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The third annual Wounded Warrior USA Ice Fishing Tournament on Jan. 19 drew 135 anglers and volunteers to the ice on Monument Lake. Wounded Warrior USA thanks the ice-fishing anglers and volunteers for supporting the Rehabilitating Active Duty Wounded Warriors at Fort Carson.
The nonprofit outreach program provides year-around open water and ice fishing, and a hot lunch for the wounded soldiers. The program also sponsors family days in the Rocky Mountain region. Bill Miller and Dave Bryant head up the trips with their Lake Ice USA fishing guide service in Monument. They also provide lure making and spinning rod-building workshops.
Adult prizes: First place, Jiffy 8-inch ice auger propane won by Joey Henson; second place, Vexilar FL8 Fish Finder won by Richard Sweatland; third place, Little Buddy Heater propane won by Holly Bliss.
Youth prizes: First place, Automatic Fisherman kit, Ben Bliss; second place, Automatic Fisherman, Sara Garner; third place, Little Buddy Heater, Forrest Beckman.
The program thanked Jerry Schemmel, voice of the Colorado Rockies on KOA 850 Radio, for announcing the start of the tournament and socializing with participants. Schemmel is a supporter of the program.
Supporting sponsors are Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Premier Roofing, American Legion 9-11 Tri-Lakes, Clam Corp., Vexilar Co., Lindy Tackle, Eagle Claw, Devil Dog Coffee Brew, Dynamic Lures and KIFAGU, Rosie’s Diner, Village Inn, and The Depot Restaurant.
By Jim Kendrick
On Jan. 7, the Monument Board of Trustees unanimously approved two marijuana ordinances to restrict the personal use and possession of marijuana within the town limits. Also, the board continued to explore renewable water options.
Monument Police Chief Jake Shirk swore in new police officer Michael Case. There was a roar of laughter and cheers of celebration from 10 family members, friends, and others present after Shirk added this amendment to Case’s oath: "and I promise to never, ever park in Lieutenant Burk’s spot again." Michael’s father, Bill Case, pinned on his new badge.
All board members were present.
Marijuana control ordinances approved
Director of Development Services Tom Kassawara and Chief Shirk presented two new ordinances for control of marijuana use within the town boundaries.
Kassawara said that Amendment 64 to the Colorado Constitution now allows the possession, sale, and use of marijuana for recreational purposes, with certain restrictions. However, this amendment allows local governments to prohibit the cultivating, manufacturing, testing, and sale of marijuana through enactment of ordinances.
The first ordinance prohibits growing and selling marijuana, specifically the operation of marijuana cultivation, testing, and manufacturing facilities and retail marijuana stores within the Monument town limits.
The first new ordinance also makes it illegal for anyone to grow marijuana for recreational purposes other than in an enclosed, locked space not open to the public, where "enclosed" means having a roof and all sides closed to the weather with walls, windows, or doors.
This ordinance also states that the retail sale of marijuana or marijuana-infused products would have an adverse effect on the health, safety, and welfare of the Town of Monument and its inhabitants.
Kassawara also reported that marijuana grown for recreational purposes under the regulations contained in Amendment 64 would not be allowed to be sold within the town limits.
The second new marijuana ordinance on possession and consumption prohibits the possession of marijuana for persons under age 21, including amounts less than one ounce.
This second ordinance prohibits a person 21 or older to possess, transfer, transport, or purchase marijuana, marijuana products, or marijuana accessories for any reason other than personal use. This section of the ordinance also defines specific legal meanings for these three terms: marijuana, marijuana products, and marijuana accessories.
The second ordinance also prohibits the consumption of marijuana openly and publicly or in a manner that endangers others and limits the quantity that can be possessed.
After their presentations, there was a very technical question-and-answer session for residents and the trustees with Kassawara, Shirk, and Town Attorney Gary Shupp. There was consensus that these new regulations may have to be modified as the state’s regulations evolve and expand due to litigation and court decisions. Shupp said that both ordinances are as restrictive as possible as written at this time and would not be overturned due to "pushing the boundaries."
While answering questions from the public and board, Shirk and Shupp stated that there are already existing state statutes against driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol that can be enforced within the town limits. Using marijuana in a public park or while driving is prohibited.
No one spoke in favor of or in opposition to either ordinance during public comments.
The first ordinance creating section 17.48.205 of the Town of Monument Municipal Code regarding these new town limits on manufacturing and retail facilities was unanimously approved. The new ordinance amending Monument Town Code Section 9.12.050 that regulates possession of marijuana, marijuana products, and marijuana accessories and prohibits open and public consumption of marijuana was also unanimously approved.
The board members all thanked Kassawara, Shirk, and Shupp for their prompt response to approval of Amendment 64 in researching and producing the two approved ordinances.
Renewable water discussion background
Background: On Nov, 21, 2005, the board unanimously approved an "Emergency Ordinance Establishing a Maximum Expenditure for Purchase, Construction, and/or Rehabilitation of a Police Department/Government Complex." This ordinance capped the amount of water sales tax revenue that could be reallocated for the Police Department building to $2.5 million, but did "not cap how much can be spent on the facility using other sources of revenue." The ordinance also stated that any reallocated water tax revenue beyond this cap "will be expended on the acquisition of new water rights and the transport and storage of these newly acquired water rights." (www.ocn.me/v5n12.htm#bot1121)
The town’s initial construction plans for the new Police Department and Courthouse building that was proposed to be built on the vacant lot directly east of Grace Best Elementary School were abandoned when minimum cost was determined to be $3.4 million.
On Dec. 1, 2008, the board approved an ordinance to amend the 2005 emergency ordinance. The amendment increased the Town Hall construction cost cap to $4.4 million and changed the period, distribution, and annual amount of water sales tax revenue to be used to pay for the building. The total amounts of water sales tax revenue allocated under this new eight-year plan were $1.751 million for the building and $3.721 million for water rights.
On March 2, 2009, the board unanimously approved the purchase of four shares of Twin Lakes Reservoir and Canal Co. for $126,000 as proposed by town water broker Gary Barber.
Note: Barber was the manager of the Pikes Peak Rural Water Authority. He was the first executive director of the Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District but has resigned from that position. Barber continues to be the chair of the Arkansas Basin Roundtable.
Twin Lakes is a water collection system originally designed to collect water from the Roaring Fork River on the West Slope and release it into the Arkansas River, to be pulled out by sugar beet farmers in Crowley County, just east of Pueblo County. Since then the water has been converted through water court and is now fully consumable for municipal use. Each share represents about 1.1 acre-feet of water per year. No other water rights have been purchased by the town.
The town staff moved into the new Town Hall and Police Department building on May 7, 2009.
The board approved creation of the town’s Acquisition Storage and Delivery (ASD) fund March 16, 2009, to better account for how the revenue from the town’s 1 percent water sales tax is spent on acquisition, storage, and delivery of newly purchased water rights and paying off the cost of the new Town Hall/Police Department building. During the years 2009 through 2016, 65 percent of the water sales tax revenue will be placed in the new 2A ASD Fund, and the other 35 percent will pay off the $4.4 million cost of the building.
On May 3, 2010, Barber and Town Manager Cathy Green proposed a $6 million, 20-year lease/purchase contract for the purchase of Fountain Mutual Irrigation Co. water shares through Comanche Resources LLC of Colorado Springs. Former Mayor Betty Konarski, who is the town’s representative to the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority, told the board that these water rights are "the best I’ve seen since being involved in Monument water issues since 1997." She encouraged the board to use the advice of the staff and consultants and make a "tough" and "difficult" leadership decision. The board unanimously approved the resolution for the proposed agreement to purchase Fountain Mutual water shares.
During the May 17, 2010, board meeting, on the advice of the town’s consultant water attorney Bob Krassa and the town’s consultant water engineer Bruce Lytle, the board unanimously approved a motion to terminate the $6 million contract. Mayor Travis Easton signed a letter of termination to Comanche Resources dated May 17.
At the Aug. 6, 2012, board meeting, Green introduced Barber as the president of the Two Rivers Water Co. He gave a slide presentation titled "A Permanent Water Supply Solution," which advocated a portfolio approach for the town to purchase rights to renewable water assets. Barber was accompanied by his Two Rivers associate, Kirsty Cameron. Barber noted that he had made a similar presentation to Cherokee Metropolitan District. The board agreed to have Barber work on future renewable water supply options from Two Rivers.
Barber proposed that the town purchase shares of Two Rivers’ water supply system portfolio. One share would equal one acre-foot of deliverable renewable water on a not-for-profit wholesale basis. Two Rivers could provide financing through Wedbush Securities Inc. in a public-private partnership to convert Monument’s groundwater into a "drought-proof" water reserve and assist with obtaining grant money.
Barber stated that independent water ownership is a prerequisite in the current window of opportunity for participation in the Southern Delivery System (SDS) now that the long-term economic downturn in the real estate market for Banning-Lewis Ranch has left an unexpected excess of Colorado Springs Utilities’ (CSU) transmission capacity open for use by other municipal and special district entities, and a drastic shortfall in CSU tap fee revenue.
Two Rivers would transport excess Two Rivers ditch water made available from the farms it owns by performing rotating farm field fallowing in the Lower Arkansas River Valley and selling/delivering the water that is temporarily not being used for field irrigation to Two Rivers shareholders.
Barber also noted that the negotiations could take years and need to start soon through town water rights purchase and ownership while the window of opportunity for SDS participation remained open. He provided copies of a draft memorandum of understanding for the board and staff to review for further discussions about the town owning shares of an entire water delivery system that can reduce the existing pressure on a water system entirely dependent on non-renewable groundwater.
Barber noted that town access to renewable water and reuse of groundwater to extinction are vital to reducing pressure on diminishing groundwater supplies, particularly during drought years.
Green asked the board to seriously consider Barber’s proposal, noting that it is complicated and requires study by the trustees. However, the board dropped consideration of Barber’s proposal after Barber resigned from his position as president of Two Rivers in December 2012.
Current renewable water discussion
At this Jan. 7 board meeting, Green discussed other options available for bringing renewable water to Monument. She noted that she had "been put under a tremendous amount of pressure to take a leadership role here" by former Mayor Konarski to start doing something about water. She also stated that the board has been considering this issue for the past seven years and that the current Acquisition. Storage, and Delivery (ASD) fund balance was about $700,000 for purchasing sustainable water.
Green noted that she had met again with Konarski and Barber "the other day." They agreed that other local governments are moving ahead with water rights purchases from farms, with limited success. She recommended, instead, the reuse and recycling of the town’s water by retrieving it after it is treated by Monument Sanitation District. This treated effluent would be piped up to the Palmer Lake area and returned to Monument Creek, so the town could withdraw it from the creek for reuse as treated drinking water, rather than letting aquifer water just run down to Colorado Springs with no ability to recycle groundwater.
Green stated that she wanted to bring a contract to the next board meeting on Jan. 22 for a vote. The town contract with Barber would be for $30,000 per year, using money from the ASD fund. Green said Barber would work to partner with other nearby water and sanitation districts and Colorado Springs Utilities to develop a reuse/recycling plan for the town’s water. Barber would also develop a finance plan to best leverage the limited amount of money in the town’s ASD fund through very creative ways of financing, since the town will not have the millions of dollars needed "no matter what we do."
Green stated that Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District had purchased millions of dollars of water rights, then changed its mind and purchased a farm with a reservoir to do something different now. Donala Water and Sanitation District has an agreement with CSU to purchase potable water but had to raise its rates quite a bit and may not be able to serve all its district customers with this purchased CSU water. "I’m not sorry that we’ve waited because we could have made an expensive mistake, but I think it’s time" to go in this reuse direction, which has a basic cost of about $5 million, she said.
Konarski said she had provided board members with a basin study report summary and that Gov. John Hickenlooper had stated it’s time for us to look really seriously at water reuse. She also said that the town has tried in several instances to work with Woodmoor and Donala and now that Donala District Manager Dana Duthie is retiring, there may be an opportunity to forge new relationships with his replacement, Kip Peterson, former district manager for Cherokee Metropolitan District.
Konarski stated that Barber has the statewide respect needed to help create such partnerships, even with CSU. She noted that Woodmoor and Donala have had to de-annex parts of their districts so that Arkansas River basin water would not drain into the South Platte basin in violation of their CSU agreements and would be more amenable to discussions.
She said Monument was the only municipality of any size and should take the lead on what happens with water using Barber’s access to statewide studies from his work with the Arkansas Basin Roundtable, including the PPRWA Water Infrastructure Planning Study. Trustee Jeff Bornstein said there must be other consultants that could help, but Konarski and Green disagreed, saying Barber was the most knowledgeable consultant available for Arkansas River Basin water issues.
After a question-and-answer discussion with the board regarding the town’s and region’s water history, the board asked Green to have Barber make a presentation on this new reuse approach at a future board meeting.
Later in the meeting, during staff reports, the board asked Green to publish options for water rate increases. However, the board did not vote on the size of the increase or whether the water rates would be the same for both residential and commercial customers. The board did not vote on the size of discounts for commercial customers for the option that calls for lower rates for commercial customers. The board also did not vote on a hearing date for approval of water rate increases.
Public Works Director Tom Tharnish stated that his proposed increases might only cover production costs for three years. Water rates would have to be raised again after that interval in order for the town’s water enterprise to remain solvent.
Tharnish had offered two rate-increase proposals at the Nov. 19 board meeting that would result in the town having the second-lowest rates of seven water providers in this region. Only Triview Metropolitan District’s water rates would be lower. The rate increase is needed to allow the water enterprise to become self-sustaining again, as required by state statute, to keep the water treatment plant and distribution system in good condition, and to prevent the water enterprise from going into debt. Tharnish said the last town water rate increase occurred before 1998. The town’s water enterprise has been losing money for years and the cash reserve in the water fund is almost gone.
The current monthly water rate structure for all town water accounts is:
• 0 to 10,000 gallons: $4.99 per thousand gallons for the first 10,000 gallons
• Over 10,000 gallons: $5.99 per thousand gallons over 10,000 gallons
Tharnish presented two tiered options—a "combined" rate structure for both residential and commercial or separate rates for residential and commercial.
