This page contains only the text of the articles and columns in this issue. To see the photos and captions including the Snapshots of Our Community section, view the on-line version above or download the PDFs whose links follow this table of contents.Monument and Palmer Lake in dispute over water rights
the PDF file. This is a 22.8 Mbyte high-resolution file with color photos.
By Michael Justice
Mayor Rafael Dominguez recognized and thanked past board members Stan Gingrich and Betty Konarski, both of whom were in attendance at the Jan. 20 Monument Board of Trustees meeting. Representatives from Palmer Lake and Monument voiced their opinions about the water rights battle between the two towns. The trustees clarified a mill levy document regarding Lake of the Rockies Metropolitan District. Trustee John Howe also gave a shout-out to the Lewis-Palmer High School band students who were selected for the All-State Band group.
Trustees Becki Tooley and Kelly Elliot were absent.
Public comments on Palmer Lake
Dominguez opened the meeting for public comments regarding the Palmer Lake water rights debate with the Town of Monument. He allowed a three-minute time constraint based on the standing-room-only attendance. Comments lasted for about one hour.
Community and Tradition—the common cry voiced by the citizens who spoke out of concern for Palmer Lake. Eighteen local residents commented in favor of filling Palmer Lake, while one citizen opposed filling the lake if it interfered with the area’ s drinking water.
Commentary included emphasis on the relationship between Palmer Lake and Monument residents and their equal enjoyment of the lake for fishing, festivities, and fireworks. Many shared childhood memories of Palmer Lake. They expressed a desire to see Palmer Lake restored as a means of teaching the young community the importance of preserving a natural resource and providing an area for family recreation.
After one citizen asked for the legal facts in the situation, Town Attorney Gary Shupp provided clarification and reminded local residents that Monument did not pursue the lawsuit, but the State of Colorado filed the lawsuit based on water rights. He reminded the room that during litigation, particulars of the case cannot be discussed.
Tom Tharnish, Public Works director, reported that based on current river-time calculations, for each 67-acre feet of water allocated to Palmer Lake, Monument Lake would drop by about two feet and that primary concerns focus on the detriment to Monument Lake or Monument Creek.
Palmer Lake business owner Jeff Hulsmann referred to the past water rights of the area and said Palmer Lake used to receive 140 acre-feet of water.
Dominguez thanked all attendees for their concern and voiced his respect for all shared comments. He asked for patience as the whole community continued to negotiate and come to a resolution. He reminded all present that the legal issue concerned water rights and that neither Monument nor Palmer Lake residents wish to hurt Palmer Lake. Both are facing " Awake the Lake" issues as a shared community concern.
CDOT—Bustang’ s mission
Michael Timlin, project manager for Bustang, reported that 13 motor coaches in connection with Horizon Coach Lines have been approved for use to provide transportation between Colorado Springs and Denver. The route will connect those who wish to shop or use medical facilities in Denver, eventually possibly expanding to Fort Collins, Glenwood Springs, and Pueblo in an interregional express bus system. The service is expected to begin in the spring. Monument riders will be able to catch a bus at the Monument Park-n-Ride for a daily fee, with reduced fees for frequent riders. Routes for Bustang will be marked with large hoofprints " as if a giant purple mustang" has passed through, reported Timlin.
The coaches will have room for bicycles and be equipped for handicapped riders and for the hearing and sight impaired. Featuring free wifi and restroom facilities, the bus line hopes for a VIP maiden voyage sometime in March of this year. For more information contact www.ridebustang.com.
Lake of the Rockies mill levy clarified
The trustees voted on a clarification of the service plan amendment for Lake of the Rockies Metropolitan District, a metro district around Monument Lake with a southern boundary of Mount Herman Road and northern boundary of Monument Lake Road. The district has a separate mill levy from the town. The trustees did not vote on the mill levy, which had already been decided.
After board members requested more information on the history of the service plan, attorney MaryAnn McGeady of McGeady Sisneros P.C. clarified answers in a lengthy legal and financial discussion. The service plan featured some inconsistencies within the document, which made the original document confusing. The board wanted to be sure new property owners in Lake of the Rockies had the correct property tax figures in the service plan agreement for use in calculating mortgage payments. The allowance for a maximum of 50 mills subject to the Gallagher Amendment for each of the 156 lots in Lake of the Rockies had already been voted on in 2010.
The discussion verified that 35 mills are allotted to the infrastructure of The Lake of the Rockies, while 15 mills will go toward maintenance and improvements in the subdivision and will be performed by the homeowners association (HOA) and the district, not the town. Any other costs incurred beyond the 50 mills will be the responsibility of the developer or provided by the HOA fees.
The amendment also included authorization for the district to provide park and recreation facilities and services and covenant enforcement and design review services.
The mill levy/service plan issue was a public hearing, and no comments were offered. The board unanimously voted to approve the amendment to the service plan.
Chamber of Commerce to lease Old Town Hall
A resolution approving a lease for the Old Town Hall between the Town of Monument and Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce was unanimously approved by the trustees. The Chamber will maintain the building and be ready to move in by the end of January, paying $1 per year for the lease. The new location will provide a logical place in which to learn about the Town of Monument, Town Manager Pamela Smith said. Those who wish to use the meeting room for community events can contact the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce for more information.
Reports and updates
Town Manager Pamela Smith reported on the town budget and November financials. The board unanimously approved both.
The meeting adjourned at 9:40.
Caption: The Monument Town Hall board room was filled to capacity with citizens on the night when many of them spoke to the Monument Town Council about the pending water rights dispute with the Town of Palmer Lake. The two OCN reporters sat behind the trustees to make room in the audience for more people to sit down. Photo by Lisa Hatfield.
The next Board of Trustees meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 17 at Town Hall, 845 Beacon Lite Road. Meetings are usually held the first and third Mondays of each month. Check http://monumenttownco.minutesondemand.com to see future meeting agendas and packets. Information: 884-8017.
Michael Justice can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monument Planning Commission, Jan. 14: Jackson Creek zoning changes approved despite public concerns
By Kate Wetterer
Vision Development Inc. sent Rick Blevins to represent its interests at the Jan. 14 Monument Planning Commission meeting, advocating approval of a 6th Amendment to the Regency Park Development and Zoning Plan between Leather Chaps Drive, Jackson Creek Parkway, and Higby Road. Unlike the currently zoned 5th Amendment, this proposal would keep Higby Road in its current location and right-of-way, consolidate commercial and multi-family parcels along Jackson Creek Parkway, and have slightly less overall density than what is currently zoned but would change current PRD-2 areas on the east side to PRD-4.
The zone change would change the distribution of housing density on the land, as the currently zoned PRD-2 lots are not selling, Blevins said. This amendment impacts about 253 acres of Regency Park. Homes and lots would follow a pattern of increasing size, beginning with apartments at the west and north and steadily climbing the hill to very posh housing developments at the top.
The meeting was packed, with almost all available chairs claimed by concerned citizens. Many expressed worries about the rezoning proposals, concerns having largely to do with decreases in property values in Remington Hill and South Woodmoor, a loss of Monument’s "small town" atmosphere, unsteady and changeable traffic plans associated with new building projects, and potential water shortages.
Some citizens noted that property values are prone to decline when less expensive houses are built next to pricy ones, and that when they purchased their homes they had been referred to the current comprehensive plan for Monument to anticipate future use of the vacant land next door. These citizens believe that agreed-to terms were being altered on them, and protested that it was a risk investing in expensive houses, hoping to start lives in Monument, which they may not have agreed to had they known how the land could develop if zoning were changed. They believe zoning changes threaten the atmospheres they invested in by purchasing these homes, making everything in the area zone PRD-4 or higher.
It was also noted by residents that the wording in the proposal was a bit vague, discussing the potential of altered roads and traffic arrangements that could be made more concrete in order to foster trust and ensure any developments have as little negative impact on the community as possible. In particular, a citizen hoped that the developer would be required to pay to accommodate for increased traffic flow along Higby Road, as it is already overrun and plagued by the likes of blind turns and hills that hide oncoming cars.
Concern was also noted for the Preble’s Meadow Jumping mouse habitats affected in this rezoning. Blevins assured the crowd that the plans did not interfere with what had been approved for the land, and accommodations were being made to ensure the comfort of Preble’s mouse communities, including planting bushes and providing leaves. As for questions about whether the current schools would be able to support an influx of students, Cheryl Wangeman, Assistant Superintendent of Operations of Lewis Palmer School District, said there is a plot along Higby for another school, should the need arise.
Commissioner David Gwisdalla motioned to re-evaluate zonings and resume discussions at the next meeting, on Feb. 11. His motion was seconded by Missy Wood, but failed, 4-2 against. John Dick then motioned for approval of Amendment 6, but that came to a 3-3 tie, with Gwisdalla, Wood, and Kathy Spence voting against, so it failed. Finally, Spence moved for approval of the 6th Amendment with conditions, namely that the eastern part of the amendment be split between PRD-4 and PRD-2, to retain some of the original housing structure buyers had expected. This motion passed, 5-1, with Gwisdalla voting against the proposal. He reasoned that there "had to be" a better compromise that would provide for more variety in the area.
This amendment was scheduled to be heard at Monument Board of Trustees Feb. 3.
The next Monument Planning Commission meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 11 at 645 Beacon Lite Rd. Meetings are normally held on the second Wednesday of the month. Information: 884-8017 or http://www.townofmonument.org/meetings/
Kate Wetterer can be reached at email@example.com.
This non-paid position involves about 45 hours per month with lots of emailing and phone calls with local businesses to finalize ad graphics and costs. Experience with Excel would be a plus. Training is available. Please contact Lisa Hatfield at 339-7831 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to become one of our enthusiastic and committed OCN volunteers!
Palmer Lake Town Council, Jan. 22: Trustee resigns; Inn at Palmer Divide to become addiction recovery center
By James Howald
At the Jan. 22 meeting, the Palmer Lake Town Council heard the resignation of Finance Trustee Jennifer Martin, granted two new business licenses, heard a report about water damage to the Vaile House, approved a contract with Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District to get ambulance service on a per-call basis, and got an update on the Awake the Lake project.
Trustee Jennifer Martin resigns from council
Economic Development Trustee Trisha Flake read a brief letter of resignation to the council on behalf of Finance Trustee Martin. The letter said: "To the Palmer Lake Town Council and residents: It is with great regret that I must resign my position due to an unforeseeable event in which my family must remain my number one priority. Thanks for this opportunity." Parks and Recreation Trustee Cindy Allen thanked Trustee Martin for her service and pointed out she had accomplished a lot during her time on the council.
New business license approved for Recovery Village at Palmer Lake
Stewart Gold, the legal officer for Recovery Village, and Alice Walsh, an executive in charge of business development and marketing for the company, presented the plan for their business to the council. They were introduced by Al Fritz, the owner of the Inn at Palmer Divide and MoZaic Restaurant. Recovery Village at Palmer Lake will convert the Inn at Palmer Divide, at 443 S. Highway 105, to a treatment center for patients 18 years and older with substance abuse, addictions and eating disorders, who will reside at the center for an average of 30 days. Few changes will be made to the existing buildings. The patients will be at the center voluntarily, and not under any court order. The center will accommodate between 50 and 60 patients, with a staff of 16 to 18 employees. Patients typically do not leave the facility during their stay.
The center will be licensed by the Colorado Department of Occupational and Behavioral Health, and will be a for-profit business. Recovery Village operates a similar facility in Umatilla, Fla., for 80 patients. The Palmer Lake Planning Commission unanimously approved Recovery Village’s request in an earlier meeting.
The council voted unanimously to approve a new business license for Recovery Village at Palmer Lake, leaving open the possibility of adding a bed tax at a later time to make up for the tax revenue lost due to the closing of the hotel and restaurant.
New business license approved for Bach Crawlers
Pete and Misty Bach requested a new business license for Bach Crawlers, which will be located at 780 Highway 105. Bach Crawlers is a retail and service business focused on Jeeps, 4-by-4s, and other off-road vehicles that has been located in Monument at Monument Village Square for the last three years. Their current location is not large enough for their business. The council voted unanimously to approve a new business license for Bach Crawlers.
Vaile House now has water damage
Mayor Nikki McDonald gave the council an update of the status of the Vaile House, which the town is trying to sell. Due to a pipe break, the house has water damage that is estimated to require repairs costing $4,000 to $6,000; the town has not insured the house.
McDonald suggested that a shower be added when the water damage is repaired, since the lack of a shower is making the house more difficult to sell. The estimate she gave includes the cost of adding a shower.
The cost of the needed repairs does not include inspection of the property for mold damage and remediation of any mold damage found. Agreeing that mold problems could already be present, the council voted unanimously to authorize expenditure of up to $2,000 to investigate mold at the Vaile House, and took no action on the water damage or shower addition.
Palmer Lake contracts with Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District
Mayor McDonald announced that earlier in January Palmer Lake had come to an agreement with Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD) to pay $500 each time a TLMFPD ambulance is dispatched to Palmer Lake. AMR will also play a role in some emergency calls; however, the nearest AMR ambulance is housed at the Donald Westcott Fire Protection District’s Station 1 on Gleneagle Drive, and would take about 10 minutes longer to reach the scene of the emergency than an ambulance dispatched by TLMFPD.
Under the new agreement, El Paso County Dispatch will answer all 911 calls and will send the calls on to both the Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department (PLVFD) and AMR. PLVFD staff will arrive at the scene of the emergency and determine if the call requires Advanced Life Support (ALS). If so, PLVFD will call TLMFPD to send an ambulance. The decision to engage TLMFPD remains with PLVFD.
Previous to this agreement, Palmer Lake had been faced with an annual assessment from TLMFPD of $75,000 for ambulance service. According to Fire Trustee Rich Kuehster, based on the number of calls that require ALS, it will be less expensive to pay the per-call charge than to contract for an entire year’s support at $75,000. The agreement with TLMFPD ensures that TLMFPD will be reimbursed for all the ambulances they dispatch. Kuehster said that in 2014 PLVFD made 147 calls to TLMFPD, of which only 55 were reimbursed.
