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In 2016, CDOT may help pay off BRRTA revenue bond debt
By Jim Kendrick
At the Dec. 28 Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority (BRRTA) regular board meeting, BRRTA District Manager Elaine Johnsen, who is the funding optimization manager for the El Paso County Budget Administration, and Mark Andrew, who is the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) Region 2 North program engineer, formally advised the BRRTA directors that CDOT had tentatively approved a second reimbursement payment of $12.51 million to BRRTA in early 2016 to pay for all I-25 Baptist Road interchange expansion construction costs.
This second state payment will allow BRRTA to redeem all its remaining privately-held revenue bond debt a decade early, before the end of 2026 as currently scheduled. The rest of the money that will be used to redeem BRRTA’s remaining existing revenue bond debt for BRRTA’s financing of expansion of the state’s I-25 Exit 158 will come from BRRTA’s existing debt service fund, which was budgeted to have a starting balance for 2016 of $2.38 million. The final total cost of recalling all the remaining BRRTA revenue bonds ahead of schedule is not known at this time. The board unanimously approved the proposed final draft of the CDOT reimbursement agreement.
Some of the BRRTA revenue bonds that totaled $21.5 million had already been redeemed using CDOT’s first payment to BRRTA of $3 million in May 2011. Johnsen said this proposed second $12.51 million CDOT repayment:
• Would allow early redemption of the remaining BRRTA revenue bonds.
• May allow termination of the existing BRRTA-voter-approved temporary 20-year one-cent sales tax as early as July 1, 2016, because Colorado taxes can only start/stop on Jan. 1 or July 1.
• May allow BRRTA to cease operations sooner than 2026
The board then unanimously approved a resolution to adopt the amended final 2016 BRRTA budget and appropriation resolution that included this CDOT $12.51 million reimbursement. The beginning total fund balance was $2.916 million, total 2016 budgeted revenues were $13.253 million, total 2016 budgeted expenses were $15.219 million, and total ending 2016 fund balance was $950,269. The debt service fund beginning total fund balance was $2.436 million, total 2016 budgeted revenues were $13.253 million, total 2016 budgeted expenses were $15.196 million, and total ending 2016 fund balance was $432,853, assuming a full repayment of bond principal and accrued interest by June 30.
There was no public comment during the open portion of this budget hearing.
Note: The BRRTA board consists of two Town of Monument elected officials and three elected El Paso County officials. The current members are Monument Mayor Pro Tem Jeff Kaiser (Chair), Monument Mayor Rafael Dominguez, County Commissioner Darryl Glenn, County Commissioner Dennis Hisey, and County Assessor Steve Schleiker. Glenn did not attend this meeting.
The county staff members now performing tasks for BRRTA as an additional duty at no cost to BRRTA––in return for BRRTA giving up its road use fee revenue stream to induce more rapid development of the Baptist Road corridor by suspending BRRTA’s road use fee for new construction––are Elaine Johnsen, Sales and Use Tax Manager Brian Olson, Finance Manager Nikki Simmons, Sr. Assistant County Attorney Lori Seago, and Assistant County Attorney Kenneth Hodges. Olson and Hodges did not attend this meeting.
Background on BRRTA projects
BRRTA and the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (PPRTA) have participated in funding numerous Tri-Lakes region road building projects:
1. BRRTA’s first project was construction of a westbound Baptist Road deceleration lane ($20,000) at the Leather Chaps Road intersection while Baptist Road was still a two-lane road in 2001.
2. In 2002, El Paso County and BRRTA started formal planning for the widening of Baptist Road from I-25 Exit 158 east to Desiree Drive. At the same time the county started separate coordinated planning for the widening of Struthers Road south of Baptist Road by the county. After the creation of the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (PPRTA) in November, 2004, most of the funding for these simultaneous construction projects came from PPRTA.
3. BRRTA and El Paso County, with substantial temporary funding from PPRTA (later reimbursed), next expanded the state’s I-25 Baptist Road interchange.
4. El Paso County, BRRTA, and PPRTA are currently widening Baptist Road west of I-25 from the Valero truck stop to Hay Creek Road, with a roundabout at Old Denver Road, as well as building a bridge over the BNSF railroad tracks; the bridge will initially serve about 78 houses off of Hay Creek Road. The bridge opened for traffic on Dec. 23, 2015.
BRRTA also works with the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments, as well as the state, to obtain capital project funding.
Background on CDOT reimbursement
BRRTA was established in a November 1997 election to improve Baptist Road’s traffic safety, operations, and capacity. Only two BRRTA residents, retired Army Col. Phillip Weinert and Joan Weinert of Kingswood, voted in this controversial election that produced a unanimous vote of 2-0 for BRRTA’s creation. ( www.ocn.me/v3n1.htm#plank, www.ocn.me/v3n2.htm#plank)
PPRTA was established in a November 2004 election. The member governments are the cities of Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs, El Paso County, and the town of Green Mountain Falls. The original 10-year lifespan of PPRTA was extended another 10 years––through 2024––in a November 2012 election. PRRTA has financed its road construction debt with two sequential temporary 10-year one-cent sales taxes within its service area. (www.pprta.com)
The Town of Monument’s Board of Trustees chose not to be part of PPRTA in 2004 because the town’s eastside residents would be paying a BRRTA sales tax.
The El Paso County Department of Transportation staff has administered BRRTA and PPRTA road construction projects that have improved Baptist Road and Struthers Road. BRRTA had to reimburse PPRTA for "cash advances" after PPRTA had paid $900,000 of BRRTA’s costs for engineering and land acquisition for Baptist Road widening.
PPRTA has contributed substantially to Baptist Road widening improvements and loaned BRRTA money to pay some of its expenses when BRRTA’s sales tax revenues, which did not begin until July 1, 2007, were initially insufficient. Since then, BRRTA has reimbursed PPRTA for all its loans.
On Aug. 11, 2006, the BRRTA president, County Commissioner Wayne Williams, announced that the state Transportation Commission would be considering an intergovernmental agreement between CDOT and BRRTA on Aug. 17 regarding state reimbursement for privately-owned revenue bond financing of Baptist Road interchange improvements.
On Aug. 28, 2006 BRRTA unanimously certified the language for the November ballot initiative for a temporary one-cent BRRTA sales tax to finance the I-25 Baptist Road expansion and unanimously approved an intergovernmental agreement for the CDOT to reimburse BRRTA for its proposed revenue bond financing of Baptist Road interchange improvements.
BRRTA voters approved a $21.5 million sales tax revenue bond issue financed by a temporary 20-year one-cent sales tax within the BRRTA service area in the Nov. 6, 2006 election.
Originally, the new PPRTA service area in unincorporated El Paso County surrounded but excluded the BRRTA service area. When BRRTA later annexed additional service area to capture sales taxes from adjacent new developments where property owners would be using Baptist Road heavily, PPRTA and BRRTA created an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) to split revenues 50-50 for these overlapping areas that was approved on March 27, 2008.
These BRRTA tax revenue bonds were finally sold by BRRTA’s bond agent in June 2008 and the temporary one-cent sales tax was initiated in July 2008 even though all the needed right of way had not yet been transferred to BRRTA. At that time the expected interest costs over the full 20 years were about $17 million, for a total BRRTA bond debt cost of $38.5 million.
During a special meeting on Oct.3, 2008 the BRRTA board voted unanimously to select the $12.6 million bid from Lawrence Construction Co., of Littleton, for the expansion of the I-25 Baptist Road interchange to widen the ramps and bridge over the interstate. Lawrence had previously expanded the I-25 Highway 105 interchange at Exit 161. The state’s existing two-lane Baptist Road bridge over I-25 was demolished to make room for the county’s eastbound span after construction of the county’s westbound span was completed.
All aspects of the expansion of the state’s Baptist Road interchange had to be approved by CDOT even though the department did not pay for the bridge and ramp widening. The state would not accept ownership for the new interchange bridge until after construction was completed due to a lack of any available state highway maintenance funds throughout the expansion construction period. 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 estimated construction cost of about $16 million, which the state then formally agreed to pay to BRRTA in a May 2008 CDOT-BRRTA reimbursement IGA.
After the I-25 Baptist Road interchange expansion was completed by Lawrence 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.
Recent progress in BRRTA-CDOT negotiations
During a special meeting of the BRRTA board that was held on June 29, 2015 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 construction of the state’s expanded I-25 Baptist Road interchange. (www.ocn.me/v15n8.htm#brrta0729)
At the Aug. 14, 2015 BRRTA meeting, Johnsen said she had next met with CDOT Project Manager Dan Hunt, CDOT’s project engineer and manager for coordinating the Baptist Road interchange expansion with BRRTA and the county, to figure out the bottom line reimbursable construction cost. (ocn.me/v7n1.htm#brrta, ocn.me/v15n9.htm#brrta0814)
At the Dec. 28, 2015 BRRTA meeting, Johnsen noted that the directors needed to approve the final CDOT reimbursement agreement as negotiated on Oct. 25, 2015 by CDOT staff and BRRTA’s county staff before the amended 2016 BRRTA budget and appropriation could be approved in a public hearing. She stated that every vendor for the I-25 Baptist Road Interchange expansion has been paid and every other requirement has been covered. Therefore, the total cost of the expansion project has been fully defined.
Andrew then also reported to the BRRTA directors in his letter of Nov. 23, 2015 that on Oct. 25, 2015 an agreement "was obtained on the final pending payments that will satisfy the balance owed from CDOT to BRRTA. It was also understood that the final payments described below are sufficient to pay off the remaining Revenue Bonds in conjunction with current revenue sources and revenues held in reserve designated for the bond payments."
