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By David Futey
On Nov. 14, the Tri-Lakes community and others from around the country paid tribute to Palmer Lake resident and renowned musician Chuck Pyle at a memorial service at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts. Pyle, known as the Zen Cowboy, passed away at age 70 on Nov. 6 while fly fishing at Palmer Lake.
Pyle’s music career spanned 40 years. He was well known throughout the music industry for his finger picking style but more so for his song writing, which filled the listener with imagery of the American West, Colorado, and life. Artists such as John Denver, Jerry Jeff Walker, Suzy Bogguss and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band among others performed his songs.
The memorial service was officiated by his son Keegan Pyle who spoke of his father’s talents, interest in accumulating T-shirts, and ability to memorize bumper stickers seen on his many miles traveled to music venues. Other speakers included longtime friends as record producer Dik Darnell, storyteller John Stansfield, Palmer Lake resident Roger Ward, and step-daughter Molly Watson.
Donations in Chuck’s memory can be made to the Chuck Pyle Memorial Fund, PO Box 726, Palmer Lake, CO 80133.
David Futey can be reached at email@example.com.
By Harriet Halbig
The Board of Education of the Lewis-Palmer D-38 school district elected new officers, recognized scholars and teachers, and received several updates at this first meeting following the November election.
Election of officers
Following the administration of oaths of office and the signing of affidavits of confidentiality, the board elected to retain Mark Pfoff as president, Sheri Hawkins as vice president, John Magerko as treasurer, and Matthew Clawson as secretary. New member Sarah Sampayo will serve as director.
Board members’ comments
Pfoff said that he had taught a self-defense class about Internet use and recognized the Lewis-Palmer girls volleyball team for their runner-up standing in the state.
Clawson welcomed Sampayo to the board and mentioned her experience in working with the Legislature. He recognized Palmer Lake Elementary School for being named a Title I School of Excellence, one of 100 in the country.
Magerko reported that the Colorado Association of School Boards had a conference in the fall and generated resolutions regarding active involvement in the legislative process. Due to the fact that there will be many tax refunds in the next few years, the group encourages everyone to be active in monitoring the Legislature.
Sampayo commented that she likes the BoardDocs software, which gives access to supporting material for board discussion. Having referenced the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) site, she requested that the agenda for board meetings be made available a week in advance of meetings, rather than the current 24 hours. She said that this would make it easier for citizens to formulate comments.
Sampayo also expressed concern at the number of snow days already used and asked if the district has an online class option that may be used to compensate for lost classroom time.
Superintendent Karen Brofft said that the district does not have a large staff to prepare agenda materials further in advance, and as a result matters may not be discussed in a timely manner were such changes required.
Brofft said that bullying at the middle school level is often a problem and Lewis-Palmer Middle School Principal Seann O’Connor has introduced a program called Path to Empathy. Rather than using lectures, the program emphasizes getting to know your peers.
The enrollment figures following the October count shows that the full-time equivalent student count is up 61.5 over last year.
Much of the additional revenue resulting from the growth in enrollment is being set aside against an expected rescission later this year and some of it is being used to hire additional staff.
Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Wangeman thanked facilities and other staff for their efforts during the snow emergency earlier in the week.
The board went into executive session from 7:10 until 8:35. During the session, the board directed the negotiating team about the renewal of the Monument Academy Charter School contract and received legal advice from the district’s attorney on an unspecified matter, according to BoardDocs.
Academic standards discussion
Pfoff said that the district must follow state standards or make its own if they exceed those of the state. He proposed that the district begin with the present state standards, remove mention of Common Core, and ensure that resulting D-38 standards exceed those of the state.
Sampayo proposed that the board make an effort to learn why people object to Common Core, perhaps by consulting a team of parents, educators, and community members. Perhaps it would be preferable simply to return to the state standards, she said.
Brofft said that Common Core only involves English and math.
Magerko said that he hadn’t heard any actionable opinions in opposition to the current standards. He said that the state Board of Education reexamines the standards every six years, and that this review will begin in 2016. Perhaps it would be preferable to involve ourselves in this process rather than forming our own committee, he said.
Pfoff suggested that, rather than form an outside group, Brofft could analyze the present standards and make a proposal to the board at its next meeting.
Brofft asked whether this would mean starting from scratch or just pre-Common Core. Teachers had to alter their curriculum when Common Core became required and it would be impossible to implement new changes quickly. A new document must be created that would allow teachers to recalibrate their goals.
Sampayo asked whether Brofft could create a team to determine what the public objection is to Common Core. Brofft said that she didn’t think much of the public is sufficiently familiar with the standards to contribute to the discussion.
Pfoff suggested tabling the motion and asked the superintendent what the impact of any change would be. Clawson requested that the superintendent indicate what the cost of any change would be. The motion was tabled.
Director of Assessment and Gifted Education Lori Benton reported on the graduation requirement guidelines, which were adopted in September.
Benton said that the new stress is on life beyond high school and ensuring that students are ready to go to college or into the work force without the need for remediation of deficiencies. To achieve this, assessments must be used to prove competency.
Benton said that most students meet or exceed state standards, but the district needed to address skills necessary for success in the work force in Colorado. In addition to monitoring proficiency, district officials will consult with focus groups regarding skills needed for successful integration into the work force.
Brofft said that the former model of simply passing through the system is not enough and there are other ways to gain proficiency.
Director of Institutional and Information Technology Liz Walhof reported on creation of a Technology Advisory Group, including parents, principals, and teachers, which will create a technology mission statement. This statement will include revision of the K-12 technology curriculum and determine necessary technology proficiencies for teachers.
Regarding data privacy concerns, Walhof said that she has created a data privacy approval form, which is used to determine which tools are appropriate for use in the schools by reading the fine print on contracts. She said that Wangeman has sometimes added privacy clauses to some contracts.
Regarding a recent technology survey, Walhof said that 35 percent of those surveyed say there is adequate Wi-Fi in the district. Most agree that technology training is a beneficial tool for future success and many students agree that they use technology as a learning tool outside of the classroom.
State assessment update
Benton reported that the new set of assessments, the Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) in science and social studies and PARCC in English and math, had been created because members of the class of 2013 required remediation before entry into college.
The new assessments are designed to be administered online and feature more interactive and engaging questions than past assessments. These assessments also allow the district to compare district student scores to those of others throughout the country.
Benton said that it will take time to get used to these new assessments and that this year’s scores will serve as a baseline because it is the first time they have been used. Because of this, there will be a one-year pause in the impact of the scores. The district’s accreditation will remain the same. Results will be received on Nov. 30 with the remaining files becoming accessible on Dec. 4.
The district has not yet been notified of the local participation rate, but has been told it will not be held liable for parent refusals to participate. The federal requirement for participation is 95 percent.
Benton also said that the district has applied for a waiver from CDE to provide an alternate process to demonstrate readiness of preschoolers to attend kindergarten.
The state has approved the use of TS (Teaching Strategies) Gold for this purpose. The product has caused some concern about data privacy.
The request for a waiver from TS Gold says that the district’s preschool report cards are sufficiently detailed to provide the needed information without the risk to data privacy. Teachers, principals, and the District Accountability Advisory Committee have voted to approve the request for a waiver.
The board voted to approve the waiver request as well. There will be a public hearing on Jan. 11 that will be publicized in advance.
The waiver, if approved by the CDE, will be valid until state requirements change.
Wangeman reported that a review of professional services is underway, to include long-term facilities planning and legal services. She requested that a board member participate in the discussion of legal services, since they also involve legal services for the board itself. Clawson offered to serve in this capacity.
Before a vote to approve the consent agenda, Sampayo requested that the board make the consent agenda available in detail in advance to the public. The board approved this request and passed the consent agenda.
Phyllis Robinette of the Lewis-Palmer Education Association congratulated the board on its new election and their dedication to collaboration for the benefit of the kids.
Tom Allen of No Methadone in Monument reported on the progress of his organization in preventing the presence of a methadone clinic on Front Street. He said that a judge had approved including the group along with town and St. Peter Catholic Church and the diocese in the lawsuit against the group wishing to open the clinic. He thanked the board for its resolution in support of this cause, but expressed concern that less than 1 percent of the community has shown interest in the issue. He asked that the board provide him with contact information. Brofft said that she and Wangeman would be the most appropriate contacts.
Tracy Burnett requested an improvement in the efficiency of soliciting citizen comments, asking that the board’s agendas be posted a week in advance along with supporting information. She also requested a change in policy regarding the consent agenda so that contracts and other items could be more specifically stated.
Lewis-Palmer High School Principal Sandi Brandl and Palmer Ridge High School Principal Gary Gabel introduced National Merit commended students and semi-finalists from their schools. Standings are based on PSAT scores from last year. Commended students scored in the top 3 percent nationally and semi-finalists scored in the top 1 percent.
Caption: Mrs. Martinez’ fourth-grade class from Prairie Winds Elementary School recited the Preamble to the Constitution at the Board of Education meeting. They are, front row left to right, Preston Baux, Tylar Hopper, Cole Cordova, April Paulik, Preston Green, and Valerie Peterson. In the back row are Ms. Finnegan (Prairie Winds principal), Taevyn Reser, John Gifford, Nick Djokovich, Ashley Falk, Blaine Winters, Sydney Herman, and Mrs. Martinez. Photo by Harriet Halbig.
Caption: National Merit scholars and their principals are, from left, LPHS Principal Sandi Brandl, Curran Chapman (LPHS commended), Kiara Eaddy (LPHS commended), Jared Ecklund (LPHS commended), Jack Icke (LPHS commended), Catherine Best (LPHS semi-finalist), Greger Peterson (LPHS semi-finalist), Erin Peterson (PRHS semi-finalist), Tanner Bobak (PRHS commended), and PRHS Principal Gary Gabel. Not present: LPHS semi-finalists Sofia Kirienko and Andie Turner, LPHS commended scholars Kobe Chan and Wyatt Wear, and PRHS commended scholars Sandra Luksic, Ashlin Gray, Marcus Smith, and Cole Turner. Photo by Harriet Halbig.
The Board of Education of Lewis-Palmer D-38 meets at 6 p.m. on the third Thursday of the month in the district’s Learning Center, 146 Jefferson St., Monument. The next meeting will be held on Dec.17.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By James Howald
With Fire Trustee Rich Kuehster acting as mayor pro tem, the Palmer Lake Town Council met Nov, 12 to approve the 2016 budget, to adjust water rates, to address several real-estate related matters, and to discuss grant proposals to fund a town manager position and pave a portion of Douglas Avenue.
Board adopts 2016 budget with $1 million in new grants; appropriates funds
Acting Town Administrator Kathy Green-Sinnard explained to the board that the budget process involves three steps: first, an ordinance to approve the budget, second, an ordinance that appropriates the needed funds, and finally a resolution certifying the mill levy increase passed in the election on Nov. 3.
Parks and Recreation Trustee Paul Banta pointed out that the proposed budget for 2016 included a $1 million increase in both revenues and expenditures. The budget consists of three funds, he said: the general fund, the water fund, and the conservation trust. The general fund for 2016 was receiving a "huge bump" in revenue due to new grants, Banta said. The Roads Department received a grant for $600,000, the Parks Department received a grant from Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) for $350,000, and an additional $100,000 was anticipated from other grants, according to Banta. Charts accompanying this article provide additional detail.
Banta added that the new grant revenue would be spent on the town.
The board voted unanimously to pass the ordinances to approve the budget, to appropriate the required funds, and to certify the property tax mill levy to the El Paso County assessor.
Board raises water rates
Kuehster told the board that water rates had not changed in five years and were too low to cover the cost of delivering water. He proposed a resolution to raise the rates by 5 percent across the board, increasing the base charge from $37 to $38.85, and the cost per thousand gallons from $3.70 to $3.89 for use under 15,000 gallons. The cost for water use between 15,001 and 20,000 gallons would also increase 5 percent, Kuehster said.
Water Trustee Mitchell Davis explained that another reason for the rate increase was to pay for an additional storage tank that he expected would cost close to $1.3 million.
The resolution passed with a unanimous vote.
Pioneer Preserve final plan approved
Tabled at the October meeting until concerns about sewer service and fire preparedness could be addressed, Proterra Properties’ plan for the Pioneer Preserve subdivision, an 82-acre parcel adjacent to the to the Mennonite Church on the east side of Highway 105, was finally approved by the board.
Trustee for Economic Development Judith Harrington asked the developers about their decision to plan for septic systems on each of the development’s 15 5-acre lots, rather than connecting to Palmer Lake’s sewer system. Tim Seibert, speaking on behalf of Proterra, said the developers could not get an easement required to connect to the sewer system. Seibert pointed out that each septic system would need to be approved by El Paso County as homes were built on the lots, and that managing this approval process would be the responsibility of the homebuilders.
Kuehster raised the issue of fire preparedness. Seibert said that, following discussions with Palmer Lake’s fire chief, Proterra had decided to include a 10,000 gallon cistern in the development plan, to be used to fill up fire trucks in case of fire. Asked by Kuehster who would be responsible for paying for the water, Seibert responded that the homeowners association for the development would purchase water to fill the cistern.
The board voted unanimously to approve the final plat for the development, with the provision of an exhibit addressing the filling of the cistern.
Tolbert property to be subdivided
The board heard a request from James Hanegan, representing Mary Tolbert, to subdivide her property at 250 Highway 105, adjacent to the Living Word Chapel. Tolbert wants to subdivide her property so that her heirs can develop it at a later date, Hanegan said. Access to the subdivided property would be from an existing driveway on Highway 105 and from a proposed connection to Mystic Lane. Necessary utilities are already in place at Tolbert’s current residence, and would be extended as required as new residences are built, according to Hanegan.
