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By James Howald
The Palmer Lake Town Council met on July 9 to hear announcements about the effort to replenish the lake with water and to develop the park adjacent to it, to consider a proposal to increase the town’s mill levy to fund its volunteer Fire Department, and to hear a presentation from the Tri-Lakes Economic Development Corp. Fire Trustee Rich Kuehster and Roads Trustee John Russell were not present at the meeting.
Palmer Lake receives water from reservoir
Parks and Recreation Trustee Paul Banta announced that the town received permission to begin filling the lake from the town’s reservoir, and began that process late in June. Doug Hollister, District 10 Water Commissioner, approved the town’s request to begin filling the lake, and at the time of the Town Council meeting 5.9 acre-feet of water had been added to the lake. Following repairs, the pipeline between the reservoir and the lake delivers about 50 gallons per minute to the lake. Banta added that water for residential use was the top priority and that the lake would not receive water if there was not enough to supply the town’s taps. Banta also mentioned that the state of Colorado has not yet decided whether Palmer Lake will be legally classified as a natural lake or as a reservoir. That decision will impact how much additional water the town must provide to other claimants.
GOCO grant effort encounters more snags
Banta also updated the town on the project, partially funded by a grant from Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), to develop the Palmer Lake Recreational Area, which is adjacent to the lake on County Line Road. The plan for the park includes construction of a bridge over the railroad tracks to allow pedestrians to get easily from the park to the town. The railroad company requires the bridge to span at least 100 feet to allow for 50 feet on either side of its tracks. This is a greater distance than was planned for, and the longer bridge will require $74,000 more than anticipated in the original design.
In addition to the complications with the bridge, some surveying work that was to be donated to the project could not be completed as planned, and rainy weather prevented seeding of the south side of the lake as planned. The seeding will happen in the fall, according to Banta.
Fire chief requests additional funding for Fire Department
Fire Chief Margo Humes reviewed the status of the Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department, and announced her intention to put a ballot measure before voters in November that would ask to increase the mill levy residents pay for the department.
According to Humes, the department has grown from 17 volunteers to 45, almost all of whom have some kind of certification. The department recently was inspected by the Insurance Standards Organization (ISO), which improved its rating—a factor in the price of homeowner’s insurance policies. The ISO had rated the town a 5 for residences within the hydrant area, and a 9 for residences outside the hydrant area. Humes expects these ratings to go down in the fall, due to the training the staff has completed. Each point these ratings decline translates to a potential savings of $100 on the typical insurance bill, Humes said.
A volunteer department still needs money to maintain equipment and facilities, Humes pointed out. The department held a pancake breakfast and a chili supper to raise funds to cover operating costs, and also obtained a grant for $107,000, which was used to upgrade breathing equipment used in fighting residential fires. The department also received a grant to purchase radio equipment, and was able to stretch those funds to cover more equipment by purchasing refurbished radios. Humes mentioned another successful grant application that provided $2,200 for wildfire preparedness, and that Home Depot had agreed to donate paint to repaint the fire station.
"We have been hard at work to help ourselves, but now we are going to ask you for help," Humes said. Humes asked the council to support a ballot measure that would raise levies by eight mills. Five mills of the eight are needed to replace a levy that will sunset at the end of 2015, so the actual increase is only three mills, according to Humes. A one mill increase equals a $100 tax increase on each $100,000 of the assessed value of a house.
To emphasize the value to the community the local Fire Department provides, Humes introduced a mother and daughter, Robin and Grace Leigh, who told of Grace’s allergic reaction to food she ate at a pot luck, which caused her to have difficulty breathing. The Palmer Lake Fire Department reached her in three minutes, which she viewed as life-saving.
Humes discussed the possibility of the Town of Palmer Lake giving up its dedicated Fire Department and joining the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD). Based on her discussions with TLMFPD Fire Chief Chris Truty, this would cost Palmer Lake residents 11.5 mills for fire protection alone, and the five mills that will sunset would still need to be replaced, Humes said. Also, Palmer Lake residents would be voting along with a much larger number of Monument voters, and would lose some of the power to make their own decisions.
Questioned by the audience on how the money would be spent should the mill levy increase be approved, Humes noted that the fire station, which was built in the 1930s, is no longer up to code and needs work, that the department is trying to add a modular building to be used as a residence, that the fire engine needs repairs, and that another brush truck is needed. Humes said that at present the department is underfunded, and that the increased revenue is needed to ensure the future of the department.
Following Humes’s presentation and a discussion of the wording of the ballot initiative, Ken Weiland spoke on behalf of the homeowners association of Forest View Estates. Weiland said Forest View residents receive their fire protection from TLMFPD, that they viewed the proposed mill levy increase as double taxation, and had decided not to support it unless language was added that specifically exempts them. If they were exempt they would support the measure, Weiland said.
The motion to approve the language of the ballot initiative was tabled by a unanimous vote.
Economic development group presents vision for area
Danette Lilja, president and chairperson of the Tri-Lakes Economic Development Corp. (Tri-Lakes EDC), outlined for the council her organization’s strategy to foster the climate for business in the Tri-Lakes area. Lilja said the Tri-Lakes EDC focuses on businesses categorized as primary employers, which she defined as those that earn more than 50 percent of their revenue from customers outside the region, such as DePuy Synthes and Sara’s Sausage. According to Lilja, primary employers bring money into the area and drive the growth of more local businesses, such as retail stores and restaurants.
Lilja said the Tri-Lakes EDC provides several programs to the area: a real estate inventory program that catalogs available sites for businesses, a development process program that develops best practices to address challenges to development that are unique to the Tri-Lakes area, and a primary employer outreach program that works to address the needs of primary employers. Additional information about the corporation can be found on its website (www.trilakesedc.com).
Lilja pointed to factors her organization feels will contribute to growth in the Tri-Lakes area: the recent designation of land along Highway 105 including Palmer Lake as an enterprise zone, which provides tax benefits to businesses that relocate there for the next 10 years, and the widening of I-25. She pointed to Castle Rock as an example of a community whose economy had developed as a result of widening I-25. She stated that bedroom communities such as Palmer Lake do not tend to thrive.
Lilja’s assessment of bedroom communities provoked a comment from Banta, who said: "I moved here because I liked it was a bedroom community." Banta said he believed some residents would be willing to increase their taxes to retain the undeveloped character of the community. Lilja ended by remarking that change is inevitable, and communities must decide whether they will embrace and control it, or spend their energy fighting it.
Mayor Nikki McDonald presented a resolution in support of the enterprise zone. The resolution passed with votes from Economic Development Trustee Judith Harrington, Police Trustee Bob Grado, and Water Trustee Mitchell Davis. Trustee Banta voted no because he felt he had not had enough time to analyze the resolution.
Eagle Scout proposes octoball court for park
Trustee Banta introduced Logan Bochovich of Boy Scout Troop 9 in Monument. Bochovich, who is working on an Eagle Scout community service project, proposed the addition of an octoball court to the Palmer Lake Recreational Area, and asked the council for support. The council unanimously tabled the request so that they have time to select the best location for the court.
Council reappoints Planning Commission and grants business license
A motion to reappoint all members of the Planning Commission was unanimously approved by the council.
A business license was given to Eddie Wooters to sell disc golf equipment as Throw Colorado LLC.
The meeting adjourned at 8:40 p.m.
The next meeting will be at 6 p.m. Aug. 13 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 Jackie Burhans
On Thursday, July 23 the No Methadone in Monument organization hosted a community meeting at 6 p.m. in Si Sibell’s barn in downtown Monument. Over 200 attendees listened to Tom Allen of Woodmoor, Father Gregory of St. Peter, and others discuss the plan to fight against the Colonial Management Group’s (CMG) (www.methadonetreatment.com/Home.aspx) opening of a methadone clinic in the heart of historic Monument.
The meeting’s host, Allen, introduced the speakers. He is a resident of Woodmoor with his wife Barbara. Their daughter Jamie Fenley started this movement against the Methadone clinic, having been through drug addiction treatment herself. Also present was Colorado State House District 19 Rep. Paul Lundeen, who led the pledge of allegiance. Allen noted that former Rep. Amy Stephens and HD20 representative Terry Carver also supported the organization’s efforts. Additional speakers included activists Jamie Fenley, Trey Park, Gary Coopman, Rob O’Regan, and Dede Laugesen.
The meeting was opened with an invocation by Father Gregory Golyznjak of St. Peter Catholic Church in Monument who asked for the grace to make the right decision for the community. He later related his experience as pastor of St. Joseph in Colorado Springs near Southgate Boulevard, where drugs are a problem and crime is high. His rectory had been robbed three times, community members did not feel safe, and police presence was a regular occurrence at the parish property. Father Gregory indicated he wasn’t saying it was all done by people who were addicted to drugs. He stated on behalf of his community at St Peter’s and the children at the school, "We are not against people who struggle with the tragedy they go through with addiction but feel that the clinic is not in the right place." He wants to see this community stay together in peace and safety and believes people need to stand firm and that is why St. Peter’s community and the school says no to this clinic.
The goal of this meeting, Allen said, was to meet the community and introduce the people involved and discuss what they learned, the steps to be taken and the obstacles. Allen indicated the group planned to get legal representation. "This is about the existing ordinances," said Allen. "When they told us there wasn’t anything we could do, they were pretty much right. Just being honest with you." Allen said the group would attend the Board of Adjustment meeting Aug. 10 and lay its appeal on the counter and tell them where they erred. "We’ve got a 50-50 chance of making this work for us. The 50 percent I like is the part that’s in our favor. The 50 percent I don’t like is the fact that that clinic, that repository of drugs … and that iniquity ... a den of sin over there is going to be sitting there and we gotta put up with it."
Allen indicated that there are people elsewhere in the U.S. following this and that the group would set the tone and pace for the rest of the country to say no. He referred to a lawsuit filed in Alabama against CMG for medical malpractice. He indicated that the group has a lawyer ready to represent it at the Board of Adjustments meeting on Aug. 10 at 6:30 p.m. at Big Red, who has extensive experience in zoning and planning. The group needs to raise $4,000 for a retainer and has raised $1,700 so far from the Historic Monument Merchants Association. A donation jar was available for people to donate cash. The group has a 501c3 bank account with National Bank in town that is sponsored by the Tri-Lakes Community Foundation, and money will be issued by one of the foundation members.
Community members had numerous comments and questions. Upon listening to the opening remarks describing the history of this clinic, the crowd members impatiently noted they already are against the clinic and wanted to know what, specifically, the organization planned to do. They continually asked for details on how this would be attacked and what additional actions could be taken. Rob O’Regan and Dede Laugesen reiterated that the primary goal was to retain a zoning attorney for the community to represent the group at the Board of Adjustment. Additional questions from the community included whether the town could deny the business license, whether community members could attend the upcoming Board of Adjustment meeting, and what else volunteers could do. O’Regan answered that the town clerk would issue the license at a later date, it is appropriate for the community to attend the meeting, and that they want people to sign up and say what they can do before they decide on other actions.
Residents asked about the names of the Board of Adjustment members and O’Regan noted that the information is public with the town clerk but that they are a quasi-judicial group that cannot be lobbied and that he would not encourage any type of undue persuasion. A concerned citizen asked if the group and their attorney were prepared for any retaliation from CMG or the building owner, who would lose upwards of a million dollars over five years of lost lease revenue. Allen replied that if the group wins, if there is any retaliation or liability that comes to it, the town of Monument would have to pick up on that, not this group.
A questioner asked if any other cities in the United States had taken on this company in the past and won. After a discussion on lawsuits in Alabama, Minnesota, and in other locations, the question was clarified to ask if a city had gotten a methadone clinic stopped. An organizer of the group stated that they didn’t think that anybody, any town had fought them and beat them and prevented them from coming into their community—yet. Allen said, "We may be the first one—there’s a lot of eyeballs on us." An audience member named Terry said that in Colorado there is only one time that a lawsuit has been successful against another company in District Court.
Jackie Burhans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Lisa Hatfield
At the July 6 Monument Board of Trustees meeting, the trustees heard public comments about the methadone clinic, and presentations about Mountain Community Senior Services, mosquito abatement, and teens’ responses to the parks master plan survey. They also approved a new set of rules for Monument Lake, a commercial property’s replat and final PD site plan on Jackson Creek Parkway, and a handful of other ordinances and resolutions.
Methadone clinic could open in next few months
Mayor Rafael Dominguez summarized the situation as of July 6 regarding the methadone clinic planned for 192 Front St. His comments included:
• I was notified by company representatives that the methadone clinic was scheduled to open in the next few months, possibly August or September. Operating hours may be from 5 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
• I don’t like the location, but we have legal obligations to meet. The zoning in place permits that type of use (a "clinic"). Our hands are tied right now.
• We were caught a bit off-guard. The only prior notification was a permit for interior finishes, which the town did not question. The applicants have now spent over $250,000 on interior finishes.
• We have received petitions with 300 signatures and 800 online signatures from business owners and residents who are not happy with the situation.
• Someone from the state referred this company to Monument, and we are trying to find out who and why.
• A company representative said she was surprised that her company had selected that location.
Dominguez said that a public meeting about the methadone clinic would be hosted by the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce on July 13. See related article.
Mayor Pro-Tem Jeffrey Kaiser and Dominguez encouraged concerned citizens to speak to the business owners’ representatives at the July 13 public meeting and see what it would take to get them to relocate the clinic. "That is not something the town could do, but it is something the citizens could do," Kaiser said.
Dominguez reiterated, "Because of our zoning, we cannot restrict that type of use. If we restrict it now, the town could be sued and would be liable. My position is that I am not here to let the town get sued. That’s the challenge that we have. Whether we agree to it or not, we have laws we need to abide by."
The zoning for the downtown business district is general business district zone B, which was approved in 2002 and 2009 by the Monument Board of Trustees to promote and streamline business development in Monument as a way to solve budget shortages. See www.ocn.me/v2n12.htm#botnov18 and www.ocn.me/v15n6.htm#mbot0601.
The methadone clinic application could be accepted administratively because zone B includes clinics as one of its approved uses, so no public hearing was required. Town Attorney Gary Shupp said that the meaning of the word "clinic" was not defined in terms of the current zoning ordinance and that therefore the dictionary definition would apply.
Shupp said the administrative decision to approve the methadone clinic has now been challenged, and the appeal will be considered at the Monument Board of Adjustment hearing scheduled for Monday, Aug. 10 at 6:30 p.m. at Big Red, the Lewis-Palmer Administration Building at 146 Jefferson St., Monument. The public is welcome to attend this and all posted meetings for the town, Principal Planner Mike Pesicka said.