Option 1: The proposed option for combined/equal monthly water rate structure for both residential and commercial accounts with the average number of accounts in each category was:
• 0 to 6,000 gallons: $4.99 per thousand gallons for the first 6,000 gallons (334 accounts)
• 6,001 to 12,000 gallons: $5.99 per thousand gallons over 6,000 gallons (192 accounts)
• 12,001 to 24,000 gallons: $6.99 per thousand gallons over 12,000 gallons (268 accounts)
• Over 24,000 gallons: $7.99 per thousand gallons over 12,000 gallons (117 accounts)
Option 2: The proposed separate monthly water rate structure for residential customers was:
• 0 to 6,000 gallons: $4.99 per thousand gallons for the first 6,000 gallons
• 6,001 to 20,000 gallons: $5.99 per thousand gallons over 6,000 gallons
• 20,001 to 40,000 gallons: $6.99 per thousand gallons over 20,000 gallons
• 40,001 to 60,000 gallons: $7.99 per thousand gallons over 40,000 gallons
• Over 60,000 gallons: $8.99 per thousand gallons over 60,000 gallons
The proposed separate monthly water rates for commercial customers were:
• 0 to 20,000 gallons: $5.99 per thousand gallons for the first 20,000 gallons
• 20,001 to 50,000 gallons: $6.99 per thousand gallons over 20,000 gallons
• 50,001 to 250,000 gallons: $7.99 per thousand gallons over 50,000 gallons
• Over 250,000 gallons: $8.99 per thousand gallons over 250,000 gallons
For more information, see: http://www.ocn.me/v12n12.htm#bot1119
Note: See page xx for the latest rate changes proposed by Tharnish, in the Jan. 22 board meeting article.
Humane Society contract renewed
There was a lengthy contentious discussion about a resolution for an annual renewal of the town’s contract with the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region for pet animal control and licensing services.
Green reported that the town had renewed this contract every year since 1997 to have the Humane Society patrol, pick up stray animals, and impound them as well as be in charge of licensing of town pets. She noted that the cost of the 2013 contract had gone up to $16,568, an increase of $6,568 over the 2012 contract. She also noted that the contract cost had not been increased since 2009 and that Lt. Steve Burk had verified that there had been a substantial increase in Monument’s calls for service to the Humane Society in 2012 that had prompted the cost increase.
"So it was a legitimate number and this is the cost and that’s I’m afraid what we’re stuck with," Green said. However, she had no documentation available to answer questions on specific increases in each category of billings.
Shupp pointed out that hiring an extra town code enforcement officer to provide animal control at night would be considerably more expensive than $16,568. The town would also have to buy an animal control truck and establish and maintain a kennel. The town would be liable if there is no enforcement mechanism for controlling animals due to cancelling the Humane Society contract.
Town Treasurer Pamela Smith stated that the $16,568 contract was approved by the board in the 2013 budget and that the first payment for January under the new rate had already been paid. She listed the charges for the annual Humane Society charges for the past several years that had been flat with very little increase until the rate of town calls increased substantially in 2012.
Shirk reviewed his meetings with the Humane Society and stated that all their costs have gone up substantially. Also, the town staff has no other options for a place to drop off dogs, cannot provide medical care, and does not have the equipment or liability coverage to pick up animals. He noted that if a trustee picked up a dog in Monument and took it to the Humane Society, the town would be charged for handling the animal.
Cynthia Sirochman, who was the town’s code enforcement officer before taking over the town clerk position, noted that the town staff has no equipment or training for handling vicious dogs and that the Humane Society will not respond to barking dog calls unless the complainant files a formal complaint and gives their name and address. Shirk laughed, as did several board members, when asked if the Police Department wanted to respond to barking dog complaints at night.
After several trustees and a citizen asked numerous questions and made statements that questioned the negotiations by Green, Shirk, and Shupp with the Humane Society and the price of the contract, Trustee Rafael Dominguez said he had a problem with the board not taking care of these pet issues.
After 25 minutes of discussion on this increase of $6,568, the board approved the contract renewal by a 6-1 vote, with Trustee Jeff Kaiser opposed.
Triview Metropolitan District office moving
The board unanimously approved a three-month extension of the existing intergovernmental agreement between the town and Triview Metropolitan District for the town to provide office space, furnishings, and administrative services, such as phones and computers, to Triview through March 31. The cost of this short-term agreement is $2,181 per month
In other matters, the board unanimously approved an annual liquor license renewal for Brinker Restaurant Corp.’s Chili’s Bar & Grill at 15898 Jackson Creek Parkway.
Request made to move fireworks to Monument
During public comments, Monument resident Bill Brown of the Palmer Lakes Fireworks Committee asked that the board consider moving the annual Palmer Lake Fourth of July fireworks show to Monument. Brown suggested using the former Lake of the Rockies vacant lot on the southeast corner of Monument Lake as the base location for parking and viewing the fireworks display. He said the committee had obtained permission from the property owner, Ernie Biggs, for parking cars on his vacant property that is currently being used for grazing livestock.
Brown said, "I know there’s a lot involved in asking this" and that the pyrotechnics launching equipment would direct the launches over Monument Lake. He added that he thought it would "be a better event" if held in Monument since the parade and street fair events are held in the downtown area.
Chief Shirk said he had "some pretty heavy concerns. If held at the lake, there’s only two ways in and out." Mitchell Avenue, North Monument Lake Road, and Peakview Boulevard are only secondary roads and are not designed to handle thousands of vehicles at one time for traffic to exit to the north toward Palmer Lake.
Shirk stated that Second Street would require separate traffic control personnel other than police officers who will "have their hands full" with other specific duties already assigned for the annual event. With the hundreds of cars trying to exit at the end of the fireworks display, cars could be stuck on the railroad tracks with no way to move forward or backward and in danger of being struck by a train. Note: The modification made to the Second Street crossing by the railroad in 2009 to meet the Board of Trustees’ request––including $12,495 for curb removal and replacement––to achieve quiet zone status are specifically designed to prevent vehicles from maneuvering off the road at this crossing. Similar modifications cannot be constructed for the Palmer Lake railroad crossing on County Line Road due to insufficient space between the tracks and the adjacent Spruce Mountain Road.
Shirk also noted that there was no preliminary estimate at this time regarding how many vehicles could park on the vacant Biggs property to help handle the 25,000 vehicles that will arrive for this display, given the lack of downtown street parking. The board asked Brown to meet with the pyrotechnics contractor at Monument Lake to address safety concerns regarding the most suitable launch location and direction and report back to Chief Shirk and then meet again with the board.
Financial reports and updates
The board unanimously approved four disbursements over $5,000
• $20,361 to Faris Machinery Co. for vacuum truck repairs in 2012
• $22,316 to CIRSA Insurance for first-quarter workers’ compensation coverage
• $14,167 to CIRSA Insurance for first-quarter liability coverage
• $12,714 to Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority for annual town dues and Transit Loss Model participation
The board unanimously approved the November 2012 financial statements as presented. Net general fund revenues were $167,000 more than the amount budgeted. Net water fund revenues were $179,000 more than the amount budgeted. Net total surplus revenues for all funds through November were $1.36 million.
Green asked the board to approve a town membership in the Action 22 lobbying group, which has a membership fee of $350. After discussion, there was no consensus in favor of her recommendation.
The board went into executive session to discuss pending litigation at 8:40 p.m.
The meeting came out of executive session and immediately adjourned at 8:50 p.m.
Jim Kendrick can be reached at email@example.com.
By Jim Kendrick
The Monument Board of Trustees held a special meeting on Jan. 15 with a single agenda item: "consideration of resignation of town manager." The board entered an executive session at 6:31 p.m. to discuss this matter.
All seven board members were present. Town Manager Cathy Green did not attend this meeting.
The board emerged from the executive session at 7:55 p.m.
Town Attorney Gary Shupp announced that the board had agreed to accept the resignation document submitted by Green, and listed several grammatical changes the board had made.
Trustee Jeff Kaiser moved to accept the resignation of Green, seconded by Trustee John Howe. The motion passed 6-1, with Trustee Stan Gingrich dissenting.
No other information will be provided by the town on this confidential matter.
The meeting was adjourned at 7:58 p.m.
Jim Kendrick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jim Kendrick
On Jan. 22, the Monument Board of Trustees unanimously approved a motion to appoint Town Treasurer Pamela Smith to also serve as interim town manager after the resignation of Town Manager Cathy Green. Smith was sworn in by Town Clerk Cynthia Sirochman and took the town manager position at the dais for the rest of this meeting.
Trustees Rafael Dominguez and Jeff Bornstein were absent from the meeting.
Human resources attorney agreement approved
The board unanimously approved Sirochman’s recommendation to approve the proposed agreement with Vaughan & DeMuro Attorneys at Law of Colorado Springs, a partnership of professional corporations, to have this firm become the town’s human resources law firm.
Sirochman noted for the record that Vaughan & DeMuro is contracted with CIRSA Insurance, the town’s insurance firm for workers’ compensation and liability. She noted that Town Attorney Gary Shupp indicated that this will not cause a conflict of interest. CIRSA’s attorney also confirmed with Sirochman that there is no conflict of interest. However, Vaughan & DeMuro may have to step aside from representing the town if it files a claim with CIRSA for workers’ compensation or liability.
Water rate increase hearing date set
The board set Feb. 19 as the hearing date to consider a water rate increase for the town. After this meeting, Public Works Director Tom Tharnish provided the following rate proposal information to OCN to include in this article:
The Town of Monument posted a notice that the rate increase will be considered during the regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19 at Town Hall, 645 Beacon Lite Road, in the Board Room at the northwest end of the building on the first floor. Public comments will be considered on the proposed rate increase shown below.
Combined residential/commercial rate proposal
Water use and new rate (service fee not included):
0 – 6000 gals: $4.99 per thousand gals up to 6,000 gals
6,001 – 12,000 gals: $5.99 per thousand gals up to 12,000 gals
12,001 – 24,000 gals: $6.99 per thousand gals up to 24,000 gals
24,001 + gals: $7.99 per thousand gals over 24,000 gals
This information will also be posted on the town’s website, http://www.townofmonument.net/, and be mailed as an insert in monthly water bills.
Private clubs amendment to marijuana ordinances approved
Director of Development Services Tom Kassawara said that the board had directed him to prepare a marijuana ordinance amendment concerning the use of marijuana at private clubs.
The proposed amendment prohibits the consumption of marijuana and/or marijuana-related products at clubs, lodges, and service organizations in both the B and C-1 General Commercial Districts, with wording added to Section 17.36.020.8.
The proposed amendment also prohibits the consumption of marijuana and/or marijuana-related products at public or private membership clubs and health clubs in planned development zones with, wording added to Section 17.40.050 and in Regency Park planned commercial development zones, with wording added to Section 17.43.009.A.24.
There were no public comments on this ordinance. The board approved the amendment unanimously.
Smith reported one disbursement over $5,000, a payment of $128,042 to Triview Metropolitan District composed of $123,002 for November sales tax, $5,010 for December motor vehicle tax, and $29 for December Pikes Peak Regional Building tax.
Kassawara reported that he had color plans for review by trustees for new sidewalks that will be installed downtown.
Public Works Director Tom Tharnish reported that:
• The new lift for repairing large trucks in the Public Works garage would be installed in the next two weeks.
• A significant water main break had been repaired in Raspberry Lane.
• Two decorative lamp posts on Second Street that were damaged several months ago have been replaced.
Police Chief Jacob Shirk reported that a department officer had been assaulted during a response to an alcohol complaint. Shirk said, "We did win the fight." The suspect was subdued, arrested for assaulting a police officer, and found to have a no-bond felony warrant. The other subject on scene was arrested for felony warrants and providing false information to a police officer.
Shirk reported that officers also responded to the Monument Marketplace Walmart for a report of a theft. The suspect was taken into custody after a foot pursuit. The suspect also possessed amphetamines and had an outstanding warrant for arrest.
Smith reported that the staff is using a transition worksheet for prioritizing issues:
• The staff is preparing for a capital improvement program trustees’ workshop meeting on Feb. 4.
• The Triview Metropolitan District board voted to buy an office condo in Jackson Creek, so their planned departure from Town Hall by March 31 is on schedule.
• The Wounded Warrior Ice Fishing Therapy event, organized by Dave Bryant and Bill Miller at Monument Lake on Jan. 19 was a success in helping the participants deal with post-traumatic stress disorder. See related article on page 1.
• At the March 4 meeting, Sam Mamet, executive director of the Colorado Municipal League, will address the board on "Issues Facing Cities and Towns in Colorado in 2013."
The meeting adjourned at 7:04 p.m.
The next meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 4 at Town Hall, 645 Beacon Lite Road. Meetings are normally held on the first and third Monday of the month. Information: 884-8017 or http://www.townofmonument.net/.
Jim Kendrick can be reached at email@example.com.
By Jim Kendrick
On Jan. 9, the Monument Planning Commission approved Major Amendment 1 to the final commercial planned development site plan for the Sundance Studio. Some Monument citizens who reside near the dance and gymnastics studio (http://thesundancestudio.com/) expressed concerns about the density of on-street public parking on Cipriani Loop becoming worse due to more parents dropping off and picking up their children.
Chairman Ed Delaney’s absence was excused.
Recently appointed Alternate Commissioner Melissa Wood attended this meeting but was not eligible to take Delaney’s place due to a change in the Planning Commission’s bylaws in 2007. Prior to that change, alternate planning commissioners could participate and vote in any Planning Commission meeting when filling in for an absent commissioner.
Studio expansion approved
Director of Development Services Tom Kassawara briefed the commissioners on the proposed 4,052-square-foot addition to the existing studio building at 1450 Cipriani Loop and the increased number of parking spaces in the studio’s parking lot. Kassawara reviewed three issues that had been raised regarding this application:
• Additional traffic generation for this use is minimal––the applicant’s traffic report concludes that there will be no apparent safety issues and the findings of this study were confirmed by the town’s consultant traffic engineer.
• The architecture for the new addition closely resembles the existing facility.
• Three new parking spaces are being added on the existing parking lot to meet the town code parking requirement.
Some of the other review comments Kassawara presented to the commission were:
• The proposal fits within the context of the master-planned commercial district zoning of the Valley Vista Estates subdivision and the infrastructure in the surrounding area.
• The expansion is on the north side of the building.
• The visibility of the building to the Monument Villas multifamily residential community to the south will not change significantly.
• The north side of the addition is screened by the veterinary clinic.
• The west side of the addition is screened by the Mountain States Telephone and Telegraph Co. facility.
• The Tri-Lakes/Monument Fire Protection District fire marshal had no comments on circulation of traffic.
• No new landscaping is required.
Kassawara also gave a point-by-point analysis of how the proposed addition meets all town review criteria. He proposed one standard condition of approval: Any necessary technical corrections shall be made by the applicant and approved by staff. He said no technical corrections were required at this time.
Consultant architect George Cruz represented landowners Steve and Cathy Clowes. Cruz noted that three additional parking spaces would be created by resealing and restriping the existing studio parking lot. Parking spaces would be changed to the standard town code size of 9 feet by 18 feet. The off-street total on the property would be 66 spaces. Previously some parking spaces were oversized, 10 feet wide or more. A turn-around, stop sign, and stop bar were added to the lot as well.
Cruz also noted that a substantial part of the new floor space would be for several trampoline pits, and the maximum occupancy for this addition is 80 people.