The board voted unanimously to approve the request to subdivide the property.
Board approves exchange of property
Ken Dickinson asked the board to exchange a 6,600-square-foot portion of La Veta Plaza owned by the town for a 1,000-square-foot piece of property owned by Dickinson. The exchange would give the town clear ownership of a portion of Hermosa Avenue that is on property currently owned by Dickinson.
Banta pointed out that a town ordinance specified that Dickinson was required to pay the town 10 cents for per square foot for the 5,600 square feet that he would gain in the exchange. Dickinson replied that he had paid for the properties to be surveyed and that he felt his offer of a simple exchange of property with the town was equitable.
The board voted to approve the exchange, with only Banta voting no.
State grant to fund town manager job proposed
Green-Sinnard explained that she is presently the acting town administrator, and not the town manager. Town Clerk Tara Berreth is on extended leave, and Green-Sinnard is taking on some of Berreth’s duties until she returns, Green-Sinnard said. Planning would be the primary task of the town manager, if that position is funded and approved, according to Green-Sinnard.
Roads Trustee John Russell proposed a resolution to request a grant of up to $153,136 over three years from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs to pay for a town manager, with matching funds to come from the town’s revenues. The board voted unanimously to move forward with the grant proposal.
Douglas Avenue to be improved
The board unanimously approved a resolution to sign a contract with the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) to pave a portion of Douglas Avenue, using funds provided by CDOT, with matching funds from the town’s savings account.
The meeting adjourned at 8:17 p.m.
The next meeting will be at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11 at Town Hall, 42 Valley Crescent. Meetings are normally held on the second Thursday of the month, but the December meeting is an exception to this. Information: 481-2953.
James Howald can be reached at email@example.com.
By Harriet Halbig
The Lewis-Palmer D-38 District Accountability Advisory Committee received a number of updates, approved a request for a waiver on readiness assessments, and discussed unified improvement plans at its November meeting.
Public Information Officer Julie Stephen summarized recent activities in the area of communications. The largest project underway is the overhaul of the district’s website. The goal is for individuals to be able to customize the information they seek so that they may monitor activities at the specific school or schools with which they are involved. Calendars may be customized in this way, and the district will seek to inform parents of closures and school emergencies in a timely fashion.
Stephen said that a communications audit carried out last year said that individuals prefer face-to-face contact with the district and for this reason any information will have a name and face attached to it.
Stephen also explained some of the district’s partnerships, such as the underwriting of the district’s app by Centura Health and ongoing partnerships with local newspapers and broadcast media.
In response to a question, Stephen said that Monument Academy will not be directly involved with the new website but can be reached through it.
School Readiness Assessment waiver
Director of Curriculum Sheila Beving spoke about a request for a waiver from the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) regarding use of TS Gold as a tool for determining preschoolers’ readiness for reading in kindergarten.
Teachers now use TS Gold and district report cards to communicate individual students’ capabilities and progress. There has been concern regarding data privacy in the use of TS Gold, as in some cases students were videotaped or otherwise recorded in a way that would make them individually recognizable.
Beving said that she has spoken with kindergarten teachers and principals and both groups have voted to support the request for the waiver on the grounds that the district’s report cards are sufficiently detailed to assess readiness and that the teachers should not be required to assess readiness in two separate formats.
Beving said that she has written a draft rationale and a draft replacement plan for submission to CDE. She said that there will be a public hearing on the subject and that she will ask for the Board of Education to pass a resolution on the subject. She asked for the committee’s formal support as well.
Director of Assessment and Gifted Education Lori Benton said that assessment of school readiness is required by the READ act. Charter schools may refuse to participate, but public schools must use TS Gold or a similar assessment. Request for a waiver of the use of TS Gold is an example of local control on the part of the district.
Benton said that results of the assessment do not determine whether a student can move on in school. Once granted, the waiver is permanent.
Benton also pointed out that TS Gold will still be required for students with Individual Education Plans and those who are economically disadvantaged.
The waiver would begin with the 2016-17 school year.
The committee approved the request for a waiver.
Unified Improvement Plan introduction
Benton introduced the committee to the use of Unified Improvement Plans (UIPs) as a means of assessing school and district performance in the areas of academic achievement, academic growth, academic growth gaps and postsecondary and workforce readiness.
The form is generated by CDE with scores from the previous school year. Teachers are required to analyze various data to determine strengths, weaknesses, and trends in a school’s performance. Following the analysis, schools determine challenges, set targets, and develop action plans.
The form includes a section in which a school offers a narrative describing these issues. This narrative may include the population of the school, an analysis of the cause of challenges, and a general statement of proposed action.
The final stage is to plan actions to improve performance, including ways in which improvements can be quantified and the possible costs of these actions. These may include the hiring of additional resource staff, professional development, or change in curriculum materials.
In the past, the committee has reviewed UIPs at each of its meetings from January through April. This year, Benton and the co-chairs of the committee will instead attend meetings at the individual schools to analyze and discuss the documents.
At its April meeting, the documents will all be reviewed and approved for submission to CDE.
Director of Institutional and Informational Technology Liz Walhof presented an overview of her activities.
She said that she is responding to concerns about data privacy by creating a form that teachers must complete before using any new software in the classroom. She then reviews the "fine print" in agreements to use the software, sometimes rejecting its use and sometimes requesting changes from the vendor to make the software acceptable.
Walhof said that there is now a technology advisory committee in place to determine which 21st-century skills will be required of students once they enter the workforce or higher education. Also examined are the proficiencies required of staff.
A final portion of the plan is the goal to enable students to try a number of different technologies before entering the workforce. A plan for this curriculum is under development.
Regarding data privacy, Walhof said that the district is required to send files to the state that include gender, economic status, and EL status. She said that all such data are encrypted when sent.
Benton also pointed out that the information developed from this data can only be used for research purposes and that the district withholds must of the information until the end of the testing window.
Principal Peggy Griebenow gave a brief introduction to Palmer Lake Elementary School, which was founded in 1934 and has been named a National Title I school, one of 100 nationwide, on the basis of closing the achievement gap among its students.
The next meeting of the District Accountability Advisory Committee will be held at 7 p.m. on Jan. 12 at Bear Creek Elementary School, 1330 Creekside Drive, Monument.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Lisa Hatfield
At the Nov. 2 Monument Board of Trustees meeting, the trustees discussed the proposed rezoning of Monument Heights from commercial to residential use. Then they declared that the time for public comment was closed, but that the trustees’ vote would not be taken until the Nov. 16 meeting to give them time to consider the 90 minutes of testimony that had already been presented.
Three other land use topics were approved:
• Final PD Site Plan for Jackson Creek Market Village 3A for a potential restaurant, dental office, and another tenant
• Final Plat and Final PD Site Plan for Lot 1 of Jackson Creek Self Storage Filing 1
• Final Plat and Final PD Site Plan for Creekside Commercial North Lots 1-3, where a Tractor Supply Co. store is planned
The Monument Planning Commission had heard testimony, considered, and approved all these issues on Oct 14. See www.ocn.me/v15n11.htm#mpc1014.
Trustees Kelly Elliott and Becki Tooley were absent, as was Town Manager Chris Lowe.
Monument Heights rezoning discussion continued to Nov. 16
Morgan Hester, consultant to the town Planning Department, presented an ordinance approving a rezoning and PD Sketch Plan for Monument Heights. Since the late 1980s, the site east of I-25 and straddling Jackson Creek Parkway south of Highway 105 has been zoned Planned Commercial Development (PCD).
NES Inc., on behalf of Pinetree Properties, submitted a proposal to rezone the property to Planned Development (PD) with hopes of using the 83.97 acres for about 620 dwelling units including single-family attached and detached homes, townhomes, and multi-family units. The proposed PD Sketch Plan included 8.4 acres of parks and 0.62 acre of trails.
NES Principal Tim Seibert said several neighborhood meetings have been conducted in the last year by the applicant to collect input. In response to neighbors’ concerns, if the proposal succeeds, the developers would connect Knollwood Boulevard to Jackson Creek Parkway in a more "meandering" route than the 90-degree intersection first proposed. If the rezoning were approved, the actual densities of each area and the street layout would not be determined until the Preliminary/Final Plat and Preliminary/Final PD Site Plan.
On Oct. 14, the Planning Commission heard extended applicant and public testimony also, and voted 5-2 in favor of the proposal. The dissenting votes were due to concern over loss of commercial zoning. See www.ocn.me/v15n11.htm#mpc1014.
NES and Summit Economics said the current supply of existing and vacant zoned commercial land far exceeds the anticipated future needs of the population and that the proposed rezoning of 84 acres would provide much needed support for new commercial development in the town by providing more affordable housing for key employees.
Seibert’s comments included:
• The developer is working with the school district about population needs and a possible school site.
• Revised sketch plan reflects changes from neighborhood feedback.
• A trail easement would follow the western boundary.
• Development would be denser on the west side of Jackson Creek Parkway than on the east side.
• This site is not suitable or viable for commercial use.
• Congestion at Jackson Creek Parkway intersection with Highway 105 is constrained by the Colorado Department of Transportation’s control of signal timing in vicinity of the highway off-ramp, not the two-lane volume of Jackson Creek Parkway.
• We don’t want to divide this in half; we want the plan we submitted.
• We would help the workforce for primary employers for all range of jobs by providing lower-cost housing.
• We have waited 20 years, and holding property for a land use that is not coming in our lifetime does not serve the town.
Some comments by Paul Rochette of Summit Economics in favor of the rezoning:
• The Baptist Road interchange already has three national anchors.
• There is an oversupply of land for office development along the I-25 corridor.
• The best use for this land is high-density residential.
• You need to provide an accessible workforce to attract primary employers.
• Key employees are the younger workers with most up-to-date skills.
• "Moderate housing" is affordable by households making $40,000-60,000 a year.
• The park-and-ride on Highway 105 is within a half-mile walking distance.
Comments by Danette Lilja, president and chairman of the Tri-Lakes Economic Development Commission (TLEDC), against the rezoning included:
• Summit’s study focuses on local retail, not "primary employers" such as Ball Seal and FedEx call centers.
• The Front Range needs to coordinate so that "primary employers" move here and thus bring revenue from outside our region.
• We support rezoning along the east side of Jackson Creek Parkway only, but it should be multi-family and duplexes there to get the "lost generation" of 21 to 45-year-olds back to the area.
• Residential zoning should not be located along a freeway and will have a high turnover rate because of the noise.
• One thousand homes are already approved to be built in Monument.
• We need businesses, not bedrooms.
• I-25 is wider now than in the 1980s and this will make the difference like it did in Castle Rock.
• We just got enterprise zone tax breaks to attract businesses.
• You are trustees of the community, not the real estate developers.
For details on Lilja’s previous presentations about primary employers to the Palmer Lake Town Council and to the Monument Board of Trustees, see www.ocn.me/v15n8.htm#pltc and www.ocn.me/v15n5.htm#mbot0406.
Public comments from residents in favor of the rezoning included:
• Phil Schweizer was in favor of providing affordable housing and jobs for his kids who want to move back to Monument.
• Susan Davies of the Trails and Open Space Coalition said this proposal would improve walkability and "bikeability" since the developer would put in bike lanes and a trail.
Public comments from residents against the rezoning included Mike Abair, who said this decision affects more than just the close neighbors, and that future revenue would be lost if the site were residential.
The trustees voted unanimously to continue the discussion to the Nov. 16 meeting. The trustees voted to close the public testimony as of Nov. 2, however.
Jackson Creek Market Village 3A
On behalf of the applicant, ADP Civil Engineering, Hester presented an ordinance regarding a Final PD Site Plan for Jackson Creek Market Village 3A. It is east of King Soopers shopping center and east of the 7-Eleven convenience store and fueling station on West Baptist Road, which was approved by the board on Aug. 17. See www.ocn.me/v15n9.htm#mbot0817.
The lot is zoned for planned commercial use (PCD) and the applicant hopes to use the 5,000-square-foot, three-tenant retail building for a dentist office, restaurant, and a possible third commercial use. Triview Metropolitan District must issue a will-serve letter prior to recordation of the replat.
Trustee John Howe expressed concern, asking, "When will it be too much traffic?" since traffic access from these lots to West Baptist Road will be through one of two entrances to the King Soopers shopping center. Trustees Jeff Bornstein and Jeff Smith voiced similar concerns. Hester said she could not answer but said the town’s traffic consultant raised no red flags. She said the traffic impact analysis was available on the town website. West Baptist Road was maintained by the county, and it had not provided any comments either, she said.
Note: The traffic comment Hester was referring to is found on page 10 of Oct. 14, 2015 Planning Commission packet available at www.monumenttownco.minutesondemand.com.
No public comments were made. The ordinance was approved unanimously.
Creekside Commercial North Lots 1-3 to include Tractor Supply Co.
A Tractor Supply Co. retail store will be allowed to build at the southeast corner of Jackson Creek Parkway and Leather Chaps Drive. The property is zoned planned multi-use (PMD), which allows commercial and retail use. HSC Monument LLC and JADE Consulting LLC (Jinright & Associates Development Engineers) submitted a development application to subdivide the 6.17-acre tract into three lots for commercial development.
The Monument Planning Commission had considered the issue on Oct. 14 and voted 7-0 to approve the Final Plat, and 6-1 to approve the PD site plan; the dissenting vote concerned semi-truck traffic on Leather Chaps Drive.