Andrew’s letter stated, "CDOT and BRRTA entered into an IGA in May 2008, which states CDOT will reimburse BRRTA for all eligible costs related to the reconstruction of the interchange. This project was originally funded by BRRTA using Revenue Bonds to pay for the reconstruction of the interchange with the understanding that CDOT would eventually pay back BRRTA for these costs. The interchange was completed in the fall of 2009. In May 2011, CDOT paid an initial amount of $3,000,000 toward the balance and $1,083,000 was also budgeted and adopted in the current STIP [Statewide Transportation Improvement Program] and TIP [Transportation Improvement Plan] as an interim payment. On October 22, the CDOT Transportation Commission approved a final payment in Transportation [Commission] Contingency Funds (TCC Funds) for the amount of $11,431,169 bringing the total approved payments to $15,514,169." He said, "We have the money budgeted. We just have to finalize the final agreement" and will need a request for payment of $12.51 million from BRRTA after the final agreement is signed by all parties.
The total amounts that CDOT has agreed to reimburse were:
• $13.36 million for construction costs
• $527,000 for utility costs
• $1.62 million for contract management
Note: As previously agreed, 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)
Andrew’s letter also stated that "CDOT’s goal is to make final payment to BRRTA sometime in January, 2016" and the "final encumbering document will likely contain an amendment to close the IGA." However, he told the board it would be better to expect state approval to take about six weeks to get the state comptroller to sign it.
Johnsen asked the board to schedule a special BRRTA meeting to formally approve the final payoff agreement. The date set for this meeting was Jan. 8 at 1 p.m. Some of Andrew’s final comments on lessons learned were:
• Thanks for letting CDOT borrow $15.5 million to build the interchange.
• Sorry it took so long.
• We’ve got an interchange that looks great.
• I think this was a success.
• Don’t obligate money when you don’t know where it’s coming from.
Hisey added that there were great savings made by avoiding the use of federal funds.
The board unanimously approved the draft proposal letter as presented by Andrew.
Caption: On Dec. 28, the Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority (BRRTA) approved its 2016 budget and appropriation that included a proposed second reimbursement in early 2016 from the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) of $12.51 million to BRRTA. When this proposed payment is combined with CDOT’s first payment to BRRTA of $3 million in May 2011, all the construction-related costs BRRTA paid for the state to expand the I-25 Baptist Road interchange (Exit 158) expansion will have been reimbursed as promised by the state in May 2008. Seated clockwise are County Assessor Steve Schleiker, County Commissioner Dennis Hisey, Monument Mayor pro-tem Jeff Kaiser, Monument Mayor Rafael Dominguez, County Finance Manager Nikki Simmons, County Funding Optimization Manager Elaine Johnsen, Sr. Assistant County Attorney Lori Seago, CDOT Region 2 North Program Engineer Mark Andrew, and engineering manager for the county’s Public Services Department Jennifer Irvine. Photo by Jim Kendrick.
The meeting adjourned at 4 p.m. The next regular board meeting is scheduled for Feb. 12 at 2:30 p.m. at the county’s Citizen Service Center, 1675 W. Garden of the Gods Road in the Academy Conference Room. Meetings are normally held on the second Friday of the second month of the quarter. Information: 520-5547 or 520-6386.
Jim Kendrick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By James Howald
The last meeting of the Palmer Lake Town Council in 2015 brought changes to the town’s staff, and expressions of gratitude to volunteers for their efforts. Town Attorney Larry Gaddis, who had announced his intention to retire earlier in 2015, received an award of appreciation for his service to the town. The town’s new attorneys were introduced to the board. Fire Chief Margo Humes also received an award of appreciation.
Mayor thanks Gaddis for his work as town attorney
Mayor Nikki McDonald presented Gaddis with a plaque thanking him for his 37 years as the town’s attorney, pointing out that for 20 of those years she had been mayor. In his goodbye to the council, Gaddis said that it had been "a real privilege" to serve the town, and remembered when he had also served as the town attorney for Monument. Gaddis commended the current and previous trustees for their commitment to the town’s best interests. Gaddis also introduced his wife, Barbara Gaddis, and his legal assistant of 20 years, Angelika M. Bush, to the council.
New attorneys sworn in
Town Clerk Bob Radosevich swore in Maureen Juran and Jill Hassman of Widner Michow & Cox LLP following a unanimous vote to approve them as the town’s new attorneys.
Outgoing Fire Chief Humes thanked
Fire Trustee Rich Kuehster presented Humes with an award of appreciation for her time leading the town’s Fire Department, and said Humes had raised the department’s level of professionalism during her tenure. Humes then gave Trustee for Economic Development Judith Harrington an award for excellence in service to the Fire Department for Harrington’s work to earn the town its Firewise certification.
Other volunteers honored
Harrington presented Cindy Powell with an award in the form of a fire hydrant for Powell’s work writing grant proposals for the town, fundraising for the Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department, and improving the town’s fire station. Powell, in turn, thanked Joe Schriner, owner of Rent-A-Honey Handyman Service, for the work he had donated to the town repairing the fire station’s bathroom.
Parks and Recreation Trustee Paul Banta thanked the team working to eradicate noxious weeds, and said he would have an award for them at the next Town Council meeting.
Town to acquire brush truck
During his committee report, Kuehster proposed to the council that the town purchase a used brush truck for sale in Florida for $55,000. The Fireman’s Protective Association had offered the town an interest-free loan for $20,000 to help purchase the truck, Kuehster said, the loan to be repaid with funds earned by renting the truck to the Forest Service and with revenues from the recent tax increase. The council voted unanimously to make the purchase.
The meeting adjourned at 6:48 p.m.
Caption: Palmer Lake Mayor Nikki McDonald presents outgoing Town Lawyer Larry Gaddis with an Award of Appreciation. Photo by James Howald.
Caption: Jill Hassman, left, and Maureen Juran are Palmer Lake’s new town attorneys. Photo by James Howald.
Caption: Fire Trustee Rich Kuehster presents outgoing Palmer Lake Fire Chief Margo Humes with an Award of Appreciation. Photo by James Howald.
The next meeting will be at 6 p.m. Jan. 14 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.
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Now we find that we have more tasks than we have volunteers. Some vital jobs where we could use your help:
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Caption: Our 2014 crop of volunteers included, from left, Nancy Wilkins, Mike Wicklund, Wayne Claybaugh, RaeJean Claybaugh, Lisa Hatfield, Allen Alchian, James Howald, Jackie Burhans, Harriet Halbig, John Heiser, Chris Pollard, Arjun Gheewala, Janet Sellers, Mark Aggers, and Bernard Minetti. Photo by Wayne Claybaugh.
By Audrey Burkart
The Tri-Lakes Land Use Committee met Dec. 14 to reform what has been for years an inactive group in the community. The purpose of the meeting was to provide an idea of what the committee does, as well as establish a committee that has potential to make change and help direct the future of land development in the area. The committee aims to form and maintain working relationships with the county, towns, and in the Tri-Lakes area with the ultimate goal of reviewing current land use requests.
The revival of the committee was initiated by Jerry Hannigan and Allison Catalano. Hannigan was part of the original committee that made the 2000 plan; Catalano saw a need for a Tri-Lakes group that had a say in land development in the area and created the Grow Smart Monument group on Facebook.
The committee first reformed in 1996 to rework the 1983 comprehensive plan for the Tri-Lakes area. Ultimately, the committee wrote and printed the 2000 comprehensive plan. The newly formed committee first intends to elect members, and then will look into maintenance and changes needed for the comprehensive land use plan.
Hannigan described the Tri-Lakes area as "south of County Line Road, west of Highway 83, east of the national forest, and north of Colorado Springs and the Air Force Academy." Land development begins when the developer creates an initial land use request to El Paso County. The Land Use Committee would like to evaluate requests based on the comprehensive plan formed by the committee, and then provide input on requests.
Originally, the committee structure had two tiers of organization. The first is an executive committee that overlooks the entire committee, formed from a chair, vice chairs, and fellow members. The second tier has two groups: the sub area committees and the topical committees. The sub area committees were initially 12 subcommittees formed based on 12 neighborhood zones in the Tri-Lakes area. Per questions from meeting attendees, the neighborhood subcommittees will likely change due to growth in the area since 2000. The topical committees consist of 12 more subcommittees based upon interest in area functions such as parks, trails, and visual res; water waste; transportation; and historic resources.
The hope is that the overall committee will be very large, perhaps hundreds of members. Core members and volunteers would compose the subcommittees and executive committee.
The next meeting of the Tri-Lakes Land Use Committee is scheduled for 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 11 at the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce, 166 Second St. in Monument. This meeting will be a working group meeting, though any citizens interested in joining are welcome.
Audrey Burkart can be contacted at email@example.com.
By Lisa Hatfield
The Dec. 10 Monument Board of Trustees meeting was rescheduled from Dec. 7 so that a quorum could be reached. At the meeting, the trustees approved the 2016 budget with a brief discussion of updating the Comprehensive Plan. They approved a new Qdoba restaurant and inline retail establishment south of Ent Federal Credit Union and a Verizon cell phone installation on the roof of Tri-Lakes Printing.
They also heard a detailed report about the financial and social impacts of the increasing size and dependency of the senior citizen population in the Tri-Lakes area, with some suggestions for necessary action.
Trustees Kelly Elliott, Jeff Smith, and Becki Tooley were absent.
2016 budget items approved
Town Treasurer Pamela Smith and Town Manager Chris Lowe presented the final 2016 budget, which has been available to the public since Oct. 5. The report noted that total budgeted revenues for 2016 are $13.65 million, "which is an 8.1 percent increase from 2015 revenue. Total budgeted expenditures for 2016 are $13.31 million, which is a 30 percent increase in expenses from 2015, however this increase is largely attributable to $400,000 for the sidewalk project and approximately $1.4 million in 2A funds that are budgeted, but reserved for projects not yet identified. Finally, full staffing and increased costs for employee benefits account for the bulk of this increase."
Lowe’s report said the budget "identifies and addresses several needs and meets statutory requirements for a balanced budget…. This budget does not have major capital improvements (CIP) or projects, however, it does allow flexibility to begin the planning for possible projects in both the General and Water funds. The development of a new, long-term CIP will be important to this and future budgets."
The budget is fiscally responsible, Mayor Pro-Tem Jeff Kaiser said, noting that the public still needs to become actively involved and provide input about the priorities as the town continues to make decisions. No public comment was made either for or against the budget. "It is never too early to bring something up for next year’s budget," Smith said.
