The ad for the Monument Hill Farmers Market which appears in the November 7, 2015 issue is INCORRECT.
Below is the correct ad.
We sincerely apologize for the error.
This page contains only the text of the articles and columns in this issue. To see the photos and captions including the Snapshots of Our Community section, view the on-line version above or download the PDFs whose links follow this table of contents.New town manager begins work; water rates increase discussed
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By Lisa Hatfield
New Town Manager Chris Lowe attended his first Monument Board of Trustees meeting on Oct. 5. The trustees discussed proposed increases in water rates and fees and approved funding for a change in scope to the water reuse feasibility study. They discussed the first draft of the 2016 budget, and they went into executive session to discuss the new contract for Pamela Smith’s town treasurer contract but did not take action on this item.
New town manager welcomed
The trustees addressed Lowe and expressed their wishes about the "new beginning," as Trustee Becki Tooley called it when she asked for weekly communication from him to the trustees. Mayor Pro-Tem Jeff Kaiser said they had a lot of expectations of Lowe. Trustees Jeff Smith and Jeff Bornstein mentioned wanting to help Lowe prioritize what the town needs to do, and the consensus was to wait a few weeks before having a public workshop that could coincide with the public budget workshop discussion that is still to be scheduled.
Jeff Smith read the whole town manager ordinance out loud so that members of the public would understand the role of both the elected officials and the town staff. The town manager is both responsible to and an advisor to the Board of Trustees. For complete text, see www.municode.com/library/co/monument/codes/code_of_ordinances in Section 2, Administration and Personnel.
Lowe said he’s been meeting with the directors and trustees individually and learning more about the town. He said, "It’s like drinking out of fire hose," but he hopes to bring the town the best professional service he can.
Water rates and fees increase discussed
Public Works Director Tom Tharnish, Interim Town Treasurer Pamela Smith, and water engineer Will Koger and water quality expert Elizabeth Betancourt of Forsgren Associates presented a draft of the proposed water rates and fees structure they recommend that the town adopt soon. The town’s water enterprise fund, which is supposed to be self-sufficient, has borrowed more than $400,000 from the town’s general fund in the last few years, and the water enterprise reserve fund, designed to pay for unexpected maintenance and capital improvements costs, has been drained and needs to be replenished to $500,000. The goal of these rate and fee increases would be to make the water enterprise fund self-sufficient again by 2020, they said.
Tharnish said that in 2013, although a large water rates increase was needed, staff "did not want to put a greater financial burden on town residents and businesses" in addition to the effects of the recession, so just a small increase was instituted then. See www.ocn.me/v13n3.htm#bot0219 for a discussion of the 2013 water rates increase.
The town provides potable water to Monument customers on the west side of I-25. Customers on the east side are served by Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD) and Triview Metropolitan District (Triview).
The town’s water system includes four water treatment plants, a 1 million gallon storage tank, miles of water mains, five pressure relief valves, nine wells, and over 1,000 water taps, all of which are aging and require more maintenance every year, but because funding levels are low, maintenance has been reactive instead of proactive, Tharnish said.
Three sources provide revenue for the water enterprise fund:
• Residential and commercial customers, for operations, maintenance, and improvement to existing aging infrastructure
• 2A Acquisition, Storage, and Delivery (ASD) Funds, for purchasing renewable water rights, from a 2005 voter-approved 1 percent sales tax. Currently, 35 percent of it is being used to pay off the loan for construction of Town Hall. In 2017, 100 percent of the 1 percent tax will be available for acquiring new water rights.
• Tap fees paid by developers to connect new construction
The town could also finance costs not covered by these sources, Pamela Smith said.
The current residential base fee for a three-quarter-inch tap is $8.80 per month, and customers pay for the volume of water consumed in addition, based on a tiered rate system in increments of 1,000 gallons and starting with 1,000 gallons, so the lowest monthly residential amount currently invoiced could be $13.79. A significant change in the proposed water rates and fees is to use a minimum $60.24 per month base fee for all customers. This would automatically include the first 6,000 gallons of water.
Trustee John Howe said that for residents using less than 6,000 gallons a month, this change would constitute a 78 percent increase in their water bills; he referred to the chart distributed at the water rates workshop on Sept. 21. Howe’s point was that he never uses 6,000 gallons, a 78 percent increase in one year was too high, and that there was not much feedback from the public because they did not know about the proposal.
However, Tharnish said typical users of water use around 6,000 gallons/month, that they now pay $38.74 a month, and so they would see a 35 percent increase with the new structure.
The proposed rates and fees the first year would then also include annual increase of 8 percent the next four years, both on the base rates and additional volumetric rates. Rates would be re-evaluated by the board in 2020. Betancourt said the first year’s proposed rates "are lower than they need to be" to meet operations expenses, "because we didn’t want to shock everyone with raising rates as much as they needed to go up right away."
Tharnish said low-income families would be encouraged to apply for help from local "private, non-profit aid groups" to get help paying their bills, which he estimated would increase $20-$30 in winter and more in summer based on volume of water used for irrigation.
Examples for residential customers with three-quarter-inch tap:
The volumetric rates per 1,000 gallons would also increase with the proposed plan.
Commercial water rates and fees would also increase based on the meter size and volumetric tiered rates. For details, see www.townofmonument.org.
The proposed changes would include an increase in tap fees for new construction. For example, a three-quarter-inch tap fee is currently $9,000 and would go up to $19,440, a 116 percent increase. Tharnish said the Lake of the Rockies development under construction now, which will include about 156 total homes eventually, would get the opportunity to purchase 50 taps in advance at the 2015 rate.
Tharnish and Koger said the proposed increase in water rates is comparable to other water utilities of similar size and structure such as Triview Metro District, Colorado Springs Utilities, Donala Water and Sanitation District, Woodmen Hills Metro District, and Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District. The range for comparable districts’ monthly rates was between $35 and $80 a month, according to the data Forsgren Associates gathered from their websites. Trustee Kelly Elliott asked that Tharnish double-check the figures listed in the chart for comparable districts, because the Triview number seemed incorrect.
No citizens presented public comment on the issue. Tharnish said Monument’s water bills referred residents to the town website for information, but it was not published in the newspaper, he said. He asked the board for direction before presenting this issue at the next Board of Trustees meeting. However, several trustees and Lowe asked for more time to evaluate the proposal before Lowe makes his recommendation and the trustees vote on it. The exact date for the vote was not determined. The proposed rates, if approved by the board, would take effect as soon as Jan. 1, 2016.
If approved, the rates and fees increase would cover operations and maintenance but not any purchases of new water sources. If a new well were needed to augment groundwater production before reuse and renewable surface water sources could be procured, it would cost over $1.25 million, Tharnish said.
Water reuse study change in scope
The trustees approved a resolution approving the use of additional 2A Water ASD funding to support an amendment to the project agreement approved originally in October 2014 for a local reuse feasibility study for a potential new water source for the Town of Monument. The 2A fund was established by the voters in 2005 for the acquisition, storage, and delivery of any newly acquired water and water rights.
The water reuse study would help the town extend the life its non-renewable groundwater sources, which are wells drilled into the aquifers, said Koger. Water reuse would involve building new infrastructure to divert the town’s proportional effluent flows, discharged into Monument Creek from the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility (TLWWTF), to a new water treatment plant. Note: The water quality of the treated effluent discharged by the TLWWTF is higher than the ambient Monument Creek stream water quality it is mixed with. Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District already withdraws and pumps Monument Creek surface water from a point upstream of the TLWWTF discharge pipe location to Lake Woodmoor.
The $46,000 Regional Water Reclamation Facility Concept Study water reuse study was done by Tetra Tech in July 2014, the trustees approved it in October 2014, and it initially included Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District and Donala Water and Sanitation District. On Oct. 8, an additional $13,400 from the 2A Water ASD fund was added to the scope, which was modified to include a review on how the town’s water reuse planning could be integrated with a proposed regional water infrastructure system.
Trustees Jeff Bornstein and Tooley asked why it was time for another study without any concrete action plan associated with it. Koger reminded the trustees that two waterline looping projects identified in the water master plan have been completed recently. Tharnish and Koger explained that the reuse study would determine the hydraulic and logistically feasibility, costs, regulatory hurdles, and a road map for implementation. All that would be required before the next phase, which would be more expensive and would involve engineering design and construction details.
The resolution was approved 6-1, with Bornstein voting no.
Park and ride maintenance approved
The trustees unanimously approved a resolution approving a contract between the town of Monument and the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) agreeing that the town would do "minimum maintenance" on the Bustang park and ride lot on Woodmoor Drive, which is in El Paso County, not inside the town boundaries. Minimal maintenance will include trash pickup, sidewalk sweeping, and weed removal but not street sweeping or snow removal. Pamela Smith, who has been negotiating with CDOT, explained that CDOT hopes to enlist the aid of El Paso County for the snow removal work.
Pamela Smith and Tharnish said that the park and ride agreement is not a formal or legal arrangement with CDOT making any promises about the town being able to move the Wagon Gap Trail bulk fill water station to a new CDOT location between Conoco and Safeway. However, they hope that by agreeing to take over minimal maintenance of the park and ride, CDOT will finish issuing the needed permit to the town so the bulk fill water station can be moved out of the neighborhood where it has generated so much controversy. Forsgren Associates is already handling the engineering, and Koger said he thought the bulk fill station might be operating in the new location by late spring or early summer 2016.
2016 draft budget
Smith presented the trustees with the first version of a 2016 draft budget. Since there were so many "preliminary" figures in this version, the trustees did not discuss the details. They did request a public budget workshop with Smith and Lowe soon so they could ask detailed questions about it.
The final budget will be presented at the Dec. 7 Board of Trustees meeting. The public is welcome to inspect the preliminary budget before then by visiting the Town Hall or by contacting Pamela Smith, interim town treasurer, at (719) 884-8045 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Checks over $5,000
The trustees unanimously approved the following disbursements over $5,000 as part of the consent agenda:
• Forsgren Associates Inc., Distribution line R&M −$6,504
• Forsgren Associates Inc., Water Rates Study − $7,913
• Martin Marietta Materials, 1.5-inch overlay on Beacon Lite Road by Town Hall and Jackson Creek Parkway between Higby Road and YMCA −$43,644
• CIRSA Insurance, fourth-quarter workers comp − $14,238
• CIRSA Insurance, fourth-quarter liability insurance − $23,920
• Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce, fourth-quarter installment of Chamber support − $5,000
Williams saves the day
Mayor Rafael Dominguez read a thank-you letter from a stranded motorist who had been assisted by Town Gardener Sharon Williams. She used water from the tank on her town gardening ATV to prevent the overheated brakes on the man’s truck from catching fire, and then she directed him to follow her as she drove to the nearest repair shop. "She didn’t judge me even though I was wearing tattoos and camo. She was a magnificent heaven-sent angel," the motorist wrote. Dominguez asked the trustees to approve an increase in Williams’ water allowance, and the audience applauded the suggestion.
Before the executive session, Interim Town Treasurer Pamela Smith asked if she would be permitted to attend the executive session. Town Attorney Gary Shupp said it was up to the board. Trustee Jeff Smith said he thought it would be inappropriate, and there was no other discussion. At 8:45 p.m., the board went into executive session for negotiations, instructing negotiators, and determining positions relative to matters that may be subject to negotiations.
After the meeting, Town Clerk Cynthia Sirochman informed OCN that the board decided to delay a decision on the town treasurer contract with Pamela Smith until the next regular board meeting on Oct. 19.
The meeting adjourned at 9:52 p.m.
Caption: Chris Lowe was sworn in as the new Monument Town Manager at the Oct. 5 Board of Trustees meeting. The trustees welcomed him and also explained their expectations of him. He said that he hopes to bring the town the best professional service he can. Photo by Lisa Hatfield.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at email@example.com.
By James Howald
On Oct. 8 the Palmer Lake Town Council met to hear a request to subdivide a property known as Pioneer Preserve, to finalize the sale of an acre of land to a local business, to approve a credit card for use by the town clerk, to discuss an ordinance to allow residents to raise chickens, to hear a progress report on the Great Outdoor Colorado (GOCO) grant, and to approve a business license and a landscape easement.
Pioneer Preserve subdivision request questioned
Representatives of Proterra Properties LLC asked the board to approve their request to subdivide an 82-acre parcel adjacent to the Mennonite Church on the east side of Highway 105. The board voted in a previous meeting to approve a water augmentation plan for the property. Proterra plans to subdivide the property into 15 five-acre lots, each of which will have a septic system and a well accessing either the Denver or the Dawson aquifer. Access to the subdivision will be from Highway 105, and the homeowners association for the subdivision will maintain the roads, according to Proterra’s representatives. The land is currently zoned for residential and agricultural use.
Two residents of Palmer Lake—Bob Miner and Kurt Ehrhardt—raised several concerns with Proterra’s development plan. Both questioned the decision to use septic systems instead of connecting to an existing sewer line. Miner raised the issues of drainage and flood control on the property. Ehrhardt brought up concerns with fire preparedness, since Proterra’s plan does not at present include fire hydrants. Finally, Ehrhardt questioned the safety of the plan to access the property from Highway 105 without providing an acceleration/deceleration lane.
Jerry Biggs of Proterra Properties and other spokespeople pointed out that their plan was developed after consulting with several government agencies. The flood control plan, for example, had been approved by the Colorado Department of Transportation. Biggs said that because the lots were five acres and zoned for both residential and agricultural use, statutes gave the developer the choice between using septic systems or connecting to sewer lines. Connecting to existing sewer lines created problems with easements, Biggs said.
Town Administrator Kathy Green-Sinnard said the Palmer Lake Sanitation District can’t require Proterra to use its sewer infrastructure, but that the board can require it as a condition of granting the request to subdivide the property.
The board voted unanimously to table Proterra’s request for subdivision for one month, to give them a chance to address the concerns with sanitation, fire preparedness, and road safety.
Town sells land to Ron Reed
At a previous meeting, the board gave businessman Ron Reed access to property the town owns adjacent to Highway 105, just west of Sara’s Sausage, to perform soil tests. At the Oct. 8 meeting, Reed told the board that the results of those tests confirmed the suitability of the land for the building he proposed for the site, and offered the board $73,000 for one acre of the town’s 3.46-acre lot. Reed also asked for the right of refusal on the remaining portion of the lot if he does the work of subdivision.
The board voted unanimously to approve the sale of the land to Reed.
Town clerk gets credit card
Green-Sinnard asked the board to approve a credit card in Town Clerk Tara Berreth’s name, to be used for limited emergency purchases, such as the payments for the town’s website. According to Sinnard-Green, credit card companies require an individual’s name to be printed on all credit cards.
The board voted unanimously to approve the request.
Chicken on menu again
The board discussed its progress drafting an ordinance that would allow residents to have chickens on their property. The ordinance, when finished, will likely stipulate no more than four chickens per residence, will ban all roosters, and will not allow the sale of eggs without a business license.