The project will include the extension of Blevins Buckle Trail behind the businesses along the east side of Jackson Creek Parkway all the way north to Leather Chaps Drive. A condition of approval required the will-serve letter from Triview to be provided to the Planning Department prior to recordation of the Creekside Commercial North Plat application.
Howe voiced concern that while the item fit in with the town’s comprehensive plan, that plan is outdated and needs to be rewritten. The trustees and town staff have plans to work on the comprehensive plan in the near future, but it will be very long process.
No public comment was made on Nov. 2, and the trustees unanimously approved both the Final Plat and Final PD Site Plan.
Jackson Creek Self Storage
Hester explained that CSI Development LLC submitted an application for the Final Plat and Final PD Site Plan for Lot 1 of Jackson Creek Self Storage Filing 1, located north of The Vistas at Jackson Creek multifamily development and the Mountain View Electric (MVEA) substation. This area was rezoned to planned multi-use (PMD) in March as part of the extensively debated Sixth Amendment to the Regency Park Development and Rezoning Plan. See www.ocn.me/v15n4.htm#mbot0316.
On Oct. 14, the Planning Commission approved the Final Plat and Final PD site plan for Filing 1 unanimously.
Jackson Creek Self storage will include one leasing building, five separate storage buildings, and a covered RV storage canopy in the center of the property.
The developer plans to construct a stub of Harness Road connecting with Jackson Creek Parkway at the curve in the road north of the MVEA substation. It will terminate 10 feet beyond the self-storage property, and it will not connect with the section of Harness Road in Remington Hill that already exists until future development warrants it. Meanwhile, a barricade will be placed there. This new stub section of Harness Road within Triview will not connect with the original existing section of Harness Road north of Higby Road in El Paso County until future development warrants construction of the remainder of Harness Road.
Harness Road will be the storage area’s main access to Jackson Creek Parkway. A secondary emergency access through the Vistas was required by the fire district. No decision was made about whether storage unit customers who lived in the Vistas would have access to the site through the emergency access road.
The focus of discussion by the trustees and members of the public was the traffic access at both points. Bornstein and Jeff Smith asked numerous questions about the traffic studies and the need for a turn lane from Jackson Creek into the new Harness Road stub.
Mayor Rafael Dominguez said the applicant would not be compelled to put in additional traffic lanes. Jeff Smith said it was the town’s obligation to monitor the traffic there, but that it was not the applicant’s problem. Police Chief Jake Shirk said his department would keep an eye on the number of accidents.
Public Works Director Tom Tharnish reminded the trustees that the section of Jackson Creek Parkway south of Higby Road is in Triview’s purview, not the town’s. Town Attorney Gary Shupp said the town cannot compel Triview to do anything, but the town can share information with that district to help them with decision-making. Dominguez said the town is working closely and collaborating more with Triview.
The applicant will construct a five-foot-wide sidewalk along Jackson Creek Parkway. A resident expressed concern that this was just "bare bones," and considering the amount of pedestrian traffic already there, it should be widened to 8-10 feet.
Both the Final Plat and Final PD Site Plan ordinances were approved 4-1 with Bornstein voting no on both of them, citing concerns about the traffic studies.
Treasurer Pamela Smith
Shupp presented a resolution to amend Resolution 35-2002 which dictated that the town treasurer report directly to the Board of Trustees. The amended resolution, which was approved unanimously, said the treasurer will report directly to the town manager, "to insure a clear chain of command."
The trustees also unanimously approved a resolution appointing Pamela Smith as town treasurer. Smith was serving as the town manager in October 2014 when Treasurer Monica Harder left, and Smith added interim town treasurer to her title then. Town Clerk Cynthia Sirochman read the oath of office to Smith at the Nov. 2 meeting.
Checks over $5,000
Consent agenda was approved unanimously and included these checks over $5,000:
• Forsgren Associates Inc., relocate bulk fill water station − $6,346
• Forsgren Associates Inc., water rate study 2014 − $13,785
• AFD Pavement Marking LLC, striping − $16,666
• City of Colorado Springs, radio user fees − $6,020
• Ronald Roeder, deductible liability insurance for water main break damage − $7,500
• Triview Metro District, annual property tax reimbursement − $181,605
Building code updated
The trustees unanimously approved an ordinance amending the Monument municipal code to adopt the current version of the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department Code, dated 2011.
Public comments on collaboration between entities and the public
During public comments, resident Cheri Hysell commented about the need for more obvious evidence of collaboration by the town with other entities such as Triview before land use hearings that generate questions such as the ones discussed at this meeting. She said the presentations at this meeting made it sound like Triview had not been consulted about the possible need for a turn-in lane on Jackson Creek Parkway, for example. Shupp and Dominguez said it was already being done.
County resident Allison Catalano, founder of the Grow Smart Monument citizens group, asked about how to get involved in Planning Commission review closer to the beginning of the process, since it seemed hard to make changes to plans after that. She said people are interested in getting involved in helping the trustees update the town comprehensive plan from which zoning flows.
The meeting adjourned 9:38 p.m.
To see upcoming agendas and board packets for the Monument Board of Trustees, see http://monumenttownco.minutesondemand.com and click on Board of Trustees.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at email@example.com.
By Lisa Hatfield
At the Monument Planning Commission meeting on Nov. 12, a citizen asked for more communication about what is planned for upcoming development in the Tri-Lakes area.
The commissioners considered applications for a cell phone tower and a final plat and final PD site plan for a Qdoba restaurant and an "inline," or strip-mall, retail establishment on Jackson Creek Parkway. Both were approved and are scheduled to be considered for final approval by the Monument Board of Trustees on Dec. 7.
How to keep up with the Planning Department
During public comments, resident Joe Monforton requested that somehow a "snapshot" of information be shared with the public about all of the business, residential, and other projects planned in Monument, and in northern El Paso County, and by the county and the Colorado Department of Transportation for work on Highway 105. He hoped that all the different entities could be "all in one room at the same time" to explain what is coming up. Commissioner Michelle Glover echoed these sentiments, asking for a regional planning conference to include what is going on outside the town boundaries.
Principal Planner Larry Manning agreed that this covered several jurisdictions and that he would explore some options.
How to get in touch with planning decision-makers
To receive the Town of Monument newsletter:
• Call 884-8017
• Write to: firstname.lastname@example.org
• See town website: townofmonument.org
• See Facebook: Town of Monument Colorado
• Join Nextdoor.com
• See Twitter
To see upcoming agendas and board packets for the both the Monument Planning Commission and the Monument Board of Trustees, see http://monumenttownco.minutesondemand.com. The Planning Commission usually meets on second Wednesday of each month, and the Board of Trustees usually meets on the first and third Mondays of each month.
To see upcoming agendas and board packets for the El Paso Board of County Commissioners, which meets once or twice a week, see http://bcc.elpasoco.com/Pages/TuesdayCurrentAgenda.aspx and http://bcc.elpasoco.com/Pages/ThursdayCurrentAgenda.aspx.
To become more informed about the overlapping government entities of the Tri-Lakes region, see OCN’s July 2015 issue for our article, "Why is the Tri-Lakes map so complicated?" at www.ocn.me/v15n7.htm#districts. It included helpful maps, too. Please write to email@example.com with comments.
Cell tower approved
Morgan Hester, consultant to the Monument Planning Department, and Colleen Neville of Black & Veatch representing Verizon Wireless, presented a proposal to build a rooftop wireless telecommunications facility (cell tower) at Tri-Lakes Printing, 15706 Jackson Creek Parkway. Neville said this would increase cell coverage in Monument Marketplace and along the I-25 corridor.
The property is currently zoned Planned Commercial Development (PCD), which permits wireless telecommunications facilities as a conditional use.
The existing zoning allows for building heights of 50 feet. The existing building is 23 feet, 4 inches tall and the proposed parapet wall extension would increase the height by four feet on the northwest and southwest corners of the building. The roof antenna would not be visible from the ground. An equipment shelter would also be added south of the building, moving the existing landscaping south.
After some discussion, including the condition that the height of the building could not be increased in the future without returning through the public hearing process, the Planning Commission granted approval for a Conditional Use for a Minor Site Plan, with a 6-1 vote. Commissioner David Gwisdalla voted no.
Jackson Creek Commerce Center Filing 3
Hester presented a proposal for a 3,000-square-foot Qdoba restaurant and a 9,600-square-foot inline retail building in the proposed development of Lots 1 and 2 of Jackson Creek Commerce Center Filing 3, at the northeast corner of Jackson Creek Parkway and Leather Chaps Drive. The issue generated an hour of discussion among the commissioners.
The property is zoned Planned Multi-Use Development, which permits restaurants and retail buildings.
The proposed Qdoba restaurant would be 21 feet high and would face southeast along Leather Chaps Parkway, with large painted "Q" wrapped around the top southeast corner of the building. The proposed inline retail building would be 24 feet high and would face south toward Leather Chaps Drive.
Access to the site would be via Old Forest Point, which can be accessed from Jackson Creek Parkway or Broken Timber Drive. The project proposed removing the concrete "pork chop" at Leather Chaps Drive and Old Forest Point to allow the intersection to be a three-quarters movement instead of the current right-in, right-out.
Glover was concerned about allowing the front of the building to face southeast, since this would be a significant deviation from standard policy to orient signs toward Jackson Creek Parkway instead of away from it and toward a residential area. Gwisdalla and Vice Chair Kathy Spence agreed, saying the minutes from previous Planning Commission meetings repeatedly state that commercial buildings should not face residences.
Commissioners John Dick and Jim Fitzpatrick disagreed that this was a town policy. Hester said she did not know of a policy, condition, or ordinance on this issue, although it has been repeatedly stated at meetings. Architect Kristen Albers and real estate manager Brett Behnke representing CSI Development, said the "Q" would face the three-story office building, not residences.
Gwisdalla also raised concern about removing the "pork chop" traffic curb at Old Forest Point, saying it must have been put in for a reason, and wondered if removing it would create traffic safety problems. Albers said the traffic engineers concurred that it would be safe to change the intersection to three-quarter movement (right-in, right out, left-in).
The commissioners voted 5-2 to approve the Final Plat for Lots 1 and 2 of Jackson Creek Commerce Center Filing 3. Glover and Spence voted no.
The commissioners voted 4-3 to approve the Final PD site plan. Glover, Gwisdalla, and Spence voted no.
The commissioners welcomed new Planning Director Larry Manning. Other comments included:
• Spence cited traffic dangers and accidents on Leather Chaps Road approaching West Baptist Road. She suggested that a "no U-turn" sign was needed on Leather Chaps to prevent drivers from using that street to backtrack from eastbound to westbound Baptist Road.
• Glover asked, as she has for the past several meetings, about the status of a sex offender who had registered his address as the Walmart parking lot.
• Fitzpatrick mentioned continuing problems with illegal left turns out of the Kum & Go parking lot onto northbound Knollwood Boulevard.
• Gwisdalla said he wants to see energy applied to the draft Monument Parks plan again and suggested another community open house to introduce the ideas collected and the new town staff to the public.
• Dick thanked new Planner Kate Brady for writing thorough and readable Planning Commission meeting minutes.
• Spence asked how the building at 1430 Cipriani that was supposed to be a temporary building for a bank has now become a permanent liquor store.
The meeting adjourned 8:08 p.m.
The next Monument Planning Commission meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 9 at 645 Beacon Lite Rd. Meetings are normally held on the second Wednesday of the month. To see upcoming agendas and board packets for the Monument Planning Commission or the Board of Trustees, call: 884-8017 or see http://monumenttownco.minutesondemand.com.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Lisa Hatfield
At the Nov. 16 meeting, the Monument Board of Trustees unanimously rejected a rezoning proposal for Monument Heights. About 40 citizens attended the meeting despite the impending blizzard, and the public comments section of the hearing included dialogue between residents and the trustees about more ways of communicating with the public about upcoming land use issues. A budget workshop took place in the hour before the regular meeting, and another special budget workshop was scheduled for Nov. 23 but then canceled.
Trustee Kelly Elliott was absent.
Monument Heights rezoning proposal fails
Monument Heights is south of Highway 105 along both sides of Jackson Creek Parkway as far south as Bowstring Road. The town comprehensive plan designates this area as mixed use, which could include either commercial or residential uses. The property is currently zoned Planned Commercial Development (PCD) and NES Inc. on behalf of Pinetree Properties had applied to have it rezoned to Planned Development (PD), to include 620 residences ranging from apartments to single-family homes.
Mayor Rafael Dominguez reminded the audience that since the Monument Heights rezoning item had already been discussed for over an hour at the Nov. 2 meeting, and the public hearing was closed at the end of that meeting, no more public comments on the topic would be heard. Planning Director Larry Manning added that the two trustees who were absent from the Nov. 2 meeting were not allowed to make comments or vote on Nov. 16. Town Attorney Gary Shupp said the item was brought forward this evening only for a decision.
See the related Nov. 2 Board of Trustees article on page 10 where all the trustees’ discussion occurred, and the article on the Oct. 14 Monument Planning Commission where considerable discussion was heard at www.ocn.me/v15n11.htm#mpc1014.
The trustees voted 0-5 on the ordinance regarding the rezoning, and since it failed, they did not vote on the PD Sketch Plan. Trustees Jeff Bornstein, John Howe, Jeff Smith, Mayor Pro-Tem Jeff Kaiser, and Mayor Rafael Dominguez voted no. Trustee Becki Tooley abstained since she did not attend the Nov. 2 meeting.
Public comments about land-use decision communication
Several audience members had questions about the communication process with the public about development plans in progress. Their comments (and the answers) included:
• When are town government meeting dates set?