The town’s lawyer, Larry Gaddis, pointed out that the contract with TLMFPD has a 90-day termination clause, and that the council needed to vote to ratify the contract. The council voted unanimously to approve the contract with TLMFPD to provide ambulance service for $500 per ALS call.
Palmer Lake water dispute
Jeff Hulsmann, owner of O’Malley’s Steak Pub, gave the council an update on the status of the Awake the Lake project. According to Hulsmann, non-native sediment has been removed from the lake, and it is ready to be filled with water. The sediment was removed on a time-and-materials basis by a company that already had the equipment in Monument; the same company also did preparations for a pedestrian bridge and a parking area on the west side of the lake for a total of $80,000. The Lake Committee has raised about $60,000 but has spent $90,000, and is looking 30 people who will act as Patrons of Palmer Lake by donating $500 each to the project.
Hulsmann also gave his assessment on Palmer Lake’s effort to convert an industrial water right to municipal use. Hulsmann believes that Palmer Lake has the oldest right to water from Monument Creek, and will ultimately prevail if the case goes to water court. According to Hulsmann, several claimants to the water initially objected to the change in use requested by Palmer Lake, but now Monument is the only claimant that has not agreed to Palmer Lake’s legal case. Hulsmann pointed out that most water cases settle out of court due to the expense of a trial in water court. Attorneys for both Palmer Lake and Monument are currently negotiating this issue.
Mayor McDonald provided some of the history behind this dispute. According to McDonald, the water case was not brought on only by the desire to fill the lake, but by the town’s water attorney’s assessment of the purchase Palmer Lake made from the railroad. The railroad originally acquired the water to fill steam engines. In 1958, Palmer Lake leased the water from the railroad, and eventually purchased the water. The water was used to fill Palmer Lake in years when water levels were relatively high. In 2002, the state of Colorado told the town it could no longer divert water to fill the lake. The town never converted the industrial water right to a municipal right, and that is what the current case seeks to do.
According to Hulsmann, Palmer Lake needs to pursue its case simply because water is much more expensive now than previously, and the town would be able to sell any water it does not use for its own municipal purposes. He believes the town would have approximately 50 acre-feet of water available for other uses after the needs of the lake are met. Hulsmann stated that the Town of Monument believes that Palmer Lake abandoned its right to the water in 1958.
Hulsmann also answered questions from the council concerning the development of the west side of the lake and the grant proposal made to Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO). The questions were submitted by the council to Hulsmann because the town is required by GOCO to sign off on the grant, and in fact the town will receive the money from the grant. Hulsmann provided the council with copies of the project’s budget. He directed people to the project’s website at www.awakepalmerlake.org for additional details. He pointed out that Awake Palmer Lake is a 501c3 non-profit organization, and its finances are transparent. He invited the audience to make an appointment with the organization’s treasurer to review the groups’ finances.
According to Hulsmann, partner funding of the organization is $67,300; this amount includes $30,000 in cash and a pledge of $10,000 from the Palmer Lake restaurant group, with the remainder being in-kind donations of services, primarily from architect Bill Fisher. The grant from GOCO will provide $349,893 to Palmer Lake, with the town putting up $17,000 in matching funds. Hulsmann provided the council with a timeline for the project, and said he would also post it on the web page. He expects the disc golf course portion of the project to be completed by spring. The pedestrian bridge over the railroad will take two years to complete.
Hulsmann believes maintenance of area west of the lake can be funded through things like selling benches around the lake, and that the town will not have to pay for maintenance out of the Parks and Recreation budget. He plans to provide the results of the latest survey on the website. The work done to the lake bed will be paid for by the Awake the Lake committee and to date the town has paid nothing for this. The environmental checklist required by GOCO has been signed by Town Clerk Tara Berreth. Noxious weeds will be managed by landscapers. The master plan for the project is still being developed, and currently includes, in addition to the disc golf course and the pedestrian bridge, parking, lighting, athletic fields on the east side of the lake and a playground on the west side.
Trustee Allen moved that Mayor McDonald sign the GOCO grant agreement with the Town of Palmer Lake being the grantee and GOCO being the grantor. The motion was approved unanimously.
Legal posting sites remain unchanged
Palmer Lake posts notices of public meetings at the Post Office, at the Town Hall, and outside the town office. Meetings are also announced on the town’s web page, but the web page is not considered a legal posting site. The council voted unanimously to leave the legal posting sites unchanged.
Resident requests repeal of junk ordinance
Palmer Lake resident Jamie Rae asked the council to repeal the town’s junk, junkyard, and junk vehicle ordinance due to ambiguities in the ordinance. She felt the law does not precisely define what junk is and is not. She also argued the law does not clearly specify the process for enforcement, and that some portions of Ordinance 8.08.010 are superseded by another ordinance that requires a 24-hour notice of inspection. Another resident, Jim Adams, argued that the ordinance is not applied fairly and is used to harass residents. He argued the town should inspect all properties and fine all violators.
Economic Development Trustee Trisha Flake said she would take a look the ordinance. Police Trustee Paul Banta suggested that the current ordinance not be repealed until a replacement ordinance was written, so that enforcement efforts currently underway can proceed. He also pointed out that other ordinances do in fact enumerate what can be considered junk. Roads Trustee Russell moved to table the request to repeal the ordinance for 60 days, during which time a committee would be formed to examine the ordinance and to rewrite it if needed. Town lawyer Gaddis suggested that all ordinances dealing with trash, junk, nuisances and brush be included in the review and rewritten as necessary. Banta asked that the right to inspect properties be clarified in the new ordinance as well. The council voted unanimously to approve the motion as amended.
The meeting adjourned at 10:40 p.m.
The next meeting will be at 6 p.m. Feb. 12 at Town Hall, 42 Valley Crescent. Meetings are normally held on the second Thursday of the month. Information: 481-2953.
James Howald can be reached at email@example.com.
By Lisa Hatfield and
At the Jan. 5 Monument Board of Trustees meeting, the trustees approved land use ordinances involving proposed sites for Service Street Automotive and Natural Grocers. Newly appointed Trustee Jeff Smith was sworn in by Town Clerk Cynthia Sirochman, and new police officer Amanda Molnar was sworn in by Police Chief Jake Shirk.
Town Manager and Interim Treasurer Pamela Smith was absent.
Smith was appointed by the trustees on Dec. 15 to complete the term of Trustee Stan Gingrich, who resigned Dec. 1. Town Clerk Cynthia Sirochman read the oath of office to Smith on Jan. 5.
Police Chief Shirk introduced Amanda Molnar, who recently completed the Pikes Peak Community College police academy and went through a "very rigorous hiring process." Molnar was sworn in by Shirk as the third of three newly hired officers for the police force.
Mayor Rafael Dominguez offered his congratulations to both newcomers to the town.
Natural Grocers’ new location approved
Planning Director Mike Pesicka presented three land use ordinances related to the Natural Grocers retail store proposed by Equity Ventures to be located 700 feet east of I-25 on the north side of West Baptist Road. After his presentation, questions from trustees, and one public comment, the rezone, preliminary/final plat, and preliminary/final PD site plan ordinances were approved unanimously by the trustees. The retail store is now scheduled for completion in July.
The property was zoned planned industrial development (PID), which did not allow for retail use. Changing the zoning to planned development (PD) would establish setbacks, sign regulations, and uses, Pesicka said, adding that PD is similar to the town’s C1 zoning except that it would not allow any medical or recreational marijuana sales or dispensaries.
Pesicka described the plat as a 1.69-acre lot for a retail store including less than an acre for current and future road development. It is part of a 42-acre parcel south of Blevins Buckle Trail and part of the Regency Park Master Plan adopted in 1987 as part of annexation to the town. There is no development north and east of the Natural Grocers site, and to the west is a 50-foot cell phone tower. West Baptist Road borders the south side.
Before recordation of the plat, the applicant will be required to provide a water "will-serve" letter from Triview Metropolitan District.
The preliminary/final PD site plan showed a 15,030-square-foot retail store facing Baptist Road. The access to and from the site onto West Baptist Road was "the most difficult thing to work through," Pesicka explained. Baptist Road is owned and controlled by El Paso County, which has the authority to allow or deny access to particular parcels. The current access is a three-quarter right-in, right-out-only stub intersection.
Background: At the Nov. 14 Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority (BRRTA) meeting, during an hourlong discussion of the Natural Grocers proposal, El Paso County Clerk and Recorder Wayne Williams, a longstanding BRRTA advocate, explained to the developers, Mark McPherson and Dave Meyer of Equity Ventures of Denver, that BRRTA had paid the previous property owner a fee of $800,000 as a financial settlement for permanent acceptance of this diminished three-quarter access to Baptist Road from the existing stub road on the south end of the 42-acre property.
Williams stated that this $800,000 will not be reimbursed by the Colorado Department of Transportation because it is not part of the interchange construction cost, so this $800,000 burden was placed entirely on BRRTA’s taxpayers by the previous landowner, while other adjacent landowners donated right-of-way to BRRTA. He then told McPherson and Meyer that they were asking to get full access back from BRRTA for free "without any compensation to the taxpayers" when BRRTA and the county had already determined that the $800,00 settlement was "prudent" because a full-access interchange was "unsafe."
McPherson replied that the land was "purchased out of bankruptcy by the current owner," and he was unaware of this $800,000 BRRTA payment. See www.ocn.me/v14n12.htm#brrta1114.
At the November 14 BRRTA meeting, due to concerns about traffic safety, both County Engineer André Brackin and the BRRTA board were leaning against allowing the change from the current three-quarters access to a full-movement intersection with left-turn access to and from the site, which Natural Grocers estimated would cost about $125,000.
On Nov. 14, Natural Grocers’ consultant traffic engineer Jeff Hodsdon of LSC Transportation Consultants Inc. stated that the median is 30 feet wide with enough room for a single vehicle to "find refuge" after waiting for a gap in westbound traffic to safely enter and wait in the median for a second gap in eastbound traffic to "finish the two-stage left turn." Hodsdon said at the Nov. 14 BRRTA meeting that when it opened, this full-motion intersection was projected to already be at Level of Service D as rated by Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) due entirely to Natural Grocers traffic. Any additional traffic from further new construction of additional stores on the 42-acre parcel would change this full-motion intersection’s level of service rating to level F.
The ITE levels of service are A/B/C/D/F. Level A is the best ITE-rated level of service for an intersection. Level D is the lowest ITE level of acceptable service.
Williams said starting off at level D should be unacceptable to BRRTA for "this $30 million road." The next lower level of service is level F for failing, which would mandate county installation of a traffic signal for safety while further degrading existing eastbound rush hour traffic delays, particularly left-hand turns to northbound Jackson Creek Parkway.
On Nov. 14, Brackin then said both the BRRTA board and the Board of County Commissioners never considered making this a full-movement intersection when constructing the I-25 Baptist Road interchange, nor had he considered the single-car median storage proposal recently resubmitted by Hodsdon. Extension of the internal access road to Blevins Buckle Trail is mandatory for any further construction on the parcel. The county still opposes adding a signal on Baptist Road, a major collector, at this location due to the additional traffic flow issues that would be created and compound the already existing problems on Baptist Road east of I-25 at evening rush hour.
The reconstruction cost to restore the three-quarter access would be at least $75,000. Williams said this $75,000 must be placed in an escrow account by Natural Grocers if conversion to full motion is approved by the county, so that there will be money available when the intersection eventually becomes unsafe and has to be restored to three-quarter motion or closed entirely.
Pesicka told the Monument Planning Commission on Dec. 10 that the county had by then approved the left turn with a provision to review the intersection with each proposed future parcel development. The commission approved Natural Grocers’ plans at that meeting after a lengthy discussion about the building’s architecture. See www.ocn.me/v15n1.htm#mpc1210.
At the Dec. 19 BRRTA meeting, Brackin said the county would conditionally approve the full-motion intersection only temporarily and only for this single store. BRRTA then approved the full-movement intersection at its December meeting. See www.ocn.me/v15n1.htm#brrta1219.
At the Jan. 5 trustees meeting, Pesicka said the town does not have jurisdiction to deny that road access since it is owned by the county. Trustee John Howe said, "We have no ‘say’ on the left turn to go east on Baptist Road" and wanted it on record that he felt the left-out, full-movement intersection was "terribly dangerous."
Pesicka said half of the internal roadway would be constructed now. The county asked town staff to add a note on the official plat that every proposed future development application on the rest of the property to north and east would have to be referred to the county for review of the traffic at the intersection, Pesicka said. "This agreement will be recorded and the reception number will be placed on the plat."
Pesicka also said that Natural Grocers entered into an agreement providing that if the left-out were changed back to a three-quarters access for whatever reason by the county, the road connection to Jackson Creek Parkway to the north will be built by the property owner. He anticipated that eventually the northern access would tie in on or near Blevins Buckle Trail to access Jackson Creek Parkway.
During public comments, resident Cheri Hysell asked about who would be accountable for monitoring the traffic at the new intersection. Pesicka said the county would be in charge of monitoring the intersection with traffic counts or reports of accidents. If the intersection reached Level of Service F as defined by ITE, the county would close the left-out. New access to the north would be built at owner’s expense, not the town’s expense, he said. He did not say who would pay for closing the expanded intersection on Baptist Road.
Mayor Rafael Dominguez explained that the current center median on West Baptist Road will be cut out and lowered to accommodate left turns and that there will be room for one car at a time to wait there for a chance to turn left onto Baptist Road.
Mayor Pro-Tem Jeff Kaiser said that he and Dominguez both sit on the BRRTA board and that they had worked a lot with the county to make sure the intersection would be safe.
Pesicka said residents with concerns and questions about Baptist Road traffic should contact County Engineer André Brackin. The number for the El Paso County Public Services Department is 719-520-6460.
