commented that he had learned the district had received a letter from the Colorado Department of Education regarding misreporting of attendance and transportation statistics in the years 2003-07 and requiring a refund to the state of nearly $200,000. He asked that the district verify the demand, review the data reported to the state in the years 2008-10, and identify the individual responsible for the reporting.

Bauman later confirmed that the letter had been received. He said that the statement is being appealed and that all individuals reporting during that time are no longer employed in the district.

Public commendations

Dena Sikole of the Adapted Physical Education program presented certificates to four individuals for their support of the program: Lois Green, grant writer; Ron Pitt representing the Kiwanis Club; Lisa Simms representing the Tri-Lakes Women’s Club; and Tim Walter, representing the Knights of Columbus. Sikole showed slides of students participating in the program in fishing, swimming, bowling and riding therapy.

Bauman awarded certificates to district employees who assisted the district in helping people displaced by the acid leak from a train on April 20.

Members of the Palmer Ridge Chamber Singers performed several songs.

Consent agenda

The board approved several routine matters, such as minutes of previous meetings, contracts, and lists of employees and substitutes.


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

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

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District Accountability Advisory Committee, May 10: Committee hears report on Gifted Education

Below: Retiring administrative liaison Dr. Shirley Trees was presented with a cake and a flowering plant at her final DAAC meeting. Photo by Harriet Halbig.

By Harriet Halbig

The Lewis-Palmer School District’s District Accountability Advisory Committee (DAAC) received an annual report on the Gifted Education program from facilitator Dr. Susan Anderson at its May 10 meeting.

Anderson said that the program had undergone a CGER (Colorado Gifted Education Review) recently, evaluating the district’s performance regarding state standards. District 38 has 230 elementary students and 565 secondary students who are identified as gifted. Students may be identified at any age, beginning in preschool.

Some identifying characteristics are intellectual capacity, vocabulary, sensitivity, intensity, and performance on various tests. No one data point is used to identify students as gifted. A student may be identified as gifted in one or more fields of study.

At the elementary level, identification as gifted results in an individualized program for each student to include higher-level math or reading instruction and the possibility of whole grade acceleration.

At the secondary level, students receive advice on choice of subjects, single subject acceleration, and advanced placement classes. In addition, they receive assistance in selecting colleges and completing applications.

Plans for the program include the development of identification criteria for students gifted in the arts, creativity, and leadership capability. Further training will also be available for gifted education facilitators at each location.

Board of Education update

Board of Education liaison Gail Wilson reported that the high school graduation location has been moved from the Air Force Academy campus to the New Life Church in northern Colorado Springs due to heightened security at the academy.

Wilson also reported that the state Legislature has voted to cut funding of K-12 education by $228 million for the school year 2011-12 instead of the originally proposed $375 million. Per pupil funding in the coming year will decrease by approximately $325.

A suggested website for public education funding information is ednewscolorado.org.

Wilson also reported that Sandy Brandl has been named principal of Lewis-Palmer High School and that Interim Superintendent Ted Bauman and Dr. Shirley Trees and Dr. Marie Revak will be leaving the district at the end of June.

She cautioned that the board feels that budget cuts being discussed this year are not considered sustainable for the long term. These cuts include the dissolution of an administrative department.

DAAC annual report to the Board of Education

DAAC Co-Chair Steve Braun asked for suggestions on subjects to cover in the committee’s annual report to the Board of Education. He plans to include the rally on ballot issues impacting the district, participation in selection of the district’s new superintendent, discussion of academic integrity, and activities of the Committee for Political Achievement.

Braun announced that co-chair Cori Tanner will no longer be the DAAC co-chair next year in order to concentrate her attention on the Committee for Political Achievement.

Braun invited members of the committee to volunteer as a new co-chair, requesting a two-year commitment. District policy specifies that a DAAC co-chair may not also serve as the chair of a building advisory committee.

Committee for Political Achievement

Committee for Political Achievement (CPA) Chair Cori Tanner reported that she still feels such a sub-group is useful to the DAAC. The goal of the committee is to present a vision of District 38 to legislators in Denver.

Tanner said that she hopes to find additional members for the committee so that she is not the only representative visible to state officials. She said that the committee strives to communicate with stakeholders in the community as well as with the Legislature.

Future initiatives and questions

The next meeting of DAAC, in September, will involve the election of new leadership. Administration liaison Trees reminded the group that it is required to schedule nine meetings each academic year.

Committee member Deb Goth recommended a return to meetings involving reports on the activities at each building.

There was a brief discussion of changes in school bus routes approved by the board at its last meeting. Two routes have been eliminated due to a redrawing of the walking boundaries (see the Board of Education article in the May 2011 issue of OCN). Bear Creek parent Georgina Gittins commented that the amount of savings due to the elimination of the two bus routes will be altered by the fact that additional crossing guards must now be hired near her school.

Braun suggested that Gittins contact Robin Mossman of the district’s Transportation Department with her concerns.


The District Accountability Advisory Committee meets at 7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month. The committee does not meet in June, July and August. The next meeting will take place on Sept. 13 at the district’s learning center, 146 Jefferson St. in Monument.

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

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Exceptional Students Learning Team, May 11: Personal Learning Profile details special needs

By Harriet Halbig

Amber LeBandt, a Severe/Moderate Needs teacher at Kilmer Elementary School, spoke to the Exceptional Students Learning Team (ESLT) on May 11 about a suggested tool parents and students can use to introduce their special needs students to their teachers.

The Personal Learning Profile (PLP) is a DVD created by parents, children, or IEP (Individual Learning Plan) teams. It is presented to the teacher before the school year. LeBandt has found that lengthy written descriptions of a student’s abilities and weaknesses often are disregarded.

A PLP provides a visual, brief summary of a student, including hobbies, attention span, abilities, and weaknesses. When a physical disability is involved, such as speech, hearing or vision difficulties, the PLP explains the extent to which the student requires special help. The same applies to such conditions as cerebral palsy.

In the case of such disabilities as autism, the PLP details the extent to which a student can act independently and which situations may make the student uncomfortable, such as loud noises or being in a small space with a large group of people. Accommodations and modifications in the curriculum, such as additional time for tests or the need for multiple-choice questions, are also addressed.

Stated in positive terms, the PLP suggests ways in which a teacher may engage a special needs student in the classroom, such as by assigning simple tasks or by addressing them by name and incorporating their interests into the subject being discussed.

It is hoped that a general education teacher, provided with PLPs, will have a better understanding of special needs students in the general classroom and will be more comfortable incorporating that student into the activities of the group.

The committee is considering a special meeting during the summer to create PLPs for their children with the help of LeBandt and perhaps video students from the high school and middle school.

Plans for the committee

Suzanne Faber announced that she and Marie Jackson will serve as co-chairs of the committee next year.

She said that they are considering a renaming of the group, perhaps as the Special Education Roundtable, emphasizing that discussion and sharing are major functions of the group.

The committee will not meet formally during the summer, with the possible exception of the above mentioned workshop.

The Sept. 14 meeting will include a resource fair, displaying the offerings of many consultants, organizations, and services available in the Pikes Peak area for parents of special needs students.


The Exceptional Students Learning Team meets at 6:30 p.m. on the second Wednesday of the month in the district’s learning center at 146 Jefferson St., Monument. The team does not meet in June, July, and August.

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

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Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility Joint Use Committee, May 10: JUC to reduce water group participation

By Jim Kendrick

On May 10, after a lengthy technical discussion, the Joint Use Committee (JUC) of the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility concluded that participation in numerous state nutrient criteria work group meetings was unaffordable, though still highly desirable.

The JUC also determined that it should begin focusing on finalizing its evidence on the effects of effluent copper concentrations on aquatic life in Monument Creek.

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

Update on water quality meetings

Jim Kendrick—Operations, Monument Sanitation District—gave a technical review of the scientific and statistical details of the past month’s meetings of the Wastewater Utility Council, Water Quality Forum, and numerous Water Quality Forum workgroups and subgroups on water quality and regulatory issues. The Water Quality Control Commission did not meet in May due to state furloughs of the Water Quality Control Division staff.

The JUC is a member of the Colorado Nutrient Coalition, a group of wastewater dischargers, drinking water providers, stormwater control entities, water purveyors, and various other councils and coalitions whose interests are all affected by the adoption of numeric water quality criteria for nutrients. The coalition operates under the Colorado Water Congress in Denver to increase the effectiveness of wastewater entities’ negotiations with the division.

Phosphorus and nitrogen compounds serve as nutrients for plant and aquatic life in streams, lakes, and reservoirs. However, excessive amounts of nutrients can cause excessive algal and plant growth that depletes dissolved oxygen and harms aquatic life in state waters.

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

The Nutrient Coalition is seeking regulations that allow for development of cost-effective treatment options that will improve the environment and will be sustainable from a cost and operational standpoint. Preliminary cost estimates range from $5 million to $50 million to install the types of new biological nutrient removal systems that are projected to be required of small facilities like Tri-Lakes to meet EPA demands. This facility expansion cost would have to be paid for the most part by the 5,000 homeowners served by the Tri-Lakes facility. The current value of the Tri-Lakes facility is about $6 million.

Kendrick noted that the nutrient criteria workgroup has created four subgroups that also meet monthly. The costs for having environmental attorney Tad Foster and Kendrick attend all these additional monthly nutrient-related meetings have increased significantly. Foster is only able to bill about 25 percent of the time he spends working for the coalition at the present time. Foster’s colleague, environmental attorney John Hall in Washington, D.C., can only attend one meeting a month due to coalition funding constraints.

Kendrick said that Foster had told him that his staff has conducted a pro bono research study that shows that there is no statistical correlation or relationship among total phosphorus, total nitrogen, chlorophyll-A, algae, dissolved oxygen, and pH. However, Foster believes he should be paid for finding this evidence that directly supports the Nutrient Coalition’s main assertion that the proposed nutrient regulations will not produce any significant change, much less an improvement in water quality in state rivers or reservoirs or in the Mississippi River basin or Gulf of Mexico.

Nutrient Coalition nearly out of money

Kendrick noted that the Nutrient Coalition is almost out of money due to the higher number of meetings, yet no significant decisions had been made regarding tighter 10-year interim or permanent nutrient limits starting in 2012 since the April 12 JUC meeting. The Nutrient Coalition had only budgeted money, about $5,000 per month, for meetings through June 2011.

Members of the coalition are complaining about the process becoming so much more costly and drawn out as the state continues to increase the number of monthly meetings being held, Kendrick said. Also, the Water Quality Control Commission’s hearing on tighter nutrient regulations has been postponed from June to March 2012, so there will likely be several additional months of workgroup meetings scheduled.

Foster advised Kendrick about a week before this JUC meeting that it was time for the Tri-Lakes facility to present all its biotic ligand model data on aquatic life in Monument Creek near the facility to the Water Quality Control Division. The facility’s engineering and environmental consultants have conducted studies that justify higher effluent copper limits, such as 16 parts per billion (ppb) on average and a maximum monthly limit of 24 ppb.

Facility Manager Bill Burks and his staff will also be conducting their own water quality tests for many more water quality parameters in Monument Creek than in the past. Tests will be conducted both upstream and downstream of the facility’s effluent mixing zone for the various components related to the new proposed nutrient limits for total phosphorus and total nitrogen.

This larger monthly data set can then be provided to the industry’s Colorado Data Sharing Network to establish a better statewide database for more effective opposition of questionable state assumptions about aquatic life standards for rivers and reservoirs. The state is criticized for using a very limited and incomplete set of existing statistics.

Kendrick noted that tests performed by GEI Consulting, the Tri-Lakes facility’s aquatic life consultant, had shown that the macroinvertebrates living in Monument Creek are identical above Monument Lake and at the northern boundary of the Air Force Academy, just below the discharge points of the Tri-Lakes and Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facilities.

Burks expressed great concern about losing Foster’s voice in all these nutrient criteria meetings due to lack of funding. Morgan stated that the state "might be trying to wear us down and bankrupt us. What better way of doing that than having more meetings?"

After a lengthy technical discussion of options and strategies, Monument Sanitation District Manager Mike Wicklund suggested reducing Kendrick’s attendance at workgroup and subgroup meetings until the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority cost-benefit study of nutrient treatment options is completed in September. There was consensus of the JUC members and all the others attending the meeting on this suggestion. In the short term, Burks will work on preparing evidence using copper data for discharge permit negotiations with the Water Quality Control Division.

Wicklund and/or Kendrick will continue attending monthly meetings of the Water Quality Control Commission, Colorado Wastewater Utility Council, Colorado Nutrient Coalition, and Nutrient Criteria Workgroup as well as monitoring all daily e-mail discussions by the members of the Nutrient Coalition.

2010 audit update

Burks reported that CPA Pat Hall of HCH PC had not yet sent him a final copy of the 2010 audit.

District manager reports

Wicklund reported that contractor DRC had been conducting annual sanitary sewer collection line cleaning. DRC cleaned the Tri-Lakes facility’s lines at the same time.

Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District Assistant District Manager Randy Gillette reported that Woodmoor was also conducting annual collection line cleaning and TV camera inspections to complete their system inventory. Woodmoor’s wastewater flows are closely matching drinking water production, within 1-2 percent.

Palmer Lake Sanitation District Manager Duane Hanson reported that his district would be cleaning about 30,000 feet of collection lines this summer, starting in June.

Facility manager’s report

Burks reported that the plant was operating very efficiently.

The potentially dissolved copper level for April was 8 ppb, less than the maximum permit limit of 11.7 ppb for an individual test result and equal to the maximum annual average limit of 8 ppb. Currently the facility has a temporary modification to these permit limits that increases these limits to 36.4 ppb for an individual sample and 24.8 ppb for the annual average of test results. The state has extended the temporary copper limit modification until the end of 2013. The highest influent copper concentration in March was 94 ppb for South Monument.

Average flow in April was 1.03 million gallons per day, with a monthly maximum of 1.36 million gallons per day.

Burks noted some of the costs for biennial sludge removal by Liquid Waste Management of Loveland later this year:

  • Mobilization/demobilization/permitting fee—$3,650
  • Dewatering/transportation/land application of treated sludge—$360 per dry ton for 450 tons
  • Total cost—about $165,650.

The JUC unanimously approved the proposed contract with Liquid Waste Management.

Burks gave a summary of the staff’s evacuation of the facility during the hydrochloric acid leak on the railroad track through Monument. Process control, which is usually performed on Wednesdays, was delayed one day. Burks asked Monument Public Works Director Rich Landreth to add the facility to the list of emergency evacuation notifications the town uses in an emergency.

Cleaning of the facility’s collection lines delivered a lot of grit and debris to the inlet of the plant. The materials have been cleaned out and deposited in the sludge lagoon.

The South Monument vault is showing significant deterioration of the concrete by hydrogen sulfide gas due to limited ventilation, more than the North Monument vault. Burks will budget for lining the concrete in the affected vaults with a tough plastic material to protect the concrete.

The South Monument flume for measuring flow into the facility has been recalibrated after being widened from three to six inches to minimize clogging.

DeLaney praised

The JUC praised Monument board President Ed DeLaney for 30 years of continuous service to the Town of Monument through his service on the Monument Board of Trustees, Planning Commission, Home Rule Charter Commission, and the Monument Sanitation District board.