Answer: Shupp said they are set annually. The Board of Trustees usually meets on the first and third Mondays, and Planning Commission on second Wednesday.
• We need to have notification of the agendas for public review.
Answer: Complete agendas and board packets are always posted by Town Clerk Cynthia Sirochman before each meeting. See http://monumenttownco.minutesondemand.com and click on Board of Trustees or Planning Commission to download the PDF files.
• A lot of people in Monument do not have online access, and so other methods of communication should be used.
Answer: There is also a mailed town newsletter. See related Nov. 12 Monument Planning Commission article on page 13 for information about "opting-in" to the mailed and emailed town newsletter.
• The minutes from the Oct. 14 Planning Commission and the Nov. 2 Board of Trustees are not online yet, so we don’t know what was discussed at those meetings if we were not able to attend the meetings.
Answer: The board meeting packets posted ahead of time include minutes from the previous Planning Commission and board meetings.
• I hope the trustees all did their own research on this (Monument Heights) topic.
Answer: Kaiser reminded the people that for quasi-judicial hearings on land use, the trustees are allowed to use only the documents presented and testimony given at the public hearing to make their decisions.
• It does not invite public input to have testimony and decision-making all on the same night. Zoning changes are going to be a vehicle for changing this town in ways you will regret.
Answer: Shupp said that development applicants do have neighborhood meetings before the public hearings, but unless a decision is formally "continued," public hearings are always done in one evening. Otherwise, their decision could be overturned in district court. He said this was the first time in 15 years he could remember a zoning issue being continued like Monument Heights was.
• Where can we find the proposed parks plan on the town website?
Answer: http://www.townofmonument.org/departments/parks-and-recreation-plans/. Trustee Tooley said that several open houses were publicized and held this year to collect public input, but participation from people was "not overwhelming." She said the budget for 2016 is very strict, and the parks plan needs funding ideas and conceptual ideas from the public. Interested people should write to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Future development needs to include affordable housing and good jobs so we can convince our children to move back here.
Earlier in the meeting, Bornstein had commented that he accompanied Town Manager Chris Lowe to the Tri-Lakes Economic Development Corp. luncheon on Nov. 12 and reported that there is basically 0 percent unemployment in El Paso County. Employers say there is a shortage of people for both vocational and professional work.
Resident Cheri Hysell said, "We do also have to take responsibility. I am here tonight because a year ago something happened in my neighborhood, and it is just being resolved, but now my neighbor and I try to come to 100 percent of these meetings. It is our responsibility to be here."
Checks over $5,000
The trustees unanimously approved the consent agenda, which included these checks over $5,000:
• Triview Metropolitan District, sales tax and motor vehicle tax for September − $151,166
• Mayflower Transit LLC, moving bid for town manager relocation, − $10,510
Town Manager Pamela Smith’s sales tax report indicated that collected sales tax revenues as of November were ahead of budget by 7.6 percent or $321,000 compared to November 2014.
• Dominguez asked for a moment of silence for the citizens of Paris.
• Jeff Smith expressed his condolences to the family of Colorado State Trooper Jaimie Jursevics, who lost her life on Nov. 15 on I-25 while on duty.
• Kaiser thanked Pamela Smith for working on the tax collection problem with the Baptist Road Rural Transportation Association.
At 7:26 p.m., the board went into executive session developing strategy for negotiations, instructing negotiators, and determining positions relative to matters that may be subject to negotiations (water operator agreement).
Sirochman and Code Enforcement Officer Laura Hogan reported that the board did not make any announcements after the executive session, and the meeting adjourned at 8:43 p.m.
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 Dec. 7. Call 884-8017 or see www.townofmonument.org for information. The Dec. 21 board meeting might be canceled; check www.townofmonument.org to verify.
To see upcoming agendas and complete board packets for the Monument Board of Trustees, see http://monumenttownco.minutesondemand.com and click on Board of Trustees.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at email@example.com.
By Lisa Hatfield
The Nov. 10 meeting of the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Facility (TLWWTF) Joint Use Committee (JUC) included discussion and approval of the 2016 facility budget and 2016 appropriation resolutions as well as a decision to have the facility’s property lines surveyed. The JUC directors also heard reports about many recent regional and state water quality control meetings where decisions were made that directly affect the TLWWTF.
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 director from each of the three owner districts’ boards
MSD was represented by its treasurer, Don Smith, who is also the JUC president, and District Manager Mike Wicklund. PLSD was represented by its Secretary/Treasurer Ken Smith and District Manager Becky Orcutt. Director at Large Rich Strom and Assistant District Manager Randy Gillette represented WWSD. Other board and staff representatives of the three districts also attended.
2016 budget approved
Before the members approved the 2016 budget, Wicklund said two changes were needed. First, he asked that the 10-percent construction contingency amount of $306,000 for the total phosphorus removal tertiary treatment chemical clarifier expansion project’s construction contract be included as a separate construction budget line item. This line item is necessary to fund the chemical storage room emergency generator change order that is being required by the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District fire marshal. The requested line item would also fund any other future unbudgeted construction item change orders for the new clarifier expansion without requiring the board to approve any 2016 facility budget amendments next year.
Second, Wicklund said that the estimated amount that will be spent for construction of the total phosphorus clarifier expansion project in 2015 should be calculated so that the remainder of the construction budget could be placed in these 2016 budget line items.
Plant Manager Bill Burks said he would investigate the final amounts with accountant Jackie Spegele of Numeric Strategies LLC and include them in the final 2016 budget. He added that all of the $1 million state nutrient grant will be spent by the end of 2015, about $788,000 in 2015, and only about $33,000 will have been invoiced to the three owner districts for the total phosphorous expansion this year. The remainder of the construction will now be paid for entirely by the three owner districts.
The board voted unanimously to approve the 2016 budget with the note that Burks would make those two changes. Then the members unanimously approved the 2016 budget appropriation as amended for these two changes. These approvals will allow each of the three owner districts to finalize their separate 2016 district budgets and appropriations line items for the TLWWTF.
Colorado Wastewater Utility Council report and more
MSD environmental compliance coordinator Jim Kendrick reported on many related regional and state meetings he attended recently in his role as consultant to the JUC. His report noted that Brown and Caldwell environmental engineer Sarah Reeves, who serves as the coordinator of the Colorado Monitoring Framework (CMF) and Arkansas and Fountain Coalition for Urban River Evaluation (AF CURE), environmental attorney Tad Foster, and environmental attorney Gabe Racz of Vranish & Raisch, LLP, as well as other members of the regulated community that he collaborates with through the Colorado Wastewater Utility Council, AF CURE and CMF, "continue to professionally, diplomatically, and expertly represent the interests of TLWWTF as well as all wastewater treatment facilities statewide."
The Oct. 6 AF CURE meeting included continuing discussions about the ramifications of how and where to measure stream temperatures, E. coli levels, and phosphorus levels. The Water Quality Control Division (WQCD) of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (www.cdphe.state.co.us) has denied AF CURE’s request to re-segment Segment 6 of Monument Creek for data collection purposes. Foster is currently advocating that AF CURE’s position should be that Monument Creek should be divided into two sections for state water quality regulation at the confluence with West Monument Creek, located west of I-25 Exit 150, inside the U.S. Air Force Academy grounds. The northern upstream segment is rural, while the southern downstream segment is urban; this has a significant impact on all the various types of sampling data that the member wastewater districts of AF CURE are collecting for both the state and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
In particular, the final methodology that will be used for regulating "summer" and "winter" stream temperatures for recreational fish reproduction in the Arkansas River basin is a very controversial issue being debated between the WQCD and AF CURE, since the EPA does not want the division to use a naturally sloping seasonal temperature curve, but instead a "top-hat" model of one warm temperature for summer and one cold temperature for winter. Stream flows outside of the summer snow melt period are often so low in both Monument Creek and Fountain Creek that their depths are only a few inches at most. This results in the same large temperature fluctuations as the ambient air temperatures, Kendrick said.
Wicklund said that the division has been advocating statewide temperature limits on discharges to receiving streams, which might require some wastewater treatment facilities to refrigerate their treated effluent.
Kendrick said he and other AF CURE representatives including Reeves and Racz and Pueblo West environment attorney Connie King were witnesses at the Oct. 13 Information Hearing of the Water Quality Control Commission (WQCC) in Denver (www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/wqcc-october-13-2015-agenda). The topic was the triennial review of the Nutrients Management Control Regulation 85 (5 CCR 1002-85) and section 31.17 of the Basic Standards and Methodologies for Surface Water, Regulation 31 (5 CCR 1002-31) as well as the Administrative Action Hearing to consider approval of the Water Quality Control Division’s proposed 2016 Intended Use Plans for the Water Pollution Control Revolving Fund and the Drinking Water Revolving Fund.
Kendrick stated that these and other witnesses who presented nutrient, temperature, E. coli, and other data convinced the WQCC to consider delaying enforcement of several pending new tighter future requirements in these two regulations before approving their renewals. The witnesses said the tighter existing total phosphorus and total inorganic nitrogen restrictions in the existing Control Regulation 85 nutrients compliance schedule, for example, are currently set to be enforced at the end of November 2019 and need to be extended through the end of 2021 to gather two full years of operational nutrient treatment effectiveness and efficiency data to determine how much nutrient removal can be efficiently and cost-effectively removed.
However, he explained, WQCD Standards Unit Manager Sarah Johnson advocated at this meeting to accelerate the new tighter nutrient restrictions without any time set aside for pilot studies to determine how to best deal with nutrient loading and climatic variations for these complex treatment methods, as well as forcing new wastewater treatment plants to comply in 2017, despite the experimental nature of most of the new technology that has to be installed to meet Regulation 31.17 nutrient restrictions.
Kendrick said having to meet hard permit limits immediately without compliance testing experimentation will make it difficult for state wastewater treatment stakeholders to learn how to operate their slow-reacting, state-mandated biological treatment systems without creating system upsets that take months to fix. Ultimately, the commission unanimously rejected Johnson’s proposal to accelerate enforcement by deleting the compliance schedule and unanimously agreed to hear further testimony from treatment facility stakeholders on adding two years for data collection through 2021, particularly for stream temperature limits, Kendrick said.
Wicklund said if Racz and AF CURE’s witnesses along with several witnesses for Denver’s Metropolitan Wastewater Reclamation District, the largest district in Colorado, had not presented input at the hearing, the WQCC would have accepted Johnson’s proposed schedule change without opposition. Burks and Kendrick both said AF CURE is a large enough coalition to effectively put pressure on the WQCC, which is basing its decisions about the reasonable potential for temperature violations in the northern half of Monument Creek on just one temperature sample that was at the upper limit by the West Monument Creek confluence and not a violation of the proposed new stream temperature limits.
Kendrick said there has never been a recorded temperature higher in the northern Monument Creek segment than the proposed summer and winter limits. In addition, AF CURE has numerous historical samples and has voluntarily begun to create a substantial temperature data base for stream temperatures upstream and downstream of plant effluent discharge locations for every wastewater treatment facility in the Arkansas River Basin. "They are making a lot of decisions without a lot of data," Burks said regarding the division and commission.
Kendrick said that Dave Moon of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Water Quality Unit Region 8 and WQCD Director Patrick Pfaltzgraff "drew a line in the sand," saying the EPA changed its rules on all aspects the state’s Control Regulation 85 and 31 issues on Aug. 31, 2015, particularly those for E. coli, temperature, and nutrients. In addition, the division has rejected every discharger specific variance requested by state wastewater treatment entities after all the stakeholders participated in a multi-year stakeholder process to create the discharger specific variance regulations. The new state variances rules were used by the division to justify elimination of long-standing state temporary modification regulations for situations such as occasionally high Tri-Lakes effluent copper readings and situations where technology or naturally occurring high densities for elements such as selenium, arsenic, and radium result in stream concentrations that cannot be controlled solely by tightening wastewater treatment discharge restrictions, Kendrick summarized.
Pfaltzgraff, a lawyer and retired Air Force judge advocate general, stated that because the current statewide Control Regulation 85 and Regulation 31 water quality review cycles started well before this Aug. 31 EPA rules publication, both state and federal law preclude the EPA from enforcing them in the upcoming triennial review hearings for statewide regulations through June 2016. Moon countered that while that may be true, the EPA will force application of these new criteria to all the individual Colorado triennial basin reviews for Regulations 32 through 38 immediately. These latter regulations apply the general Regulation 31 rules to each of the unique river basins within Colorado that require individual basin exceptions. (See www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/wqcc.)
Kendrick said the Water Quality Forum stakeholder process on these two basic regulations would continue, with a special WQCC hearing on Feb. 8. "This is a ‘watershed’ time," he said.
Kendrick said the Oct. 14 Colorado Water Quality Forum Basic Standards Work Group lasted five hours and again considered circumstances surrounding regulations on mixing zones, sampling locations at Monument Creek, and dissipative cooling. He also participated in Oct. 15 Basic Standards Temperature Tech group and the Oct. 21 Permit Issues Forum meeting. (For more information, see http://www.colowqforum.org/workgroup-basic-standards.html)
Burks and Kendrick said the Nov. 7 AF CURE meeting included a farewell party for departing Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments (PPACG) Environmental Program Manager Rich Muzzy, and that his experience and expertise would be sorely missed.
Burks said that the U.S. Geological Survey presentation at AF CURE on biological activities and sampling on Monument Creek from 1998-2012 was helpful. He said he had hoped to do a multiple metric indexing measures (MMI) study in Monument Creek to have a follow-up study to update the facility’s baseline study on aquatic life in the stream that was performed by GEI Consulting. He anticipated that the future phosphorus removal would improve the stream. Note: The previous studies commissioned by TLWWTF over several decades have established that Monument Creek naturally has a low level of fish and macro invertebrates due to its low flow volume and its sandy, shallow bottom.