The board voted unanimously to table the ordinance until the November meeting.
Board hears update on park improvements
Resident Bill Fisher and business owner Jeff Hulsmann updated the board on their progress with the Greater Outdoor Colorado (GOCO) project to improve the Palmer Lake Recreation Area. According to Fisher, substantial progress has been made on the parking lot, and lighting will be the next item addressed. Requirements imposed by the railroad have delayed the plans for the pedestrian bridge between the park and the town, Fisher said. The project is over budget by about $15,000, according to Fisher.
Jeff Hulsmann also addressed the funding issues for the project. Funds are still being raised, Hulsmann said. Restaurant owners have raised $1,000 recently, he noted, and he also mentioned an athletic fundraiser—the Palmer Lake .5K race—scheduled to be held Sunday, Oct. 11. The signups for the race had far exceeded Hulsmann’s expectations, he said, with 628 participants signed up by Oct. 8 and race fees exceeding $15,000. A story on the race by a Colorado TV station boosted the number of entrants, Hulsmann said. The race, which will include a doughnut stop at 860 feet and cheerleaders from Palmer Ridge High School at the finish, may become an annual event, according to Hulsmann.
Board approves business license, landscape easement
The board unanimously approved a business license for Sue Buell to do business as Massage for Health at 755 Highway 105, Suite 2-I. The board also unanimously approved a landscape easement for Ken Dickinson’s residence at 72 Hermosa Ave.
The meeting adjourned at 8:45 p.m.
The next meeting will be at 6 p.m. Nov. 12 at Town Hall, 42 Valley Crescent. Meetings are normally held on the second Thursday of the month. Information: 481-2953.
James Howald can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Kate Pangelinan
The Oct. 14 Monument Planning Commission meeting was an eventful one, beginning with the introduction of two new commissioners: Ed Locke is a new full-time planning commissioner and Daniel Rathke is a new alternate planning commissioner. Both new commissioners attended this meeting, weighing in on the night’s four primary topics—the Jackson Creek Market Village Lot 3A Final Plat was discussed, along with the Monument Heights Rezoning and planned development (PD) Sketch Plan, the Creekside Commercial Tractor Supply Company Final Plat and Final PD Site Plan, and the Jackson Creek Self Storage Final Plat and Final PD Site Plan. All motions passed and will now be discussed by the Board of Trustees.
Jackson Creek Market Village Lot 3A Final Plat
In regards to the Jackson Creek Market Village Lot 3A Final Plat, this proposal is dealing once again with the plot of land along Baptist Road, across the street from King Soopers. Lot 3A is intended to be developed by a dentist’s office, a restaurant, and one as yet undetermined commercial establishment. Access from Baptist Road will provide a ramp for easier pedestrian access.
John Dick motioned for approval with the condition of a future Final PD Site Plan being provided. Michelle Glover seconded, and this proposal passed unanimously.
Monument Heights Rezoning and Final PD Sketch Plan
The Monument Heights Rezoning and Final PD Sketch Plan garnered a bit more discussion from both commissioners and citizens. Under the proposed rezoning, 87.97 acres of land would change from Planned Commercial Development to Planned Residential Development should this rezoning effort succeed, with 44.140 of those acres adjacent to the west side of Jackson Creek Parkway and 39.837 acres adjacent to the east side, between Highway 105 and Bowstring Road. This property is located less than a mile from downtown Monument. The PD sketch plan proposes that 620 dwellings would be built on this property, including apartments, townhouses and duplexes, intended to be in more generally affordable price ranges than much of Monument.
Representatives of Pinetree Properties were present at the meeting, where they explained the company’s belief that this property will prove more lucrative if used for housing. The land has been zoned for industrial use since 1980, and Pinetree Properties suggests that it might not have sold due to being somewhat difficult to see from the highway.
Buffers would be constructed along I-25 to further separate these homes from the busy roads, and an elementary school would be built to accommodate the increase in potential students. The children from this new residential development would have gone to Bear Creek Elementary were there enough room, but as there isn’t developers have offered the school district choice of lots on either side of Jackson Creek Parkway to build a new institution. The applicant prefers to look at this arrangement as an opportunity to ask the district what they could use for a new school. When asked if the applicant was offering any land options that would suit the school district’s needs, the district’s representative answered, "Absolutely."
A handful of neighborhood meetings have already been held to discuss plans for Monument Heights. Special care has been taken to address citizen concerns following said meetings, including shifting density in the southeast of the development. Citizens expressed gratitude for the developers’ willingness to communicate and respond to public concerns.
On that note, concerns discussed at Oct. 14’s meeting included questions about how traffic might increase with the arrival of a new housing development, which could lead to the widening of Jackson Creek Parkway, as well as musings about whether such homes would be in-demand so close to the highway. People are also worried about Monument losing its charm, in time, and becoming something of a "suburban sprawl."
Commissioner Locke remarked that these homes might be too close together for his preference and would not provide each resident enough land or separation from their neighbors, to which Commissioner Dick replied that most Americans cannot afford to pay for large lots and providing affordable housing is important for a town. Commissioner Dick also said that it could be what Monument most needs is more people to support local businesses.
This motion passed 5-2, with Jim Fitzpatrick and Locke voting against.
Creekside Commercial Tractor Supply Company Final Plat and Final PD Site Plan
The proposed Tractor Supply Co. in the Creekside Commercial development would be on 6.17 acres of land, built to mesh well with nearby venues. It would be located southeast of the intersection of Jackson Creek Parkway and Leather Chaps Drive.
The project’s Final Plat passed unanimously, and the Final PD Site Plan passed 6-1 with Glover voting against because she was unsure how many Monument residents knew about the coming proposal. She also expressed concern about potential commercial traffic—delivery trucks—driving through residential roads.
The landowner behind this project is Creekside Developers Inc., and the architect/engineer involved is HSC Monument LLC.
Jackson Creek Self-Storage Final Plat and Final PD Site Plan
The Jackson Creek Self-Storage Final Plat and Final PD Site Plan both concern 6.6968 acres of land directly to the north of the Vistas at Jackson Creek multifamily development. The Jackson Creek Self-Storage proposal is represented by (landowner) Jackson Creek Land Co. LLC, and (architect/engineer) CSI Development LLC. Should these motions prove successful, Harness Road would be constructed to 10 feet past the storage facility entrance, with a second access point provided for the Vistas housing development as well.
This self-storage facility is intended to provide more than the stereotypical storage unit experience, representatives say. The development would be composed of five storage buildings broken up with landscaping and stucco ornamentation, complete with low ambient landscape lighting. Sample units would be provided, as well as a leasing office and a 65-by-335-foot RV canopy. The storage portion of the property would be gated, and both the storage units and the RV canopy would be enclosed.
While the leasing building is intended to remain open 9 to 5 most days, with shortened hours on weekends, the storage units could be accessed 24-7 by people that own a unit. Commissioner David Gwisdalla recommended enforcing a separate code for apartment access. Another concern expressed involved the placement of the waste disposal unit, proving a bit difficult for big RVs to reach.
Both the Final Plat and the Final PD Site Plan for the self-storage development were approved unanimously.
Over 30 citizens were in attendance at this meeting, and public comment was varied and passionate. One citizen in particular wanted to call attention to the Grow Smart Monument Facebook group, a gathering space for concerned residents dedicated to helping direct the future of Monument’s development. Grow Smart Monument is particularly concerned with Monument’s open and recreational spaces.
A new planner, Katherine Brady, was also introduced at this meeting. The new planning director, Larry Manning, used to work in Cheyenne and was scheduled to begin work in the Town of Monument soon after this this meeting took place.
The next Monument Planning Commission meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 12 at 645 Beacon Lite Rd. Meetings are normally held on the second Wednesday of the month. Information: 884-8017 or http://www.townofmonument.org/meetings/.
Kate Pangelinan can be reached at email@example.com.
By Lisa Hatfield
The Oct. 19 Monument Board of Trustees meeting included a welcome to the new principal planner, good news about the BRRTA bond, notice of a new citizens group, and information about the Monument Cemetery.
Mayor Pro-Tem Jeff Kaiser and Trustee Kelly Elliot were absent.
New principal planner welcomed
Mayor Rafael Dominguez and Town Manager Chris Lowe introduced new town principal planner Larry Manning to his first Monument Board of Trustees meeting. Lowe said now the town is fully staffed again. Manning has worked with the cities of Cripple Creek, Manitou Springs, and most recently Gillette, Wyo.
Lowe said he is also still getting acquainted with the lay of the land in Monument and meeting with department heads and the trustees one by one to share ideas. For communication with the trustees, he sent out Friday Night Highlights with information from each department.
CDOT will pay entire BRRTA bond
Dominguez said that he received an email from the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments announcing that the outstanding Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority (BRRTA) bond will be fully paid off by the Colorado Department of Transportation. He did not announce a date or an exact payout amount. When the bond is paid off, the 1 percent sales tax on businesses within BRRTA will be repealed. See www.ocn.me/v15n8.htm#brrta0729 and the upcoming BRRTA article in the December issue of Our Community News for details.
Grow Smart Monument citizens group
El Paso County resident Allison Catalano introduced a citizens group she has formed called Grow Smart Monument. It is a volunteer group dedicated to preserving Tri-Lakes area open space and trails, recreational opportunities, natural resources, and community character. She wants to increase governmental communication with people about upcoming development, including water availability, schools, and the police force. And she wants the group to collaborate with developers and civic organizations in "creating a path to smart growth in our beautiful town and the surrounding Tri-Lakes area." Some of the group’s goals include:
• Create a community sports complex with cooperation of the town, the county, and various state agencies.
• Help give input to the Monument Comprehensive Plan, which will be updated soon.
• Ask both town and county representatives to explain the transportation plan for the Tri-Lakes area, water issues related to additional homes and businesses, and other issues related to schools and police.
For more information or to participate, see Grow Smart Monument’s Facebook group.
Catalano and Trustee Jeff Bornstein asked about the possibility of enacting a moratorium on development until the Monument comprehensive plan is updated. Town Attorney Gary Shupp said it might be possible, but only for a very limited time under specific circumstances so the town did not get into a reverse condemnation situation. Bornstein said then it would be important not to have land use issues coming in "at the last minute and under lots of pressure."
Monument Cemetery help needed
Trustee John Howe explained how he and several other volunteers have been working with historic documents in an attempt to find the names of "Unknown" people buried in the cemetery. In the early 1900s, some people who died in one of two major train wrecks or the influenza epidemic were buried without headstones. He said there are 189 "Unknowns" now, many discovered with ground-penetrating radar "done years ago," and the temporary plaster grave markers made more recently are crumbling and being covered with dirt and grass.
Howe and his co-volunteers have found a way to have new "Unknown" granite markers with concrete bases made for $17 each, but for 189 of them, "that’s a lot of money." Any person or group who would like to help with this project can contact him at JHowe@tomgov.org or call the town at (719) 884-8017.
Interim Treasurer Pamela Smith’s report noted that sales tax revenues earned through August were 5 percent over budget, and were also slightly ahead of sales tax collected by same time in 2014.
Checks over $5,000
• Triview Metro District, sales tax − $167,276
• Triview Metro District, annual property tax assessment − $183,440
All were accepted unanimously as part of the consent agenda.
At 7:17 p.m., the meeting went into executive session for developing strategy for negotiations, instructing negotiators, and determining positions relative to matters that may be subject to negotiations. Town Clerk Cynthia Sirochman told OCN that Pamela Smith’s new town manager contract was approved during the executive session and she would be sworn in again as town treasurer at the Nov. 2 meeting.
After the meeting, Rachel Beck, Policy and Communication manager, Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments, shared a Colorado Department of Transportation memo with OCN. On Oct. 1, Ajin Hu, acting regional transportation director, requested that the Colorado Transportation Commission use $11.43 million of Transportation contingency funds to reimburse the Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority for the remaining construction cost on the I-25/Baptist Road interchange.
The Monument Board of Trustees usually meets at 6:30 p.m. on the first and third Mondays of each month at Monument Town Hall, 645 Beacon Lite Road. The next meeting is scheduled for Nov. 16. Call 884-8017 or see www.townofmonument.org to see upcoming meeting agendas.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Caption: Allison Catalano told the trustees about a new volunteer group called Grow Smart Monument, which is dedicated to preserving Tri-Lakes area open space and trails, recreational opportunities, natural resources, and community character. She is shown here speaking with citizens after the Oct. 19 Monument Board of Trustees meeting. For more information, join the Grow Smart Monument group on Facebook. Photo by Lisa Hatfield.
Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District, Oct. 8: Board hears presentation on improving water quality in lake
By James Howald
At the meeting on Oct. 8, the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD) board heard a presentation from SePRO Corp. on improving water quality in Lake Woodmoor, clarified a tap policy, and heard reports from water district personnel.
SePRO proposes proactive management of Lake Woodmoor water quality
Andrew Skibo of SePRO spoke to the board concerning the work his company has been doing to control water weeds, especially elodea and coontail, in Lake Woodmoor. According to Skibo, application of Sonar, an aquatic herbicide, has greatly reduced the amount of elodea and coontail in the lake. Reducing the weeds in the lake helps to prevent clogged intakes to the water processing plant, Skibo said.
Skibo also outlined lake management practices he argued will improve the safety and taste of the water in Lake Woodmoor. Implementing these practices will save the district money by reducing the amount of well water the district must add to water from Lake Woodmoor to improve its taste and odor and would be cheaper than processing the water with ozone at the treatment plant, Skibo said. The process should be to set a threshold for action, make regular measurements of the lake water, and take action before customers report problems, Skibo said.
According to Skibo, the blue green algae present in the lake can produce poisonous cyanotoxin. Although that is not happening at present, it is a potential danger, Skibo said.
Geosmin, an organic compound with an earthy unpleasant taste and smell, is also present in water from Lake Woodmoor, and is the cause of some complaints from the district’s customers, especially in late summer, Skibo said. Water from 20 feet below the surface of the lake has higher levels of geosmin, according to Skibo.
To address these issues, Skibo recommended treating the water below 20 feet several times a year with PAK 27, an OMRI-certified organic algaecide. The treatments would cost about $27,000 annually, Skibo said.
In addition to the algaecide, Skibo recommended the installation of an aeration system, which would help circulate water from the bottom to the top of the lake and slow the growth of algae. The aeration system would cost between $64,000 and $70,000 to install, depending on the number of diffusers used, Skibo said.
After Skibo’s presentation to the board, District Manager Jessie Shaffer shared his thoughts about the value of ozonation at the water treatment plant. Even if the quality of the water in the lake is improved through better management, ozonation provides a final guarantee of safety and acceptable taste, Shaffer said.
Board clarifies policy on taps
Shaffer asked board members for their thoughts on an issue related to detached garages that was not completely clear in the existing rules and regulations. A builder working on the plans for a detached garage asked Shaffer if a mop sink could be included in the garage, and connected to the existing water and sewer service lines already in place for the main residence on the lot rather than to the water and sewer main lines. This would allow the owner to avoid a second tap fee, Shaffer said.