The trustees unanimously approved both the 2016 town budget and an ordinance appropriating money for the various funds within the budget.
The board also unanimously approved a resolution to certify the property tax mill levy to the El Paso County Assessor’s Office at 6.255 mills. Smith explained this was a one-time reduction of 0.034 mills from the 2015 budget. She said the mills went down because of development and assessed valuation.
Town comprehensive plan update
Lowe mentioned that the budget included funds for a review of the town comprehensive plan and that it was "now on Mr. Manning’s plate." Planning Director Larry Manning wrote the following in his memo to the trustees:
"The town manager and I have discussed the expressed need to expedite the update of the Comprehensive Plan for the town. We are in concurrence that this is a priority. We are in the process of reviewing the Comprehensive Plan Update dated December 2003 and other associated documents in order to assess the update needs. This will aid in the development of a Request for Proposals (RFP) to solicit bids to do the work. It is our goal to have the RFP ready to send out by the end of January.
"Other plans that are often updated and included in the Comprehensive Plan are the Three Mile Plan and a plan for parks, trails, and open space. The Three Mile Plan identifies future growth for an area three miles out from the perimeter of the existing city limits. There is an existing document called the Annexation Policy Map dated Nov. 30, 2001 that can serve as a basis of the update. There was an effort in 2015 to update the 2003 Parks, Trails and Open Space plan called the Town of Monument Parks Improvement Plan.
"It is anticipated that several public input meetings will take place as part of the process. The input of staff, the Planning Commission, and the Board of Trustees will also be important. Funds have been budgeted in the 2016 budget for this scope of work."
Rooftop cell antenna approved
Planner Kate Brady presented an ordinance approving a rooftop wireless cell antenna as a conditional use for Verizon Wireless at 15706 Jackson Creek Parkway, which is Tri-Lakes Printing. She said no cell phone tower would be visible at all; the rooftop antenna will be fully screened by adding slightly higher parapets on top of building.
The item was approved by the Monument Planning Commission 6-1 on Nov. 12, including the condition that the height of the building could not be increased in the future without returning through the public hearing process. See www.ocn.me/v15n12.htm#mpc-1112.
The application was approved unanimously by the trustees.
Qdoba and inline retail center approved
Manning presented ordinances for a final plat and a final PD site plan for the Jackson Creek Commerce Center Filing 3, on the vacant portion of the northeast corner of Jackson Creek Parkway and Leather Chaps Drive. The site will include a 3,000-square-foot Qdoba restaurant and 9,600-square-foot inline retail center (strip mall - www.ocn.me/v5n4jccc.htm, www.ocn.me/v7n9.htm#bot0820) on about 2 acres that is zoned Planned Multi-Use Development (PMD) along the east boundary of the parcel. He said the buildings will be no more than 24 feet at highest point, although the zoning would have allowed buildings twice that tall.
At the Nov. 12 Planning Commission meeting, the final plat was approved by 5-2 vote, and the final PD site plan was approved by a 4-3 vote. Except for questions about traffic safety, the various other concerns voiced by the dissenting planning commissioners were not echoed by the trustees. See www.ocn.me/v15n12.htm#mpc-1112.
Howe and Kaiser both asked questions about traffic studies. Manning said he had reviewed all the past traffic studies for the intersection. He said the traffic study originally assumed that area would include all retail businesses instead of an office building, so the traffic has not been as busy as anticipated. Therefore, the existing concrete "pork chop" at Old Forest Point and Leather Chaps Drive can be safely removed to change the intersection from the current right-in, right-out only configuration to a full movement intersection with a stop sign.
The trustees approved both the final plat and final PD site plan unanimously. Architect Kristen Albers said the next step for the project was to work with the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department.
Liquor license renewed
Mike Clemente of NY Boys LLC represented Borriello Brothers Real NY Pizza in applying for a hotel and restaurant liquor license renewal. The renewal could not be done administratively because the Colorado Department of Revenue Liquor Enforcement Division notified the licensee that an underage purchaser obtained alcohol there on Sept. 1.
Borriello Brothers had already agreed to a 10-day suspension, five to take place from Nov. 23 to Nov. 27 and then another five days of suspension to be held in abeyance for a period of one year pending no further violations of the Colorado Liquor Code during this one-year period, Town Clerk Cynthia Sirochman’s report noted.
After asking questions of Clemente, the trustees approved the renewal unanimously.
Gaps in services for seniors will increase without everyone’s planning
Greg Coopman presented the trustees with information about senior needs in the Monument community at the invitation of Mayor Pro-Tem Jeff Kaiser. Coopman, who is vice president of a "large home health company," described the "silver tsunami" approaching El Paso County and the Tri-Lakes area and the gaps in services that will be needed to support them.
The population over age 65 is expected to triple in El Paso County by 2040, from 72,000 seniors now to 200,000, Coopman said. El Paso County is "leading the entire nation" in the rate its population is aging. This is not due to an influx of seniors from other places but instead resulting from the aging of the current baby boomer population, he said.
He warned that, in addition to normal living costs to be paid for in retirement, the average senior citizen will also need a minimum of $250,000 to pay for additional out-of-pocket medical costs including skilled nursing care, assisted living, or nursing home care. He said 70 percent of people turning 65 can expect to use some form of long-term care during their lives. Currently 80 percent of all care is being provided by unpaid family caregivers, he said.
However, 78 percent of seniors have saved less than $250,000 and are not financially prepared for living costs during retirement, much less the additional long-term health care costs. Coopman said 40 percent of baby boomers have "hardly any money saved at all."
Ironically, the vast majority of seniors say they would like to stay in their homes as long as they can. "The only barrier to ‘aging in place’ is financial," he said, since all services that seniors might need would come to their home, for a price.
He explained that Medicaid insurance will not pay for long-term care costs, and there is no state or federal program in place to fill in the gaps. He said the number of senior citizens who cannot pay for their care but still do not qualify for Medicaid includes 30 percent of seniors now and will increase to 90 percent of seniors in the next decade.
Coopman said that to become eligible for Medicaid, the only program that would pay, individuals have to first completely exhaust their own financial assets. The "best thing" that can happen to them then is to go in and out of the hospital system, "spending down" all their savings so they can become eligible to live in Medicaid-eligible long-term-care facilities, which are "bad." He said, "We are going to have a real problem in next 10-12 years. It is heartbreaking."
Mayor Rafael Dominguez asked about Colorado House Bill 15-1033, signed into law in June, concerning long-term strategies to address Colorado’s aging population. Coopman said very limited funding is available, but that bill might spark conversations and a road map to create a solution about long-term care and its costs.
Because of the change in demographics in our area, he said communities need to plan for the aging of the current baby boomer population by focusing on age-friendly communities. Areas of focus included:
• Outdoor space and buildings that are pleasant and safe, contain green space, seating areas, smooth pavement, elevators, escalators, ramps, wide doorways
• Access to public transportation, ride sharing
• Housing adequate to safety and well-being
• Social participation in intergenerational activities and community centers to combat isolation and loneliness detrimental to health
• Respect and social inclusion to combat "ageism" including encounters between generations
• Opportunities for volunteer civic participation and paid employment
• Practical information available to the community family caregivers about services that are available such as home health care, clinics, respite care and day care centers, palliative care, health and social services
• Meals programs and nutritional guidance
• Creating a caregiver workforce so providers can be consistent
The Tri-Lakes area has no senior living option of any type, but there are 61 in El Paso County, Coopman said.
Resident Michele Mills asked if could be possible to require developers include more facilities for seniors in their plans. Dominguez and Kaiser explained that the town has given incentives several times in the past to developers who expressed interest in building a senior care facility, but the plans fell through. Coopman agreed that from a business standpoint, it’s hard to build a market around a population that does not have the money to pay for the services. See http://www.ocn.me/v13n4.htm#bot0311 for background on one past local project.
Planning Director Manning said he recently met with a developer who expressed interest in extending the current approval on the books for a senior facility between Grace Best Education Facility and Beacon Lite Road. The ideas in discussion would probably be able to be approved administratively, he said.
Resident Myron "Red" Stephens said that he and Chuck Roberts and the Senior Alliance have been working for years to get a building for seniors in the Tri-Lakes area.
Stephens encouraged area residents to shop at (and donate items to) the Health Advocacy Partnership (HAP) Thrift Store at 790 Highway 105, which benefits the Tri-Lakes Senior Citizen Program. For details, see www.trilakeshap.org or call (719) 488-3495.
Note: The HAP Senior Citizens Center is usually open 1-4 p.m. Monday through Friday in the modular building at Lewis-Palmer High School at 1300 Higby Road. It is designed to encourage intergenerational interaction as well as provide a focus for senior activities including visiting, games, dancing, crafts, and a monthly foot care clinic.
HAP publishes a free monthly newsletter called Senior Beat. For a subscription, write to SeniorBeat@TriLakesSeniors.org or call (719) 488-3495.
Kim Whisenhunt, operations manager for Tri-Lakes Cares, said the organization helps seniors too. Tri-Lakes Cares exists to provide a safety net for low-income households in the Tri-Lakes region and to help those households willing and able, to work toward self-sufficiency. All profits from the Hangers to Hutches Thrift Shop at 245 Jefferson St. benefit Tri-Lakes Cares operations and programs, and donations are welcome. For information, call (719) 481-4864 or see https://tri-lakescares.org.
Resources mentioned include:
• Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments Agency on Aging (719) 471-7080
• Innovations in Aging Collaborative www.innovationsinaging.org.
• Federal Administration on Aging see www.longtermcare.gov.
• Tri-Lakes Health Advocacy Partnership (HAP): Senior services and support and Community Health and Wellness. 1300 Higby Road. (719) 488-3495.
• Health Advocacy Partnership (HAP) Thrift Store, 790 Highway 105. See www.trilakeshap.org or call (719) 464-6873. Donations welcome.
• Tri Lakes Cares, 235 N. Jefferson St. Call (719) 481-4864 or see https://tri-lakescares.org.