Shupp said the Board of Trustees had "no power here" to say no to the methadone clinic, "unless an inverse condemnation action is filed and essentially the town gets to buy the improvements and potentially the lost profits of the business."
Over a dozen people voiced their concerns about the clinic. Their comments included:
• A 1,000-foot buffer zone for homes, parks, churches, and schools should be part of any new ordinance.
• My daughter has been treated at methadone clinics in the past, and I can tell you, you won’t like what this clinic imports into our town. These clinics contribute only a small percentage to addicts "getting clean."
• People, businesses, homeowners will be at risk. Property values will be hit. These people are not white-collar drug addicts at all.
• We may have to leave Monument if this thing goes in. I have small children that go to that park.
• How can we "have our hands tied"? You (town officials) are fighting for your community right now.
• Your job is to protect your city, not just keep it from being sued.
• It seems like the meaning of the word "clinic" is an important issue to fight this at the August 6 Board of Adjustment meeting.
• The company that owns the clinic has lawsuits filed against them and negative reviews from both clients and employees.
• Paying a $250,000 "stupid tax" would be worth it to get them out of here. It would be cheaper than a lawsuit.
• The town has insurance, and sometimes you have to use it. You used it before to stop the concrete batch plant from going in. Sometime you’ve got to lead.
• Somebody should have asked, "What kind of clinic?" earlier in the process. I don’t feel like you are representing the town of Monument.
• I was on a program like this, and it doesn’t work. All it is is a means to let that addict keep going until he gets the real thing.
Shupp said that if any changes were made to a future ordinance establishing a buffer zone, this still would not apply to this current situation.
Dominguez asked Town Clerk Cynthia Sirochman and Police Lt. Steve Burk to do more research about methadone clinics and the options the town might have.
One person spoke during public comments at the end of the meeting wondering why everyone was being so afraid and saying, "we have to trust policemen to do their job if there is a problem."
Mountain Community Senior Services
Robin Davis and Cindy Rush of Mountain Community Senior Services (MCSS) told the board about the free transportation and safety-related handyman services they provide to senior citizens in the Tri-Lakes area from Northgate Road to County Line Road and east to Highway 83.
The goal of MCSS, which is a nonprofit, tax-deductible program sponsored by Mountain Community Mennonite Church in Palmer Lake, is to help senior citizens live in their own homes longer. They provide ramps, railings, grab bars, and other safety repairs.
Transportation is free for those 60 and older, and they can get rides to medical appointments, exercise classes, haircuts, shopping, senior lunches, etc.
MCSS is always looking for volunteer drivers to help provide these services. For scheduling and questions, call the MCSS hotline at 719-488-0076.
Mosquito control program
"Doc" Weissmann, chief entomologist of Colorado Mosquito Control, is the contractor for the Town of Monument’s trapping program and mosquito larvae program. His main focus is monitoring and controlling larval mosquitoes in order to stop them before they fly and start biting people. Mosquitos can carry West Nile virus, which can affect humans and horses, and heartworm virus, which can affect pets. He said mosquitos are more of a problem here now than 150 years ago because of the ways we have changed the landscape to include more shade and standing water.
Integrated pest management happens in this order:
• Air and water surveillance before any treatments are done
• Treating standing water to control mosquito larvae. This does not harm other aquatic insects, fish, toads, frogs, birds, mammals, or people.
• (Adult control spraying - not used in Monument)
His comments included:
• I wear DEET repellent to protect against mosquitoes.
• Do not use citronella candles or mosquito magnets since they do not help.
• If bodies of standing water contain mosquito larva, use mosquito dunks available at hardware stores.
See http://Comosquitocontrol.com for more information.
Teens respond to survey on parks master plan
Nathan Kugler of Palmer Ridge High School presented results of a survey that 421 students completed regarding what activities they would like to see available to teens in Monument. They responded that while many of the features being discussed in the Monument Parks Master Plan, such as a BMX park and a skate park, sounded like good ideas, a much smaller percentage said they would actually use these features.
They made suggestions for other features when they responded to the high school survey, but the biggest comment was a need for "places to hang out." The teens suggested that a disc golf course would be a good idea, but many were not aware of either the disc golf course in Palmer Lake or the basketball courts at Dirty Woman Park.
Creekside Commercial replat and final PD site plan
Pesicka presented ordinances approving a replat and a final PD site plan for the 2.11-acre Creekside Commercial property at 15719 Jackson Creek Parkway, south of the Goodwill store. Cadence Development wanted to subdivide the existing parcel into two lots and one tract so that it could build an Advanced Auto Parts (retail and warehouse) and Brakes Plus (automotive repair). These uses are allowed in the Planned Multi-Use (PMD) zone. The nearest residential development is over 1,000 feet away to the east, Pesicka said.
According to the final PD site plan, the two lots will share a single access from the existing private drive, but as other properties are developed and contribute finances, access will extend north to Leather Chaps Drive.
The Monument Planning Commission approved the replat unanimously on June 10, but the final PD site plan was approved only by a 3-2 vote. See www.ocn.me/v15n7.htm#mpc0610.
The trustees approved both ordinances unanimously.
Monument Lake rules revised
Public Works Director Tom Tharnish asked the trustees to create a new section to the town code about park and recreations areas to include rules specific to Monument Lake. The biggest change is that boats with electric trolling motors will be allowed, but gas and diesel motors are still prohibited, he said. The trustees approved the ordinance unanimously after some discussion. See www.townofmonument.org for more details.
Excess revenue ordinance extended
Interim Town Manager and Town Treasurer Pamela Smith explained that if the town ever did have any "excess" revenue as defined by Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) amendment to the state constitution, it would have to be refunded to town citizens.
However, town voters had approved a ballot measure allowing the town to keep and use these "excess" funds for town parks, recreation, and senior services. This measure has been approved by Monument voters five times starting in 1996, Smith said. The current measure will expire in 2016.
The trustees voted 6-1 to place this item on the next town ballot for voters to decide upon again. Kaiser voted no with no reason given.
Carlos Miguel’s restaurant on Jackson Creek Parkway had its liquor license revoked last June when the licensee permitted the selling, serving, giving, or procuring of an alcohol beverage to an 18-year-old Liquor Enforcement Division underage purchaser. The Colorado Liquor Enforcement Division said that since then, the licensee had submitted to sanctions and fines and complied with the terms dictated and was now reapplying for a liquor license. The trustees voted 6-1 to approve the license. Trustee Jeffery Bornstein voted no with no reason given.
Community Relations Specialist Madeline VanDenHoek presented resolutions allowing a special event permit and the closure of streets around St. Peter Catholic Church on Sept. 27 for the Red Rose 5K and pancake breakfast fundraiser. They were both approved unanimously.
The trustees unanimously approved a resolution in support of the El Paso County Enterprise Zone. This designation is designed to stimulate commercial growth throughout the Pikes Peak Region by "attracting and expanding regional businesses and industries in communities that have lagged behind due to recent economic challenges." See www.ocn.me/v15n5.htm#mbot0406 and related article.
Smith presented a resolution approving the purchase of a $100,000 CD from First National Bank in Monument for the purpose of investing restricted fund balances. However, the consensus of the trustees was to discuss other possible investment options at the next board meeting before approving any CD purchases.
These disbursements over $5,000 were approved as part of the consent agenda:
• K.M. International CIP Asphalt Hot Box $10,754
• Waters and Co., May, per recruitment agreement $7,350
• Waters and Co., June $7,350
• Wells Fargo Equipment Finance Capital Lease 401 $22,432
• Wells Fargo Equipment Finance Capital Lease 402 $39,071
• Wildcat Construction Co. Inc., water upgrades at Synthes and Mitchell $63,557
• CIRSA Insurance, liability insurance $23,920
The meeting adjourned at 9:27 p.m.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at email@example.com.
By James Howald
A standing-room-only crowd of more than 200 residents of Monument and neighboring communities filled the meeting room of the School District Administration building on Julyintent on making both Colonial Management Group’s representatives and the town’s elected officials feel the depth of their anger at and disapproval of the company’s work to open a methadone clinic in downtown Monument in a building across the street from Limbach Park.
The meeting was hosted by Terri Hayes, the executive director of the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce, and was facilitated by Dr. Tiko Hardy, who holds a doctorate in psychology and organizational leadership and who also serves as an executive board member of Tri-Lakes Cares, a local nonprofit resource center. Hardy established some ground rules for the discussion: Each speaker would be limited to three minutes to make their statement or ask their question, so that as many community members as possible could be heard.
Colonial Management Group (CMG) was represented by Katie Peck, CMG’s director of development, and Kristen Hanson, CMG’s director of operations and training.
In addition to residents and CMG staff, several members of Monument’s municipal and state government also attended. Monument Mayor Rafael Dominguez, Trustee John Howe, Town Attorney Gary Shupp, Planning Director Mike Pesicka, Town Manager Pamela Smith, and Police Lt. Steve Burke stepped forward to answer questions throughout the evening. Rep. Paul Lundeen, who represents the town of Monument in the Colorado House of Representatives, also participated in the discussion.
Clinic would treat patients seven days a week
Hanson gave an overview of the clinic’s daily operations. The clinic would open at 5 a.m. and dispense methadone until 11 a.m. every day except Sunday, when hours of operation will be shorter, she said. There will be no patients on the premises after 11, according to Hanson, however, staff will remain on site for meetings and other duties until 2 p.m. Methadone is regulated by both the State of Colorado and the federal government, Hanson pointed out, adding that patients must have a prescription to receive the medication—they can’t simply come to the clinic and request it.
To help prevent patients from selling their medication illegally, the clinic will use liquid methadone, Hanson said, and added that because the clinic will be open seven days a week there will be less need to send methadone home with patients. Hanson said CMG operates a similar clinic in Grand Junction, which has been open 90 days, and as yet has not sent methadone out of the facility with any patient. In an answer to a later question, Hanson said that patients would be able to earn the privilege of taking medication home with them if they met certain criteria.
Hanson said the clinic in Monument would use cameras and a private security firm to enforce their policy on loitering, and that they were working with municipal government to see if their security could be extended to the park. Hanson said the clinic would not provide any transportation to patients, and that at the Grand Junction clinic most patients drive their own vehicles to and from the clinic. She also said that the clinic would not serve court-ordered patients.
Community questions CMG’s plans
The residents who spoke at the meeting raised many objections to CMG’s plans, including:
• The proximity of the clinic to Limbach Park could lead to patients loitering in the park before or after treatment, making it unsafe for children.
• The lack of public transportation and bad driving conditions during colder months could strand patients in the town.
• The necessity for the clinic to attract patients from other communities to be profitable could bring drug addicts into the community.
• The possibility that crime rates would rise, and that burglary and panhandling would increase.
• The possibility that property values would decline.
• The poor management and violations of law that have occurred at other CMG-owned clinics could be repeated in Monument.
In response to the loitering and transportation issues, Hanson and Peck said patients who did not have their own vehicle would be brought back into the clinic until transportation could be arranged, that the clinic would use a private security company to prevent loitering on its premises, and that they were working with the town’s Police Department to see if their security could be extended to Limbach Park. Regarding the problems at other clinics, Peck said that the company had replaced staff to address the violations.
Attendees skeptical of CMG staff
Several speakers accused Hanson and Peck of dishonesty and evasiveness in their answers, especially in their estimate that the clinic would serve 100 patients daily, and in their lack of clarity on the question of dosages the clinic would provide.
Other speakers threatened CMG staff or the patients who might use the clinic. One resident pointed at Hanson and Peck and said: "If my crime rate goes up, we’re coming after you!" Another said if the clinic opened as planned she would consider bringing a firearm when she visited the park with her children. Another said the clinic should be picketed and the patients photographed to deny them anonymity and shame them.
Hanson and Peck did not respond directly to these accusations and threats. At other times in the meeting their answers to questions were drowned out by shouts from the audience.
"How did we get here?" resident asks
Many questions were directed to Monument’s mayor, trustees, and other officials. Attempting to sum up the decision process, Mayor Dominguez said, "It is a properly zoned use for this clinic to be there . . . this town government is going to follow the law." The crowd responded with boos, calls to rezone the property, and shouts to recall the mayor.
Asked if he personally approved of the clinic, Dominguez said "Hell, no!" He added that the plans for the clinic did not come before the board, since the law required only an administrative review by the town planner, and that the board would not put the town in the position of being sued.
Town Attorney Shupp explained that in an administrative review the planning staff simply determines whether or not the request conforms to the zoning regulations, and does not have the authority to put restrictions on the property’s use. Shupp added that if the administrative review is appealed, the matter goes before the Board of Adjustment. Such an appeal has been made, and the Board of Adjustment will decide the matter in a public meeting. The decision of the Board of Adjustment can be appealed before the District Court, Shupp said.
The town of Monument has scheduled the Board of Adjustment meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 10, at the School District Administration building, at 146 Jefferson St.
Lundeen inquires about Board of Adjustment role
Rep. Lundeen asked if the Board of Adjustment had the legal power to put restrictions in place that would make the location unpalatable to CMG. As examples, Lundeen proposed requiring CMG to provide transportation, or limiting the dosages that CMG staff could supply. Shupp answered that the Board of Adjustment does not have the authority to apply restrictions where the proposed use conforms to current zoning regulations.
Monument Police detail plan to keep park safe in the short term
Lt. Burk addressed a question about how the police would respond to the opening of the clinic. Burk said there will be extra patrolling for the first five days the clinic is open that would be financed by the budget for overtime. The department does not have money or staff for extra attention to the area over the long run, according to Burk.
James Howald can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Lisa Hatfield
At the July 20 Monument Board of Trustees meeting, Mayor Rafael Dominguez responded to an editorial by the Colorado Springs Gazette and comments by some local residents about the town board and staff in regards to the methadone clinic approval procedure. The trustees also learned more about quasi-judicial proceedings, approved the 2014 audit, and agreed to contract with Forsgren Associates for a water rates study.
Dominguez announced that a candidate had been selected for the town manager position and that contract negotiations were under way.
Mayor Pro-Tem Jeff Kaiser was absent.
Before the regular 6:30 p.m. board meeting, Tami Tanoue, general counsel/claims manager of Colorado Intergovernmental Risk Sharing Agency (CIRSA), conducted a one-hour session called "Do’s & Don’t’s of Quasi-Judicial Proceedings" for the trustees, planning commissioners, board of adjustment members, other members of the town staff, and the public.
She explained the importance of following proper legal procedure and applying current legal standards such as ordinances. She said in quasi-judicial proceedings such as land use hearings or the upcoming Aug. 10 Board of Adjustment hearing, town representatives must act as judges, and the members of the public who speak should present factual testimony to provide the judges enough information to make their decision.