President Barrie Town said this has been done in the past, and that he did not see a problem as long as all lines were connected according to regulations.
Problem with well filter noted
In the Operations portion of the manager’s reports, Assistant District Manager Randy Gillette described a problem with the filter in Well 11. The presence of sand, possibly from a crack in the well casing, is causing differential pressure problems with the filter, Gillette said.
The next meeting is scheduled for Nov. 12. Meetings are usually held at the district office at 1845 Woodmoor Drive on the second Thursday of each month at 1 p.m. See www.woodmoorwater.com or call 488-2525 to verify meeting times.
James Howald can be reached at email@example.com.
By Lisa Hatfield
The Triview Metro District directors listened to public comments about landscaping maintenance, accepted a resident’s offer to help create a landscaping maintenance template, and approved a revised road repair contract and new Neighborhood Watch at the Oct. 13 meeting.
New well online
District Manager Valerie Remington said that the new D-4 well was online as of Oct. 7. It took 1 1/2 years from start to finish, Vice President Reid Bolander said.
Landscaping maintenance discussed again
Five residents of Triview spoke to the directors with concerns about the common areas that Triview maintains, including complaints about lack of irrigation of turf grass, lack of regular mowing, weeds as big as shrubs, and a lack of responsiveness from the staff when they have contacted the district. Their comments included:
• Anthony Sexton: I am not getting the service I am paying for in property taxes.
• Terry Heiser: You accepted Promontory Pointe Phase 3 and Phase 4 from Classic Homes, but it is a dump. You shouldn’t have accepted it until Classic cleaned it up.
• Shanna Corum: They sprayed the weeds and it killed my grass, all along the sidewalk. Who will fix it? I want a commitment in writing.
President Robert Fisher told the residents, "We do care." He said that over the years, landscaping and overall appearance has been a frequent conversation and that the board would take action and give them feedback. Note: Maintenance issues have been an ongoing theme at Triview meetings. See www.ocn.me/v6n1.htm#tmd, www.ocn.me/v12n8.htm#tmd0710 or search www.ocn.me.
Fisher said that in 2016, the district will use a landscape and maintenance plan for grass fertilizing, individual irrigation sprinkler system activation, etc. and that the board would assess this quarterly to make sure it was followed.
District resident Anthony Sexton volunteered his time and expertise as a landscaping business owner to help the district come up with a plan for scheduled landscaping maintenance, staffing, equipment, supervision, and accountability. The consensus was that Sexton would work with Director Bob Eskridge to create a template with prioritized baseline plans for each month. Note: Eskridge has served on the Triview Board of Directors for many years, include serving terms as board president and secretary/treasurer.
Fisher reminded the residents that there are funding issues too, since the district has about $55 million of outstanding debt. "It’s a juggling game," he said. "I don’t know about next year’s staffing, but I hope to improve that problem next year."
Remington reported that the parks and landscape expenses were well below budget as of the end of August, at 52 percent instead of 66 percent budgeted. Bolander asked why the district had not spent what it budgeted, especially considering all the comments from residents on landscaping maintenance. She said several projects were not done this year when she could not find people to hire to complete them. Director Mark Melville asked why subcontractors were not hired to complete those projects, and Remington said they didn’t attempt to do that this year.
Remington said that a sprinkler controller had broken at Promontory Pointe Park in August, and the district was still trying to get the warranty repair done. Meanwhile sprinklers were turned on manually in August and September. In October all irrigation systems were turned off.
Remington said that improvements will be made to the drainage channel that crosses under Agate Creek Drive south of Walter Creek Drive so that it can handle the concentrated flow of water being funneled from the upper detention pond in Promontory Pointe.
She said that the president of Classic Homes said it will take care of the upper and middle detention pond repairs needed, with some costs shared with Triview.
Checks over $5,000
On Sept. 8, the directors had approved a $27,000 (50 percent) down payment for asphalt repairs to be done by John R. Hurley Asphalt LLC. Remington told the board that there was a mistake in that estimate due to a miscommunication, and the actual total cost would be $52,242 more than what was first quoted, for a total of $104,484. The directors unanimously approved the revised contract amount. The $27,000 check was never issued, and so a new $52,242 check down payment was issued in October, Remington told OCN after the meeting.
Pete Knapstein from A Green Image spoke to the board about the fertilizer and weed control application his company performed over the summer. Fisher said the greenbelt areas they treated had turned brown. Knapstein said he had not been informed until early October that there was a problem and that his work was guaranteed. A tense discussion resulted in Fisher telling him to leave the meeting. The check for $7,165 to A Green Image was pulled for the second month in a row.
These items were approved unanimously:
• Wildcat construction, I-25 potable crossing –$15,507
• ORC Water Professionals Inc., contract O&M – $5,500
• Triview’s share of third-quarter expenses for Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility – $100,968 quarterly
• John R. Hurley Asphalt LLC, down payment for road repairs – $52,242
Neighborhood Watch signs approved
A representative of the newly formed Promontory Pointe Neighborhood Watch group asked the board for permission to post two Neighborhood Watch signs on existing signposts. She said the group has its gotten initial training from Monument Police Community Resource Officer Bob Steine. The board unanimously approved the request.
For information on starting a program in your neighborhood within the Monument town limits, see www.townofmonument.org/departments/neighborhood-watch/. (In El Paso County, see http://shr.elpasoco.com/sections-law-enforcement-bureau/patrol-division/neighborhood-watch-program).
2016 budget discussion
The directors scheduled a work session to review the details of the preliminary 2016 district budget on Oct. 21.
Water and sanitation notes
Remington’s report said that for August, Triview contributed 41.9 percent of the total influent to the Upper Monument Creek facility. Donala contributed 58 percent, and Forest Lakes contributed zero. The total monthly operations and maintenance expenses were divided proportionally. Remington said as Forest Lakes development grows, the percentages for operations and maintenance will change.
Remington’s August water usage report noted that average water usage for 1,420 metered accounts, of which 1,330 were residential three-fourths-inch taps, was 22,500 gallons per month with an average charge of $110.
At 6:54 p.m., the meeting went into executive session to confer with the district’s attorney regarding legal advice on specific legal questions. Remington said they did not plan to make any announcements after the session.
Triview Metropolitan District board meetings are normally held the second Tuesday of the month at 5 p.m. at 16055 Old Forest Point, Suite 300. The next meeting is scheduled for Nov. 10. Information: 488-6868 or see www.colorado.gov/triviewmetro.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Lisa Hatfield
At the Oct. 13 Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility (TLWWTF) Joint Use Coordinating Committee (JUC) meeting, the members discussed differences in phosphorus levels among the influent from the three owner districts and how and why to monitor those levels accurately. They heard from engineering consultant firm Tetra Tech about progress on construction of the new total phosphorus tertiary chemical treatment clarifier expansion and approved using contingency funds from the clarifier construction budget to add an emergency electrical generator to meet the fire marshal’s requirement before the final building permit could be issued.
Treasurer Don Smith represented Monument Sanitation District, along with District Manager Mike Wicklund. Board member Joe Stallsmith filled in for Palmer Lake Sanitation District Secretary/Treasurer Ken Smith, and was joined by District Manager Becky Orcutt. Director at Large Rich Strom represented Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District, along with District Manager Jessie Shaffer. Other representatives of the three districts also attended.
TLWWTF operates as a separate public utility and is jointly owned, in equal one-third shares, by Monument Sanitation District (MSD), Palmer Lake Sanitation District (PLSD), and Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD). The three-member JUC acts as the board of the facility and consists of one member from each of the three owner districts’ boards.
Background: The $3.42 million construction costs for the new total phosphorus tertiary chemical treatment clarifier expansion and supporting infrastructure are being shared this way: MSD–19.79 percent, PLSD–33.33 percent, and WWSD–46.88 percent. These percentages are the subject of a pending lawsuit that WWSD has filed against MSD and PLSD over how the cost of construction will be shared.
WWSD’s position is that these costs should be divided by thirds.
PLSD had originally agreed to pay a third of the costs.
MSD’s position is that each district should pay the same percentage of the cost of this expansion according to the amount of currently owned treatment capacity for flows and biosolid wastes in accordance with TLWWTF’s Joint Use of Facilities Agreement (JUA) rules for treatment constituent expansions: WWSD–64.28 percent, MSD–19.79 percent, and PLSD–15.93 percent
MSD’s position is also that each district should own those same percentages of the new chemical total phosphorus treatment capacity that is being created with new equipment in accordance with the Tri-Lakes JUA rules for treatment constituent expansions and that district reimbursements from the $1 million state nutrient design and construction grant should also be divided by these same percentages. See www.ocn.me/v15n5.htm#tlfjuc0414 and www.ocn.me/v15n2.htm#tlfjuc0113 for additional background.
Phosphorus levels high; testing schedule discussed
Facility Manager Bill Burks reported the August total phosphorus influent test result from each district into the TLWWTF. The total phosphorus concentration (mg/l) and pounds per day (ppd) for MSD for August were almost twice as high as in previous months this year, Burks said. Flow in millions of gallons per day (MGD), total phosphorus concentration (mg/l), pounds per day (loading) and percent of phosphorus contribution for August were:
• MSD − .207 MGD, 34.0 mg/l, 58.7 ppd, 51 percent
• PLSD − .225 MGD, 6.8 mg/l, 12.8 ppd, 11 percent
• WWSD − .876 MGD, 8.8 and 4.0 mg/l (North and South Woodmoor), 43.4 ppd, 38 percent
Wicklund said Monument’s numbers since January had been high, and he planned to talk to industrial and commercial businesses in MSD about "best practices" that reduce the amount of phosphorus they contributed to the wastewater influent into the plant.
The August MSD numbers, which were higher than expected, generated a discussion about the current once-a-month phosphorus test. Wicklund said the JUC had anticipated that phosphorus levels would track with each district’s pounds of influent biosolids and would eventually use those biosolids numbers for billing on phosphorus treatment too, but since indications were that total phosphorus was not tracking with biosolids, testing more than once a month was needed. He said that the increased cost of testing would be worth it to make phosphorus operational cost sharing fair. He asked the JUC to approve phosphorus testing at same frequency as biosolids testing, which is done 12 times a month.
Wicklund said the MSD board had discussed the fact that more frequent phosphorus testing would reduce the possibility of an outlier reading incorrectly representing the whole month’s levels for any one of the three districts. One composite sample in one day might not be representative of the district’s influent wastewater for the whole month, he said.
He anticipated that cost sharing for chemicals and electricity used in new total phosphorus tertiary chemical treatment clarifier currently scheduled to start next summer would be based on the phosphorus testing for each district. The cost of operating the new phosphorus treatment clarifier next year would be far larger than the small costs of sampling and testing, he said. "Does Palmer Lake want to pay a third of the chemical costs for this when it’s only contributing 14 percent? We have to do something to make the billing fair for each district.… We are not just going to be splitting the costs of operating that phosphorus treatment by thirds," Wicklund said.
Shaffer disagreed with Wicklund, saying that a single data point should not result in spending so much extra money on testing immediately. He also said that the current phosphorus monitoring was supposed to just be an indicator, not a way to assess future operating costs or split-outs on capacity.
Burks said that the issue of billing for chemicals and electricity for phosphorus removal had not yet been discussed or decided by the JUC.
Shaffer said it was premature to talk about billing now, and that it would be decided when differences between the member districts were settled in January or February, after the lawsuit was over.
Wicklund disagreed that the billing question would be solved by the lawsuit, since those results would determine ownership percentage in paying for construction of the new total phosphorus tertiary chemical treatment clarifier. The lawsuit did not have anything to do with operating costs, such as treatment issues, which are addressed in the Joint Use Agreement, he said.
Burks suggested that once the phosphorus removal process actually begins next May, sampling of actual amounts will automatically occur three times a week. The committee voted unanimously to continue testing phosphorus levels once a month for now, but once the clarifier starts operating, the testing will be done more frequently.
Construction going smoothly
Tetra Tech engineer Steve Tamburini presented a report on progress by Aslan Corp. on the new total phosphorus tertiary chemical treatment clarifier. The total budget for the project is $3.642 million, and construction was progressing on or ahead of schedule for the first five months of work, Tamburini said.
Note: The existing TLWWTF has no designed capability for removing total phosphorus, because there was not a requirement for treating this constituent until the state’s approval of Health Department Control Regulation 85 in June 2012. The facility already meets the Control Regulation 85 total inorganic nitrogen (TIN) November 2019 limit of 15 mg/l. TLWWTF must comply with the new 1 mg/l running annual median total phosphorus limit listed in Control Regulation 85 starting on Nov. 1, 2019 under the facility’s new five-year discharge permit that took effect on May 1. The new phosphorus treatment clarifier is designed to comply with this TIN limit and will start compliance testing in mid-2016.
Tamburini said construction so far has proceeded with a temporary building permit, which will expire soon. The final building permit will not be issued by the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department until the plans include a backup electrical generator for the ventilation and temperature control in the chemical storage area, which is classified H4 since it stores large amounts of non-flammable chemicals commonly used in both water and sanitation treatment plants, he said.
Tamburini said Tetra Tech had never before had to include these emergency backup components in an H4 building, so the $35,000 to $50,000 total estimated cost was not included in the original estimates for the clarifier building. This unprecedented requirement came from the fire marshals of both the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD) and Colorado Springs Fire Department. Burks, Tamburini, and Tetra Tech Environmental Engineer Dmitriy Zinchenko met recently with both fire marshals to present scientific data showing that the requirement for emergency power for ventilation was not necessary and not listed in the fire code book. However, TLMFPD had a separate version of the fire code book "with comments" that required the emergency generator, Burks said.
The JUC unanimously authorized Tetra Tech to use money from the 10 percent project contingency funds to proceed with the engineering design using the lowest-cost solution that would satisfy the fire marshals. The design will be used by Aslan for the construction of this section.
Smith and Wicklund both asked Tamburini why this unexpected cost did not show up sooner in the building permit pulling process. Tamburini said the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department was the most bureaucratic building department his company has worked with, adding that Regional was used to dealing with commercial and housing developments, but not industrial buildings.
Plant manager’s report
Burks said the plant averaged processing 1.32 million gallons of wastewater per day in August. Plant capacity is 4.2 million gallons per day. Influent flow was 31 percent of capacity, and biosolids were 46 percent of capacity, he said.
He summarized the facility’s discharge monitoring report required by the state for August effluent discharge into Monument Creek and said all parameters were easily within permit limits.
TLWWTF also continues to take an array of other samples for the ongoing Arkansas and Fountain Coalition for Rural/Urban River Evaluation (AF CURE) Monument Creek and Fountain Creek basin baseline characterization study for future reference by TLWWTF, the state, and the EPA regarding these wastewater constituents.