• Hangers to Hutches Thrift Shop, 245 N. Jefferson St., benefits Tri-Lakes Cares operations and programs. Donations welcome.
• Mountain Community Transportation for Seniors and Senior Safety Handyman Services (719) 488-0076 www.trilakes-mcts-sshs.org.
Coopman said, "Many of these folks are fiercely independent and will tell you they don’t need any help. But very rarely is that true." He said the most important thing is for the dialogue to be opened up and avenues of communication to be established with senior citizens.
Checks over $5,000
The consent agenda was unanimously approved including the following checks over $5,000:
• CIRSA, deductibles due on liability insurance claims − $9,552
• CIRSA, deductibles due on liability insurance claims, $6,866 overage for 2015 will be taken from other line items in police, public works, and administration budgets − $6,003
• Forsgren Associates Inc., relocate bulk fill water station − $7,047
• Forsgren Associates Inc., water rate and fee study 2015 − $9,813
• Forsgren Associates Inc., Second and Front Street intersection redesign − $5,874
• Berkadia Finance Co., annual debt payment on 1979 GO water bond − $6,475
• U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1997 rural water loan − $20,168
• Wells Fargo Capital Leases, semi-annual lease payment on #401 PW, WEF and Police Equipment − $22,432
• Wells Fargo Capital Leases, semi-annual lease payment on #402 PW and WEF − $39,071
• Kaiser asked Lowe about the status of legal advice on the town’s six-month moratorium on clinics initiated Aug. 24. "The clock is ticking," he said. See www.ocn.me/v15n9.htm#mbot0824.
• Trustee John Howe congratulated the town and Community Liaison Madeline VanDenHoek on the Dec. 5 tree lighting program in Limbach Park, which about 400 people attended. It included caroling and a visit from Santa Claus.
• Kaiser thanked the Public Works Department for the lights on the trees in downtown Monument.
• Allison Catalano of Grow Smart Monument asked if the trustees were aware of an auto dealership intended to be built at crest of Monument Hill, which is in El Paso County, not the town of Monument. She encouraged the town and county to work together. Note: To see upcoming Board of County Commissioner agendas, see http://bcc.elpasoco.com/Pages/TuesdayCurrentAgenda.aspx. Also check for "Thursday" agendas.
• Catalano also asked for citizens to attend the Dec. 14 Land Use Committee at YMCA. See related article on page 6.
• Lisa Hatfield asked for Tri-Lakes citizens to be volunteer "stranded motorists" to help the county exercise called Operation Deep Freeze on Jan. 9. This blizzard scenario will include nine participating first responder agencies and hundreds of volunteers.
• Resident Michele Mills thanked Public Works Director Tom Tharnish for listening to her "ranting and raving" about why the town wants to increase water rates. She hoped that more public input on why such a drastic increase could be heard.
Town Manager Lowe said the water rates issue would be discussed again at the Jan. 4 Board of Trustees meeting but would not yet be an action item then. Note: The topic was discussed at length at the Oct. 5 meeting—see www.ocn.me/v15n11.htm#mbot1005.
• Mills asked if it was the developers or the taxpayers who were in charge of fixing Jackson Creek Parkway where it is narrow and bumpy north of Baptist Road.
Lowe explained that maintenance of that section of Jackson Creek Parkway south of Higby Road is not under town maintenance but is under the purview of Triview Metropolitan District, which provides roads, water, and sanitation to Jackson Creek, Promontory Pointe, and soon Sanctuary Pointe.
He said developers do pay impact fees to either Triview or the town, depending on the jurisdiction, which help pay for road widening if that is indicated by traffic studies.
The meeting adjourned at 8:12 p.m.
The Monument Board of Trustees usually meets at 6:30 p.m. on the first and third Mondays of each month at Monument Town Hall, 645 Beacon Lite Road. The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 19. Call 884-8017 or see www.townofmonument.org for information.
To see upcoming agendas and complete board packets for the Monument Board of Trustees, see http://monumenttownco.minutesondemand.com and click on Board of Trustees.
Caption: At the Dec. 10 Monument Board of Trustees meeting, Greg Coopman presented the trustees with information about senior needs in the Tri-Lakes Community. He warned that 40 percent of baby boomers have "hardly any money saved at all," and he said that Medicaid insurance will not pay for long-term care costs, and there is no state or federal program in place to fill in the gaps. See the Board of Trustees article for Coopman’s ideas to create "age-friendly" communities and for a list of local resources for both senior citizens and caregivers. Photo by Lisa Hatfield.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Caption: Town Manager Chris Lowe, left, and water engineer Will Koger of Forsgren Associates presented a new water rates increase plan for consideration at the Jan. 4 Monument Board of Trustees meeting. The trustees plan to vote on the proposal at the Tuesday, Jan. 19 meeting. It could include an 8 percent increase each year for the next six years, and it is designed to make the water enterprise fund solvent again and build reserves for necessary capital improvements. See the upcoming Feb. 6, 2016 issue of OCN for the details on both meetings. Photo by Lisa Hatfield.
water rates increase approved
By Lisa Hatfield
At the Dec. 8 meeting of Triview Metropolitan District, the directors worked on a Winter Roads Standards description to help residents understand what to expect from road maintenance crews during blizzards. They also approved the 2016 budget, voted on a water rates increase, and heard about a crime spike in Monument.
President Robert Fisher and Vice President Reid Bolander were excused.
Triview is a Title 32 special district within the town of Monument that provides roads maintenance, open space maintenance, water, and sanitation services to the residents of Jackson Creek, Promontory Pointe, and Sanctuary Pointe.
Snowplowing information for residents
During a recent blizzard, a Promontory Pointe resident actually jumped in front of a moving snowplow to complain, and it was lucky he was not killed, District Manager Valerie Remington told the board.
Because so many district residents have unrealistic expectations of what it is like to live on the Palmer Divide, with its unique weather conditions at 7,100 feet elevation, the board began discussing the first draft of the Winter Roads Standards, which will be designed to help residents understand what service levels are reasonable or possible during various levels of severity of winter events. The goal is to reduce the number of angry phone calls to the district by educating the public ahead of time.
The final version of these Triview standards will explain how "snow plowing" is not the same as "snow removal," for example. And it will describe road categories including primary streets (arterial and connector streets), and secondary streets (residential).
The standards will answer frequently asked questions such as who is responsible for clearing sidewalks (Answer: residents, according to a Town of Monument ordinance), what to do when a snowplow pushes snow into your driveway or sidewalk, and what to do in a medical emergency where you have to get out even though the snow might be blowing horizontally.
The board will continue to work on the document in January.
2016 budget approved
The directors held a public hearing for 2016 proposed budget, but no members of the public were in attendance. Then, after a brief discussion about final dollar amounts, the directors unanimously approved a resolution approving the 2016 budget, appropriating money for all the funds, and certifying the mill levy, which remains at 35 mills.
The board included the 2 percent water rates increase it approved unanimously in a separate agenda item later in the meeting. Remington noted that $300,000 went into a reserves line item in the enterprise fund (for emergency repairs).
The following 2016 budget amounts do not reflect a few other small changes discussed at the meeting:
• Budgeted revenue − $5.03 million
• Budgeted expenditures − $4.07 million
• Transfers to enterprise and capital funds − $783,200
Water, Wastewater and Reuse Enterprise Fund
• Budgeted revenue − $2.73 million
• Transfer from general fund − $220,000
• Budgeted expenditures − $2.73 million
Capital Projects Fund
• Budgeted revenue − $1.75 million
• Transfer from general fund − $563,200
• Budgeted expenditures − $1.92 million
Water rates increase approved
No members of the public attended the public hearing on the proposed increase in water rates. The directors unanimously approved a 2 percent increase for residential tiered volumetric rates and a similar 2 percent increase in commercial and irrigation use. Residential water and wastewater base rates did not change. The increases will take effect March 1.
Triview’s water attorney, Chris Cummins of Felt, Monson & Culichia LLC, said there are differences in how Triview produces water and what it costs compared to Donala and other water districts, but Triview "will continue to have to have at least these moderate rate increases to meet fixed costs, which are going up." Director Bob Eskridge agreed, saying, "Water has to pay for itself."
Checks over $5,000
The following checks over $5,000 were approved unanimously:
• A Green Image, fertilizer and surge weed control – $7,165
• ORC Water Professionals, October and November payments – $11,000
• John Hurley, second of two payments, mill and overlay, remove and replace asphalt – $52,242
• Kempton Construction, Sanctuary Pointe transmission line progress payment – $159,902
Operations and manager’s reports
Remington reported back to the board about the $54,000 quote she obtained to contract out the district’s billing. After some discussion, the board voted instead to continue to have it done by Triview Billing Manager Joyce Levad, who just commemorated her 10-year anniversary with the district, but they authorized Remington to advertise for a part-time office support staff member.
Director Eskridge said that it made sense to get help for Levad, who is billing 1,450 accounts every month. The consensus was that the district anticipates growth of 50 to 100 accounts this year as The Vistas expands, and the construction of Sanctuary Pointe is just beginning. This part-time position was not approved in payroll line item of the 2016 district budget or the 2016 district appropriation resolution. However, with a total general administrative and operations budget of almost $900,000, the directors agreed they could find the money.
Cummins reported that he was almost done with one water augmentation case for the district. He then asked the board for authority to file a new water augmentation plan application to provide access to the Sanctuary Pointe water by utilizing a portion of the Northgate supply. The board voted unanimously to do so.
Crime level spike
Remington said Monument Police Chief Jake Shirk wanted to inform the public of a "crime level spike" in early December. He said 12 vehicles were broken into and one was stolen when the owner left it running to warm it up. She said Shirk made recommendations to citizens, including:
• Do not leave cars running unattended.
• Leave nothing of value in sight in your vehicle.
• Always close your garage door.
• Lock the interior door to your garage.
• Lock car doors.
• Call 9-1-1 if you see suspicious behavior.
The meeting adjourned at 6:53 p.m.