The meeting adjourned at 11:17 a.m.


The next meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on June 14 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.

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Monument Sanitation District, May 19: Possible hike in tap fees discussed

By Jim Kendrick

On May 19, the Monument Sanitation District Manager Mike Wicklund noted that the expected operating expense of $44,000 for sludge removal may negatively affect the district’s current fund balance of $193,178.85 if tap fee revenues remain low.

Wicklund suggested that the board consider increasing tap fees, particularly the separate flat tap fee for existing Wakonda Hills homes, due to the lack of construction within the district. No fixture count calculation applies in Wakonda Hills for inclusion of existing houses. If a new home is built in Wakonda Hills on one of the few remaining vacant lots, the standard district fixture count rules for calculating the tap fee would apply.

Board Secretary Kristi Schutz suggested that the board wait to vote on the Wakonda Hills tap fee increase until a future meeting where all five directors were present. Robinove is a Wakonda Hills homeowner.

DeLaney asked for more information at the next board meeting on other nearby district tap fees and how fixture counts would apply to new construction in Wakonda Hills.

September meeting date changed

The board unanimously approved a change of its meeting date in September from Sept. 15 to Sept. 22 due to a conflict with the annual Special District Association (SDA) conference that will be held in Breckenridge Sept. 14-16. Several members of the board and staff will be out of town attending this annual conference.

Director Lowell Morgan noted that he would also be out of town for the June 17 board meeting and the June 14 Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility Joint Use Committee (JUC) meeting. Board President Ed DeLaney said he would be available to fill in for Morgan, the district’s primary representative, at the June 14 JUC meeting.

The absence of Director Chuck Robinove was unanimously excused.

Audit update

District Manager Mike Wicklund stated that the auditors had visited the district office to conduct two inspections: the annual inspection of district records and a separate final inspection of the Wakonda Hills collection system expansion project that was funded in large part by a forgivable $2 million federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act loan. The final drafts of both audits will be presented to the board at the June meeting.

Wakonda Hills collection system expansion update

Wicklund reported that a backup house grinder pump for Wakonda Hills has been received from Keen Pump Co. The pump cost $1,062.

Grinder pumps are being installed in Wakonda Hills homes that could not be cost-effectively served by gravity. The district began expanding the collection system last year in an effort to eliminate the serious health hazard caused by long-existing widespread failures of septic systems and leach fields throughout this development. Having standardized pumps and wet wells in each of these individual home lift stations will make it easier for the district to promptly service the new systems and ensure uniform reliability and performance, Wicklund said.

Wicklund also reported that one less house grinder pump would be required. A neighbor has offered an easement through his property to one of the prospective Wakonda Hills grinder pump homeowners. This easement will allow the affected homeowner to install a gravity flow service line from his house to a downhill district collection line connection point through his neighbor’s back yard, rather than having to pump residential wastewater uphill to a new adjacent collection line through a force main buried entirely within the affected homeowner’s property.

Wicklund noted that he had met with the seeding contractor, American Landscaping and Reclamation, and John Chavez of the county stormwater department about seeding in Wakonda Hills. Grass should grow back when the soil temperature exceeds 70 degrees and it rains. The contractor will reseed in the fall if still necessary. The same is true for landscaping contractor Urban Farmer with regard to seeding for the Wakonda Hills lift stations along the Santa Fe Trail.

Wakonda Hills health hazard still not eliminated

Owners of Wakonda Hills homes with failed septic systems that had been condemned by the county Health Department for some time have now included their properties in the district and have been connected to the new district collection lines.

The fate of the remaining homeowners still using failed septic systems in Wakonda Hills—and still threatening their own families’ health and that of their neighbors—has not yet been determined by the county Health Department. Many of these failed septic systems were never pumped. Numerous homeowners denied that their septic systems had failed while objecting to the construction of the new collection lines.

Tri-Lakes Views donation request discussed

Wicklund distributed copies of a letter from Betty Konarski that asked the district board to approve a contribution to Tri-Lakes Views for constructing pedestals to display pieces of art. There was consensus that the board would continue its policy to not contribute to local charitable causes like Tri-Lakes Views or the Fourth of July fireworks in order to minimize recent and inevitable future fee increases caused by tighter regulations on treating wastewater from the state and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Wicklund noted he had asked the district’s attorney, Larry Gaddis, for a legal opinion on whether it was appropriate or legal to make any charitable contributions from district fee revenues. He added that he would provide Gaddis’ legal opinion to the board at the next meeting.

The meeting adjourned at 7:40 p.m.


The next meeting will be held in the district conference room at 7 p.m. on June 16 at 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.

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Donala Water and Sanitation District, May 19: District prepares to connect to Springs Utilities, faces challenges with reclamation study and water court case

By John Heiser

At the May 19 monthly meeting of the Donala Water and Sanitation District Board of Directors, Donala General Manager Dana Duthie reported that the district is nearly ready to solicit bids for the construction work to connect the district’s infrastructure to Colorado Springs Utilities’ (CSU) pipes in the vicinity of Northgate Road. Duthie said the district hopes to start construction in June and complete the connection with CSU in July.

The service agreement with CSU calls for a minimum of 100 acre-feet of Colorado Springs water to be supplied to the district in 2011. An acre-foot is 326,851 gallons. The district will be required to draw a minimum of 200 acre-feet per year in subsequent years. The maximum amount that can be drawn per year is 1,000 acre-feet.

The initial rate is $11.12 per 1,000 gallons, plus a system use fee of $354,807. The district has also paid $296,902 for a CSU pump at Northgate Road. The total cost for the 100 acre-feet to be drawn during 2011 will be $717,319, or about $22 per 1,000 gallons. If the district obtains rights to the water from Willow Creek Ranch, the net cost for CSU transportation of the water is projected to decline to about $10.36 per 1,000 gallons.

The highest rate the district currently charges any of its customers is about $11 per 1,000 gallons, and some customers pay as little as $3.40 per 1,000 gallons. The average rate is about $5.75 per 1,000 gallons.

Water reclamation study wrestles with high costs, limited summer availability of effluent

Each year, hundreds of millions of gallons of water are being discharged into Monument Creek by the wastewater treatment plant that the Donala district shares with the Triview Metropolitan District and the Forest Lakes Metropolitan District. The Donala district has undertaken a yearlong $220,000 study called the Donala Expanded Water Supply Study (DEWSS). The study is considering ways that effluent from the plant could be captured, extensively treated, and mixed in with the district’s water supply.

The DEWSS study team includes Roger Sams from GMS, Katie Fendel and David Takeda from Leonard Rice Engineers, and Floyd Ciruli from Ciruli Associates, a polling and public relations firm.

Sams reported that the DEWSS study team had narrowed the project options to four, which were identified as Smith Creek, Brown Ranch/Jackson Creek, Monument Creek, and Jake’s Lake.

The Smith Creek, Monument Creek, and Jake’s Lake options would rely on enhanced wetlands, in most cases coupled with soil aquifer treatment. The Brown Ranch/Jackson Creek option would rely on constructed wetlands and employ extended water storage in a reservoir to be constructed on the Brown Ranch near Roller Coaster Road and Higby Road.

On May 5, the four options were presented to the district’s Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC). It was suggested at the CAC meeting that use of the Gleneagle Golf Course (GGC) be re-examined. Two options involving the golf course were added: One using constructed wetlands over the entire course and one using constructed wetlands on the central 42 percent of the course.

The estimated costs for the six options (in order by cost per 1,000 gallons):

Option Capital Annual Added
  Costs Costs Cost per
  (Millions) (Millions) 1,000 gal.
Monument Creek $4.46 $0.58 $6.53
Jake's Lake $7.04 $0.63 $8.15
GGC partial $12.34 $0.66 $9.58
Smith Creek $11.06 $0.66 $10.37
GGC entire $16.77 $0.69 $14.41
Brown Ranch/JC $19.07 $0.76 $15.02

Duthie noted that these substantial costs would be in addition to the voter-approved expenditures for infrastructure improvements to accommodate renewable water.

He added later that the costs in the table are excessive to obtain "what amounts to only about 20 percent of our overall demand."

Sams reported that one of the issues with all of the options except those involving the GGC is that there is currently a substantial commitment of effluent for golf course irrigation during May through September each year. That commitment plus an obligation to release significant amounts of effluent to Monument Creek during those same months, means the amount of effluent available for reclamation during June and July would drop to about 6.5 million gallons per month, down from a maximum of about 16 million gallons per month available for reclamation during December and January.

Eliminating all the GGC irrigation would make available about 5 million additional gallons during June and about 6 million additional gallons during July. Duthie added that eliminating GGC irrigation would also reduce the district’s revenue from water sales by about 10 percent.

Following the executive session at the end of the meeting, Sams was directed to further investigate the Monument Creek option and look at pumping the effluent farther up Monument Creek to lengthen the time in the creek.

The DEWSS schedule calls for preliminary findings to be published in July 2011 and the final report to be published in September 2011. The preliminary design would be completed in November 2011. Community meetings to discuss the project are planned for June or July and September 2011. The community meeting planned for May was postponed awaiting additional analysis by the DEWSS team.

Water court case still awaits judge’s decision

Duthie reported that there has been no decision rendered yet in the water court case on the proposed change from irrigation to municipal use for water from Willow Creek Ranch.

In November 2008, Donala completed the purchase of the ranch near Leadville and has been reducing irrigation on the ranch and seeking conversion of the excess irrigation water, which flows to the Arkansas River, for use by the district.

The district is hoping to obtain rights to about 280 acre-feet of water per year, which would cover about 20 percent of Donala’s current demand. If that is the final figure approved by water court Judge Dennis Maes then, under the terms of the ranch purchase agreement, the district will be obligated to pay Ronald Strich, the former owner of the ranch, about $408,000.

Duthie previously reported that settlement had been achieved with all those opposing the water court case except for the State Engineer’s Office and the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB). On March 8 and 9, the case was presented to Maes. Both sides presented closing arguments March 31. Susan Schneider, first assistant attorney general in Colorado’s Natural Resources and Environment Section, represented the CWCB. Jennifer Mele, assistant attorney general in Colorado’s Natural Resources and Environment Section, represented the state engineer’s office. Rick Fendel and Kara Godbehere from Petrock & Fendel represented the district. The state had until April 18 to respond to the district’s arguments and then the district had 10 days to respond to the state’s response.

It is now up to Maes to make a decision on the matter. Whichever way that decision comes out, it could be appealed to the state Supreme Court.

Other matters

  • During the three months from Feb. 1 through April 30, the district’s $3.77 million in investments managed by Davidson Fixed Income Management showed a yield of 0.34 percent, achieving a goal of beating the Colotrust Plus fund, which yielded 0.08 percent during the same period. The weighted average maturity of the district’s investments is 11.7 months.
  • Duthie reported that injection tests of one of the district’s Arapahoe aquifer wells have been completed. Leonard Rice engineers are analyzing the results. The purpose of the tests is to determine the practicality of pumping water into the Arapahoe aquifer for recovery later during periods of higher demand.
  • Duthie summarized the announced purchase by the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District of a ranch near Fountain. See the WWSD article.

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


The Donala board will hold its next regular meeting on June 16 at 1:30 p.m. at the Donala office, 15850 Holbein Drive. Meetings are normally held on the third Thursday of each month.

The district’s website is at www.donalawater.org.

John Heiser can be reached at johnheiser@ocn.me.

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Monument Board of Trustees, May 2: Farmers’ market fee approved

By Jim Kendrick

On May 2, the Monument Board of Trustees approved a revision to the town’s fee schedule including:

  • Adding a $100 fee for a special events permit; the fee is waived for nonprofit organizations
  • Adding a $200 fee for a farmers’ market permit

A recently approved farmers’ market ordinance now requires that the owner purchase a basic business license for $75 as well. The proposed cost of the license would rise from $100 to $500 based on the number of vendors participating in the farmers’ market events.

There was a lengthy discussion among the trustees about fairness and pragmatism regarding collection of sales taxes. Trustee Rick Squires suggested doing away with the graduated fee system based on the total number of vendors as problematic to enforce at best. There was consensus on Squires’ proposed revision.

Trustee Tommie Plank urged a fair fee and sales tax structure equal to that charged to permanent downtown business owners. Plank voted against the modified proposal, which passed by a 6-1 vote.

All trustees were present.

The board also approved resolutions for closing downtown streets for the Fourth of July parade. The resolutions authorize the closing of Lincoln Street, Front Street, Third Street, and Beacon Lite Road from Third Street to Second Street and the issuing of a special event permit to the Monument Hill Kiwanis Club.

The board approved a regulation stating that the application for annexation by the Family of Christ Lutheran Church on Baptist Road is in substantial compliance with state law and referred the application to the town’s Planning Commission. The church would like to convert from well and septic to public water and wastewater service from Triview Metropolitan District and had applied for inclusion by Triview.

The Planning Commission hearing was scheduled for (and held on) May 12. The Board of Trustees hearing was scheduled for (and held on) May 16. The church’s property consists of lots 45 and 46 in the Chaparral Hills Subdivision.

After opening a public hearing for citizens’ comments—there were none— and holding a discussion on trustees’ views, the board tabled a proposed regulation that provides an exception to the town code that will allow basketball hoops to be placed on the street in residential areas from May 1 to Sept. 1 if they do not block the sidewalk. Town Manager Cathy Green said the new regulation will state that the town is immune from claims by citizens regarding any damage to the hoops while in the roadway. Town Attorney Gary Shupp said he would draft an ordinance for the May 16 board meeting.

The board unanimously approved one-year extensions of continuing service agreements for engineering consulting services with Matrix Design Group Inc. and J3 Engineering Consultants Inc. There was no rate increase in either contract extension.

Trustees’ comments

Squires passed around photos of an Eagle Scout project that produced two planters as models for additional improvements to town parks.

Plank noted that evening Art Hops would be held again this year at downtown stores on the third Thursday of the month.

Trustee Gail Drumm noted that the current representative for this region to Pikes Peak Regional Building Department has not voted on lead-based paint notification regulations in a manner that is consistent with town regulations.

Drumm also asked to receive an immediate emergency notification about events like acid spills. There was a lengthy discussion between the trustees and Green on what issues they wanted immediate notification about.

The board unanimously approved the renewal of two annual liquor licenses for:

  • Wal-Mart Supercenter No. 3227, 16218 Jackson Creek Parkway
  • Eagle Wine & Spirits, 1060 W Baptist Road

The meeting was adjourned at 8:05 p.m.


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

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Monument Board of Trustees, May 16: Sanctuary Pointe gets 3-year annexation agreement extension

By Jim Kendrick

On May 16, the Monument Board of Trustees approved an extension on construction for Sanctuary Pointe.

Doug Stimple, CEO of Classic Homes, received a three-year extension on the three-year limit for starting construction on an annexed development for the Sanctuary Pointe parcel, which is also known as the former Baptist Camp. Stimple said that Classic needs to have the parcel remain part of the town in order to be able to obtain financing over the next three years.

This property runs behind Kingswood Estates, Fox Pines, and Fox Run to the north up to the green metal gate on the north side of Baptist Road at the top of the hill opposite Fox Run Park that is the access road for a water tank. The trustees unanimously approved the request without discussion.