Burks also said that the Oct. 1 inspection report from the Water Quality Control Division reported no significant issues.
The committee was glad to hear that TLWWTF had passed the quarterly required whole effluent toxicity (WET) tests showing that fish and wetlands macroinvertebrates can reproduce in the facility’s treated effluent being discharged into Monument Creek.
Burks presented the financial statements as of Sept. 30, which were unanimously approved by the board.
Wicklund said that state grant money is not usually given to ongoing projects like the new total phosphorus tertiary chemical treatment clarifier expansion, but he suggested that since the building has a compliance schedule, the JUC might look into whether TLWWTF might be eligible to apply for a current state grant worth up to $850,000. The consensus was to check into it.
2016 draft budget discussed
Burks presented a few modifications to the 2016 draft budget under consideration. One item of discussion was how each district should budget for the costs of chemicals for the total phosphorus tertiary chemical treatment clarifier expansion when it starts operating next summer.
Stallsmith asked Burks to delay buying a new pickup truck for one year, since there could still be more unexpected costs associated with construction and compliance testing.
Burks said he would find out in a few weeks if he could reduce costs on ultraviolet (UV) disinfection treatment components and also have a more reliable system too.
Wicklund said MSD’s environmental compliance coordinator Jim Kendrick was excused from the meeting to attend a Water Quality Control Commission Hearing on Regulation 85 and Regulation 31 and the intended use plan for awarding new grants from the water pollution control revolving fund and drinking water revolving fund. He will give the AF CURE report in November.
District managers’ reports
Orcutt said that, after some delays, PLSD started scheduled line cleaning and video inspection of one-fifth of its sanitary sewer collection system. Shaffer and Wicklund had nothing to report.
The meeting adjourned at 11:53 a.m.
The next meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on Nov. 10 at the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility, 16510 Mitchell Ave. Meetings are normally held on the second Tuesday of the month and are open to the public. For information, call Bill Burks at (719) 481-4053.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at email@example.com.
By Jim Kendrick
On Oct. 15, General Manager Kip Petersen briefed the Donala Water and Sanitation District (WSD) board on the announcement by Mountain View Electric Association that there would be a third 9 percent commercial rate increase in July 2016 following the July 2015 and January 2016 9 percent rate increases previously reported. The cumulative exponential effect of these three rate increases is a 29.5 percent rate increase from June 30, 2015 to July 1, 2016. Petersen proposed a 4 percent across-the-board increase for the tiered water use fee structure, effective Jan. 1, 2016, but no increases in the $30 monthly wastewater rate or the $25 monthly water service rate.
Note: Although regular meetings are normally held on the third Thursday of the month, the next regular meeting will not be held until Thursday, Dec. 10 in the district conference room at 15850 Holbein Drive and will include the 2016 annual budget hearing so that this approved budget can be submitted to the state by the Dec. 15 deadline. The next board meeting will be a workshop, held at 9 a.m. on Nov. 17, in the district conference room at 15850 Holbein Drive. Information: 488-3603 or www.donalawater.org.
Petersen also noted the recent increase in water sales revenue due to increased irrigation resulting from the decline in recent rainfall. In September the district produced almost 39 million gallons of billable water compared to 28 million gallons in September a year ago. Revenues to date were still 6 percent short of the amount budgeted. Expenditures for 2015 have been held to 7 percent less than budgeted, even though some high priority capital projects have been initiated. He said the other postponed projects will be added to the 2016 budget to take advantage of a low-interest state loan from the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority. Board President Bill George praised the staff’s "astute financial management. Well done."
2016 draft budget presented
Some of the other factors Petersen emphasized regarding his 2016 budget proposal were:
• Colorado Springs Utilities will increase the rate it charges Donala by 4.9 percent for transporting and treating Donala’s Willow Creek Ranch renewable surface water for direct distribution to Donala customers.
• Tap fee revenue from development will be significantly less than in 2015.
• Vendor rates were budgeted to increase by about 3 percent in 2016.
It is still the Donala board’s goal that annual drinking water and wastewater revenue should be sufficient to pay all annual costs of drinking water and wastewater services respectively so that each operation can become self-sustaining and achieve enterprise status.
Petersen noted that a payment of $6,400 had been made for Donala’s share of a Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority preliminary design study on joint water storage in a common reservoir as well as exchange between these northern El Paso County water entities:
• Town of Monument
• Town of Palmer Lake
• Donala WSD
• Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District
• Triview Metropolitan District
• Forest Lakes Metro District
Total expenditures to date for the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility were about 17 percent less ($223,000) than the budgeted amount for the first three quarters of 2015, while operating revenue was roughly equal to the amount budgeted through September. Petersen said that the cost of some of this year’s individual repairs has been much higher than usual, and Chief Waste Plant Operator Terri Ladouceur has postponed some routine projects to have enough money left in the budget should more unexpected high-cost repairs need to be made before 2016.
Petersen stated that the 2016 budget for the waste plant would have higher contingency funding than in 2015 as well as a more comprehensive long-term equipment repair and replacement program that is being prepared by consulting engineer Roger Sams of GMS Inc. Also, about $20,000 will be spent on the Doral Way pipeline project before the end of the year.
Academy Water and Sanitation District wastewater IGA approved
The Donala board unanimously approved an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) between the Donala and Academy districts to have Donala provide all wastewater service for Academy. A new emergency service IGA between the two districts will also be put in place to replace the current IGA.
The state has directed Academy to shut down the operation of its existing wastewater treatment lagoons by 2018 because they will not be able to meet new tighter ammonia standards nor the new total phosphorus and total nitrogen limits of the state’s new Control Regulation 85 and new Regulation 31.17. The Academy board determined that it was best and cheapest to pay for a lift station force main and connection to Donala for sewer services rather than build its own very small and costly state-of-the-art replacement wastewater treatment plant or build a much longer and much deeper interceptor line to be able to connect by gravity to the Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) wastewater treatment system at Northgate Boulevard.
A new Academy lift station will meter and pump all of Academy’s sanitary sewer flows from Academy’s existing collection system up over the ridge between the two districts to a Donala manhole. Academy’s wastewater will then be delivered by gravity through the Donala collection system to the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility. Academy will pay Donala for wastewater treatment on a monthly fee for service basis. Academy will comply with Donala sewer use and pretreatment regulations.
Academy will pay a plant investment fee of $889,700 to Donala. Academy will not purchase any of the treatment capacity of the Upper Monument Creek waste plant. Donala will maintain 70,000 gallons per day of its total share of owned Upper Monument Creek wastewater treatment capacity for the management and treatment of wastewater delivered by Academy. Academy has 286 single-family homes and the potential for 10 additional homes. There are no commercial uses within the district.
The fees charged to Academy will be based on Donala’s cost of service analysis plus 10 percent. Academy sewer customers would initially pay $33 per month for Donala’s treatment of their wastewater based on the current Donala monthly fee of $30 for 2016.
Petersen said he would continue to work with Donala’s water attorney Rick Fendel on negotiating an extension of the district’s service contract with CSU for transportation and treatment of Donala’s Willow Creek Ranch renewable surface water once operations begin for the CSU Southern Delivery System. Approval of Donala’s 1041 permit for use of the SDS pipeline is currently being delayed by Pueblo County as part of the controversy between the City of Colorado Springs and Pueblo County over stormwater issues. Petersen and Fendel are also working on a long-term extension of Donala’s water storage contract with the federal Bureau of Reclamation for continued storage of Donala surface water in the Pueblo Reservoir.
Petersen said that the 2015 annual season for taking credit for Willow Creek Ranch renewable surface water is over. As of Sept. 1 Donala had 439 acre-feet of water stored in the Pueblo Reservoir. Donala’s maximum annual decreed withdrawal amount is 499 acre-feet.
Petersen also reviewed Donala’s options if 2016 Arkansas River flows are higher than the amount Pueblo Reservoir can store, as currently predicted due to higher than average El Niño rainfall, and there is no space available for Donala under its annual contract that only allows the district to use the reservoir’s unused excess storage capacity, if and when it is available. The Pueblo Reservoir was 63 percent full on Sept. 17.
Katie Fendel, the district’s water engineer, reported that the state’s Water Quality Control Division would be analyzing potential changes to interim stream standards in the state’s Control Regulation 85 and Basic Standards Regulation 31.17 regarding the total phosphorus and total nitrogen. On Oct. 13 at an informational hearing, the state’s Water Quality Control Commission directed the division to hold a full triennial review hearing in 2016 for making modifications to these two regulations regarding imposition of even tighter nutrient restrictions.
Fendel noted that most nitrogen is absorbed naturally by the aquatic life ecosystem in Cherry Creek before flows reach the Cherry Creek Reservoir.
The commission rejected the division’s original recommendation to not hold a review hearing and make no changes to the two regulations. Also noted was that the existing biological treatments for phosphorus and nitrogen removal interfere with each other.
The meeting was adjourned at 3:36 p.m.
The next board meeting will be a workshop at 9 a.m. Nov. 17 in the district conference room at 15850 Holbein Drive. Information: 488-3603 or www.donalawater.org.
Jim Kendrick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Susan Hindman
Facing TABOR restrictions on funding necessary for upcoming improvements to its wastewater system, the Academy Water and Sanitation District board approved a resolution for a ballot measure in May 2016 that will ask voters to eliminate those restrictions.
Because of Colorado’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) amendment, problems arise when a governmental entity receives revenue such as grant money. In Academy’s case, that money is needed to help cover the costs of pumping its wastewater into Donala Water and Sanitation District’s system, which will transport it to the treatment plant off of Baptist Road that it co-owns with two other districts. The Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility is equipped to meet new state standards for ammonia, phosphorus, and nitrogen. Academy’s current lagoon treatment system can no longer meet these standards.
Around 300 residents will be shouldering the $3.1 million in costs, so the district will be seeking funding from state and federal sources—which would look on paper like additional revenue and trigger TABOR requirements to refund a portion of that same money to residents. Passage of the ballot measure will allow the district to keep money from those funding sources.
Attorney Paul Murphy pointed out that, according to numbers from Colorado’s Department of Local Affairs, 98 percent of school districts, 81 percent of counties, and 76 percent of special districts in the state have voted to eliminate TABOR restrictions.
The board also voted to approve Donala’s recent amendments to the Intergovernmental Service Agreement, which means the two districts can now move forward with their plans. (See the article on Donala Water and Sanitation District’s Oct. 15 meeting on page 15 for more details.)
A new cost estimate worksheet for making the required changes to Academy’s collection system was discussed, and the new bottom line figure was revised down from $3.9 million to $3.1 million. Included in that figure is $255,600 in up-front engineering costs that must be paid for before other grant monies can even be applied for. The board is looking into a possible loan through CoBank at 2.2 percent interest to cover those costs. Dave Frisch, of GMS, the district’s engineering firm, said the bank is offering no origination fees or closing fees and can approve the loan in two weeks’ time.
Residents will be looking at a $33 increase in wastewater service fees when operations with Donala begin in 2018, so Treasurer Walt Reiss suggested that a gradual rate increase begin by 2016 and those monies set aside in a separate account. Academy’s current service fee of $40 hasn’t been raised in five years. Once operations with Donala begin, Academy will manage the monthly billing of its current customers, not Donala. It will collect all fees and then pay Donala in one lump sum each month.
The board had hoped to pass a separate resolution establishing an enterprise, which the district’s engineer has encouraged for the funding opportunities it opens up; the district’s auditor has recommended the enterprise be effective Jan. 1 for easier bookkeeping. But a few more questions came up about the enterprise that necessitated putting off a vote for another month. Enterprise status changes the way money flows into the district’s treasury to pay for the changes to the wastewater system.
The board plans to present all of this information at a town hall meeting of Pleasant View residents on Oct. 31.
Meeting date is changing
Starting in December, Academy’s board meetings will move to the second Tuesday of the month, still at 6 p.m. at the Wescott Fire Station on Gleneagle Drive.
The Academy Water and Sanitation District board currently meets at 6 p.m. the fourth Tuesday of the month at the fire station on Gleneagle and Jessie Drives. The next meeting is Nov. 24.
Susan Hindman can be reached at email@example.com .
By Harriet Halbig
The Lewis-Palmer D-38 Board of Education recognized a staff member who received a statewide honor, recognized the founder of Adopt D38, and approved budget adjustments and new teaching materials at its Oct. 15 meeting.
Lewis-Palmer High School Principal Sandi Brandl introduced journalism teacher Carrie Hendrix, who was recognized as the Colorado Student Media Association’s Adviser of the Year for 2015. Hendrix was joined by several student members of the staff.
Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Wangeman introduced Georgina Gittins, who is the director of the Adopt D38 program. The program began in 2010 and offers parents and other community members a way to donate funds to the district by adopting a classroom, program, grade level, or school. During the first year, the program was tested at Bear Creek Elementary and since then has grown throughout the district. Gittins reported that 722 teachers have been adopted and nearly $150,000 in donations has been received.
Budget adjustments approved
Wangeman reported that the student population has grown by 68.8 FTE as of the October count. She said that one contributing factor is that younger families are beginning to move into Woodmoor, accounting for 25 of those students.
Wangeman requested that $522,909 be transferred to the account for additional staffing for students with special needs and other purposes. Although it appears that assessed valuations of district properties are rising, there is no guarantee that the state will backfill the difference when property tax revenues rise but per pupil funding does not.
Additional uses for these funds include the addition of bus routes to serve the new students, reserves in the event of a rescission later in the year, and purchase of gifted resources.
When asked how much the 50 cent per ride fee for bus use contributes, she responded that the fee covers less than 25 percent of the cost.
Wangeman also reported that the district has received a grant to help fund wireless service at the high school and middle school levels. Funding for wireless at the elementary schools was included in the budget as previously approved.
The board approved the adjustments as proposed.
New textbook approved
The board approved the adoption of a new textbook for use in the Palmer Ridge High School Bio-organic Chemistry course. This is an elective course. The title of the book is Organic Chemistry by F. Carey and R. Guiliano.
Community Partnership recognitions
Superintendent Karen Brofft recognized a number of community partners, including Penrose Hospital/Centura Health for sponsoring the district’s mobile app; Security Services Federal Credit Union for offering promotions for staff and Sky Sox tickets; the No Methadone for Monument Committee for supporting the district’s efforts to defeat a methadone clinic in downtown Monument; and the Maguire family for its support of district events at Maguireville and contributions from the Overhead Door company.
Representatives of No Methadone in Monument reported that St. Peter Church and school are now also supporting the cause and that the company wishing to open the clinic has never before seen such resistance.
Brofft thanked outgoing Vice President John Mann for his service of over eight years on the board and as a teacher for several years before.
Brofft commented in response to concerns that the use of ZPass to board district buses offers a safety that outweighs concerns about data privacy. She noted an occasion when a child got off the bus in the wrong place and was able to be found quickly due to the use of the pass.