The next meeting will be held at 5 p.m. on Jan. 12 at 16055 Old Forest Point, Suite 300. Meetings are normally held on the second Tuesday of the month. Information: 488-6868.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at email@example.com.
By Lisa Hatfield
The Dec. 8 meeting of the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Facility (TLWWTF) Joint Use Committee (JUC) included discussion of the total phosphorus removal tertiary treatment chemical clarifier expansion project.
TLWWTF operates as a separate joint venture public utility and is owned, in equal one-third shares, by Monument Sanitation District (MSD), Palmer Lake Sanitation District (PLSD), and Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD). The three-member JUC acts as the board of the facility and consists of one director from each of the three owner districts’ boards
MSD was represented by its treasurer, Don Smith, who is also the JUC president, and District Manager Mike Wicklund. PLSD was represented by its Secretary/Treasurer Ken Smith and District Manager Becky Orcutt. Director at Large Rich Strom and Assistant District Manager Randy Gillette represented WWSD. Other board and staff representatives of the three districts also attended.
Report on construction
Tri-Lakes Facility Manager Bill Burks reported that construction was progressing smoothly on the total phosphorus removal tertiary treatment chemical clarifier expansion project.
This project is being completed so that TLWWTF will comply with the state Control Regulation 85 total phosphorus discharged effluent limit starting Nov. 1, 2019. Compliance testing will start in mid-2016. The restrictions in Reg. 85 only apply to the 45 largest publicly owned wastewater treatment facilities in Colorado, those rated at over 2 million gallons per day (MGD) of treatment capacity. The Tri-Lakes facility is rated at 4.2 MGD, though the average flow normally does not exceed 1.2 MGD.
Burks said the total of $1.08 million in state grant money from House Bill 13-1191 has now been paid to TLWWTF to assist in the design and construction of the total phosphorus expansion to meet the otherwise unfunded state mandates for Control Regulation 85 improvements. The total budget for the project is $3.642 million.
Burks said Aslan Construction’s construction invoice total for the phosphorus removal expansion through the end of 2015 was $1.17 million. All $27,777 of Tetra Tech’s engineering invoices through the end of 2015 had also been received, he said.
Burks said that TLWWTF is handling the requirement for phosphorus removal slightly differently than other wastewater treatment facilities by keeping the nitrification process as a separate step.
The treated effluent discharged from TLWWTF is already of higher quality than Monument Creek. Adding this new chemical phosphorus removal process will further improve the effluent to "almost drinking water quality," Burks said.
Easement discussion continues
The members discussed the pending situation between the TLWWTF and a neighboring property owner with regards to an easement needed from the homeowner for access for the construction project which is already under way. They voted for Wicklund to try to come to a resolution with the owner, who is a resident of Monument Sanitation District.
District manager’s reports
Wicklund said that an engineer working with the town of Monument, Will Koger of Forsgren and Associates, spoke with him recently about the town’s possible water reuse plan. Wicklund said his advice was to treat the town’s effluent directly near TLWWTF’s effluent discharge point instead of building a new pipeline to the north to pump the town’s treated effluent into Monument Creek north of Monument Lake. Wicklund said his alternative would save the town money and avoid the complications of gaining state approval for an extra discharge permit. In either case, Monument would still have to build a new drinking water treatment facility to process the effluent for drinking water quality reuse.
Orcutt and Gillette did not present reports.
Plant manager’s report
Burks said the plant effluent flow averaged 1.12 million gallons a day (MGD) in October, with a daily maximum of 1.30 MGD. Influent flow was 27 percent of flow capacity, and influent waste was 42 percent of organic capacity for October.
He summarized the facility’s monthly discharge monitoring report for October, required by the state, and said all sampled parameters were easily within permit limits. The plant is also testing for total phosphorous nutrients but is not yet required to report those results to the state in this report. Total phosphorus is reported separately to the state each month to comply with Reg 85.
Colorado Wastewater Utility Council report
MSD environmental compliance coordinator Jim Kendrick reported on the Dec. 1 meeting of Arkansas and Fountain Coalition for Urban River Evaluation (AF CURE). AF CURE was formed by the 11 wastewater treatment entities in the Monument and Fountain Creek watershed as a project of the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority in 2012, and it receives management assistance from the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments. The members of AF CURE in both El Paso and Pueblo counties have developed a collaborative water-quality monitoring plan. The group collects, analyzes, and shares data from water samples throughout the watershed, and has developed a white paper outlining water-quality concerns in the region.
Kendrick said on Dec. 1, there was more discussion about how to achieve state resegmentation of Monument Creek into separate upper (rural) and lower (urban) sections, since previous sampling for temperature, E. coli, and other wastewater constituents would better show where Monument Creek is or is not impaired for each constituent.
Kendrick described the 2016 AF CURE budget of $226,383 which is divided among the 11 members. TLWWTF’s share for 2016 will be $21,105. A portion of this share helps pay for base fees including the Brown and Caldwell engineering consulting firm fees, the Colorado Monitoring Framework Watershed Group membership, Colorado Data Sharing Network, and Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority membership.
Wicklund said AF CURE discussed changing its method of cost allocation in 2017, perhaps using designed flow capacity of wastewater plants as a yardstick. If this happened, Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) and the City of Pueblo would likely be assessed increased costs.
Kendrick said CSU representative Mark Shea advocated that other organizations, particularly stormwater entities within the watershed, join AF CURE to help pay for treatment of large amounts sediment that they are adding to Monument Creek and Fountain Creek. Possibilities include the towns of Palmer Lake, Monument, and Manitou Springs; El Paso County stormwater, the U.S. Air Force Academy; and Fort Carson. Shea also noted the contribution CSU had already made to the effort by providing data to AF CURE.
Kendrick said that Shea explained how huge amounts of sediment in the runoff from the Waldo Canyon fire burn scar continue to affect the survival of macroinvertebrates in the streams. Kendrick stated this sediment issue is creating "mission creep" for wastewater entities and a growing AF CURE budget, as well as making the resegmentation debate with the state’s Water Quality Control Division more complicated with regard to metals and E. coli.
Kendrick also summarized a report from the facility’s environmental attorney Gabe Racz of Vranish & Raisch LLP, at the Nov. 18 Division’s Basic Standards stakeholder meeting. He said Racz gave an exhaustive summary about experiences from Colorado and Wisconsin on how ambiguous and variable stream temperature results are, how undefined the causes of this variability are, and that solely regulating wastewater treatment plant effluent temperature will not control stream temperatures in this alpine desert region when ambient daily air temperatures are much higher than the unrealistic and unattainable limits set by the EPA and the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Department.
The meeting adjourned at 12:17 p.m.
The next meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on Jan. 12 at the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility, 16510 Mitchell Ave. Meetings are normally held on the second Tuesday of the month and are open to the public. For information, call Bill Burks at (719) 481-4053.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jim Kendrick
On Dec. 10, the Donala Water and Sanitation District unanimously approved five resolutions for the 2016 budget, 2016 appropriation, and setting both Donala 2016 property tax mill levies (unchanged), and water/wastewater rates as presented without comment or revision. The 2016 budget included a 4 percent across the board increase for the tiered water use fee structure, but no increases in the $30 monthly wastewater rate or the $25 monthly water service rate.
Director Bill Nance’s absence was excused.
District General Manager Kip Petersen reported that 2015 revenues through the end of November were 23 percent less than the total amount budgeted for drinking water operations for the year due to 2015 being a wet year with reduced summer irrigation peak sales. He also reported that total 2015 district expenditures through November were 19.42 percent less than the total amount budgeted for the year, due primarily to two very expensive well repairs and some planned capital projects being deferred until 2016, when the district will take fuller advantage of a low interest state loan from the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority. Wastewater revenues and expenses for Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility through November were similarly low, down 31.49 and 29.09 percent respectively for the totals budgeted for 2015.
There were no public comments during the open portion of the public hearing. Board President Bill George said, "Congratulations to the general manager and all staff involved in the budget preparation with such flexibility."
Director Bob Denny asked Petersen to explain the following factors that Petersen used in preparing this 2016 budget proposal in a newsletter to Donala’s property owners:
• The line item for bond construction projects increased from $750,000 in 2015 to $1.8 million in 2016.
• Water revenue was decreased for 2016 by $300,000.
• Property tax revenue was increased by $13,000 based upon the actual assessed values received from El Paso County.
• Auto tax revenue was increased by $10,000 based on 2015 figures through October.
• Total expenditures were increased from $9.09 million in 2015 to $10.28 million in 2016
• Three 9 percent rate increases by Mountain View Electric Association from June 30, 2015 to July 1, 2016 will result in a cumulative 29.5 percent rate increase in just 12 months.
• Colorado Springs Utilities will increase the rate it charges Donala by 4.9 percent for transporting and treating Donala’s Willow Creek Ranch renewable surface water for direct distribution to Donala customers.
• Tap fee revenue from development will be significantly less than in 2015.
• Vendor rates were budgeted to increase by about 2.5 to 3 percent in 2016.
• The budget includes only five new tap fees in 2016, with none from the 41 platted new home sites in the former Gleneagle golf course property until 2017.
It is still the Donala board’s goal that annual drinking water and wastewater revenue should be sufficient to pay all annual costs of drinking water and wastewater services respectively so that each operation can become self-sustaining and achieve enterprise status.
Two 2016 water contracts approved
The board unanimously approved an annual agreement for month-to-month water service for 2016 with Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) for transport and treatment of Donala’s renewable surface water from Willow Creek Ranch near Leadville. Currently CSU transports Donala’s water that is stored in the federal Department of the Interior Bureau of Reclamation’s Pueblo Reservoir in CSU’s existing pipeline to a CSU water treatment plant. After treatment by CSU, this now-potable water is transported to an interconnection with Donala’s distribution system for direct delivery to Donala’s water customers. Currently this is the only source of district drinking water as all Donala groundwater wells have been turned off to optimize use of Donala’s stored water in the reservoir. Donala’s 1041 permit for using CSU’s Southern Delivery System is still being delayed due to CSU’s unrelated and still unresolved stormwater issues with Pueblo County.