Trustees Tommie Plank and Rafael Dominguez were absent from the meeting.

Liquor license transfer completed

The board unanimously approved the transfer of an existing liquor license at 1455 Cipriani Loop that was formerly held by Eric’s Monument Grille Restaurant to H.L. Holland LLC, owner of the 1st and 10 Sports Bar and Grille. The background investigation of the new owners had not yet been completed by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation before this hearing. The temporary transfer of this liquor license was approved by the board during the April 18 board meeting.

There was no public comment or board discussion before the unanimous approval of the final transfer.

Portable hoops code revision approved

The board approved the code revision to allow portable basketball hoops in public streets. The hoops will not be allowed in streets from Sept. 1 through May 1. The locations of the hoops must not impede pedestrian or other limited-mobility traffic.

The owners of the portable basketball hoops will be assuming all liability if they place them in public streets. However, Town Attorney Gary Shupp stated that this part of the code is not guaranteed to protect the town from lawsuits regarding portable hoops in streets.

The vote in favor of this ordinance was 4-1, with Trustee Stan Gingrich opposed. He did not state his reason for voting no.

Payments approved

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

  • $105,167 to Triview Metropolitan District for its share of March sales tax ($99,030), April motor vehicle tax ($6,000), and Regional Building sales tax ($137)
  • $9,208 to TES,Inc. for cleaning sewer lines for Triview Metropolitan District

Public comments

Ron Heard of Palmer Lake, chair of the Crawford Memorial Committee, gave the board a progress report on the upgrade of the Medal of Honor winner’s memorial at the north end of the lake. Heard noted that the Colorado Department of Transportation has designated Highway 105 as the "Medal of Honor M/Sgt. William J. Crawford Highway." An artist, general contractor, and sign-making company have been selected.

The Crawford Memorial Committee has signed a memorandum of understanding with the El Paso County Department of Parks and Recreation and the Town of Palmer Lake for maintenance of the new memorial.

Heard also reported that the dedication of the completed renovation would be delayed for a year to Veterans Day of 2012 due to a low level of donations. He asked the board to consider a donation for the memorial.

Support for parks, trails, and open space tax suggested

Bill Kerner and Susan Davies of the Trails and Open Space Coalition asked the board to support a county-wide ballot initiative in November to create a 0.35 percent sales tax for parks, trails, and open space maintenance and improvements. After a half-hour of trustees’ questions regarding the proposal, the five board members present agreed to support having a vote on this new tax.

Staff reports

The board unanimously accepted Treasurer Pamela Smith’s 2011 first-quarter financial report. Expenditures are being reduced in the various funds wherever town revenues are less than budgeted. Sales tax revenues to date are ahead of 2010 for the same period.

Public Works Director Rich Landreth noted that a broken Triview collection line that had been discovered within the Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority project has been repaired. The public works staff will seek reimbursement from the Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority once it determines which entity broke the pipe.

Landreth also reported that Second Street would be repaved from Beacon Lite Road to Front Street. After some discussion, there was consensus to continue to allow angled parking in front of the Monument Sanitation District building, but to limit the spaces to only compact cars. There was concern expressed by some trustees and Town Manager Cathy Green that long wheelbase four-door pickup trucks are an unacceptable safety hazard when backing out of these angled parking spaces into eastbound traffic.

Green said that when the town renovates Second Street with new curb and gutter where Monument Sanitation District’s driveway curb cuts are located, the town could convert these angled spaces to parallel parking. She said, "We’ll have our town lot done. It will be paved. Maybe Trustee Dominguez will have his building built, so that it will be a nice walk between the parking lot and there. Right now I’m saying, let’s try to work with that way and when we put curb and gutter in we’ll change it. If you direct me otherwise we will do it otherwise."

Green was referring to paving the town lot on Washington Street that was formerly used for the modular buildings and trailers of the Monument Police Department. Trustee Dominguez has purchased the modular building on Washington Street directly behind the Monument Sanitation District building.

After further discussion, there was consensus to continue the angled parking for compact cars only in front of the Sanitation District building.

Police Chief Jake Shirk reported capturing 32 pounds of drugs during an arrest. Also, his department is seeking reimbursement for extra expenses incurred during the railroad car hydrochloric acid spill.

Green announced that she had been asked by the owner of the Coffee Caboose to make a correction to a statement she had made at a previous board meeting. The Coffee Caboose has not closed. It has been moved from the Colorado Department of Transportation parking lot on the northeast corner of Highway 105 and Second Street to a vacant lot directly west of the Western Mining Museum on Northgate Road just east of exit 156 on I-25.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:03 p.m.


The next meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. on June 6 at Town Hall, 645 Beacon Lite Road. Meetings are normally held on the first and third Monday of the month. Information: 884-8014.

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

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Monument Planning Commission, May 11: Code changes approved to accommodate electronic signs

By Jim Kendrick

On May 11, the Monument Planning Commission approved town code revisions that essentially make the frequently changing messages on the existing Walgreens signs legal. The code formerly restricted message changes to a minimum of once per hour, a limit that the Walgreens signs never met from the time they were installed. The new regulation allows messages to change every eight seconds.

Chairman Ed DeLaney was absent from the meeting.

The original one-change per hour restriction was created in response to Trustee Tommie Plank’s and former Mayor Byron Glenn’s outspoken dislike for the signs, particularly the new electronic signs, that were installed when the Rocky Mountain Oil Change Center was expanded and remodeled about four years ago.

For more information on the disparity in sign code enforcement by the Board of Trustees, see:





This revision would also allow the staff to reduce or eliminate landscaping requirements for freestanding and monument signs "in order to adjust to site conditions." Monument signs will no longer have to be solid from the ground to the top of the sign.

In all, the proposed "adjustments to some administrative and enforcement provisions" will make the code more "user friendly" and easier to enforce, and encourage more creativity in design.

There are also numerous technical changes in the proposed code for time-temperature-date electronic signs and time limits on conformance.

After a full hour of discussion about technical issues such as the differences between time-temperature-date electronic signs and the type of electronic sign used by Walgreens, Commissioner Glenda Smith made the motion to approve and Commissioner David Gwizdalla seconded. Initially only three commissioners voted, leading to a 2-1 vote, which was insufficient to approve the motion. Smith and Commissioner Kathy Spence were in favor and Commissioner Jim Fitzpatrick was opposed.

During further discussion about this still-controversial issue, Fitzpatrick said he voted no because the new ordinance only allows American flags. He objected to a Colorado or Town of Monument flag being prohibited on an electronic sign in Monument. Fitzpatrick also objected to allowing the large, fixed billboard signs along I-25 to be changed to electronic signs that could change every eight seconds.

In another vote, Commissioner Becki Tooley also voted no. Commissioner Dave Gwizdalla abstained. Commissioner John Dick voted yes. The final vote was 3-2-1.

The commissioners then unanimously approved an amendment to the subdivision code regarding minor subdivisions, minor resubdivisions, and lot line adjustments by administrative staff reviews for parcels with four or fewer lots.

The meeting adjourned at 7:58 p.m.


The next meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on June 8 at Town Hall, 645 Beacon Lite Road. Meetings are normally held on the second Wednesday of the month. Information: 884-8017.

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

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Palmer Lake Town Council, May 12: Two trustees and two planning commissioners appointed

By Jim Kendrick

On May 12, the Palmer Lake Town Council unanimously approved the appointments of Richard Kuester and Michael Maddox as new trustees and Jim Adams and Bill Fisher as new planning commissioners. Following the votes on the appointments, Mayor John Cressman swore in Kuester and advised him that he would be the fire trustee for the Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department. Though Maddox was not present to be sworn in with Kuester, Cressman stated that he would become the economic development trustee.

The board unanimously approved the following consent items:

  • Business license for Herbal Outfitters, Chris Szeremy, 579 County Line Rd.
  • Location for the Community Gardens
  • Sports Riders contract
  • Confirmation of the appointment of new Planning Commission members Jim Adams and Bill Fisher

The board considered an amendment to its existing medical marijuana ordinance to incorporate all medical marijuana facilities with new definitions, such as for medical marijuana dispensaries and centers, to eliminate any inequities. The new ordinance was unanimously approved without discussion.

New D-38 superintendent introduced

Interim Lewis-Palmer D-38 Superintendent Ted Bauman introduced new Superintendent John Borman, who will take over after the academic year is over. Borman noted that he had been principal of Lewis-Palmer High School for the past four years after being principal of Northridge High School in Greeley the previous five years. Borman has also served as an assistant principal, athletic director, and English teacher in Greeley and Aurora in a career of "20-plus years."

Bauman also asked the board to consider increasing the fee it charges for cash in lieu of land for new site plans. Currently Palmer Lake charges $291 for a single-family home compared to $380 for a house in unincorporated El Paso County. Town Clerk Tara Berreth said the fee for cash in lieu of land for a mobile home is $167. The town does not have a separate fee status for multi- or town-home categories on a building license application. All "cash in lieu" fees are forwarded in full to D-38.

Bauman said that a new elementary school requires 10 acres, a junior high needs 25 to 30 acres, and a high school requires 50 acres or more. Often a developer does not have to donate the amount of land specified in state statutes to build a new school in a new development. The developer pays a fee (proportional to $83,160 per acre) when a building permit is purchased, rather than donating a parcel that is too small to be used by the district.

These fees are consolidated into a district capital fund for purchasing a sufficiently large lot for a new school building. However, it is unlikely that a large development will be built in Palmer Lake in the near future.

The D-38 budget for the next school year has already been cut by $2.9 million.

Town Attorney Larry Gaddis recommended that Bauman’s fee increase request be referred to the town’s Planning Commission. There was trustee consensus to refer the matter to the commission.

Cressman said the council would consider Bauman’s request for a fee increase after analyzing the fees charge in adjacent communities. Bauman thanked Cressman for the promise to consider his request.

Town Clerk Berreth asked Bauman about a D-38 request to the Town of Palmer Lake to stop being billed for a franchise fee that D-38 is being charged by Black Hills Energy. Bauman said D-38 is exempt from any franchise fees as a separate government entity. Bauman noted that D-38 has made the same request for a franchise fee waiver to the Town of Monument. He added that he would have Assistant Superintendent of Operations Cheryl Wangeman contact Berreth to clarify the issue.

Bauman said he would return to his former teaching roles at Regis University, Kiwanis, and family activities.

Kim Braun of the Palmer Lake Historical Society gave a presentation on the pictures that are in the society’s new book, Communities of Palmer Divide. This presentation was a follow-up to its April 14 presentation to the council.

Committee reports

Cressman reported that progress is being made in reviewing the town’s books.

Trustee Gary Coleman reported a successful Easter egg hunt and that $600 was raised at the volunteer Fire Department’s Easter pancake breakfast. Coleman also listed the fund-raising events that would occur in May.

Palmer Lake Police Department Kieth Moreland noted that the town had received $1,500 for the sale of a used police car it had received from the Town of Monument. He also reviewed the upgrades in skills that various officers have completed in the past 18 months. Moreland modeled a new navy blue uniform shirt that his staff has requested as the new standard and suggested that the $1,500 be used for purchasing these new shirts as the new town uniform. The cost is the same as the current uniform shirt. Police Trustee Nikki McDonald and former Trustee Richard Allen supported Moreland’s request. Cressman noted that the Police Department uses about 60 percent of the town’s budget.

McDonald’s motion to approve the purchase of these shirts for $1,500 was approved unanimously.

McDonald reported a major drug and guns arrest and a total of 161 calls for April. She reported that the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments has grants available to towns for seniors, but there is no representative for the Tri-Lakes region. McDonald said that Mark Ennis of the Health Alliance Partnership would assist her in finding a volunteer to represent this region to the PPACG committee that gives out these grants. Matching funds are required to receive a grant.

Berreth reported that the town had received a building permit for its new water treatment plant.

Trustee Dennis Stern reported that the Fire Department responded to 24 calls in April for a total of 108 calls in the first four months. Wildland training was conducted by the Hot Shot unit at the Larkspur Fire District.

Cressman stated that a dealer’s cost for repairing the Fire Department’s Ford Excursion by a dealer was too high. He noted that he was seeing the Ford "everywhere" despite its current state of disrepair, and the volunteers were running up high fuel bills for the Fire Department.

Stern reported that the town had taken over operation of the restroom at the Santa Fe Trailhead.


The next regular council meeting will be June 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.

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Board of County Commissioners, May 31: Board makes 15-year Doewood Dr. closure permanent

By Jim Kendrick

On May 31, the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) unanimously approved a resolution to vacate the temporary road segment in the middle of Doewood Drive between Woodmoor and Doewood Estates, making the long-standing road closure permanent.

County Engineer Andre Brackin was directed to develop a formal engineering plan for "minimal improvements" at a cost initially estimated to be approximately $44,500.

Brackin’s engineering design plan will be presented at a subsequent BOCC hearing on allocating funds for this work, because no money was allocated for improvements to this area in the 2011 county budget due to lack of a BOCC decision and guidance to the staff. There will also be a separate subsequent hearing on vacating the amount of existing county right-of-way for this temporary road segment. The staff first will determine how much county land in the existing right-of-way will be retained for improvements for a T-turn area in Doewood Estates by the Chisholm Trail intersection and a widened cul-de-sac turn-around for the Ridgeway Circle intersection.

The board was unanimous in directing Brackin not to plan on taking any additional land for these turnarounds due to cost constraints. Brackin will also develop drainage and seeding plans. The entire plan will be based on discussions from adjacent residents and written comments from other local, county, and state agencies.

While resolution of the final status of the long-closed and locked gate between Chisholm Trail and Ridgeview Circle has been a contentious topic for the past 15 years, no one appeared at this hearing to speak in favor of upgrading the existing 800-foot gravel segment to provide a direct connection from Woodmoor Drive to County Line Road. There were no written or verbal comments from the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office or any other county or special district emergency services agency prior to or during this hearing.


The Doewood Drive gate was initially installed by the developer of Doewood Estates for controlling traffic between Woodmoor and County Line Road after negotiations between an initial handful of Doewood Estates and Woodmoor residents and then-District 1 Commissioner Duncan Bremer led to a BOCC resolution in 1996 to allow the temporary segment of Doewood Drive to count as a temporary secondary emergency access via a county right-of-way, though this segment was closed to all but emergency vehicle access by a locked gate. However, the wording in the negotiated amendment to the Doewood Estates site plan approved by the BOCC regarding the future long-term status of this segment has proven to be ambiguous enough that it has been used as evidence by opposing factions seeking permanent closure of the connection or permanent gate removal coupled with a paving upgrade to convert Doewood Drive into a minor collector road.

Since then, there have been occasions when the chain on the gate was alleged to have been cut or the gate completely knocked down in the middle of the night by 18-wheel truck drivers who wanted to avoid the northbound I-25 weigh station on Monument Hill. Numerous speakers recounted tales of large semis or other bulky trucks becoming stranded while dodging the weigh station and having to be towed out of the two dead-ends adjacent to the gate. Similar tales of non-local truck drivers repeatedly destroying mailboxes, landscaping, and stormwater control ditches have been a recurring theme at every public meeting as well.