In another area of data concern, Brofft said that the district is seeking a waiver from Teaching Strategies Gold to allow the district not to include videos or photos in its evaluations. The district needs to prove that its kindergarten report cards contain the same information as that developed by TS Gold. The waiver would become active next year.
Brofft reported that she had spoken with the district’s attorneys and those of the No Methadone in Monument group to determine the extent to which the district should be involved in the movement.
Treasurer John Magerko thanked the District Accountability Advisory Committee for its sponsorship of candidate forums for the board election and encouraged members of the public to get involved in education matters by writing to the Colorado Department of Education or attending meetings in Denver in areas of interest.
Board President Mark Pfoff thanked Mann for his service, which he said was particularly valuable during the recession when budget cuts were large and unavoidable. Pfoff said that Mann was instrumental in identifying priorities so that Wangeman could come to the board with a proposal that they would approve.
Mann spoke about the importance of public education to society. He said that his wife was a teacher during the time when he served in the Air Force and, upon his retirement, he too entered the field. He acknowledged individuals he knew during his tenure on the board, including Caryn Collette, who oversaw the consolidation of two middle schools into one, and Wangeman for the stability of her leadership in financial matters. He also praised the district’s Special Education Program, which is successful and exemplary despite the fact that is funded at a minimal level by the state.
Mann also cautioned that it is wise to continue to anticipate rescissions by the state, as they happen almost annually.
Practice ACT shows benefit
Director of Assessment and Gifted Education Lori Benton reported that the use of the practice ACT among 10th-graders has caused significant improvement in ACT scores among juniors.
Benton also explained the application process for individuals seeking to conduct research studies or distribute surveys within the district.
Caption: Carrie Hendrix, center, Lewis-Palmer High School journalism teacher, was named Colorado Student Media Association’s Adviser of the Year. With her are, from left, Aisha Chugh, Arjun Chugh, Hannah Spivey, Riley Bircham (co-editor in chief), Kimberly Loidolt (co-editor in chief) and Kelsey Archuleta. Photo by Harriet Halbig.
Caption: Georgina Gittins, director of Adopt D38, on the left, was recognized by Superintendent Karen Brofft and Board President Mark Pfoff for her achievements. Photo by Harriet Halbig.
The Board of Education of Lewis-Palmer D-38 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 Nov. 19.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Harriet Halbig
The Lewis-Palmer D-38 District Accountability Advisory Committee determined its meeting calendar, finalized its charge for presentation to the Board of Education, and discussed the teacher evaluation process during its Oct. 13 meeting.
The committee will not meet each month this year. In the past, the committee examined each school’s unified improvement plan (UIP) and the district’s plan during the meetings in the winter. This year, the plans will be reviewed at individual schools with the schools’ Building Accountability Advisory Committees (BAACs), and detailed summaries will be reviewed with the committee in April. The entire committee will meet in November, January, February and April.
The committee approved the year’s calendar.
At these committee meetings, the group will also receive updates on the district’s communication plan, technology developments, the Community-Family Partnership, Gifted Learning, Special Education, safety and security, and the budget.
Director of Assessment and Gifted Education Lori Benton reviewed the committee’s charge before final presentation to the Board of Education. The charge will be virtually unchanged from the previous year. Responsibilities include:
• Overseeing the Special Education and Gifted Education programs (including English Language Learners).
• Advising the board regarding budgetary matters.
• Overseeing the staff evaluation process.
• Aiding the board in community outreach through such things as hosting forums among candidates for the board.
• Committee for Political Achievement, a subgroup of the committee, acts to monitor legislative and other activity that may affect the district.
Director of Personnel and Student Services Bob Foster spoke about Senate Bill 191 and recent changes in the evaluation process for teachers and other staff in the district.
Foster listed the stages of the process, including orientation to the process, self-assessment, meeting with the evaluators, and classroom observations by evaluators.
This system was introduced in the 2013-14 school year and is still developing. The first year was "hold-harmless" as districts worked through their methods of compliance. The 2014-15 school year was the first in which staff could be ruled ineffective, which effects probationary status.
A primary aspect of the system is to have a large part of the evaluation score based on student performance. The remainder is based on a detailed review of professional practices.
A major drawback of the system is the fact that many employees are not teachers of subjects for which there is data such as test results to measure student performance. This includes such employees as media specialists, librarians, teachers of dual diagnosis students, teachers of the arts, and instructional coaches. For these individuals the district has had to devise its own methods of evaluating student performance and submit these techniques to the state for approval.
Another weakness is the fact that performance is based on growth from one year to the next, and the assessments being applied are changing frequently.
Foster and Benton said that they will keep the committee informed regarding any future changes in the process.
District Superintendent Karen Brofft reported on the district’s strategic vision to encompass a focus on the community, a variety of learning opportunities, continued performance in the top 10 percent in ACT scores, continuing Advanced Placement offerings and scores above the national average, a high graduation rate, and acclaimed music, performing arts, arts, and sports activities.
The primary goal of the board this year, in addition to continuing excellence in the above areas, is to improve the availability of up-to-date technology in the classroom.
Brofft also said that she wishes to focus on 21st-century skills such as data-driven decision-making, enhancing the public’s trust in the district through transparency, and engaging in long range planning.
Some of this year’s initiatives include a focus on technology in the classroom, continued interaction with focus groups such as businesses, homeowners groups, and churches, and a revamping of the district’s website.
Lewis-Palmer High School Principal Sandi Brandl spoke of her school of 977 students, of which 17 percent are gifted, 16.6 percent are minority, 9 percent qualify for free/reduced lunch and 9 percent are disabled. Eighty-five percent of the class of 2015 plan to attend two- or four-year post-secondary programs.
The school offers 21 advanced placement (AP) courses, giving 502 tests to 303 students. Brandl said that she encourages students to take AP courses in areas that excite them, because these courses give them a good view of college-level classes. Also, the school shares a partnership with the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, which allows students to get college credit for specific classes.
The school is also a participant in Project Lead the Way, offering classes in engineering and biomedicine. It has been named a John Irwin School of Excellence nine times and has one of the highest graduation rates in the state.
The next meeting of the District Accountability Advisory Committee will be at 7 p.m. on Nov. 10 at Palmer Lake Elementary School, 115 Upper Glenway, Palmer Lake.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at email@example.com.
By Jennifer Green-Lanchoney
The Donald Wescott Fire Protection District board discussed the need for a new insurer and a proposed salary increase at its Oct. 20 meeting.
Proposed 2016 budget change
Despite being on the list of approved insurers, Colorado HealthOp has now gone under, leaving Wescott and many others to search for new insurance. While the increase of only $2,400 a year was a win over the $36,000 increase proposed by their previous insurance agency, it was too good to be true, said administrative assistant Stacey Popovich.
Because Wescott will search for new insurance, this will change the bottom line of the proposed budget. The other line that will change is workers compensation. Popovich is working with Pinnacle insurance, which has recently gone through a structural revamp and didn’t have the numbers available for Popovich to accurately adjust the budget.
Proposed salary increase
A line in the budget proposes Wescott salaries to be increased by 7 percent. Some positions, like paramedic, will be increased a bit more to keep competitive with other organizations. Wescott paramedics contract with the station to be put through school and then work for Wescott when they complete their education. Keeping competitive wages will hopefully entice them to stay beyond their contract with the station. Adjusting paramedic pay meant also having to adjust the officers’ pay to stay in line with a tiered pay scale. Chief Vinny Burns also implemented step raises in the budget to be calculated into pay.
The board continues to move steadily toward a Dec. 1 approval of the 2016 budget, Burns said.
The September financial statement totaled $1.33 million, which is $160,362 less than the August financial statement. The reason for the large difference is that wildland firefighting expenses came out in September Popovich is expecting to get some revenue in return from wildland reimbursement.
Director John Fredell questioned the wildland budget and whether it was something that would vary yearly. Chief Burns indicated that it would and that it is typically hard to gauge. The August financial statements were approved.
A request was posed that Wescott begin to post the meeting agenda and minutes on the district website. Chief Burns agreed, and the minutes will be posted to Wescott.org under the Board of Directors tab.
One public comment questioned the construction of Colorado Springs Station 22 and when Wescott expected homes and businesses in the district to request to be taken out of the district to be served by the city station.
Chief Burns responded that there are legal hoops that must be jumped through to be taken out of the district and that there would likely be a dual response. He added that legally, the presence of the fire station doesn’t trigger anything; they could open the fire station tomorrow and Wescott would still be here.
Assistant Chief Scott Ridings gave the September run report that showed a 13 percent increase in the number of calls received in 2015 over 2014. There was no significant loss due to fire in August.
District participates in Fort Collins ceremony Wescott participated in an honor guard that lined the streets of Fort Collins on Oct. 24 to welcome a new fire station there and honor the memory of those who lost their lives in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that demolished two World Trade Center buildings in New York City in 2001. A girder, one of few left from the Trade Center rubble, will be on display at the new station.
The meeting was adjourned at 7:54 p.m.
The Donald Wescott Fire Protection District Board of Directors’ next meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Nov. 17 at Station 1 15415 Gleneagle Dr. Please call 488- 8680, a non-emergency number, for more information, or visit www.wescottfire.org. The district is also on Facebook.
By Lisa Hatfield
The El Paso Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved an amended subdivision improvements agreement for Forest Lakes Residential Development LLC and Classic Consulting Engineers & Surveyors LLC on Oct 13. The request amended the Sept. 9, 2004 filing that had included restrictions on the sale of lots or issuance of building permits within the subdivision as a guarantee for the completion of required subdivision improvements.
The amendment will now allow the provision of collateral, in the form of a bond, to secure and guarantee performance of the remainder of the required public subdivision improvements in Filings 1 and 3 of the Forest Lakes development, located at the western end of West Baptist Road, west of the Union Pacific railroad tracks.
Forest Lakes Residential Development requested the amendment in order to initiate lot sales and building permit issuance while the few remaining improvements are being completed in Filing 1 and begun in Filing 3, including public water systems, fire hydrants, public wastewater facilities, public storm facilities, curbs and gutters, and paving the public streets.
The homes in Forest Lakes will be served by these entities:
• Water and wastewater: Forest Lakes Metropolitan District (a Title 32 special district), which shares the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility with Donala Water and Sanitation District and Triview Metropolitan District
• Natural gas: Black Hills Energy
• Electricity: Mountain View Electric Association
• Fire protection: Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District
• Roads: El Paso County Road and Bridge
• Police: El Paso County Sheriff’s Office
• School District: Lewis-Palmer District 38
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Terri Hayes
On Oct. 5, El Paso County Parks and the Air Force Academy held a joint information gathering meeting concerning the New Santa Fe Trail at the Academy International Elementary School. Key players were County Commissioners Darryl Glenn and Peggy Littleton, El Paso County Director of Community Services Tim Wolken, and Col. Ken Ohlson with the Air Force Academy. There were about 100 people in attendance, made up mostly of those who would like to use the trail again both for recreation and transportation, in addition to other community leaders.
Although the County Commissioners and the Academy recently approved a new 25-year easement through the Academy, the trail remains off limits to anyone without a military or Department of Defense badge after the Academy was named in Inspire magazine and other terrorist correspondence as a desirable target. The Academy was directed by the commander of the U.S. Northern Command to increase force protection.
The premise of the meeting was to brainstorm different ways the Academy could balance security while allowing public access. The most popular ideas were:
• Create a trails watch group to patrol and report any unusual activity
• Signage with contact information for Academy Security
• Surveillance cameras along the trail
The trail was heavily damaged by the rains this year, with repairs costing an estimated $480,000. El Paso County is working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to determine funding opportunities for the repairs, which for safety reasons would need to be completed prior to potentially opening up to the public again.
Talks will continue as the Academy and the county work together to reach an agreeable compromise. A compromise, however, would still need to be approved by the U.S. Northern Command. Future meetings open to the public may take place. Final decisions were not expected to come before next year.
Terri Hayes can be reached via email@example.com.
By Larry Oliver, NEPCO president
Bill Elder, El Paso County Sheriff, spoke about county law enforcement at the Northern El Paso County Coalition of Community Associations (NEPCO) general membership meeting, held at the Monument Town Hall on Sept. 26.
Sheriff Elder began the presentation with a brief personal background. He grew up in Colorado Springs, attended Palmer High School, and for many years was a law enforcement officer in District 1 (the NEPCO area). He also worked in real estate as a homeowners association (HOA) manager, giving him experience in HOA matters.
Elder said that El Paso is the largest county in Colorado, covering 2,200 square miles (same as Rhode Island), with a population of 600,000. The county has the largest Sheriff’s Office in the state, employing about 820 total personnel. Of those, 525 are "sworn-in" personnel and 100 are patrol officers. The county also has a 1,600-bed jail, with about 1,500 inmates a day.
Within El Paso County, Elder identified District 1 and the Falcon area as two focus points for his office due to the high growth in these areas. However, he pointed out that District 1 is a low-crime area compared to most of the county, with one patrol car assigned to the district full time. As crime rises in the county and traffic conditions worsen, the sheriff has designated five traffic motorcycles to cover the entire county.
The Crime Prevention section of the Sheriff’s Office works closely with Neighborhood Watch personnel. One person in the office is dedicated to Neighborhood Watch, and provides helpful information as it is received. Elder urged everyone to call the Sheriff’s Office if something catches their attention, and highly recommended setting up Neighborhood Watches in communities where none exist. To aid county residents, the Sheriff’s Office recently released a new smart phone app for receiving sheriff alerts, submitting tips, calling the office, etc. Download this app by searching for "El Paso County Sheriff’s Office."
The sheriff discussed several safety tips to aid in crime prevention including:
Safety tips when on vacation away from your home:
• Have a neighbor collect newspapers and mail or stop delivery.
• Tell your Neighborhood Watch director that you’ll be gone.
• Put lights on a timer.
• Leave a key with a neighbor.
• Plant signs stating your house is alarmed (This is a big deterrent to crime).
• Treat the door from the garage into the house as an entry door, and lock it.
• Ask the Sheriff’s Office to do an occasional "vacation check" of your house.
Safety tips for cars:
• Keep your address out of your car (check glove compartment).
• Put your proof of insurance and registration in your wallet or purse with your driver’s license, not in your glove compartment.
Sgt. Shane Mitchell, who accompanied the sheriff, spoke about the Crime Reduction Unit that Sheriff Elder is in the process of organizing. Highlights include:
• The unit would have no assigned districts and would go where needed.
• Focus is on current crime areas.
• The unit would stay on a crime until it is solved.
Larry Oliver can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jackie Burhans
At the Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA) board meeting on Oct. 28, the board discussed the 2016 budget, heard a presentation from the No Methadone in Monument organization and announced the roll out of the new website design.
No Methadone in Monument
Tom Allen and Greg Coopman of the No Methadone in Monument (NMIM) group provided an update to the WIA board. Allen provided background information about the proposed Methadone Clinic and his involvement in forming the group to fight against it opening at 192 Front Street next to Limbach Park. He told the board that this impacts each and every one of us and could affect your property value from 17 to 22 percent. He indicated that the state directed Colonial Management Group (CMG) to place a clinic in Monument but was not able to present data proving that there was a need in this location. The next target market for CMG is in Durango.