Response to comments about town government
"On behalf of the board of trustees and the town staff," Dominguez read a statement responding to "inaccurate, inflammatory, and disrespectful" comments made about the town government by some citizens at the July 13 public meeting about the methadone clinic and by the Gazette in an editorial on the same topic on July 19. See related article on page XX.
To read Dominguez’ abridged Letter to the Editor click here. The full text can be provided by Pamela Smith, interim town manager, upon request.
Dominguez said that the Gazette editorial was "uninformed, inaccurate and irresponsible" and that the town could not arbitrarily violate its own laws and prohibit the property for a properly zoned use without making the town susceptible to lawsuits.
"Claiming that any elected officials have facilitated methadone operations due to graft or personal benefit in any way is not only irresponsible but also borderline libelous (slanderous in the case of the community meeting last week)," he wrote.
The next legal step in the process is the quasi-judicial hearing of the Monument Board of Adjustment scheduled for Monday, Aug. 10 at 6:30 p.m. at Big Red, the Lewis-Palmer Administration Building at 146 Jefferson St., Monument.
2014 audit accepted
Treasurer and Interim Town Manager Pamela Smith said that Kyle Logan of Kyle Logan Associates LLC had completed the final review of the 2014 audit. Logan issued a clean or "unmodified" opinion of the town’s 2014 financial statements.
No members of the public visited Town Hall to view the draft when it was posted there in July, Smith said.
In his management letter, one of Logan’s suggestions to the board was to "keep an eye on the water fund," since it is in an ongoing declining cash position.
Another recommendation was to change the procedure in place now where the town treasurer reviews the town manager’s purchasing card cash transactions. From a control standpoint, "this is like reviewing and approving your boss’s transactions," Logan said. He said it would be better "checks and balances" if it were the trustees who would review and verify the appropriate documentation, such as receipts, for the town manager’s transactions each month. Dominguez said he has checked some of them but is not up to date.
Smith has held the town manager position since Jan. 22, 2013. (www.ocn.me/v13n2.htm#bot0122) She has held the interim finance manager/town treasurer position for a second time since fall, 2014. (www.ocn.me/v14n11.htm#mbot1006)
The trustees unanimously accepted the 2014 audit as presented.
Water rates study approved
The trustees unanimously approved a resolution approving an agreement with Forsgren Associates Inc. to perform a detailed water rate and fee study to create a long-term blueprint on how the town would handle any future needed rate increases to support current water operations and the investment in planning for future water capital improvements that are currently listed in the water master plan that was updated in 2014.
In response to questions from Trustees Jeff Smith and Jeffery Bornstein, Public Works Director Tom Tharnish said this study did not go out for a bid, because it was not required, and Will Koger of Forsgren was also the engineer who developed the water master plan last year and is already familiar with the needs of the town, so "it’s the most efficient way to handle this." See www.ocn.me/v14n10.htm#MBoT0902.
Smith said that since the water fund is an enterprise fund, it has to "run like a business," and it should be self-sustaining and support its own debt load. However, due to lower-than-expected water revenue and unexpected repairs, this has not been the case recently, she said.
"People will be shocked what needs to be done and be where we need to be to be self-sustaining as an enterprise fund," Tharnish said. Koger said one possibility that would be considered is some kind of automatic water rate updates each year that could be overridden if they are not needed.
Michelle Glover suggested that the town add more criteria about evaluating drug dispensaries to its town code. She also recommended that the town learn more about the definition of "public nuisance" and how to develop a legally useful body of evidence about a business in case this would be needed to show grounds for revocation or suspension of a business license in the future.
Myron "Red" Stephens asked the town to look into storm water damage that is occurring along Knollwood Drive and Villa Grove south of Highway 105. He said sinkholes have formed because storm water has been dealt with incorrectly. Principal Planner Mike Pesicka said he would investigate the situation and report back to the board.
Stephens also asked again for help from code enforcement officer Laura Hogan in dealing with tumbleweeds generated by knapweed, a noxious weed that breaks off when dry and blocks residents’ doorways in Monument Villas. Dominguez said, "I know we have mitigated in the past, we’ll just contact you again to see where the issue stands." Note: The town weed ordinance says property owners must cut weeds within 12 feet of road edges, within 55 feet of buildings, and those over nine inches high on any property—residential or non-residential, vacant or improved. See www.municode.com.
Another Monument resident asked the board if there is any way to stop the methadone clinic process or do negative impact studies. Town Attorney Gary Shupp reiterated that the Aug. 6 Board of Adjustment meeting, a quasi-judicial hearing, is the next legal stop for this issue.
Town attorney report
Shupp reported the good news that a lawsuit that affected two Monument police officers has been determined by the U.S. District Court to have been a frivolous lawsuit. Attorney’s fees must now be paid back to CIRSA by the people who brought the lawsuit.
Planning Department report
Pesicka said that final engineering plans for the next phase of the downtown sidewalks project have been completed, but the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is requiring a new intergovernmental agreement, so the town cannot renew the contract with the prior sidewalk contractor. He hopes the work will go to bid by the middle of August.
Pesicka’s report mentioned many items in progress including reviews of these proposed projects in Triview:
• Retail development at both the southeast and northeast corners of Jackson Creek Parkway and Leather Chaps Drive
• Office and retail building on West Baptist Road near King Soopers
• Retail tire and repair store on West Baptist Road
• New Triview water tank site in Sanctuary Pointe
Public Works report
Tharnish’s report included:
• Asphalt overlay project on Jackson Creek Parkway north of Higby Road scheduled to be completed before school starts. (Jackson Creek Parkway south of Higby Road is under Triview’s maintenance, not the town’s.)
• Plan to ask high school art classes to help paint murals on the new retaining wall blocks at Monument Lake.
• Water production for June was 25 percent less than this time last year
Lt. Steve Burks thanked all the agencies that helped with coverage at the July 4 parade: Monument Police Department (sworn, civilian, and Explorers), Colorado Mounted Rangers, Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Department, El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, Department of Homeland Security Investigations, Colorado Springs Police Department, Palmer Lake Police Department, and Monument Public Works.
Town manager’s report
Smith said that town representatives met with CDOT on July 14 to walk the property between Safeway and Conoco, where the bulk fill water station currently situated on Wagon Gap Trail might be relocated. Smith is also still looking at commercial property for this use.
Disbursements over $5,000 were approved unanimously as part of the consent agenda:
• Triview Metropolitan District—$160,157 for its share of town sales tax collected by the state
• NORAA Concrete Construction Co.—$20,003 for retainage reimbursement for the town sidewalk project after the warranty period concluded
• Lindsay Precast Inc.—$6,650 for Monument Lake retaining wall construction
• CWCB 2003 dam loan—$168,091 for annual Monument Lake dam construction loan payment to Colorado Water Conservation Board
• Wells Fargo Securities LLC—$365,598 for the ninth of 10 annual loan payments for construction of the new Town Hall building
Her report noted that sales tax earned through May was 3 percent over budget, and sales tax collected through July was 8 percent ahead of this time last year.
Trustee John Howe congratulated Tri-Lakes Views for completing new sculpture installations at the town hall and in the parks.
Trustee Jeff Smith said thank you to the three people who came to observe the interview process for town manager on July 18.
Trustee Becki Tooley encouraged the public to attend the weekly concerts in the park and monthly Art Hop.
Tooley also said the town especially needs feedback from youths and senior citizens about the parks master plan in development. The last open house soliciting feedback will be Aug. 27 at Town Hall, said Monument Public Relations Specialist Madeline VanDenHoek.
Movie night appreciation
VanDenHoek presented certificates of appreciation to the Monument Movie Night sponsors who helped make movies possible and provided pizza, popcorn, hot chocolate, a bounce house, board breaking, and water for the 200 to 450 people who attended each of the three nights at the clock tower in June.
At 8:40 p.m., the board went into executive session to confer with an attorney for the public entity for the purposes of receiving legal advice on specific legal questions. Shupp said the board did not plan to make any announcements after the session.
The Monument Board of Trustees usually meets at 6:30 p.m. on the first and third Mondays of each month at Monument Town Hall, 645 Beacon Lite Road. Call 884-8017 or www.townofmonument.org for information. The next meeting is scheduled for Aug. 3. The Board of Adjustment hearing about the methadone clinic is scheduled for Aug. 10.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at email@example.com.
By Kate Wetterer
The July 8 Monument Planning Commission meeting saw the Jackson Creek Market Village Replat approved, along with the Preliminary Planned Development (PD) Site Plan for the development and the Final PD Site Plan concerning Lot 2A, a proposed 7-Eleven Convenience Store and Fueling Station. All three motions were approved unanimously, and will next be voted on by the Board of Trustees.
These Jackson Creek Market Village plans concern a project site of a little over six acres with no existing buildings located on West Baptist Road east of the Jackson Creek Crossing shopping center that includes King Soopers. The proposed replat would allow for the creation of four platted lots as compared to the previously existing three. The Preliminary PD Site Plan shows the conceptual layout of buildings, parking areas, and drive aisles to facilitate the marketplace.
If these plans succeed, there will also be a small 7-Eleven in the southwest corner of the project site, by the existing access point. All other businesses hoping to set up shop in this marketplace will have to apply for a spot separately, like 7-Eleven has done. This 7-Eleven and its surrounding area are both intended to resemble something from the King Soopers parking lot up Baptist Road, in keeping with the flavor of Monument. The Final PD Site Plan for this 7-Eleven sets the store at 3,062 feet and the accompanying fuel canopy at 2,260 feet. Two new access points would be provided, and a sidewalk connection to Baptist Road.
Some concerns were expressed by both the Planning Commission and assembled citizens about traffic increases in the area. It was proposed that an extra turn lane be added into the new marketplace in order to make the road safer. Citizens also wondered if a new light would be put in place to regulate the flow of traffic. As it stands, if a certain volume of traffic is reached a light will be put in place, but plans have not been solidified for one as yet. This may be investigated in the future.
Other citizens expressed a desire to see the nearby trail paved, though they were advised that this request is out of the town’s hands and should be taken to the county instead.
Last month’s topic of discussion, the Brakes Plus and Advanced Auto Parts proposal, was approved by the Board of Trustees on July 6, with the condition about service doors remaining closed at night.
The next Monument Planning Commission meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 12 at 645 Beacon Lite Rd. Meetings are normally held on the second Wednesday of the month. Information: 884-8017 or http://www.townofmonument.org/meetings/.
Kate Wetterer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Nancy Wilkins
At the Triview Metropolitan District board meeting July 14, Bob Eskridge stepped in to fill the director position vacated by Missy Franklin. District Manager ValerieRemington said a developer was asking preliminary questions for future commercial construction west of I-25, and local water districts will test for arsenic. Board members Reid Borlander, Treasurer/Secretary Marco Fiorito, and Mark Melville scheduled a budget workshop for Sept. 18, and, with Bob Eskridge, approved the May 31 financial statements. Remington also announced a 27-year water court case involving Triview has finally ended.
Vice President Borlander chaired the meeting for President Robert Fisher, whose absence was excused.
Preliminary interest in commercial development west of I-25
Remington said a developer put about $1 million in an escrow account to provide water and sewer services west of I-25, and there is preliminary interest in new development near the major crossroad of Baptist and old Denver Road. The developer was not identified at the meeting, but Remington spoke briefly about a restaurant possibly being built in the future along with other commercial buildings.
Local water districts will test for arsenic
Remington said local water districts will be doing their own testing for arsenic and sending the results to the state. The districts are trying to find the source of higher concentrations of arsenic that may be occurring naturally in Monument Creek and smaller streams and water sources flowing into Monument Creek.
Budget workshop scheduled Sept. 18, 1 p.m.
As the board looks ahead for next year’s fiscal planning, a budget workshop is scheduled Sept. 18, at the district office at 1 p.m. The workshop is open to the public. The board will be reviewing rates and estimating costs for 2016.
Directors choose money market account with some financial risk
Remington announced a district certificate of deposit recently matured, and about $1 million was available for a money market account. The board noted that although the interest is higher in the investment considered, there is also more risk. Remington said she thought the paperwork to invest in the money market account was already signed at the previous board meeting.
Financial report ending May 31
As of May 31, revenues for the General Fund were reported at 52 percent of budget at $2.25 million, and expenditures were at 27 percent of budget at $1.26 million. Triview’s General Fund receives revenue primarily from property and sales taxes.
The Enterprise Fund is supported primarily through water and sewer fees paid by Triview’s commercial and residential residents. Revenue was $766,859 at 38 percent of budget and expenditures were $802,075 or 40 percent. The board noted revenue is down because water use for lawns is lower, due to the rain.
The Capitol Projects Fund is supported mostly by new construction in the form of tap fees. Revenue was recorded at $374,162 or 89 percent of the budget, and expenditures at $319,017 or 24 percent of budget.
Additional checks over $5,000 approved
In payments of more than $5,000, Stockman Cast Ryan received $12,000 for auditing, and the district paid a quarterly payment to the Donala Upper Monument Creek Regional Waste Water Treatment Facility of $77,614. JDS Hydro Electric consultants received several checks for the Sanctuary Point Construction: $9,345 for the pump station for the May billing, $7,012 for the point pump station for the June billing, $5,040 for the storage tank, and $8,370 for the Sanctuary Point transmission line.
Court case 27 years old finally comes to an end
A 27-year-old water case identified as 88CW320 and 88CW320(b) involving Triview finally ended in July. Remington said it was a total team effort. The district’s financial reports show the law firm of Felt Monson & Culichia LLC receiving $8,320 recently for water counsel and litigation, and Lytle Water Solutions receiving $5,250 for a hydrological survey needed to assist litigation. With the new court decree, Triview has begun construction of a new water well drawing from the Denver aquifer.
Board receives compilation of new Colorado session laws
A copy of "New Laws of Interest to the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority" was presented to the Board of Directors. Written by Richard Brown, dated June 30, the book was presented as part of a class from the Special District Association. Among the many new laws highlighted, Brown’s compilation includes H.B. 15-1166, which appropriates funding for monitoring the water in the South Platte River basin.
Before the district went into executive session, the board discussed the possibility of attending the Special District Association conference in Keystone, and considered an invitation from Colorado Springs Utilities to see, via bus ride, a presentation of the Arkansas tributary water sources.
Triview Metropolitan District board meetings are held on the second Tuesday of the month at 5 p.m. at 16055 Old Forest Point, (east of the Ent building) suite 300. Information: 488-6868 or visit www.triviewmetro.com. The next meeting is Aug. 11.
Nancy Wilkins can be reached at email@example.com.