In the past five years, as more and more houses have been built along or near both discontinuous segments of Doewood Drive, this temporary access segment has become controversial again. One camp of homeowners has argued for opening the gate for better emergency vehicle access and convenience and the other camp has sought to permanently close and eliminate the temporary segment to improve pedestrian, bicyclist, child, and pet safety. Both camps acknowledge that the existing roadway does not meet the most basic county standards for even a minor residential street.

The 1996 BOCC resolution stipulated that the barricade would remain in place until several other streets were completed and accepted for county maintenance. Those streets, including Hammock Oaks Drive, Misty Acres Drive, Old Antlers Way, Painter Drive, Alexandria Drive, and Mepham Court, were accepted by the county on Nov. 24, 2009.

For a more complete summary of the multitude of complicated and difficult issues regarding the Doewood Drive gate, see www.ocn.me/v10n2.htm#doewood, which reports on a public comment meeting held at Palmer Ridge High School on Jan. 13, 2010. The arguments raised in public comments remained essentially the same at a second public comment meeting held at the BOCC hearing room on May 17, 2011, and at this May 31 hearing.

Hearing leads to decision after 15 years

Brackin presented an overview of the ongoing Doewood Gate issue and summarized six alternatives for the commissioners. He noted that he had added one alternative (1d) per previous board direction for a new remote-controlled gate that could be operated by emergency service vehicle drivers. He stated that his goal was to achieve final resolution of the issue at this hearing. Commissioners Amy Lathen, Dennis Hisey, and Darryl Glenn stated their agreement with Brackin’s goal several times during the hearing.

The following description of the six proposed alternatives is adapted from the staff report referred to via this link in the BOCC agenda on the county’s website for Doewood Gate agenda item 11: http://bcc.elpasoco.com/Documents/Agenda%20Items/Tuesday/2011-05-31%201%20-%2011.pdf

Doewood Drive alternatives

1a: Do nothing.

General description:

  • Road closed condition.
  • Doewood Drive remains discontinuous.
  • Existing gate condition retained.
  • Formality of the gate open/closed issue remains unresolved.

Cost item description:

  • No cost items.

Initial cost estimate:

  • No cost.

1b: Vacate road and provide minimal improvements.

General description:

  • Road closed condition.
  • Doewood Drive discontinuity formally established.
  • Emergency response and trip routing remains unimproved.
  • Formality of the gate open/closed issue is resolved.

Cost item description:

  • Vacate existing roadway right of way ($5,000).
  • Assign new street name to avoid continuity confusion ($3,000).
  • Administrative and documentation costs ($500).
  • Fabricate and install new street name signs ($2,500).
  • New Doewood Drive cul-de-sac just south of Chisholm Trail ($30,500).
  • New asphalt pavement ($27,000).
  • Establish trees and ditch along cul-de-sac perimeter for drainage and to prohibit cut-through ($3,500).
  • New formal "T" intersection at Doewood Drive at Ridgeview Circle ($6,000).
  • Establish trees and ditch along the north end of intersection to prohibit cut-through ($3,500).
  • Between cul-de-sac and Ridgeview Circle, remove ditches and provide seeding to remove roadway ($2,500).

Initial cost estimate:

  • $44,500.

1c: Vacate road and provide safety improvements to remainder of Doewood Drive.

General description:

  • Road closed condition.
  • Doewood Drive discontinuity more formally established.
  • Emergency response and trip routing remains unimproved.
  • Formality of the gate open/closed issue is resolved.
  • Improves Doewood Drive from Old Antlers Way to Woodmoor Drive.

Cost item description:

  • Vacate existing roadway right of way ($5,000).
  • Assign new street name to avoid continuity confusion ($3,000).
  • Administrative and documentation costs ($500)
  • Fabricate and install new street name signs ($2,500).
  • New Doewood Drive cul-de-sac just south of Chisholm Trail ($30,500).
  • New asphalt pavement ($27,000).
  • Establish trees and ditch along cul-de-sac perimeter for drainage and to prohibit cut-through ($3,500).
  • New formal "T" intersection at Doewood Drive at Ridgeview Circle ($6,000).
  • Establish trees and ditch along the north end of intersection to prohibit cut-through ($3,500).
  • Between cul-de-sac and Ridgeview Circle, remove ditches and provide seeding to remove roadway ($2,500).
  • Complete Doewood Drive roadway and spot enhancements ($504,000).
  • Hazard markers ($500).
  • Vegetation trimming ($2,500).
  • Improve drainage ditch ($22,500).
  • Minor roadway widening ($19,500).
  • Pavement rehabilitation ($459,000)

Initial cost estimate:

  • $548,500.

1d: Vacate road and provide minimal improvements plus electrically operated remote controlled emergency access gate.

General description:

  • Road closed to public travel condition.
  • Doewood Drive discontinuity formally established.
  • Emergency response is improved.
  • Formality of the gate open/closed issue is resolved.

Cost item description (costs):

  • Vacate existing roadway right of way ($5,000).
  • Assign new street name to avoid continuity confusion ($3,000).
  • Administrative and documentation costs ($500)
  • Fabricate and Install new street name signs ($2,500).
  • New Doewood Drive cul-de-sac just south of Chisholm Trail ($29,500).
  • New asphalt pavement ($27,000).
  • Establish trees and ditch along cul-de-sac perimeter for drainage and to prohibit cut-through ($2,500).
  • New formal "T" intersection at Doewood Drive at Ridgeview Circle ($4,500).
  • Establish vegetation trees and ditch along the north end of intersection to prohibit cut-through ($2,500).
  • Between cul-de-sac and Ridgeview Circle, remove ditches and provide seeding to remove roadway ($2,000).
  • New minimal road width roadway construction between Chisholm Trail and Ridgeview Circle for one-way emergency access vehicle travel through a remote controlled gate ($33,500).
  • Electronically operated remote controlled emergency access gate ($44,500).
  • Gate including, but not limited to: electronic and mechanical operating equipment, gate, posts, remote control operating equipment ($36,000).
  • Power —conduit ($5,500).
  • Power—meter and service pedestal ($1,500).
  • Signing ($1,500)

Initial cost estimate:

  • $120,000.

2a: Open road and provide minimal improvements.

General description:

  • Remove gate to allow traffic flow.
  • Doewood Drive connectivity established.
  • Emergency response and trip routing is improved.
  • Formality of the gate open/closed issue is resolved.

Cost item description (costs):

  • New roadway construction between Chisholm Trail and Ridgeview Circle ($49,000).
  • Change existing traffic control and improve the roadway profile for the intersection of Doewood Drive at Ridgeview Circle ($47,000).

Initial cost estimate:

  • $96,000.

2b: Open road and provide safety improvements.

General description:

  • Remove gate to allow traffic flow.
  • Doewood Drive connectivity established.
  • Emergency response and trip routing is improved.
  • Formality of the gate open/closed issue is resolved.
  • Improves Doewood Drive from Old Antlers Way to Woodmoor Drive to more closely match existing residential roadways.

Cost item description (costs):

  • New roadway construction between Chisholm Trail and Ridgeview Circle ($49,000).
  • Change existing traffic control and improve the roadway profile for the intersection of Doewood Drive at Ridgeview Circle ($47,000).
  • Complete Doewood Drive roadway and spot enhancements ($504,000).
  • Hazard markers ($500).
  • Vegetation trimming ($2,500).
  • Improve drainage ditch ($22,500).
  • Minor roadway widening ($19,500).
  • Pavement rehabilitation ($459,000)

Initial cost estimate:

  • $600,000.

After Brackin’s presentation on these six alternatives, there were about two hours of public comments in favor of closing the gate permanently and removing any possible connection between the two discontinuous sections of Doewood Drive. The comments were focused on new and different issues than the speakers had previously raised at the Jan. 13, 2010, and May 17, 2011, workshops noted above.

Brackin said that the original site plans for the development from 1963 "suggested" that Doewood Drive was initially planned to be a through street.

Glenn differed and said the amended 1996 resolution implied that the gate would be permanently left in place for emergency vehicle access or the controversial segment would be vacated.

Glenn added, "We don’t have any information definitively that first responders would object to closing the gate, so I think we need to keep it closed and not override the development agreement that identified two options: either vacating it or leaving it for emergency access."

There was a subsequent hour-long technical discussion among the five county commissioners, Brackin, and County Attorney Bill Louis. This semantics discussion focused on Commissioners Sallie Clark and Peggy Littleton being absolutely certain that the long-sought motion for a resolution and staff guidance on engineering design parameters to end this controversy would eliminate the possibility of future controversy and the potential for future boards having to re-visit the issue of connecting the north and south halves of Doewood Drive. They repeatedly noted that none of the current commissioners participated in the board process that created the original resolution and amendment and did not want to pass on a similar burden to a future county board.

Glenn’s initial motion to adopt option 1b as presented by Brackin was immediately seconded by Hisey. Much of the subsequent discussion centered on amendments from Clark and Littleton regarding the avoidance of ambiguity while seeking fairness for all local citizens. Lathen was adamant about limiting the amount of money that would have to be taken from already-funded road projects to pay for this unbudgeted and unfunded Doewood Drive gate elimination and vacation proposal.

The final iteration of Glenn’s motion, seconded again by Hisey, specifically noted that any other needed and easily justified improvements to either existing paved segment of Doewood Drive or similar future improvements to any other connecting or nearby residential roads in Woodmoor or Doewood Estates, that are in a similar state of disrepair and similarly fail to meet county standards, would have to be raised as separate initiatives by local citizens.

The commissioners unanimously approved guidance to the staff requiring that any of these separate unfunded initiatives that have been raised in the past 18 months by citizens during the two most recent Doewood Gate workshops and this final hearing will have to be scheduled and reviewed separately through the standard county process, including evaluation by the Highway Advisory Committee.

There was consensus from the residents in attendance at this hearing that this amended motion and guidance was an acceptable compromise to end the likelihood that the gate that has been locked since constructed 15 years ago would ever be opened.

For more information presented by District 1 Commissioner Darryl Glenn, see:


Consult the county website for future announcements on when the Board of County Commissioners will hold the other two hearings on final funding and vacation of part or all of the county right-of-way for transfer to the four affected adjacent property owners: www.elpasoco.com.

Commissioner Darryl Glenn can be reached at darrylglenn@elpasoco.com or 520-6411.

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

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150 learn about fire suppression at Firewise event

Photos by Harriet Halbig.

Below: Laura Gaydos and Emma Gaydos make friends with Smokey Bear.

Below: Hayden Nici-Antesberger tries out the front seat of a fire truck;

Below: Myles Vigil and his dad, Tony, check out the rescue helicopter.

Below: Jim Woodman, chair of the Firewise program, and Carolyn Streit-Carey, director of Woodmoor’s Forestry Committee, were the organizers of the event.

By Harriet Halbig

The Forestry Committee of the Woodmoor Improvement Association hosted a Firewise Community Day at the Woodmoor Drive fire station on the morning of May 7.

Residents of Woodmoor and surrounding communities were invited to attend.

About 150 residents of all ages were provided with printed information about fire suppression and shown demonstrations of chainsaw and fire extinguisher use and wildfire suppression. A vendor was also present to sell fire extinguishers and to examine fire extinguishers to ensure that they were properly charged.

Children could pose for photos with Smokey Bear and climb into a fire truck, ambulance, or Memorial Star rescue helicopter.

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

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Woodmoor Improvement Association Board of Directors, May 25: Plans underway for summer maintenance of common areas

By Harriet Halbig

Homeowners Association Manager Matt Beseau, Common Areas Director W. Lee Murray, and Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA) Secretary Craig Gaydos explained their plans for maintaining the common areas of Woodmoor during the WIA board’s May 25 meeting.

Gaydos, who served as Common Areas director for a brief period last summer, said that it is critical to create detailed maps of all areas requiring mowing and other maintenance. Beseau and Murray agreed to visit all areas and create the map in order to have specific maintenance protocols before soliciting bids on the work.

Beseau said he has spoken with four contractors who are interested.

Murray said that mowing operations should begin in June and that mowing should be done twice during the season. Murray also reported that two of the association’s ponds have been stocked with fish.

Hiring by the association

The board voted to hire a part-time Woodmoor Public Safety officer.

Beseau reported that the architectural control administrator had submitted his resignation and will need to be replaced. The board voted to have the outgoing administrator available on a part time basis as needed.

Woodmoor Public Safety

Woodmoor Public Safety Chief Kevin Nielsen reported that the ponds on the common areas have been treated with larvicide to eliminate West Nile virus-carrying mosquitoes. He assured the board that the larvicide harms only the larvae and is not dangerous to pets or humans.

Those homeowners with private ponds are responsible for their maintenance, Nielsen said. Ponds without running water are particularly susceptible to mosquitoes.

In response to a resident’s comment, Nielsen said that his officers are always available to visit a neighborhood where the parking of cars on residential streets is a continuing problem.

Treasurer’s report

Treasurer Nick Oakley reported that the association is 1.2 percent under budget for its expenditures for the year.

Oakley also briefly reported on the IRS audit of the association’s 2009 tax records. He said that the agency was particularly interested in employment-related information such as 1099 forms filed on contractors, documentation of the association’s nonprofit status, and log books documenting the use of association vehicles. He said that all questionable practices have been discontinued and that the final report should be available in a month or so.

Governing documents

Secretary Gaydos reported that over 700 ballots have been received regarding the proposed changes in the governing documents of the association. While this represents a quorum for two of the documents, the third, the covenants, requires a vote of two-thirds of the homeowners for passage.

Gaydos suggested that the board give the homeowners a short time longer to respond and then contact them again. There is no legal limit to the amount of time votes are allowed.


The Board of Directors of the Woodmoor Improvement Association meets at 7 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of each month at the association’s Barn, 1691 Woodmoor Drive, Monument. The next meeting will be on June 22.

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

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May Weather Wrap

By Bill Kappel

Finally, we had a month with above-normal precipitation and below-normal temperatures. In fact, temperatures for the month were well below normal, especially on the high temperature side, averaging over 5 degrees cooler than average. Precipitation for the month was just slightly higher than average, with a lot of active weather during the first three weeks, then quiet conditions toward the end of the month.

The first two days of May were cold and unsettled, with scattered snow and temperatures well below normal. High temperatures only managed to hit the 40s to low 50s, and overnight low temperatures tumbled into the teens and 20s. High pressure began to build into the region during the middle of the week, and temperatures rebounded nicely under the strong May sunshine.

Highs were in the 60s by the afternoon of the 3rd and reached the 70s over the weekend, with a downright warm 79° F on the 7th. With the high pressure came dry conditions and no moisture fell from the 3rd through the 8th.

Cool and unsettled conditions dominated the weather of the region during much of the week from the 9th through the 15th. However, warm, dry weather held on for the first couple of days, with highs well into the 70s on the 9th, then the upper 60s on the 10th, but much colder air quickly arrived late on the 10th. This first in a series of storms brought rain, snow, and wind.

Temperatures only reached the upper 40s on the 11th during the morning hours and then cooled during the afternoon. Rain turned to snow by morning and continued off and on all day. Most areas above 7,000 feet received 2-5 inches of heavy wet snow and over a half inch of liquid equivalent. More snow fell the next day, with around an inch accumulating during some heavy snowfall. Highs were very cold, only reaching the mid- to upper 30s, about 30 degrees below normal.