There were three changes to the agreement with CSU, which were also approved by the Colorado Springs City Council:
• Donala’s Willow Creek Ranch surface water return flows now belong to Donala instead of CSU as before.
• As long as Donala only uses its own renewable Willow Creek Ranch surface water and no CSU supplementary treated water, Donala will no longer have to abide by CSU’s restricted schedule for irrigation during the summer months.
• If there is a future Donala problem with Donala’s current approval for using its renewable Willow Creek Ranch surface water by either the Bureau of Reclamation or Pueblo County, the CSU contract will only be temporarily suspended until Donala meets their conditions, rather than terminated/cancelled.
The board also unanimously approved an annual 2016 excess capacity storage contract with the Bureau of Reclamation, as presented, for storage of up to 499 acre-feet of Donala’s renewable Willow Creek Ranch surface water in the Pueblo Reservoir at a total annual cost of $29,560, an increase of 3.2 percent. This series of annual contracts with Reclamation allows Donala to store its renewable water on a space-available basis if the reservoir has not already been filled with surface water owned by the water entities that are part of the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project. Donala is not a member of this project and its stored water is part of a category called non-project municipal and industrial water. (www.usbr.gov/projects/Project.jsp)
Petersen stated that very high snow melt flows resulting from the current El Niño wet weather pattern are forecast in Colorado in 2016 and are reflected in the wording in this contract. The total amount of stored project water in the Pueblo Reservoir is expected to be so high in 2016 that the amount of storage volume available for non-project water like Donala’s may be very limited or eliminated entirely. Donala’s 2016 storage contract with Reclamation states that if Reclamation determines that there is no room for some or all of Donala’s non-project water, Reclamation will evacuate Donala’s water from storage at its sole discretion to make room for more storage of project water. This stored Donala water will be "spilled" (drained) from the reservoir into the Arkansas River and lost to Donala.
As a result of this 2016 forecast, Donala is currently using up as much of its stored water in the reservoir as possible––its groundwater wells are turned off––to limit the potential loss of unused stored water this summer if Reclamation makes room for the project’s water entities that may have a very unusual opportunity to actually use all their owned permanent storage capacity. During this wet period, the market for use of this spilled reservoir water by Colorado agricultural interests downstream of the reservoir has dried up.
Petersen also stated that even if Donala was able to supply 499 acre-feet of Willow Creek Ranch surface water to use all its excess capacity non-project water storage allocation, the level of the Pueblo Reservoir would only rise about a tenth of an inch.
Petersen advised the board that the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) had given tentative approval at the local level for a total project award of $71,887 to Donala for repair flood damage to the secondary dirt access road to the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility that goes under the adjacent railroad track trestle to the north of the plant perimeter fence. The cost share is 75-25 percent for the FEMA award, which means that FEMA will pay up to $53,908 in reimbursement.
Petersen reported that the reconstruction will strengthen the adjacent banks of Jackson Creek and allow for a freer flow of water under the railroad trestle. Future flood waters will be directed onto a hardened road under the trestle, then redirected back into Jackson Creek just above its confluence with Monument Creek. Future flooding cannot be prevented in this area, but this design will prevent a total failure like the one last spring. The construction needs to be completed before the Preble’s meadow jumping mice that may be living in the protected mouse habitat that surrounds the facility on three sides come out of winter hibernation.
Note: The vulnerability of this secondary access road has long been identified as a risk. When the facility was expanded in 2005, Donala gained approval for and constructed an at-grade railroad crossing so that the facility staff would not be entirely dependent on this vulnerable dirt access road. In addition, the width of this secondary dirt road between the existing railroad trestle supports is too narrow to allow disposal trucks through it that are large enough to transport waste sludge away from the plant economically nor the construction equipment that will be used during the facility’s next planned future facility expansion to accommodate Triview Metropolitan District’s continuing growth beyond its own currently owned wastewater treatment capacity. ( www.ocn.me/v5n8.htm#donala, www.ocn.me/v5n11.htm#dws, www.ocn.me/v5n12.htm#dwsd)
Petersen distributed an email from Donala customers Bob and Val Ferguson thanking Donala for the "great job you have done cleaning the property" of the former Gleneagle golf course maintenance building and "even cutting weeds along your side of the creek," which they said was "a first" since they moved here 12 years ago. This new Donala property is located on the west end of Palm Springs Drive. Donala recently purchased the property to increase the district’s storage facility capacity. (www.ocn.me/v15n10.htm#dwsd0917)
The board approved a resolution appointing Office Assistant Ginnette Ritz as the designated election official for the May 3, 2016 election.
Note: The meeting started with the Pledge of Allegiance to a new U.S. flag presented to Donala by Director Dave Powell. Board President Bill George said this new agenda item will continue to a part of all future Donala meetings.
The meeting was adjourned at 3:36 p.m.
The next board meeting will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 21 in the district conference room at 15850 Holbein Drive. Information: 488-3603 or www.donalawater.org. Meetings are normally held on the third Thursday of the month.
Jim Kendrick can be reached at email@example.com.
By Harriet Halbig
The Board of Education of the Lewis-Palmer D-38 School District continued its discussion of academic standards, recognized school achievements, and received updates on technology, curriculum, and assessments at its Dec. 17 meeting.
Academic standards discussion
During the November meeting, the board instructed Superintendent Karen Brofft to determine the cost and capability to revise the district’s academic standards to omit reference to Common Core. The options were to simply omit the wording and follow state standards, to create a new district set of standards with the participation of teachers and community members which exceeded the requirements of Common Core, or to wait to implement changes because the Colorado Department of Education will begin to review its standards in 2016 as part of a regular cycle.
Brofft reported that she and other members of the administration spent 20 hours analyzing the question of whether and how to alter academic standards in response to objections to Common Core. She reminded the board that Common Core only addresses English language arts and math.
Brofft referred to the history of the question, pointing out that in 2009 the state created its own workplace readiness program as part of competing for Race to the Top funding. If the district were to create its own standards, they must meet or exceed the state standards, but the district cannot eliminate any of them, she said.
Teachers use the standards to plan lessons and select materials and spent many hours restructuring their curriculum to incorporate the requirements of Common Core.
Brofft said that to remove offensive standards and replace them with the district’s would be difficult. Deciding which elements are offensive would be challenging.
The option of creating standards with a committee of parents and teachers would offer additional challenges. It would be necessary to train the citizens and parents involved to understand current standards which the district needs to meet or excel. Individual Education Plans (IEPs) for special education students would also need to be altered to align with the new standards.
Brofft said that this would probably be a three-year process and may require a Request for Proposals if the district wished to consider basing its new standards on those of another state. She estimated that the cost of such a process would exceed $1 million and reminded the board that the Colorado state standards could change at any time.
Board President Mark Pfoff commented that the district’s performance data is strong under the current standards and therefore is not an incentive to make changes.
Director Sarah Sampayo said that she would like to determine what the specific objections are to Common Core, asking if there is a way to explain it to the public. She recommended the formation of a committee of volunteers to address concerns.
Brofft said that the district would still need to balance the cost. Having a dialogue is a good idea, but teachers did a tremendous amount of work to make the current standards fit with the district’s students. She said that we must also consider the work that would not be done while addressing this issue.
Brofft said that of the teachers surveyed, 80 percent are satisfied with the current standards and 60 percent did not wish to create new ones.
Recent federal legislation known as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) also will change the approach to standards, as it requires states to implement accountability systems by the 2017-18 school year and prohibits the use of funding to encourage changes at the state or district level. A positive aspect of this law is that it allows more local control over curriculum and standards.
After additional discussion, board Secretary Matthew Clawson asked Brofft’s opinion on the recommended course of action.
Brofft said that she thinks the district should wait because it could spend a great deal of time and funding on an action that may need to be reversed.
Clawson asked whether there would be significant changes were a Republican to be elected president in 2016. Brofft replied that a new president would select the new secretary of education but changes happen slowly, as No Child Left Behind remained in force throughout the Obama administration although it was proposed by George W. Bush.
Responding to the suggestion of forming a new public committee, Vice President Sherri Hawkins pointed out that the district already has Building Accountability Advisory Committees and the District Accountability Advisory Committee to serve as a conduit for citizen concerns.
Pfoff and Treasurer John Magerko agreed that this mechanism is already in place and would serve the desired purpose.
No formal action was taken.
Brofft commented that the recent legislator visit was valuable and that she was able to meet with Rep. Alec Garnett on the subject of data privacy. He was interested to learn that the district vets all apps used by the district.
Brofft reported that the official count of special education students is reported in December and that the district met all indicators.
She is working with focus groups regarding graduation requirements by looking at five years of data.
Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Wangeman recognized Fleet Manager Ted Kruger, saying that the new buses have arrived. She also said that district officials consult bus drivers when determining whether to delay or close schools. On occasion, parents have been called to bring their children to an alternate bus stop due to lack of plowing.
Wangeman also said that she suggested putting high school media students in touch with the No Methadone in Monument group in an effort to expand their visibility in the community.
Financial audit review
Shawn Sonnkalb of CliftonLarsonAllen LLP addressed the board regarding the recently completed audit of the district’s books.
Sonnkalb thanked Wangeman and her staff for their cooperation. He found no misstatements in the audit and the district received an award for the quality of its work.
Only two points were brought up in the report. The first is that there has been a change in debt disclosure regarding the Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA). The district must now list this as a liability.
Pfoff commented that the district has no choice but to contribute to PERA. State statutes require that all districts contribute and the amount can change at any time.
The second point Sonnkalb mentioned was that expenses must be reported when work is done, not when it is billed. This is especially true when work is done at the end of the fiscal year.
Sonnkalb confirmed that the district has a balanced budget and all exceptions simply involved reporting. The bond rating should not be affected.
The board voted to approve the audit and instructed Wangeman to forward it to the Colorado Department of Education (CDE).
Director of Technology Liz Walhof reported on new uses of technology in the arts, including the use of touch screens in kindergarten and the introduction of digital portfolios in the middle school so students can share their work and determine with whom it is shared. At the high school level, students can blog privately about art and the blog can be seen only within the classroom.