Some of the comments made by citizens during the open portion of the public hearing were:
• The current after-school changes of class in the studio result in substantial congestion on Cipriani Loop and in the northbound left-turn lane on Knollwood Drive at the Highway 105 traffic signal.
• The painted solid stripe separating the two Highway 105 westbound lanes is too long, causing southbound Knollwood drivers––particularly Monument Academy parents––to not want to make a "right on red" turn onto the highway when westbound Highway 105 traffic has the green light. Heavy rush hour "through traffic" in the center lane of 105 prevents vehicles in the right acceleration lane from easily pulling over into the left through lane at the west end of the solid stripe soon enough to be able to safely turn left onto Jackson Creek Parkway from the protected left-turn lane at the next intersection.
• Southbound Knollwood vehicles from the north side of this intersection that are turning west on Highway 105 swing wide directly into the left lane to avoid the solid stripe, endangering vehicles that are simultaneously turning into the left lane of Highway 105 from the south side of this intersection. This significantly reduces the number of cars that can get through the left-turn light from the south and causes a lot of daily rush-hour frustration for neighbors of the studio.
• Monument Academy drop-off and pick-up traffic also contributes significantly to the amount of morning and afternoon southbound Knollwood traffic that impedes left turns from the south side of this Highway 105 intersection in the left westbound lane.
• Some Sundance customers/parents park in the private Monument Villas clubhouse parking lot inside the subdivision during peak attendance periods.
• The Monument Villas homeowners association should not have to tow away Sundance Studio cars parked illegally in the private clubhouse parking lot tow-away zone.
• Sundance should use the adjacent Integrity Bank parking lot for additional off-street studio parking to relieve on-street parking congestion now that the bank has moved into the larger building on the opposite side of Knollwood and Highway 105 intersection.
Some of the comments made by commissioners were:
• A lot of Sundance customer cars are parked on Cipriani Loop during drop-off and pick-up, but customers don’t park on Knollwood Drive.
• The town just passed a code revision that reduces the number of off-street parking spaces required for commercial buildings.
Some of Kassawara’s responses to comments were:
• When the shopping center on the southeast corner of Knollwood and Highway 105 is built, there will be sufficient warrants for a traffic signal upgrade that will include a protected left-turn from the south onto westbound Highway 105 and will prevent the current dangerous interference from southbound Knollwood traffic vehicles that are simultaneously making right turns directly into the left lane of westbound Highway 105.
• The roadway and traffic signal at this intersection belong to El Paso County, but the timing of the traffic signal is controlled by CDOT.
• When Kum and Go store traffic stabilizes, the town will ask CDOT to re-evaluate the left-turn signal timing for the Knollwood intersection.
• The Knollwood traffic signal is not a Sundance Studio site plan issue.
• The existing studio detention pond will be deepened to ensure that the additional impervious surface created by the new roofing does not cause drainage from the Sundance lot to exceed historic flows.
• Monument Villas residents should post additional tow-away signs in the clubhouse parking lot and have its homeowners association actually tow cars away.
• Sundance would have to get Integrity Bank’s permission to have Sundance customers park on Integrity’s unused lot.
• The parking lot code is based on square footage and maximum occupancy only and standard for this type of use in many similar towns in Colorado.
• The town’s street parking code does not account for the 10-minute overlaps for drop-off and pick-up cycle peaks.
• Parking is allowed on Cipriani Loop because it is a public right-of-way that is wide enough for parking on both sides of the roadway and has room for emergency vehicle access even when all parking spaces are filled.
• There are no "No Parking" signs on Cipriani Loop and parking on the street is not "wrong."
• Sundance Studio could note in event announcements that event participants will not be allowed to park on other private property.
• If there are visibility issues at Cipriani Loop intersections, yellow striping of the adjacent curbs may be appropriate.
A motion to approve the Sundance Studio site plan amendment was unanimously approved.
Bylaws update comments requested
Kassawara stated that he was updating the Planning Commission Bylaws and Rules of Procedure revision that he performed in 2007. He asked the commissioners if they had any comments on the 2007 bylaws.
There was consensus to appoint an additional alternate and allow one or both alternates to participate and vote when they sit in for one or more absent commissioners. If both alternates are present and only one commissioner is absent, the senior alternate would participate and vote. Town Attorney Gary Shupp said alternate commissioner participation and voting "is fairly standard" compared to Kassawara’s rule that allows an alternate to participate only when three of the seven commissioners are present. There was also consensus to add agenda items for the Pledge of Allegiance and electing a temporary chair if both the chair and vice chair are absent.
The board unanimously approved a motion to recommend the addition of these revisions to the Board of Trustees for the board’s review and approval. Kassawara said he would send each commissioner an electronic copy of the amended bylaws with their proposed changes incorporated to obtain their individual final "thumbs up."
The meeting adjourned at 7:54 p.m.
The next meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 13 in Town Hall, 645 Beacon Lite Road. Meetings are normally held on the second Wednesday of the month. Information: 884-8017 or www.townofmonument.net.
Jim Kendrick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Lisa Hatfield
On Jan. 10, the Palmer Lake Town Council held two separate meetings, a Liquor Licensing Authority and Medical Marijuana Authority meeting, then a combined Town Council workshop and regular meeting. The council approved a medical marijuana license transfer for Palmer Lake Wellness Center in the first meeting, then approved K. Peter Kavanagh’s application to become a Palmer Lake planning commissioner and an ordinance vacating portions of three streets.
The trustees reported a quiet beginning to 2013, with the exception of an armed robbery discussed during trustees’ comments, but no new information about this incident was presented.
Fire Trustee Rich Kuehster and Roads Trustee Jerry Davis were absent. The council has one vacant seat.
Medical marijuana license transferred
Dino Salvatori presented a request for a transfer of license for Palmer Lake Wellness Center, 850 Commercial Lane, where he is co-owner with Joseph Pernarelli. Salvatori has "no doubt at all" that they can meet the security needs of this business. The security plan had been turned in, but final inspections and approvals were still being scheduled with acting administrator Jason Vanderpool of the Palmer Lake Police Department and Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District Fire Marshal John Vincent. Vincent is conducting fire inspections for the Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department until a new fire chief is hired. Police Trustee Bob Grado, Water Trustee Michael Maddox, and Mayor Nikki McDonald told Berreth they would like to go along with Vanderpool to take a look at the business soon.
Town Attorney Larry Gaddis recommended a motion for approval of the transfer of the existing license to owners Salvatori and Pernarelli "contingent upon the approval of police department and fire department inspections." The license transfer was approved by vote of 3-1, with Maddox opposed. He initially wanted to abstain from the vote; McDonald said he couldn’t do that, so Maddox voted no. He gave no reason for his dissenting vote.
Planning Commission vacancy filled
The council unanimously approved Palmer Lake resident K. Peter Kavanagh to fill the vacancy on the Planning Commission. "Are you sure you don’t want a council seat?" asked McDonald, referring to the vacant Parks and Recreation trustee seat. "Is that next?" Kavanagh answered.
Kavanagh is a licensed Colorado architect. He opened the Speed Trap Coffee Bar 10 years ago but sold it last year. He said he volunteered for this position as a "way to stay involved." McDonald thanked Kavanagh for his willingness to volunteer and expressed her wish that more people would get involved in the town.
Vacated property ordinance
The council unanimously approved Ordinance 1 of 2013, an amendment to the meeting agenda. McDonald explained this ordinance vacated portions of First Street, Second Street, and Eaton Road in the Lakeside Addition. Two property owners are involved, and "It’s not land-locking anyone," Berreth said. "It’s more or less just cleaning up the plats." The topic had been discussed at a previous council meeting.
Public notice posting locations
The council unanimously approved the official locations for public notice postings of upcoming council meetings and events. Just as last year, the three locations are the Palmer Lake Town Office, Post Office, and Town Hall. Notices may also be placed in other locations and via email, but those are optional additions.
Police Trustee Grado said it was a "very quiet month," with one "major incident," five case reports, and eight citations for December. "Things are going very well on the Police Department. I’m really happy, considering the big changes that were made recently…. It’s going very well with Jason Vanderpool, who is our acting administrator right now." The department is interviewing to fill some vacancies and has one applicant who’s "extremely experienced," Grado said, and he hopes to make introductions of new officers at the next council meeting.
Grado stated that he had no new information about the armed robbery that took place in December. Grado referred to the press release of Dec. 26 from the Police Department about this incident. The release reported that at 3:15 a.m. on Dec. 26, three suspects armed with handguns entered a home on Gillia Street through a window. Three residents were home at the time. During the ensuing struggle, the male resident received minor injuries when he "was held against his will in a bedroom … and a female resident and teenage child were locked in a bathroom," according to Lt. Vanderpool in the press release. The suspects took items, including household electronics and live marijuana plants, from the home.
McDonald said that the Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department is looking for new a fire chief and has three applicants who will be interviewed toward the end of January by a committee put together by Fire Trustee Rich Kuehster. The department hopes to have a new fire chief by February. "We do have some good candidates, so that’s exciting, " McDonald said. No official Fire Committee report was presented; Berreth explained that she received it but would have to email it to the council after the meeting.
Water Trustee Maddox said, "We’re doing OK on the reservoir; we’re low, and we need some snow." The town used 2.8 million gallons of surface water in December, took no water out of Well A-2, and took 1.4 million gallons from Well D-2. For December, the total water used was 4.2 million gallons, for an average daily use of 137,000 gallons, and a single-day high of 157,000 gallons. "That’s still pretty high," he said.
Economic Development Trustee Shana Ball reported, "We no longer have a bowling alley…. We still have a bar though, O’Malley’s." She said Pinz Bowling Center lost its sanctioned lease. Ball added that the building co-owners now plan to auction off the lanes and sell the building. Ball said, "Let’s hope we don’t have anymore businesses closing in Palmer Lake. It’s really going to hurt us." McDonald added, "Something could come in that’s really lucrative, too."
The roads report was given by McDonald. During the cold weather, preventive maintenance and repairs were being done to vehicles and the shop. No road grading was done, and pothole repairs were ongoing.
McDonald said the lane dividers at Spring Street had been repaired again, and a lively discussion about the merits of the lane dividers resulted.
Ball asked if this was a "money pit" since they had to be replaced so often; her impression was that some residents break the plastic poles on purpose. McDonald said the Roads Department is considering installing a more substantial divider there in the spring, saying, "We’re going to put cement in."
Grado, McDonald, and Maddox all had positive reports from residents about the helpfulness of the lane dividers. "There’s a lot of kids there … walking to and from school, and I’m worried they’re going to get hit one of these days," said Ball, adding, "People fly up that hill." Maddox said, "A concrete barrier would be nice…. It’s gonna save a life."
Mayor McDonald reported on the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments (PPACG) new slate of officers and the presentation to PPACG by new Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) Director Don Hunt. She said Hunt talked about an overall lack of money, saying some state highways that "lead to nowhere" would be turned over to local authorities for maintenance. McDonald said Palmer Lake doesn’t need to worry about Colorado Highway 105, which "will stay with CDOT maintenance….That road doesn’t go nowhere; it goes someplace!"
McDonald also stated that Hunt said weekend visitors to the mountains would be glad to know that CDOT plans to alleviate Sunday afternoon congestion on I-70 by using some shoulders as highway lanes between Idaho Springs and the Eisenhower Tunnel.
The meeting adjourned at 6:35 p.m.
The next regular meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Feb. 14 in Town Hall, 42 Valley Crescent. Meetings are normally held on the second Thursday of the month. Workshops are normally held on the first Thursday of the month. Information: 481-2953, then press 0.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at email@example.com.
By Jim Kendrick
On Jan. 8, Facility Manager Bill Burks advised the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility Joint Use Committee (JUC) that December had been a very quiet month. The most troublesome operational problem that occurred was two of three wastewater samples were lost due to freezing and breaking of the containers while being shipped by truck to Steamboat Springs for testing.
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:
• President Jim Whitelaw, Woodmoor
• Vice President Dale Smith, Palmer Lake
• Secretary/Treasurer Chuck Robinove, Monument
Several other district board members, including the JUC alternate representatives and district managers from each of the three owner districts, also attended the meeting.
Burks noted that the annual workers compensation insurance payment to the Colorado Special Districts Property and Liability Pool for 2013 was $4,947.
Burks also noted that the total amount spent by the facility in 2012 was $750,409, only 93.7 percent of the $801,114 total amount budgeted.
The financial report was unanimously accepted as presented.
District managers’ reports
Monument Sanitation District Manager Mike Wicklund reported that he had an anomalous alarm call on New Year’s Day for a pump running too long at a Wakonda Hills lift station. There were no other issues after that alarm, so he concluded it was just a short moment of unusually high wastewater flows during a holiday.
Palmer Lake District Manager Becky Orcutt reported that there were no problems in her district. She noted that she had received a lengthy article from her recently retired predecessor Duane Hanson, who now lives in Minnesota. The article focuses on extensive problems caused by nitrates from agricultural runoff contaminating Minnesota well water. She provided copies of the article.
Woodmoor Assistant District Manager Randy Gillette said there had been no issues at Woodmoor in the past month.
Plant manager’s report
Burks reported that the Tri-Lakes plant was operating smoothly and efficiently. There were no problems regarding any of the entries in the plant’s November Discharge Monitoring Report.
Wicklund noted that Monument Sanitation District’s total sanitary wastewater influent flows to the Tri-Lakes facility are currently about the same as they were 20 years due to relining most of the old vitreous clay pipes. The lining stops almost all of the inflow of groundwater through the cracks and leaks in the joints that had developed during 50 years of use. The district no longer has to pay the Tri-Lakes plant to treat this groundwater in addition to treating the wastewater.
The concentration of solids has greatly increased because the number of Monument customers has doubled but less potable water per flush is being used by newer bathroom fixtures to dilute the solids. There is also less dilution by the groundwater that was infiltrating the clay pipes before they were lined.
Wicklund also stated that the "Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Plant Facility Evaluation Plan for Copper, Manganese, Mercury and Zinc," prepared by consultant engineering firm Tetra Tech, had not adequately reported all the various methods used by Monument Sanitation District to discover the sources of copper in the district’s wastewater or the methods used by the district to minimize these concentrations and their costs. Tetra Tech should have contacted the district to learn about district actions before writing a report and submitting it to the state, he said.
Burks replied that the data in the Tetra Tech report correctly state that Monument drinking water is the largest source of copper in the Tri-Lakes Facility. This information was intended to help the Monument district in future negotiations with the Town of Monument for further reducing copper concentrations. He said he would add a list of regulatory and treatment actions that had already been taken in the next Tetra Tech report to the state. Burks asked Wicklund for a summary of data Wicklund would like to be reported in the future.
The 11 wastewater entities that are now members of the new Arkansas River/Fountain Creek Coalition for Urban/Rural River Evaluation (AFCURE), from Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility down to the City of Pueblo, will join the new statewide Colorado Monitoring Framework association as a watershed member at a cost of $2,850. AFCURE will have only one vote for the watershed, rather than each member paying an individual membership fee of about $4,000 and having its own vote at Colorado Monitoring Framework meetings.