Greg Coopman discussed the timeline of community meetings and decisions and then gave some additional information about the lawsuit filed by CMG against the Town of Monument, the trustees, and the Board of Adjustments. The NMIM group is trying to get inserted into the lawsuit and has raised half of the $60,000 goal to pay for additional lawyers to help fight this lawsuit. By asking to be added to the lawsuit, they hope to prevent the clinic and the town from settling the lawsuit outside of court, which could lead to the clinic opening.
Allen and Coopman indicated that they have the support of St. Peter Catholic Church and School as well as the Colorado Springs Catholic Diocese. The D-38 school board also passed a resolution against the clinic and gave NMIM a plaque of appreciation for its work. More information can be found at http://nomethadoneinmonument.weebly.com/ and its associated Facebook page.
WIA budget and finances
Homeowners Association (HOA) Manager Denise Cagliaro reported that she had worked with Kevin Nielsen, director of Public Safety, to develop a balanced budget for 2016. WIA President Jim Hale noted that in the past two years the board has not funded the reserve fund in the budget but has taken money left over from previous years to put into the fund but feels that cannot be counted. The board has decided to fund the contribution to the reserve fund in the budget going forward thanks to hard work from Cagliaro, Nielsen, and the WIA staff in finding ways to save money. The board unanimously passed the 2016 WIA budget, which will be available on the website at http://www.woodmoor.org/budget-statements/.
The board also unanimously voted to allocate $53,000 into the reserve fund for 2015 and agreed to a motion to explore options for providing an employee retirement plan for WIA staff in the future. They will look into the possibility of offering a 401K plan with a 3 percent match to start no earlier than 2016.
The board then discussed a motion to spend $5,500 to install a security system with cameras in the Barn. Kevin noted that the Barn sees a lot of people come in and out and that Woodmoor Public Safety offers 24/7 service but isn’t always at The Barn. They have seen instances of personal vehicles being vandalized. The system will have nine cameras; five inside and four outside to record comings and goings. The camera in the office will have audio recording as well.
The board discussed looking into the possible impact on insurance costs, which may help to offset the purchase price, the ability to use in cases of dispute on damage when they rent out the Barn, and the need for signs on premise indicating that the area is under surveillance. The board unanimously voted to approve this expenditure.
Board report highlights
• HOA Manager Cagliaro attended a local Council of Neighbors and Organizations (CONO) meeting. CONO (www.cscono.org) had a presentation by the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA). CONO has a lot of free classes available.
• The annual meeting is coming up in January. The board is soliciting nominations for the Vincent J Elorie award for anyone who has provided service to Woodmoor over the years. Nominations are also open for board candidates.
• A reminder that a new $50 administrative fee will go into effect Jan. 1 for miscellaneous projects that do not get approval ahead of time. Most such projects have no cost if approved ahead of time.
• There have been instances of mail theft in North Woodmoor in early October, perhaps related to credit card companies issuing new chip and pin cards.
• Director Jennifer Cunningham reported that over the next five years, the Monument area will see up to 3,000 more residents. She encouraged residents to attend Monument Town Council meetings to encourage them to put the brakes on until we figure out a new comprehensive plan for the region.
• The website redesign has been finished and rolled out at the same address: www.woodmoor.org.
The WIA Board of Directors usually meets at 7 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of each month in the Barn at 1691 Woodmoor Drive, Monument. The next meeting will be on Nov. 18 due to the holidays. WIA board meeting minutes can be found at: http://www.woodmoor.org/meeting-minutes/ once approved and posted.
Jackie Burhans can be reached at email@example.com.
By Bill Kappel
October followed the same general pattern as September, with temperatures well above normal and precipitation below normal. Normally, we have several nights with low temperatures in the teens and at least a few days of accumulating snowfall. Not this year. Low to mid-20s was the best we could do for cold air, and only a few days of snowflakes, none of which accumulated. Instead, most days were mild and dry, with many days reaching well into the 70s.
The beginning of October felt more like summer than fall, with temperatures above average every day from the 1st through the 11th. In fact, we had summer-like thunderstorms on a couple of afternoons, including the 3rd and the 6th. These did produce around a half an inch of rainfall for many areas in the region. Highs reached in the 60s and 70s from the 1st through the 9th, with the warmest day being the 1st when we hit 78°F and the "coolest" high being 60°F the next afternoon. But the really warm air waited until the weekend on the 10th and 11th. Both Saturday and Sunday saw numerous record highs around the region, as we reached into the upper 70s and low 80s.
The week of October 12th was quiet around the region, with temperatures remaining a little warmer than normal and, with the exception of Sunday the 18th, mainly sunny skies. Temperatures reached into the upper 60s on the 12th, then mid-70s on the 13th. Slightly cooler air pushed in on the 14th, dropping our highs back to the low 60s, still a few degrees warmer than average. Warmth returned quickly the next day, however, with highs reaching the mid-70s again on the 15th only to drop again the next afternoon to the low 60s. Temperatures over the weekend were pleasant with upper 60s and low 70s. Also of note, we finally reached the freezing mark for the first time this season—first on the morning of the 12th and again on the morning of the 17th. This is about two weeks later than normal, and again shows how mild we’ve been this fall.
The week of the 19th started off dry and mild, with highs hitting the mid-60s on the 19th and 20th. There were plenty of clouds around, however, as moisture from the southwest was beginning to affect the region. The moisture, along with a cool front led to low clouds, fog and rain showers on the 21st. Highs were held in the mid-40s that afternoon, with wet conditions off and on. Clouds, fog, and rain continued at times the next day. Slightly cooler air also moved in, and when a heavier band of showers moved over the region during the mid-morning hours, some wet snow fell for a few minutes. This was our first snow of the season, but was short lived and didn’t accumulate. Skies remained partly to mostly cloudy the next day, with temperatures remaining in the upper 40s to low 50s for highs. Sunny and quiet weather returned just in time for the weekend, with temperatures rebounding to above-normal levels on both Saturday and Sunday.
More typical late October weather affected the region for the last week of the month. Highs were in the 40s and 50s from the 26th through the 31st. Several disturbances moved through the region, but these mainly affected the mountains as the flow was from the southwest. Brief rain showers, at times mixed with snow, occurred on the 26th and 27th. Quiet conditions returned for the next couple of days, with highs hitting the upper 50s on the 28th under partly cloudy skies. Temperatures cooled down the next afternoon, only reaching the upper 40s with breezy conditions at times on the 29th. Cooler air continued to work in on the 30th, with low clouds, fog, drizzle, and flurries at times from the morning through the early afternoon. This was our coolest day of the month, but even then the high temperatures still managed to reach 40°F. Then, just in time for Halloween, clear skies and mild conditions moved back in. Temperatures reached the upper 50s that afternoon and skies remained clear through the evening with light winds, about as nice of conditions as you could expect for Halloween around here.
A look ahead
November is generally dry and cool around the region. We usually get several light snowfalls interspersed with sunny skies. Gusty winds commonly develop on a couple of days as the jet stream becomes more active and more directly affects Colorado. Our first sub-zero morning low temperatures occur during the month as well. High temperatures average in the upper 40s early in the month to low 40s by the end, with overnight lows often dipping into the teens and single digits.
October 2015 Weather Statistics
Average High 62.8° (+3.4°)
100-year return frequency value max 67.7° min 50.7°
Average Low 35.7° (+6.4°)
100-year return frequency value max 36.8° min 26.4°
Monthly Precipitation 1.31" (-0.45")
100-year return frequency value max 4.63" min 0.18"
Monthly Snowfall Trace (-11.8")
Highest Temperature 80° on the 11th
Lowest Temperature 22° on the 28th, 31st
Season to Date Snow Trace (-12.3")
(the snow season is from July 1 to June 30)
Season to Date Precip. 8.08" (-1.85")
(the precip season is from July 1 to June 30)
Heating Degree Days 488 (-140)
Cooling Degree Days 0 (0)
Bill Kappel is a meteorologist and Tri-Lakes resident. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Letters to Our Community should not be interpreted as the views of OCN even if the letter writer is an OCN volunteer
Retaliation for report of illegal activity
I have served the citizens of Palmer Lake as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) with the Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department since mid-June 2015. The fact that Palmer Lake Fire Department has had so many chiefs in just a few years is testament to the dysfunction between the town and the Fire Department.
Serving as the Emergency Medical Services coordinator with the Fire Department, I became aware of serious problems affecting our ability to provide emergency medical services to the citizens of Palmer Lake. I reported those problems to the fire chiefs. I discovered that a member of the Fire Department had been serving for more than a year as an EMT, but was not licensed to do so in Colorado. This is practicing medicine without a license in the State of Colorado. After being directly asked by our Penrose Hospital medical direction (they are responsible for all EMS activities in Palmer Lake) about whether anyone was practicing medicine without a license, I confirmed that there was an individual who had been running calls as an EMT who was not licensed in Colorado to do so.
Two days after an urgent meeting requested by the Penrose medical director with members of the Town Council and the Fire Department, I was summarily asked by the Fire Department chiefs to resign. This request was direct retaliation for embarrassing the town and Fire Department by reporting an unlicensed person performing as an EMT. I never was given an opportunity to present my side of the situation to anyone at the town or the Fire Department. I did not resign.
The action of the Town Council and chiefs is unethical. The town and Fire Department chiefs should be held accountable in this matter, but instead they retaliated against me for exposing serious problems to our medical director.
Statement regarding 2015 D-38 school board election
First, I want to thank the more than 8,300 voters who care enough about the future of education in our district to take the time to vote. I also want to thank those who supported me in this election, especially our wonderful and dedicated educators, who are the heart and soul of the Lewis-Palmer School District!
I offer my congratulations to Mark Pfoff, Matt Clawson, Sherrie Hawkins and Sarah Sampayo on their election to the board of education. The re-election of three incumbents makes it clear that the citizens of our community believe that the current board and D-38 Superintendent are doing a superb job and want to continue the tradition of educational excellence that is the hallmark of D-38.
While I’m disappointed in the results personally, I know Sarah also cares about our kids and believe she will work hard to keep D-38 one of the best in the state.
I strongly believe D-38 is doing a great job educating our kids and I will continue to be involved in the district as a volunteer. I want to continue all the wonderful, positive things going on in the district and help shape an even better future for D-38.
By the staff at Covered Treasures
Excitement was in the air as Mountains and Plains Booksellers descended upon Denver in October for our annual trade show. This is where authors and publishers showcase their new and noteworthy publications, and we select those that might be of interest to our customers. We’re eager to share a sampling of our discoveries with you.
Furiously Happy: A Funny Book about Horrible Things
By Jenny Lawson (Flatiron Books) $26.99
A hysterical, ridiculous book about crippling depression and anxiety sounds like a terrible idea, but as Lawson explores her lifelong battle with mental illness, this becomes a book about embracing everything that makes us who we are—the beautiful and the flawed—and finding joy in fantastic and outrageous ways. As Jenny’s mom says, "Maybe ‘crazy’ isn’t so bad after all." Sometimes crazy is just right.
The National Parks: An Illustrated History
By Kim Heacox (National Geographic) $50
This stunning book is a lavish celebration of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. The very best of National Geographic’s iconic photographs, combined with an illuminating history, presents a panorama of diverse properties from the multihued layers of the Grand Canyon to the verdigris flame of the Statue of Liberty. Former Denali National Park ranger Kim Heacox traces the evolution of the Park Service’s mission from protecting "scenery" to advocating for cultural and natural preservation and conservation, weaving in dozens of fascinating stories and personalities.
Bats of the Republic
By Zachary Thomas Dodson (Doubleday Books) $27.95
This is a book that instantly transfixes, even before you start reading. The author is a book designer who co-founded Featherproof Books out of Chicago, and his debut novel is a glorious demonstration of what old-fashioned paper can still do in the hands of a creative genius. Bats of the Republic cumulatively is a book about the way books are made and the way stories work. Novels, Dodson suggests, are contraptions, jury-rigged together with parts of other novels, archived letters, remembered conversations, maps, scraps of info, imagined journeys, and creatures real and strange. Dodson has quite brilliantly exposed the gears and cogs whirring in the novelist’s imagination.
The Art of Memoir
By Mary Karr (Harper Collins) $24.99
Mary Karr, author of The Liars’ Club, offers a master class in the essential elements of great memoir—delivered with her signature humor, insight, and candor. Synthesizing her experiences as a writer, reader, and renowned professor, Karr provides a unique window into the mechanics and art of memoir that is both irreverent and entertaining. "In some ways," she says, "writing a memoir is knocking yourself out with your own fist, if it’s done right."
Quick and Easy Italian Recipes
By The Silver Spoon Kitchen (Phaidon) $29.95
The 10th anniversary edition of this trusted and bestselling Italian cookbook presents over 100 simple, fast, and delicious recipes to help the busy cook embrace the flavors and spirit of Italian cuisine at home with minimal fuss. With full color photographs and recipes that cooks of all levels can master, the book includes Italian classics such as spaghetti alle vongole, risotto Milanese, fritto misto, and tiramisu.
The Ultimate Alphabet; Complete Edition
By Mike Wilks (Pomegranate) $50
Artist Mike Wilks set out in the 1980s to depict as many words as possible in 26 images corresponding to the alphabet. His four-year painting odyssey resulted in a suite of magnificent compilations, all minutely detailed, masterfully rendered, and slightly surreal. Each picture contains hundreds of items all starting with the same letter. The images were first published in a book in 1986 in the best-selling The Ultimate Alphabet, and later in The Annotated Ultimate Alphabet, in which keys to the images were included. Now, The Ultimate Alphabet: Complete Edition brings these two volumes together in one deluxe slipcase edition; one volume presents the paintings with introductory text by the artist; the other offers the keyed drawings and alphabetical lists of words—all 7,825 of them!
Stop by and browse through some of our new selections. Choose some to enjoy yourself during these cool fall nights, or find some special gifts for the readers on your list. Until next month, happy reading. ■
By Harriet Halbig
November is National Novel Writing Month. Come to the library alone or with your friends during several sessions throughout the month and join in the creativity. The community room will be reserved on Thursday, Nov. 12 from 1 to 4; Saturday, Nov. 14 from 12:15 to 1:45; Thursday, Nov. 19 from 2 to 4; Friday, Nov. 20 from 1:30 to 3:30 and Saturday, Nov. 28 from 10 to 1.
No registration is necessary and Wi-Fi is available.
The Family Fun program for November, on Saturday, Nov. 14 from 2:30 to 4, is the chance to meet local children’s author Amber Isaac and Cody, the Teeny Tiny Alpaca. Amber will share her book about Cody. It is a picture book for children that helps young readers learn about feeling different and the value of being unique.