Regarding data privacy, Walhof reiterated that Wangeman had attended CDE sessions on the subject and found that the district is the only one in the state that vets apps before use.
She also said that there appears not to be concern about student privacy using Google products. There are ways to share information between devices or to opt out of that possibility. Work is being done to omit ads from the screen.
Walhof also said that the recently received library grant is being used to subscribe to Britannica Online.
Director of Assessment and Gifted Education Lori Benton provided results for district Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessments. She said that the statute requires standards-based education and now uses the five ratings for performance. Of these, "met" or "exceeds" are most desirable.
She said that students rated "approaching meets" can be moved into the higher category through individual help. Students take grade level tests although many are taking more advanced classes, especially those in math.
Scores are compared with those of other districts, including more than 100 students per grade level. Because PARCC involved several states, results are comparable to nationwide assessments. District 38 did well, but participation rates make it hard to determine where it rates.
Benton said that in this district, assessment is not a way to view the end of a process, but a way to check progress.
Director of Curriculum and Professional Development Sheila Beving reported on the process of selecting new curriculum offerings and that materials must be approved by parents, Building Accountability Advisory Committees and District Accountability Advisory Committee.
She said that her department is now studying the areas of math and social studies particularly. Vertical alignment of math is being conducted at the middle and high school levels.
The current civics test is 10 years old and is being evaluated.
She outlined plans for reviews in the coming year, among them the development of a material adoption process, including how often materials are reviewed, anticipated to be every three to five years.
Magerko requested information on contracts for materials.
Director of Student Services and Personnel Bob Foster presented a first reading of several board policies. Suggestions were made and no action was taken.
Sampayo inquired whether emails between board members were confidential and whether board members must notify the superintendent of plans to visit schools.
The board determined their responsibilities regarding representation on committees and other responsibilities.
Brofft recognized Palmer Lake Elementary School Principal Peggy Griebenow for having her school honored as a National Title I Distinguished School for closing achievement gaps. Only 100 schools nationwide receive this honor.
During board comments, Clawson announced that Paul Lewis of Palmer Ridge was the Gazette’s top hockey coach and that the Palmer Ridge cheer squad won the 4A championship.
Michael O’Hare, Amy McKenzie, Ivan Anthony, Cheryl Darnell, and Tammy John shared concerns about Common Core and data privacy. O’Hare also said that the Monument Academy wishes the board to support the construction of a new playing field.
The cost of the field would be about $100,000.
Tom Chapman praised the D-38 grounds, maintenance, and custodial staffs for their hard work during weather emergencies.
Tony McKenzie addressed the board regarding substitution for P.E. credits. He requested that the topic be on the next meeting agenda. He reminded the board that CDE does not mandate P.E.
Above: Superintendent Karen Brofft, left, congratulates Palmer Lake Elementary Principal Peggy Griebenow for receiving a National Title I Distinguished School for 2015. Photo by Harriet Halbig.
Above: Members of the full-day and half-day kindergarten classes at Lewis-Palmer Elementary School performed "You’re a Grand Old Flag" and led the board in the Pledge of Allegiance. Photo by Harriet Halbig.
The Board of Education of Lewis-Palmer D-38 meets at 6 p.m. on the third Thursday of the month at the district’s Learning Center, 146 Jefferson St., Monument. The next meeting will be on Jan. 21.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jennifer Green-Lanchoney
The 2016 budget and 2016 appropriation were unanimously approved at the Dec. 1 Donald Wescott Fire Protection District Board of Directors meeting. The budget shows a $200,000 increase for 2016. The district will also be rolling about $140,000 into the reserve funds from 2014 and 2015. The 2016 budget includes an increase in the training budget and a $79,000 salary increase.
Wescott salaries will be increased by 7 percent for entry-level firefighters and EMTs. The entry-level salary will increase from $35,400 to $37,878. Some positions, like paramedic, will be increased at a higher rate to keep competitive with other organizations. Wescott paramedics are contracted with the station to be put through school and then work for Wescott when they complete their education. Chief Vinny Burns explained that keeping competitive wages could entice them to stay beyond their contract with the station. Adjusting paramedics’ pay meant also adjusting officers’ pay to stay in line with a tiered pay scale. The highest increase is at 19 percent for lieutenants. Chief Burns also implemented step raises in the budget to be calculated into pay.
Director Harland Baker raised concerns about raising the operational budget to accommodate the salary increase. However, the increase in revenue ultimately allowed the board to justify the salary increase. Wescott will also stay relevant with other districts’ salaries with this increase, said Burns.
The board also approved a $5,800 deposit in the volunteer pension fund. The state will match about 90 percent of the amount in the pension fund at the end of the year.
Some savings are seen in the 2016 budget as well.
Stacey Popovich, Wescott administrative assistant, worked on worker’s compensation insurance rates, and the price went from $75,000 in 2015 to about $58,000 in 2016.
The board unanimously approved the October financial statements and meeting minutes. The November and December financial statements will be presented at the Jan. 19 meeting.
Assistant Chief Ridings gave the October and November run report, indicating a 24 percent increase in the number of calls received in October and November of 2015 over October and November 2014. The increase is due to the number of American Medical Response runs, said Ridings. The total fire loss in the district in November was $400, which resulted from a microwave fire.
Chief Burns reported a four-day rapid intervention team training. The team trained on rescuing a firefighter if he or she were trapped in a burning building. Chief Burns said that working with other organizations in the area made a positive training environment, and Wescott will seek out other training opportunities.
Chief Burns also informed the board of a need to fix a flooding issue in his office. The flood mitigation services for Fire Station 1 will cost about $17,980. The board agreed that this work must be done and approved the use of funds to fix this ongoing issue.
Four-year terms expiring
The four-year terms of district Directors Bo McAllister and John Fredell expire in 2016. They must inform the newly appointed election official, Stacey Popovich, of their intention to run for office again.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:04 p.m.
The Donald Wescott Fire Protection District Board of Directors’ next meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Jan. 19 at Station 1 15415 Gleneagle Dr. Please call 488-8680, a non-emergency number, for more information, or visit www.wescottfire.org. The district is also on Facebook.
Jennifer Green-Lanchoney can be contacted at JenGreen-Lanchoney@OCN.me.
By Lisa Hatfield
At the Dec. 8 meeting of the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD) Board of Directors, the board approved year-end financial resolutions and the 2016 wage schedule, and asked more questions of potential bond and mill levy consultant George K. Baum & Co.
Director Bill Ingram was absent and Director Larry Smith was excused.
Budget resolutions and new wage schedule approved
Fire Chief Chris Truty presented the following items, and all were approved unanimously:
• A resolution approving the 2015 amended budget, which the board had already approved in November, but the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) requested that it be formally submitted in resolution format.
• An adjustment to the 2016 final budget figures that were presented at the November meeting to reflect a recent change to El Paso County’s 2015 final property valuation and assessment for the fire district; the final valuation translated to a $6,042 reduction in property tax revenue.
• Appropriation of money to the various funds listed in the budget.
• A resolution levying property taxes for the year 2016, set at 11.5 mills.
• The 2016 fee schedule with no changes from 2015.
• The 2016 wage schedule. The Firefighter 1 salary of $36,620 will become the "base rate" upon which all other salaries are computed using the formulas described in this new schedule. See www.ocn.me/v15n9.htm#tlmfpd0826 article for a discussion of the rationale.
• A resolution approving purchase of 2016 Dodge pickup truck to replace the battalion chief’s vehicle.
TLMFPD attorney Maureen Herr Juran of Widner Michow & Cox LLP made a few modifications to the resolution wording to make sure details of Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) rules were followed to the letter.
Levy consultant contract discussed again
Alan Matlosz, senior vice president of George K. Baum & Co., answered questions for the directors about the details of services his firm would provide the district to help with the decision about holding a possible mill levy or bond levy election in 2016 or 2017. Paul Hanley, another vice president of George K. Baum, already addressed the directors in August and presented a lot of information about mill levies and bond levies, and the directors voted to hire Baum then. See www.ocn.me/v15n9.htm#tlmfpd0826.
However, since then, in trying to write up a contract with them, Truty has had questions about the details of the services they would provide and their actual cost, and Matlosz’s comments about the timing of the election conflicted with Hanley’s statements on that topic to the board in August. After Matlosz answered questions at this meeting, Truty summarized. "This is a little different from the last time we talked." After a long discussion about federal rules and payments, the consensus of the directors was to persevere in working out the details with Baum. Truty and Matlosz will meet to finish the discussion.
Truty’s comments included:
• Congratulations to all four new firefighters who graduated from the academy on Nov. 20. All four are on shift now.
• The district will be discussing its potential role and how it would respond in an active shooter event such as the recent shootings in Colorado Springs and San Bernardino, Calif.
• Members of TLMFPD attended Officer Garrett Swasey’s funeral service after he was killed by an active shooter on Nov. 27.
• TLMFPD officers attended a training session by Mark Smith called "Mission Critical Solutions on Leadership and the Impact of Officers on an Organization’s Culture."
• Self-nominations for board members will open on Jan. 1. Four TLMFPD board member positions will be open for re-election in May.
Deputy Chief Randy Trost said the district assisted at the town’s Dec. 5 tree lighting ceremony by delivering Santa in the tower ladder and passing out firefighter helmets to kids.
The meeting went into executive session at 7:24 p.m. to meet with legal counsel for the district for advice on imposition of impact fees.
Meetings are usually held the fourth Wednesday of each month, and the next meeting will be at 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 27 in the Monument Town Hall at 645 Beacon Lite Road. For information, contact Jennifer Martin at 719-484-0911.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at email@example.com.
Woodmoor Improvement Association Board of Directors, Dec. 16:Board approves office space proposal, discusses WPS manual
By Jackie Burhans
At the Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA) board meeting on Dec. 16, the board approved a request to reorganize the office space in the Barn and discussed the updated Woodmoor Public Safety (WPS) training manual.