Kendrick said that at the Nov. 9 Water Quality Control Commission meeting, AF CURE and CMF applied for sur rebuttals requests for the Clean Water Act 303(d) impaired streams hearing on Dec. 14. A sur rebuttal is a rebuttal of state or federal rebuttals to individual stakeholder positions presented to the commission. These requests were submitted "just in case" AF CURE and/or CMF want to rebut any of the division’s rebuttals, which had not yet been published. He said it was hard for stakeholders to get late-breaking information included in pre-set timetables regarding temperature and other emerging issues that have never been regulated before.
Kendrick said that the likely bottom line now, based on comments made during the Oct. 1 Basic Standards Temperature Policy workgroup meeting and the Oct. 6 AF CURE meeting, was that TLWWTF may be required to participate in a WQCD-imposed temperature total maximum daily load (TMDL) allocation study and receive a temperature discharge permit limit, even though TLWWTF effluent already cools Monument Creek.
He said both Johnson and Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Mindy May were advocating effluent heat removal by every WWTF plant and showing interest in requiring refrigeration of all state WWTF effluent before discharging to the receiving stream, "because they can only control/regulate/restrict WWTFs and not the point source we call the sun at this time."
Burks presented the financial report as of Oct. 31, mentioning that the second-to-last state grant payment of $200,440 for the phosphorus treatment expansion project had been received. The final grant payment of $142,830 should be received before the end of November. The financial reports were accepted as presented unanimously.
Wicklund reported that the additional $850,000 in state grant money for phosphorus and nitrogen nutrient removal projects that may be available for funding the phosphorus removal treatment expansion he had mentioned last month was only being offered to wastewater districts with less than 5,000 residents. MSD and PLSD could potentially qualify with that criteria, but WWSD could not. He said Jason Meyer of GMS Engineering would file applications to the state on behalf of MSD and PLSD on the "outside chance" that if more grant money were awarded, the TLWWTF could use it to include additional bid options that were eliminated from the final contract with Aslan Construction due to lack of funds. The deleted Aslan bid options that Burks had requested were:
• New second aeration basin air header to create separate aeration control for each operating basin - $165,000
• Expansion of the new storage building - $102,000
• New more efficient aeration basin high speed turbine blower - $227,000
• New aeration basin control systems and sensors - $115,000
Plant manager’s report
Burks said the plant effluent flow averaged 1.19 million gallons a day (MGD) in September, with a daily maximum of 1.34 MGD. Plant capacity is 4.2 MGD. Influent flow was 29 percent of flow capacity, and influent waste (BOD) was 34 percent of organic capacity for September.
He summarized the facility’s discharge monitoring report required by the state for September effluent discharge into Monument Creek and said all parameters were easily within permit limits.
The influent and effluent were tested as usual for copper, iron, manganese, zinc, and showed a "very good removal rate," Strom said. E-coli levels in the plant effluent were lower than those levels in the receiving stream.
The plant is testing for both nitrogen and phosphorous nutrients but is not yet required to report those results to the state. Burks noted that Monument’s daily total phosphorus sample for September had dropped back down to a more typical 25.0 pounds per day (ppd) from the August high of 58.7 ppd. Burks said the unusually high 58.7 ppd reading was "just a snapshot for Monument for that day."
After passing two additional accelerated toxicity tests in September, following an initial failed quarterly test, the facility will resume its normal single Whole Effluent Toxicity (WET) test schedule for the fourth quarter of 2015, Burks said.
Burks announced that Operator Josh Watkins passed his level B wastewater certification, "a big step!" The JUC concurred with Burks on the magnitude of this achievement.
In the construction report for October, Burks said work included laying block, inspecting the containment tanks and flocculation tanks, and doing a containment wall water test. The delivery of the steel lintels to be placed above the windows was delayed, he said.
Burks reported that he was having a survey done of the facility property line due to likely Aslan encroachment onto the adjacent residential lot to the east of the phosphorus expansion construction site and to make sure that no other property owners’ land was encroached upon during the construction. He said the survey would be paid for out of the construction fund contingency line item.
Burks reported that the new emergency ventilation and A/C generator design discussed at the October meeting was still in the design phase with Tetra Tech. He said unfortunately the cost might be closer to the high side of the $35,000-$50,000 range estimated. See www.ocn.me/v15n11.htm#tkfjuc1013 for more information.
At 11:48 a.m., the members voted to go into executive session to discuss personnel issues. There were no announcements after the executive session and the JUC immediately adjourned.
The next meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on Dec. 8 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Lisa Hatfield
At the Nov. 10 Triview Metropolitan District board meeting, the directors reviewed the preliminary 2016 budget and decided to hold a water rate increase hearing in December. JDS-Hydro engineer John McGinn presented construction progress reports. District Manager Valerie Remington explained about a possible interconnection with Forest Lakes Metro District, and a district resident asked about the possibility of adding streetlights in Promontory Pointe.
Preliminary 2016 budget discussed; 2 percent water rate hike proposed
The directors already had conducted a budget work session on Oct. 21, but additional questions and issues were discussed Nov. 10 as they worked to balance the preliminary 2016 district budgets for the capital projects fund, water and sewer enterprise fund, and the general district fund.
The directors decided that a water rates increase hearing would be held along with the budget hearing at the Dec. 8 meeting.
Revenue from the capital projects fund comes from water and sewer tap fees and escrow funds. Capital projects issues discussed included:
• At least $900,000 is needed for street maintenance and improvements to get caught up on streets built or maintained inadequately, President Robert Fisher said.
• The district plans to do a street improvements study and create a maintenance plan for 2016.
• Sanctuary Pointe infrastructure construction is a big factor in this budget.
• Major upgrades to the Upper Monument Creek wastewater treatment facility will be needed in the next five years to comply with new laws, Remington said.
Monument Public Works Director Tom Tharnish said town staff had assessed all of Triview’s roads, curbs, gutters, and sidewalks in November, and he will deliver a final report to the district soon. He said lack of maintenance on several major roads would have major budget impacts in the next few years.
Most revenue for the water, wastewater and reuse enterprise fund comes from water and sewer customer accounts. Enterprise fund issues discussed included:
• A reserve fund line item needed to be added to the budget so it can begin to be funded in preparation for emergency repairs such as a collapsed well.
• In rainy years like 2015, revenue drops noticeably.
• In 2014, the district doubled its water rights with the Northgate Water Agreement for $481,500, and that is still being paid.
• Other water districts are raising their rates: Donala by 4 percent, Monument probably 50 to 70 percent.
For information on Donala’s proposed 2016 rate hike, see http://ocn.me/v15n11.htm#dwsd1015.
Triview’s water attorney, Chris Cummins, of Felt, Monson & Culichia LLC, said, "Revenues are insufficient to make water. You have to address it. You are selling water below wholesale." The directors discussed the appropriate rate increase amount and finally decided on a 2 percent increase in volumetric rates, but not in the base rates. The water rates increase would take effect March 1 if approved at the Dec. 8 board meeting.
Revenue for the district general fund comes from property taxes and sales taxes. General fund issues discussed included:
• One full-time operations and maintenance employee will be hired immediately.
• Instead of hiring another full-time office staff worker in 2016, billing work will be subcontracted out.
• Actual sales tax revenues for 2015 must be estimated and used as a basis for 2016 budget.
Construction progress reports
John McGinn, PE, of JDS-Hydro Consultants reported positively on the progress of several construction projects within the district. His comments included:
• The Sanctuary Pointe water transmission pipeline is proceeding without incident to date.
• Water transmission lines work was $40,000 under budget so far, but the very steep, rocky section near the water tank site yet to come won’t go as quickly.
• The new booster station and water tank were being bid together to avoid access conflicts among multiple contractors.
• The water tank was approved by Monument Board of Trustees.
• Sanctuary Pointe project is saving $400,000 by reusing a set of pumps in a new location.
• The D-4 well, Sanctuary Pointe pump stations, and I-25 crossing projects are all on schedule.
Connection with Forest Lakes discussed
Remington explained that the district has the option to tie in with Forest Lakes Metropolitan District’s water lines near the Valero/Diamond Shamrock station on the northwest corner of I-25 and West Baptist Road. Remington said she discussed the interconnection with Forest Lakes District Manager Ann Nichols, and the consensus between them and also within the Triview board was that it would be beneficial to both districts to proceed. The connection would only be opened when either district needed water or needed to blow off water to prevent "aging" water, and the water would be metered. Remington will ask JDS-Hydro to investigate the engineering requirements, and the cost would be split with Forest Lakes. Triview already has two similar connections with Donala Water and Sanitation District that are not metered and have never been used.
Street lights requested
Ann Marie-Jojola, who has started a Neighborhood Watch group in Promontory Pointe, addressed the board asking that more street lights be installed for security and safety due to areas of darkness in her neighborhood. She had mapped the existing lights and indicated where more lights would be helpful.
Remington had already estimated a cost of at least $6,000 per light pole. Fisher thanked Jojola for her input. He said the planning process includes lighting, and that it’s more straightforward to make changes at the development phase, but that a district-wide assessment of lighting would be a good issue to put on the to-do list so that phased installation could be planned for the future.
Note: Triview has no planning staff. The Town of Monument staff, Planning Commission, and Board of Trustees are charged with reviews of plat, zoning, and site plan proposals within Triview.
Financial report and disbursements over $5,000
The directors unanimously approved the financial report as of Sept. 30. The big unknown was the administration and operations category, which had expended 58 percent of its budget at 75 percent through the year. Remington said snow removal season was imminent so it was likely that the budgeted money would still be used.
The directors unanimously approved four checks over $5,000. A payment to A Green Image of $7,165, which has been discussed in September and October, will be discussed at the December meeting due to the late arrival of a letter from the owner of that company, so the letter did not make it into the board packet for the board to consider.
• AFD Pavement Marking LLC, striping − $9,930.
• ORC Water Professionals, contract O&M − $5,500
• Kempton Construction, Sanctuary Pointe transmission line, 12 percent completion − $76,405
• JDS-Hydro Consultants Inc. Sanctuary Pointe Transmission line − $5,542
Operations and manager’s reports
Comments from Remington’s reports included:
• "Fats, Oils, and Grease" (FOG) fliers will be distributed in bills to residents to remind them of the expense and damage to sanitary sewer systems when FOG is washed down the drain instead of being thrown in the trash.
• D-7 well repairs are underway.
• Landscaping has been trimmed up for winter.
• A swampy area near Promontory Pointe Park will have improvements done.
Remington said that the board was offered an opportunity to make a formal recommendation to the district attorney to drop the charges against the plumbing company employee charged with tampering with valves and bypassing water meters in Promontory Pointe homes under construction. The consensus of the Triview directors was to make no recommendation to the district attorney regarding this case.
The meeting adjourned at 7:56 p.m.
The next meeting will be held at 5 p.m. on Dec. 8 at 16055 Old Forest Point, Suite 300. Meetings are normally held on the second Tuesday of the month. Information: 488-6868.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at email@example.com.
By James Howald
The Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District board met on Nov. 12 to discuss an increase to water rates, to adjust the Renewable Water Investment Fee (RWIF), to review the budget for 2016, and to hear an update on the construction of an access road to Lake Woodmoor.
Rate for non-potable water to increase 16 percent
District Manager Jessie Shaffer updated the board on upcoming changes to the rates the district will charge its customers for water over the next five years. The new rates were developed with advice from Rob Wadsworth of Raftelis Financial Consultants Inc., a company specializing in financial services for water utilities. A review of rates is part of the annual budgeting process, Shaffer said.
Non-potable water does not go through the water treatment system and is therefore priced differently from other types of water the district provides, according to Shaffer. Previously, the rate for non-potable water was 85 percent of the rate the district charged for potable water, and was too low to completely recover the costs of delivering non-potable water, Shaffer said.
Shaffer asked the board to approve a 16 percent increase in the cost of non-potable water over the next five years. The new rate reflects a more detailed analysis of the costs to deliver non-potable water, according to Shaffer. The district will also charge a tap fee for non-potable water, which previously it had not done, Shaffer said.
Shaffer also asked the board to approve a rate increase for residential customers of 4 percent.
The board voted unanimously to move forward with the new rate structure. Details about the new rates are available on the district’s website (http://www.woodmoorwater.com). A public hearing concerning the rate increases will be held on Dec. 10 at 1 p.m. at 1845 Woodmoor Drive, during the board’s next monthly meeting.
Board lowers Renewable Water Investment Fee (RWIF)
Shaffer also presented to the board an analysis of the district’s RWIF, a fee used to purchase consumable water for the district’s customers. At a previous workshop meeting devoted to the 2016 budget, the board asked Shaffer to look into the risks and benefits of lowering this fee. Shaffer sought advice from the district’s financial advisor Jim Maneer and from the district’s bond attorney Calvin Hansen on this issue, he said.
Setting the district’s RWIF improperly might cause ratings agencies such as Standard and Poor’s to downgrade the district’s AA- credit rating, Shaffer said, which would require the district to pay more to borrow money in the future. Reducing the district’s debt service coverage ratio through too low an RWIF or resorting to poor practices in planning might result in such a downgrade, according to Shaffer.
There are no legal impediments to lowering the RWIF, Shaffer said.
Shaffer said that, according to his analysis, the board could lower the monthly RWIF to any amount from $42 to $44 per month without incurring appreciable risk. The RWIF is currently $45 ($540 per year), Shaffer said.