A break between systems on the 13th allowed more normal conditions to arrive, with low 60s for highs and quiet weather after areas of fog and low clouds during the morning. The next in a series of storms moved in on the 14th and 15th, however most of the moisture with this system stayed to our north and west. We did manage to pick up some rain and snow each day and when combined with the cloudy skies, temperatures were again 20-30 degrees cooler than average.

An active weather pattern continued during the week of the 16th with several rounds of moisture interspersed with sunshine. The week started off right around normal with quiet weather on the 16th and 17th. Highs reached into the mid-60s both afternoons after some areas of morning fog and low clouds. Higher levels of moisture began to affect the region on the 18th, with cooler temperatures and afternoon and evening thunderstorms. Temperatures were held to below normal, as highs only managed the mid-50s.

Clouds stuck around over the next several days, and as a cooler, unsettled air mass moved in, rain turned to snow during the afternoon of the 19th. Just under an inch of slushy snow accumulated for most of us. After a cool, foggy start to the day on the 20th, scattered showers, some mixed with graupel, again developed that afternoon. Over the three-day wet period, we received a half inch to an inch of much-needed moisture.

Quiet weather returned for Saturday the 21st, with highs hitting the 60s after some areas of low clouds and fog burned off. But this brief interlude between active weather was short lived, as another in a series of storm systems began to affect the region by late on Sunday the 22nd. This brought another round of rain that evening, continuing to bring some nice relief from our drought.

Unsettled weather continued to affect the region to start off the week of the 23rd, with temperatures holding below normal, as highs hit the low 60s on the 23rd and only managing to reach the mid-40s on the 24th. Along with this, plenty of moisture was available to produce thunderstorms and, somewhat unusually, storms occurred during the morning hours. This was a result of a highly energetic storm system moving through the Great Basin and spinning several bands of moisture and showers through the region. Several of the rounds of thunderstorms were also accompanied by ice pellets and small hail.

Conditions quieted down over the next several days, but the low-level moisture stuck around and, when combined with a general easterly flow, produced areas of fog and low clouds each morning from the 24th through the 27th. This low-level moisture also helped to keep temperatures slightly below normal, with highs remaining in the 60s through the period.

Southwesterly winds finally began to kick in on the 28th, scouring out the moisture as a change in the weather pattern took over. Temperatures responded accordingly, with low 80s reached on the afternoon of the 29th. This was our first 80° reading since Sept. 28 of last year. Conditions remained dry and windy through the remainder of the month and highs were right near average, in the low 70s. Unfortunately, the combination of dry and windy weather also elevated concerns over high fire dangers across the region.

It should be noted that although we have seen a very dry fall, winter, and spring along the Front Range, it has been a much different story in the mountains. Snowpack levels are at all-time records for many of the mountain regions, especially west of the Continental Divide. So, although we are in a drought because of lack of rain and snow in the Tri-Lakes region, there are vast amounts of moisture stored in the mountains, waiting to run off and replenish rivers and reservoirs. That also means we can expect high water and some flooding along most of the streams and rivers that drain the high country, so use caution if you plan on spending time in those areas.

A look ahead

By June we can usually say goodbye to our chance of snow, but hello to frequent afternoon and evening thunderstorms. There are times when we see a little snow in June in the region, but most of the time we can expect warm, sunny days with afternoon and evening thunderstorms. For a complete look at monthly climate summaries for the Tri-Lakes region, please visit http://www.thekappels.com/ClimateSummary.htm.

May 2011 Weather Statistics

Average High 62.1° (-5.1°) 100-year return frequency value max 75.7° min 57.9°
Average Low 33.4° (-2.5°) 100-year return frequency value max 43.2° min 32.5°
Highest Temperature 81°F on the 29th
Lowest Temperature 18°F on the 2nd, 3rd
Monthly Precipitation 1.74" (+0.05" 3% above normal) 100-year return frequency value max 6.94" min 0.15"
Monthly Snowfall 5.7"  (+0.6" 34% below normal)
Season to Date Snow 65.4"  (-71.9" 52% below normal) (the snow season is from July 1 to June 30)
Season to Date Precip 12.47"  (-7.76" 38% below normal) (the precip season is from July 1 to June 30)
Heating Degree Days 535 (-120)
Cooling Degree Days 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

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

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Letters to Our Community

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

Coffee on the Go! goes to the museum

Below: New Coffee on the Go location near the WMMI. Photo by Susan Hindman.

Hello, from Coffee on the Go! Just a quick note to let you know that we did not go out of business, as reported in the May 7 edition of Our Community News (Monument Board of Trustees meeting, April 4, "Staff Report"). We have moved to the Western Museum of Mining and Industry. As much as we love the town of Monument—after all, we did grow up there and graduated from Lewis-Palmer High School, and so did our parents—with all the changes that we’ve seen, we just had to head south.

We have been so happy to see our customers at our new location and meet new customers that we now have. Hope everyone will come and see us at 225 North Gate Blvd., Exit 156A off I-25. We’ll always have a soft spot in our heart for the old Park ‘n Ride (looks kind of empty now, doesn’t it?). And we would like to thank CDOT for leasing that lot to us. We learned many lessons there and look forward to the future at our new location.

Marlene Brown and Morgan Brown
Owners, managers, baristas

Editor’s note: Town Manager Cathy Green had said at the April 4 Board of Trustees’ (BOT) meeting that the coffee shop had gone out of business. However, at the May 16 BOT meeting, she told the trustees that she was wrong and advised them of the business’s relocation to North Gate Boulevard.

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Kudos for after-prom event

Lewis-Palmer High School seniors and juniors enjoyed a memorable after-prom at Mr. Biggs. This event provided 290 students a desirable and fun activity on an evening that is statistically marked by tragedy and high-risk behaviors.

The event was made possible through the efforts of many parents and friends of LPHS and the generous donations of money, food, and prizes from the following businesses: PF Chang’s (Park Meadow), King Soopers, Safeway, IREA, Qdoba, Rosie’s Diner, It’s a Grind Coffee House, Borriello Brothers Pizza, Nick and Willy’s Pizza, Taste of Life, Fusion Cuisine, Cold Stone Creamery, Queen’s Nails and Spa, Moss Embroidery, Albertsons, Maggie Moos, Dr. Gerathy, Timmins Orthodontics, Hamula Orthodontics, Dr. Hughes (Colorado Dental Arts), Sinton’s, Open Door/Open Heart, Walgreens, LPHS Booster Club, Black Faced Sheep, Monument Vision, and Deuces Wild Casino Rental.

Thank you, all, for valuing the safety and futures of our students—your children, neighbors, friends, and customers. Thank you for your support.

Deb Fiala
(on behalf of the LPHS after-prom committee)

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Thanks to the entire D-38 community

As we conclude another successful school year at Lewis-Palmer School District, I would like to thank our staff and volunteers. During the past few years of diminishing funding, we have had to make some hard decisions, but at the same time we have maintained our high student achievement. I give complete and total credit to our staff. We’ve asked so much of them, and they have exceeded all expectations. As a school board member and a parent, I am totally blown away by our teachers, our staff, and our volunteers. To steal a quote from Randy Jackson (of American Idol), "We’re in it to win it!"

Recently, I had a great time talking with some of our outstanding bus drivers. Every day, we entrust our most precious treasures to these heroes, who ensure they arrive safely to and from school. I can’t say thank you enough.

A few weeks ago, I hung out in the kitchen of Lewis-Palmer High School. What positive attitudes! I had a lot of fun talking with both our staff and women from the Tri-Lakes Women’s Club who were there preparing for an event the next day. It was inspirational to see how we are a community.

Our school district (community) is blessed with terrific staff, parents, volunteers, and students. We should be very proud of what we have accomplished. We have many groups like the Monument Hill Kiwanis and the Tri-Lakes Women’s Club that do so much for our schools and our community. I can’t imagine raising my family anywhere else.

To Superintendent Ted Bauman, my mentor and one of the best leaders I have ever known: Thank you for coming out of retirement for this last year. We owe you so much.

To our entire District 38 family I say thank you for another unbelievable year. I hope you have a wonderful summer, and I look forward to seeing you again in the fall.

Mark Pfoff
D-38 School Board treasurer

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D-38 falls short in financial management

I believe there are three fundamental and essential functions of the School District 38 education leadership team: the safety of our children and our community, providing outstanding opportunities for advancing education, and effective and responsible financial management of district resources.

I believe D-38 is successful in meeting the first two, yet is continuing to experience leadership challenges meeting financial management responsibilities.

On April 29, the Colorado Department of Education delivered a letter documenting the results of its D-38 audit concerning State Equalization funding for the years 2003 to 2007. In this letter, the state makes the following recommendations:

  • The district should be careful to count only those pupils who have met the requirements of membership. In some instances, students were disallowed because the district did not provide attendance or individual schedule documentation to audit.
  • The Department of Education identifies a requirement for D-38 to refund $198,180.97 back to the state in State Equalization 3210 funds because of continued errors in correctly reporting student population from 2003 to 2007.

I see three actions our community should expect from D-38 administration in the next 30 days:

  1. Verify that the D-38 audit information used by the state was accurate. Are they right, and does D-38 owe the state almost $200,000?
  2. Review D-38 data reporting for the years 2008 to 2010 for upcoming audits for similar errors in student reporting. If this error has continued, D-38 is now at an audit risk for the years 2008-10 for an additional $178,000.
  3. Identify the accountable district administration official (I do not see this as a teacher performance problem) responsible for compliance with the Colorado Public School Finance Act of 1994 and the Public School Transportation Fund Equalization for the years 2003-07. Determine the cause for this apparent ongoing reporting problem and failure to comply with the law, and take immediate corrective action.

Gordon Reichal

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Why are D-38 administrators paid more?

An April 10 article in The Gazette on superintendent salaries was an eye-opener for many of us taxpayers. The average pay for a superintendent across Colorado is $110,447; principals, $80,732; and teachers, $49,306. In districts similar in size to School District 38, the average superintendent pay is $108,880, principal pay is $77,313, and teacher pay is $44,698. John Borman made $118,000 as principal at Lewis-Palmer High School and, starting July 1 as the superintendent, will make $148,000 in wages alone, plus benefits, without having any previous experience in a central administrative position.

Why are administrators in D-38 paid so much more than their counterparts statewide while teachers are paid slightly below average? John Mann, Board of Education president, would have you believe high test scores of D-38 students are the direct result of administrators. In recent years, the district has had one of the highest turnover rates for administrators anywhere on the Front Range. It is also well-documented that student achievement is directly tied to parents and classroom teachers.

For the past 20 years, D-38 Central Administration has escalated administrators’ salaries while keeping classroom teachers closer to the state average. This reflects what the Board of Education and central administrators truly value: Administrators in D-38 have become an elite club, boasting both high salaries and generous benefits packages. Teachers who have to insure their families will pay almost $1,000 per month (like so many other folks) while administrators pay $0.

Although teachers do not pursue their craft for great monetary gain, they do need a reasonable financial reward, not to mention appreciation for the job of teaching the next generation. Under the current leadership, there will be no change. Borman has already stated that he does not believe the district to be financially top-heavy. Why does the community continue to put up with an administration that rewards itself but cannot produce a long-range plan for solvency?

Stephen Boyd
Direction 38

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Between The Covers at the Covered Treasures Bookstore: Here’s to the fathers!

By the staff at Covered Treasures

June is busting out all over, and it’s time to remember those dads, granddads, and father figures who are important in your life. How about encouraging them to sit down, relax, and enjoy a good book? Here are a few suggestions.

My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business: A Memoir
By Dick Van Dyke (Random House) $25

One of the greats of the golden age of television, Van Dyke is beloved by audiences the world over for his beaming smile, his physical dexterity, his impeccable comic timing, his ridiculous stunts, and his unforgettable screen roles. This is a lively, heartwarming memoir of a performer who still thinks of himself as a "simple song and dance man." He is, however, a classic entertainer who has received the Theatre World Award, a Tony, a Grammy, and four Emmy awards.

Guide to Colorado Backroads & Four-Wheel-Drive Trails, Third Edition
By Charles A. Wells & Matt Peterson (Funtreks) $29.99

Newcomers to four-wheeling, and experienced veterans, are sure to enjoy these beautiful trails in Colorado’s high country. Routes are color-coded as to difficulty, and the 100 trails are grouped into seven areas, most of them convenient to Denver and the Front Range. The book is supported by an active website, which includes free trail updates, GPS downloads, and an e-mail newsletter.

Winston’s War
By Max Hastings (Random House) $17.95

Here are the glories and triumphs, the contradictions and blunders of the man who, through sheer force of will, kept Britain fighting in 1940. Hastings shows how Churchill was often disappointed by the failure of the British Army to match his hopes on the battlefield, and by the difficulties of sustaining the wartime alliances with both the Soviet Union and the United States. With surprises on almost every page, Winston’s War is a riveting profile of one of the greatest leaders of the 20th century.

14er Fan Club
By Jerry Funk (Infinity Publishing) $14.95

When he moved to Colorado, this local author considered the mountains as simply a good place to ski. He soon discovered other outdoor adventures, such as hiking, climbing, and camping. After conquering his first Fourteener at age 48, Funk was hooked, and he set out to summit 55 of these majestic peaks. With wit and humor, the book details Jerry’s transformation from novice to expert climber, as his loyal Fourteener Fan Club cheered him on.

Play Like You Mean It

By Rex Ryan (Doubleday) $26.95

When Rex Ryan was named head coach of the New York Jets in 2009, he revived this beloved franchise with his infectious love for the game of football—and he took the Jets to the AFC Championship Game his first two years. In Play Like You Mean It, Ryan takes readers behind the scenes for a rare glimpse into the personal side of the NFL. He shares his unique approach to leadership and motivation, and his experiences growing up as the son of the legendary coach, Buddy Ryan.

The Information
By James Gleick (Random House) $29.95

From the invention of scripts and alphabets to the long-misunderstood talking drums of Africa, Gleick tells the story of information technologies that have become the modern era’s defining quality—the blood, the fuel, the vital principle of our world. The Information is a revelatory chronicle of how we got here and where we are headed.

On the State of Egypt: What Made the Revolution Inevitable
By Alaa Al Aswany (Random House) $15

One of Egypt’s most acclaimed writers presents a vivid chronicle of Egyptian society, with a penetrating analysis of the most urgent issues—economic stagnation, police brutality, poverty, the harassment of women and of the Christian minority—that led to the stunning overthrow of the Mubarak government. In a candid and controversial assessment of both the potential and limitations that will determine his country’s future, Al Aswany reveals why the revolt was destined to happen.

Why not wrap up a Father’s Day gift that the special men in your life can enjoy page by page throughout a lazy afternoon or evening? They are sure to feel properly honored.

Until next month, happy reading.

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

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High Country Highlights: Get in the zone

By Woody Woodworth

It’s not easy growing plants in the Tri-lakes region. Many residents who have lived at our 7,000-foot elevation for a few seasons know some of the plants that survive our harsh, dry, windy environment. Many new residents will go through the trials and tribulations of planting gardens that don’t seem to perform well or don’t live at all. How do you get plants to survive here? First, and most important, get in the zone!