Pesicka said that since it will be the first building in that area, it "could set a trend for future development there." It is also near Monument Ridge, a development that does not allow any wood elements on the outside of buildings for a more modern look, and the Natural Grocers building will follow that style.
Pesicka said the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said there was no critical Preble’s meadow jumping mouse habitat that needed to be protected, nor will any habitat considerations affect the building of the road to the north if and when the left-out to Baptist Road is closed.
Dominguez thanked the developers for their patience in the process to resolve concerns.
Trustee Jeff Bornstein thanked those involved with all the work in this process. "We don’t want to lose our businesses. I have the same concern with traffic, but I am comfortable it’s a good solution if it will be monitored. Safety is primary," he said.
Service Street Automotive final PD site plan approved
Pesicka presented an ordinance approving a final PD site plan for Service Street Automotive at 805 W. Baptist Road. Grey Wolf Architecture sought approval to develop a 4,480-square-foot light automotive service facility on Lot 8 of the 30-acre Monument Ridge development, which is 1.36 acres. This vacant lot is adjacent to Chase Bank to the north and northbound Struthers Road to the west. There will be a 5-foot sidewalk along the south side of Lot 8 to provide pedestrian access to Struthers Road.
The 2003 Comprehensive Plan Future Land Use Map designated the site as Community Commercial, which encourages a mixture of non-residential development that provides goods, services, and employment opportunities, on sites that share access points, Pesicka said. The proposed light automotive service use was permitted by the existing PD zoning.
A water "will-serve" letter from Triview must be submitted to the Planning Department prior to recordation of the final PD site plan.
Pesicka said that no outside storage of vehicles would be allowed overnight. They will have to be stored somewhere other than the parking lot if repairs take longer than one day, he said.
The building will have one 35-foot high tower, which is allowed in this planned development, but the rest of the building will be 26 feet tall.
Xeric landscaping appropriate for Monument’s climate will be installed on the property and around the detention pond, which will be enlarged. The Monument Ridge Architectural Control Committee has approved the building and site plan, Pesicka said.
There were no public comments during the public hearing on this ordinance, and it was approved unanimously by the trustees.
Disbursements over $5,000
The trustees unanimously approved the following disbursements over $5,000 as presented in the board packet:
• Forsgren Associates Inc., Water Storage Tank Planning, $7,355
• Sutron Corp., Downstream Water Gauge, $7,639
• Elite Drilling Services LLC, Lawn Irrigation Flow Return Project, $9,309
• American Machine & Conveyer Corp., Dedicated Sample Sites for Testing, $5,980
• Jacobs Engineering, Downtown Sidewalk Project, $5,315
At 7:05 p.m. the board went into executive session for the purposes of receiving legal advice on specific legal questions. No announcements were made after the session.
Caption: Site plan of the newly approved Natural Grocers store between I-25 and Jackson Creek Parkway on the north side of West Baptist Road. Diagram courtesy of Town of Monument Board of Trustees Packet for the Jan. 5 meeting.
Caption: Proposed concrete removal from the existing Baptist Road median to convert this intersection to full-motion (four-way) access, from Vertex Engineering PD site plan page C1.02. Concrete from the existing center median in the stub access that currently forces a right turn to the west would also have to be removed to create a southbound left-turn lane for vehicles crossing all three westbound lanes to "find refuge" in the median before merging into the left eastbound through lane of Baptist Road. http://www.ocn.me/v14n12.htm#brrta1114.
Caption: Proposed new Natural Grocers store.
Caption: Jeff Smith was appointed by the trustees on Dec. 15 to fill the spot of Trustee Stan Gingrich, who resigned Dec.1. Smith was sworn in at the Jan. 5 Board of Trustees meeting by Town Clerk Cynthia Sirochman. Photo by Lisa Hatfield.
Caption: Police officer Amanda Molnar was sworn in by Police Chief Jake Shirk at the Jan. 5 Monument Board of Trustees meeting. Photo by Lisa Hatfield
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Nancy Wilkins
At the Jan. 8 Board of Directors meeting of the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD), Russ Broshous asked the board to define costs for a non-potable irrigation system. The board discussed when the district should switch to well water in the summer, passed a resolution to comply with state statutes, planned to discuss increasing the availability of service charges at the April 9 meeting, and agreed to investigate the costs of building infrastructure to transport water as part of the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority.
Russ Broshous asks: "What are the terms of trade?"
The Brookmoor Home Owners Association, located within WWSD, is considering switching to a non-potable irrigation system from potable water for its residents. Brookmoor currently has a water pipe in place that the district could use to transport non-potable water. Broshous, representing Brookmoor, asked if there would be any charge if he kept the 2-inch tap currently in place, or what charge would incur if Brookmoor changed to different non-potable water tap sizes. The current not-to-exceed tap fees for potable water cost tens of thousands of dollars. At the Jan. 8 meeting, the district had not yet defined its non-potable water policy that would include the cost of the non-tap fees.
Broshous mentioned he would like the board to clarify these charges as soon as possible,
indicating he wants to present this information to the Brookmoor association meeting Jan 21. According to Broshous, the target date to install the irrigation system is April 1.
District Manager Jessie Shaffer said the district hopes to finish establishing policies around February. The district wants to receive a recommendation from Raftelis Financial Consultants prior to deciding the non-potable rates. Shaffer’s "best guess" is that the non-potable tap fees would be less then the potable tap fees.
To convert Brookmoor to non-potable water, Shaffer uses water distribution software to help determine the correct pressure in a non-potable line. The district may need to construct a water regulating device, add filters, or adapt the non-potable line to a water pumping facility. Shaffer told the board construction time would be two to four weeks.
The infrastructure costs incurred by WWSD to provide the non-potable water is a consideration that will most likely affect the non-irrigation tap fee and non-potable water rates in the future. Until the board has more information and a policy can be written, attorney Erin Smith asked Broshous if it was possible to provide cost limits from Brookmoor for the board to work with.
Director Barrie Town suggests a clear policy that defines the costs for non-potable water. This includes the knowledge of a pricing system that increases the user fees of non-potable water as the consumption fits into increasingly more expensive fee brackets. In the long run, Town said, a better way to landscape may save customers the most amount of money.
2014 unaccounted water 8 percent; December at negative 13 percent
Operations Manager Randy Gillette reported the percentage of unaccounted water for 2014 to be around 8 percent, which Gillette considers a good percentage.
The district calculates the monthly percentage of unaccounted water by subtracting the potable water billed from the net water pumped. The unaccounted water percentage can vary if the measurement of the potable water billed is not determined at the same time as net water pumped. December readings, without adjusting for time difference, shows a negative 13 percent amount of unaccounted water, with potable water billed at 18.1 million gallons subtracted from the net water pumped at 16.0 million gallons. Unaccounted water in November was around 22 percent. The two months combined, however, bring the district back closer to the yearly average.
Gillette said, from the sewer side, the district is sending about the same amount of water to the plant that is being billed.
Treasurer Tommy Schwab moved to approve the December financial reports as drafted, which the board voted unanimously to accept. The Balance Sheet for Dec. 31 shows a total of $71.02 million in total assets and $28.26 million in total liabilities. Although the district has yet to be audited for 2014, the Dec. 31 income statement shows a net loss of $4.21 million, due primarily for $6.1 million spent to pay as a settlement for the J.V. Ranch and water rights. In turn, the acquisition of the water rights and land increased the district’s capital assets, and reduced the amount of restricted cash, as seen on the Balance Sheet.
Significant sources of income accumulated for the year for the district shown for Dec. 31 are: JV Ranch lease income of $70,000, Sewer Use Fees income of $1.15 million, Water Use Fees of $2.48 million, Renewable Water Investment Fee of $1.9 million, Water and Sewer Taps fee of $1.3 million, Miscellaneous Income $85,068, interest income at $69,815, and Availability of Service $8,435.The total operating income shown is $7.46 million.
Significant year-to-date expenses reported for Dec. 31 were $6.1 million for land and water rights, $695,000 for bond principal, $1.2 million for bond interest, $97,811 for the Chilcott Ditch Co., $444,690 for utilities, $347,811 for professional fees, $360,388 for sewer treatment expenses, $331,025 for repairs and maintenance, and $82,670 for office expenses. Total expenditures shown are $11.65 million.
The financial reports, including a complete year-to date list of revenues and expenses for Dec. 31, should be available at the office. The district may also modify the drafted reports. The audit for 2014 is expected to be completed in June.
Raising a glass to check water quality
Trying to avoid possible taste and odor problems from using lake water in the late summer months, Schwab asked if the district should start using more lake water one month earlier than last year, and switch to well water in late summer. Gillette said Lake Woodmoor rose 1½ feet in December. The district uses lake water for peak demands, occurring in August. Shaffer said if the district is short, it would have to "fire the lake back up." But to avoid a water taste and odor issue, switching off lake water may help. Using the lake water is considered less expensive than well water for the district.
The district is trying to identify plant species that may cause poor taste and odor. Shaffer said they are looking at a plant commonly known as the coon tail. Gillette said Lake Woodmoor does not have a blue green algae problem, and the district is continuing to perform water quality checks.
April 9 meeting will consider increase of availability of service charge
The board is looking to raise the availability of service charge to $100 or $200. Availability of service charges are given to owners of undeveloped lots in the district. Attorney Erin Smith said Woodmoor residents should receive a notice of the meeting by mail.
Gary Potter joins WWSD as new employee
Gillette and Shaffer were glad to announce that Gary Potter was recently hired as a maintenance operator. Gillette said Potter has a degree in geography and a small systems certificate, and prefers working outdoors. Gillette praised Potter’s work at WWSD.
Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority report
Shaffer asked the board if it wants to spend up to $10,000 to pay for a Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority study on how to transport water from the Black Forest area to the northern end of the county. It is a pre-design study on how regionally the infrastructure can be put in place to transport water, and the costs associated in doing so. Shaffer indicated the plans could include building a reservoir to store water for times of peak use. Town envisioned joining costs with different water authorities, and recommended the board approve paying for the study.
Board passes compliance resolution
The board passed resolution 15-01 to comply with numerous state statutes. Among these statutes, the district is required to post notices of public meetings in three places, file an annual report, hold regular meetings, and file an accurate map of the district with three government agencies: the county assessor, the Division of Local Government, and the county clerk and recorder. Also included is statute 32-1-902(3)(b) requiring directors to disqualify themselves from voting if there is a conflict of interest, or properly disclose such interest. The resolution also compels the board to comply with Colorado Statute 32-1-809 known as the "Transparency Notice."
Town said the board was going into executive session "for Colorado Revised Statute 24-6-402-4(a) for discussion related to the purchase, acquisition, lease, transfer, or sale of any real, personal, or other property interest and 24-6-402-4(e), negotiations for the Joint Use Agreement and Village Center."
Board meetings are held at the district office on the second Thursday of each month at 1 p.m. The next board meeting is scheduled for Feb. 12. The district office is located at 1845 Woodmoor Dr. Visit www.woodmoorwater.com or call 488-2525.
Nancy Wilkins can be contacted at email@example.com
Tri-Lakes Facility Joint Use Committee, Jan. 13: Questions raised about state grant funding availability
By Jim Kendrick
On Jan. 13, Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District Manager Jessie Shaffer advised the Joint Use Committee (JUC) of the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility that his district’s board is concerned that the Colorado Legislature might not allocate funding for state nutrient grants for the state fiscal year starting this July and wants to get as much construction completed as possible for the treatment constituent expansion for total phosphorus removal by the end of the state’s current fiscal year on June 30.
The Tri-Lakes facility 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: Don Smith of Monument, Ken Smith of Palmer Lake, and Rich Strom of Woodmoor. Tri-Lakes accountant Jackie Spegele of Numeric Strategies LLC presented national changes to accounting standards for 2015. Several other directors of the owner district boards, Monument District Manager Mike Wicklund, Palmer Lake District Manager Becky Orcutt, and Shaffer also attended the meeting.
Tri-Lakes Facility Manager Bill Burks reported that Jan. 2 was his 25th anniversary at the plant to a round of applause from all these attendees.
Financing of total phosphorus project still unresolved
Burks asked the JUC, "Can we proceed with construction without a financial plan? We’re running into going out for bid by the end of the month. I’d hate to bring contractors in and then find out we’re not going to do it."
Strom replied "We cannot award the contract without having the money." Strom then proposed the total phosphorus project be put out for bids as soon as possible so that a contract could be awarded at the Feb. 10 JUC meeting. He offered a fill-in-the-blank draft agreement that would allow each district to specify what percentage it was willing to pay in the interim until a final settlement on cost sharing for the total phosphorus project is negotiated between the parties or determined in district court. The agreement called for the districts to settle within 10 business days after the final cost sharing determination is made.
The amount that each of the three owner districts will contribute to pay for their ownership shares of the new total phosphorus constituent plant expansion, as well as the method used to determine their separate shares of future phosphorus chemical treatment operating costs, is still being negotiated at this time in separate private inter-district meetings that do not involve the JUC.
There were no phosphate limits when the existing Tri-Lakes activated sludge facility was designed and constructed in 1988, nor were there any EPA or state Water Quality Control Division or commission discussions at that time that there would ever be specific organic discharge constituent limits for phosphorus in treated effluent in 1988 or later in 1998 when the Tri-Lakes facility was expanded by Woodmoor. Tetra Tech has stated in its design and engineering proposal to the state Health Department that there is no designed total phosphorus removal in the existing plant.
Monument’s position, as stated at previous JUC meetings, is that each district should pay the same percentage of the cost of expansion for removing the influent constituent total phosphorus as the amount of currently owned treatment capacity for treating hydraulic flows and removing biosolid wastes and that each district should own this same percentage of the new chemical total phosphorus treatment capacity of 264 pounds per day. This allocation of owned hydraulic capacity and biosolids treatment capacity is specified as follows in the Joint Use of Facilities Agreement, which controls facility operations and funding plant expansions for new constituents:
Woodmoor —64.28 percent, Monument—19.79 percent, and Palmer Lake—15.93 percent.