The Lego Club will meet on Saturday, Nov. 21 from 10 to 11:30 a.m.
Fourth Fridays Kid’s Crafts will be on Friday, Nov. 27 from 4 to 5. This month’s craft is a "What I’m Thankful for Wreath" and is recommended for children 5 and up.
Need help with math? Free tutoring is offered through the AfterMath program every Monday from 3:30 to 7. Bring your homework and meet with an experienced tutor. No appointment is necessary.
Join us to watch The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 1 and make a Mockingjay-inspired mini-crossbow on Saturday, Nov 7 from 1 to 3:30. No registration required.
View the documentary The Life and Times of Gen. Wm. Jackson Palmer: Founder of Colorado Springs and the Denver & Rio Grande R. R. (as seen on PBS) on Sunday, Nov. 15 at 2 p.m. Local filmmaker Jim Sawatzki will show his one-hour documentary with questions and answers to follow. No registration necessary.
The Monumental Readers will meet from 10 to noon on Friday, Nov. 20 to discuss White Ghost Girls by Alice Greenway.
Palmer Lake Library events
The Palmer Lake Book Group meets at 9 a.m. on the first Friday of each month. Please call 481-2587 for the current selection.
November is Picture Book Month. Come and celebrate by hearing some of our favorite stories, write and illustrate you own picture book, and play a game or two. The program will be on Saturday, Nov. 21 at 10:30.
Please note that all Pikes Peak Library District facilities will close at 6 p.m. on Nov. 25 and remain closed Nov. 26 in observance of Thanksgiving.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at email@example.com.
By Al Walter
President and former General of the Continental Army George Washington visited Palmer Lake Town Hall on Oct. 15 and provided a brief history lesson and words of wisdom to an attentive audience of adults and schoolchildren. President Washington, as portrayed by Dave Wallace, appeared in the uniform of a general of the Continental Army. Wallace explained the origin and components of the uniform, gave details of the use of swords to communicate orders in battle, and described the use of muskets and "rifles" in the Revolutionary War.
Using volunteers from the audience, Wallace demonstrated the minuet and quizzed potential army recruits on the two important questions they needed to answer before they could enlist. The two questions were: "Do you have two front teeth?" and "Are you over 18?" Teeth were needed to rip the paper musket cartridges. Youngsters not old enough to join put a piece of paper in their shoe with the number 18 written on it so they could say they answered truthfully when asked if they were "over 18."
Wallace cut an imposing figure as Washington and provided interesting details and facts regarding aspects of Washington’s childhood and his rise to the presidency.
On Thursday, Nov. 19, the Palmer Lake Historical Society presents Jane Milne, who will provide an in-depth look at the origins and operation of the "orphan trains." Beginning in the 1850s, a welfare program known as the Orphan Train Movement transported orphaned and homeless children from crowded Eastern cities of the United States to foster homes located mostly in rural areas of the West and Midwest. Milne provides a fascinating look into this movement, which operated between 1853 and 1929. During that time about 200,000 orphaned, abandoned, or homeless children were relocated. The program starts at 7 p.m. at the Palmer Lake Town Hall.
Caption: Dave Wallace portrays General George Washington. Photo courtsey of the Palmer Lake Historical Society.
By Janet Sellers
Fall is the biggest art sales time of the year with galleries in towns and cities nationwide. There’s something about the season that brings the energy up a notch for art sales. This is true for the big art sales on the coasts (six figures and more) and the relatively smaller local galleries in cities and towns. I’ve heard the market is best in the four-to-five figure range. Our local artists have a lot to offer this time of year for artworks to purchase, or even gift certificates for the art. Many times, a person likes an artist’s work, or those at a gallery, and would love to have a gift certificate to choose something special.
One idea to keep in mind for art at this time of year is that, if giving fine art or an artisan work as a gift whether you are the artist or giving from one art lover to another, a hugely important factor is knowing if the art is what the person would like to have, and there are great ways to determine that and not fail to please—sad but true.
The most obvious way to know how to give a gift of art is to ask the person directly if they have a preference or special artist or subject they like to collect or own, and they just might. Some people have a definite idea and collect all things, say, in cats, dogs, owls, elephants, turtles, horses, hummingbirds, etc. My students and I used to get juried into the annual fall show at Colorado College and a number of visitors specifically asked for these images as they make it a habit collect them. Truth be told, at the time I didn’t know that was a "thing" but we learned fast and made sure to include those subjects in our inventory.
Another good back pocket idea is to get a wish list—at least listen carefully for hints—for gifts of any season. In the art realm, that is vital for making an optimal choice as a gift in art, which can be a very personal taste, unless you know for sure the recipient will want to have an artwork as a gift. The right art as gift can be the best memory-maker in the world, you know. Our family has collected a number of favorites over the years, but Dad was keen to listen and took Mom to the galleries and to scout out the favorites first.
This month begins art events at our venues that offer a range of art and artists to discover. Join them for the special shopping and celebration events in November and December.
Bella Art and Frame Gallery offers the unique artwork of their local, member artists for the upcoming holiday season. Artists are constantly putting up new work as their work sells, so be sure to buy the art you like now, or the next person just might get it instead. Bella Art and Frame Gallery, 183 Washington St., Monument.
Palmer Lake Art Group will have a fall show, "Fall into Winter," Nov. 6, 7, 14 and 21. Opening reception is Friday, November 6, 5 to 7 p.m. The show will be open on the other days 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Show includes fine art, fine jewelry and fiber arts, at Mountain Community Mennonite Church, 643 Highway 105, Palmer Lake.
Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TCLA) Member Artist Exhibition, paintings, sculpture, photography, and more, show runs through Jan. 2. Meet the artists at the reception Nov 6, 6 to 8 p.m. TCLA, 304 Highway 105, Palmer Lake.
Wisdom Tea House hosts a new art show through Saturday, Nov. 20. "The Peep Show People Exhibiting Extraordinary Paintings," artwork from Carol Losinski Naylor’s art classes. Wisdom Tea House, 65 Second St., Monument.
Holiday pop up shops—the new ad hoc way to shop in style, have been a big hit nationwide and in Southern Colorado the last few years. Pop up shops are local, last-minute trunk show/sale type venues that just "pop up" out of seemingly nowhere and discovered by word of mouth, so keep an eye/ear open or you might miss the chance to get in on one. You can Google them for the Front Range and Tri-Lakes areas, or check out this Facebook page for a fashionably incomplete list: https://www.facebook.com/Local-Pop-Up-Holiday-Shops.
Caption: The Palmer Lake Arts Group annual holiday art market and sale was Oct. 3, 4, 5 at Palmer Lake Town Hall. Sales proceeds go to the artists and to the group’s fund for scholarships for graduating high school art students. Above: From left, member artists Margarete Seagraves, Beth Carroll, and Meredith Bromfield were instrumental in the success of the holiday sale.
Caption: Artist Ermie Knoth won top prize Oct. 9 for the first annual Miniature Fine Art Exhibit at Bella Art and Frame Gallery. Entries had to be rendered no larger than 1/6th the natural size of the subject to comply with the traditional genre of miniature fine art. Photos by Janet Sellers.
Janet Sellers is a Colorado artist and art teacher, making paintings and sculptures and mini-movies, too. Her public art sculptures are in exhibitions in Colorado city and museum venues and throughout the Tri-Lakes area. Sellers lives in Woodmoor. She can be reached at JanetSellers@OCN.me.
Caption: The Tri-Lakes Monument Radio Association held a ham radio Technician Level class on Oct. 3 and 10. Thirty students took the Federal Communications Commission class and 27 passed the exam. Amateur Radio W0TLM is open to all amateur radio operators or those interested in becoming ham operators. The club meets on the third Monday of the month at various locations. For more information on this club’s activities, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.W0TLM.com. Photo by Bob Witte.
Dizzy reenactment, Oct. 4
Caption: The Palmer Lake Star, the iconic symbol of Palmer Lake, is the world’s largest illuminated star, built in 1935 by townsfolk and volunteer firemen, who still maintain it. On Oct. 4, local film producer Jim Sawatzki posed with Kitty Armstrong, her dog Charly, who plays Dizzy the wonder dog who carried light bulbs and tools to the workers on the mountain, along with fellow cast of star builders, for the new film celebrating The Star on Sundance Mountain. The film was formatted for PBS affiliates for 2016 release and was sponsored by the Intermountain Rural Electric Association and the Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department. It is Sawatzki’s 16th documentary on Front Range history. A bronze statue of Dizzy sits in front of the Palmer Lake Town Hall for visitors to enjoy. Photo courtesy of Jim and Diane Sawatzki.
Empty Bowls celebrated 22nd year, Oct. 7
The 2015 Empty Bowls dinner was held on Wednesday, Oct. 7 at Lewis-Palmer High School. It was hosted by Monument Hill Kiwanis Club and Service Leadership Clubs, Tri-Lakes Cares, and Lewis-Palmer School District 38 to benefit Tri-Lakes Cares. This was the event’s 22nd year.
Caption: Shanna Ellis dances with her nephew Noah Daly to the sounds of the Lewis-Palmer High School jazz band at the Empty Bowls dinner. Photo by Jackie Burhans.
Caption: Maureen Borgia and Anne Schemec are longtime supporters and contributors to Empty Bowls. Photos above and below courtesy of Monument Hill Kiwanis.
Caption: Jean Harris, left, and Harriet Halbig enjoy the food and atmosphere at the 2015 Empty Bowls event. Photo by Jackie Burhans.
Caption: Dr. Lori Benton, D-38 director of Assessment and Gifted Education, set aside her pad and pen and picked up a soup ladle at the Empty Bowls event.
Palmer Lake Inaugural 0.5 K Fun Run to benefit Awake Palmer Lake, Oct. 10
Over 600 kids, adults, and dogs showed up for the Palmer Lake Inaugural 0.5 kilometer Fun Run donned in their new Palmer Lake fun run shirts, Broncos gear, lake-themed costumes, and a variety of other costumes.
The day included costume contests, an obstacle course, a donut aid station, cheerleaders cheering at the finish line, and of course, beer, root beer, and doggy treats at the finish.
All the proceeds for race entry went to Awake Palmer Lake.
Caption: Dan and Sharon Bossie went all out for their run as the Awake the Lake Olympic Kayak Team.
Caption: Runners and walkers alike fueled up on donuts half-way through the fun run.
Caption: Jon, Max, and Kate Reisinger celebrated their costumed run with beer, root beer, and a big thumbs up. Photos by Audrey Burkart.
WMMI Harvest Festival draws 1,300 visitors, Oct. 10-11
By David Futey
On Oct. 10 and 11, the Western Museum of Mining & Industry (WMMI) hosted its annual Reynolds Ranch Harvest Festival. More than 1,300 visitors had many activities to participate in.
Visitors went on a hay ride that circled the museum’s 27-acres, selected a pumpkin from the pumpkin patch held at the historic Reynolds house, saw the operation of the blacksmith shop, interacted with the museum burros Chism and Nugget, took a daylight tour of the Haunted Mines, visited with Civil War re-enactors, watched the operation of an apple cider press, heard spooky stories told in the museum’s mine drift, learned how to gold pan from members of the Gold Prospectors of Colorado, and saw the operation of a variety of outdoor and indoor museum equipment.
Information on upcoming events at the museum is at www.wmmi.org.
David Futey can be reached at email@example.com.
Caption: Young visitors carefully select a pumpkin from the pumpkin patch in the Reynolds Farm House yard.
Caption: Museum volunteer Douglas Ducote drives a tractor pulling festival visitors on a hay ride at the WMMI’s Reynolds Ranch Harvest Festival.
Caption: Visitors to the WMMI Harvest Festival try their hand at striking it rich in the Gold Prospectors of Colorado panning troughs.
Photos by David Futey
D38 candidate forum, Oct. 14
Caption: As part of the 2015 coordinated election, a candidate forum was sponsored by the District Accountability Advisory Committee at the administration building (Big Red) on Oct. 14. All of the candidates attended the forum and responded to questions in front of a live audience as well as those watching the live stream video that was recorded. Candidates, from left to right: Mark Pfoff, Matthew Clawson, Lani Moore, Gordon Reichal, Dale Bastin, Sherri Hawkins, Sarah Sampayo, and Kris Beasley. Photo by Jackie Burhans.
250 attend Tri-Lakes Women’s Club Wine and Roses event, Oct. 23
By Harriet Halbig
The Tri-Lakes Women’s Club’s 19th annual Wine and Roses event was held at the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame on the evening of Oct. 23.
The event featured many wine distributors, food from a dozen local restaurants, live music, celebrity pourers from local media and nonprofit organizations, and a silent auction.
Wine and Roses is one of two annual events sponsored by the group. The other is the Pine Forest Show in the spring. The proceeds from both events benefit nonprofits in the Tri-lakes area. The group has donated over $800,000 to the community.
Caption: Barb Betzler and Susanna Beters were the organizers of this year’s event.
Caption: Mike McCarthy and Rose Dunphy of the Tri-Lakes Music Association provided live music. Photos by Harriet Halbig.
Caption: During Monument’s Safe Trick or Treating event, costumed kids and adults safely strolled the sidewalks on a balmy Oct. 31. They enjoyed greetings and treats from the local shopkeepers and meeting local fire and police personnel with fire trucks to view. Photo by Janet Sellers.
Caption: Monument businesses held their 12th Annual Safe Trick or Treating event on Halloween. Robyn Millheim, at Websites by Robyn in the Monument Chapala Building, had her annual haunted house and gave out candy to more than 700 children brave enough to venture within! Photo by provided by Robyn Millheim.
Caption: A family of Taekwondo students, from left, Emily Carlson, Dr. Linda Silviera-Carlson, and Amber Carlson enjoy the Kick or Treat at the U.S. Taekwondo Center in Monument, where there was a packed crowd of costumed creatures and superheroes taking part in active games, candy collecting, and more. Photo by Janet Sellers.
Monument Heights discussed
Caption: Morgan Hester, consultant to the Monument Planning Department, right, presented multiple land use ordinances to the Monument Board of Trustees on Nov. 2. New Principal Planner Larry Manning, left, observed the proceedings. The Monument Heights rezoning proposal was continued to the next meeting scheduled for Nov. 16 to give the trustees more time to consider the testimony given, but no new public comments will be heard then. See related Monument Planning Commission article on page 1 for details on the application to change planned commercial development (PCD) zoning to planned development (PD), which would instead mean a mix of housing including single-family attached and detached, townhome, and multi-family, along Jackson Creek Parkway just south of Highway 105. Photo by Lisa Hatfield.