By Jim Kendrick
At the start of the Monument Sanitation District’s board of directors meeting held on July 16, Marylee Reisig was sworn in by Ed DeLaney, the Monument Sanitation District board president, to fill the vacant director position. Her term will last through May 2016.
The board held a public hearing on raising monthly sanitary sewer fee increases and tap fees. The district says these increases are necessary to cover the cost of construction and operation of a new total phosphorus removal tertiary chemical clarifier expansion that is currently under construction at the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility located at 16510 Mitchell Ave. The new clarifier is being built in a vacant field at the south end of the facility property, east of the existing ultraviolet light effluent disinfection building. The total budget for this expansion project is $3.642 million.
The Tri-Lakes facility operates as a separate public utility and is jointly owned, in equal one-third shares, by Monument Sanitation District, Palmer Lake Sanitation District, and Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District. The three-member Joint Use Committee acts as the board of the facility and consists of one director from each of the three owner districts’ boards. Monument is paying 19.79 percent of the $3.642 million, Palmer Lake 33.33 percent, and Woodmoor 46.88 percent. The state’s $1 million nutrient grant is being divided by these three owner districts in the same percentages. (http://ocn.me/v14n12.htm#tlfjuc1111, http://ocn.me/v15n6.htm#tljuc0512)
For more information see the JUC article.
The public hearing for the rate and tap fee increases was opened at 10:06 a.m. There were no members of the public present. The public hearing was then closed.
District Manager Mike Wicklund noted the $3.059 million cost of the Aslan Construction Inc. contract with the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility for construction of the total phosphorus removal tertiary chemical clarifier expansion as well as the new additional operational costs for chemicals, currently estimated at $150,000 to $200,000 per year, as well as additional operational costs for electrical power and maintenance for the new expansion.
Note: The existing Tri-Lakes plant has no designed capability for removing total phosphorus, because there has never been a requirement for treating this constituent until the state’s approval of Control Regulation 85 in June 2012. The plant must comply with the new 1 mg/l running annual median total phosphorus limit listed in Control Regulation 85 starting on Nov. 1, 2019 under the facility’s new five-year discharge permit that took effect on May 1.
Wicklund discussed the new treatment method for removing this total phosphorus wastewater constituent to meet the future discharge permit limit of 1 milligram per liter (mg/l.) Alum and flocculating polymers will be added to the wastewater after it is treated and piped over from the existing adjacent aeration basins and their associated secondary clarifiers. The alum chemically removes the phosphorus, and the polymers cause the alum and removed phosphorus to form clumps that settle to the bottom of the new deep tertiary chemical clarifiers. The clumps are swept by a mechanical rake to sump pumps connected to new underground pipes that transport the clumped alum and phosphorus to the facility’s existing sludge lagoon at the north end of the Tri-Lakes facility. These clumps will be further treated in the sludge lagoon in the same manner as the previously removed secondary clarifier sludge that has already been separated and pumped in existing separate underground pipes to this sludge lagoon. The wastewater discharged from the chemical clarifiers will be pumped to the existing ultraviolet lamp disinfection building, treated, then discharged to Monument Creek.
Note: Treated sludge is removed every two years from the sludge lagoon, de-watered, then hauled away in 18-wheel trucks to be spread on nearby agricultural fields as fertilizer. Treated sludge is currently being removed from the Tri-Lakes facility by Veris Industries.
The new Tri-Lakes chemical removal treatment process is not expected to cause any change in the treated sludge in the existing sludge lagoon that would make it ineligible for use as de-watered agricultural fertilizer. Agricultural land application is far cheaper than having to transport the treated de-watered sludge to a qualified landfill for disposal.
This treatment method contrasts with the treatment process used by the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility and its de-watered sludge transport requirement for weekly landfill disposal of its less-treated sludge. Upper Monument uses a sequencing batch reactor waste treatment process that is different than the adjacent Tri-Lakes facility’s activated sludge process. Upper Monument does not have a sludge lagoon to treat sludge as completely as Tri-Lakes does over a two-year period. Upper Monument is surrounded by untouchable Preble’s mouse habitat and railroad tracks that preclude expanding the size of the existing Upper Monument property to build a sludge lagoon.
Current monthly local residential sewer rates are:
• Monument Sanitation District - $30
• Palmer Lake Sanitation District - $32
• Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District - $28.63 (for up to 6,000 gallons) + $3.84 per 1,000 gallons over 6,000 gallons
• Triview Metropolitan District - $35.74 (5/8-inch tap) or $43.10 (1-inch tap) plus $3.84 (for up to 6,000 gallons) + $4.04 (for 6,001 to 20,000 gallons), hence $39.58 to $50.98
• Donala Water and Sanitation District - $30
Monument’s current monthly commercial sewer rate is $30 plus $4.85 per each 1,000 gallons over 5,000 gallons.
Wicklund noted that district operations had produced a loss of $10,027 in 2013 and $14,823 in 2014. The current projected annual operating loss for district operations is $84,843 in 2015. Wicklund estimated that the operating loss would be $80,914 in 2016, assuming an increase in the 2016 Tri-Lakes facilities operations cost of $30,000 for operating the total phosphorus clarifier expansion after construction is completed in mid-summer.
Wicklund said Monument’s amount of tap fee revenue was less than the current level of capital expenditure for 2014, and the difference would grow in 2015 and again in 2016 under the current tap fee structure. Monument’s current residential and light commercial tap fee is currently $4,500 plus $300 per each fixture unit over 20 fixture units. Monument’s heavy commercial tap fee is currently $8,000 plus $300 per each fixture unit over 30 fixture units. Fixture units for items like sinks, bath tubs, and toilets are defined in the Uniform Plumbing Code.
Legal expenses for the district’s defense against a lawsuit filed against both Monument and Palmer Lake by Woodmoor are separate from operating expenses and have totaled $61,239 to date this year, further draining district cash reserves. For more information on the lawsuit, see www.ocn.me/v15n5.htm#tlfjuc0414.
Increase to be effective Jan. 1
After extensive discussion, the board unanimously approved a motion to raise the monthly base rate from $30 to $35 per month and raise the commercial use fee from $4.85 per 1,000 gallons to $5.10 per 1,000 gallons for monthly use over 5,000 gallons, effective Jan. 1, 2016.
A separate motion was unanimously approved to increase the residential and light commercial tap fee to $8,000 for the first 25 fixture units plus $300 per each additional fixture unit over 25, effective Jan. 1, 2016.
Another separate motion was unanimously approved to change the base commercial tap fee for heavy commercial businesses requiring pretreatment with a sand oil interceptor or grease interceptor before discharge to the District Collection System, i.e. restaurant, food preparation, car wash, automotive, etc. This tap fee was increased from $8,000 to $11,500 for the first 30 fixture units plus $300 per each additional fixture unit over 30, subject to engineering review and effective Jan. 1, 2016.
The agenda item for a discussion of updating the 10-year cash projection was unanimously tabled until the regular Aug. 20 meeting.
The board adjourned at 11:54 p.m.
The next meeting will include a rate and tap fee increase hearing, as noted above in the first paragraph, and will be held at 10 a.m. on Aug. 20 at the at the district conference room, 130 Second St. Meetings are normally held on the third Thursday of the month. Information for these meetings is available at 481-4886.
Jim Kendrick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jim Kendrick
The wet weather in the Tri-Lakes area continues to result in a Donala Sanitation District shortfall of drinking water revenue. Auditor Tom Sistare, of Hoelting and Co., presented an unmodified, or "clean," report for 2014 on July 16. Sistare found no issues with internal controls and had no recommendations for improvements. Sistare also concurred with General Manager Kip Petersen when he advised the directors of the Donala Water and Sanitation District board that the minimal investment returns reported by investment consultant Chandler Asset Management of 0.07 to 0.16 percent were the best that could be expected under state law that requires assurance of preservation of capital with no risk.
Sistare added, "It’ s brutal. The same question is asked at every board meeting" about these extremely low, but safe, returns. The board unanimously accepted the 2014 audit as presented and it has been forwarded to the state.
Petersen reminded the board that Donala’ s commercial electric utility rate increased by 9 percent on July 1 and noted that he had already identified about $400,000 in capital projects that could be deferred until 2016 while a "very strong El Nino weather pattern" continues to provide the region with more moisture and cooler temperatures than average. The district has already saved $175,000 on interior repainting as part of its Fox Run water tank rehabilitation, and this tank has been refilled. Petersen also noted that the district’ s first-half auto sales tax revenue, $81,457, is on track to be higher than the $100,000 budgeted this year. The district had also received 12 tap fees through June totaling $68,000, which exceeded the $60,000 budgeted for 2015.
Donala’ s water attorney, Rick Fendel, Katie Fendel, the district’ s water engineer, and District Manager Valerie Remington of Triview Metropolitan District attended the meeting. Triview and Forest Lake Metropolitan District are co-owners with Donala of the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility.
The absence of director Bill Nance was unanimously excused.
Petersen and Rick Fendel briefly reviewed Donala’ s Willow Creek Ranch renewable surface water storage status and spill priorities in the Pueblo Reservoir (www.usbr.gov/gp/ecao/nepa/donala_ea.pdf). Willow Creek Ranch is adjacent to Leadville.
Due to the high rainfall this year, Pueblo Reservoir may not be able to hold all of Donala’ s flows, nor those of other water entities with reservoir storage rights. Since Donala, along with the city of Aurora, are not members of the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District (www.secwcd.org), these two water entities have temporary one-year excess capacity annual storage contracts. An excess capacity contract is often referred to as an "if and when" contract, meaning if and when space is available in Pueblo Reservoir. Currently Donala’ s "if and when" temporary storage contract is renewable.
Rick Fendel said that if total upstream Arkansas River in-flows to the Pueblo Reservoir were to result in stored water levels that exceed the reservoir’ s total storage capacity, Donala and Aurora renewable water would be "spilled" (or not stored) first and allowed to flow downstream within the Arkansas River. Then water from the conservancy district’ s members would be spilled. If Arkansas River flows were to be so high that renewable surface water owned by the members of the Southeastern Conservancy district also had to be spilled, the proportion/percentage of the spillage for each of the members would be the same as Donala and Aurora.
Note: Donala could sell its spilled Willow Creek Ranch water as an option or simply not use the spilled water rights in a particular calendar year. However, this is very unlikely this year due to the high rainfall to date. So renewable water spilled out of the Pueblo Reservoir this year would be lost water, yet still count against Donala in calculating its 38-year rolling average rate of withdrawal from the Arkansas River.
The amount of Willow Creek Ranch water rights that Donala uses each year, based on its water court decree, is calculated on a 38-year rolling annual average basis not to exceed an average of 280 acre-feet per year. Calculations of Donala’ s 38-year rolling average began in 2012. Donala’ s usage of fully consumable renewable surface water to date from Willow Creek Ranch has been 180 acre-feet in 2012, 280 acre-feet in 2013, and 345 acre-feet for 2014.
Through June, Upper Monument Creek’ s total revenue was $493,240 and total expenses were $508,089. The three owner districts are billed in arrears for their shares of actual expenses at the end of each quarter.
The financial reports were accepted as presented.
Manager’ s report
Petersen presented his extensive revision of the district’ s updated personnel policies and procedures manual that was last revised in 2011. Adoption of the federal holiday schedule added two annual paid holidays for Martin Luther King Day and Columbus Day. The board unanimously approved the new manual. Each employee will receive a new copy of the manual and sign an acknowledgment of receipt.
Petersen recommended that Donala withdraw from the $2.67 billion Flaming Gorge Project, with an annual operations and maintenance cost of $196 million, for a variety of practical feasibility and interstate political reasons. Rick Fendel concurred, noting the 35-mile uphill pipeline distance between Reuter-Hess reservoir and Donala, the escalating unit cost of an acre-foot of delivered water, and that no other local or regional water entities have committed to share this expense with Donala. Katie Fendel also recommended that Donala withdraw for several additional technical and financial reasons. After a lengthy technical discussion, the board agreed that Donala’ s participation to date was money well spent to be able to make an informed decision to concur with the recommendation that Donala withdraw from further financial participation in Flaming Gorge planning.
Petersen reported that his continued participation with one or two Donala board members at monthly Arkansas Basin Roundtable meetings remains useful in persuading some participants that Donala and northern El Paso County are not part of Colorado Springs Utilities. He also noted that he will try to encourage county commissioner participation in Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority meetings.
Petersen reported that the Schuck Corp. had sold its 30 percent share of the Forest Lakes subdivision to the family that owns the other 70 percent. He said that Ann Nichols, of Forest Lakes Metro District, had advised him that construction by Classic Homes may start soon near Pinion Lake. The current Forest Lakes site plan calls for up to 457 homes. These homes would be serviced by the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility, while drinking water will be supplied by the Forest Lakes metro district.
Petersen distributed copies of legislative consultant Dick Brown’ s report titled "New Laws of Interest to Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority." He complimented Rick Fendel for his passage of Senate Bill 15-183 regarding water requantification of the historical consumptive use of a water right, which fully protects and preserves a water right that is not completely used up each year. Fendel said it was a "very mystifying experience." For more information see http://www.leg.state.co.us/CLICS/CLICS2015A/csl.nsf/BillFoldersSenate?openFrameset.
Donala’ s June water production was 29 million gallons, 23.5 million gallons from Willow Creek Ranch, compared to 42 million gallons in 2014. Petersen also reported that he would be scheduling a forest health survey on the ranch and the district staff continues to perform routine wildfire mitigation on the property. Staff will also be performing perimeter fence maintenance to prevent "open range" cattle grazing on the ranch to preserve the existing 10,000-year-old fen, or wetland, and protect the district’ s existing creek beds adjacent to flow measuring flumes. Rick Fendel said that the fen, under the state’ s regulatory scheme, is "irreplaceable, therefore untouchable." For more information see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fen.
Petersen noted that the district continues to use stored Willow Creek Ranch water to minimize the amount still stored in the Pueblo Reservoir, now that the snow melt season is over. Some of Donala’ s remaining stored surface water in the reservoir could be lost due to spilling to avoid an overflow during a monsoon, as well as minimizing use of Donala’ s groundwater and well pump lifespans. Donala’ s Holbein well water treatment plant was not operated in June.
However, Petersen also noted that it may become no longer prudent to continue taking available credit for storing any more current Willow Creek Ranch renewable water flows in the Pueblo Reservoir this year. Any more surface water stored in August may be lost in a reservoir spill if August turns into a monsoon season with flooding, while Donala’ s irrigation demands continue to dry up.
The board went into executive session at 3:05 p.m. to receive legal advice on negotiations between Donala and Pueblo County regarding the 1041 permit application.
The meeting adjourned at 4:45 p.m. The meeting was adjourned at the end of the executive session with no further action taken.