Monument also believes it is fairest to all ratepayers in the Tri-Lakes facility service area if the three owner districts receive these same percentages of the $1 million state grant for design and construction.
Woodmoor’s position is that each district should pay one-third of the estimated $2.32 million construction cost of the new total phosphorus treatment equipment expansion, even though Woodmoor would still own 64.28 percent of the new total phosphorus treatment capacity of 264 pounds, 169.7 pounds per day (ppd). This position would require a subsidy of 13.54 percent ($314,128) by Monument’s ratepayers to Woodmoor ratepayers, and a subsidy of 17.40 percent ($403,680) by Palmer Lake ratepayers to Woodmoor ratepayers. All three districts would receive one-third of the $1 million state design and construction grant to reduce their equal individual $733,333 costs by an equal individual grant share, $333,333 each. The net cost by thirds would be $440,000 each.
However, Monument’s position is if it has to pay a third of the total phosphorus treatment expansion cost of $2.32 million ($773,333), it should own a third of the new 264 ppd of phosphorus treatment capacity, which is 88 ppd. Monument believes that if it is only going to own 19.79 percent, or 52.2 ppd of the new total phosphorus expansion’s treatment capacity, rather than 88 ppd, then Monument should only be responsible for 19.79 percent of the estimated $2.32 million construction cost, $459,128, which would be partially paid by 19.79 percent of the $1 million grant ($197,900) for a net Monument cost of $261,228.
The Palmer Lake staff and board appear to have approved paying the $2.32 million construction cost by thirds even though Palmer Lake would own only 15.93 percent of the new 264 ppd of total phosphorus treatment capacity, which is 42.1 ppd rather than the 88 ppd it would have paid for. If Palmer Lake only paid 15.93 percent of the $2.32 million cost, it would only pay $369,576, which would be reduced by 15.93 percent of the $ 1 million grant, ($159,300) for a net total cost of $210,276 instead of $440,000.
Burks said that the facility’s engineer, Steve Tamburini of Tetra Tech RTW, had told him on Jan. 9 that the project would be going out for bid by the end of January. Burks also noted two state Health Department nutrient grant reimbursements of $25,504 and $31,086 in December, which are part of a $1 million state nutrient design and construction grant awarded to the facility by Gov. John Hickenlooper in July 2013. (See http://ocn.me/v13n8.htm and http://ocn.me/v13n8.htm#grant for more information.)
Wicklund stated that Tamburini had not yet presented his 90-percent-completed design proposal to Burks or the owner districts much less the final design. He added that the Tetra Tech RTW design had not been vetted by the state’s 208 plan committee process or approved by the state and was therefore not a final design ready to be put out to bid.
Shaffer said he believed no state site application review process was required. He also expressed concern that the state might renege on paying any more nutrient grant money for the Tri-Lakes expansion after the end of June 2015 even though it had signed a grant contract that the time available for receiving grant reimbursements does not expire until June 2016.
The meeting recessed so Burks could call Tamburini at Tetra Tech RTW in Denver to get more information, however Tamburini could not be reached.
Don Smith said that Monument will only pay 19.79 percent of the costs not covered by the $1 million grant prior to a final settlement. He offered a payment of 15.93 percent of the unreimbursed costs, but Orcutt said that Palmer Lake should pay a third. Strom said Woodmoor would pay the rest of the unreimbursed costs in the interim. Shaffer said he would send a digital copy of the draft agreement to Palmer Lake and Monument after adjournment for their boards to consider during their regular January board meetings on Jan. 14 and 15 respectively.
Wicklund said having a Monument reply ready for Woodmoor on its interim financing proposal by Jan. 16 would depend on Monument’s ability to consult with its attorney regarding the interim agreement, whether Tamburini has secured final state approval on the final engineering proposal, and whether there would have to be a state 208 review of the engineering proposal.
Backup electrical generator discussed again
Burks asked the JUC if he should delete the $200,000 emergency electrical generator proposed by Tetra Tech RTW as part of the total phosphorus tertiary clarifier chemical treatment expansion and rely on use of a rented backup generator to save construction costs. He said he could only recall one time in 25 years when power was lost for a significant time—during a blizzard that knocked out power for the whole Tri-Lakes region.
Burks stated that he did not believe this generator is needed because the existing plant can operate for several days as a settling pond by gravity without electrical power during a "reasonable power outage." Burks added that manual cleaning of the bar screen and grit collector in the plant’s headworks by the Tri-Lakes operators is all that is required to sustain gravity flows through the treatment plant during a power outage. The length of a "reasonable outage" is not defined in state water quality regulations. After the tertiary total phosphorus chemical removal clarifier is built, the facility’s discharge permit’s total phosphorus limit will be a rolling annual monthly median rather than a combination monthly average and daily maximum limit like those that apply to the rest of the plant’s permitted treatment constituents.
Wicklund said Tamburini had told the JUC that Tetra Tech RTW had added the emergency electrical power generator to the Tetra Tech plans, part of the latest unplanned cost overrun from $2.007 million to $2.87 million, because it would be needed to be able to continue to operate electrically powered mechanical polymer mixing apparatus and separate flocculent sweep-out apparatus in at least one of the two parallel tertiary clarifier treatment trains if there is an electric utility power failure. Wicklund added that the JUC has stated in previous meetings that it wanted a bid option for the emergency generator to be proposed to potential contractors as part of the construction bidding process.
Wicklund noted the emergency generator would also provide power to one of the two existing parallel trains of aeration basins and secondary clarifiers. The activated sludge lagoons use electrical aeration blowers to sustain bacteria that digest biosolid wastes. The coupled gravity secondary clarifiers mechanically separate the biosolid sludge from the treated water. The ultraviolet disinfection building already has its own backup generator. Without the emergency generator, the plant would be in violation during a power failure, he said.
Burks replied that he thought the proposed backup generator could run the entire facility.
Wicklund said that the Tri-Lakes facility had to provide a completed design before Tetra Tech RTW asks for construction bids, including a completed emergency generator design for the bid option for installing this emergency generator. Furthermore Burks should probably have completed generator design plans from Tetra Tech RTW available for the state’s review, if requested, to avoid a potential delay that could jeopardize this constituent treatment expansion’s completion and certification by May 31, 2016, a restriction in the facility’s $1 million state nutrient grant contract. Wicklund also stated that completed backup generator design plans may be required by the various Clean Water Act 208 plan review committees and state reviewing agencies that may be part of a state water quality management review.
Shaffer suggested that the JUC could have Tetra Tech RTW design the backup generator and include this design plan as a bid option in the facility’s bid package put out for bid, but direct Tetra Tech RTW "as a strategic move" not to include the emergency design paperwork in the final design package submitted to the state for final approval. Shaffer estimated that the generator design would probably not cost more than $5,000. He noted that by not designing or constructing the backup generator the JUC would be assuming a liability risk for deliberately deciding not to build it.
After further technical discussion of relative probabilities and risks for numerous contingency scenarios the JUC, by consensus, directed Burks to have Tetra Tech RTW proceed with designing the backup emergency electric generator installation.
During his review of the December financial reports, Burks noted a payment of $3,778 to Green Electric. Green replaced failed timers that had operated the 25-year-old exterior lighting system for the entire facility with a photoelectric sensor and also replaced exterior halogen fixtures that had failed due to burnt-out ballasts with LED fixtures that use less electrical power. As the rest of the halogen fixtures fail, they will also be replaced with LED fixtures.
Burks said there was a payment of $2,785 ($1,000 under budget) to Sharpest Cut Landscaping for concrete repairs to the south Woodmoor influent wastewater metering vault.
A typical Parshall flume, shown at the right, is an open-channel flow measuring device with a channel that is a calibrated venture constriction. The venturi constriction causes the wastewater flow to back up into the upstream channel at the top of the photo. The greater the wastewater flow, the deeper the water is upstream of the flume’s concrete constriction. The height of the flow in the upstream section is typically measured by an ultrasonic level meter that is suspended above the flume’s input as seen in the upper center of the photo. The height of the raised flow is digitally converted to the flow rate through the calibrated flume. The flow is measured in millions of gallons per day (MGD). These flumes are used throughout the Tri-Lakes facility to measure influent wastewater flows from each of the three owner districts for proportional division of operating costs for the treatment plant based on their separate total monthly flows.
Recalibration of the repaired concrete Parshall flume in this Woodmoor vault had not yet been performed on Jan. 15. Burks said the recalibration would be completed before the current low winter flows increase in the spring.
The December financial reports were unanimously accepted as presented.
Financial report format changed
The facility’s accountant, Jackie Spegele of Numeric Strategies LLC, briefed the board on a change in accounting standards and definitions that required her to change the title for her 2015 monthly reports to the JUC from "prepared report" to "compilation report." She also recommended deletion of the last page of the facility’s monthly financial report called "Statement of Cash Flows," which is a standard accounting report designed to provide a separate format for reporting leasing agreements and loan payments, neither of which currently apply to the Tri-Lakes facility. There was JUC consensus to accept Spegele’s recommendations.
Plant manager’s report
Burks reported that the plant was operating effectively. He noted that one November E. coli sample had a higher result than normal, though within the discharge permit’s individual maximum sample limit, due to effluent turbidity that resulted from having only one of the facility’s two hourly operator positions filled. All other E. coli sampling results were normal.
The net November phosphorus influent results for the Tri-Lake plant were 1.078 MGD and 66 ppd. The new total phosphorus chemical removal tertiary clarifier constituent treatment capacity is rated at 264 ppd by Tetra Tech RTW. The November phosphorus influent testing results for flow (MGD), concentration in milligrams per liter (mg/l), loading in pounds per day (ppd), and percent of loading were:
• Monument – 0.192 MGD, 9.4 mg/l, 15.1 ppd, 22.8 percent
• Palmer Lake – 0.241 MGD, 5 mg/l, 10.3 ppd, 15.6 percent
• Woodmoor – 0.645 MGD, 8 mg/l, 40.6 ppd, 65.9 percent
Burks also prepared a chart of results for all three months of phosphorus testing of owner district raw wastewater influent to date (September to November) that showed the following average loading:
• Monument – 15.3 ppd, 24.5 percent
• Palmer Lake – 10.5 ppd, 16.9 percent
• Woodmoor – 36.7 ppd, 58.6 percent
These average percentages for phosphorus loading are roughly the same as the current averages for biosolids loading for each of the owner districts.
Burks reported that Tri-Lakes had agreed to perform additional monthly sampling at additional sites for metals and E. coli for the Arkansas and Fountain Coalition for Rural/Urban River Evaluation (AF CURE) baseline being created for Monument Creek and Fountain Creek.
Because they are only a few miles apart, separated only by the Baptist Road bridge over Monument Creek, the monthly Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility’s upstream sample data will also be used as Tri-Lakes’ monthly downstream data to save outsourced testing money for both facilities. Tri-Lakes will also take more monthly samples north of Monument Lake. Burks noted that the all the Tri-Lakes monthly samples taken for Chromium 6 will have to be turned into their lab near I-25 and I-70 within 24 hours.
The meeting adjourned at 12:50 p.m.
The next meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on Feb. 10 at the at the Tri-Lakes facility’s conference room, 16510 Mitchell Ave. Meetings are normally held on the second Tuesday of the month. Information for these meetings is available at 481-4053.
Jim Kendrick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jim Kendrick
On Jan. 15, General Manager Kip Petersen gave the Donala Water and Sanitation District (WSD) board a detailed review of the final 2014 annual financial report. He noted that water sales revenue from lawn irrigation was $197,000 (6.8 percent) under budget due to a much wetter year than the preceding drought years. However other revenues were higher than budgeted: auto tax revenue was up by $65,000 (70.2 percent), Triview tap fee reimbursements were up by $65,000 (127 percent), and miscellaneous revenue was up by $68,580 (457 percent) due to a 2013 hail damage insurance reimbursement and a $15,000 Mountain View Electric Association capital credit.
Total operating expenditures were $1.1 million (20.3 percent) less than budgeted and total capital project s were $1.14 million (63.6 percent) less than budgeted. Overall, total revenues of $6.02 million (16.3 percent under budget) exceeded total expenses of $4.94 million (31.2 percent under budget) by 21.8 percent.
The board accepted the 2014 annual financial report and 2014 annual Chandler Asset Management report as presented.
Directors Bill George, Dave Powell, Ken Judd, Bill Nance, and Bob Denny were all present. The district’s consultant engineer, Katie Fendel of Leonard Rice Engineers Inc. in Denver, attended the meeting.
The board unanimously approved renewal of the annual schedule of board meetings and posting locations notice, which was essentially unchanged from 2014. Donala’s board meetings are normally held on the third Thursday of the month at 1:30 p.m. The two exceptions in 2015 are the June meeting on June 11 and the Nov. 19 meeting is a workshop at 9 a.m. The Donala posting locations are still the district office at 15850 Holbein Drive, People’s National Bank on the south end of Gleneagle Drive, and the Loaf-N-Jug on Gleneagle Drive, next to the district drop box.
Petersen briefed the board on the first Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority (PPRWA) board meeting held on Jan. 7. PPRWA’s legislative liaison Dick Brown reviewed the state Legislature’s activities to date, the new state water plan (http://coloradowaterplan.com), two bills related to water right quantification, and a bill on ditch tailwater. The following PPRWA board officers were elected:
• President – Jessie Shaffer, Woodmoor WSD
• Vice President – Kip Petersen, Donala WSD
• Treasurer – Roy Heald, Security WSD
• Secretary – Ann Nichols, Forest Lakes Metro District
Petersen said he and Director Denny would attend the annual three-day Colorado Water Congress Conference in Denver on Jan. 28. He said Donala’s biggest problem is water storage, noting that the Reuter-Hess Dam is the only regional reservoir that has been built in the past 20 years due to the expenses and delays caused by environmental impact statements and advocacy groups.