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Plant Hardiness Zones divide the United States and southern Canada into 11 areas based on a 10 degree F difference. The 1990 revised version shows in detail the lowest temperatures that can be expected each year in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. These temperatures are referred to as "average annual minimum temperatures" and are based on the lowest temperatures recorded for each of the years 1974 to 1986. Because cold tolerance is so important, it is better to select plants that will be more cold-tolerant rather than less.

There are also island zones that, because of elevation differences, are warmer or cooler than the surrounding areas and are given a different zone designation. Because buildings retain heat, many large urban areas carry a warmer zone designation than the surrounding countryside.

Lower-numbered zones are divided into two zones. For instance, think of Monument in a bowl that is surrounded by the foothills and mountains to the west, Palmer Divide to the north and the Black Forest to the east. Monument is rated a Zone 4a, which is a hardiness temperature of minus 20 to 30 degrees F, but the weather and hardiness zones are different in the higher, surrounding areas. Perhaps colder by only another 5 degrees or so, but that is enough of a difference to a plant’s survivability, and that area could be rated a Zone 3b. The Gleneagle area boasts a balmy Zone 4b, and many Zone 5 plants thrive in that area.

Another condition that exists and needs to be considered when choosing plants is micro-climates. There are micro-climates in many locations in every yard. They are usually locations that offer some protection from harsh winds, such as a well-protected area by a fence or a warmer environment that may be near a stucco house that radiates heat.

One larger micro-climate is the south-facing hill above Jackson Creek that overlooks the Air Force Academy. The hill is a giant collector of heat, and plants that normally don’t survive in our area do quite well up there. Learn where your micro-climates are and you will increase the choices of plants you can select for your yard that will be successful.

Hardiness ratings alone are inadequate to guide you in selecting the most successful plants. Severe winds, water availability, and the amount of attention you give to your newly planted garden all need to be considered. Make sure to list all of your conditions to help yourself be successful, but most important: Get in the zone!

Woody Woodworth is a member of the Garden Centers of Colorado, actively involved in the green industry, and operates a garden center in downtown Monument. He can be reached at woodywoodworth@ocn.me.

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Bird Watch on the Palmer Divide: Attracting birds to your yard

Click here or on the photos to zoom in

Below: Rose breasted and evening grosebeaks taking turns at a backyard feeder in Woodmoor. Photo by Sherry Sieg.

Click on the photos to zoom in

Below: Lazuli bunting making a rare backyard appearance in Palmer Lake. Photo by Kathy Swango.

Click on the photos to zoom in

Below: A great horned owl. Photo by John Heiser

Click on the photos to zoom in

By Elizabeth Hacker

I enjoy hearing from readers, and the month of May was especially rewarding. Sherry Sieg e-mailed a photo of a female western tanager at her feeder and noted that a male had been there a few days earlier, which may indicate that they are nesting in her area. Grant Swango posted a photo of a lazuli bunting at a feeder he made in Boy Scouts this year and mentioned that he saw a Bullock’s oriole in his Palmer Lake yard. OCN publisher John Heiser sent a great horned owl photo he took from the deck of his home near Roller Coaster Road. The owl appears to be a male yearling and may be one of the owls hatched last summer at Home Depot. Enthusiastic birders like Sherry, Grant, and John make my day!

Western tanagers, lazuli buntings, and great horned owls all nest on the Palmer Divide at the edge of the forest in ponderosa pine trees or scrub oak shrubs. All are shy and none of these species frequent feeders. Sherry also e-mailed a photo of a rose-breasted grosbeak, which I occasionally see west of I-25. In recent years sightings of this bird have been infrequent, a serious concern noted by local birders. The location was interesting because she lives east of I-25 in Woodmoor where none have been reported for quite some time.

In the United States, birding is the fastest-growing hobby and attracting backyard birds is a craze that is sweeping the country. My conversations often turn into discussions on how to attract birds, and I enjoy sharing methods Randy and I use.

Feeding and landscaping

Feeding and landscaping are the two methods we employ. For those who seek immediate gratification, providing watering stations, continually stocking feeders and treats, and keeping nesting boxes clean and disease-free work well.

It works for us only because Randy is methodical about stocking feeders and birdbaths. I’m more of an observer than a doer, so I prefer to attract birds to plants in our landscape, and in the long run, I believe this maybe a more sustainable approach to attracting birds.

Bird feeders

We use a few types of feeders. My favorite is a hopper-style feeder with two glass sides and a removable top for refilling. As birds consume the seeds, more seeds fall out onto an edged platform where birds perch while eating. An even simpler feeder is a platform mounted on top of a metal pole where seeds are placed on top of it. Both attract birds.

My objection to the platform feeder is that a predator can easily get a little bird, whereas the hopper provides some protection. Randy’s objection to both these feeders is squirrels. He prefers a squirrel-proof variation where the door closes with the weight of a squirrel. Did I say squirrel proof? In truth, we haven’t found such a feeder. Many seed mixtures are available, but we only use the black oil and stripped sunflower seeds because we find that millet attract starlings, my least favorite bird.

Another type of feeder is a tube feeder. We use two types: one for liquids to attract hummingbirds and the other we fill with nyjer thistle seed to attract finches and grosbeaks. We locate the thistle feeder under a tall scrub oak in a quiet area of our yard away from the other feeders. Hummingbird feeders are located near our deck because hummingbirds don’t seem to mind us watching them. Oddly, we find hummers nesting in the scrub oaks near the thistle feeder!

Bird treats

Randy sets out an assortment of treats, including suet cakes, fruit, nuts, and meal worms (to attract bluebirds) that have been effective in attracting many species. Randy’s favorite is the bluebirds that return to the same nesting box every year. If we don’t have it out in time for their arrival, they will circle our yard till we put it out.


The sight and sound of water attracts birds, so we have several birdbaths. Our newest one has a mister, and the birds love it. When birds are drinking and bathing, they are more vulnerable to predators, especially cats. So we locate ours in areas where cats can’t easily hide. We still lose some birds to wandering cats, but at least the birds have some chance of escaping the cats.

Water is as important as food for birds, but a note of caution: Water should not be allowed to stagnate, because birds (and people) are susceptible to the West Nile virus spread by mosquitoes that breed in standing water.


As you might imagine, feeding and watering is maintenance intense. A more sustainable method is to landscape with trees, shrubs, and flowers to naturally attract birds and butterflies. It’s more sustainable because the birds won’t leave when you’re on vacation.


For most songbirds, the rigors of survival take place under cover, so providing cover increases the possibility of them nesting in your yard. First, consider where you live and what types of plants are already in your area and established in your yard. Micro-climates, sun angle, and soil and moisture conditions vary considerably between Gleneagle and Palmer Lake.

On the Divide, coniferous trees that tend to be must successful are the ponderosa pine, Colorado spruce, and cedar. All provide good cover and a source of food for birds. Deciduous trees that attract birds include scrub oak, mountain ash, hawthorn, serviceberry, American plum, and crabapple, most of which will require supplemental watering. Due to fire danger here, it is recommended that trees be planted at least 30 feet away from a structure.


Many songbirds nest at the edge of a forest in shrubs that grow between open meadows and tall trees. They provide cover for nesting birds to hide from predators. My favorite ornamental shrubs is the old-style French lilac, which is not on any bird lists but I’m amazed at the diversity of birds and butterflies that are attracted to it in summer and winter. This variety grows tall and can be shaped into a small tree.

Other shrubs for consideration include junipers, gamble oak, sumac, chokecherry, Korean lilac, honeysuckle, viburnum, dogwood, and spirea. All shrubs attract birds, so plant the ones that will survive in your yard.


Our variety of native wildflowers is one reason birds fly to the Palmer Divide. Flowers provide nectar and attract insects: both are necessary for nesting songbirds. We use a wildflower mix formulated for our area. Some flowers must be reseeded annually while others, like blue flax, reappear each spring.

Over the years, we have planted many perennials and continue to try new ones. Some of my favorites include daylily, coneflower, aster, Russian sage, delphinium, yarrow, salvia, iceplant, soapwort, and the list goes on. We have found that the hummer’s favorite flower is monarda, often called bee balm.

We are always looking for new ways to attract birds, but sometimes a bird will just show up for no apparent reason. Why the great horned owl came to John’s yard or the pileated woodpecker stopped in our yard is anyone’s guess!

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

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Art Matters: June and the joys of outdoor art

By Janet Sellers

June in our area has some gorgeous evenings for the monthly Art Hop. They are balmy with a possible breeze, and by evening the afternoon rains have usually cleared. And yet, our May 19 Art Hop in Historic Monument saw rain, snow, sleet, fog, and finally sun in that 5 to 8 p.m. time slot!

Still, some loyal art lovers came out and made the rounds to kick off the local art event. Later, when the sun came out, one would never know we’d had such a weather-filled day.

I was out and about, too, but I admit I ventured into town after the sky brightened. The afternoon’s thick fog made the whole town seem surreal, moody, and mysterious like a tonal painting.

The moody character of the late 19th- to early 20th-century paintings known as Tonalism is seeing a comeback recently among artists and especially art collectors. Instead of great detail, the artists work more with the general mood and tones of their scene, using a very limited palette of mostly earth colors. These atmospheric paintings use soft edges that evoke feelings.

Perhaps it was a result of the bleak post-Civil War tenor that influenced the movement’s minimal hues. Prior to that era, the full-spectrum, dramatic, and detailed luminist paintings dominated painting in the U.S. with their grand scenes of the power of nature and light.

Tonalist paintings are not of a particular place, or even done at the place, but are more of an imagined locale for the subject of the painting, which is primarily the mood and feeling expressed. Tonalsm is the opposite of Impressionism, which uses the brilliant full spectrum instead of a limited use of hues. Today’s plein air artists seem to use a combination of the tonality of that limited palette and the generalized, rough brush strokes, almost as if just an underpainting, and then add touches of the brilliant colors they see outdoors.

When tubes for paint colors became available, artists went out into nature, carting their materials on their backs or with a friend’s help, and painted on the spot, having to return a number of times at the same time of day, since the fugitive sunlight changed the view drastically as it moved past the scenes. These days, with our renewed interest in natural habitats and conservation, the love of natural scenes is again a favorite. Neo tonalism is the moniker for the current variation on the theme, but we do see hints of a bit more color in them.

June events

Speaking of nature and art outdoors, June should be filled with artful fun. The next Art Hop will be on Thursday, June 16, 5-8 pm. At least 17 venues will be open to cheer the evening on, and many are offering special events, treats, and shopping deals to get our groove going.

Saturday, June 18, the all-day event called "Finally Summer Soulstice" will be a fun family event that includes making some art right on the town. A Chalk Walk for kids, teens, amateur and professional artists is a highlight of this year’s celebration. Participants are encouraged to create everything from temporary chalk "masterpieces" to some colorful games of tic-tac-toe! Chalk will be supplied, and participation is free. Call 719-460-4179 for more information.

Tri Lakes Views has some very exciting news for us. Keep your eyes on Second Street and Jefferson Street for a new Town of Monument outdoor sculpture park at the "Old Red" grounds. Sprinklers and grass have been installed, as well as at least three bases for fine art sculptures. The artworks will be installed on June 24. Two artworks in the permanent collection of the Town of Monument are Blade of Grass by Louis Deangelis and Poppy by Janet Sellers and Glenn Hayes, which will be the anchor to the new sculpture park along with this year’s TLV Artsites selection, Promise by Ruth Burink.

We have a new art venue in town, too. Create a Memory Studio, 245 Jefferson St., 719-488-0889, is a new studio space for working on a variety of crafts that include ceramics and glass work as well as a variety of fiber crafts such as knitting, crochet, and the like. The kiln there is also available for firing your own works for a fee (a very reasonable fee, too). You buy the materials there and there is plenty of table space to work, bring friends, and have a fun time. They also offer parties for the various crafts.

Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts holds the Palmer Lake Art Group’s 46th annual spring fine art show June 7-25. An artist reception will be held on Friday, June 10, from 5 to 8 p.m. Over 40 local artists will offer their artworks, and the show judge is Kelly Jackson, curator at the Colorado Springs Airport. TCLA is right across from the shores of Palmer Lake, 304 Highway 105, Palmer Lake, 719-481-0475.

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

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Snapshots of Our Community

LPMS Students participate in Veterans History Project

By Harriet Halbig

Students in Dan Marcus’ 8th grade LPTV class participated in the Veterans History Project during the 2010-2011 school year.

The project involved students conducting videotaped interviews with local veterans who served in all branches of the armed services in conflicts from World War II through Operation Iraqi Freedom. The interviews were conducted during the fall of 2010 and were made into DVDs which will be archived in the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

At a breakfast held at the school on May 3 (pictured above), the veterans were presented with a copy of their interview DVD and a letter of thanks from their student interviewer.

The DVDs were presented to the Librarian of Congress by Congressman Ed Perlmutter on March 10.

Harriet Halbig can be reached at harriethalbig@ocn.me

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Music history comes alive

By David Futey

On May 14, members of the legendary folk group We Five—Debbie Burgan, Jerry Burgan and Tholow Chan—brought music history alive to an enthusiastic audience at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA). Throughout their two-set performance, which included songs from Elizabeth Cotton, Leadbelly, The Weavers, Johnny Cash, and Woody Guthrie, the band members interjected historical footnotes about the origins of the song or an interesting perspective on the artist.

For a bit of a twist, at one point in the performance Jerry Burgan played an interesting sequence of presidential campaign songs that dated as far back as George Washington and proceeding through the 1950s.

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

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

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Spirits of Spring event raises $10,000 for charities

Photos by Candice Hitt.

Below: From left, Luke House, Daniel Grigg, and Christina Grigg are representatives of Rocky Mountain Coors.

Below: Mazie Baalman of Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory.

Below: Jarrod Yound, left, and Kevin McDevitt, representatives of Blue Bell Ice Cream.

Below: Alex Spinnato of Bristol Brewing Co., left, and William Gillum, wine specialist for Colorado Liquor Outlet.

By Candice Hitt

Gleneagle Sertoma hosted its Seventh Annual Gleneagle Sertoma Spirits of Spring wine and beer tasting, with silent and live auctions, at the Air Force Academy Stadium Press Box on Saturday, May 14.

The event was attended by 230 paying guests, and many vendors were available. More than $10,000 was raised for local charities.

Many varieties of wine and beer were available, courtesy of vendors chosen by Colorado Liquor Outlet, a primary sponsor of the event. Silent auction items were provided by local businesses and the Alaska Sertoma.

Providing delectable edibles were A Second Cup, Blue Bell Ice Cream, Carrabba’s, Colorado Mountain Brewery, Fusion World Cuisine, Jack Quinn’s, Liberty Heights, Mark Rudolph with ERA Shields Real Estate, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, Sundance Mountain Lodge, Sugarland Soda and Texas Road House.

Mark Yoder, the food and wine coordinator for Gleneagle Sertoma said, "We appreciate what the local restaurants provide to this annual fund-raising event. It gives them the opportunity to showcase their food and menu items to the local community, and we hope to attract more businesses in the future."