The next meeting will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Aug. 20 in the district conference room at 15850 Holbein Drive. Meetings are normally held on the third Thursday of the month. Information: 488-3603 or www.donalawater.org.
Jim Kendrick can be reached at email@example.com.
By Jim Kendrick
On July 14, Facility Manager Bill Burks reported on the first monthly discharge monitoring report results for May under the new five-year permit recently issued by the state for the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility to the Joint Use Coordinating Committee (JUC) that acts as the facility’s board. Burks also gave an overview of the continuing excavation by Aslan Construction at the vacant south end of the facility property for the new chemical total phosphorus removal clarifier expansion.
Plant manager’s report
Burks noted that the plant’s May discharge monitoring report was the first report under the facility’s new five-year discharge permit that became effective on May 1.
Discharge limits were dropped for copper, hydrogen sulfide, manganese, nitrate, and zinc.
Discharge reporting requirements were dropped for ammonia chloride, lead, selenium, and sulfate.
The daily discharge permit limit for E. coli was cut in half from 128 to 64 colonies per 100 milliliters.
New daily and monthly average discharge limits that vary from month to month were added to the discharge permit.
There are new discharge permit reporting requirements for dissolved iron, potentially dissolved copper, and total recoverable iron.
The new Control Regulation 85 running annual median limits in the new permit for total phosphorus and total inorganic nitrogen will not take effect until the end of the first 12 months of data.
The Tri-Lakes staff will continue to take a broad monthly array of samples for the ongoing Arkansas and Fountain Coalition for Rural/Urban River Evaluation (AF CURE) Monument Creek and Fountain Creek basin baseline characterization study to ensure that no needless discharge permit limits are imposed on Tri-Lakes by the state and/or EPA for these wastewater constituents in the future.
Burks reported that the facility’s May Control Regulation 85 total phosphorus effluent testing result was 2.4 mg/l and 6.1 mg/l for total nitrogen. The nitrogen test results for samples taken upstream at Arnold Avenue, from the Tri-Lakes effluent discharge, and downstream at Baptist Road showed small amounts of non-point source total phosphorus and total nitrogen in Monument Creek from other tributaries and/or storm water runoff.
Average total wastewater flow through the Tri-Lakes treatment plant increased from 1.13 million gallons per day (MGD) in April to 2.39 MGD in May, due to increased rain. Likewise, the daily maximum flow also increased from 1.33 MGD to 3.42 MGD.
Burks stated that he was going to return to operating only one of the three aeration basins, instead of two, because of the plant’s superior performance. This should save on energy costs for blowers and pumps.
Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District’s Assistant District Manager Randy Gillette reported that Woodmoor’s wastewater flows which "were up considerably" due to the heavy rain flows of early May had begun to "taper off" to normal. "We have had a lot of sump pumps running" but no water main failures, he said.
Burks reported that the Tri-Lakes facility had received its first nutrient expansion construction invoice from Aslan Construction Inc. for $207,030. An invoice from Tetra Tech for $7,565 was also received in June. There was a final 2014 facility audit invoice from John Cutler & Associates, for $1,000. He passed out printed copies of the 2014 audit that was forwarded to the state.
Rich Strom, Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District’s JUC representative, asked that reimbursements from the $1 million state nutrient grant be divided by 19.79 percent to Monument Sanitation District, 33.33 percent to Palmer Lake Sanitation District, and 46.88 percent to Woodmoor.
Burks replied that all the nutrient construction bills and nutrient grant reimbursements have been divided by thirds so far for simplicity and the differences should be resolved with all the billings to the three owner districts after all the grant money has been received.
Monument District Manager Mike Wicklund noted that Burks had been billing Monument by thirds for all the nutrient expansion invoices to date, even though he had been directed by the board to bill by the capacity ownership percentages.
Since the Nov. 11, 2014 JUC meeting, Monument has formally requested at each JUC meeting that the grant reimbursements and billing percentages for Monument be 19.79 percent, the same as the percentage of the new expansion’s total phosphorus constituent treatment capacity that Monument would own under the Joint Use of Facilities Agreement. (www.ocn.me/v14n12.htm#tlfjuc1111).
On April 14, 2015 the JUC unanimously approved a notice of construction award to Aslan for only the $3.059 million base bid and the $252,000 Tetra Tech construction management contract. This motion also approved a 10 percent contingency for both contracts for a total project cost of $3.642 million. The motion also specified that Monument would pay 19.79 percent of the $3.642 million, Palmer Lake would pay 33.33 percent, and Woodmoor would pay 46.88 percent.
Burks had not complied with the approved motion by his board. (http://ocn.me/v15n5.htm#tlfjuc0414)
On May 12, the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility Joint Use Coordinating Committee (JUC) unanimously approved the final award of a construction contract for only the facility’s new tertiary total phosphorus (TP) chemical removal clarifier expansion to Aslan Corp. On May 12, the JUC also unanimously awarded a separate contract at an additional cost of $252,000 for construction contract management by Tetra Tech—$18,000 per month for 14 months. In addition, the JUC unanimously approved a motion to budget/appropriate an additional 10 percent contingency of $305,900 for the construction contract plus a $25,200 10-percent contingency for the Tetra Tech construction management contract. The total cost for these four items was $3.642 million. The motion also specified that Monument would pay 19.79 percent of the $3.642 million, Palmer Lake would pay 33.33 percent, and Woodmoor would pay 46.88 percent. Burks had not complied with the approved motion by his board either. (http://ocn.me/v15n6.htm#tljuc0512)
After further discussion, there was consensus to divide the billing and $1 million construction grant by 19.79 percent, 33.33 percent, and 46.88 percent with appropriate corrections by the facility’s accountant.
Burks gave a photo presentation on Aslan’s day-to-day progress to date for construction of the concrete tertiary treatment clarifiers in the vacant field at the south end of the facility. There was a lengthy technical discussion on how a number of technical issues were resolved.
The financial reports were unanimously accepted as presented.
District manager reports
Wicklund distributed a recent newspaper article regarding a June 29 Supreme Court decision that rejected new EPA limits on mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants, saying the government must consider costs before deciding whether regulation is appropriate and necessary. More than a dozen states argued that EPA acted with "deliberate indifference to costs" in setting standards that threaten to drive a number of coal-fired electric utilities out of business. The case was sent back to the lower court with a requirement for the EPA to perform a cost-benefit analysis.
Wicklund stated that the facility’s attorney should review how this Supreme Court ruling could be used to overturn the very expensive nutrient removal compliance requirements in Control Regulation 85 for total inorganic nitrogen and the far more expensive and unattainable compliance requirements for total nitrogen in state water quality Regulation 31.17. He said that the state’s cost-benefit study sections on Monument Creek for Control Regulation 85 were not accurate or valid enough to justify the $30 million expense for new nitrogen equipment construction. The state has never been able to show any adverse effect on Monument Creek due to phosphorus or nitrogen.
The meeting adjourned at 11:48 a.m.
The next meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on Aug. 11 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 Alexis Olmstead
On July 21, the Donald Wescott Fire Protection District (DWFPD) board met to discuss acceptance of the 2014 audit by Tom Sistare of Hoelting and Co., and Chairman Greg Gent led the discussion on financial records and the possibility of moving funds into separate bank accounts.
Director Bo McAllister was excused.
2014 audit accepted
Sistare gave a clean or "unmodified" opinion of the district’s 2014 financial statements.
Sistare discussed the expenditures and income of the fire district. He said the fund balance was down as a result of the amount of money spent on capital outlays and equipment. The total dollar amount spent on Emergency Medical Services assistance went up, mainly due to rising healthcare costs.
He made two recommendations. One was about segregation of duties for ideal control purposes, but he conceded that in small districts it is hard to do this with limited staff.
He also recommended transferring reserve funds to a separate bank account from operations funds, making the "paper trail cleaner" by "avoid co-mingling of funds."
Finally, Sistare said state law says Wescott may only invest in U.S. bonds, U.S. agencies, state bonds, notes and obligations, and local government pools. He said that the board needs to weigh the costs against the benefits, and only consider certain investments if liquidity is a pertinent issue,
Later in the meeting, Administrative Assistant Stacey Popovich suggested that the board do what Sistare had recommended, and the board discussed transferring all its reserve funds to the separate People’s bank account. This was approved with a vote of 3-1. Treasurer Joyce Hartung voted no with no reason stated.
Popovich presented the May and June financials in this meeting; however, June’s financial statement will have to be revisited at the next meeting before the board will vote to approve it.
Assistant Chief Scott Ridings said a large increase in the call volume for May and June was credited to a new city contract with AMR (American Medical Response), which took most of those calls. In May, the call volume was up 59 percent and in June volume was up 44 percent, he said. Fire loss was $20,000 for June due a fire caused by a lightning strike.
DWFPD participated in Monument Fourth of July parade. Fire Chief Vinny Burns was "amazed by the turnout" of the July 4 crowd and was glad it was a quiet 4th.
However, the most rewarding experience that happened recently, from the perspective of Ridings and Burns, was a weeklong intensive training session in Nassau County, New York. Five firefighters attended this 12-hour-per-day program from 9 in the morning to 9 in the evening, doing practice scenarios to fight fires ranging from small house fires to gargantuan warehouse blazes.
Ridings said DWFPD would implement the training these men were given. "A lot of the guys [who] went were our senior firefighters [who] in turn will train our other firefighters that are here," he said. Since this training program costs the Fire Department $1,000 per participant, the board came to a consensus that it would be greatly beneficial to send new firefighters every year if they are financially able to.
The meeting adjourned at 8:15 p.m.
The Donald Wescott Fire Protection District Board of Directors meets every third Tuesday except in December. The next meeting is scheduled for Aug. 18 at 7 p.m. at 15415 Gleneagle Dr. Please call 488-8680 for more information, or visit www.wescottfire.org. The district is also on Facebook.
Alexis Olmstead is a high school student and a Wescott district resident. She can be reached at email@example.com.
By Lisa Hatfield
At the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD) meeting on July 22, the board approved the 2014 audit and congratulated new Battalion Chief Mike Dooley on his promotion and Fire Marshal John Vincent for being named Firefighter of the Year by Masonic Lodge in Monument.
Secretary Mike Smaldino was absent, and Vice President Roger Lance was excused.
2014 audit accepted
Mitchell K. Downs, CPA of Osborne, Parsons & Rosacker LLP, presented his audit of the 2014 district financial statements. He said it was a clean audit with no significant surprises.
Downs said it is difficult for small districts to achieve the ideal amount of segregation of duties. Accountant "Frances (Esty) is doing all the work" and this did not allow for cross-referencing and checks and balances, he said.
The board voted unanimously to accept the audit.
Firewise award system
Fire Marshal John Vincent described a new award system he has developed to encourage residents who are doing fire fuel mitigation around their homes. Firefighter crews who notice work in progress can stop and engage with homeowners and reinforce to homeowners when they are doing something right. Vincent wants all 48 subdivisions in TLMFPD to work toward being Firewise, which includes thinning trees so the ones that remain are healthy and well-spaced and don’ t allow fire to creep up into the tree crowns.
The long-term goal is to become a "fire-adapted community" where natural wildfires don’ t last as long and are less destructive.
"We will have a wildfire here. How catastrophic the fire will be is up to the homeowners," Vincent said. Recent rains may have helped with short-term fire danger, but "what’ s green today will be brown tomorrow" and add to the fire fuel load around people’ s homes, he warned.
See www.ocn.me/v14n12.htm#cwmp1101, www.tlmfire.org/ready-set-go or write to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on your own property’ s fuels mitigation needs or how to start a Firewise group in your neighborhood.
Chief Chris Truty announced that the Masonic Lodge in Monument planned to name Vincent "Firefighter of the Year" at a ceremony on July 26. His experience includes myriad roles in the firefighting field, search and rescue, first responder at multiple local and national emergencies including the 2012 Waldo Canyon Fire, and many years of military service including a tour of duty in Afghanistan with the 19th Special Forces Group in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Since April 2012, he has developed district-wide fire prevention and community wildfire awareness programs.
New battalion chief
Truty read the oath of office to newly promoted Battalion Chief Mike Dooley. Truty said Dooley was a BC before the TLMFPD reorganization that occurred a few years ago and has now offered his "institutional knowledge and expertise" to serve as BC again.
Treasurer John Hildebrandt said that expenses as of the end of June were about 2 percent below budget. Ambulance revenues were 6 percent below budget, but overall revenue was on track. The directors unanimously approved the June 30 financial report.
Chief’ s report
Truty’ s comments included:
• Health care costs are increasing due to the Affordable Care Act.
• The promotional exam for lieutenants is in preparation.
• Tax levy discussion for May 2016 is considering bond levy vs. mill levy options.
• Larkspur Fire Protection District has removed itself from merger talks with TLMFPD, but Donald Wescott is considering doing some operations with the district.
• Sheriff Bill Elder is making it a priority to work on 911 station alerting to fire stations to improve reliability.
Deputy Chief Randy Trost’ s comments included:
• TLMFPD sent two firefighters to Denver to honor fallen firefighter John Whelan.
• Maintenance and repairs continue at all three stations.
• The fleet is continuing to do maintenance, and the new brush truck and two four-wheel-drive ambulances are on the way.
• Thank you to Chief Arturo Morales of the Castle Rock Fire/Rescue Department for donating three portable and two mobile radios that match the ones TLMFPD uses.
Fire station tours scheduled for Oct. 28
TLMFPD plans to offer tours of all three fire stations before the regular October board meeting. The goal will be to show the status of the fire stations to all the directors and any members of public who would like to get this information.
Administrative Assistant Jennifer Martin described many public relations events that the firefighters have participated in including July 4 parade security, car seat checks, fire mitigation assessments, public education sessions at parks and schools, a benefit ride, and the upcoming Aug. 8 Safety Day at U.S. Taekwondo Center.
Shirk meets protesters in Denver
President Jake Shirk said he had just spent three days in downtown Denver at a police chief’s conference and "had the pleasure of meeting" a contingent of anonymous, masked Occupy Denver participants that were there protesting against the "racist, brutal police chiefs all meeting together to conspire against them." He said there were uniformed officers in full riot gear there to protect the chiefs going to the conference. "It was pretty interesting," he said.
The meeting adjourned at 7:36 p.m.
The next meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 26 in the Monument Town Hall at 645 Beacon Lite Road. Meetings are usually held on the fourth Wednesday of each month. For information, contact Jennifer Martin at 719-484-0911.
Lisa Hatfield can be contacted at email@example.com.