Fendel noted that the current estimated cost of expanding Chatfield Reservoir, located in Chatfield State Park on the southwest side of Denver, by 75 percent after a decade of studies is about $160 million. The average level of the water stored in the reservoir would go up 12 feet, requiring expenses for replacing wetlands and fisheries, and rebuilding nearly all of Chatfield’s recreational facilities, cottonwood trees, roads, and parking areas that will become submerged. She said the Audubon Society is suing the state to prevent the Chatfield expansion.
The Chatfield Reservoir expansion proposed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would add 20,600 acre-feet to its maximum storage capacity. After the expansion, the level of the reservoir will go up and down 19 feet. The expansion would provide on average additional 8,500 acre-feet of water per year for city and industrial use. An acre-foot is 325,851 gallons. An average household uses 0.4 acre-feet of water per year. The expansion would provide water for about 21,000 houses on average.
The board held a lengthy technical discussion on the technical, political, and legal issues involved in protecting special district water rights and uses from the proposals in the state water plan for the state to be able to expropriate temporarily unused adjudicated surface water rights.
Petersen presented preliminary results of his Donala water consumption review that showed well water production, Willow Creek Ranch surface water production, summer irrigation restrictions, and water rates over the last 13 years. He said this is too short a time period to draw any definitive statistically reliable conclusions about how Donala’s escalating tiered rate system is influencing total water consumption compared to drought or high rainfall during the irrigation season or limiting irrigation two times per week.
Petersen reported the current ownership shares of Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility, now that Triview Metropolitan District has paid off Donala’s construction loan that it needed to pay for Triview’s share of the cost of the recent expansion and switch to a sequenced batch reactor process: Donala—38.9 percent, Forest Lakes Metro District—17.1 percent, and Triview Metro District—44.0 percent
Petersen reported changing the district’s insurance carrier for comparable or improved 2015 coverage from Cincinnati Insurance Co. of Littleton to Travelers Insurance with a savings of $13,853.
Willow Creek Ranch update
There was a lengthy technical discussion between Petersen and the board on continuing negotiations with Pueblo County for a state 1041 permit to transport Donala’s Willow Creek Ranch renewable surface water from storage in the Pueblo Reservoir through the Colorado Springs Utilities Southern Delivery System pipeline. Pueblo County is still asking for more information from Donala before making a determination on Donala’s application for the 1041 permit based on an exemption or finding of no specific impact. Pueblo County has asked Donala to again provide "information as to what authority and discretion that Donala has now or can potentially have to fund, construct, or regulate the discharge and control of stormwater within its existing and proposed service areas."
Note: Donala is solely a water and sanitation district and has no stormwater authority or responsibility in its service plan, much less any obligation to perform any stormwater treatment. El Paso County is responsible for stormwater within the Donala service area. Donala is virtually built out and no significant changes in stormwater runoff will occur within its service area.
The board asked Petersen to schedule a board workshop to discuss this issue in depth in February.
The board went into executive session at 3:40 p.m. to discuss a personnel matter.
The next meeting will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Feb. 19 in the district conference room at 15850 Holbein Drive. Meetings are normally held on the third Thursday of the month. Information: 488-3603 or http://www.donalawater.org/.
Jim Kendrick can be reached at email@example.com.
District Accountability Advisory Committee, Jan. 13: Committee discusses Bear Creek Elementary and Lewis-Palmer Middle School UIPs
By Harriet Halbig
The District Accountability Advisory Committee of Lewis-Palmer School District 38 discussed the Unified Improvement Plans (UIPs) for Bear Creek Elementary School and Lewis-Palmer Middle School at its Jan. 13 meeting.
Bear Creek Elementary UIP
Principal Peggy Parsley explained the plan for Bear Creek Elementary.
The school was rated as "meets" in the categories of academic achievement, academic growth, and academic growth gaps and met the 95 percent test participation requirement. Strengths in the school’s evaluation include reading for English learners and students needing to catch up, which were rated as "exceeds."
Weaknesses are in math for those on free/reduced-price lunch, math for students with disabilities ("does not meet"), and students needing to catch up. In writing, those on free/reduced lunch, students with disabilities, and students needing to catch up were rated as "approaching."
Parsley explained that students with disabilities, students needing to catch up, and English learners had progressed from "does not meet" to "approaching" in math since last year, proving that present efforts are effective.
In the area of math, the UIP states that instructional strategies appear to be a problem, along with the fact that a number of students entering the district were unfamiliar with the math vocabulary. The school instituted the use of Math Triumphs for fourth- and fifth-graders to offer intervention for students struggling in math. Students also had access to web-based practice opportunities that could be used at home or at school. An instructional coach was added to the team to assist with instructional strategies.
In the area of writing, it was determined that insufficient time was being devoted to this skill. There is also a lack of intervention services for writing. To remedy this, the school is using an instructional literacy coach funded by Title IIa federal funding and the Every Child a Writer program.
Lewis-Palmer Middle School UIP
Lewis-Palmer Middle School was rated as "meets" for academic achievement and academic growth and as "approaching" in academic growth gaps. This school also met the 95 percent test participation requirement.
The school set targets for growth in math and writing for students with disabilities. While they did not reach targets, growth was achieved.
The UIP states that an area that needs improvement is increased monitoring and goal setting, following by research-based interventions. The need for monitoring is increased by the fact that, as a two-year school, the students being monitored change frequently and prompt action is required.
An additional goal for teachers is to have more training in differentiation of instruction, accepting the fact that students have various learning styles. By acknowledging this fact and using various styles of presentation, performance should improve, according to the UIP. Careful monitoring of the achievement of all students will increase.
Board liaison John Magerko distributed information on recent legislative activity involving schools. He reported on activities of a task force regarding assessments and the possibility of eliminating all testing for high school seniors and a reduction in the testing of juniors, although still requiring ACT for juniors. The conversation continues, he said.
The State Board of Education voted to allow school districts to seek waivers from administering parts of the PARCC test scheduled for March. The state attorney general responded by saying that the state board did not have the authority to suggest such action.
Campus introduction: Lewis-Palmer Elementary School
Principal Kim Blair of Lewis-Palmer Elementary school gave a brief overview of her campus, which was the location of the meeting. Lewis-Palmer Elementary (LPES) has a student population of 439 and a teacher/student ratio of 22 to 1. The facility was built in 1973 as a middle school.
Due to the number of students on free/reduced lunch, LPES qualifies for Title I federal funding. This year the funds were used to create an intensive intervention studio and gifted/talented programs.
In addition to school-day offerings, there are many extracurricular activities, including Lego Robotics, Rubik’s Cube, cooking, crochet, basketball, and chess instruction. These activities are offered by teachers and parents.
Community involvement opportunities include movie nights, a carnival, book fairs, and an art show. The school is also planning a culture day, which will include an assembly with dancers from various cultures and presentations by parents from various cultures.
The District Accountability Advisory Committee meets at 7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month. Locations vary. The Feb. 10 meeting will be at Monument Academy, 1150 Village Ridge Point, Monument.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Harriet Halbig
The Board of Education discussed a strategic plan for technology and curriculum, recognized athletic accomplishments, and learned of achievement by exceptional students and English learners at its Jan. 15 meeting.
Strategic Plan Update
Curriculum/Instruction Director Sheila Beving spoke to the board about continuing consideration of technology and curriculum. She said that the board has positioned the district to use some of its resources to improve the technology position of the district.
As examples, she mentioned the biomedical and astronomy classes in which students have created multi-media reports and used interactive materials. She said that students in these classes have been much more eager to complete their projects and are generally more engaged than in traditional classes.
The initial need is to achieve universal access to curricular materials. The next step is to ensure that this access if safe, which will require professional development.
A consultant from an adjoining district has been engaged to determine priorities as the district goes forward.
Board President Mark Pfoff commented that technology is now holding the district back because of lack of overall strategy. He said that the issue must be addressed before the end of the school year. He asked Superintendent Karen Brofft to return with options for action at the next meeting.
Exceptional Student Services update
Director of Exceptional Student Services Mary Anne Fleury reported that, for the first time, she has access to growth data for students with disabilities. She said that there is a great advantage to looking at this population in terms of growth, rather than just proficiency.
She demonstrated that students in the district were superior to the state average in terms of both growth and proficiency.
Fleury said that the department will continue to focus on the Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) to continue such progress. Actions will include professional development, identification of suitable materials, and coping with the mental health needs of students with disabilities.
English Language Learners (ELL) Director Stephanie Johnson reported that assessments of the ELL population will be administered with paper and pencil this year, and by computer in the future. Assessments will be completed in mid-February.
Students are evaluated on the basis of the abilities to listen, speak, read and write in English.
Johnson explained that measuring growth in the ELL population is difficult because students are constantly leaving the program as they gain proficiency, and entering it as they move to the district.
The ELL program offers a summer program to further the skills of its students.
Communications Audit Survey update
Consultant Kyndra Wilson reported on results of the recent survey of students, parents, staff and community members regarding the district’s communications program. She said that there were 1,073 responses from insiders and 101 from the community.
A few of the conclusions she drew were
• When people want information, they ask each other. People generally feel well informed about decisions.
• Respondents are dissatisfied with searchability of district websites. They prefer Infinite Campus to School Fusion.
• About half of the respondents use online calendars and half read newspapers. Most use social media.
• Establish standards for teacher use of School Fusion
• Create a function to allow users to select a school and types of activities on which they wish to be updated
• Remove outdated material from L-Pedia
• Build a master calendar which can be printed by users. Add the ability to determine the types of activities which appear on the calendar.
• Post district and event news in social media. Elicit a response from these postings to determine how many individuals are reading it.
• Use print with care. Print should reinforce online information.
• Pitch news stories about district events to newspapers.
• Use only television for broadcast.
Contract for Reading Support Program discussed
Prairie Winds Elementary School Principal Aileen Finnegan explained a results learning program being considered for elementary school students with significant reading disabilities.
She said that there is state funding for such support but restrictions on ways in which it may be used. The Hill Springs School in Colorado Springs and the Colorado Literacy Center also offer tutoring. The Take Flight program has been judged too expensive, although limited success was seen last year.
Finnegan said that Results Learning will partner with the district’s child care program (Kids Adventures) to provide tutoring after school hours using programs approved by the Colorado Department of Education. This program would include 60 students for one to two hours, three days a week. The students will have free access to child care before and after the tutoring. Funding will be provided by the state.
This action requires board support.
Finnegan stressed that the students are not those who would necessarily otherwise be in child care, but those who need the help. She said the program would involve a ten week commitment. A small registration fee will be administered to ensure commitment.
The Board approved the proposal as part of its consent agenda.
Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Wangeman reported that there may be 700 homes built in the next few years, which could significantly change the demographics of the district.
She also reported that possible BEST grants are being considered to assist with maintenance of district facilities and to remain in alignment with state requirements.
A soft boundary between Lewis Palmer Elementary School and Bear Creek Elementary is under consideration.
Wangeman said that last year’s outflow of students to District 20 was a decrease from the previous year, which the inflow from Douglas County increased by 50.
Wangeman further reported that the district includes 163 students fewer than projected while preparing the budget. The governor’s proposed budget is still being analyzed as the legislature considers his proposal for an additional $200 million for education.
The forecast for the state is stronger employment and housing.
Wangeman said that the goals of the Board include improved technology, improved communication and a number of capital improvements to include water systems, roadwork, windows, a cooling tower at Lewis-Palmer High School, and the purchase of additional busses.
Nutritional Services continues to be profitable despite going off of federal funding for the high schools.
Lewis-Palmer High School Principal Sandi Brandl introduced women’s volleyball coach Susan Odenbaugh and team members Alexa Smith and Mariah Evans. Odenbaugh has been selected as MaxPreps Coach of the year as well as Gazette Coach of the Year. Alexa has been named MaxPreps Player of the Year in addition to several other awards and Mariah has been named to the MaxPreps Underclass All-American Girls Volleyball Team and was a finalist for www.PrepVolleyball.com Player of the Year.
The Lewis-Palmer High School poms dance team was recognized as having the highest combined grade point average of any team in its division by the Colorado High School Activities Association. The girls’ average GPA is 3.6.
The Lewis-Palmer D-38 Board of Education meets at 6 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month in the district’s learning center, 146 Jefferson St., Monument. The next meeting will be on February 19.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at email@example.com.
Donald Wescott Fire Protection District, Jan. 20: Station 3 appraised higher than two purchase offers
By Nancy Wilkins
At the Jan. 20 Donald Wescott Fire Protection District board meeting, Directors Greg Gent, Joyce Hartung, Bo McAllister, and John Fredell received a formal appraisal of Station 3, heard the 2014 year-end report from Assistant Chief Scott Ridings, approved the meeting minutes and financial reports for November and December, and went into executive session to discuss the possibility of selling Station 3.
Station 3 appraised more than $120,000 from highest offer
After receiving two offers to purchase Station 3, the board decided at the Dec. 2 board meeting to acquire a formal appraisal of the building and property. Certified General Appraiser Andrew D. Link took three comparative property values from homes sold in 2014, each located within one-half mile from the station. The appraised value for Station 3 was more than $200,000, well above the two offers of $81,700 and $40,000 presented to the board in December.
Station 3 is located at 15000 Sun Hills Drive. The building has two separate garages, the largest of which is about 1,400 square feet. The floor plan sketch also shows an upstairs meeting room measuring about 20 by 20 feet. The board is expected to continue discussing selling Station 3 at the next meeting.
Calls increased 6 percent in 2014
Assistant Chief Ridings presented the board with the 2014 year-end report listing 2,213 calls in 2014, a 6 percent increase over the 2,087 calls in 2013. Fire Chief Vinny Burns and Ridings said that as the age and population of district residents increase, the number of medical calls increase.
The report shows the total number of calls made in 2014 by each day of the week. Monday was the highest call day with 362 calls. There were 340 calls on Tuesday, 347 on Wednesday, 298 on Thursday, 334 on Friday, 294 on Saturday, and 238 on Sunday.