Sertoma supports local charities

Gleneagle Sertoma provides service and support to charities in northern El Paso County. Tri-Lakes Cares is one of the primary beneficiaries of funds raised by this annual event. Tri-Lakes Cares provides food, clothing, utility payments, and other relief to families in the local area who are experiencing difficulties. Gleneagle Sertoma sponsors the Sertoma HEARS program by donating funds for low-income individuals to receive low-cost audiologist services and hearing aids. Sertoma also supports the Boy Scouts of America and other local charities.

All donations are tax deductible and support the Tri-Lakes community.

More information about Gleneagle Sertoma is available at www.southcoloradodistrict.org or from Todd Sherman, event coordinator, at 471-1088.

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

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Two art shows at TLCA

By David Futey

During May, the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA) hosted two art exhibits, Gary Weston’s Night Gallery in the Lucy Owens Gallery and Reflections on Modern Art in the Main Gallery. Weston is shown (left) with two of his works, The Metropolis Chair and The Nikola Tesla Chair.

Weston is a retired Liberty and Air Academy High School math teacher whose artistic endeavors began with illustrating children’s books. In 2009 he began experimenting with 3D art by searching garage sales, salvage sites, thrift stores, and other locations for pieces to construct his one-of-a-kind designs. In viewing his works, it appears he draws upon movies such as the silent classic Metropolis, 1960s TV shows, and Warner Bros. cartoons plus more contemporary themes drawn from Tim Burton movies.

The Reflections show was curated by Marianne Gunter and displayed the works of 12 artists. The show offered an eclectic and expressive perspective on modern art through the eyes of painters, potters, and sculptures. One set of work included laser painting on aluminum.

A listing of upcoming events at the TLCA can be found at www.trilakesarts.org.

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

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HAP says farewell to Barton

Above: Larry Lawrence of the Tri-Lakes Health Advocacy Partnership, right, thanks Andy Barton for his service as the group’s secretary. Photo provided by HAP.

The Tri-Lakes Health Advocacy Partnership (HAP) Board of Directors reluctantly said farewell to board Secretary Andy Barton during the May 17 board meeting. Larry Lawrence, the director who served as board vice president during much of Barton’s tenure, thanked Barton for the many years he helped HAP provide for the health and wellness needs of the Tri-Lakes community.

Barton’s long service provided a stabilizing influence for the board during the past three years as it went through significant personnel changes.

Lawrence noted that Barton’s role as Tri-Lakes YMCA executive director helped build bonds between the Y and HAP, which has benefited the entire community through initiatives such as low-cost or no-cost programs geared toward seniors and providing a venue for the annual Tri-Lakes Health Fair.

Barton’s departure from the HAP board coincides with his departure from the Tri-Lakes YMCA. He moves on with his career to become the director for annual giving at Penrose-St. Francis Health Foundation in Colorado Springs.

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Shops open doors to Art Hop

 Photos by David Futey.

Kathleen Krucoff (above), with her metal work and stone jewelry, and Nancy Bonig (below), displaying her kiln-worked glass, were among the artists representing the Front Range Open Studios at a temporary location in Gallery Center.

Below: At Gloss, which has the largest selection of premium denim in Southern Colorado, Tanya Storrar of Salon Eclipse weaves feather hair extensions on Delaney McKee and others.

Below: At the newly remodeled Bella Art & Frame, owner Maggie Williamson, right, is shown with featured artist Richard Hart. Hart displayed a number of his paintings and ceramic luminaires. A distinctive light pattern is emitted through numerous holes at different levels of the luminaires by placing tea candles inside them.

Below: The Love Shop owner Kathi Schuler, left, hosted Sak Saum advocate Erika Dickson and handmade products created by Cambodian women. Sak Saum is an organization that offers "rescue, rehabilitation, and restoration to the exploited women of Cambodia." Information about Sak Saum is available at www.ihsionline.org/saksaum.

Below: Retrospect Dry Goods hosted guitarist Ian Kirkland.

Below: Photographer Sonny Hood displayed photos from a recent trip to Morocco at Wisdom Tea House. Hood said he tried to "capture the soul of Morocco" but that it was difficult to photograph individuals because Moroccans generally do not prefer to have their photo taken.

By David Futey

We know summer is just around the corner when the Monument Art Hop begins. Galleries, restaurants and shops in downtown Monument have opened their doors to artists, authors, performers, and activities.

The 2011 Art Hop offers a new promotion to attendees. By making one purchase at each of the 17 participating vendors during Art Hop hours, you will be entered into a drawing for a gift basket containing items from each of the vendors. You must purchase the items by the last Art Hop on Sept. 15 and turn in your envelope of receipts to one of the vendors on Sept. 16. Envelopes are available at participating vendors for you to keep your receipts and track your purchase locations.

The Art Hop is held the third Thursday of each month through September. Information about the Art Hop is at www.monumentarthop.org.

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

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Audience investigates murder mystery

By David Futey

On May 27, Madcap Mysteries presented Corpse at the Pale Rose for dinner theater at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA).

The characters in this 1920s era mystery included Anna Gambino, played by Kim Swanson, Tony Gambino (Warren Epstein), Madame Kitty (Erin Howard), Albert Pearce (Austin Bryan), and Jackie the Jackal (Chip McEnuty).

Each table of audience members acted as a detective team, using clues they learned from the characters to determine who poisoned Tony Gambino at the opening of his new club, The Pale Rose. Madcap Mysteries performances are written and directed by Karen Kennedy, who also plays the role of hostess. The next Madcap Mysteries dinner theater at the TLCA will be on July 15.

Information on Madcap Mysteries is at www.madcapmysteries.com. Information on upcoming events at the TLCA is a www.trilakesarts.org.

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

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May and June library events

Photos by Harriet Halbig

Below: Laney Nesmith speaks about the care and feeding of pet chickens. Behind her is her sister Mallory.

Below: The Nesmith family introduces their pet chickens. Family members are, from left, Erin, Sam, Mallory, and Garrett, with Laney in front.

Below: Sisters Ciara and Taryn Abeyta visited the library on Prince and Princess Day.

By Harriet Halbig

Library programs in late April and early May brought many patrons to our door. On April 29 in honor of the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, the library hosted a prince and princess day when our young royalty dressed in their finest, heard stories, and sipped tea with cookies.

On May 14, the Nesmith family of Black Forest brought five varieties of chickens to the library for young patrons to meet and hold. The Nesmith children explained the care and feeding of the birds to an attentive audience.

May is always an exciting month at the library. As the school year ends, our children’s and teens’ specialists visit schools to promote the special programs available during the summer. Children of all ages are excited about the prospect of winning prizes, hearing new stories, and learning new things.

The beginning of summer reading is June 1, and it ends on July 31. A festive party to celebrate the reading accomplishments will be held at Palmer Ridge High School on July 26.

The children’s program, titled One World, Many Stories, is open to children up to fourth grade. Children entering fifth or sixth grade may choose to participate in either the children’s or teens’ program. Grades seven and up participate in the teen program called "You Are Here."

Teen volunteers are invaluable to the success of summer reading, and they will assist at the library, registering students for the programs and awarding prizes throughout June and July. The staff really appreciates the enthusiasm and commitment of these young people.

At Monument, the regular story time on Tuesdays will be replaced by special programs each week at 10:30 a.m.

These programs in June are:

  • Highland Tales—Denise Gard and her border collie, Sienna, perform stories from Scotland and Ireland that capture Celtic myth and magic. Sienna fearlessly jumps, rolls, and dives through tunnels in search of a good tale. June 7 at 10:30 a.m.
  • Tales from Far Away and Long Ago—Heather and Vicki present puppet tales taken from English and European traditions: Three Billy Goats Gruff, Little Red Riding Hood and The Gingerbread Man. June 14 at 10:30 a.m.
  • African Origins—Drummer Bob Hall from the Kusogea Nobi Drum Ensemble traces African American musical traditions derived from African drumming. Learn about other percussion rhythms from around the world as well. Come prepared to have fun and make some noise! June 21 at 10:30 a.m.
  • Road Trip U.S.A.—The Rumble Sisters are ready to hit the road for fun-filled adventure as they discover the U.S. Join us for laughs, silly songs, stories, and more. June 28 at 10:30 a.m.

On Thursday afternoons at 2, there will be programs appropriate for school-age children. During June these programs are:

bulletJune 2, Jungle Safari
bulletJune 9, Let’s Go to France: Bon Voyage!
bulletJune 16, Let’s Go on Arctic Adventures!
bulletJune 23, Let’s Go Someplace New!
bulletJune 30, Let’s Go Down Underground!

Toddler Time, for 1- and 2-year old children with a favorite adult, will continue at 10:15 and 10:45 a.m. on Thursdays through the summer.

Teens and Tweens will enjoy a few programs of their own during June.

On Wednesday, June 15 at 4 p.m., come to Craft-o-Rama! Make shrinky-dinks, colorful magnets, and other recycled crafts. For ages 12 and up.

Help Make Paper Cranes for Japan on Wednesday, June 29, at 2:00 p.m. Help make 1,000 paper cranes in honor of Japan. Cranes symbolize blessing in the Japanese culture, so we will show our support and express our sympathy for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami by making them. The cranes will be displayed in the library. For ages 12 and up.

For teens in grades 8-12, join us for the Anime and Manga Club. Come eat a snack, draw, and discuss your favorite titles on Friday, June10 and 24, from 4:15 to 5:30 p.m.

Yes, there are also adult programs during the summer.

On Saturday, June 4, at 1:30, come hear Linda DuVal, who has lots of information about interesting, fun, and unusual places to go in the Pikes Peak region. In Cheap Talk, Linda will inspire you to vacation on a shoestring.

The Monumental Readers will meet on Friday, June 17, to discuss Three Junes by Julia Glass. All patrons are welcome to attend this monthly book club.

The AARP Mature Safe Driving Program will be offered on Thursday, June 18, from 1 to 5 p.m. This is a refresher course designed for motorists age 50 or older. Graduates may present their course completion certificate to their insurance agent for a discount. Charge for the course is $12 for AARP members and $14 for non-members. Class size is limited and registration is required.

Adult discussion groups Socrates Café and Senior Synergy will continue at their usual times during the summer.

On the walls in Monument will be oil paintings of Western Perspectives by Pam Holnback. In the display case will be model trains shared by Peggy Rauch.

Palmer Lake events

Palmer Lake’s regular Wednesday story time will be replaced by special programs each week during June and July at 10:30 a.m.

  • June 1, come watch Heather and Vicki as they present puppet tales from English and European traditions including Three Billy Goats Gruff, Little Red Riding Hood, and The Gingerbread Man.
  • On June 8 learn about the history and techniques of the Hula and other Pacific Island dances with Hawaiian Hula expert Jean Kama, and then try out the moves yourself.
  • On June 15 the Rumble Sisters present Road Trip U.S.A. John Ruth and Pat for laughs, stories, silly songs, and much more.
  • On June 22, Color the Earth with Beth Epley. Travel the globe using stories and songs as your passport. Join Beth as she blends regional folk tales with her wild improvisational style.
  • On June 29 enjoy Eiffel Off the Tower. Enjoy funky tales from France and other French-speaking parts of the world with Alphonse the Chef and his puppet sidekick Pierre.

The Palmer Lake Book Group will discuss Prayers for Sale by Sandra Dallas at its meeting on July 1 at 9 a.m. New members are always welcome.

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

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Lewis-Palmer juniors present exhibit to Vaile Museum

Below: Lewis-Palmer High School juniors constructed a historical exhibit that was presented to the Vaile Museum in Palmer Lake. From left are Emily Dean, Samu Palonen, Matthew Coats, Logan Woish, Mason Woish, Bobby Rosnak, Michael Hartley, Brittany Battle, and department Chair Tana Lucido. Photo by Bernard Minetti.

By Bernard L. Minetti

Under the direction of department Chair Tana Lucido, the junior class at Lewis-Palmer High School researched and presented a temporary history exhibit to the Palmer Lake Historical Society’s Vaile Museum. The exhibit is a 20th-century observation of the Tri-Lakes area communities and associated historical events.

The students interviewed residents who have lived in the area for a substantial time and who had firsthand views of historical events, photographs, and documentation of the period being researched. The students obtained artifacts that became part of the exhibit. Central to the presentation are photographs of several of the Lewis-Palmer High School classes dating as far back as 1942. One photograph bore the name of Lewis High School, which was the original name of the school. Many of these photographs were found stored in the school’s closets and storage areas.

Under the direction of Vaile Museum Director Roger Davis, the students constructed an audio tour that visitors to the exhibit might listen to and hear additional facts concerning the photographs and artifacts.

The participating students of the Lewis-Palmer 2011 junior class are Landon Abernathy, Rachel Bachler, Brittany Battle, Evan Castanon, Hannah Chase, Collin Child, Matthew Coats, Becca Davis, Emily Dean, Emma Dobiash, Michael Hartling, Ethan Hollenbach, Zahra Kiaee, Laura Milligan, Samu Palonen, Seth Polich, Jenna Press, Willow Pulciani, Megan Ripple, Bobby Rusnak, and Logan and Mason Woish. Samu Palonen, Seth Polich, and Willow Pulciani were the narrators for the audio tour project.

Palmer Lake Historical Society President Phyllis Bonser stated that it was the intent of the society and the Vaile Museum to sponsor additional projects that were researched and presented by students and classes of School District 38. She further noted that the involvement of the students in researching area history is invaluable in broadening their focus on their own cultural and historical backgrounds as residents of the area.

The museum is open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and in June through August it is also open from 1 to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays. It is located just below the Palmer Lake Library at 66 Lower Glenway in Palmer Lake.

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

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Palmer Lake Historical Society, May 19: Early women of Douglas County recalled

Below: Shaun Boyd, archivist of the Philip S. Miller Library in Castle Rock, presents a short history of various relatively prominent women who lived in Colorado from the mid- to late 1800s through the early 1900s. Photo by Bernard Minetti.

Below: Suzanne (Pitts) Bartel explains the panels in the Palmer Lake History Quilt that she presented to the Palmer Lake Historical Society. Bartel was a society board member and a docent for the Vaile Museum when she resided in Palmer Lake in the ‘90s. The panels in the quilt depict, from left to right and top row to bottom, the Town of Palmer Lake, Estemere House and Chapel, Elephant Rock, the Post Office in Palmer Lake from 1981 to 1996, the Town Hall, the Little Log Church, the Lucretia Vaile Library-Museum, Palmer Lake and surrounding area, and the Ben Lomond ranch. The quilt may be seen in the Vaile Museum. Photo by Bernard Minetti

By Bernard L. Minetti

The May meeting of the Palmer Lake Historical Society was highlighted by a presentation on women who were early inhabitants of Douglas County. The presenter was Shaun Boyd, 13-year archivist of the Philip S. Miller Library in Castle Rock.

Boyd presented briefs on several women who lived in Colorado from the 1850s to the early 1900s. Among those that she discussed were Hersa Coberly and Miriam Fonder.

Boyd said that Coberly was the first wife of Army Capt. Silas Soule. They were married for only three weeks when Soule was killed in a gunfight in Denver. It was felt that he was killed for testifying about the Sand Creek incident, which had to do with the Arapahoe and Cheyenne tribe mistreatment. Hersa Soule then married Alfred E. Lea, who was an early miner from Boulder. One of their children was Homer Lea, who became a renowned general, military adviser, and strategist.