The preliminary annual administrative budget estimate for operating the Colorado Monitoring Framework in 2013 was about $40,000. Wastewater plants that are members of South Platte Coalition for Urban River Evaluation (SPCURE) are also are expected to become members of the framework. SPCURE already collects monitoring data for wastewater facilities in the South Platte River basin.
Both SPCURE and AFCURE will report the sampling data collected by their respective individual wastewater treatment plant members to the industry’s Colorado Data Sharing Network. The state Water Quality Control Division will then take this public data from the network for its own use in internal water quality analyses.
Industry sampling and analysis plan being finalized
There was a general technical discussion of how nutrient statistics would be collected by the Framework association and used by the state Water Quality Control Division, particularly the test results that will be used to begin calculating total nitrogen readings. There is a variety of EPA-approved tests for nitrates, nitrites, ammonia, and total inorganic nitrogen, but each has different minimum detection limits and practical quantitation limits. Adding numbers with disparate accuracies and reliabilities will yield questionable totals for reporting total nitrogen concentrations.
Several industry workgroups are working on ways to comply with the state’s new nutrient regulations. The Colorado Monitoring Framework association is working to create methods of calculating these nutrient values that have sufficient standardization and quality control to ensure that reporting the associated testing results will actually create a valid statewide database of nutrient concentrations in state waters.
The Colorado Monitoring Framework has spent months developing a standard statewide Sampling and Analysis Plan and is pressing the Water Quality Control Division to accept this industry plan. Under this plan, each state wastewater facility would provide the required information to the division by March 1, the Control Regulation 85 deadline for each facility to certify its sampling plan.
The Monitoring Framework has developed its own set of practical quantitation limits and minimum detection limits for the various EPA-approved testing methods that the industry should use for this standardized sampling and analysis plan, because the limits proposed by the division’s lab concerned modified testing processes that are not EPA approved. The division’s proposed detection and quantitation limits for these modified processes cannot be attained or sustained by Colorado’s commercial and wastewater treatment facility labs.
For more information, see http://water.epa.gov/scitech/methods/cwa/det/index.cfm.
2013 meeting schedule approved
The board unanimously approved the 2013 meeting schedule, meeting location, and meeting posting locations. Except for the March 19 meeting, all other meetings will continue to be held on the second Tuesday of the month at 10 a.m. at the at the Tri-Lakes facility’s conference room, 16510 Mitchell Ave. Meetings are normally held on the second Tuesday of the month. Information for these meetings will continue to be available at 481-4053.
The meeting adjourned at 10:40 a.m.
Jim Kendrick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jim Kendrick
On Jan. 8, District Manager Valerie Remington and Operations Manager Nick Harris presented a detailed briefing to the Triview Metropolitan District board on their proposed district baseline landscape master plan for 2013. The plan listed all actions planned for the coming year regarding plantings, trees, mulch, irrigation system installations and maintenance, drainage piping, reseeding, trail and playground maintenance, weed spraying, street sweeping, and special projects. There was a lengthy discussion of specific technical details and individual costs.
The absence of Director Steve Hurd was excused.
The consent agenda was unanimously approved with two exceptions. The minutes for the Dec. 11 board meeting and the district manager’s report on completed items were postponed to February. Operations Manager Nick Harris reported that:
• Water production in December was 9.4 million gallons, 12.8 percent higher than in 2011.
• The district newsletter would be mailed with the February water and sewer bills.
• The operations staff is working on a leak survey for the water distribution system, well and residential meter calibration, and determining the cost and feasibility of lowering well A-7.
• The draft engineering report on chip-sealed roadways had been received.
• The staff is working with Siemens to improve the flow and performance of the flow meters on filter 1 and filter 2 in the B water treatment plant.
• Well 4 is being re-permitted at the request of the state Division of Water Resources.
The board unanimously approved the following disbursements over $5,000:
• $15,991 to the Colorado Special Districts Property and Liability Pool for 2013 liability insurance
• $9,405 to the Colorado Special Districts Property and Liability Pool for 2013 workers’ compensation insurance
• $11,034 to Applied Ingenuity LLC for lowering the pumping equipment 128 feet in well A-4
• $5,289 to Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority for 2013 Transit Loss Model annual dues
• $63,514 to Colorado Water Well Pump Service & Supply Inc. for the well A-1 pump
The board unanimously approved a resolution for reaffirming indemnification of Triview present and past directors and employees as presented.
The board unanimously approved a resolution for the Triview Metropolitan District Bylaws, which were based on the standard Special District Association bylaws document.
The board went into executive session at 6:15 p.m. to receive legal advice.
The next meeting will be held at 5 p.m. on Feb. 12 at Town Hall, 645 Beacon Lite Road. Meetings are normally held on the second Tuesday of the month. Information: 488-6868.
Jim Kendrick can be reached at email@example.com.
By Candice Hitt
At the Jan. 14 Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District board meeting, District Manager Jesse Shaffer discussed the "scope of services" for the water infrastructure planning study. Shaffer stated he had met with the Town of Monument and Donala Water and Sanitation District to review the study and asked the board if it would be beneficial to participate in the study. It was unanimously decided that Shaffer should continue consideration of the study and present a report at the March meeting.
After the meeting, Shaffer said the water infrastructure planning study is designed to "determine a matrix of infrastructure-sharing partnership opportunities that may be available … and analyze the costs of the top infrastructure partnership arrangements identified."
Operations report and construction projects
Assistant Manager Randy Gillette gave the operations report, stating that the district had a reported low percentage of 79 percent of water accounted for in December. He said the district is looking into possible water leaks to explain the loss. Gillette stated there were two significant water breaks in December that would account for some to the water loss. Gillette will continue to monitor the situation.
Gillette stated Well 6 is up and running. The district is trying the New Well product on this well and Gillette will track the iron residuals and report the results at the February board meeting.
Shaffer met with Dale Beggs regarding Village Center Filing 3. Shaffer stated the district terminated the supplemental water reserve agreement with Beggs due to nonpayment. Beggs wants to resurrect the project with the district and build 72 to 75 single-family homes. Shaffer stated that Beggs has enough standard entitlement, which is one-half acre-foot of water per acre of land per year, to build 19 homes. This creates a deficit of about 14 acre-feet of water to the 75 homes.
Shaffer explained to Beggs that he would have to go through the process of gaining a new supplemental water agreement with district. Beggs stated he will provide Shaffer with the information needed to start the process. Shaffer will bring the updated information to the board at the February meeting.
Shaffer stated he met with developer Riverside Development Co., which has a contract to purchase Misty Acres. The developer is seeking to develop Misty Acres Filing 2A. Riverside will request supplemental water service in February.
The next regular board meeting will be held at 1 p.m. Feb. 14 at the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District Office, 1845 Woodmoor Dr., Monument. For information: 488-2525 or www.woodmoorwater.com.
Candice Hitt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jim Kendrick
On Jan. 17, the Donala Water and Sanitation District board unanimously approved the exclusion of the Brown Ranch. Randy and Margaret Scholl of Randal Construction Inc. will pay $150,000 to Donala to buy back the groundwater rights under the ranch in the Denver, Dawson, and Laramie-Fox Hills aquifers. Donala will keep the groundwater rights under the ranch in the Arapahoe aquifer as well as Donala’s well site 8A and its associated access easements.
Waste plant Operator Del Phipps was honored as the Donala Water and Sanitation District Employee of the Quarter at the start of the monthly district board meeting. District Manager Dana Duthie said Phipps made "a real big contribution" toward the certification of the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility laboratory. He added that Phipps is the plant’s primary laboratory technician and "deep into process control and maintenance."
This was the first Donala board meeting for new Assistant Manager Kip Petersen. All board members were present.
Brown Ranch exclusion approved
On Dec. 11, the Scholls petitioned Donala to have the 183-acre property known as the Brown Ranch, near the intersection of Higby and Roller Coaster Roads, excluded from the district. The petition noted that the Scholls had "determined such property is significantly problematic for service within the district."
The Donala district resolution and order excluding this property noted that the major portion of the Brown Ranch property to be excluded is outside the Arkansas River Basin. This could cause the potential loss of water service availability under the existing contractual agreements Donala has with Colorado Springs Utilities and a conflict with water court decree restrictions on the district’s use of any renewable water outside of the Arkansas River Basin.
Only 45 acres of the Brown Ranch is in the Arkansas River Basin and eligible to be served with Donala water, because some of it would come from Donala’s renewable water in the Pueblo Reservoir. The rest of the Brown Ranch is in the South Platte River Basin and would have to have its own entirely separate Donala groundwater system. No Arkansas River Basin renewable water can be transported by the Colorado Springs Utilities Southern Delivery System into the South Platte River Basin, including Donala’s renewable Willow Creek Ranch water. This restriction is enforced by the federal Bureau of Reclamation and the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District.
Duthie noted that this restriction also affects portions of Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District and the Town of Palmer Lake.
Donala applied to the District Court, Water Division 2, in Pueblo for a change in water rights to implement the exclusion agreement with the Scholls.
Duthie said the ranch was included in 2004. The Donala application to the water court notes that the Brown Ranch groundwater was decreed on April 28, 2005, by the same court. These groundwater rights were conveyed to Donala.
Subsequently, the Brown Ranch water rights were incorporated into Donala’s well fields, allowing withdrawal of the ranch water through wells located in other parts of Donala, in conjunction with a decreed augmentation plan for the not-nontributary portions of the water rights.
The Scholls and Donala have agreed that Donala will retain the Brown Ranch Arapahoe aquifer groundwater rights and Donala well site 8A. Donala will reconvey the Brown Ranch ground water rights in the Dawson, Denver, and Laramie-Fox Hills aquifers to the Scholls.
The Donala application states the district is seeking to have the water court remove the Brown Ranch groundwater rights in the Dawson, Denver, and Laramie-Fox Hills aquifers and the Donala well fields and to amend Donala’s augmentation plan to reflect the removal of groundwater rights in these three aquifers.
The Scholls have agreed to pay Donala $150,000 for the groundwater rights in the three aquifers to the Scholls when all the paperwork has been approved by the courts and signed by the judges.
There were no written objections presented or public comments made during the open portion of the public hearing.
The board unanimously approved three motions for:
• The Donala resolution approving the Scholls’ petition for exclusion by the district court.
• The Donala application to the water court for approval of the reconveyance of the Brown Ranch groundwater rights in the Dawson, Denver, and Laramie-Fox Hills aquifers back to the Scholls.
• Authorization of Donala board President Bill George to sign the deed that reconveys the Brown Ranch groundwater rights in the three aquifers back to the Scholls after both court actions are completed and the Scholls’ payment of $150,000 has been made.
The next meeting will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Feb. 21 at the Donala office, 15850 Holbein Drive. Meetings are normally held at 1:30 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month. Information: 488-3603.
Jim Kendrick can be reached at email@example.com.
By Jim Kendrick
On Jan. 17, the Monument Sanitation District board unanimously accepted a letter of resignation from Director David Joss with great reluctance. Joss’s letter advised the board that he would be temporarily out of state to take care of an ailing family member for an indeterminate period.
The board unanimously approved several annual administrative items for 2013:
• 2013 letters of engagement from the district’s attorney, Larry Gaddis, from Bauerle and Co. for auditing services, from Turbo’s Mobile Computer Service, from Haynie & Co. for accounting services, and from Jenny DeVan for janitorial services
• A resolution to set the same district board meeting dates, times and locations, and posting locations for 2013
• Reappointment of Director Chuck Robinove as the primary district representative to the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility Joint Use Committee (JUC) for 2013
• Reappointment of Director Don Smith as the first alternate representative to the JUC and all the other board members as secondary representatives to the JUC for 2013
There was no increase in fees for any of the annual letters of engagement. District Manager Mike Wicklund noted that all annual transparency reporting items were completed before Jan. 15.
Wicklund noted three annual payments that were made:
• $7,917 for annual property and liability insurance to the Colorado Special Districts Property and Liability Pool
• $2,063 for annual workers compensation insurance to the Colorado Special Districts Property and Liability Pool
• $685 for the district’s annual membership to the Special District Association of Colorado
Total cash available for all accounts was $302,784.
The board unanimously approved the purchase of a snowplow that can be mounted on the district’s pickup truck in the event that a deep snowfall could make it difficult to drive to the lift stations for maintenance.
The board unanimously approved a 63-month lease, supplies, and maintenance for a new color copier/scanner/fax machine at $255 per month. The trade-in for the district’s current copier was $1,500.
The meeting was adjourned at 7:55 p.m.
The next meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Feb. 21 at the district conference room, 130 Second St. Meetings are normally held on the third Thursday of the month. Information: 481-4886.
Jim Kendrick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Lisa Hatfield
On Jan. 15, the Donald Wescott Fire Protection District board discussed its busy year for calls, which were up 29 percent compared to 2011. The board reviewed the financial report for 2012 that included a surplus due to profits from sending crews to wildfire deployments around the country.
Chief Vinny Burns and Assistant Chief Scott Ridings reported on the success of the new 48/96 shift schedule as well as continuing fire mitigation progress and community-building events. Pleasant View Estates is now designated a national Firewise Community. Wells Fargo will be the new unified financial institution for the district.
Board Secretary Greg Gent chaired the meeting in the absence of Chairman Scott Campbell, who was excused.
Year-end financial report
Some of the figures Administrative Assistant Cheryl Marshall reported regarding the district’s 2012 profit and loss performance were:
• Budgeted expenses—$1.9 million
• Total actual expenses—$1.8 million
• Budgeted income—$1.9 million
• Total actual income—$2 million
• 2013 estimated beginning fund balance—$1.5 million
These totals will be adjusted slightly when the 2012 audit is completed.
The district’s expenses were about 95 percent of what was budgeted, and income was about 106 percent of the 2012 budget predictions. Mentioning this in his report, Chief Vinny Burns said, "Thanks to our staff, we’ve come in under budget (once again).… We actually made some profit."
Some profits came from eight wildfire deployments for which the district volunteered when it had enough manpower "to backfill our stations properly and not sacrifice any service to our residents," Marshall said. The district has been reimbursed for all its 2012 wildfire deployments except for the Hewlett Fire in Fort Collins, which will add about $10,000 to the 2012 income total, Marshall said. The district saves these profits to purchase new equipment as needed in the future.
Board Secretary Greg Gent asked Marshall about "a few line items" that were over budget. Marshall said they will have to prepare an amended budget just as they did last fall. All 2013 budget items were filed Dec. 15 with the county and the state in accordance with the law, she said.