According to the year-end report, the majority of calls were for emergency medical services. Another 117 EMS calls included vehicle accidents, seven calls included a motor vehicle accident with a pedestrian, and 28 calls were for carbon monoxide detector alarms. The report also showed two lighting strikes without fire and one severe weather or natural disaster standby.
When an emergency call comes in, the district knows if the location has fire hydrants, so before the firefighters leave the station they can add the right equipment to the emergency vehicles, Riding said. A copy of the report with more detailed information should be available at the office.
Administrative Assistant Stacey Popovich presented the bank balances for November and December. November balances show Peoples National Bank, $38,862; PNP Colorado Peak Fund, $180,109; Colorado Trust, $439,409, and Wells Fargo Public Trust, $587,702.
December balances show Peoples National Bank, $37,385; PNP Colorado Peak Fund, $180,124; Colorado Trust, $439,411; and Wells Fargo Public Trust, $425,737. Popovich said the district should expect an additional $50,000 from unused funds from 2014 to carry forward to 2015.
Lieutenants from the Sheriff’s Office visit Wescott
Chief Burns said Wescott recently received visitors from Sheriff Bill Elder’s office. Burns said the welcomed visit was a significant improvement in communication "in only two weeks." Elder recently became the new sheriff for El Paso County, taking the oath of office in January. The two departments can share dispatch information.
The board went into executive session, with Gent citing Colorado Revised Statute 24-6-402 (4) (a). to discuss selling Station 3. According to Popovich, the meeting ended after the executive session at about 8:33 p.m. with continued plans to sell Station 3.
The Donald Wescott Fire Protection District Board of Directors’ next meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Feb. 17 at 15415 Gleneagle Dr. Please call 488-8680, a non-emergency number, for more information, or visit www.wescottfire.org. The district is also on Facebook.
Nancy Wilkins can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Lisa Hatfield
At the first meeting in its new location at the Monument Town Hall on Jan. 28, the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD) board approved the use of a new online policy authority and discussed a related proposed change to policy on organizational structure and communications.
Policy authority approved
Monument Fire Chief Chris Truty proposed the use of a more dynamic policy authority manual to replace the existing personnel manual, last approved in 2011, that was in the process of being updated when he arrived in May 2013. Truty said that a single document like the existing one cannot keep up with an organization like TLMFPD that is undergoing change regularly.
Something like Lexipol, which is a subscription provider of state-specific policies and verifiable policy training for public safety organizations, will be used instead. It provides individual policy templates for the district to use and eventually customize after being reviewed by staff.
Also, currently, the chief was " effectively prohibited from making any formal changes to the organization without the board’ s approval." He asked the board to expand policy change approval authority to include the fire chief on those policies that are related to operations.
Truty noted on a list of about 170 Lexipol policies which ones might be changed only with board approval, chief’ s approval, or with a combination of those with input from staff. A lengthy discussion resulted in which the board, the chief, and the union asked who had the ultimate authority to make a decision whenever a disagreement arose. It circled back to the Policy 300 discussion (below) that was not voted on at this meeting but will be revisited in February.
The district’ s union representatives clearly stated their viewpoint regarding the proposed changes. Firefighter Mike Keough, vice president of Local 4319 of the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) union, said that instead of an online document that could change more frequently, they preferred having a black-and-white document they could refer to as needed when they had an on-the-job question without wondering " what the district policy was today."
Franz Hankins, union president, said the union needed to have input about changes concerning wages, working conditions, benefits, and health and safety issues. The union would want mediation from the board when there is disagreement between the operational chain of command and the union firefighters or staff.
The consensus of the board and Truty was that the Lexipol items, which are written from a " best practices standpoint," still needed to be reviewed from their boilerplate form to be customized for use in TLMFPD and this would take up to two years, but that the policy was a good starting place.
Secretary Mike Smaldino suggested some changes to Truty’ s list of when the board, the staff, and the union would provide official input to any changes in a policy. The board unanimously approved the adoption of the new policy authority including those changes.
Organizational structureand communications
In a closely-related topic that was discussed but not voted on, Policy 300, Truty recommended the creation of a subcommittee to provide an alternate channel of communication for when disagreements arise within the district between the operational chain of command and the staff.
Truty’ s memo stated, " It is widely accepted by district staff that two of the factors that contributed to the district’ s need for leadership change was the abuse of authority and a failure of the chain-of-command. Past discussion at district board meetings has been about preventing these failures from occurring again, especially if the failure is at the district’ s highest leadership levels. Assuring staff that leadership at all levels, including the board, is committed to solid organizational leadership, appropriate authority, and healthy chain-of-command is a primary message that is regularly sent to staff."
The board consensus was that the preferred course of action was that staff would talk to the chief first when there was a problem. But in times of disagreement, the proposed subcommittee would allow for communication between staff and the board of directors directly. It would consist of two members of the Board of Directors, two TLMFPD IAFF 4319 members, and one non-union member. Otherwise, staff members are not supposed to initiate contact with the board without having first informed the chief.
The board and the union planned to discuss the policy again at the next meeting.
Chief’ s report
Truty informed the directors that revenues were $350,000 over what had been budgeted in 2014 due to increased specific ownership taxes. He asked the board for direction on how to allocate the serendipitous funds. After some discussion, the consensus was to finish paying for extra vacation time that had been accrued by staff (a statutory requirement), increase the fund balance for the emergency operation of the district from 53 days to 60 days, and move up the new or re-chassied ambulance purchase by one year.
Fire Marshal John Vincent discussed home sprinkler systems and home insurance companies.
Truty said that the recent weeklong academy to train two temporary firefighters used a template made by Keough that worked well and will be used again for new hires in the future.
The new EMS fee plan agreed upon by Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department Chief Margo Humes and Truty is going well, and the relationship between PLFVD and TLMFPD is very positive, Truty said.
Treasurer John Hildebrandt’ s report included the district’ s bank statements as of Dec. 31 showing an account balance of $2.19 million in five separate accounts.
The next meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 25 in the Monument Town Hall at 645 Beacon Lite Road. Meetings are usually held the fourth Wednesday of each month. For information, contact Jennifer Martin at 719-484-0911.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at email@example.com.
By Jim Kendrick
On Jan. 16, the board of the Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority (BRRTA) unanimously suspended collection of its road use fee for now even though it was BRRTA’s main source of operating revenue, other than interest on savings accounts. The BRRTA road use fee had become a form of dual taxation on development after El Paso County imposed its own county-wide traffic impact fee two years ago. Developers and the Town of Monument had complained to the county that simultaneous imposition of two separate road use impact fees was slowing down commercial and residential development. The suspension of the impact fee is retroactive to Dec. 18, 2014.
The BRRTA board consists of two elected officials of the Town of Monument and three elected El Paso County officials. The current members are Monument Mayor Pro Tem Jeff Kaiser (chair), Monument Mayor Rafael Dominguez, County Commissioners Darryl Glenn and Dennis Hisey, and County Assessor Steve Schleiker. This was the first BRRTA meeting for Schleiker, replacing former Clerk and Recorder Wayne Williams, who was elected to become the Colorado secretary of state on Nov. 4.
BRRTA CPA Carrie Bartow filled in for BRRTA District Manager Denise Denslow (both work for CliftonLarsonAllen LLP). Henceforth, the El Paso County staff will serve as BRRTA’s administrative staff at no cost to BRRTA’s taxpayers, in return for BRRTA giving up its road use fee revenue stream to induce more rapid development of the Baptist Road corridor. However, the temporary BRRTA one-cent sales tax must remain in place to pay off the principal and interest on the privately held bonds that financed construction of the state’s I-25 Baptist Road Intersection (Exit 158) when it became apparent that the state would have no road construction funds available for this project for decades. The taxpayers of BRRTA approved the temporary sales tax for 20 years to pay off the bonds issued to finance construction of the interchange.
The meeting adjourned at 2:43 p.m.
The next meeting will be held on at 2:30 p.m. on May 8 at Monument Town Hall, 645 Beacon Lite Road. Meetings are normally held on the second Friday of the second month of the quarter. Information: 884-8017.
Jim Kendrick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Allison Colburn
On Jan. 15, the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners gave final approval to an open burning ordinance designed to protect the safety of county citizens and prevent wildfires. A request for such an ordinance was made earlier this year by Black Forest residents who were concerned when they saw large piles of slash and debris being burned near their homes. After the devastating Black Forest Fire, the burning brought up fears that another fire could be recklessly ignited.
The ordinance, effective now, places emphasis on vegetation management burning—fires intentionally used for grassland or forest management. Anyone who wishes to conduct vegetation management burning must obtain an open burning air quality permit from the county Health Department in addition to an open burning permit from the Sheriff’s Office. When an open burning air quality permit is obtained, the Health Department will automatically send a request to the Sheriff’s Office, reducing the time it takes to obtain the permit. The open burning permit will then be sent electronically or by first class mail.
Open burns must also comply with all state and local fire district rules and regulations. They must be directly attended by a competent person with appropriate extinguishing equipment and they must be at least 50 feet away from any buildings or combustible fences. Those with an open burning permit should notify their neighbors and call the Sheriff’s Office at 719-390-5555 when they decide on a date and time to conduct the burn. The permit can be revoked at any time.
Black Forest Fire/Rescue Protection District Chief Bryan Jack attended the Jan. 15 BOCC meeting and acknowledged his and the Black Forest district’s support for the ordinance. He added, "In looking through the ordinance, it strikes a nice balance between several government entities. It hasn’t precluded anyone, everyone has a say, and we’re still protecting personal and private property rights."
Commissioner Littleton was optimistic about El Paso County’s ability to combat fires. In the meeting, she mentioned that the county now has aircraft available that can be dispatched within 20 minutes, has infrared capabilities, and can see through smoke at 5,000 feet.
The full ordinance may be found online at http://news.elpasoco.com/Documents/EPC%20Open%20Burning%20Ordinance.pdf.
Allison Colburn can be reached at email@example.com.
By Larry Oliver (NEPCO president)
A discussion of county assessment activities highlighted El Paso County Assessor Steve Schleiker’s presentation at the Northern El Paso County Coalition of Community Associations (NEPCO) general membership meeting on Jan. 10.
Schleiker, an El Paso County resident since 1975, said his staff totals 51personnel, including 48 full-time and three part-time employees. He has 20 appraisers that handle residential, commercial, vacant land, agriculture, and business personal property. This encompasses over 265,000 parcels. 2013 was used as an example of property values. At that time, the market value of taxable and exempt property in the county was $60.50 billion, and the assessed value was $6.33 billion.
Schleiker also said that his staff is working on the 2015 reappraisal and is currently studying sales that occurred from July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2014, which includes a study of 20 Economic Areas (EA) in the county. This included:
• EA1 (Security, Widefield, Fountain)
• EA2 (Skyway, Ivywild, Broadmoor, Cheyenne Hills, Stratton Meadows)
• EA3 (Stratton Meadows, Park Hill)
• EA4 (Eastborough, Valley Hi, Pikes Peak Park, Southborough)
• EA5 (Pleasant Valley, Mesa, Westside, Midland, Crystal Park, Bear Creek Park, Manitou Springs, Garden of the Gods, Cedar Heights, Cascade, Chipita Park, Green Mountain Falls, Ute Pass)
Real property sales in the study areas during this period totaled 26,339, including:
• 15,537 single-family residence sales
• 1,168 condo sales
• 2,059 townhome sales
• 6,813 vacant land sales
• 762 commercial sales countywide
Schleiker’s office is still working on the 2015 reappraisal. However, on a countywide average it is initially seeing slight increases to property values.
Schleiker also provided important County Assessor’s Office dates. These included:
May 1: Real Property Notices of Value mailed to all property owners and the start of real property appeals.
June 1: Deadline for property owner to submit real property appeal to his office.
June 15: Personal Property/Oil and Gas/Drilling Rig Notices of Value mailed.
June 30: Deadline for property owner to submit personal property appeal to his office.
July 1: Deadline for his office to mail Notice of Determinations on real property to property owners who have appealed.
July 10: Start of County Board of Equalization (Real and Personal Property) deadline to mail Notice of Determinations on Personal Property/Oil and Gas/Drilling Rigs
July 20: Deadline for property owners to file to County Board of Equalization
Aug. 5: County Board of Equalization (CBOE) concludes hearings no later than 30 days after CBOE decision—appeals from CBOE decisions must be filed with BAA, District Court, or BOCC for binding arbitration.
The next NEPCO meeting will be the second Saturday in March.
Bill Kappel is a meteorologist and Tri-Lakes resident. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
January was wet and a little warmer than normal, with three periods of active weather, interspersed with dry and mild weather. Winds were well-behaved during the month as well, with no major wind events. We did have a strong "Chinook" wind event that helped melt a lot of snow quickly, but overall winds did not reach damaging levels.
January started off cold and snowy, with temperatures reaching well below zero each morning from the 1st through the 4th. Temperatures finally reached to freezing and barely above on the afternoons of the 3rd and 4th. Fresh snow on each day from the 1st through the 3rd accumulated anywhere from 5 to 8 inches of new snow. This also allowed the snowpack to build up substantially, reaching 8 to 12 inches around the region, making for some beautiful winter scenery.
The week of Jan. 5 started off mild and dry, with highs reaching the low to mid-50s on both the 5th and 6th. But we would be in for a weather roller coaster ride for the remainder of the week, starting with a quick-moving cold front on the 7th. High temperatures were reached at midnight, then fell through the day, with daytime highs only reaching the mid-teens. Dense fog, freezing drizzle, and some light snow filled in quickly and stuck around through the evening of the 7th.
Westerly winds began to kick in just after midnight on the 8th, scouring out the low clouds and fog and allowing for clear skies and quiet weather through that afternoon ahead of another cold front. Low clouds and fog filled back in that afternoon, with dense fog, freezing drizzle, and flurries again affecting the area the rest of the 8th and through the 9th. Temperatures struggled to reach the low 20s on the 9th as we were stuck in the fog and low clouds.