Monument apartment fire, Nov. 4
Caption: As OCN went to press, we learned that eight people were displaced from their homes on the night of Nov. 4 when a fire started in the attic of the apartment building at 163 Washington Street in Monument. Firefighters had to break through the roof and the ceilings of the second story apartments to fight the fire. Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (FPD) received mutual aid from other districts including Donald Wescott FPD, Black Forest FPD, Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department, and the United States Air Force Academy. The Colorado Springs Fire Department backfilled the Tri-Lakes and Wescott stations. The Red Cross responded by midnight to assist the residents (and two cats) to find temporary shelter, and the Pikes Peak Regional Fire Rehab Services was deployed to provided food and water to the firefighters on scene. The cause of the fire is under investigation. Photo by Mike Wicklund.
By Judy Barnes, Events Editor
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 information number for that event.
Wednesday Senior Lunch at Big Red
Nov. 11: Chicken Caesar salad and garlic bread.
Nov. 18: BBQ pork sandwich, beans, coleslaw.
Nov. 25: No lunch, Happy Thanksgiving!
Rolls and butter are served with each meal except sandwiches. Dessert is also provided.
Lunch is at 11:30 a.m. at 146 Jefferson St., Monument (the School District 38 Administration Building). $3 voluntary donation. Entertainment follows lunch. For more information, call Judy, 487-9067. An activity of Tri-Lakes Health Advocacy Partnership. (www.TriLakesHAP.org) Meals are provided by Pinecrest Catering, Palmer Lake; Nikki McDonald, executive chef, 481-3307.
Black Forest Road closed at Kettle Creek
Heavy rain in the Black Forest area has prompted the immediate closure of Black Forest Road at Kettle Creek for safety reasons. Two critical stormwater culverts along Black Forest Road over Kettle Creek were heavily damaged during summer flash flooding. Heavy rain has accelerated the erosion problems underneath the roadway, forcing the immediate closure of the road between Swan and Shoup Roads. Weather permitting, construction is expected to begin in March with completion in July. Approximately 5,000 cars per day travel over this area of Black Forest Road and will be routed over an approximate three-mile detour using Swan, Herring, and Shoup Roads. For more information contact Dave Rose, 520-6540, cell: 337-9239, DaveRose@elpasoco.com.
Work to start on I-25 bridge near Larkspur
The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) will begin work Nov. 6 to repair the northbound I-25 bridge over Upper Lake Gulch Road, just east of Larkspur. Work includes milling, erosion control, upgrading the bridge surface, and repairs to the deck and piers. The project is scheduled for completion in spring 2016. Drivers can expect lane shifts, a reduced 45 mph speed limit, and possible delays through the work zone. For project updates, email UpperLakeGulch@gmail.com or call the project hotline at 303-582-1812. To receive updates about road conditions, visit www.codot.gov and click on white envelope icon at the bottom of the page. Information about weekly lane closures is available at https://www.codot.gov/travel/scheduled-lane-closures.html. Updated road conditions can be found at www.cotrip.org, by downloading the CDOT Mobile app or by calling 511 from anywhere in the state.
Black Forest Together (BFT) needs volunteers; Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays
BFT is searching for team leads, work team members, volunteer work groups, resource center office volunteers, and donations so that they can help residents of burned areas of Black Forest do cleanup and mitigation of their properties. Workers are needed Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays through Nov. 21, weather permitting. For more information, please contact Donna, 495-2445, BlackForestTogether@gmail.com, or come by the Resource Center at 11590 Black Forest Rd., Suite 30, in the Forest Plaza Center Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
The El Paso County Board of Commissioners is seeking community-minded citizen volunteers to serve on the Citizen Review Panel, an advisory board for the County Department of Human Services. Applications are due by Nov. 13. The volunteer application is located at www.elpasoco.com. Click on the "Volunteer Boards" link. For more information, call 520-6436 or visit www.elpasoco.com.
Forestgate Theatre Auditions, Dec. 1, 3, 5
Forestgate Theatre will hold auditions for Disney and Cameron Macintosh’s Mary Poppins Dec. 1, 3, & 5 (by appointment only). Audition workshops will be available Nov. 19 & 21. Actors of all ages and dancers are needed. Performances are scheduled for Apr. 7-23. For more information, call 216-3192 or visit www.forestgatetheatre.org.
Donate new unwrapped toys for Santa on Patrol, by Dec. 18
Each year Chief Jake Shirk plays Santa with the help of elves from the local Fire and Police Departments. This year they will deliver toys Dec. 19, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. You can help by donating new, unwrapped toys and gift cards by Dec. 18, 5 p.m., to the Monument Police Department, 645 Beacon Lite Rd.; Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Department (TLMFD) stations 1, 2, & 3; or the TLMFD Administration building at 15455 Gleneagle Drive, Colorado Springs. For more information, contact Chief Shirk, 481-3253.
Grow Smart Monument group forming
Grow Smart Monument is dedicated to preserving open space and trails, recreational opportunities, natural resources, and community character. Across the U.S., access to parks and open spaces has become a measure of community wealth; a tool for attracting businesses and residents by guaranteeing quality of life and economic health. This group invites collaboration with developers and civic organizations in creating a path to smart growth in our beautiful town. For more information, see the Facebook page, www.facebook.com/groups/growsmartmonument/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
County warns of phone scam
The scam going around is not new. The caller claims to be a deputy from the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office. The caller informs the victims they have active warrants for their arrest and need to mail a money card to the Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff’s Office reminds citizens that no one from that office will ever call anyone to clear up a warrant. A warrant can only be cleared by turning yourself in at the Criminal Justice Center after showing proper identification. If you receive a phone call of this nature, please call the Sheriff’s Office, 390-5555, to report it.
Election judges needed
El Paso County needs registered voters to serve as pollworkers on Election Day. For more information, visit http://car.elpasoco.com/Election/Pages/ElectionJudgeInformation.aspx.
Mens’ a cappella singing group forming
Singers are wanted for a unique men’s singing group that will feature close harmony, a cappella singing, somewhat in the style of the Four Freshmen and Vocal Majority. For more information, call John Hobson at 368-7833, or Phil Zara, 481-3197.
Monument School of Fine Arts, enroll now
Art and movie classes for kids and adults, every skill level. Join award-winning art classes for traditional art and painting instruction. For more information, contact Janet Sellers, 387-1890, www.JanetSellers.com.
SunDance Studio Fall registration is open
Register now for dance and fitness classes for toddler through adult, gymnastics, tumbling, cheer, and more. 1450 Cipriani Loop, Monument. For more information, contact 481-8208, www.thesundancestudio.com.
Monument Academy enrolling
Waitlists are moving, some seats are still available in this free public school of choice. For more information, contact 481-1950, www.monumentacademy.net.
St. Peter Catholic School enrolling
The school offers full and half-day preschool, academics, athletics, and more. NCA accredited, state licensed, financial aid available. Call or visit: 124 First St. Monument; 481-1855; www.petertherock.org.
SafeCare Colorado now in El Paso County
Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains (LFS) now provides SafeCare Colorado Services in El Paso County. SafeCare Colorado offers proactive in-home, voluntary services that support at-risk families in understanding the health, development, and safety needs of young children. LFS home visitors will deliver the SafeCare curriculum to parents through weekly visits over a four- to five-month period. The curriculum covers: Infant and Child Health, Home Safety, and Parent/Child Interaction. The goal of SafeCare is to build parental skills and consistently reinforce positive communication and problem-solving skills—helping to prevent child abuse. For more information, contact 303-217-5854, www.lfsrm.org.
Mountain View Electric Association Essay Contest, apply by Nov. 18
High school juniors can win an all-expense-paid trip to either Washington, D.C., or a week at Leadership Camp in the mountains. "What does having electricity and the ‘cooperative difference’ mean to you?" is this year’s topic. For more information, contact 494-2670, www.mvea.coop/community/essay-contest/.
Volunteer drivers needed
Help transport cancer patients to and from medical treatments. The American Cancer Society provides free rides through its Road to Recovery program. For information about the Road to Recovery program or to volunteer, call 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.
Bustang & Park-n-Ride improvements
Bustang, the new interregional express bus service from the Colorado Department of Transportation, has begun. Along I-25, there are seven round trips per day, Mon. to Fri., from Colorado Springs to Denver, with a stop at I-25/Monument Park-and-Ride. Single ride tickets from Monument to Denver’s Union Station cost only $9, $7.50 for seniors. Each coach is equipped with restrooms, bike racks, free Wi-Fi, power outlets and USB ports. Parking lot improvements include new asphalt paving, lighting, striping, signing, and new shelters equipped with lighting and infrared heating units. For information or to buy tickets online, visit www.ridebustang.com, or phone 800-900-3011.
Become a CASA volunteer
Become a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate). CASA offers a volunteer opportunity like no other. As appointed representatives of the court, CASA volunteers are empowered to make a lifelong difference in the lives of abused and neglected children. Learn more at http://www.casappr.org/volunteer-colorado-springs/ or contact Kelly at 447-9898, ext. 1033 or email@example.com.
HAP needs volunteers
The Tri-Lakes Health Advocacy Partnership (HAP) is a nonprofit, all-volunteer organization that serves and supports seniors in our community. HAP currently needs volunteers, three hours a week; and active board members, eight to 10 hours a month. For more information, call HAP board president, Dave Betzler, at 205-7651. (www.TriLakesHAP.org)
Donate live trees for Black Forest burn area
If you are doing wildfire mitigation, you might have good live trees to donate to Black Forest burned-out areas. The Black Forest Together (BFT) Tree Donor Program is accepting live trees to be either transplanted in the Black Forest burn area or sold to support the cost of this program. Trees up to 12 inches in diameter (or up to 38 inches around) are ideal. The size of trees is measured at ground level. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Emergency Notification System update
If you registered for the Emergency Notification System (reverse 911) prior to July 2013, you may need to create a new account. Go to www.elpasoteller911.org and select "sign up" on the registration page. If you are able to log in using your existing user name and password, no further action is needed. If you get an error message indicating your email or password is invalid, press the sign-up button and create a new account. If you need assistance, dial 785-1971 and a staff member will return your call.
Free transportation and safety services for seniors
Mountain Community Senior Services offers free transportation and safety services to Tri-Lakes seniors. If you need a ride to a medical appointment, grocery shopping, or the local senior lunches, a volunteer driver will be happy to help you. Call 488-0076 to leave a message for the dispatcher. If you are in need of grab bars in the bathroom, a ramp to your door, or repair of stairs or railings, please call Cindy Rush, 488-0076, and leave a message. For more information, visit www.TriLakes-mcts-sshs.org
Free Senior Safety Handyman Services
Senior Safety Handyman Services is a unique program funded by the Pikes Peak Area Agency on Aging. It is designed to help seniors (age 60 and over) in northwest El Paso County with safety-related handyman projects. Dedicated, paid contractors and volunteers install grab bars, wheelchair ramps, railings, steps, etc., to help seniors to continue to live independently in their own homes. For service, call 488-0076 and leave a message for Cindy Rush. For more information, visit www.TriLakes-mcts-sshs.org.
Volunteer drivers needed
Mountain Community Transportation for Seniors is a nonprofit, grant-funded organization that provides free transportation to Tri-Lakes seniors 60 years old and over. The program needs additional volunteer drivers. For information, email MCSS at email@example.com or call the MCSS dispatch hotline at 488-0076.
Monument Marketplace Facebook page
Tri-Lakes residents can sell their used items, trade items, and chat about anything local goings-on at www.facebook.com/groups/monumentmarketplace/.
Get volunteer help for your nonprofit
Due to popular demand, the Lewis-Palmer School District is adding a list of volunteer opportunities to its Youth Activities Directory online. If your nonprofit has a need for volunteers for a one-time project or an ongoing effort and can use volunteers under age 18, obtain a directory listing form on the district website www.lewispalmer.org under the community tab. Nonprofits may list their volunteer needs in the directory free of charge. For information, call 785-4223 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tri-Lakes residents with medical conditions
If you have a medical condition or a physical disability, please contact Jennifer at Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District, 484-0911, to register for emergency assistance if evacuation is required.
Tri-Lakes HAP Senior Center 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., Tue.-Fri., and earlier for scheduled activities. The facility has a lounge, craft room, game room, and multipurpose room. Programs include bridge, pinochle, National Mah-jongg, line dancing, tea time, bingo, and more. Ping-pong, Wii video games, puzzles and board games, refreshments, a lending library, computers with Internet connections, and an information table are also available. For 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. To subscribe, send an email with your name and mailing address to SeniorBeat@TriLakesSeniors.org. Senior Beat can also be viewed online at www.TriLakesHAP.org.
Senior Safety Program
Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District offers a free senior safety program to all Tri-Lakes seniors. The program includes smoke detector evaluations, home safety assessments, vial of life, and fire prevention. For information call 484-0911 or visit www.tri-lakesfire.com.
County prescription discount program
El Paso County’s prescription discount program saved 10,000 residents $250,000 in discounted medicines over 18 months at no additional taxpayer cost. People using the card saved an average of 23 percent. There are no eligibility requirements and no strings attached to receive the discounts. You can pick up a free Prescription Discount Card at most county government locations or you can download your own personalized prescription discount card on the county website (bottom of the front page) at www.elpasoco.com/. Any county resident without prescription coverage can use this program. Even if you have insurance for prescription medications, the discount card might save you money on prescription medications your existing plan does not cover. For information, visit www.elpasoco.com/ or call 520-6337 (MEDS).
Free gun-lock kit
The Monument Police Department is offering free firearm safety kits to local residents through a partnership with Project ChildSafe, the nationwide firearms safety education program. Each kit contains gun safety information and a cable-style gunlock that fits most types of handguns, rifles, and shotguns. The Police Department administrative offices at 645 Beacon Lite Rd. are open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Drop by during those times to pick up a free gun-lock kit. For information, phone 481-3253.
By Judy Barnes, Community Calendar Editor
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.
LOCAL LIBRARY EVENTS
The Palmer Lake Library hours are Tue.-Fri., 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and Sat., 10 a.m.-2 p.m. 66 Lower Glenway. Info: 481-2587, www.ppld.org.
The Monument Branch Library hours are Mon.-Thu., 9 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri. & Sat, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sun., 1-5 p.m. 1706 Lake Woodmoor Dr. Info: 488-2370, www.ppld.org.
The Library Channel (Comcast 17) broadcasts 24/7. See live simulcasts of programs, recorded presentations, a schedule of Library events, children’s story times, an adult literacy program, El Paso County Commissioners meetings, and much more. Find the schedule online at www.ppld.org, then click on the link "Happenings @ Your Library," then click on the "Comcast 17" link to search the schedule.
WEEKLY AND MONTHLY EVENTS
Our community calendar carries listings on a space-available basis for Tri-Lakes events that are sponsored by local governmental entities and not-for-profit organizations. We include events that are open to the general public and are not religious or self-promotional in nature. If space is available, complimentary calendar listings are included, when requested, for events advertised in the current issue. To have your event listed at no charge in Our Community Calendar, please call (719) 339-7831 or send the information to email@example.com or P.O. Box 1742, Monument, Colorado 80132.
Contact us at (719) 488-3455, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, or P.O. Box 1742, Monument, Colorado 80132-1742.
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