President Barrie Town said the board had a commitment to its customers to lower the RWIF if that could be done without too much risk.
The board voted unanimously to lower the monthly RWIF to $44.
2016 budget proposed
The board reviewed the changes to the 2016 budget that were made following an earlier budget workshop. The 2016 budget is available for the public to review until Dec. 10 in the district office at 1845 Woodmoor Drive.
Access road to Lake Woodmoor more costly than anticipated
Shaffer gave the board an update on the construction of a 200-yard road that, when complete, will run from Lake Woodmoor Drive to the edge of the lake. The required easements are in place, Shaffer said, but the construction costs will exceed the original estimate by about $10,000. In 2016, a boat ramp will be built at the end of the access road, according to Shaffer.
The board went into executive session at 3:01 p.m.
The next meeting is scheduled for Dec. 10. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Lisa Hatfield
The Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD) board held a hearing for amending the 2015 budget and discussed the 2016 proposed budget, which will be approved at the Dec. 8 meeting.
The November meeting was held Nov. 19 after snow on Nov. 17 postponed the meeting. The district did not have a board meeting in October due to lack of quorum.
Director Bill Ingram was absent.
2015 amendment and 2016 draft budget
No members of the public spoke during the public hearing about the 2015 amended budget or the 2016 draft budget.
The directors unanimously approved the 2015 amended budget, which involved changes due to the early receipt of grant money for new Lifepack defibrillators that cost $30,000 apiece.
The 2016 budget synopsis estimated about $5.9 million in revenue, an estimated increase of 8.1 percent, and about $6.0 million in expenses, an estimated increase of 8.8 percent. Chief Chris Truty has been presenting information to the directors all year about projected changes in the budget for 2016 and beyond. Go to www.ocn.me and search "TLMFPD" for all the background, or contact TLMFPD with questions about the details.
Citizens advisory committee seeks members
Truty said that TLMFPD is seeking 15 to 20 residents who would be willing to meet monthly to assist in providing long-term direction for the district. He would like to discuss the possibility of some kind of mill levy vote for the district in 2016 since Monument is experiencing rapid population growth, and since the community is at risk for wildfire because it borders the "wildland urban interface." Long-term funding to stabilize existing services would require an additional $20 million over the next five years, Truty said. He asked interested community members to call him at 719-648-4148 or write to email@example.com.
Refinancing district debt
The directors approved two resolutions to move two vehicle loans from Zion Bank and Wells Fargo to Peoples National Bank. The move should save the district about $162,000 over five years. Truty said Colorado law requires a vote of the board since even though the net impact on the district would be reduced, new debt is being issued.
Levy vote consultant discussed
Chief Chris Truty explained that at the August meeting, the board had approved contracting with the finance company, George K. Baum, to assist the district with evaluating the possibility of a 2016 public levy vote.
He said in the course of the development of the contract, when attempting to incorporate two promised terms into the contract, the company informed him that it could not wrap the cost of George K. Baum’s services into the cost of the bond, nor could it charge zero fee if it recommended a levy vote that turned out to be unsuccessful. Because of the changes, the company offered to discount its fee from $25,000 to $19,000.
The board consensus was that before moving forward with the contract, they would like to hear a direct explanation from a representative of George K. Baum.
Treasurer John Hildebrandt said October represents 83.33 percent of the year, and overall expenses were 0.72 percent under budget. Revenues were on track or ahead of projections except for ambulance revenues, which were at 73 percent of budget as of the end of October. His report was approved unanimously.
Truty and Office Administrator Jennifer Martin said the new ambulance billing company, Fire Rescue EMS, was working on catching up with billing that was lost by the previous company.
Truty and Deputy Chief Randy Trost said the district’s focus in the last month has been the firefighter academy from which four people graduated on Nov. 20. More than half the district’s staff members contributed to the operational training and instruction and updating the recruit manual. Trost said, "They have donated more hours than what they got paid for…. I can’t thank the group enough. Great collective effort by the crews." He said the academy taught graduates about real-life job experience instead of "online learning with Saturday skills."
Blizzard disaster scenario planned
Truty said that El Paso County was planning a field disaster exercise for Jan. 9, "probably ratcheting it up a notch" compared to the Nov. 17 blizzard that hit the area. The simulation is designed as a test of the county’s emergency management program to coordinate multiple first responder agencies in the event of a blizzard.
The county needs members of the general public to support this exercise by volunteering to be among 131 volunteers needed to run the blizzard scenario, which is designed to "overload the system." The volunteer "stranded motorists" will be given scripts and instructions to follow on Jan. 9 so first responders can "rescue" them. Volunteering would be great way to earn community service hours. Anyone who is interested should write to Andre at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Lisa at 719-339-7831 as soon as possible so that organizers know they have enough volunteers.
Santa on Patrol needs new, unwrapped toys by Dec. 18
President Jake Shirk, who is also chief of the Monument Police Department, requested citizen donations of unwrapped toys and gift cards, suitable for babies through age 15, by Dec. 18. People can drop gifts off at the Monument Police Department, 645 Beacon Lite Rd., or at TLMFD stations 1, 2, and 3. The Police and Fire Department elves will deliver the gifts on Dec. 19. For more information, contact Chief Shirk, 481-3253.
The meeting adjourned at 8 p.m.
Caption: Chief Chris Truty is shown here with the four men who graduated from the Tri-Lakes Monument firefighter academy on Nov. 20. Photo courtesy of Chris Riggs.
Meetings are usually held the fourth Wednesday of each month, however, the next TLMFPD meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 8 in the Monument Town Hall at 645 Beacon Lite Road. For information, contact Jennifer Martin at 719-484-0911.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at email@example.com.
By Larry Oliver, NEPCO President
Darryl Glenn, El Paso County commissioner, spoke to attendees on the subject of economics and transportation at the Northern El Paso County Coalition of Community Associations (NEPCO) general membership meeting, held at the Monument City Hall on Nov. 14.
Glenn introduced El Paso County Engineer Andre Bracken, whom the commissioner asked to accompany him to talk about transportation and road issues. Glenn used charts to accompany his presentation, and provided copies to all attendees. Copies of the charts will be placed on the NEPCO website (www.NEPCO.org).
• Regional Economic Forecast
• 2016 County Budget Overview
• Northern El Paso County Transportation Projects for 2016
• Air Force Academy Santa Fe Trail Update
• Military Update
According to Commissioner Glenn’s charts, the regional unemployment rates comparison of seven cities and 10 counties showed Colorado Springs and El Paso County ranging from 9.3 percent in 2010 to 4.5 percent in 2015. This was higher than statewide unemployment rates during that period. Also, 2015 home sales increased over 2014 in the Pikes Peak Region in each of the first six months as indicated on a chart.
Statistics on the regional economy show that the health care and social assistance, educational services, arts and entertainment, and recreation industries were the areas showing the most growth. Industry jobs leaving the region included manufacturing, information, and wholesale trade.
The top economic driver in the state is the military. Glenn showed that locally, the total defense impact, including all industry, indirect and induced impacts exceeds $13 billion. This is roughly 45 percent of the local economy.
Statewide, the total defense impact is $27 billion, making it the third-largest industry sector in Colorado. The military accounts for jobs in almost every single county in the state. The total economic impact of just the military facilities is as follows:
• FY 2011 $5.929 billion
• FY 2012 $5.307 billion
• FY 2013 $5.307 billion
• FY 2014 $5.852 billion
Glenn presented key dates regarding the 2016 county budget as follows
• Month of November—series of budget hearings and department reports.
• Nov. 17—citizen comments, board direction.
• Dec. 8—possible adoption of 2016 original adopted budget.
Glenn also stated that El Paso County is the lowest of the 10 comparable counties for 2015 property tax per citizen, local tax cost per citizen, and for 2014 vs. 2015 sales and use tax collections.
Bracken briefed the audience on the following ongoing county transportation and improvement projects:
• County Line Road
• Lake Woodmoor Drive
• Baptist Road (West)
• Gleneagle Transportation Enhancement Project
• Black Forest Culverts
• Highway 105: I-25 to SH 83
• Monument Hill Road
• Beacon Lite Road
• Northgate/Struthers Drainage Improvements
• Gleneagle/Struthers Roundabout
• Proposed Paving Projects (Group A & Group B)
• Proposed Chip Seal Roads
NEPCO’s mission is to promote communication and interaction among homeowners associations (HOAs) of northern El Paso County in order to exchange ideas on topics of common interest and to develop collective responses to the county on issues affecting the quality of life of NEPCO member associations.
All formal and informal HOAs in northern El Paso County are invited to join NEPCO and should call Bob Swedenburg at 481-2723 or see www.nepco.org.
By Bill Kappel
Despite a warm start to the month, including some daily record highs on the 1st and 2nd, cold and unsettled weather was the main story from about the 10th onward. This resulted in the monthly average temperatures to come in about 2°F cooler than normal. The active and snowy pattern that set up starting during the second week of the month and continued off and on until the end of the month resulted in snowfall more than three times the normal amount, making up for the dry September and October.
We were still waiting for our first taste of winter to arrive during the first week of November, as high temperatures reached into the mid- to upper 60s from the 1st through the 3rd. In fact, several record highs were set on the 1st and 2nd all along the Front Range. A cold front did finally push in late on the 4th, with low clouds, fog, drizzle, and a few flurries on the 5th. High temperatures were held in the low 40s that afternoon and upper 30s on the 6th, finally producing values cooler than normal. Low temperatures also fell to the low 20s, providing for our first widespread, hard freeze across the area.
Finally a taste of winter visited the region during the week of the 9th, but not before more mild and dry weather. Highs hit the mid- to upper 50s on the 9th and 10th. Then a quick moving, yet strong storm began to make its presence felt just before midnight on the 10th, with a cold front and snow flurries. Snow picked up overnight and combined with strong winds to create some hazardous conditions on Veterans Day morning. Between 4 and 6 inches of snow accumulated and was blown around into some pretty big drifts. However, by mid-morning skies were already clearing as the storm moved out of the region. Temperatures managed to reach the upper 30s that afternoon and low 40s on the 12th.
Then seasonal conditions under sunny skies moved back in for the rest of the week and into the weekend, melting most of the snow as highs reached back into the low to mid-50s on the 14th and 15th. However, this quiet, mild weather would soon come to an end, as another, more powerful storm was soon headed our way.
The first signs of this storm began to affect the region in the late morning to early afternoon of the 16th, as clouds filled in and snow began to fall. Snow was light as first, but began to pick up in intensity toward the early evening. The area of low pressure responsible for this storm began to strengthen over the eastern Plains of Colorado, creating a tight pressure gradient between the low and the area of high pressure to the north and west. As this happened, winds picked up significantly and by early that evening blizzard conditions occurred.
This storm remained very powerful for the next 12 hours and moved very slowly to the east as it continued to deepen. Because of the strength of the storm and its slow movement, snow accumulated rapidly and was blown around into large drifts. By the time the snow ended the next afternoon, a good 12-20 inches of snow had accumulated. Many side roads were nearly impassable and remained that way for the next day or two.
Sunshine returned for the next few days, but with the fresh snow and weak sun angle, temperatures were slow to warm, holding in the low 40s. Another cold front moved through during the afternoon of the 20th. But unlike the previous storm, this moved through quickly and didn’t have as much moisture to work with. Snowfall amounts were in the 1-3-inch range. High pressure moved in behind this storm and with westerly winds, helped to nudge temperatures back to the low 50s from the 22nd through the 25th.
But the cold and snow wasn’t done with us yet. Another cold front, this time with limited moisture but strong upslope, moved in right at noon on the 25th. After a quick warm up that morning, temperatures were in the low 20s by midnight, with low clouds, fog, and flurries. The cold air and upslope conditions stayed entrenched over the region through the end of the month as an area of low pressure remained cut off from the main flow to our west. This allowed the winds to continue to come out of the east/northeast from the 26th through the 30th. A couple of weak disturbances moved over the region from the low pressure and helped to enhance the snowfall at times.
During the five-day period, 3-6 inches of light snow managed to accumulate. Temperatures were well below normal for the period, with highs holding in the teens and low 20s. Overnight lows were also chilly, with our first below-zero readings common on the morning of the 27th.
November 2015 Weather Statistics
Average High 45.4° (-3.6°)
100-year return frequency value max 55.5° min 38.5°
Average Low 19.3° (-1.1°)
100-year return frequency value max 27.5° min 14.1°
Monthly Precipitation 1.90" (+1.30")
100-year return frequency value max 3.80" min 0.16"
Monthly Snowfall 33.0" (+23.9")
Highest Temperature 68° on the 2nd
Lowest Temperature -4° on the 27th
Season to Date Snow 33.0" (+11.6")
(the snow season is from July 1 to June 30)
Season to Date Precip. 9.98" (-0.28")
(the precip season is from July 1 to June 30)
Heating Degree Days 979 (+70)
Cooling Degree Days 0 (0)
Bill Kappel is a meteorologist and Tri-Lakes resident. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By the staff at Covered Treasures
Even reluctant readers will be entranced by some of these new fiction and nonfiction books, ranging from moose to machines and from pirates to Star Wars.
Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know
By A. Bray, K. Dougherty, C. Horton & M. Kogge (Dorling Kindersley) $19.99
Excitement for the new Star Wars movie is building, and everything Star Wars is popular. These fast facts and strange revelations are attractively arranged on colorful pages combining photographs from the movie with clever drawings. Crammed with weird and wonderful Star Wars trivia, strange-but-true facts and fascinating "Did you know?" Q&A’s, this book is sure to satisfy and get the avid fan ready for the awakening of The Force!