Again, westerly winds kicked in during the evening of the 9th, clearing out the fog and low clouds and allowing for clear skies to return on the 10th. Temperatures rebounded as well, reaching the upper 40s that afternoon. Another, more organized storm system arrived during the afternoon of the 11th, with light snow filling in quickly. This system accumulated 2 to 3 inches of snow before midnight on the 12th, with even heavier amounts in town and around the east side of Colorado Springs, making for some slick roads around the region
The week of the 12th started off cool and unsettled, but dry and mild conditions moved in for the second half of the week. Temperatures on the 12th and 13th did not reach above freezing, with a little light snow accumulating as well. Areas of low clouds and fog added to the wintry feel each day as well. Temperatures were slightly warmer the next day, with mid-30s for highs, right about normal for the second week of January. Then, high pressure built in from the west/southwest over the rest of the week and into the weekend. This allowed temperatures to jump to above-normal levels, with highs in the 40s and 50s from the 15th through the 18th. We were mostly sunny and dry through the period. This would qualify as our typical "January thaw."
Active weather started of the week of the 19th, then turned to quiet weather by the end of the week. Monday the 19th started off a little warmer than normal, with highs in the upper 40s and high clouds at times. However, a storm was moving through the Southwestern U.S. and heading for Colorado, while at the same time cold air was moving from the north. These two storms came together over the region starting late on the 20th and continuing into the evening of the 21st. Snow fell, heavy at times, during the period, but winds were light most of the time. Most areas received a fresh 6 to 10 inches of snowfall, helping to push our monthly total to slightly above average levels.
With the fresh snow on the ground and light winds, temperatures stayed in the 20s for highs on the 21st and 22nd, with overnight lows dipping to around zero on the mornings of the 22nd and 23rd. High pressure began to build in for the rest of the week, with temperatures slowly moderating from the 30s on the 23rd to the upper 40s by the 25th. The warm up was slowed down as much of the sun’s energy was used up trying to melt the freshly fallen snow.
Mild weather quickly moved in over the next couple of days, with highs reaching into the upper 50s and even low 60s on the 26th and 27th. Temperatures on the 27th reached to daily record levels all along the Front Range. A storm system affected much of Colorado over the last two days of the month, but because the storm took a southerly track, we missed out on the heaviest snow. Light snow and fog were around at times on the 30th, with steadier snow from late morning through afternoon of the 31st.
A look ahead
February is often a dry and cold month for the region as we move toward the snowy and unsettled conditions of March and April. Precipitation averages less than an inch, with average high temperatures in the 30s. It can get very cold in February with arctic air making strong pushes into the region, but days begin to get a little longer, which leads to some nice, sunny days and snow melts faster.
January 2015 Weather Statistics
Average High 41.1° (+0.7°)
100-year return frequency value max 48.4° min 30.8°
Average Low 15.2° (+2.7°)
100-year return frequency value max 26.6° min 6.6°
Highest Temperature 62° on the 27th
Lowest Temperature -9° on the 3rd
Monthly Precipitation 0.99"
100-year return frequency value max 1.56" min 0.01"
Monthly Snowfall 21.6" (+7.7", 45% above normal)
Season to Date Snow 44.9" (-5.2", 11% below normal)
(the snow season is from July 1 to June 30)
Season to Date Precip. 12.71"
(+0.88", 7% above normal)
(the precip season is from July 1 to June 30)
Heating Degree Days 1143 (-52)
Cooling Degree Days 0
Bill Kappel is a meteorologist and Tri-Lakes resident. He can be reached at email@example.com.
By Bill Kappel
Arctic cold in early February
Very cold air moved into the Tri-Lakes region during the first week of February. Temperatures dropped below zero by 5 p.m. on the 4th and stayed there through the morning of the 6th. Lows bottomed out in the minus 20 range.
Another dry June
For the second year in a row, rainfall during June was well below normal, with most areas accumulating less than an inch of rainfall during the month. Temperatures were also well above normal, topping out at about 90°F on the 30th.
After a dry June, the Southwest monsoon kicked in with earnest, bringing wet conditions to the region in July and August. Some areas, especially on the southern side of the Palmer Divide and into Colorado Springs, received more than 10 inches of rainfall during the period.
Early cold in September, then warm through October
Cold air and a little snow made an early appearance during the second week of September to end what had been a week and a half of wet weather. Temperatures dipped below freezing on the 12th and 13th. Temperatures warmed quickly after this and stayed mainly mild through the end of October.
Record November cold snap
After a quiet fall, record cold moved in during the second week of November. Temperatures dropped from the low 60s during the late morning hours of the 10th to the single digits by later that afternoon behind a strong cold front. Temperatures continued to fall over the next few days.
Cold to end the year
A final very cold air mass invaded the region during the last week of the year. Starting late on Christmas afternoon and extending through the New Year, temperatures were cold, reaching double digits below zero on the 27th, 30th, and 31st. Highs stayed below zero on the 30th as well.
Bill Kappel is a meteorologist and Tri-Lakes resident. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Guidelines for letters to the editor are on page 31.
Disclamer: The opinions expressed in Letters to Our Community should not be interpreted as the views of OCN even if the letter written is an OCN volunteer
Shop Monument for the Holidays thank you
Thank you to all the merchants who contributed to the totally incredible gift baskets awarded to the winners of the Shop Monument for the Holidays contest. I’m glad Madeline VanDenHoek organized this contest to encourage more "in your ZIP code shopping" by Tri-Lakes residents, and I hope the contest happens again next December, too. We have so many neat stores right here in our own area.
By the staff at Covered Treasures
What can the innovators and the geniuses who rise to the top of their professions teach us ordinary humans? Some new books, ranging from politics and technology to war and religion, give us a glimpse of these people and the lessons they offer.
The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution
By Walter Isaacson (Simon & Schuster) $35
What were the talents that allowed certain inventors and entrepreneurs to take creative leaps and turn their visionary ideas into realities? Why did some succeed and others fail? In this thrilling tale, Isaacson begins with Lord Byron’s daughter, who pioneered computer programming in the 1840s. He explores the fascinating personalities that created our current digital revolution, including John von Neumann, Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, and Larry Page. For an era that seeks to foster innovation, creativity, and teamwork, The Innovators shows how they happen.
41: A Portrait of My Father
By George W. Bush (Crown Publishers) $28
George H.W. Bush’s life is a great American story. Following Pearl Harbor and against his father’s wishes, he delayed college to pilot torpedo bombers in the Navy during World War II. After surviving enemy fire, he returned home to marry his wartime sweetheart, make a name for himself in the oil business, and enter public service. George W. Bush describes his father’s eventful and remarkable three decades in politics, his service as a diplomat and CIA director, his eight years as vice president, and finally his election as president in 1988. More than a biography, 41 provides insights into the lessons learned by a son from watching a man he admires and adores.
The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope
By Austen Ivereigh (Henry Holt & Co.) $30
Based on extensive interviews and years of study, this is the story of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the man who went from lower-middle-class child of Italian immigrants in Buenos Aires to spiritual leader of more than a billion Catholics worldwide. This biography sheds light on the influence of Argentina’s nationalist movement on Pope Francis and the inspiration provided by early Jesuit missionaries, his radical embrace of a Church for the poor, and the hair-raising tightrope he walked during the military dictatorship of the 1970s. This thrilling account of one man’s journey through the intersection of faith and politics is the definitive account of how this radical pope came to be.
Don’t Give Up, Don’t Give In: Lessons from an Extraordinary Life
By Louis Zamperini & David Rensin (HarperCollins) $22.99
Zamperini reveals the essential values and lessons that sustained him throughout his remarkable journey, chronicled in the biography, Unbroken. A 1936 Olympian and a world-class miler, Zamperini put aside his superstar track career, volunteered for the army, and was thrust into the violent combat of World War II as a B-24 bombardier. His plane went down in the Pacific, where he survived, against all odds, drifting 2,000 miles in a small raft for 47 days. Captured by the Japanese, he courageously endured torture and psychological abuse for two years in a series of prisoner-of-war camps and returned home to face more dark hours until his spiritual rebirth in 1949.
By Bill O’Reilly & Martin Dugard (Henry Holt & Co.) $30
O’Reilly recounts the dramatic final months of World War II in Europe and Gen. Patton’s invaluable contributions to the Allied victory before his mysterious death in a car collision in December 1945. Patton had become known around the world as both an exalted commander and a controversial hero, relieved of his duties by Gen. Eisenhower, in part because of his brusque manner and outspoken nature. For almost seventy years, there has been a suspicion that his death was not an accident—and may very well have been an act of assassination. This book reveals the true man and the many powerful people who wanted him dead.
These books may inspire you to great things, or simply entertain for a few hours, but it’s worth catching a glimpse of the lives of some of those who have changed our world. Until next month, happy reading.
The staff at Covered Treasures Bookstore can be contacted at email@example.com.
By Janet Sellers
"Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working." — Pablo Picasso
Recently, a federal government survey was published on peoples’ visits to the arts in the United States. The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) data showed Colorado was No. 2 nationally in the number of adults who visit visual arts venues, with 35-40 percent of our population attending art museum or art gallery venues annually. This is quite impressive, since Colorado has a smaller overall population than nearly all the other states in the top 10.
When children have access to art classes, the benefits are lifelong. The benefits derived from enjoyment in the arts by adults have a strong correlation to the access to the arts in their childhood, and is a leading factor for the remarkably high interest and attendance in Colorado.
With Colorado’s adults, who consistently rank highly in performing arts attendance, the shares that took classes as children or went to events in childhood are well above the national average—45.9 percent and 63.5 percent, respectively. The survey indicated a very strong correlation with the arts and college grads," a college graduate is nearly twice as likely to have taken an art class or lesson in childhood than a high school graduate (59 percent compared to 32 percent). Adults of all racial and ethnic backgrounds reported similar rates of taking arts classes or lessons in the last year.
And the benefits to children and adults are not as related to parent income or social status as one might think. The survey indicated it was having access to the arts that made a huge difference lifelong to the people and to their community as a whole. I like to think that our wonderful outdoor art, on view all the time, contributes to all ages in their benefits from the arts. Actually, that’s a proven fact, too.
Here in our community, we have plenty of ongoing arts events, classes, and shows to enjoy all year round. If you have the interest and an idea, why not go ahead and join the fun. Here are some calls for artists you can get ready for now. Get out your paintbrush or your camera and go for it! Or, take a class and get ready, too.
Upcoming art events and calls for artists
Tri-Lakes Views (TLV) is a local arts group dedicated to public art exhibits in the Tri-Lakes area. Tri-Lakes is the region north of Colorado Springs encompassing the municipalities of Monument and Palmer Lake as well as unincorporated northern El Paso County and is home to over 50,000 people. The current public art exhibit extends from Palmer Lake through Monument along the Santa Fe Trail and more, and is on view outdoors 24/7. Maps available at local shops.
TLV just announced its annual Call for Entries for its ARTSites. ARTSites is a yearlong, June-to-June outdoor sculpture on-loan exhibit displayed in the Tri-Lakes area. Due date is April 15. Details at: www.trilakesviews.org
Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TCLA) exhibit, "Visions of Light" photography exhibit featuring the use of light in the artworks, March 3-28. Opening reception: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. March 6. TCLA, 304 Highway 105, Palmer Lake.
Colorado Junior Duck Stamp Design Contest—Call for student artists grades k-12. Time to start getting those great duck stamp artworks going! The 23rd annual student design contest is put on by the U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service and each state. The due date for Colorado postmarked entries is March 15, and details about the program are available online at the Colorado link here: www.fws.gov/juniorduck.
Janet Sellers is a local artist and art teacher, and helps produce local arts programs. Her paintings and art sculptures are on view in local art venues and her public art is on view in Colorado and California cities. She can be reached via OCN at JanetSellers@OCN.me
Caption: Brooklee, age 4, enjoyed a cup of hot chocolate near the ponds with her grandpa Larry Fariss at the Winterific event at Fox Run Regional park on Jan. 17. She also saw her first pinecone and made tracks in the snow, to her delight. Other children did crafts, played winter games, ate snacks, roasted marshmallows, went on walking tours with El Paso County nature guides, and saw wildlife displays. Winterific was organized to publicize the Friends of Fox Run Regional Park group, which arranged the creation of the dog run park at Fox Run. The group coordinates volunteer projects to help clean the park, has hosted summer concert series, and shares information with residents about county resources available to them. To join the Friends of Fox Run email list, write to Marilyn Gaffney at firstname.lastname@example.org. To become a sponsor in the Partners in the Park program toward maintenance of the parks, contact Dana Nordstrom, county parks outreach coordinator, at email@example.com or call (719) 520-6387. Also pictured: Other photos from the event. Photos by Lisa Hatfield and Bill Foote.
Caption: Between Thanksgiving and Christmas in good weather and bad, the members of Monument Hill Kiwanis Club and its affiliates rang the bell for the Salvation Army. The community came through by donating $40,790 into the Red Kettles outside Monument’s Safeway and King Soopers grocery stores and Walmart department store. The amount of the 2014 donations set a record for the Tri-Lakes area Salvation Army contributions. Besides the 40-plus members of Monument Hill Kiwanis Club who rang the bell, students from the Lewis-Palmer Middle School Kiwanis Builders Club and Lewis-Palmer High School Kiwanis Key Clubs and Boy Scouts from Monument’s Troop 17 also volunteered many hours to ring the bell. Monument Hill Kiwanis Club wishes to thanks all those who participated and the area stores who cooperated in this fundraiser for the Salvation Army. Photos by Warren Gerig.
Because public services such as law enforcement, fire rescue, and emergency medical care can be delayed during a large-scale emergency, it’s important for members of the community to learn how to care for themselves, their loved ones, and their neighbors until help can arrive. Community Emergency Response Training (CERT) classes work to enhance the safety of all citizens by preparing them for these events.
A CERT class was offered to the community on Jan. 29-31 at Tri-Lakes United Methodist Church and hosted by the church’s Emergency Preparedness Group.