Balances as of Dec. 31, 2012:
• People’s National Bank—$607,000
• Colorado Peak Fund—$179,000
• ColoTrust Fund—$439,000
• Total—$1.2 million
The special district transparency notice required by law has been posted on the Wescott website www.wescottfire.org, Marshall said. It lists financial information and the date for the next election, which will be May 6, 2014.
The 2012 year-end financial statements were unanimously accepted as presented.
Chief Burns said December was very busy. Santa made several visits to the district, including the kids party at Station 2 and the Santa Patrol Dec. 22, where Santa rode a fire truck and greeted families. Burns commended Assistant Chief Scott Ridings for organizing the events, which help create good community relations.
Burns said that Fire Marshal Margo Humes and Assistant Chief Ridings had established Pleasant View Estates as a nationally recognized Firewise community. Ridings said, "Being a Firewise community means you’ve completed a certain amount of work and will continue on. … It’s not 100 percent complete, but (Pleasant View) is making that commitment." Work includes preparing a Community Wildfire Protection Plan, doing mitigation around the houses, creating shaded fuel breaks, and giving the firefighters a safe place to enter their neighborhood, said Ridings.
"The firefighter shift guys are on the 48/96 work schedule as of Jan. 1," Chief Burns said. "Everyone in the north group is on that schedule now," including:
• Black Forest Fire Rescue Protection District
• Donald Wescott Fire Protection District
• Falcon Fire Protection District
• Larkspur Fire Protection District
• Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District
• American Medical Response Ambulance
The benefit of being on the same shift schedule as surrounding fire districts is that it "builds some integrity, familiarity. You’re always working with the same people" when answering mutual aid calls, Burns said.
Some of the figures Assistant Chief Scott Ridings reported during his presentation of the district’s 2012 year-end run report were:
• 2011 total calls—1,559—19 percent increase from 2010
• 2012 total calls—2,006—29 percent increase from 2011, average of four responders per call
• District 6 calls—606
• District 5 calls—416
• AMR calls—614
• Mutual aid calls—370
• Training hours completed—1,013 (average 2.77 hours per day)
• Fire loss total $162,300 (pre-incident value $1,927,000)
Ridings said December was the busiest month of the year as usual, adding, "This is the first time we’ve hit 2,000 calls since we closed the Vincent station." Overall response time has been cut 5 percent in every category, excluding AMR’s numbers, since they go on runs out of district, he said.
Accounts moved to Wells Fargo
The board voted unanimously to move Wescott’s banking accounts to Wells Fargo bank. Previously, Wescott had two accounts with People’s National Bank and used a private company to do payroll. Since Wells Fargo can process payroll in-house, the move will save the district about $2,700 a year in payroll expenses.
Administrative Assistant Marshall said the difference in checking and savings account interest rates between People’s and Wells Fargo was "a wash. Our real savings is in the payroll and streamlining so it we can process the payroll in two days instead of three days." Wells Fargo will also handle all the state and federal taxes and W-2s, "so we don’t have to get involved in that," Marshall said.
After a short discussion, the board decided to continue to include all five board members and both chiefs on the signature card for the new accounts to be sure there’s always someone available to sign checks as needed. Chief Burns said he hopes to move to more online banking in the future, and this will be easier with the Wells Fargo setup.
The district will still have a separate ColoTrust account.
There were no public comments during the meeting.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:07 p.m.
The next meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Feb. 19 at Station 1, 15415 Gleneagle Drive. Meetings are normally held on the third Tuesday of the month. Information: 488-8680.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at email@example.com.
By Bernard L. Minetti
At the Jan. 23 meeting of the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District, Treasurer John Hildebrandt congratulated Interim Fire Chief Bryan Jack, Battalion Chiefs Greg Lovato and Mike Dooley, and Interim Battalion Chief Kris Mola for the expense budgeting process they managed in 2012. The projected budget expenditure total was within 1 percent of the actual total. This was despite a $25,000 payment to conduct the mill levy override.
Hildebrandt said property tax revenues ended the year at $2.9 million, or 99.80 percent of the budgeted estimate. Specific ownership tax revenue was $277,855, or 111.43 percent over the budgeted total for 2012. Ambulance revenues amounted to $506,148, or 7.97 percent under budget.
He briefly explained that administrative expenses ended the year over budget by 0.14 percent and were slightly out of the tolerance level due to the legal expenses from the internal personnel investigation earlier in 2012. Overall expenses amounted to 99.03 percent of the budgeted amount. Hildebrandt advised the board that this was a commendable effort on the part of the district staff.
A motion was made by Hildebrandt to not require two signatures on checks drafted for amounts under $500. It was unanimously approved.
Shirk discussed the accountability board, which is composed of two board members and two district staff fire personnel. He noted that he was pleased by the interactions and that he felt that so far the work of this group had been successful. This board was designed to promote confidence between the board and fire personnel in their day-to-day operations.
Fire chief application deadline extended
The fire chief hiring committee represented by Jack noted that they had discussed the progress of the hiring procedure with Mark Spiroff, Mountains States Employers Council Human Resources representative and former South Metro Fire Human Relations director. He had stated that 40 to 100 applicants would be a workable representation. Jack reported that only 24 had applied. The board agreed that the deadline for receiving applications should be extended to Feb. 8.
Jack also reported that Dooley, Lovato, Fire Marshal John Vincent, firefighter Rudi Gillette, and fire medic Elliot Link had attended the Colorado Wildfire and Incident Management Academy at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Dooley had passed his S-260 Fire Business Management Course with a 97 percent grade. Jack noted that all the fire personnel had achieved remarkable grades in these courses.
Also, Linke and firefighter Kevin Richmond successfully completed courses in Instructional Methodology, which are required for State Fire Instructor certification. Jack attended the first course in the 2013 Special District Association Leadership Academy.
Jack also reported on the progress of the recruit academy, which began Jan. 7 and will end Feb. 2. Twelve candidates began the class; two dropped out and were replaced. Jack said that he was very impressed with the professionalism and dedication of the attendees and the instructors. He noted that this group included the six Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant hires. He also reported that there had been 86 applicants for this class.
No district training hours for personnel fire, medical, or physical training were provided, although Our Community News had requested them in advance.
Jack reported that he commended Fire Marshal Vincent for being a representative of the only district in El Paso County to have the county commissioners ratify the 2009 International Fire Code with local amendments for the district. He noted that his work in this area was exceptional.
It was also reported that Lovato is working on the policy manual review. He stated that progress was being accomplished, but it was time consuming.
The district executive staff met on Jan. 18 to discuss the new response matrix, agency health/safety/wellness, post-academy graduation staffing models, and the emergency medical service field training process for new hires.
In his summary, Jack stated, "I am very excited about where we are headed and proud to work with such an exemplary group."
Three individuals made presentations before the board. The Rev. John A. Bauers of Threefold Cord Ministries, asked to be considered as the district chaplain. Board President and Monument Police Chief Jacob Shirk stated that this should be a designation by the district fire personnel and not by the board.
Maureen Herr Juran applied to become legal counsel for the district. She is a law partner with the firm of Widner Michow & Cox LLP. She said she had experience representing Colorado municipalities and special districts on a broad range of government matters. The board advised that her request would be considered.
Leon Gomez of Special District Management Services requested that his firm be considered for employment to conduct a wide range of administrative and legal services. The board also advised that this would be considered.
The next regular meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 27, in the Administration Center at 166 Second St. in Monument. For further information regarding this meeting, contact Jennifer Martin at 719-484-0911.
Bernard Minetti can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Harriet Halbig
The preschool at Bear Creek Elementary has been accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). The preschool is one of 81 in Colorado, and one of three in a public school setting to receive this accreditation.
Members of the staff explained the process of accreditation at the Jan. 17 meeting of the Board of Education. The school is evaluated on 10 criteria, including family relationships, curriculum, teaching, health, teachers, physical environment, leadership, and management. The school was required to submit an extensive portfolio addressing 480 standards, and the facility and teaching were observed during a visit by representatives of the NAEYC.
The school has grown from 28 students in 2008 at the Grace Best facility to a present population of 80 students, six sessions, and two Wrap sessions providing before- and after-school care.
Representatives of the preschool thanked the board for its support of this activity.
Math teacher receives national board certification
Teresa Brown, a math teacher at Lewis-Palmer Middle School, has received certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching in the area of math in early adolescence.
Brown is the third teacher in the district to achieve this certification. Requirements for the certification are an intensive self-evaluation and submission of an analysis of teaching skills and effectiveness.
Brown expressed appreciation to her team and her students for their support. She said that the students enjoyed the process of determining which teaching methods were effective.
Superintendent John Borman reported that the second semester began with the administration of final exams, which were cancelled due to a snow day in December.
In the previous week, there was a series of presentations by "The Scary Man," a liberally tattooed individual who spoke on the subject of bullying, name calling, and the use of hurtful language. Borman said that the program was thought provoking and he heard many positive comments from parents and students.
School resource officer update
Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Wangeman reported that the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed that the district will retain the services of Deputy Dennis Coates through the remainder of the year. The Sheriff’s Office will pay the $40,000 expense of this officer’s presence.
Board member John Mann commented that the presence of a school resource officer is valuable because he gets to know students and can often intervene before trouble arises.
Coates has been with the district for a number of years.
Open enrollment update
Community Relations Manager Robin Adair reported that the open enrollment period would continue for five more weeks. The district has embarked on a campaign including press and television advertising and has improved the district website to include videos on each school.
Letters have been sent to all area students in the sixth to eighth grades regarding district high schools.
At the time of the meeting, 27 new students who live outside the district had chosen to attend District 38 schools. Many of these families were seeking a full-day kindergarten program. Some individuals have chosen to switch high schools.
This is the first year in which families can "choice enroll" online to attend a school outside one’s district.
Communications plan update
Adair reported that orientations for staff, parents, and others who wish to speak publically about the district’s offerings would continue through the end of January.
Improvement of the district website continues with the addition of links to home values and tax information to aid voters in their consideration of a mill levy override. The district plans an override election this year.
Adair will attend an election workshop in February to learn more about the process of submitting a ballot initiative and refining its wording.
Exceptional Student Services report
Mary Anne Fleury, district director of Exceptional Student Services, reported on developments in her department.
She said that the department meets state requirements in all areas. Areas evaluated include appropriate educational practices and appropriate planning for postsecondary goals. All goals must be measurable.
The department has created an audit squad to review Individual Education Plans (IEPs) before submission to the Colorado Department of Education (CDE). There is now an individual in each school who reviews the IEPs.
There are now 559 students in the district who are part of the special education program, about 9 percent of the total student population. This is slightly above average, but Fleury said that many families choose to attend District 38 schools due to the programming.
Fleury said the department has offered training for paraprofessionals this year, continues to refine its diagnosis program, is re-evaluating center-based programming, and is refining entry and exit criteria for the center-based programs.
A number of committees address such specialized areas as extended school year offerings, assessment technology, response to intervention, positive behavior intervention, child find (diagnosis before age 3), and transition from one grade to the next and one school to the next.
The department received a grant for Response to Intervention to fund staff training at Lewis- Palmer High School and Palmer Lake Elementary. The department is striving to use the culture of each individual school to improve the effectiveness of intervention.
Fleury reported a realignment of categories on the state level for special education students. New standards will be effective in two years. Autism will be diagnosed on a more refined basis. Physical disabilities will no longer qualify a student for special education services unless accompanied by significant behavioral problems.
Stephanie Johnson of the English Language Learner (ELL) program explained her program’s developments. This is the first year in which the district is under the Colorado English Language Proficiency standards. Colorado is one of 32 states that share standards in terms of comprehension and communication.
Students who enter the ELL program are now tracked through graduation, because the introduction of technical math and science language at the high school level can cause difficulty.
Johnson said that Palmer Lake Elementary has many parents who are non-English speaking, and the ELL population of Bear Creek Elementary continues to grow.
ELL students are tested each year in January on their ability to listen, speak, read, and write English. There are three tiers within each grade level. The state goals include the ability of students to change tiers, the evaluation of a certain percentage of students as fluent, and progress by students on standardized tests.
Michelle Nay, parent liaison for the special education program, explained her position and the services she offers, such as counseling parents on the process of attending IEP meetings and communication with the district. She said that she has recently formed a Parent Support Network, which meets monthly on an informal basis to discuss the special education experience.
Safety and Security Advisory Council update
Superintendent Borman said there have been extensive discussions in all schools regarding the security plans presently in place. Parents and staff are supportive and parents seem comfortable with the present situation.
Wangeman said that 10 applications have been received for membership on the new Safety and Security Council, with three more expected. Staff members in the custodial and grounds areas are increasing their vigilance as well.
Wangeman said that security will now be a consideration when capital investments are discussed.
Prairie Winds Elementary School writing program
Members of Kim Cona’s third-grade writing class presented their original stories, titled A Day with a Dragon. The class was divided into four groups, each of which wrote and illustrated a story with the same title. The groups presented their work to the board.
Board members commented on their professionalism and the quality of their creations.
The board approved a list of routine matters such as minutes of previous meetings, appointments and resignations of staff, list of substitutes, contracts and other items requiring board signatures.
The board went into executive session at 8:15 to discuss personnel matters.
The Board of Education of the Lewis Palmer D-38 School District meets at 6 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month in the district’s Learning Center, 146 Jefferson St., Monument. The next meeting will be on Feb. 21.
Harriet Halbig can be reached at email@example.com.
By Harriet Halbig
School District 38 Director of Personnel and Student Services Bob Foster presented a new charge to the District Accountability Advisory Committee (DAAC) at its Jan. 15 meeting.
In compliance with Senate Bill 191, each district is required to have a Performance Evaluation Council to monitor the district’s compliance with the new performance evaluation system. This council must consist of one teacher, one administrator, one principal, one parent with a child in district schools, and one resident who is not a parent with a child in district schools.
The council is charged with consulting with the Board of Education as to the fairness, effectiveness, and professional quality of the licensed personnel performance evaluation system.
Because DAAC already consults with the board regarding school performance plans and other matters and includes representatives of all schools, staff, parents, and administration, Foster said it seemed logical to suggest that DAAC also serve in this role.
Under SB191, 50 percent of a teacher’s evaluation is based on professional practices and 50 percent on student growth. The state has provided the means to evaluate professional practice through a lengthy form to be completed by principals each year for each employee.
The growth aspect is more difficult because it involves teachers of subjects not assessed by the Transitional Colorado Assessment Program and other standardized tests. Teachers of subjects such as physical education, band, fine arts, and other disciplines must also be evaluated, and the measurement of growth in these disciplines is much more difficult to determine.
Foster said that districts may adopt the state’s proposed system of evaluation or create their own, subject to state approval. He said that the districts that have attempted to create their own have found the process to be cumbersome and often have not received state approval. For this reason, District 38 has chosen to follow the state prototype.
The district is required to present a functioning model of its system by July 1.