Boyd discussed the background of Fonder, a single woman who came to Colorado with her two uncles in 1861. She was born in Ohio and raised in Iowa, where she lost her mother when she was 13 years old. She struggled to succeed and received a teaching certificate when she was 20 years old. Boyd noted that she worked in a boarding house in Idaho Springs, where she met her husband, Hubert Fonder, who subsequently left to join the Union Army to fight in the Civil War.

Miriam did not like life in the mountains and went to Kansas to meet her husband and to raise the child she was carrying. In 1865, they returned to the Cherry Creek area in the Denver environs. Boyd said that they had five children, one of which was born after Hubert’s death in 1871. Hubert had been kicked in the head by a horse. In 1875, Miriam moved to Spring Valley. She bought a farm and started a school nearby that was eventually named The Fonder School, after her. She died in 1901 at the age of 91.

Boyd briefly discussed other early women settlers such as Theodosia Ammons, who from 1898 to 1907 was the dean of Women’s Studies at the Colorado Agriculture College, now known as Colorado State University. She also briefly mentioned Elizabeth Cleary, who was the 1900 president of the Denver School Board. Elaine Clark, another early Colorado resident in 1899, was named champion of musical whistling. Boyd ended her discourse by mentioning Florence Martin, an author, who came to Denver from Australia in the early 1930s.

During the society meeting, Suzanne (Pitts) Bartel presented a quilt she had made when she resided in Palmer Lake during the ‘90s. She had been a Historical Society board member and a docent for the Vaile Museum. She moved to Riverside, Calif., and returned this week to present the quilt to the society.

The quilt contains nine panels that illustrate part of Palmer Lake history. The panels depict the town of Palmer Lake, Estemere House and Chapel, Elephant Rock, the Post Office in Palmer Lake from 1981 to 1996, the Town Hall, the Little Log Church, the Lucretia Vaile Library-Museum, Palmer Lake and surrounding area, and the Ben Lomond ranch, which was established in 1869. The quilt may be viewed at the Vaile Museum.

Historical Society President Phyllis Bonser advised the membership that there would be a Victorian Tea on June 11 at Estemere House to raise funds for the Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department. There will be three seatings. Tickets are $40. To obtain tickets, contact the Palmer Lake Town Hall at 719-481-2953.

Lynn Manzer, co-chair of the Chautauqua Committee, briefed the group on the progress of the event’s planning and execution. She emphasized that volunteers are still needed to assist in the Aug. 4-7 event. Prospective volunteers may contact her at 719-661-1167. She also advised the members that the Chautauqua will include the Friday night square dance, the Fort Carson Mounted Color Guard, the vintage baseball game Saturday morning, and the old-time church service Sunday morning.


The next Palmer Lake Historical Society event will be at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 10, at the Palmer Lake Town Hall and green area. That annual Fathers’ Day celebration will be held from 2 to 4 p.m., and ice cream and pie will be served to honor dad. No charge. All Tri-Lakes residents are invited.

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

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Independence Day Festivities

The following is based on information posted at www.palmerlakefireworks.com.


Sat., July 2

7 p.m., Barn Dance, Sibell’s Barn, Front Street, Monument. Info: 481-3382.

Mon., July 4

7 a.m., Pancake Breakfast, St Peter’s Church, Monument
7:15 a.m., Fun Run begins, Palmer Lake Trailhead, Palmer Lake
7:30 a.m., Parade line-up begins, Old Denver Hwy, Monument
8:30 a.m., Parade entry judging begins, Monument
9:30 a.m., Children’s parade begins, Monument
10 a.m., Main parade begins, Monument
11 a.m., Street fair begins, Monument
11 a.m., Tractor Pull begins, County Line Road, Palmer Lake
11 a.m., Palmer Lake Festival begins, Palmer Lake
Noon, live music begins, Palmer Lake
Noon, Flag Disposal Ceremony, Limbach Park, Monument
Noon, Tractor Pull begins, County Line Road, Palmer Lake
2-9 p.m., live music, Palmer Lake
8:30 p.m., Balloon Lift-Off (2500 Balloon release in honor of Della Gray. Wish cards for $2 can be bought at the Palmer Lake Town Hall or the Palmer Lake Country Store. The fireworks committee will provide a balloon to attach your card to on July 4 in Palmer Lake.)
9:15 p.m., Palmer Lake Fireworks Extravaganza. Tune your radio to 92.9 FM the PEAK to listen to live broadcast choreographed to the Palmer Lake Fireworks Show


Barn Dance - Hosted by Si and Dorothy Sibell, sponsored by the Historic Monument Merchants Association. 7 p.m.-midnight. Admission: $10 per person, $15 per couple. All proceeds go to Wounded Warriors. Reckless will perform, beer, wine, and soda available. ID required for alcohol. Info: Si or Dorothy, 481-3382

Ride The Bus - Transportation is sponsored by Kiwanis and Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce. Shuttle buses (District 38 yellow school buses) will shuttle event attendees from parking facilities to Vitamin Cottage 8-10 a.m., July 4. Parking areas are located at LPHS, Monument Park and Ride, and PRHS. Eating, drinking, or smoking is not allowed. You may bring strollers, coolers, and folding chairs on the bus. A donation of $1 per person is appreciated to help pay the cost of operating the buses. Return trips noon-2 p.m. No shuttle to Palmer Lake after parade. Info: Patrick, 488-8111

29th Annual Fun Run - Sponsored by Palmer Lake Elementary PTO. Register at www.july4funrun.com. Cost: Age 15 and under $12, age 16 and up $23. Pick up packets July 1, 3:30-7:30 p.m., at Palmer Lake Elementary School. On site registration July 4, 6 a.m., at Palmer Lake Park, cost $30. Chip timing by Your Cause Sports. Kids fun run after main run. Participants may return to start by shuttle. No shuttle to Palmer Lake after parade. All proceeds go to PLES PTO. Info: Maria Brown, 481-8817 or visit www.july4funrun.com.

Pancake Breakfast - Sponsored by St Peter’s Knights of Columbus. 7-10 a.m. Breakfast served with pancakes, eggs, sausage, and juice. $6 for adults, $4 for kids. Proceeds go to charity. Coffee is free. Info: Mark Yoder, 964-9770

4th of July Parade - "Liberty & Justice for all" sponsored by Monument Hill Kiwanis. Children’s parade starts at 9:30 a.m. at Lincoln and Jefferson Streets, main parade begins at 10 a.m. in downtown Monument. Info: Don Johnson, 302-1979; Patrick Quinlan, 488-8111; or visit www.monumenthillkiwanis.org.

Street Fair - July 4th. Sponsored by the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce. Set-up is by 9 a.m. Fair is open 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Vendors, food, & craft booths. Info: The Chamber, 481-3282 or e-mail info@trilakeschamber.com or visit www.trilakeschamber.com.

Garden Tractor Pull - Garden Tractors from 1952 and earlier pull weighted sleighs over a measured course, greatest distance determines winner. Park at the gazebo and take a free hayride to and from the event on County Line Road. Kiddie garden tractor pull July 4. All kid participants will receive a trophy! Info: Al Goodman, 440-1105.

What A Blast - Sponsored by the Palmer Lake Fireworks Committee. Noon July 3 and 11 a.m. July 4. Runs until dusk in downtown Palmer Lake at the lakeside near the ballfield. The event presents live music by several local bands. 3rd - ‘Matt & Miles’, ‘Young Austin and No Difference’, ‘Cry of a Giant’, and ‘Jack Daddy’. 4th - ‘Rich Owens’, ‘Last Minute’, Dirty Old Men’, ‘Trademark Infringement’, and ‘At a Loss’. Each band plays for about 2 hours. Palmer Lake will also have vendors, kids games, bounce house, climbing wall and zip line, and much more! The finale will be the spectacular fireworks display over Palmer Lake! Info: Rhonda, 460-3496

The Best Small Town Fireworks Show In America - Sponsored by the Palmer Lake Fireworks Committee the show begins at dusk by the lake side. Tune in to 92.9 at 9PM to hear the music choreographed to our fireworks. The entire show and associated costs are funded by donations only. The committee actively seeks donations to help pay for the celebration.

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Special Events and Notices

By Judy Barnes, Editor Emeritus

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

Hooked on Palmer Lake Kids’ Fishing Derby, June 4

This popular community event features many prizes, give-aways, and awards as well as fishing instruction for kids 16 and under. It’s at Palmer Lake June 4, 8 a.m.-noon. A limited number of free poles will be available. If you received free gear in the past or have your own, please bring it. Recommended bait includes salmon eggs and worms. Children 10 and under must be accompanied by an adult, no exceptions. No child will be denied admission for lack of ability to pay. Tickets are $2 in advance and can be purchased at the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce (481-3282), or $3 at the lake. For more information, call 481-3282.

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Palmer Lake Clean and Green Home Improvement Grant, June 4

The Town of Palmer Lake has received a grant from the El Paso County Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG) to institute a program called the Clean and Green Home Improvement Grant. The program provides a one-time grant of up to $1,000 to low- and moderate-income homeowners for improvements such as minor exterior home repairs, energy efficiency improvements, and landscaping.

Eligibility for the grant program is determined by the annual gross income and size of the household. For example, a two-person household would be eligible with an annual gross income up to $45,200 and a four-person household would be eligible with an annual gross income up to $56,500. Applicants are required to be the homeowners and occupants of the property for which the proposed project is submitted. An information session is scheduled for June 4, 1-3 p.m., at the Palmer Lake Town Hall, 28 Valley Crescent. For more information, contact Leigh Holden, 338-9643 or e-mail plcg2011@gmail.com.

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County seeks volunteers

The El Paso County Board of Commissioners is seeking citizen volunteers to serve as Family and Consumer Science representatives on the CSU Extension Advisory Committee. The ideal candidates will have experience/knowledge of nutrition and family relations. There is also an opening for an At-Large member on the Citizen Outreach Group (COG). Applications for these open positions are due by June 10. The volunteer application is located at www.elpasoco.com and can be accessed by clicking on the "Volunteer Boards" link. For more information call 520-6436.

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El Paso County Seeks "Crafty" Citizens For 2011 County Fair Creative Arts Display

El Paso County Fair organizers are looking for craftily-inclined, culinary-accomplished, and photographically-proficient citizens to showcase their handiwork by entering this year’s Creative Arts Display. The El Paso County Fair runs July 23-30 in Calhan. The pre-registration deadline for Creative Arts Display entries is July 11. For more information and entry forms, visit www.elpasocountyfair.com or call (719) 520-7880.

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Slash and Mulch season has begun

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

The program is a wildfire mitigation and recycling effort sponsored by El Paso County, co-sponsored the Colorado Forestry Association and the Black Forest Fire Department, in cooperation with Colorado State Forest Service and the State Board of Land Commissioners. The program’s purpose is to teach forest management practices and to encourage residents to clear adequate defensible space surrounding their structures by thinning trees and shrubs to reduce the spread of fire. Spreading mulch on the forest floor holds moisture, delays the spread of weeds, and provides nutrients to the forest. For more information, visit www.bfslash.org or phone 520-7878 or Jeff DeWitt, 495-8024.

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El Paso County begins Phase 2 of the Hodgen Road Safety Improvements

El Paso County has closed the Phase 2 portion of Hodgen Road from just west of Farrar Drive to Highway 83. This is the final leg of designed safety improvements. There will be an approximate three-week overlap when Hodgen Road will remain closed from just east of East Black Forest to Farrar Drive. All 3.8 miles of Hodgen Road will be closed to through traffic during this period. The Highway 83 to Farrar Drive segment is expected to be completed by approximately December 2011. Detours will be marked. Hodgen Road residents within the construction boundaries will be allowed to use a contractor-maintained route to regain access to an open segment of Hodgen Road at posted detour points. All commuter traffic on Hodgen Road will be redirected by a posted detour route. For more information contact Dave Rose, public information officer, 520-6540, or email DaveRose@elpasoco.com.

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Host an exchange student

Host families are needed for international exchange students for the 2011-12 school year. All kinds of families can host—two-parent households with young children or teenagers, single-parent families, families with adopted children, foster parents, as well as couples and single people who do not have children or who have grown children. One of the most important characteristics of a host family is being eager to share your family life and activities while providing the same kind of care, support, and comfort as you would to your own child. The exchange students come with medical insurance, all their shots, and spending money. They are not allowed to smoke nor use alcohol or drugs. They must have passed an English speaking and grammar test. The students begin arriving in early August in time to get settled for the coming school year. Now is the time for potential host families to start the process. A family can request a student from a specific country or with a certain language. Contact Duane Slocum at 599-8955, cell 440-7402, or email slocumduane@hotmail.com if you would like to learn more about the program or start looking at student profiles from around the world.

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Save the date: The 2011 Return of the Rocky Mountain Chautauqua, Aug. 5-7

The Palmer Lake Historical Society presents The 2011 Return of the Rocky Mountain Chautauqua Aug. 5-7, in and around Palmer Lake. The weekend begins with the Friday Night Opening Ceremony and Square Dance. Saturday features Vintage Baseball and Ice Cream Social, and Sunday’s events include an Old-Time Church Service. Watch for additional events and details in upcoming issues. For more information, call 661-1167.

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Multiple sclerosis support group

A multiple sclerosis (MS) group is forming for the Tri-Lakes and surrounding areas. If interested, please contact Susan at susan@tinybrook.com.

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Tri-Lakes HAP Senior Center has fun programs!

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

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Tri-Lakes Cares Thrift Shop in Monument

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

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Tri-Lakes HAP Thrift Store in Palmer Lake

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

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Senior Beat newsletter—subscribe for free!

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

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Senior Safety Program

Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District offers a free senior safety program to all Tri-Lakes seniors. The program includes smoke detector evaluations, home safety assessments, vial of life, and fire prevention. For more information, call 484-0911 or visit www.tri-lakesfire.com.

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County prescription discount program could save you money

El Paso County’s prescription discount program saved 10,000 residents $250,000 in discounted medicines over 18 months at no additional taxpayer cost. People using the card saved an average of 23 percent. There are no eligibility requirements and no strings attached to receive the discounts. You can pick up a free Prescription Discount Card at most county government locations or you can download your own personalized prescription discount card on the county website (bottom of the front page) at www.elpasoco.com.

Any county resident without prescription coverage can use this program. Even if you have insurance for prescription medications, the discount card might save you money on prescription medications your existing plan does not cover. For more information, visit www.elpasoco.com or call 520-6337 (MEDS).

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Check out energy savings at local libraries

Mountain View Electric Association (MVEA) recently started a program allowing consumers to check out "Kill-A-Watt" meters, plug-in energy meters, from local libraries and Book Mobiles in MVEA’s service territory. Kill-A-Watt meters can help consumers assess how efficient appliances really are. This program provides a free way to identify the real energy abusers and reduce energy use. People who have used the meters report unplugging appliances that weren’t being used to save energy. For more information, call MVEA, 1-800-388-9881, ext. 2602; or Monument Branch Library, 488-2370.

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