By Jim Kendrick and Lisa Hatfield
During a special meeting of the Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority (BRRTA) board that was held on June 29 at the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) offices in Denver, BRRTA representatives asked CDOT representatives to provide a more definitive state reimbursement schedule for the $16 million that BRRTA paid for the expansion construction of the state’s I-25 Baptist Road interchange (Exit 158.)
CDOT Executive Director Shailen Bhatt was appointed by Gov. John Hickenlooper in January 2015 (www.codot.gov/about/executive-director.) Bhatt noted that the 2008 intergovernmental agreement (IGA) between the state and BRRTA contains no timetable or deadlines, nor even a statement of a legal obligation for the state to repay BRRTA taxpayers for any of the $21.5 million in privately owned 20-year revenue bonds that BRRTA issued in late 2008 to finance this interchange expansion construction. The IGA only states that the state will make reimbursement payments to BRRTA when road construction funding becomes available. Bhatt said BRRTA reimbursement is currently difficult due to an $800 million shortfall in annual state highway funding, and there was no agreement that either the total amount of promised reimbursement or the total construction cost was $16 million.
However, Bhatt also stated that the state has an obligation to try to reimburse BRRTA as shown by the state’s previous single reimbursement payment of $3 million to BRRTA from unused state road construction funds that were left over in 2012. ( www.ocn.me/v12n12.htm#brrta)
The costs for resolving all construction-related contingencies, which the state would have borne as a cost of construction if CDOT had actually constructed the bridge itself, were added to the basic total Lawrence contract cost for a total construction cost of about $16 million, which the state then formally agreed to reimburse to BRRTA through signing of the IGA.
After the interchange expansion was completed by Lawrence, BRRTA, and El Paso County, in the spring of 2010, it was formally approved by CDOT as meeting state standards. BRRTA and the county then transferred ownership of the interchange to the state. (www.ocn.me/v10n2.htm#brrta)
No state reimbursements will be made to BRRTA for any of the accrued interest or administrative costs for the $21.5 million bond issue. (www.ocn.me/v11n1.htm#bot1220)
June 29 discussion
BRRTA was represented at this meeting by a board quorum consisting of Monument Mayor Rafael Dominguez, El Paso County Commissioner Dennis Hisey, and El Paso County Assessor Steve Schleiker. Dominguez and Hisey are also on the board of the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments (PPACG), which helps set highway funding priorities in CDOT Region 2. (www.codot.gov/projects/southeastern-projects)
The other two BRRTA board members, Monument Mayor Pro Tem Jeff Kaiser (chair) and El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn, did not attend this meeting.
On June 29, CDOT Executive Director Bhatt was briefed by CDOT Region 2 Transportation Director Karen Rowe, appointed on Aug. 1, 2014, regarding BRRTA’s request to formalize a repayment schedule for the remaining construction costs for the I-25 Exit 158/Baptist Road improvements agreed to in a 2008 IGA. (www.codot.gov/about/regions.html)
Rowe said that in 2008 "CDOT committed to paying BRRTA back for that but the IGA had no specified timeframe or specific commitment to do the payback. So far we’ve paid back $3 million." Rowe added that the PPACG had recently approved a request for metro funds in the amount of $1.083 million and that BRRTA officials were "seeking some sort of assurance that BRRTA would get paid back in a reasonable time frame" so that BRRTA would know what revenue to expect for planning purposes.
Rowe stated that the IGA estimated that the total cost was $16 million, but asserted that CDOT had now determined that the actual construction cost was $13.36 million.
Dominguez said the actual construction amount was $16 million to $18 million and BRRTA is concerned that with competing current projects, this IGA "will be forgotten."
Elaine Johnsen, funding optimization manager for El Paso County Budget Administration, is now the primary BRRTA administrator. Johnsen said that the current BRRTA principal balance was $15.1 million. However, Hisey said that this amount did not consist only of construction costs due to creation of some collateralized funding.
Hisey said he had never heard a number as low as $13 million for the total interchange construction cost and that it must be "written down somewhere." Hisey said that BRRTA was looking for "some sort of a plan to know what we can count on. The $3 million reimbursement was an end of the year thing," because another state project came in under budget and funds were available at the end of that year.
Bhatt agreed with Dominguez and Hisey that CDOT had made an agreement but the BRRTA request regarding "the outstanding balance" needed to go before the state Transportation Commission, which formulates policy with respect to management, construction, and maintenance of public highways and other transportation systems and adopts CDOT’s budget and programs. He added that CDOT had already paid back $3 million, which shows that CDOT has thought that "this is a legitimate bill that had to be paid." However, it will never be a good time for paying back the remainder, given current requirements that exceed available funding. Small payments over several years seem most likely and this "is a valid outstanding payment we need to make."
The state Transportation Commission is made up of 11 commissioners who represent specific districts. Each commissioner is appointed by the governor, confirmed by the Senate, and serves a four-year term. Region 9 includes the counties of El Paso, Fremont, Park, and Teller. As of June 29, Region 9 Commissioner Les Gruen’s replacement had not yet been appointed by Gov. Hickenlooper.
Bhatt reiterated that CDOT has an $800 million shortfall in the transportation budget for needed projects, but if BRRTA were just asking for a schedule of payments in the future and not an entire payment in one or two years, he would make a recommendation on BRRTA’s behalf to the Transportation Commission. He also encouraged BRRTA representatives to speak during the public discussion section of a future Transportation Commission meeting, but suggested that they wait a few months for the new transportation commissioners to "get their sea legs under them before we present this to them."
Bhatt said, "One, it’s the right thing to do, which makes it pretty easy, and, two, we recognize that you guys stepped up and helped us get something done and we certainly don’t want to send the message that you guys did that and now we’re just going to pocket the money. It’s not a good message to send to everyone else who we might want to partner with."
Rowe said once the Responsible Acceleration of Maintenance and Partnerships projects were out to bid and funded, the commissioners would know what contingency funds remain and might be available to help with the BRRTA balance. Hisey added that the days of low cost bids were over and every local government "is scrambling for money due to similar road construction cost constraints. (www.codot.gov/programs/RAMP)
Note: For more BRRTA background information, open the OCN home page at ocn.me and type or copy/paste "Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority" with the quotation marks, as shown here, in the search box at the top center of the page, then click on the "All words" radio button just below this box, then click on the search button and 119 or more OCN BRRTA-related links dating back to August 2001 will be available.
The next regular BRRTA meeting will be held at 2:30 p.m. on Aug. 14. The location of this meeting has not yet been determined. Meetings are normally held on the second Friday of the second month of the quarter. Information: 884-8017 or 520-5547.
Jim Kendrick can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lisa Hatfield can be contacted at email@example.com.
By Robert L. Swedenburg
State Rep. Terri Carver and homeowners association (HOA) Attorney Lenard Rioth addressed the Northern El Paso County Coalition of Community Associations (NEPCO) membership at its July 11 meeting at the Monument Town Hall. Rioth is an attorney with Anderson, Dude & Lebel, P.C., and is an honorary associate member of NEPCO due to his many years of support to NEPCO and its member HOAs. They reported on the good news that the governor recently signed into law that (1) small HOAs are exempt from Common Community Interest Organization Act (CCIOA) regulations, and (2) under certain conditions HOAs are exempt from HOA management licensing regulations.
When the bill addressing exemptions was being deliberated in the state Legislature, Rep. Carver, supported by Rioth and letters from NEPCO member HOAs, worked diligently to achieve the success of the exemptions, which now eliminate the possibility of increased costs to small HOAs.
Carver stated that pre-1992, small HOAs now have the same CCIOA regulatory exemptions as post-1992 small HOAs. "Small" HOAs are those that have an annual assessment of $300 or less per lot or 10 units or less. This law goes into effect Aug. 5. Attorney Rioth stated that the exemptions allows a single-family subdivision or townhouse HOA (but not condominiums) to be exempt if "the annual average common expense liability of each lot" exclusive of optional user fees and any insurance premiums paid by the HOA does not exceed $300 per lot per year.
Rioth said the HOA remains subject to Sections 105, 106, and 107 (sections involving fairly minor matters). However, some major CCIOA provisions in Section 106.5 may or may not apply to exempt HOAs (flags, signage, fire protection). He said that exempt small HOAs do not need to register with the HOA Information Office because they are exempt from the registration requirement in Section 401 of CCIOA. Each HOA should review its declaration of covenants to determine whether the assessments (exclusive of insurance) are limited to less than $300 per lot per year. If there is no limitation, the HOA should consider amending its declaration of covenants to provide one. Rioth emphasized that his remarks are for general information and education and are not intended to provide any legal advice as to any legal matter or legal issue.
Management licensing exemption: Carver stated that under HB 15-1343, volunteer HOA boards that hire independent contractors to do clerical, ministerial, accounting, or maintenance functions are exempt from the manager licensing regulations. There is no size limit for the HOA to qualify for this regulatory exemption from the licensing requirements. She thanked the NEPCO HOAs who sent her letters of support and encouragement during the Legislature’s deliberations.
NEPCO currently consists of 35 HOAs with about 7,000 homes.
The next meeting of NEPCO is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 12 at the Monument Town Hall. NEPCO can be visited at www.NEPCO.org.
By Jackie Burhans
At the WIA board meeting on Wednesday, July 22, the board announced the selection of a new homeowners association (HOA) manager, approved plans for building a pavilion at the barn, and geared up for upcoming board elections.
New WIA HOA manager
President Jim Hale announced that the board had selected Denise Cagliaro as the permanent HOA manager. Cagliaro has served as interim HOA manager since the departure of Matt Beseau in April. She had previously served as bookkeeper and Barn rentals administrator for WIA and will lead the search and selection of a new bookkeeper. Cagliaro has until the Dec. 31 provisional license deadline to complete the new mandatory HOA manager licensing required by the Colorado Division of Real Estate.
Pavilion at the Barn plan approved
Common area Director Alan Basset requested and received board approval of a plan to build a new pavilion at the Barn to be located in the center island of the parking lot. The plan has been reviewed by the Architectural Control Committee. Bob Pearsall, Architectural Control administrator, attended the meeting to answer board questions about cost, color, location, and power. Construction is expected to take six to eight weeks. The pavilion will be available to be reserved as an amenity for the residents and for rental.
Gearing up for board elections
President Hale noted that fall will be here soon and the WIA needed to look for board candidates. He said at least three candidates were needed but they prefer to have four to six. The board appointed a nominating committee to seek out candidates.
• The board unanimously passed a resolution to approve a proposal to build an asphalt parking lot at The Marsh to correct drainage and prevent erosion.
• The board has been working with the Lake Woodmoor Townhomes sub-HOA board to address covenant violations in a timely manner.
• The chipping day on July 18 at Lewis-Palmer Middle School was very successful with 114 loads filling four dumpsters.
The WIA Board of Directors usually meets at 7 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of each month in the Barn at 1691 Woodmoor Drive, Monument. The next meeting will be on Aug. 26. WIA board meeting minutes can be found at: http://www.woodmoor.org/content/admin-bod-meeting-minutes.html once approved and posted.
Jackie Burhans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Bill Kappel
July was another very wet and cool month around the region, with rainfall during the month ranging from 4 to 6 inches for most of the region. This continued the trend we started in earnest during May, with record amounts of moisture over most of the Front Range and Eastern Plains, effectively bringing all of Colorado out of any drought conditions. Temperatures were held down as well because of all the moisture around, sapping much of the sun’s energy before it was allowed to heat the atmosphere. This meant we did not reach the 90°F mark during the month.
The first week of July was a wet one. Measureable rainfall occurred each day except on the 4th, so that worked out well. Temperatures were in the upper 70s to low 80s from the 1st through the 5th, with the warmest day being the 4th. Most areas picked up another 1-2 inches of rainfall during the period. The record amounts of moisture we’ve had this spring and early summer provide a positive feedback mechanism for the atmosphere. This ensures that abundant moisture will be available most of the time to produce rainfall if other conditions are in place. The high levels of moisture also help to keep daytime temperatures down, as much of the sun’s energy that would otherwise be used to heat the atmosphere must first go into evaporating the moisture.
Cool and wet conditions continued to plague the region during the first part of the week of July 6. Fog, low clouds, rain, thunderstorms, and generally cool conditions occurred from the 6th through the 8th. This was the result of upslope flow along the Front Range and high moisture content in the atmosphere. Temperatures were held in the mid-50s to mid-60s each day, about 10-15 degrees cooler than normal. In addition, 1-2 inches of rainfall accumulated during the period, adding to our record totals over the last couple of months. The last of the rainfall for the week finally left us late on the 9th, just in time to produce a quiet, dry, and more "normal" weekend. No rain fell from the 10th through the 12th, and with the drier air came more sunshine and warmer temperatures. Highs reached the upper 70’s and low 80’s each day, just about normal for mid-July.
It was a quiet week around the region during the week of the 13th. Temperatures were generally around normal to slightly cooler than normal, with mainly dry conditions. Highs were in the 70s to low 80s from the 13th through the 19th. Normal highs during this time of the year are in the low to mid-80s. A few weak thunderstorms did develop during the afternoon and early evening hours during the early part of the week, but drier air in the lower levels of the atmosphere resulted in only light rainfall. Amounts were generally a trace to a couple hundredths of an inch. The exception was Sunday afternoon, as a strong line of thunderstorms was able to tap into higher levels of low-level moisture that had worked back into the region. These storms produced a quick half inch to one inch of rainfall from 2 to 3 p.m. that afternoon.
The week of the 20th started off with some wet weather, but drier air finally moved in for the remainder of the month. Temperatures were cooler than normal on the 20th and 21st, with highs holding in the low 70s High levels of moisture pooled over the region on the 21st and when a disturbance moved through that afternoon, heavy rain resulted. In some locations, nearly 2 inches of rain accumulated in less than 30 minutes. This is a pretty rare occurrence and led to more flash flooding in several areas. However, after this round of storms, drier air finally began to move into the area. More typical conditions prevailed, with quiet mornings and scattered clouds during the day. No major rainfall occurred from the 23rd through the 28th. Temperatures did manage to reach the low 80s during the period as well, right about normal for late July.
The month ended with slightly cooler than normal conditions on the 29th, then back to normal on the 30th and 31st. Conditions were quiet as well, with only a few isolated thunderstorms.
A look ahead
August is the last true "summer" month for the region. We are often greeted with sunny, pleasant mornings that turn into afternoon and early evening thunderstorms. Highs during the month range from the mid-80s at the beginning of the month to mid-70s at the end. Temperatures at night get more comfortable as well, often dipping into the 40s, making for better sleeping weather.