The 2013-14 school year will be the first in which the new system is tested, and results of evaluation will not result in any disciplinary action. The following year, 2014-15, will be the first in which a teacher can get an "ineffective" rating. Teachers in the nonprobationary category (those with tenure) can lose that distinction after two years of ineffective ratings.
During the first few years, only teachers of probationary status will be evaluated regarding their professional practices.
Foster said that the district’s evaluation system was last upgraded in 2005. In response to a question regarding declining performance scores (although the district retains its accreditation with distinction), Foster said that budget cuts have eliminated many support services in reading and math over the past several years.
Unified Improvement Plans
The committee split into two sections to review the Unified Improvement Plans for Prairie Winds Elementary and Ray Kilmer Elementary Schools.
Principals Aileen Finnegan of Prairie Winds and Chuck Stovall of Kilmer answered questions posed by committee members. Both reported that in the area of academic achievement (proficiency) and academic growth they received an "exceeds or meets" rating. In the area of academic growth gaps, weaknesses appeared in the categories of disabled students, those in the free/reduced-cost lunch program, and those needing to catch up (those requiring three years or more to reach proficiency.
Prairie Winds houses a center-based program involving students on the autism spectrum and a dual diagnosis program for students who would otherwise need to be treated outside of the district.
Finnegan said that due to the small number of students in each of these categories, their performance was not detailed in the Unified Improvement Plan. However, she took the opportunity to analyze the small number of students whose weakness was in math and concentrated on improving their performance in this area by sending teachers to undergo special training in this area.
Finnegan said that test results showed a weakness in writing among sixth-graders during their first year at Prairie Winds. They responded well to concentration in this area, and as a result their reading performance suffered. Reading is now a focus area.
DAAC member Suzanne Faber, reporting on the Kilmer plan, said that the school houses a center-based program for students with significant special needs. The areas of challenge at Kilmer are math performance for those on free/reduced-cost lunch and those needing to catch up.
The cause of this challenge is a continuing increase in the number receiving free/reduced-cost lunches, larger classes, and lack of resources for individual intervention.
Referring back to the new evaluation system, the principals were asked how the center-based programs and the test scores of these students would affect performance scores of the instructors. When a student attends one of these schools specifically to participate in one of these programs, his or her test scores are applied to their home school, they said.
Board liaison John Magerko reported that the Colorado Association of School Boards has assigned representatives of various districts to attend legislative sessions and hearings to increase the visibility of the school boards.
The District Accountability Advisory Committee meets at 7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month. The next meeting will be held on Feb. 12 in the Distance Learning Lab at Lewis-Palmer High School, 1300 Higby Rd., Monument.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Harriet Halbig
The Special Education Advisory Committee continued its discussion of transition practices at its Jan. 16 meeting. Members addressed transitions from one grade to the next and from one school to the next.
Members of the group had developed a list of suggestions during their December meeting. In January, they were provided with a set of tips from the high school and middle school teachers addressing such matters as setting realistic expectations, familiarity with the Infinite Campus, use of lockers, changing classes, planning, and use of textbooks.
Committee members commented that the wording of the tips was very impersonal and approached from the perspective of the school rather than the individual family and student.
Some members of the committee expressed dissatisfaction with the limitations placed on special education students, such as the inability to ride the regular school bus and excessive assistance from paraprofessionals, or "para." They felt that fellow students were more likely to engage with a special education student without the continual presence of a para.
Other concerns included the fact that, at the high school level, classes may change from one semester to the next and students were not offered assistance in choosing electives. In some cases they would choose an elective only to be told that they could not participate.
Parents suggested that the schools provide a list of sports and other extracurricular activities that would be acceptable.
Mary Anne Fleury, the district’s director of Exceptional Student Services, said that the December count of special education students showed a total of 559 in the program, approximately 9 percent of the district’s population. This is slightly above average for the state, partially because the district’s programs attract students from other areas.
The largest proportion of the group is those with specific learning disabilities, followed by those with physical disabilities (including autism, ADHD and bipolar disorder). As the state prepares to change its classification system, the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) is requesting more details regarding each student. Fleury also said that many students fall under more than one category.
Exceptional Student Services has created an Audit Squad team to review Individual Learning Plans (IEPs) at the school level before submission to the district’s office. CDE officials have said they are impressed with the quality of IEPs from the Lewis-Palmer district.
Fleury also reported that she has scheduled training for paraprofessionals in such areas as conflict resolution and legal issues. The training was held in three sessions and attended by more than 30 individuals. She hopes to schedule further training in the spring.
Fleury said the Reinventing Special Education Task Force, of which she is a member, will meet again soon to discuss such issues as teacher accountability. The task force feels that it is important to report more than simply the number of hours spent with a student.
She said that another focus of the group is licensure of teachers. For example, if a number of special education students need additional help with reading, the task force believes that a school should be able to hire a reading specialist who is not trained in special education but specializes in reading instruction. At present, a district would be required to hire someone licensed in special education.
There was a brief discussion of the impact of the new teacher evaluation system on special education. In the new system, required by Senate Bill 191 and beginning in 2014, teachers will be evaluated equally on the basis of their professional practices and on the annual growth of their students.
There is some concern among parents that this development will cause teachers to resist having special education students in the general education classroom because of the effect their test scores could have on overall growth.
Committee Chair Suzanne Faber commented that Prairie Winds Principal Aileen Finnegan reported to the District Accountability Advisory Committee the previous night that she had analyzed her school’s data and identified nine students with difficulty in math and addressed those few by acquiring special training for teachers to assist them. It was Faber’s hope that other schools would proceed in this way—addressing problems on an individual basis.
Fleury said that the acceptable rate of annual growth for an individual should be described in his or her IEP.
Special Education Parent Liaison Michelle Nay said that she has begun an informal Parent Support Network, which meets monthly at Serrano’s Coffee to discuss matters of special education. The group meets next on Feb. 12 at 9:30 a.m. She said that about 15 people have been attending and many do not attend the evening meetings of SEAC.
The meetings are announced by email to all special education families.
The Special Education Advisory Committee meets at 6:30 p.m. on the second Wednesday of each month in the district’s Learning Center, 146 Jefferson St., Monument. The next meeting will be held on Feb.13.
Harriet Halbig can be reached at email@example.com.
By Harriet Halbig
The board of the Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA) discussed the achievements of the past year and goals for the coming year at its Jan. 23 meeting.
President Jim Hale thanked absent Public Safety Director Paul Lambert and Treasurer Nick Oakley for their service. He credited Lambert with proposing the construction of a garage for Woodmoor Public Safety (WPS) vehicles and Oakley with refining the financial workings of the organization, ending his term with a surplus of income for the year.
WIA Manager Matt Beseau reported that he recently hired a full-time employee to assist with covenants and forestry matters in the office.
Beseau also reported that the League of Women Voters said it had received 619 ballots for board positions, making a quorum in advance of the annual membership meeting on Jan. 28. The League will be present at the meeting to accept ballots and will be in the WIA office on Jan. 29 to open and count the ballots and declare the results.
Beseau also reported on other office matters:
• WIA is now offering homeowners the option of paying their annual dues by charge card.
• There are still 627 signatures needed to ratify the covenants. Beseau said that he would have a table at the annual meeting to encourage members to sign, but suggested that the board reconsider methods to finish the ratification at its first meeting in February. The document is not in compliance with state law, and it would be expensive for WIA to have the document ratified by court intervention.
• Microtech-tel is being considered for telephone service. The previous system was computer-linked, resulting in frequent failure, and the provider has gone out of business. Many providers declined to bid on a system involving so few phones. Microtech-tel offers such services as call forwarding in the event that the office is closed due to bad weather, and the contract would include technical support and software. It would not be necessary to replace cables within the walls of the Barn to install the new system. The board voted to pursue a favorable contract with the company.
Hale presented the treasurer’s report in Oakley’s absence. He said the budget had a $40,000 surplus for 2012 as a result of fully rented office space in the Barn. Expenses ended at 86.8 percent of the budgeted amount. Hale recommended that the excess funds be put back into reserves, because the association spent reserve funds on unexpected repairs on the grounds of the Barn due to a ruptured gas line during the construction of the new garage.
New uniforms approved
WPS Chief Kevin Nielsen reported that his officers would like to change the appearance of their uniforms so that they would not be confused with sheriff or police responders. The new uniforms would be dark green with a Woodmoor patch on the sleeve.
Beseau also requested that office employees be supplied with some sort of polo shirt identifying them as WIA representatives when they visit homeowners.
The board passed a resolution to supply uniforms to WIA and WPS at the cost of up to $1,400.
Nielsen also reported that there had been a forced entry burglary in South Woodmoor the previous Sunday evening. He said that the two individuals who had been arrested in the fall for breaking into homes in Woodmoor and Palmer Lake are now out on bond. The most recent incident involved entry through a basement window. When WPS officers arrived six minutes after receiving the alarm, the perpetrators had fled and the front door was left open. As in the past cases, the homeowners were out of town.
Architectural Control Director Anne Stevens-Gountanis said there were no projects submitted during December. She urged the board to complete its review and approval of the WIA design standards manual.
Forestry Director Eric Gross said that he thought it was necessary to include Firewise principles in the revised manual in light of the new building codes being formulated in the wake of the Waldo Canyon Fire.
Hale agreed that this was a worthwhile concern, although homeowners could not be required to retrofit their property. Any substantial renovation and new construction should comply with Firewise standards.
Stevens-Gountanis urged prompt action in anticipation of future new construction in the area.
Gross reported that the Firewise Committee has been meeting weekly to create a newsletter regarding fire safety and mitigation practices. Members hope to develop a community wildfire protection plan and are exploring possible sources of new grants to help defray the cost of fuel removal in Woodmoor.
Common Area Director W. Lee Murray reported that the work in the front of the Barn has been completed. Heavy planters have been added to discourage people from driving onto the concrete. These planters will be planted with flowers during the summer. Two benches have also been added. Some lighting in the barn has been repaired and replaced, and the dredging of the Twin Ponds has been completed.
The Board of Directors of the Woodmoor Improvement Association meets at 7 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of the month in the association’s Barn, 1691 Woodmoor Drive, Monument. The next meeting will be on Feb. 27.
Harriet Halbig can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Harriet Halbig
The subject of fire safety was a frequent theme at the Jan. 28 Annual Membership Meeting of the Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA).
WIA President Jim Hale said that the community continues to be in danger of wildfires and that residents should protect themselves and their property. He thanked Forestry Director Eric Gross and Firewise Chairman Jim Woodman for their efforts to inform residents about services such as free lot evaluations, providing a chipping day for disposal of slash, and arranging a presentation by the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District’s fire marshal with an emphasis on Woodmoor.
Gross said during his committee report that over 200 residents requested lot evaluations in 2012 and that the committee is seeking grant funding to help defray the cost of mitigation. He said that the Forestry Department has been active in mitigation on common areas and that the Firewise Committee has been meeting weekly to develop a newsletter to keep residents informed. He also said that DVDs of the fire marshal’s presentation are available in the WIA office.
In his president’s report, Hale said that the board is proud of the fact that 2012 was the third year in which WIA had a balanced budget. The website has been made more user-friendly, and efforts continue to use social media to keep in touch with residents. The board is also actively seeking to hold open meetings with fewer executive sessions.
Hale thanked outgoing Treasurer Nick Oakley and Public Safety Director Paul Lambert for their service.
Goals for 2013
The goals for 2013 include Firewise activity, ratification of governing documents, and final approval of the Design Standards Manual (DSM). The DSM must be updated to include multifamily units and attention to fire-resistant materials.
Hale said that a developer had recently purchased the remaining land around Lake Woodmoor. Some of this land is zoned commercial and some multifamily. The DSM was last updated several years ago when the Woodmoor Park townhomes in South Woodmoor were built.
Reporting for Oakley, Hale said that the association was over budget in revenue in 2012 due to complete rental of the offices in the Barn and other rentals for the use of the facility. Expenditures were below budget by about 7 percent. Hale said that the surplus revenue will go back into reserves, because there were several emergency expenditures in 2012 due to a ruptured gas line near the barn.
Woodmoor Public Safety (WPS) Chief Kevin Nielsen reported on the services of his department, which included almost 17,000 vacation checks, 13,700 hours of patrol and 1,609 calls for service. He explained that residents may call for service for help jump-starting a car or towing from a ditch. He stressed that the county is responsible for the condition of Woodmoor roads.
There was increased vandalism in 2012, especially of mailboxes. He urged residents to report such events to WPS and the Sheriff’s Office.
Common Area Director W. Lee Murray reported on noxious weed treatment, repair of fences, mowing activities, and the repairs and improvements at the barn.
Architectural Control Director Anne Stevens-Gountis reminded that her committee approves tree removal, landscaping, construction and modification. Such routine issues as paint color and roofing can be approved in the WIA office. Architectural Control reviewed almost 350 projects in 2012.
Covenant Director Darren Rouse encouraged residents to speak to their neighbors before reporting complaints to the board. He said that the number of complaints declined in 2012 due to a resident education plan through the association newsletter.
The Vincent Elorie Award for outstanding citizenship was awarded to Beth Coureau, an active volunteer for the Lewis-Palmer School District and Tri-Lakes Cares and a former president of the Northern El Paso County Coalition of Community Associations. Coureau currently serves on the board of the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District.
Hale announced two President’s Awards to be presented to Jim Woodman for his fire prevention activities and Craig Gaydos for his work on the association newsletter.
WIA Manager Matt Beseau announced five Good Neighbor Awards to be presented to Dave and Wendy Reineke, Charles Simmons, W. Lee Murray, Lisa Hatfield, and Leslie Weiss. These individuals were nominated by their neighbors.
Ballots were received for the three vacancies on the Board of Directors. The ballots will be counted by representatives of the League of Women Voters.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at email@example.com.
By Candice Hitt
On Jan. 9, the Tri-Lakes Economic Development Corp. (TLEDC) and the Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance (the surviving organization of the Colorado Springs Chamber and Economic Development Corp. merger) met with representatives of local businesses, land owners, developers, and commercial real estate brokers to discuss the TLEDC vision for attracting primary employers to the area. Discussions centered on developing a collaborative plan to specifically target medical device companies and healthcare organizations, as well as entities that would support medical tourism such as specialty medical care centers, surgery centers, and rehabilitation facilities.
The collaborative plan also would support a regional effort for marketing the I-25 corridor from the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs to the Denver Tech Center as an Innovation Health Corridor.
Participants provided a number of suggestions in support of the TLEDC’s vision, including that the TLEDC work with local employers to help them grow and develop their interstate commerce capabilities, survey companies to identify what the roadblocks area companies are facing, and educate employers on available resources and business opportunities.
The TLEDC serves as a liaison between prospective or existing businesses and the area’s government entities, helping to remove hurdles to attracting employers to the Tri-Lakes region, in order to provide jobs that sustain the area’s residents.