Volunteers from the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office spent 16 total hours teaching topics including general disaster preparedness, terrorism signs, disaster psychology, basic medical, search and rescue, fire safety, and a tabletop disaster exercise.
Individuals interested in hosting a CERT class or becoming volunteer CERT instructors should contact Dr. Lizabeth Jordan, El Paso County emergency program manager, at 719-575-8401 or LizabethJordan@elpasoco.com.
Caption: Dr. Lizabeth Jordan, El Paso County emergency program manager, shown here, explained how civilians can assist with medical emergencies in mass casualty events. Photo by Lisa Hatfield.
Caption: CERT students got to use fire extinguishers to put out live fires as part of the instruction. Photo by ham radio operator Dan J. Oldfield, N0OLD.
Caption: Tri-Lakes Cares, a volunteer-supported resource center, held a blood drive on Jan. 20. Donor phlebotomist Lance W. attends to donor Tiffany Miller, a Monument resident. Tri-Lakes Cares will host additional blood drives on March 17, May 19, July 21, Sept. 15, and Nov. 17 from 2:30 to 7 p.m. Individuals who are interested in donating will find the donation bus parked in front of the Tri-Lakes Cares building at 235 N. Jefferson in Monument. Tri-Lakes Cares can be contacted at 719-481-4864. Visit www.tri-lakescares.org for further information on the organization. Photos by Allison Colburn.
Caption: On Jan. 20, John Bailey, longtime Palmer Lake resident, was among 18 residents who spoke to the Monument Board of Trustees about the water rights issue with Palmer Lake. " The one thing I never thought I would see in the Tri-Lakes area is an empty lake," he told the trustees.
Caption: Paul Banta, Palmer Lake trustee, was among 18 people who spoke at the Jan. 20 Monument Board of Trustees asking that Monument would choose to be " good neighbors" instead of allowing litigation regarding the water rights issue with Palmer Lake to go forward. Photos by Lisa Hatfield.
By Harriet Halbig
February’s Family Fun program on Saturday, Feb. 14 from 2:30 to 4 is Raptors! Meet some real owls, hawks, and vultures at your library, hear their stories, and make a small raptor puppet to take home. This program is presented by Nature’s Educators of Aurora.
The Legos Club will meet on Saturday, Feb. 21 from 10 to 11:30. All ages are welcome to be creative with our large collection of Legos. All pieces remain the property of the library.
Children are welcome to bring their favorite stuffed animal to the Stuffed Animal Sleepover on Friday, Feb. 27 from 4:30 to 5:30. Children can do a small craft and attend a story time run by teen volunteers. The stuffed animal only will spend the night at the library. Children will come to pick up their toy the next afternoon between 3 and 5 and receive a paper with pictures and details about what fun the animals had overnight.
Come to the library on Mondays between 3:30 and 7 for AfterMath, a free math tutoring program. Experienced tutors work with you on any level of math. Bring your homework and drop in for some help. No appointment is necessary. The program will continue each Monday through mid-May except for school or library holidays.
Interested in finding other Magic the Gathering players to interact with? Join us for a new gaming pastime here at the Monument Library every Monday night for teens and young adults from 7 to 8:45 p.m. Bring your cards and play, trade, enjoy.
Local video producer Jim Sawatzki will show his one-hour Emmy-nominated film Treasure of Cripple Creek at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 8. No registration is necessary, and Jim will answer questions after the screening.
Learn some innovative strategies for taking care of yourself and reducing stress by attending Stress-Busters, a program from 2 to 3:30 on Sunday, Feb. 15. No registration required.
The Monumental Readers will meet on Friday, Feb. 20 from 10 to noon to discuss Two Old Women: an Alaska Legend by Velma Wallis. All patrons are welcome to attend this monthly book group.
On the walls of the library during February will be art by Lewis-Palmer High School students. In the display case will be Depression Glass.
Palmer Lake Library events
Join the Fibernistas, a group of fiber artists who meet each Thursday from 10 to noon. Bring your own project and join like-minded crafters as you knit, crochet, or quilt the morning away. Crafters of all skill levels are welcome.
February’s Family Fun program on Saturday, Feb. 21 offers a chance to meet some special dogs from the Go Team. These are therapy-crisis dogs who will demonstrate some of their special abilities to help in emergency situations. You can also draw a picture of your favorite dog or have your picture taken with that dog. Adults, you might want to bring a camera.
Please note that all Pikes Peak Library facilities will be closed on Presidents Day, Feb. 16.
Harriet Halbig can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 RedFebruary Menu
Feb. 11: Ham, scalloped potatoes, salad
Feb. 18: Raspberry chipotle chicken, roasted potatoes, salad
Feb. 25: Lasagna, Caesar salad, garlic bread
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, "Big Red"). $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.
Free income tax filing assistance by AARP
The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) is offering free income tax filing assistance. Trained AARP volunteers will be available to answer questions and to assist filers in completing their federal and Colorado income tax returns every Monday and Thursday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., at Tri-Lakes Cares, 235 Jefferson St., Monument, until April 13. Free e-filing of both federal and Colorado returns is available.
Taxpayers with more complicated returns should seek the advice of a paid professional. Filers are asked to bring their W-2’s, 1099 INT, 1099 DIV, any health insurance information received, etc. Appointments are
recommended. Please call 481-4264, ext. 118, and leave your name and telephone number and you will be contacted for an appointment.
Tri-Lakes HAP Thrift Store February specials
The Tri-Lakes Health Advocacy Partnership Thrift Store at 790 Highway 105, Suite D, is open Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. This month get 20 percent off everything Feb. 7; 20 percent off kitchenware Feb. 9-28. Seniors age 62 and older get a 20 percent discount every Wednesday. For more information, contact 488-3495.
Academy North Gate bridge work through summer
Two bridges outside the U.S. Air Force Academy’s North Gate will be under repair through August 2015. To ease congestion, the academy will make the gate a one-way, entrance-only road in the mornings. From 7-9 a.m., no outbound traffic will be allowed through the North Gate, and travelers exiting the academy during those hours will have to use the South Gate.
Monument Academy Preschool open enrollment, through Feb. 20
Classes encourage self-autonomy, academics, and creative play. All classes offer Core Knowledge curricula, beginning elements of Saxon Math, and the Love & Logic discipline system. For more information, contact 481-1950, www.monumentacademy.net.
Choice enrollment now open in D-38, tours offered
Choice enrollment for all grade levels is now open through Feb. 20. This is the time for residents and non-resident students to apply to attend any D-38 school. Details and forms are posted on the district website, www.lewispalmer.org. Both D-38 high schools are offering tours for families on the following dates. Lewis-Palmer High School, Feb. 13, 1:30 p.m.; Palmer Ridge High School, Feb. 20, 1:30 p.m. Please contact Palmer Ridge at 867-8600 or Lewis-Palmer at 488-6186 to sign up. These tours are intended for district or non-resident students wishing to choice enroll or for new families moving to our area. Check with individual schools for additional open houses and tours.
St. Peter Catholic School enrolling for preschool-eighth grade, 2015-2016
The school offers full and half-day preschool, Core Knowledge Curriculum with small class sizes, Christ-centered education. NCA accredited, state licensed, financial aid available. Call or visit: 124 First St., Monument; 481-1855; www.petertherock.org.
Tri-Lakes Women’s Club announces 2015 grant process, apply by March 15
Tri-Lakes Women’s Club (TLWC) grant application for 2015 will be available until March 15 on the TLWC website, www.tlwc.net. Eligible organizations include nonprofit and public service organizations and public schools that serve the Tri-Lakes area. Special program and project requests are welcomed. The application package includes the instructions as well as other very important qualifying information. For more information, contact the committee chair, Donna Wagner, at email@example.com.
Sponsors needed for Lewis-Palmer Football Old School Golf Tournament, May 23
This scramble tournament fundraising event still needs hole sponsors, $100 per hole, with a sign at a hole; a company to cater lunch for 80 people at Lewis-Palmer High School; and prize donations. To become a sponsor or for more information, contact Coach Tupper, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Exchange student host families needed for 2015-16 school year
Welcome a new culture into your home and provide a life-changing experience for a teenager from another country. EF (Education First) High School Exchange Year program offers exceptional and financially secure exchange students. Contact local exchange coordinators Sheryl and Dave Ellis, 208-9739 or sheryl.ellis@EFexchangeyear.org. For more information about the program, visit www.EFexchangeyear.org.
Sheriff’s Office warns of phone scam
The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office has received information of fraud which involved impersonation of a deputy sheriff. On both occasions the victims received a phone call; the caller identified himself as a deputy from the Sheriff’s Office. The suspect told the victims they had a warrant and needed to report to the Sheriff’s Office at 27 E. Vermijo Ave. to make a $1,000 payment to clear up the warrant. The Sheriff’s Office reminds citizens that the office never calls and informs individuals they have an active warrant and never asks individuals to make payments to clear up a warrant. Warrants must be taken care of at the Criminal Justice Center, by being booked into jail and then bonding out. If you have information about these events or have experienced something similar, please call the Sheriff’s Office Communications Center non-emergency line at 390-5555.
Emergency Notification System update
If you registered for the Emergency Notification System (reverse 911) prior to July 2013, you may need to create a new account. Go to www.elpasoteller911.org and select "sign up" on the registration page. If you are able to log in using your existing user name and password, no further action is needed. If you get an error message indicating your email or password is invalid, press the sign-up button and create a new account. If you need assistance, dial 785-1971 and a staff member will return your call.
Free transportation and safety services for seniors
Mountain Community Senior Services offers free transportation and safety services to Tri-Lakes seniors. If you need a ride to a medical appointment, grocery shopping, or the local senior lunches, a volunteer driver will be happy to help you. The number to call is 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 Handyman Services
Senior Safety Handyman Services is a unique program funded by the Pikes Peak Area Agency on Aging. It is designed to help seniors (age 60 and over) in northwest El Paso County with safety-related handyman projects. Dedicated, paid contractors and volunteers install grab bars, wheelchair ramps, railings, steps, etc., to help seniors to continue to live independently in their own homes. For service, call 488-0076 and leave a message for Cindy Rush. For more information, visit www.TriLakes-mcts-sshs.org.
Volunteer drivers needed 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 email@example.com or call the MCSS dispatch hotline at 488-0076.
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.
Donala’s Customer Assistance Program
The Donala Water and Sanitation District offers a Customer Assistance Program in conjunction with Tri-Lakes Cares to help Donala customers in financial hardship, unable to pay their water and sewer bills. Applications can be picked up at the Donala office at 15850 Holbein Dr. in Gleneagle or at Tri-Lakes Cares in Monument. For information call 488-3603.
Monument Marketplace Facebook page
Tri-Lakes residents can sell their used items, trade items, and chat about anything local goings-on at https://www.facebook.com/groups/monumentmarketplace.
Get volunteer help for your nonprofit
Due to popular demand, the Lewis-Palmer School District is adding a list of volunteer opportunities to its Youth Activities Directory online. If your nonprofit has a need for volunteers for a one-time project or an ongoing effort and can use volunteers under age 18, obtain a directory listing form on the district website www.lewispalmer.org under the community tab. Nonprofits may list their volunteer needs in the directory free of charge. For information, contact Robin Adair, P.O. Box 40, Monument, CO 80132; call 785-4223 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Attention Tri-Lakes residents with medical conditions
If you have a medical condition or a physical disability, please contact Jennifer at Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District, 484-0911, to register for emergency assistance if evacuation is required.
Tri-Lakes HAP Senior Center programs
The Tri-Lakes Health Advocacy Partnership Senior Citizens Center is next to the Lewis-Palmer High School Stadium (across from the YMCA) and is open 1-4 p.m., Tue.-Fri., and earlier for scheduled activities. The facility has a lounge, craft room, game room, and multipurpose room. Programs include pinochle, National Mah-jongg, line dancing, tea time, bingo, and more. Ping-pong, Wii video games, puzzles and board games, refreshments, a lending library, computers with Internet connections, and an information table are also available. For information about programs for seniors, visit www.TriLakesSeniors.org.
Senior Beat newsletter—subscribe for free
Each monthly Senior Beat newsletter is full of information for local seniors, including the daily menu of the senior lunches offered Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays in Monument. It also contains the schedule of the classes and events for the month at the Senior Citizens Center. To subscribe, send an email with your name and mailing address to SeniorBeat@TriLakesSeniors.org. Senior Beat can also be viewed online at www.TriLakesHAP.org.
Senior Safety Program
Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District offers a free senior safety program to all Tri-Lakes seniors. The program includes smoke detector evaluations, home safety assessments, vial of life, and fire prevention. For information call 484-0911 or visit www.tri-lakesfire.com.
County prescription discount program could save you money
El Paso County’s prescription discount program saved 10,000 residents $250,000 in discounted medicines over 18 months at no additional taxpayer cost. People using the card saved an average of 23 percent. There are no eligibility requirements and no strings attached to receive the discounts. You can pick up a free Prescription Discount Card at most county government locations or you can download your own personalized prescription discount card on the county website (bottom of the front page) at www.elpasoco.com. Any county resident without prescription coverage can use this program. Even if you have insurance for prescription medications, the discount card might save you money on prescription medications your existing plan does not cover. For information, visit www.elpasoco.com or call 520-6337 (MEDS).
Free gun-lock kit
The Monument Police Department is offering free firearm safety kits to local residents through a partnership with Project ChildSafe, the nationwide firearms safety education program. Each kit contains gun safety information and a cable-style gunlock that fits most types of handguns, rifles, and shotguns. The Police Department administrative offices at 645 Beacon Lite Rd. are open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Drop by during those times to pick up a free gun-lock kit. For information, phone 481-3253.
By Judy Barnes, Community Calendar Editor
Although we strive for accuracy in these listings, dates or times are often changed after publication. Please double-check the time and place of any event you wish to attend by calling the info number for that event.
LOCAL LIBRARY EVENTS
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.
This page was last modified on November 30, 2020. Home page: www.ocn.me.
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