How Machines Work: Zoo Break!
By David Macaulay (Dorling Kindersley) $19.99
Award-winning artist David Macaulay introduces readers to the concept of simple machines through his new creations, Sloth and Sengi, in this clever book. Follow their mad antics as they try to escape from the zoo with the help of machines. Their efforts are brought to life through pop-ups, pull-outs, and lift-the-flaps, allowing readers to explore in greater depth how and why machines work. Models and illustrations demonstrate the technology of six simple machines: levers, pulleys, screws, inclined planes, wedges, and wheels. Illustrations highlight the use of simple machines in everyday objects, such as scissors and clocks, mixers and whisks, bikes and brakes, while the story contains clear and simple text to engage the reader.
The Ghastly McNastys Series: The Lost Treasure of Little Snoring and Raiders of the Lost Shark
By Lyn Gardner & Ros Asquith (Kids Can Press) $8.95 each
The Ghastly McNastys are the ghastliest, nastiest pirates ever to sail the seven seas. The only thing they love more than making people walk the plank into shark-infested waters is treasure. And they love treasure as much as they hate children. But Tat and Hetty, two clever local kids, have a trick or 20 up their sleeves, and they’re ready for a swashbuckling fight.
By Brian Selznick (Scholastic Press) $32.99
This collector’s volume is a magnificent telling of two stand-alone stories—the first in nearly 400 pages of continuous pictures, the second in prose—that together create a beguiling narrative puzzle. The journey begins on a ship at sea in 1776 with a boy named Billy Marvel, who finds work in a London theater after a shipwreck. Nearly a century later, Joseph Jervis runs away from school and seeks refuge with an uncle in London. Based loosely on the lives of two real people, The Marvels is an intriguing invitation to decipher how the two narratives connect, and is a loving tribute to the power of story.
Up the Creek (Life in the Wild series)
By Nicholas Oldland (Kids Can Press) $16.95
There once was a bear, a moose, and a beaver that were the best of friends, though they often disagreed. When they decide to go canoeing, it’s one disagreement after another until they veer into raging rapids and find themselves up the creek. With a charming cast of characters, Oldland’s light-hearted, contemporary fable highlights the importance of working together and keeping friendships afloat.
There are two more books in the series: Making the Moose out of Life and The Big Bear Hug, $7.59 each.
The Tea Party in the Woods
By Akiko Miyukoshi (Kids Can Press) $16.95
On a snowy winter’s day, Kikko sets out to bring a pie to Grandma. When she happens upon a strange house in the woods, the most surprising guests invite her inside for a tea party. Kikko can hardly believe her eyes, and she wonders what all the animals think of her. The author’s beautiful illustrations—mostly black and white with just the right splashes of color—add to this delightful story.
After all the gifts are open and the excitement and noise have died down, sit down in a quiet corner with a child and read a book; those are the moments you’ll remember.
We wish all of you the happiest of holidays, the Merriest Christmas, and a peaceful and healthy new year. Until next month, happy reading.
The staff at Covered Treasures Bookstore can be reached at email@example.com.
By Harriet Halbig
The library is a great place to escape the bustle of the season. We will offer a variety of programs for all ages. Please note that some programs will not be offered during the school holiday period.
The Family Fun program on Dec. 12 from 2:30 to 4 will be Reindeer Dog. Sienna is tired of being a dog. She wants to be a reindeer! Will her wish come true or will the other reindeer refuse to let her join in any of their reindeer games? Elf Denise Gard and Sienna, her faithful and talented dog, will spread some holiday cheer with this show.
Come to the library for a Star Wars Celebration on Friday, Dec. 18 from 4 to 5:30. Celebrate the opening day of the new Stars Wars movie by making a miniature light saber (that really lights up) and do other Star Wars-related activities. Registration is required at 488-2370.
Lego Club will meet from 10 to 11:30 on Saturday, Dec. 19. Bring your creativity and we will provide the Legos. All ages are welcome.
AfterMath free math tutoring will be available on Mondays, Dec. 7 and 14, from 3:30 to 7. Experienced math tutors will assist students of all ages and grade levels. Tutoring will not be available Dec. 21 and 28 due to the school break.
There will be a Star Wars movie night for teens on Thursday, Dec. 17 from 5:30 to 8. Come join us for a viewing of Star Wars: The Clone Wars before you go see The Force Awakens. There will be snacks, coloring pages, and a Clone Wars cartoon.
Come to Monument and use our Teen Computers to participate in Hour of Code Week, all day Dec. 7 through 13. This week visit https://hourofcode.com/us for celebrity videos and coding tutorials.
Sunday, Dec. 6 from 1 to 5 meet Abigail Mott, a travelling poet who writes poetry on the spot and accepts payment for each poem. Just give her a topic and she writes a poem for you!
Enjoy listening to harp music performed by talented local harp students from Renee Quinn’s Harp Studio in Monument on Saturday, Dec. 12 from 12:30 to 1:30. No registration necessary.
The Monumental Readers will meet from 10 to noon on Friday, Dec. 18 to discuss Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons. All patrons are welcome to attend this monthly book group.
On the walls during December will be a collection of acrylics by Judith R. Yankes. In the display cabinet will be a collection of Santa Claus figures owned by Patt Murphy.
Palmer Lake Library Events
December’s Family Fun program on Saturday, Dec. 19 at 10:30 is Reindeer Dog. Sienna is tired of being a dog. She wants to be a reindeer! Will her wish come true or will the other reindeer refuse to let her join in their reindeer games? Elf Denise Gard and Sienna spread some holiday cheer with this festive program.
Please note that all Pikes Peak Library facilities will be closed all day on Dec. 24 and 25 and close at 4 p.m. on Dec. 31.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jack Anthony
Harry Krueger and his brothers Orville and Kenny dutifully departed their home at the base of Palmer Lake’s Sundance Mountain with precious cargo in hand. They were being dispatched by their dad Jesse to replace a burned out 40-watt light bulb on the 500-foot, 92-light bulb star that each December shined from the steep slopes of Sundance.
The star was built in 1935 as a show of courage and determination in the face of the Great Depression. Bert Sloan was the community’s leader of the star endeavor and he affirmed the significance of the star. "We tried to keep the town from dying and make it a good place to live. We wanted to do something the town could be proud of for many years and the star did just that."
Jesse Krueger was one of the men who built the star, and his family emerged as the caretakers of the giant star. The Krueger boys were the star’s maintainers and often scurried up the slopes to keep nearly 100 light bulbs shining. As the boys approached the rocky outcrop where the ailing bulb beckoned them, a mountain lion laid perched in the early morning sun. The boys spied the lion and it too gazed up them. Like an avalanche, the youthful trio came bolting down from the mountain, bounding into the Krueger home announcing the impediment to their mission. "Dad, there’s a mountain lion up there" came the words from heaving breath.
Jesse Krueger’s stern look accompanied a surprising directive, "You boys get back up there and change the bulb; the lion will be gone." The boys reluctantly marched back up and found dad’s lion prophesy to be true, the lion was gone and the bulb was successfully installed. That evening, all bulbs shined brightly as the five-point star decorated the Front Range.
The Palmer Lake Star shines dawn to dusk in December and also on special occasions. The star is listed in the Colorado Register of Historic Properties and this year shines in its 80th year.
Caption: The Palmer Lake Star shines in its 80th year. Photo by Bill Benson.
By Al Walter
On Nov. 19, storyteller and performer Jane Milne provided an educational and fascinating look at the Orphan Train Movement to an overflow crowd of about 190 people for the final program in the Palmer Lake Historical Society’s 2015 History Series.
During the Orphan Train Movement, which covered the period from the 1850s to the 1920s, almost 200,000 orphaned, homeless, or abandoned children were transported from Eastern cities to new homes in the West and Midwest. Milne presented this story of hardship, heartbreak, and triumph of young children as told from the perspective of Puebloan Stan Cornell, who travelled this road with his younger brother, Victor.
Although a number of books were written about the orphan trains, one of the more popular books was written by Christina Baker Kline. Kline’s book, as well as the other books on the Orphan Train Movement, have been embraced by many book clubs. In addition to a number of members of local book clubs, there were several members of the audience whose grandparents or parents were children relocated to the West as part of the Orphan Train Movement. By sharing their stories, they were able to put a personal perspective on this unique story of American history.
On Nov. 24, the Palmer Lake Historical Society presented an engraved crystal plaque to Roger and Kim Ward, the owners of Estemere Mansion in Palmer Lake, in appreciation for their continued support of the Historical Society and the local community. Historical Society President Al Walter, Vice President Phyllis Bonser, and Kim Braun, the organizers of the Estemere Mansion Tours in September 2015, presented the plaque to the Wards in recognition of the many years they have opened their home to the Historical Society and allowed the society to sponsor tours of the historic Victorian Mansion and its surrounding buildings.
Caption: Historical Society Vice President Phyllis Bonser, right, and Kim Braun, left, presented the plaque to Kim and Roger Ward (center left and right) in recognition of the many years they have opened their home to the Historical Society. Photo courtesy the Palmer Lake Historical Society.
No events are scheduled by the Historical Society for December. On Jan. 21, 2016, the Historical Society will hold its Annual Potluck and Membership Meeting. The event will start at 6:30 p.m. at the Palmer Lake Town Hall and feature local artist and musician Joe Bohler on the piano. Bring a side dish or dessert to share. We will provide the baked ham.
By David Futey
On Nov. 5, Stuart Sanderson, president of the Colorado Mining Association, offered a perspective on the Gold King Mine spill into the Animas River and a summary on the status of mining in Colorado during a presentation at the Western Museum of Mining & Industry.
Sanderson said the Gold King Mine, located near Silverton, operated from the late 1800s through 1923 with gold and silver as the predominate minerals mined. As with mines from that era, there were no regulations regarding the responsibilities and reclamation procedures after mine operations ceased. Over time mines as the Gold King discharge certain levels of heavy minerals and acidic water, due to water’s reaction with pyrite and oxygen, as hydraulic processes fill the mine tunnels and erode tailings.
Sanderson said the Environmental Protection Agency was assessing the mine’s status when excavation caused a breach to occur, spilling up to 3 million gallons of mine wastewater and tailings into Cement Creek, a tributary of the Animas.
Sanderson suggested that mining companies should be allowed to address situations as the Gold King because they have knowledge and expertise of mine operations and thus can best address them. However laws, regulations and "unlimited liabilities on persons conducting activities" on mine locations dissuade such action. He then highlighted differences between how modern mining is conducted versus historically and noted mine reclamation projects that have been successfully completed or are ongoing by mining companies such as the Robinson Tailings at the Climax Molybdenum Mine near Leadville.
Related to Colorado mining, Sanderson noted that a common comment he hears is "I did not know there was mining in Colorado." In fact, Colorado historically and present day offers a diverse rock and mineral production. Coal, gold, aggregates, gypsum, sodium bicarbonate, marble and molybdenum are among the rocks and minerals mined that provide $3 billion in direct sales to Colorado and $9 billion in total value to the Colorado economy. Colorado is first nationally in molybdenum production, fourth in gold and 11th in coal.
Caption: Annette Sibert and Stuart Sanderson of the Colorado Mining Association visited the Western Museum of Mining & Industry on Nov. 5. Sanderson presented a talk on the breech at the Gold King Mine and the status of mining in Colorado. Photo by David Futey.
Information on upcoming events at the museum is at www.wmmi.org.
David Futey can be reached at email@example.com.
By Janet Sellers
For real art success in the making of it or enjoying it, forget inspiration and connect to success with, of all things, real, actual efforts. Practice, action, and introspection is what creates mastery. I have a studio motto that says, "Creativity follows mastery." It’s an old craft motto from the middle ages era of the craft guilds. It emphasizes that when we get going and doing our art or art viewing, we are in the art moment, we have creative inspiration, and to reliably get in the groove, we need to be taking action, most prosperously when on a regular basis.
This is true for most human activity, but arguably most important when we wish to generate a project from the get-go such as a drawing or painting, or hobbies and crafts. Even our passive use of art impacts us: When we go to see art, wherever that may be, it can have a life-changing effect. Art is often a tracing of the path of human experience and meaning in life. Taking in some art by way of our local venues or classes can make this come true for you.
Venerable collections on the arts spectrum from fine art to vintage collectibles attest to the personal importance and meaning people attach to artifacts. Museums and galleries include contemporary and historically revered works because art is socially and culturally important to our quality of life and our sense of self and society.
In October, the four still-living "Monuments Men" were awarded the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal. In the words of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, the Monuments Men saved the "creativity that connects us to the heritage of civilization." More than 5 million cultural objects were seized by the Nazis in World War II.
The U.S. Army sent out eight "Monuments Men" (and 350 "civilian soldiers" of architects, curators, art historians) to save important artifacts and public art such as architecture, sculpture, bridges and buildings from Nazi seizure and desecration. A book and film with the above name came out in 2009 and 2014, respectively.
During the promotional interviews for the film, actor Bill Murray said that he had had an extraordinary experience in his life with a painting. He had desperately run out of the theater where he was performing in Chicago and got lost. He felt personally destroyed and apparently was thinking of ending his life when he wandered into the Chicago Art Institute and saw a painting that he feels saved his life. The painting is called The Song of a Lark. It shows a young woman working hard in the fields at sunrise and she takes a moment to listen to the song of a lark. He related that at that moment he had an epiphany that if that girl was trying so hard to make a life that he could continue to make a life as well; the painting inspired him to keep on trying and keep on living.