The TLEDC also announced the launch of its new website: www.trilakesedc.com. The site provides information on the Tri-Lakes community and business resources.
The next regular TLEDC meeting will be held at 3:30 p.m. Feb. 20 at Serrano’s Coffee Co., 582 Highway 105, Monument. Information: www.trilakesedc.com.
Candice Hitt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Bill Kappel
January was a month of extremes around the region. We started off with an arctic chill, quickly flipped to record warmth, and then tumbled again to end the month. For the month as a whole, temperatures were slightly below normal, and once again precipitation was well below normal.
The new year stated off cold, with morning lows below zero on the first three days of the month and high temperatures not reaching the freezing mark until the afternoon of the 4th. We were dry for the most part, with just a dusting of snow right after New Year’s Eve. Sunshine was the rule the rest of the first week of January, with just a few high clouds at times. Temperatures continued to moderate, reaching well into the 30s on the 4th and right around freezing on the 5th.
A mild start to the second week of January ended with very cold air and some light snow. Temperatures started the week about 5 to 10 degrees warmer than normal, in the mid- to upper 40s from the 7th through the 10th. Lots of sunshine mixed with high and mid-level clouds at times resulted in an overall very quiet weather. Changes began to take shape on Friday as a deep trough moved on the West Coast and through the Intermountain West. This combined with an arctic air mass to bring some cold air to the region starting Friday afternoon. Light snow fell but didn’t amount to much.
Cold air continued to be reinforced through the weekend, with highs only reaching the upper teens on the 12th and low teens on the 13th. Overnight lows dipped below zero each morning as well. Unfortunately, moisture was lacking with this cold air mass, so only light snow fell at times. Over the weekend, most of us accumulated around a half-inch of new snow.
It was cold and a little snowy to start the second full week of the month. Temperatures started off the week 20 to 30 degrees below normal, as highs barely reached the low teens on the 14th. That morning started off well below zero. The next morning was even colder, with many areas dropping to the teens below zero. Even though there wasn’t much moisture to work with, the very cold air was efficient at squeezing out every snowflake. We picked up a fluffy half-inch on the 14th, but that was the last measureable moisture for the remainder of the week. Temperatures began to moderate slowly, reaching the 20s on the afternoon of the 15th, and finally broke above freezing by late morning on the 16th. Mild and dry air continued to move into the region from the west under a very strong ridge of high pressure over the remainder of the week. Highs reached in the 40s and low 50s by the 18th, staying above normal through the weekend. Sunshine was common during this time as well, with just a few high clouds at times. Fortunately, winds were light as the ridge of high pressure sat right over us.
The third week of January was dry and mild. No precipitation fell from the 21st through the 27th as a strong ridge of high pressure dominated our weather. This allowed mild air to establish itself firmly and prevent any cold air or storminess from reaching the region. Moisture levels dropped to some of the lowest levels possible, with relative humidity at times reaching as low as 1 percent on the 22nd and 23rd! Thank goodness winds were well-behaved, or fire danger would have been extreme. Temperatures reached near-record levels during this time as well, hitting the upper 50s from the 22nd through the 24th, peaking in the low 60s on the 23rd. Temperatures did cool slightly during the weekend with low to mid-40s, but that was still 5 to 10 degrees above normal. Most of the leftover snow from the cold period earlier in the month was melted/sublimated away as well.
Cold air finally made a return visit to the area just before the end of the month. Highs hit the upper 40s and low 50s early on the 28th before the cold front arrived later that afternoon. Snow showers and graupel developed late that afternoon and cold air continued to filter in. Light snow fell during the morning of the 29th, accumulating a little more than an inch of power. Although not much, it was a nice break from the dry, mild weather that had been in place. Temperatures were chilly as well, with highs only reaching the low 20s on the afternoon of the 29th. A final round of snow moved through that evening and into the next morning. This was our largest snowfall of the month, with 3-4 inches of fluffy powder accumulating. Temperatures were chilly as well, dipping well below zero that morning. Quiet and sunny conditions returned for the last two days of the month as temperatures slowly warmed back towards normal levels.
A look ahead
February is often a dry and cold month for the region as we move toward the snowy and unsettled conditions of March and April. Precipitation averages less than an inch, with average high temperatures in the 30s. It can get very cold in February with arctic air making strong pushes into the region. But days begin to get a little longer, which leads to some nice, sunny days, and snow melts faster.
January 2013 Weather Statistics
Average High 39.3° (-0.8°) 100-year return frequency value max
48.4° min 30.8°
Bill Kappel is a meteorologist and Tri-Lakes resident. He can be reached at email@example.com.
By the staff at Covered Treasures
As you tackle your "to do" list for 2013, how about taking time to care for your heart? Whether that means eating healthier, losing weight, relaxing and meditating, or sharing the joy of books with a child close to your heart, we have some suggestions for starters.
American Heart Association: Healthy Slow Cooker Cookbook
The slow cooker, one of America’s favorite kitchen appliances, has become increasingly versatile and sophisticated, and now it can support a heart-smart diet. From appetizers to desserts and many dishes in between, the 20 recipes in this book will surprise you with their variety and depth of flavor. The book includes 18 full-color photographs as well as information on the benefits of slow cooking.
Going meatless, even a few days a week, doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice flavor. Vegetarian cooking has never been easier or more delicious, thanks to the abundance of farmer’s markets, diverse fresh produce aisles, and excellent choices of pastas, grains, beans, and even frozen staples. As inspiring as it is practical, Meatless features over 200 recipes—each accompanied by a color photograph—for full-fledged vegetarians and meat eaters alike.
Zen of Snowy Trails
From a Chinese proverb to Robert Frost, this treasury of quotes captures the emotional, spiritual, and humorous experiences we have when exploring our snow-covered landscapes. Whether you prefer snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, or just tramping through powdery drifts, inspiration arrives from many authors and outdoor experts. Further insight on the peace, tranquility, and sense of adventure found when the snow begins to fall comes from surprising sources, such as gymnast Nadia Comaneci, "Calvin & Hobbes" creator Bill Watterson, and many more.
Small Changes, Big Results
This is an easy-to-start, simple-to-maintain, scientifically sound, 12-week program of small steps—just three each week—such as starting a food journal, choosing healthy fats and proteins, and replacing refined grains with whole grains. With 65 recipes, this revised edition helps you free yourself from junk food cravings and replace additive-laden fake food with healthy, real food for better sleep, more stamina, and a slimmer waist—all while eating delicious food. And you won’t be forbidden to eat a single thing.
The Very Fairy Princess Follows Her Heart
It’s Valentine’s Day, Gerry’s favorite day of the year! That means it’s time for her to get out her sparkliest markers, glue, and glitter and make unique handmade cards for everyone in her class. But when there’s a mix-up on the big day, and her cards are left behind, Gerry must find the perfect Very Fairy Princess way to celebrate what makes each of her friends sparkle.
The Kiss Box
In a simple story as warm as sunshine, Verburg’s soothing text and Henry Cole’s gentle watercolors convey the universal joy of sharing time with a loved one. They also portray the anxiety we sometimes feel when we have to be apart—whether it be for an errand to the grocery store, a business trip, or the first day of school. For young and old alike, The Kiss Box is a tender reminder that we are always together where it matters most: in our hearts.
The Dash Diet for Weight Loss
Named the Best Overall Diet by U.S. News & World Report two years in a row and recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) Diet is considered not only the most effective diet for reducing the risk of hypertension, heart disease, kidney disease, and colon cancer, it’s also the best way to reach your healthiest weight and stay there. The book features extensive, easy-to-follow meal plans for meat eaters and vegetarians, plus practical tools and advice.
February is American Heart Month, so take a little time to be kind to your heart and to the hearts of those you love.
Until next month, happy reading.
The staff at Covered Treasures Bookstore can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Elizabeth Hacker
During the winter months I suffer from cabin fever, and the only cure is to dress for the weather and head outdoors. Sometimes I walk the neighborhood but I prefer to branch out to explore a trail or open space. One of the side effects of cabin fever is "brain drain," so when I can’t decide where to go, I Google.
The Great Pikes Peak Birding Trail
Recently I discovered the Great Pikes Peak Birding Trail (GPPBT) which is a segment of the Colorado Birding Trail and an ongoing project by the Aiken Audubon Society (www.aikenaudubon.org) to list good birding sites in this region.
The GPPBT website describes the type of habitat and birds typically found at the site. Currently about 20 sites are listed on the GPPBT website, but ultimately this trail stretches for hundreds of miles in El Paso and four other counties to prime birding sites though out the Pikes Peak region. Some sites, such as the Air Force Academy, are only a short drive, but all of the GPPBT sites currently listed are within 60 miles of my front door, which seems relatively close. This is a link for the Colorado Birding Trail: www.coloradobirdingtrail.com.
The birding trail phenomenon began in 1996 with the first segment of the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail. Texas is a birding hot spot, and on any given day it is possible to see groups of birders stopped along the road looking through binoculars. Small coastal communities realized the economic potential and began listing birding sites to attract birders.
Word spread and birding trails are now in various states of development across the United States and Canada. In August 2009, USA Today reported that 1 in every 5 Americans watch birds. The greatest percentage of the estimated 48 million birders in the United States looks for birds in their back yards. However, 45 percent of birders travel significant distances to look for birds.
More than 450 species of birds are found along the Front Range Flyway. While it doesn’t have the number of birds that Texas has, many birders consider southern Colorado to be a good place to look for birds. If just 2 percent of the 22 million traveling birders visited the Pikes Peak region each year, that would mean about 400,000 birders staying five to 10 days. In addition to the revenue generated, this kind of visitor serves to reinforce the healthy lifestyle of this region.
Trails and Open Space Coalition
The Trails and Open Space Coalition (TOSC) (www.trailsandopenspace.org) is another good reference to find a place to hike and enjoy. The website lists many trails and open spaces. I also like taking part in some of their fun and crazy activities that are also listed on the website.
TOSC was established in 1987 with the purpose of working to preserve open space and rural lands. It is primarily an advocacy organization that works with local and regional governments, communities, businesses, and families who share a vision of interconnected trails, greenways, and open spaces. Their funding comes from grants, fundraisers, and donations. They do not receive money from sources such as the Colorado Springs Trails, Open Space, and Parks tax (TOPS) or the Colorado Lottery (GOCO).
Preserving open space: Willow Springs Ranch
I recently spoke with Susan Davies, executive director of the TOSC, about the plans for preserving the Willow Springs Ranch as open space. It is located west of I-25, north of Baptist Road, and is easily accessible to tourists and local residents.
The ranch is a 130-acre property that is now in receivership. There are two portions of this property. The northern section is 70 acres and has development restrictions due to the protected Preble’s meadow jumping mouse, limited access, and steep terrain. The southern portion is 60 acres and more suited to development.
Susan went on to say that many sports associations support acquisition of this property because a portion of it would be developed for recreation and playing fields. Trails advocates like the property because it would be an extension of the Pikes Peak Greenway and serve as a link between the Santa Fe Trail and Pike National Forest. About 30 acres is lowland or land too difficult to develop, and this is the portion that would remain protected open space.
Currently the Town of Monument, El Paso County, TOSC, and TOPS are working together on a plan to purchase this property, and an ad hoc committee is working to identify potential sources of funding. Susan indicated that it would be ideal to purchase both parcels of land but suggested that money was tight and it might only be possible to acquire the northern 70 acres. She emphasized that Willow Springs is a rare opportunity to preserve open space in Tri-Lakes and if not acted upon soon, it will be a lost opportunity.
Many people move to the Tri-Lakes area for the wide-open appeal of the natural landscapes and wildlife found here. As the area develops, habitat is lost and wildlife is displaced. Developers often get a bad rap for loss of open space, but most are in the home building business so it’s not in their best interest to preserve open space. When they do give up land for open space, it’s often useless space.
TOPS (Colorado Springs Trails, Open Space, and Parks)
In 1997 Colorado Springs citizens approved a 0.1 percent sales tax to purchase and develop trails, open space, and parks. In 2003, citizens voted to extend this tax until 2025.
This money has been used to purchase open space both in the city and in bordering communities. Corral Bluffs is the latest example of land acquisition through TOPS funding. (To learn more about TOPS, go to www.coloradospringsgov.com and search for TOPS).
Willow Springs is beautiful property that is adjacent to the Santa Fe Trail and, if preserved, would be an extension of the Pikes Peak Greenway, which would mean it meets TOPS criteria.
Preserving open space benefits the people who live in a community, and it’s most often these citizens who must rally and work to preserve it. We can help by lending support to our elected officials to approve and fund the purchase of Willow Springs.
TOPS may provide some of the funding used to purchase this property, so citizens might consider purchasing appliances and electronics from stores in Colorado Springs rather than online.
If support is strong, Willow Springs could be the next property added to the Pikes Peak Greenway. We can enjoy it as well as take pride in knowing that what we have preserved will be there for future generations to also enjoy.
Elizabeth Hacker is a writer and artist. Email her at email@example.com to share bird pictures and stories.
By Janet Sellers
Our human need for connection and expression demands that we find a way, hopefully in a beautiful way, to relate our feelings to each other in art and song. We want to connect, we don’t want to feel bad, and we prefer being around others who are bright and happy. We all have this need, and we all dance around it and through it when we can—and in the cold of winter, we need this more than ever!
As a stress buster, visiting art and seeing the thoughts of another person have a powerful mood-improving effect. The lines, colors, and forms speak to a part of us that slips under the worry radar and reaches our creative centers. In some ways, looking at art is a kind of meditation in that our eyes are looking, our perception is active, and we can eliminate words (the analytical bullies in our heads) to just feel something about the work of art.
These arts opportunities are not limited to art galleries, museums or schoolhouse walls. And art is not only a pleasure, but a necessity for good health. Major health centers, such as the UCLA Collaborative Centers for Integrative Medicine, collaborate with The Arts and Healing Initiative for a wide variety of arts programs that facilitate optimal mental and physical health, and they do it not only locally to Los Angeles, but also nationally and worldwide. The goal there is to educate as well as create sustainable arts programs, exemplary for other communities.
Each center relates that it is increasing these components to add a "humanizing component in an increasingly technological healthcare atmosphere" and to actually create a public health safety net via expanding tools that are easy to implement in related settings such as education and recreation as well as traditional health care settings. In making better use of socio-emotional benefits of art in a variety of community settings, the goal is to expose all ages to the transformative values and insights gained in arts-related activities. These centers aim "to offer a means of addressing the increasing societal health care burden from chronic diseases rooted in emotions and behavior."
The effectiveness of making art or viewing art is not in a form of venting one’s feelings as much as a person moving on to a different, more wholesome vein. Studies have shown that when people viewed a video story they found stressful or disturbing, and then applied drawing or painting materials focused on venting, turning away from the negative mood to a positive one or just painting for distraction, the group focused on turning the mood had the highest level of short-term mood repair from the activity.