July 2015 Weather Statistics
Average High 76.7° (-6.2°) 100-year return frequency value max 87.6° min 75.3°
Average Low 49.8° (-1.3°) 100-year return frequency value max 56.2° min 46.9°
Highest Temperature 85°F on the 4th
Lowest Temperature 44°F on the 16th
Monthly Precipitation 4.72" (+1.47" 30% above normal) 100-year return frequency value max 6.03" min 0.98"
Monthly Snowfall 0.0"
Season to Date Snow 0.0" (the snow season is from July 1 to June 30)
Season to Date Precip 4.72" (+1.47" 30% above normal) (the precip season is from July 1 to June 30)
Heating Degree Days 73 (+44)
Cooling Degree Days 4 (-90)
Bill Kappel is a meteorologist and Tri-Lakes resident.
He can be reached at email@example.com.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Letters to Our Community should not be interpreted as the views of OCN even if the letter writer is an OCN volunteer
Town of Monument under review?
The Town of Monument is a peaceful town. It is caring, close-knit, and vibrant. Unfortunately, the character of the town’s Board of Trustees, the mayor, and the town employees is under review. Since the public became aware of a methadone dispensary applying for a permit to operate in the historic downtown area, the public has understandably expressed outrage.
On July 13, the public had an opportunity to express its objection to this clinic. Some were respectful and some were disrespectful; telling lies and spreading rumors.
On July 19, the Colorado Springs Gazette Editorial Board published an article that was inaccurate and irresponsible. Inflammatory accusations that the town gave this business "... apparent red-carpet treatment ..." are an outright lie.
The statement "With public officials displaying such disregard for public health, safety and sentiment ..." is irresponsible. Public sentiment does not grant the elected body the authority to violate its laws. It does, however, compel the elected body to review its laws, policies and procedures, which the town is in the process of doing now.
Arbitrary violation of law in an attempt to prohibit this property being used for a properly zoned use would put the town in a position to "knowingly and wantonly" violate its laws and make it susceptible to a number of lawsuits. Suggestions that the town’s insurance would cover financial loss in the event of a lawsuit are not correct; the town would not be covered if it knowingly violates its laws.
To be clear, the Town of Monument, its Board of Trustees, its mayor and its employees do not desire a methadone facility in its downtown.
The next step in the review process is a Town of Monument Board of Adjustment meeting scheduled for Aug. 10. Sign up for Monument’s Facebook page for notification.
Jadomski endorsed for school board
This letter is to endorse Julie Jadomski for the position of director of District 5 on the Lewis-Palmer Board of Education. She was recently appointed to this position for five months after another board member retired. I am a parent of two children in District 38 who have attended Kilmer Elementary School and Lewis-Palmer Middle School. I have partnered with Julie Jadomski for nine years on the Colorado Preschool Council, of which she was the director.
As a member of this council, I immediately recognized that Julie Jadomski’s number one priority is the children. She is 100 percent focused on doing what is in the children’s best interest. She is a strong leader who always leads by example. Her firm beliefs about being a servant leader are a testimony to what she can and will accomplish. She is very generous with her time and her experience.
Julie Jadomski has an extensive understanding and knowledge of this community. She has lived here since 1977, her children have all attended the LPSD schools K-12 and she served as the principal of Palmer Lake Elementary School for 12 years. A vote for Julie Jadomski will be a vote for our children as she continues striving to do what is in their best interest.
Data privacy in schools questioned
In June, I addressed our school board regarding data privacy for our children in school. Currently there are laws and policies in place to protect children and require parents’ informed consent before information can be collected and shared. I assume state laws, federal laws, institutional review boards, etc., are operational to protect privacy. It is true, FERPA has been trumped by executive order allowing information on our children to be shared by our schools without informing us. But there are other laws regulating the collecting of the information, or so I thought.
To my surprise there have been numerous instances where children have been asked, expected, and even required to complete data surveys without parental knowledge or consent. I asked to see a particular personality profile survey administered by Naviance to our high school kids under mandatory participation and threat that it would affect their grade. I was told I was not allowed to see it, due to copyright arrangements.
I had trusted the schools, but this peaked my curiosity. I began to get involved with the issues of data privacy in our schools and worked closely with Rep. Lundeen on a data privacy bill. Over the year, I have discovered more than I would like to know. We acquired a stack of surveys that are currently being used in the classrooms. Among them were the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey (HKCS). I pushed hard to expose this survey to the community and challenged our superintendent to find out if she could refuse to administer this survey in our district.
In June, I pleaded with our school board that, as a matter of transparency, parents should be informed of any survey content specifically, the chain of custody of the data collected, and all the uses of the data collected.
School board candidate Julie Jadomski deserves your vote in November
Lewis-Palmer School District is fortunate to have Julie Jadomski running in the November election for the Board of Education. Julie has deep roots in the community, where she has lived, educated her own children, and has been employed as a principal.
Julie is greatly admired in the Lewis-Palmer School District, where I also teach. I have known Julie for 10 years as a parent and as an employee. She is an excellent listener who fully considers options before making important decisions. She is well organized and a practical thinker who follows through on commitments. The one agenda that Julie has as an educational leader is that she always puts "Kids First." She is dedicated to helping all students succeed.
Julie Jadomski will make an excellent member of the Board of Education. If elected, I feel she would put her energy to work on behalf of all the parents and children in our excellent Lewis-Palmer School District. She will listen to the needs and act upon those interests. She is skilled at making things happen and effecting change when change is needed. She has showed us her love and commitment to the education of our students and our community, and would continue to do so in the future.
Julie Jadomski is the best one for the job. Exercise your right. Please vote in November.
Support our school leadership team
Our family moved to this area about 15 years ago. One of the main considerations was the reputation of the school district. Monument is truly a unique community; a small-town atmosphere with a big heart. With everything that’s going on in our country it’s comforting to be able to raise our kids in such a great community with the best schools. We have been overwhelmed by all the dedicated teachers and staff who constantly take personal interest in our kids. Great schools are the foundation of a strong community and they don’t happen by accident. It takes dedicated leadership and staff, which we currently have.
I appreciate our good fortune of raising our children in such a wonderful community. We need to continue to protect our teachers, our community, and our kids by supporting our current school district leadership team who have shown their dedication to educating our children.
The staff at Covered Treasures Bookstore can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. As summer winds down and children get bored, good books are a wonderful way to brighten the days and gear up for school. There are many eye-catching picture books for toddlers as well as entertaining selections for middle readers and teens.
Ice Cream Summer
By Peter Sis (Scholastic) $17.99
Did you know that the first ice cream appeared 2,000 years ago in China? In this delightfully illustrated book, Joe writes to his Grandpa about his summer, using ice cream to show how he studied reading, history, math, and much more. Sis uses documented facts to spin a colorful story for young readers. All in all, it was a delicious summer.
By Fran Preston-Gannon (Sterling Publishing) $14.95
What is it like working on a dinosaur farm? You must get up early, feed the animals, keep everything clean, and water the plants. When the sun sets, you can go home after a busy day. Just make sure you didn’ t forget anything. Colorful illustrations of friendly dinosaurs show exactly what happens if the farmer forgets something.
Ginny Louise and the School Showdown
By Tammi Sauer (Disney-Hyperion) $16.99
The Truman Elementary Troublemakers are a bad bunch, especially Cap’ n Catastrophe, Destructo Dude, and Make-My-Day May. This scowly, growly trio rules the school until Ginny Louise, the new hedgehog in town, shows up. When Make-My-Day May challenges the ever-cheerful Ginny Louise to a showdown, does Ginny Louise have what it takes to turn this wild situation around? These animal characters will come alive for young readers.
Monkey and the Elephant
By Carole Lexa Schaefer (Random House) $3.99
Monkey and Elephant are very good friends. They live in the jungle, which is sometimes very hot. When the two friends set out in search of shade, Monkey complains that Elephant is walking too bumpity, too ziggy and zaggy, and Elephant complains that Monkey is too bossy and too sassy. Will these very good friends find shade before they become very bad friends?
Ranger in Time
By Kate Messner (Scholastic) $5.99
Ranger, a golden retriever trained as a search-and-rescue dog, travels to the Colosseum in ancient Rome where there are gladiator fights and wild animal hunts. Ranger saves Marcus from a runaway lion, and befriends Quintus, a new gladiator who must prove himself in the arena. Can Ranger help Marcus and Quintus escape the brutal world of the Colosseum?
Horses of the Dawn Series
By Kathryn Lasky (Scholastic) $6.99
A horse is born in the middle of the ocean on a galleon sailed by men seeking gold in the New World. When the men decide that the weight of the horses is slowing their ship, they throw the weakest and the oldest into the water. The horses believe they are doomed, but over the salt air, Estrella picks up the scent of a wild land of sweet grass. Can one young horse lead a herd across thousands of miles, through jungle and desert, facing down predators? This is the story of the rise of the horses of the dawn.
Ms. Rapscott’ s Girls
By Elise Primavera (Penguin Putnam) $16.99
Ms. Rapscott, the headmistress of a school for daughters of the busiest parents in the world, is delighted when five special boxes, containing her new students, land on her porch. Bea, Mildred, Fay, and Annabelle don’ t know anything parents usually teach their children, but poor Dahlia has the worst fate of all. Her parents are so busy they forgot to close her box, and she’ s fallen out. Ms. Rapscott has a lot to teach her girls and has many adventures planned for them. But first, they must find Dahlia, which turns out to be the greatest adventure of all.
By Emmy Laybourne (Macmillan Publishing) $17.99
Solu’ s luxurious celebrity-filled Cruise to Lose is billed as "the biggest cruise since the Titanic," and if the new diet sweetener works as promised—dropping 5 percent of a person’ s body weight in just days—it could be the answer to the world’ s obesity problem. Laybourne takes readers on a dream vacation that goes first comically, then tragically, then horrifyingly, wrong.
Until next month, happy reading.
Did you know? Studies show that children who cannot read at grade level by the end of third grade are six times more likely to drop out of high school. (U.S. Department of Education)
By Harriet Halbig
The 2015 Summer Reading Program was a great success. In Monument, 148 toddlers, 3,544 kids, and 633 teens participated. In Palmer Lake 25 toddlers, 153 kids, and 49 teens participated. Monument’s participation figures are the highest for any community library in the district!
We’d like to thank our teen summer reading volunteers for all their help and enthusiasm during the program and at the party in late July. Any teens (minimum age is 12) who would like to work with us next summer, please remember to fill out an application during spring break and no later than May 1.
Beginning Aug. 1, all programming will return to its regular schedule, with story times on Tuesdays at 10:30 and 11:15 and no programs on Thursday afternoons.
August’s Family Fun program from 2:30 to 4 on Aug. 8 is a birthday party for our fabulous fish, Dewey. There will be fish stories, activities and treats for all ages.
On Aug. 10 from 1:30 to 2:30 there will be a home school program, All About Bees. A representative from Pikes Peak Beekeepers will bring some live bees (weather permitting) and teach interesting facts about bees and beekeeping. There will also be a bee craft.
The Lego Club will meet on Aug. 15 from 10 to 11:30. You bring your imagination and we’ll provide the Legos.
The Monumental Readers will meet from 10 until noon on Friday, Aug. 21 to discuss The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty. New members are always welcome in this monthly book group.
In the display case during August will be crafts created by library staff.
Palmer Lake Library activities
The annual Ice Cream Social will take place from 1 to 2:30 on Saturday, Aug. 1 on the Palmer Lake Village Green. This event, sponsored by the Tri-Lakes Friends of the Library and the Palmer lake Historical Society, offers free Rock House ice cream and toppings, live bluegrass music, and dramatizations of the lives of prominent historical women from the area. Bring the whole family to enjoy some simple pleasures.
The Palmer Lake Book Group will meet at 9 on Friday, Aug. 7. New members are welcome to this monthly book club. Please call 481-2587 for the latest selection.
Story time and crafts are offered each Wednesday at 10:30.
Caption: Hayley Tubbs, second from left, won first prize in the teen photo contest about personal heroes. Her hero, at left, is Maya Nott. Chanice and Michelle from Peoples Bank presented Hayley with a gift card. Photo by Harriet Halbig
Harriet Halbig may be reached at email@example.com.
By Al Walter
On July 16, retired U.S. Navy Officer Dick Cooper spoke to an enthusiastic Palmer Lake Historical Society audience made up of retired U.S. Navy personnel and Coloradans who find something fascinating about Navy ships, especially those named for the state of Colorado. Cooper identified the three ships named for the state: a Civil War-era schooner, a WWI armored cruiser, and a decorated WWII battleship, and provided a brief history of their service. He ended his presentation with a description of the advanced nuclear submarine USS Colorado, which will be commissioned in 2016.
On July 18, the Historical Society co-sponsored the seventh Annual Colorado Springs Native American Powwow. Over 2,000 folks enjoyed Native drums, dancers, arts and crafts, and Indian tacos and fry bread. The Grand Entry was led by a bald eagle, the Native American Women Warriors Color Guard and princesses representing three other Colorado Powwows. The brief intermission, which gave the Native drums/singers a well needed rest, featured demonstrations of birds of prey, a live wolf, and Aztec Dancers. The purpose of this cultural event was to expose non-Natives to the rich history and traditions of the first inhabitants of this area.
The "Return of the Rocky Mountain Chautauqua" will begin at 1 p.m. Aug. 1 at Palmer Lake Town Hall. President Teddy Roosevelt officially opens the 2015 Chautauqua Assembly, followed by free ice cream and music sponsored by the Tri-Lakes Friends of the Pikes Peak Library District and the Historical Society. Immediately after the music, travel back with Colorado’s popular Legendary Ladies as they tell the stories of real women who made a significant impact on the West. Meet these historical figures and hear their tales of how they influenced Western history.
The film Mystery of the Trees will be shown at 7 p.m. Aug. 10 at Palmer Ridge High School Auditorium. Chances are the oddly shaped trees seen in this area and around the country were shaped by the ancestors of the Native Americans that inhabited the land hundreds of years ago. Locally, these trees are known as "Ute Prayer Trees" and were shaped by various Indian tribes for use in spiritual ceremonies, or as burial or story trees, guideposts, or directional markers.
The film is narrated by Native American actor Wes Studi (Dances with Wolves, Last of the Mohicans). In the film, tribal elders from around the country, including Dr. James Jefferson of the local Southern Ute Tribe, provide a glimpse into understanding a part of their culture derived from living close to nature. The story of these trees is a compelling reason to preserve them for future generations as living artifacts of the past.
Local author John Anderson (Ute Indian Prayer Trees of the Pikes Peak Region) will introduce producer Robert Wells, who will present the film. Both will be available after the film for a book signing and to answer questions. General admission is $5. Children 12 and under admitted free. For more information, call 719-559-0525.