In this season of holiday rush, end of the year work schedules and stresses, with short days and long, dark nights, be sure to take in some art and handicrafts with a friend or loved one at a leisurely pace to refresh your spirit and help stay balanced. Who knows, it may save your day, or save your life, too, in some creative way.
Public art news
The El Paso County Commissioners have just approved installation of a sculpture at the Baptist Road and Old Denver Highway roundabout site. This is the first roundabout to have art for the entire I-25 corridor, making it a significant installation and visible landmark for the intersection. Tri-Lakes Views (TLV) has been approved to commission the art and is currently seeking sponsorship for the proposed sculpture to be created by Reven-Marie Swanson. TLV, a 501©(3) organization, has been bringing art to the Tri-Lakes area since 2003 and currently holds an annual exhibit of public art, this year installing 13 sculptures throughout the area, with five permanent local pieces. For sponsorship details, contact TLV President Sky Hall at (719) 491-3638 or at firstname.lastname@example.org, or fundraising Chair Dr. Betty Konarski at (719) 481-2769 or email@example.com.
Art exhibits this month
Wisdom Tea House art exhibit through Jan. 9, "The Language of Art" with artists Marie Simpson, Kathleen Nalley and Carol Groesbeck. Wisdom Tea House, 65 Second St., Monument.
Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA) member show "Oh, my!" group of 20 artists, show runs through Jan. 2. Call for Artists: "Visions of Light" early entry ends Dec. 12; Jan. 16 – Entry deadline. Photographers of all levels are invited to submit their original fine art photography for consideration. The VOL Exhibition is a juried photographic exhibition of fine art. Details at www.trilakesarts.org. Shows at TLCA, 304 Highway 105, Palmer Lake.
Bella Art and Frame Gallery exhibition of their gallery of artists for December. Over a dozen artists each have a nook with their artwork for sale, as well as a gift shop with cards, jewelry, glassworks, and small works, 183 Washington St, Monument.
Holiday Pop Up Shops—Kind of like a last-minute trunk show. 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. Some are holiday craft marts this time of year. You can google them for the Front Range and Tri-Lakes areas, or check out this Facebook page for a fashionably incomplete list: go to www.Facebook.com and look up Local-Pop-Up-Holiday-Shops.
Janet Sellers is a Colorado artist and art teacher. Her artworks and 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.
Oliver!presented at PRHS, Nov. 7
Caption: Ben Capp as Fagin in The Bear Necessities Theatre Company’s presentation of a steampunk-themed version of Oliver! on Nov. 5-7 at Palmer Ridge High School. Word has it that Capp learned to play the violin for this scene. Photo by Jackie Burhans.
Caption: Madelyn Wible as Oliver asks for more.
Caption: Fagin (Ben Capp) oversees his gang as they perform "I’d Do Anything"
Caption: The Artful Dodger (George Hill) and his crew welcome Oliver (Madelyn Wible) to consider himself one of them. Photos by Jackie Burhans.
LPHS presented Urinetown, Nov. 13
The Lewis-Palmer High School Drama Department put on the unique and funny musical Urinetown, described as a "hilarious musical satire of the legal system, capitalism, social irresponsibility, populism, bureaucracy, corporate mismanagement, municipal politics, and musical theatre itself!"
Caption: Townspeople wait in line to pay Penny Pennywise to use Amenity 9 3/4, the one unisex restroom in Urinetown. Photo by Jackie Burhans.
Caption: Bobby Strong (Carson Schiem) leads the townspeople in a revolution against UGC (Urine Good Company) in a hilarious send up of Les Miserables. Photo by Jackie Burhans.
VFW distributed Buddy Poppies
Caption: VFW Buddy Poppies are the official memorial flower of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. They originated in the poppies symbolizing the fallen World War I soldiers described in the poem In Flanders Field by John McCrae. VFW Buddy Poppies are all assembled by disabled and needy veterans in VA Hospitals. In November, VFW Post 7829, Monument, distributed Buddy Poppies at the Monument King Soopers, Bass Pro Shop, and Magnum Shooting Center. The post supplied 53 volunteers, including Rod Knauber, Pat Staffieri, Tom Dowd, and Maj. Stephanie O’Connors (pictured at right) who raised $4,000 for "Service to Veterans" projects including assisting Homeless Veterans, providing Christmas gifts to residents of Veteran Community Living Centers, funding Honor Flights that take WWII veterans to Washington, D.C., to see the memorials, and promoting patriotism. The VFW Auxiliary (composed of the relatives of those who have served in overseas combat) worked at two locations with 16 volunteers and raised $1,075, handing out 2,120 poppies and 333 American flags to children. Photos courtesy of VFW Post 7829.
Service for Zen Cowboy
Caption: The Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts was at capacity for a memorial service honoring the life of Chuck Pyle.
Caption: Mementoes of Chuck Pyle, his hat, guitar, and boots, were placed on the TLCA stage where he had performed numerous times to appreciative audiences. Photo by David Futey.
Rocky Mountain Music Alliance held Piano Concerto Night, Nov. 21
Caption: The Rocky Mountain Music Alliance (RMMA) held its Piano Concerto Night on Nov. 21, featuring Dr. Michael Schneider and Dr. Zahari Metchkov. The artists’ rendition of Piano Concerto in A minor, Opus 16 by Edward Grieg, brought the 131 people in attendance to their feet at intermission. Following intermission, the pianists performed pieces by Rachmaninoff, and once again the audience was moved to standing by the dynamic and beautiful performance. The RMMA will host its next concert Feb. 6, at 7 p.m. at the Tri-Lakes United Methodist Church, 20256 Hunting Downs Way, Monument. The Feb. 6 concert will feature the Parish House Baroque Ensemble, and will include instruments such as the harpsichord, violin, viola, and cello. See http://rmmaonline.org or call 719-630-8165 to be added to email list. Photos by Jackie Burhans and courtesy the RMMA.
The Tri-Lakes area is beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Caption: The evergreens lining Second Street leading into the town of Monument are decorated for the season.
Caption: Tri-Lakes residents have initiated the holiday decorating with flare. Photos by Jackie Burhans.
Thanks, RaeJean and Wayne
Caption: Our Community News is searching for at least two volunteers to do ads coordinator work and newspaper layout since Wayne and RaeJean Claybaugh pictured above in a 2013 photo are stepping back from OCN. Please write to firstname.lastname@example.org or call Lisa at (719) 339-7831 with questions. The OCN volunteers would like to thank Wayne and RaeJean for all the hours, ideas, and energy they have contributed to the production of the paper in the last two years. RaeJean has worked tirelessly as the ads coordinator to organize and update each month’s advertisements for our loyal local businesses. Wayne has learned the ins and outs of manipulating the graphic layout of the newspaper to create the professional finished product that we send out each month.
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
Dec. 9: Artichoke chicken over rice, salad.
Dec. 16: Spaghetti and meatballs, Caesar salad, garlic bread.
Dec. 23: No lunch (Merry Christmas!)
Dec. 30: No lunch (Happy New Year!)
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. Meals are provided by Pinecrest Catering, Palmer Lake; Nikki McDonald, executive chef, 481-3307.
Support Tri-Lakes Cares on Colorado Gives Day, Dec. 8
Donations and volunteers needed for Feed the Children event, Dec. 12
El Paso County’s 15th annual Feed the Children event is a one-day event just before Christmas where the families already receiving help from the Department of Human Services enjoy a day of celebration and receive food, toys, books, and toiletries. Last year about 4,300 of the neediest people in our community were served. Monetary donations are needed cover the costs of supplies and materials. New toys are needed for children from infants through age 12, as well as new or gently used books. Gift cards in $10 increments will be given to teenagers. To donate, please contact Rebecca Jacobs at 444-8191 or at RebeccaJacobs@elpasoco.com. Volunteers are needed also. To sign up, go to http://dhs2.elpasoco.com/ftc/FeedtheChildrenForm.asp.
Tri-Lakes Land Use Committee seeks volunteers, Dec. 14
The Tri-Lakes Land Use Committee is being reinvigorated as a result of the current resurgence in local development activity. The group was established by the 2000 Tri-Lakes Comprehensive Plan and receives a copy of development applications submitted to the town and county. The committee then has the opportunity to provide comments on proposed developments in the Tri-Lakes area while it is still early enough in the process to have a chance at influencing the direction of growth. Ideally, this group should include representatives from across the Tri-Lakes area. With all the development going on, citizens should be aware of the existence of this vehicle for community involvement in the process. The first meeting will be Dec. 14, 6:30-8:30 p.m., at the YMCA business meeting room, 17250 Jackson Creek Pkwy., Monument. For more information, contact Jerry Hannigan, email@example.com.
Santa on Patrol toy drive, ends 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 Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce, 166 Second St., Monument; Monument Tree Lighting, Dec. 5, 4:30-6 p.m., Limbach Park; Monument Police Department, 645 Beacon Lite Rd.; Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Department (TLMFD) stations 1, 2, and 3 in Monument. For more information, contact Chief Shirk, 481-3253.
The Tri-Lakes Economic Development Corporation seeks executive director
The Tri-Lakes Economic Development Corporation (TLEDC) is seeking an executive director to represent the organization throughout the Pikes Peak Region. This high-profile position requires a candidate with executive-level experience in the private, public, or nonprofit sectors; who has a passion for the Tri-Lakes business community; and can advocate effectively on the TLEDC’s Board of Directors’ and our community’s behalf. Please send inquiries and resumes to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Register for Winter Basketball at Tri-Lakes Y
Ages preschool-8th grade. Practices begin the week of Jan. 4. Financial assistance available. Register at www.ppymca.org or at the Y, 17250 Jackson Creek Pkwy., Monument. Information: 481-8728.
Exercise Deep Freeze ‘16, Jan. 9
Volunteers like you are needed on Jan. 9 to help El Paso County exercise "Deep Freeze" from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. to portray stranded motorists and distressed citizens requiring assistance during a blizzard. The purpose of the exercise is to evaluate the ability of all the emergency responders in northern El Paso County to coordinate rescue activities during a major blizzard. Volunteers must be willing to stick to the script they are given, drive their own vehicles to designated rescue locations, and use their personal cell phones to place a simulated distress call. Contact Andre’ at email@example.com or text/call Lisa at 339-7831 to ask questions or to sign up soon, so they know they have enough volunteers. If you are the least bit curious, please call!
Election judges needed
The Town of Palmer Lake is looking for five volunteers to serve as election judges in the upcoming election on April 5, 2016. If you are interested please contact the town office at 42 Valley Crescent or call 481-2953.
Local students collect trash for cash
Students at Prairie Winds Elementary School in Monument are making a difference this school year by collecting empty applesauce pouches for recycling in the TerraCycle GoGo squeeZ Brigade®. The school is among the top GoGo squeeZ collectors of 2015, having collected 2,134 this year. Since signing up for the program, Prairie Winds students have collected 4,216 pouches, earning nearly $100 for their school. For every unit of waste sent to TerraCycle for recycling, collectors earn points which can be redeemed as a charity gift or cash donation for their school or nonprofit of choice. TerraCycle offers more than 30 different Brigade programs, allowing schools, organizations, and individuals to recycle everything from Capri Sun drink pouches to Entenmann’s and Hain Celestial snack bags. The waste collected through these programs is recycled into new plastic products such as trashcans, picnic tables, and park benches. For more information, visit www.terracycle.com.
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.
Three steps to recycle right
Recycle all empty plastic bottles, cans, and paper. Keep foods and liquids out of the recycling. Keep plastic bags out of the recycling. These three steps have a big impact on getting the right things in the recycling bin. Did you know that plastic bags can shut down an entire recycling plant? So keep plastic bags out of the recycling and when in doubt, leave it out. For more information, visit www.recycleoftenrecycleright.com.
LEAP—Help for heating bills
The Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) is a federally funded program that provides cash assistance to help families and individuals pay a portion of winter home heating costs. The eligibility period for LEAP runs through April 30. Application packets will automatically be mailed to residents who received LEAP assistance last year at the address where they were living at that time. To find out if you qualify for LEAP, call 1-866 HEAT-HELP (1-866-432-8435) or visit www.colorado.gov/cdhs/leap.
Save your sewer system! Fats, oils, and grease problems
Grease from cooking, gravy, cooking oil, and sauces may look harmless as a liquid, but when it cools it gets thick and sticky. That means if you pour grease down your drain, it sticks to pipes and eventually can cause clogs and messy overflows. Prevent backups in your home by pouring all grease from bacon, fried chicken, and other cooking grease into a can, putting in the freezer, then tossing it in the trash.
Tri-Lakes men’s a cappella singing group
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 for preschool-eighth grade
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 for preschool-eighth grade
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.
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.
SafeCare Colorado services 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.
Volunteer drivers needed for cancer patients
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 www.cancer.org.
Bustang and 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.
Emergency Notification 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 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.
Free Senior Safety 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 for seniors’ transportation service
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call the MCSS dispatch hotline at 488-0076.
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 email@example.com.
Donate trees for 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.
Tri-Lakes HAP Senior Center
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.
Wescott FPD chipping Christmas Trees
The Donald Wescott Fire Department will be accepting Christmas Trees to be chipped Sat., Jan 2 and Sat., Jan 9 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.. The DWFPD is unable to accept trees during the weekdays and only Christmas trees will be chipped on these days.
Drop off your trees at Wescott Station 3, 15000 Sun Hills Drive. Colorado Springs, CO 80921. Recommended $5 donation when dropping off your trees.
Please remove all decorations including tinsel before bringing trees to the station. Please call Wescott Fire with any questions at (719) 488-8680.
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.
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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