Besides making art oneself, just having an artwork is a boon to mood. A work of art can bring a sense of light to a room, a hallway, or just a bare wall. The colors and forms can transform a once bleak wall area into a welcome and enjoyable view. It doesn’t have to be traditional or representational art, either. Abstract art and contemporary art could function even better to lift the spirit with color and create a more pleasant space in the room in the blink of an eye.
We rely on creative people to help us fulfill our abilities to dream and improve our days and lives. Think not? How often do you turn on the radio or audio in your car when you drive somewhere? The poetry and music you choose generally support your feelings or you just change the channel to a more relative song. We are naturally drawn to sounds, places, and areas that feel the best to us and improve on them with music and art.
Authentic voice in music and art, experienced firsthand, has the power to move us. Sure, the synthetic ones (online, on the radio, printed copies) have something for us, but it’s like the difference between ripe and unripe fruit to eat—when you are with the real deal, however humble or grand the artistic execution, you know it, and it reaches something inside our souls, confirming our basic right to existence.
Tri-Lakes area February art shows
Bella Art and Frame—Pop Rocks art show by Janet Sellers. Pop art portraits of rock musicians, celebrating the impact and love songs of rock music icons. Also includes Sellers’ pop art paintings of hearts, flowers, and sculpture. Artist reception: Feb. 8, 5 to 8 p.m. Complimentary flaming heart pins will be handed out at the opening, and heart-themed refreshments will be served to celebrate "a passion for art." Show opens Feb. 1 and runs through Feb. 27. Bella Art and Frame, 183 Washington St., Monument.
Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts— Art Attack, a juried show in all mediums, celebrates the creative diversity of Front Range artists, featuring a lively array of visual, performing, and applied arts. Opening reception: Saturday, Feb. 9, 6 to 8 p.m. Exhibition dates: Feb. 5 to March 2. Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts, 305 Highway 105, Palmer Lake.
Janet Lee Sellers is an American artist and writer. She does both because she can’t make up her mind which one she likes best. She makes public art sculptures and is a "script doctor" for novels and screenplays. Sellers lives in Woodmoor, Colorado. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bernard L. Minetti
Al Walter, president of the Palmer Lake Historical Society, introduced Tom Vanwormer and Bernard Minetti as two new board members at the Jan. 17 meeting. Minetti also assumed the position of board secretary. This meeting was the annual potluck sponsored by the society to acquire new members and encourage members to socialize. About 50 persons attended.
Member Jack Anthony said the Palmer Lake Star’s standing with the Colorado State Register of Historic Properties would be known the following day. This listing is a registry of the state’s significant cultural resources worthy of preservation for the education and enjoyment of Colorado’s residents and visitors. Properties listed in this registry include individual buildings, structures, objects, districts, and historic and archeological sites.
The next day, Anthony told OCN that the Star had been accepted for listing in the register. The next step would be a listing on the National Registry of Historic Places.
Anthony introduced photographer Michael Holmes, who had taken a picture of the star at night from Mount Herman. This photo was part of the presentation to the board governing acceptance and placement on the state register.
The next meeting will be at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 21, at the Palmer Lake Town Hall. The public is invited to attend. The title of the presentation is, "Chief Manitou and His Contributions to the Pikes Peak Region." Robert Cronk will discuss the life and times of "Chief Manitou," the name acquired by Pedro Cajete, who was a Tewa Indian from the Santa Clara Pueblo in New Mexico.
Bernard Minetti may be contacted at email@example.com.
By Harriet Halbig
January was an exciting month at the library, with almost 300 patrons coming to see the Storm Troopers on Jan. 12.
Our generous community donated dozens of coats, scarves, and hand-knit hats to the Teen Advisory Board-sponsored coat drive for Tri-Lakes Cares. Many thanks to all who participated.
The Family Fun program for February is Prince and Princess Day on Saturday, Feb. 9, from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Patrons are invited to dress as princes, princesses, knights, dragons, and other creatures of the realm. The day’s activity will be Marshmallow Castle Building.
February’s Lego Club meeting will be on Feb. 16 from 10 to 11:30. All ages are welcome. The library will provide the Legos and you bring your creativity. Remember to bring your camera to record your creation because all pieces used to make the projects remain the property of the library district.
The AfterMath free tutoring program continues each Monday from 3:30 to 7 p.m. Students of all ages are welcome to sit down with a volunteer tutor. No appointment necessary. Please note that the program will not be offered on Presidents Day, Feb. 18.
Tuesday Storytimes for children ages 3 and up on Tuesdays are now offered at a new time. The sessions begin at 10:30 and 11:15. The program encourages reading skills by engaging children with shapes, sounds, rhythms, and rhymes in a playful environment.
February’s Crafty Teens Program on Wednesday, Feb. 6, from 3:30 to 5 p.m. is devoted to making valentines. Teens 12 and older are invited to enjoy snacks while they create. Registration is encouraged.
The 2013 Adult Reading Program, Winter Wonderland, began on Jan. 14 and will continue until March 11. Patrons 18 and older are invited to register to read and win prizes! Conventional books, eBooks, and books on CD all qualify for credit. After completing four books, patrons receive a tote bag, a Rocky Mountain Chocolate bar and a coupon for H&R Block tax services. Upon completing eight books, patrons receive a coffee mug and coupons for Wendy’s and Louie’s Pizza. There will also be a grand prize drawing for a Kindle Fire. Register online at PPLD.org or come to your Monument or Palmer Lake Library.
Monument librarian Diane Sawatzki will read from and sign copies of her first novel, Once Upon Another Time, on Sunday, Feb. 10, from 2 to 3 p.m. The book is a time travel story set in1863 in the Pikes Peak region. Copies will be available for purchase, and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Tri-Lakes Friends of the Library.
The Monumental Readers book group will meet on Feb. 15 from 10 to noon to discuss Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. All patrons are welcome to attend this monthly book club.
The AARP Mature Safe Driving program will be offered on Saturday, Feb. 16, from 1 to 5 p.m. The program is a refresher course for motorists 50 and older. Graduates may present their completion certificate to their insurance agents for a discount. Charge for the course is $12 for AARP members and $14 for nonmembers. Class size is limited and registration is required.
On the walls in the library will be art by students of Lewis-Palmer High School. In the display case will be blue glassware from the Pikes Peak Depression Glass Club.
Palmer Lake Library events
Young patrons are invited to come to the Palmer Lake Library to read with our Paws to Read dogs. Kirby the golden retriever will be on hand on Thursday, Feb. 14, from 4:30 to 5:30. Sheltie Misty will be at the library on Saturday, Feb. 16, at 10:30 a.m. Read to a friendly dog and choose a prize.
The Family Fun program for February will be Chickens in the Library! Laura Foye will bring her favorite birds for you to pet and will entertain and inform you about these interesting animals. Hear amazing chicken tales and make a gadget that sounds like a chicken.
The Palmer Lake Book Group meets at 9 a.m. on the first Friday of each month. New members are welcome and no registration is required. Please call 481-2587 for the current selection.
There will be two art exhibits at the library during February. Enjoy nature photographs by local artist Claudia Godec and artwork by Palmer Lake Elementary School students.
Please note that all Pikes Peak Library District facilities will be closed on Feb. 18 for Presidents Day.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Judy Barnes, Editor Emeritus
Although we strive for accuracy in these listings, dates or times are often changed after publication. Please double-check the time and place of any event you wish to attend by calling the info number for that event.
Wednesday Senior Lunch at Big Red
Feb. 6–––BBQ chicken sandwich, baked beans, & cole slaw
Rolls and butter are served with each meal except sandwiches. Dessert is also provided.
An activity of Tri-Lakes Health Advocacy Partnership. Meals are provided by Pinecrest Catering, Palmer Lake; Nikki McDonald, executive chef, 481-3307.
Lewis-Palmer School District Fall Preschool & Kindergarten registration events, Feb. 4
Bear Creek Elementary School—9:30-10:30 a.m. & 6:30-7:30 p.m.
For more information contact Robin Adair, 785-4223 or email@example.com.
Pikes Peak Stormers Rugby for high school boys, Feb. 11
No experience is needed. Practices are Mondays and Thursdays, 4-6 p.m., at Bear Creek Park in Colorado Springs starting Feb 11. For more information, contact Woody Woodbury, 440-4223, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volunteer needed for Citizen Outreach Group, apply by Feb. 22
The El Paso County Board of Commissioners is seeking a community-minded citizen volunteer to serve as an at-large member on the Citizen Outreach Group. Applications are due by Feb. 22. The Citizen Outreach Group is an advisory board created to reach out to county residents and encourage open communication between citizens and their commissioners. 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.
Free income tax filing assistance by AARP
The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) is offering free income tax filing assistance in the Tri-Lakes area. Trained AARP volunteers will be available to answer questions and to assist filers in completing their federal and state income tax returns every Monday and Thursday, 11 to 7 p.m., at Tri-Lakes Cares, 235 Jefferson St. in Monument, until April 15 (except Feb. 18, Presidents Day). Free e-filing of both federal and state returns is available. Taxpayers with more complicated returns should seek the advice of a paid professional. Filers are asked to bring their W-2s, 1099-INT, 1099-DIV, etc. needed to complete their 2012 tax returns, plus a copy of last year’s (2011) tax return. A photo ID and copy of your Social Security card is also required. Appointments are recommended. For more information or to make an appointment, call 481-4864 EXT 118. Leave your name and number and someone will return your call.
Free psychiatric counseling at Tri-Lakes Cares
A psychiatrist is available to uninsured or under-insured people at Tri-Lakes Cares, 235 Jefferson St., Monument. This is a free, professional service. To schedule an appointment or for more information, call nurse Jackie Sward at 481-4864 x 103.
Monument Academy’s "Eat Your Art Out," April 13
Monument Academy will have its first annual "Eat Your Art Out" celebration April 13, 1-5 p.m. The event will feature a taste testing contest with local chefs, performances by the Monument Academy Fine Arts band, choir, and drama students, and a student art gallery. All proceeds will go toward the Academy’s Fine Arts Department. Restaurants interested in competing and artists and businesses that would like to donate to the silent auction may contact Ann Pappas or Tina Swayne at Finearts@monumentacademy.net. The restaurant application deadline is March 1.
Library’s adult reading program, through March 11
This year’s theme is "Winter Wonderland" and is open to anyone age 18 and older with a Pikes Peak Library District (PPLD) library card. The program began Jan. 14 and runs through March 11, and adults can read any eight books of their choice. Books on CD, audiobook players, eBooks, and eAudiobooks count, too! To register, bring your library card to any PPLD library and sign up at the information desk or sign up online at ppld.org. Reading logs will be available at all libraries, but you may keep track of the books you’ve read using any method. After you read your first four books, visit your nearest library to pick up your first prize. If you read four books by Feb. 18, you will be entered in the Mid-Program Prize Drawing. If you read eight books by March 11, you will be entered in the Grand Prize Drawing for a Kindle Fire tablet. The program has great prizes this year! For more information, call 531-6333.
Tri-Lakes Women’s Club 2013 grant applications due March 15
Continuing its 36-year tradition, the Tri-Lakes Women’s Club (TLWC) will once again consider grant requests for special programs and projects from 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, public service organizations, and public schools that significantly serve the Tri-Lakes area defined by School District 38. Applications and instructions for the 2013 grant awards will be available on the TLWC website (tlwc.net) from Jan. 15-March 15. Completed applications (which must include certain required documentation) must be postmarked no later than March 15. Late and/or incomplete applications will not be considered. Awards will be announced to grant recipients in late May. For information, email Sandi Liston, Grant Committee chair, at email@example.com.
Kohl’s Cares® accepting nominations for outstanding young volunteers, apply by March 15
Kohl’s Cares® Scholarship Program will award more than $425,000 in scholarships and prizes this year. More than 2,300 young volunteers who have made a positive impact on their communities will be selected. Prizes range from $50 Kohl’s gift cards to $10,000 scholarships. Nominations for kids ages six to 18 will be accepted Feb. 1-March 15 at www.kohlskids.com. Nominators must be 21 years or older. Two nominees from each of the more than 1,100 Kohl’s stores nationwide will win a $50 Kohl’s gift card, and more than 200 will win regional scholarships worth $1,000 toward post-secondary education. Ten national winners will be awarded a total of $10,000 in scholarships for post-secondary education, and Kohl’s will donate $1,000 to a nonprofit organization on each national winner’s behalf. For more information visit www.kohlskids.com.
Annual Pine Forest Antiques, Home Décor & Garden Show & Sale, April 20-21
The Tri-Lakes Women’s Club will hold the 37th Annual Pine Forest Antiques, Home Décor & Garden Show and Sale April 20, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and April 21, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Lewis-Palmer High School, 1300 Higby Rd., Monument. (I-25, exits 161 or 158). Features include new and returning antique dealers, "The Bakery," new botanicals, an a cappella concert Saturday, exhibits, delicious bistro dining, glass repair, and much more. Admission price is $6; proceeds benefit qualified nonprofit and public service organizations and public schools in the Tri-Lakes area. Since 1977, the TLWC has granted more than $700,000. For more information go to www.TLWC.net.
LEAP—Help for heating bills
The Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) is a federally funded program that provides cash assistance to help families and individuals pay a portion of winter home heating costs. The eligibility period for LEAP continues through April 30. Application packets will automatically be mailed to residents who received LEAP assistance last year at the address where they were living at that time. To find out if you qualify for LEAP, call 1-866 HEAT-HELP (1-866-432-8435) or visit www.colorado.gov/cdhs/leap to view the most current program application requirements.
Seniors in need
Seniors who need some assistance with small household tasks can get free help from students at Palmer Ridge High School. This program will continue through May. Jennifer at Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District will coordinate with the high school. Contact Jennifer at 484-0911 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Clear snow and ice around mailboxes for letter carriers
Letter carriers are instructed to not deliver to mailboxes and locations that are too hazardous or difficult to access. Support your letter carrier in providing safe and timely delivery of your mail. Following snowstorms and other bad weather, please clear a safe path to your mailbox or business.
With the heightened concern for fire danger along the Front Range, many people want to sign up their home or cell phone for reverse emergency notification. The El Paso-Teller E-911 Authority Emergency Notification System is used to notify residents of any potential emergencies in their neighborhood. To sign up, go to https://elptc911.onthealert.com.
Tri-Lakes HAP Senior Center has fun programs!
The Tri-Lakes Health Advocacy Partnership 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.; National Mah-jongg, Fridays, 1-4 p.m.; line dancing, first and second Wednesdays, 1-2 p.m.; tea time, third Tuesday, 1-3 p.m.; bingo, third Wednesday, 12:30-3 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.
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 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.
Contact us at (719) 488-3455, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, or P.O. Box 1742, Monument, Colorado 80132-1742.
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