At 7 p.m. Aug. 20, Eric Swab will talk about "The Monument Tree Nursery" at Palmer Lake Town Hall. Swab will discuss the history of the nursery, which, in 1907, was created to produce seedlings for national forests in the five-state Rocky Mountain Region. Its mission was to conduct reforesting efforts in areas that had been heavily logged or destroyed by large wildfires. This was one of the first such nurseries in the newly created National Forest system. Monument Nursery served in that capacity for 58 years, providing millions of seedlings locally and nationally.
By Janet Sellers
I have learned the biggest hidden secret in gardening. Only it is not a secret, it’s just below the garden—it’s the soil! And the compost courtesy of the worms—free, powerful garden helpers. Recently, I got a big infusion of enthusiasm for soil, carbon and the Earth at an information class at our local Natural Grocers where the theme was soil and how soil can affect our climate and our rainwater. Wow. I picked up five (of many books referenced) at Monument Public Library. Things like 100 percent pastured cows and how they help restore the soil-carbon relationship. It’s not just a sky thing, it’s also a ground thing! The livestock help restore the soil and restore the carbon cycle levels. This year’s USDA effort aims to achieve a net reduction of 2 percent of greenhouse emissions by 2025, or the equivalent of taking 25 million cars off the road just by increasing carbon sequestration via soil carbon mitigation as a climate change strategy—mostly by cows on green fields pooping and stomping that into the ground and us folks also growing urban greens. Let’s get to planting our gardens!
The 2015 theme for the Tri-Lakes Gardening Community (TLGC) is "Plant a row for Tri Lakes Cares" (TLC) and share the harvest. Donate it to TLC on a Monday or Thursday morning from 8 a.m. until noon or so—it will be greatly appreciated by the families TLC cares for each week. TLC intake is at the alley behind it at 235 N. Jefferson St., Monument.
For years, I’ve been working with the soil amendments at home and at Monument Community Garden (MCG) for rich, moist soil to get seeds to sprout; happily, my square-foot garden layout makes for a thick leafy canopy and moisture stays in the soil to support the microbes to make awesome plants using mindful companion planting that benefits the soil. I’ll have plenty to share with TLC again this year. How about you?
Stay tuned for more local garden-themed walks and events. Go to these Facebook pages: https://www.facebook.com/MonumentCommunityGarden, also, click the link there for the Tri-Lakes Gardening Community.
Caption: The TLGC group held a walk through gardens of the Palmer Lake Glen area on July 20, in deep forest area, minimal sun. Keeping soil rich with organic compost is key to their massive success in HANG gardening the impossible: tomatoes, squashes, corn, cabbage, kale, flowers, and others.
Caption: On July 27, the TLGC invited local beekeepers Rick Squires, left, and Claudia Whitney for a "Beekeeping 101" evening, complete with honey-themed dessert potluck: When we protect our soil and pollinators, we protect our food sources. Photos by Janet Sellers.
Janet Sellers is an avid HANG newbie, and welcomes your tips and handy hints to share with others here at our high altitude. She can be reached at: JanetSellers@OCN.me.
By Janet Sellers
Summer is about over for most of us on the academic calendar, and this time of year is great for taking one last class, workshop, or a fun dip into the arts outdoors. The morning and evening light is perfect for photos and painting our gorgeous landscapes with a group, a class, or just on one’s own. There is a lot of wildlife to see morning and evening. I like go out with other artists and paint outdoors all summer long—it’s the time of year that we like the best for painting en plein air.
I also take my watercolor gear in my kayak and go out on the lake in the evenings when I can watch the great blue herons fish, the beavers catch trout, or the many trout jumping high out of the water, while a light breeze tickles the surface of the lake or the tops of trees. Just look out on Monument Lake for the spiffy red kayak with the artist painting away—you’ll see my little poodle Max at the bow, fluffy blonde curls wafting in the breeze. (Seriously, canoers glide up to see the little blonde tyke but then mutter, "Oh, it’s a dog …")
As I write this, I am also thinking of the Summer Art Jam Aug. 1 and 2 at Southwinds Gallery (16575 Roller Coaster Road, where Rollercoaster crosses Baptist Road), 10 to 3 p.m. both days. It’s Southwinds’ free annual community art festival, and a fun last hurrah of summer: upstairs art gallery, member artists, and art tent demo gazebos.
Retired Sheriff John Anderson will attend the Art Jam that weekend for a signing of his book, Ute Indian Prayer Trees of the Pikes Peak Region and lead Ute Prayer trees tours at Fox Run Park. As usual, Southwinds will provide summer refreshments including hot dogs and hamburgers.
The Monument Art Hop will continue Aug. 20, 5 to 8 p.m. in Historic Monument (the third Thursday of each summery month). It’s spectacular and a family event to make memories as 19 merchants host artists, art, art demos, refreshments, and music. Visit and report your favorites, and send me a photo for Facebook! Download a map here: http://monumentarthop.org/participants.htm
Janet Sellers is a local artist, art teacher and Mini-cine filmmaker. Her art and sculptures are on exhibit locally and all over Colorado. Sellers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Concerts in the Park, June 24-July 29
Barn Dance, July 3
July 4th Festivities
Mining Museum celebrates anniversary, honors long-time supporter
Special Districts Prize Winner
By Judy Barnes, Events Editor
Although we strive for accuracy in these listings, dates or times are often changed after publication. Please double-check the time and place of any event you wish to attend by calling the information number for that event.
Wednesday Senior Lunch at Big Red
Aug 5: Lemon chicken over rice, salad
Aug 12: Chili, corn bread, salad
Aug 19: Brisket sandwich, beans, salad
Aug 26: Spaghetti and meatballs, garlic bread, Caesar salad
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.
Volunteers needed for county’s Highway Advisory Commission, apply by Aug. 7
The El Paso County Board of Commissioners is seeking community-minded citizen volunteers to serve on the Highway Advisory Commission. Applications are due by Aug. 7. The volunteer application is located at www.elpasoco.com. Click on the "Volunteer Boards" link. For more information, call 520-6436 or visit www.elpasoco.com
Slash-Mulch season continues
The El Paso County Black Forest Slash and Mulch season continues! Slash (tree and brush debris only) will be accepted until Sept. 13, $2 per load. Mulch will be available until Sept. 26. Hours of operation are: Saturdays, 7 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sundays, noon-4 p.m.; Tuesday and Thursday evenings, 5-7:30 p.m. The mulch loader schedule is Saturdays only, 7 a.m.-4 p.m. The loader fee is $5 per bucket, about 2 cubic yards. Your first visit of the season requires an information card available at www.bfslash.org. The slash and mulch site is located at the southeast corner of Shoup and Herring Roads in the Black Forest area. For more information visit www.bfslash.org or phone Carolyn, 495-3127; Chuck, 495-8675; Jeff, 495-8024; or El Paso County Environmental Division, 520-7878.
Monument Academy Summer Day Camp, ends Aug. 7
Eleven separate themed weeks are planned for children in grades K-6, through Aug. 7. Sign up for full daycare, morning camps, or just the field trips. For more information, contact 481-1950, email@example.com, www.monumentacademy.net.
Monument Hill Country Club 3 Sport All Day Summer Camps
For ages 7-13: Golf, Swim, Tennis, Bingo. Session 4, Aug. 3-7. Cost: $210 members, $250 non-members. Sign up with Keegan, Keegan@monumenthillcc.com. Information: http://monumenthillcc.com, under Events.
Register for fall sports at Tri-Lakes Y
Register through Aug. 4 for soccer, ages 3-14; flag football, ages 6-14; volleyball, grades 1-8. Practices begin the week of Aug. 17. Financial assistance available. Register at www.ppymca.org or at the Y, 17250 Jackson Creek Pkwy., Monument. See ad for a free one-day pass. Information: 481-8728.
Volunteers needed for weed removal
The Palmer Lake Noxious Weeds Eradication Team seeks volunteers to help remove noxious weeds; come help one or all the events! Volunteers meet the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of each month, 8-11 a.m. Bring gloves and wear long pants, long sleeves, sturdy shoes, and a hat. Dates: Aug. 8, 22; Sept. 12, 16; Oct. 10, 24. Volunteers meet at Palmer Lake Town Hall, 28 Valley Crescent, Palmer Lake. For more information, phone 481-2953 (then press 0), or www.townofpalmerlake.com
SunDance Studio Fall registration is open
Register now for dance and fitness classes for toddler through adult, gymnastics, tumbling, cheer, and more. 1450 Cipriani Loop, Monument. See ad on page 15 for $15 off registration. For more information, contact 481-8208, www.thesundancestudio.com.
Monument Academy enrolling for preschool-eighth grade
Waitlists are moving, some seats are still available in this free public school of choice. For more information, contact 481-1950, www.monumentacademy.net.
St. Peter Catholic School enrolling for preschool-eighth grade
The school offers full and half-day preschool, academics, athletics, and more. NCA accredited, state licensed, financial aid available. Call or visit: 124 First St. Monument; 481-1855; www.petertherock.org.
Black Forest Together (BFT) needs volunteers
BFT is searching for team leads, work team members, volunteer work groups, resource center office volunteers, and donations so that they can help residents of burned areas of Black Forest do cleanup and mitigation of their properties. Clearing slash, chipping trees, debris cleanup, reforestation, and erosion control are some of the tasks needed on a weekly basis for hundreds of projects. For more information, please contact Donna, 495-2445, BlackForestTogether@gmail.com, or come by the Resource Center at 11590 Black Forest Rd., Suite 30, in the Forest Plaza Center Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
Handbell ringers needed
The Tri-Lakes Community Handbell Choir based in Monument needs ringers, high school and adult, (especially guys), and preferably experienced. If you are interested, please contact Betty Jenik, 488-3853.
Tri-Lakes men’s a cappella singing group forming
Singers are wanted for a unique men’s singing group that will feature close harmony, a cappella singing, somewhat in the style of the Four Freshmen and Vocal Majority. For more information, call John Hobson at 368-7833.
Volunteer drivers needed for cancer patients
Help transport cancer patients to and from medical treatments. The American Cancer Society provides free rides through its Road to Recovery program. For information about the Road to Recovery program or to volunteer, call 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.
Bustang & Park-n-Ride improvements
Bustang, the new interregional express bus service from the Colorado Department of Transportation, has begun. Along I-25, there are seven round trips per day, Monday through Friday, from Colorado Springs to Denver, with a stop at I-25/Monument Park-and-Ride. Single ride tickets from Monument to Denver’s Union Station cost only $9, $7.50 for seniors. Each coach is equipped with restrooms, bike racks, free WiFi, power outlets and USB ports. Coaches offer a 50-passenger capacity and are handicap accessible. Improvements are being made at the four Park-n-Rides, including Monument. Work consists of new asphalt paving, lighting, striping, signing, and new shelters equipped with lighting and infrared heating units. For information or to buy tickets online, visit www.ridebustang.com, or phone 800-900-3011.
Volunteers and sponsors needed for charity event
Sundance Mountain Athletic Center and Blue Wave Taekwondo Academy are looking for volunteers to help organize their first-ever winter SMAC Down Dodgeball tournament to benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Come have fun and help a wonderful cause. For more information, contact Master Nic, 776-9169, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Become a CASA volunteer
Become a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate). CASA offers a volunteer opportunity like no other. As appointed representatives of the court, CASA volunteers are empowered to make a lifelong difference in the lives of abused and neglected children. Learn more at http://www.casappr.org/volunteer-colorado-springs or contact Kelly at 447-9898, ext. 1033 or email@example.com.
HAP needs volunteers
The Tri-Lakes Health Advocacy Partnership (HAP) is a nonprofit, all-volunteer organization that serves and supports seniors in our community. HAP currently needs volunteers, three hours a week; and active board members, eight to 10 hours a month. For more information, call HAP board president, Dave Betzler, at 205-7651 or email admin@TriLakesHAP.org.
Colorado Master Gardener help desk open now
Colorado Master Gardener volunteers (CMGs) help residents save time and money by providing research-based solutions to landscape and gardening problems. The help desk hours are Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday mornings 9 a.m. to noon. You can call and leave a message any time at 520-7684. Photos are often very helpful and can be attached to an email and sent to: CSUmg2@elpasoco.com. For online help, visit https://ask.extension.org.
Donate live trees for Black Forest burn area
If you are doing wildfire mitigation, you might have good live trees to donate to Black Forest burned-out areas. The Black Forest Together (BFT) Tree Donor Program is accepting live trees to be either transplanted in the Black Forest burn area or sold to support the cost of this program. Trees up to 12 inches in diameter (or up to 38 inches around) are ideal. The size of trees is measured at ground level. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Emergency Notification System update
If you registered for the Emergency Notification System (reverse 911) prior to July 2013, you may need to create a new account. Go to www.elpasoteller911.org and select "sign up" on the registration page. If you are able to log in using your existing user name and password, no further action is needed. If you get an error message indicating your email or password is invalid, press the sign-up button and create a new account. If you need assistance, dial 785-1971 and a staff member will return your call.
Free transportation and safety services for seniors
Mountain Community Senior Services offers free transportation and safety services to Tri-Lakes seniors. If you need a ride to a medical appointment, grocery shopping, or the local senior lunches, a volunteer driver will be happy to help you. Call 488-0076 to leave a message for the dispatcher. If you are in need of grab bars in the bathroom, a ramp to your door, or repair of stairs or railings, please call Cindy Rush, 488-0076, and leave a message.
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.
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.
Tri-Lakes HAP Senior Center programs
The Tri-Lakes Health Advocacy Partnership Senior Citizens Center is next to the Lewis-Palmer High School Stadium (across from the YMCA) and is open 1-4 p.m., Tue.-Fri., and earlier for scheduled activities. The facility has a lounge, craft room, game room, and multipurpose room. Programs include bridge, pinochle, National Mah-jongg, line dancing, tea time, bingo, and more. Ping-pong, Wii video games, puzzles and board games, refreshments, a lending library, computers with Internet connections, and an information table are also available. For information about programs for seniors, visit www.TriLakesSeniors.org.
Senior Beat newsletter—subscribe for free
Each monthly Senior Beat newsletter is full of information for local seniors, including the daily menu of the senior lunches offered Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays in Monument. It also contains the schedule of the classes and events for the month at the Senior Citizens Center. To subscribe, send an email with your name and mailing address to SeniorBeat@TriLakesSeniors.org. Senior Beat can also be viewed online at www.TriLakesHAP.org.
Senior Safety Program
Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District offers a free senior safety program to all Tri-Lakes seniors. The program includes smoke detector evaluations, home safety assessments, vial of life, and fire prevention. For information call 484-0911 or visit www.tri-lakesfire.com.
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.
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