WIA/WPS office space proposal
The board discussed reconfiguring the office area in the Barn to create a file room, move file cabinets out of the main offices and purchase storage lockers for Woodmoor Public Safety staff. WPS Chief Kevin Nielsen noted that the WIA offices are overcrowded and filled with storage cabinets. The proposal is to build a wall in what is now a conference room on the lower level to create a file room and move the cabinets to that location. In addition, the proposal is to purchase large storage lockers to place in the break room so that the 8 WPS officers and four office staff will be able to store personal items such as hats, gloves, boots, and extra uniforms. Currently there is no room to store these items in the one shared office.
The plan to acquire storage lockers dates back to 1999 but has never been implemented. The bid to do this work totals $4,500. After discussion about the number of times file cabinets are accessed, the ongoing effort to scan documents, and where the money would come from in the budget, the board voted unanimously to approve this proposal.
New WPS training manual
WPS Chief Nielsen also reported that he has put together a new internal training manual that covers WPS procedures. It also includes a training log for new officers to follow. Nielsen asked that the board approve this new manual so that it can be added as a separate document to the WPS standard operating procedures, which will allow it to be changed separately.
President Jim Hale asked if the board could have the next month to review and consider for approval at the January meeting. Approval of the new training manual was postponed until the January regular meeting.
Board report highlights
• Annual dues invoices have been mailed out to be followed shortly by ballots for the upcoming board election.
• Nielsen reported that mail thefts have been occurring in Woodmoor. WPS has provided information on how to protect your mail at https://www.woodmoor.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Mail-Theft.pdf
• There is a proposal to reconfigure parking at Toboggan Hill from six to 18 spaces.
• The Annual Meeting of WIA will be held on Monday, Jan. 25, 2016 at the Lewis-Palmer Middle School. Sign-in will start at 6:30 pm.
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 regular meeting will be on Jan. 27. WIA board meeting minutes can be found at: http://www.woodmoor.org/meeting-minutes/ once approved and posted.
Jackie Burhans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Bill Kappel
Temperatures were almost exactly normal during December, while snowfall was above average. This allowed a nice snowpack to build during the month and of course resulted in a white Christmas.
During the first week of December winter took a brief break, with dry conditions from the 1st through the 5th. Temperatures started the month off below normal, with the snow on the ground helping to keep the air cooler than would otherwise have been realized. Highs were in the low to mid 30s on the first, then low 40s on the 2nd and 3rd. A quick-moving storm approached the region on the 4th and that allowed the wind to kick up a bit. This helped mix out some of the cold air, and temperatures rebounded nicely into the low 50s. As this system rolled through on the 5th, some snow developed that afternoon, with generally under an inch accumulating over a two-hour period. Temperatures were also held down that afternoon, only reaching about 40°F before the snow started to fly.
The second week of December was mild and windy. Temperatures were 15-20 degrees warmer than average from the 7th through the 11th. Highs reached into the low to mid 50s from the 9th through the 11th. The windy, mild conditions also helped keep overnight lows warm as well, staying above freezing on the 8th and 10th. A big change finally moved in late in the week, with an initial cold front moving through just after noon on the 11th. Temperatures cooled the rest of that afternoon and evening, with snow developing during the morning of the 12th. Snow and blowing snow continued through the evening hours, with 4-5 inches accumulating in most areas. Temperatures remained below normal on the 13th as the storm departed the region.
Winter made a strong appearance during the week of the 14th as a powerful but quick-moving storm affected the region on the 15th. Ahead of the storm on Monday the 14th, temperatures warmed to slightly above average levels, reaching the mid-40s that afternoon. The leading edge of the storm system and its cold front moved through late that evening, with some flurries developing before midnight. The storm wound up nicely over the eastern Plains of Colorado overnight and by the next morning heavy snow and strong winds were occurring. Travel was difficult most of that day as 6-12 inches of new snow accumulated. The storm moved out quickly however, and by late afternoon was just about done. Clearing skies that night allowed temperatures to plummet, with most areas dropping to zero and slightly below.
The air mass remained cold over the next couple of days, with high temperatures stuck in the 20s and teens through the 17th. We finally broke out of the cold air during the morning of the 19th, as westerly winds pushed the cold air east and helped mild conditions return. This was a classic "Chinook" setup, where westerly winds downslope off the mountains and temperatures warm at the same time the air mass dries out. Temperatures maxed out in the low 50s on Saturday the 19th, even with over a foot of snow on the ground and the weak December sun angle. Temperatures remained mild through the next night and morning, before a weak system dropped through and produced a quick round of light snow the next afternoon. Only about a half inch fell, but it did provide a fresh coating and cooled temperatures back to normal.
The week of Christmas started off mild and ended up cold. Highs were in the low to mid-40s on the 21st and 22nd, ahead of an approaching storm. The cold front with this storm moved through during the evening of the 22nd, but there was very little moisture to work with until the next morning. Light snow fell during the morning and again in the evening on the 23rd and temperatures were about 10 degrees colder. Cold air then settled in for the next couple days, with highs on reaching the upper 20s on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. In addition, some light snow fell at times on Christmas Day, making for just about perfect conditions. Even colder air continued to filter in that afternoon, and highs only reached the mid-teens on the 26th with light snow falling during the morning. Christmas weekend ended with temperatures reaching the mid-20s on the 27th, about 10 degrees colder than normal. Overall, most of us accumulated 1-3 inches of new snow, adding to the nice snowpack that has been around since mid-November.
Cold air stuck around through the remainder of the month, with high temperatures failing to reach above freezing from the 28th through the 31st. There was plenty of sunshine each day, but the cold air mass and weak sun angle didn’t allow temperatures to warm much. Highs reached the low 30s on the 28th, then only low to mid-20’s on the 29th-30th. A final surge of cold air moved in late on the 30th, holding highs in the mid- to upper teens on New Year’s Eve. In addition, a few flurries developed during the early afternoon hours of the 31st.
A look ahead
January can see the coldest temperatures of the year, but there is often a proverbial "January thaw" where mild temperatures make a brief appearance. Precipitation is on the low side, with amounts generally less than an inch. The month experiences numerous sunny and windy days, with quick shots of snow in between.
December 2015 Weather Statistics
Average High 37.1° (-1.2°)
100-year return frequency value max 50.5° min 32.6°
Average Low 13.4° (+1.1°)
100-year return frequency value max 22.4° min 5.4°
Monthly Precipitation 1.22" (+0.23", 19% above normal)
100-year return frequency value max 2.82" min 0.00"
Monthly Snowfall 20.1" (+2.6", 13% above normal)
Highest Temperature 55° on the 10th
Lowest Temperature -4° on the 27th
Season to Date Snow 53.1" (+13.4", 25% above normal) (the snow season is from July 1 to June 30)
Season to Date Precip. 11.20" (+0.12", 1% above normal) (the precip season is from July 1 to June 30)
Heating Degree Days 1233 (+6)
Cooling Degree Days 0 (0)
Bill Kappel is a meteorologist and Tri-Lakes resident. He can be reached at email@example.com.
By Bill Kappel
Record wet May
Precipitation was recorded on every day in May, with an astounding 12.49 inches of total precipitation for the month. The constant, and sometimes heavy, precipitation led to severe flooding throughout the region. Several states including Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas recorded their wettest May on record.
Record warm and dry September and October
Temperatures were above average almost every day during September and October. Our first widespread sub-freezing temperatures weren’t recorded until the second week of October, about two weeks later than normal. During September, very little precipitation fell, with just over a 10th of an inch recorded for the entire month. Only a trace of snow was recorded in October as well.
Heavy, wet snow on May 9
A strong storm system produced heavy, wet snow and strong winds on May 9, adding to the already exasperated flooding problems in the region from the record rainfall. Travel was severely affected, with many roads closed around the region.
Snowy start to the year
Several snowfalls affected the region in January and February, with both months recording snowfall totals well above normal. During the two-month period, just over 50 inches of snowfall accumulated. No single storms recorded more than a foot of snow, but there were nine periods which recorded an inch or more.
Heavy snow in November
Two big snowstorms affected the region in November, with 4-8 inches on the 11th and 1-2 feet on the 16-17th. This was quite a change after the dry and warm September through October period. In addition, November is normally one of our driest months, so the snow and cold during the month was quite a change from normal.
Cool, wet summer
High temperatures failed to reach above 90°F for most locations above 7,000 feet throughout the summer. In addition, precipitation was above normal in both June and July, adding to the already wet conditions from May.
Bill Kappel is a meteorologist and Tri-Lakes resident. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Guidelines for letters to the editor are on page 27.
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
Woodmoor residents are national tennis champions
Congratulations to Woodmoor residents Kevin Kavanah and Skip Wells on winning the 2015 National Championship for the U.S. Tennis Association’s Men’s Doubles 55 and over 9.0 League.
Kevin and Skip were representing the 10-person team from Colorado, which won the state championship, followed by the regional championship, and ultimately the national title. Their victory at the Nationals was in Arizona last month, culminating in a year-long endeavor with this team.
Kevin and Skip were the only two players on the team that played every match in the State, Regional and National Championships. "It was quite a thrill to be part of this team, and more fulfilling than any individual accomplishment in tennis we’ve achieved. We collectively set a goal last year to win the national championship knowing many hurdles could occur on that journey and we were fortunate to prevail over every obstacle thrown at us," they said.
The competition is composed of the best players from every section of the USTA. It took incredible team chemistry and selfless contributions from the team members (including the non-playing team captain who traveled to every match and scouted every opposing team) affording the Colorado team a vital competitive advantage over the other teams across the country. En route to the championship, the team defeated teams from Utah, Montana, Idaho, Texas, Southern California, Minnesota, South Carolina and New Jersey.
"Honestly, the entire experience was intense, thrilling and fulfilling but winning was likely a once-in-a-lifetime moment," said Kevin. "I am honored to have been a part of a team with a laser focus to compete and win. National Champion has a nice ring to it for each of us."
Both Kevin and Skip regularly play tennis at The Country Club at Woodmoor.
Director of Athletics
The CC at Woodmoor
Caption: Kevin Kavanah and Skip Wells. Photo courtesy of Kevin Kavanah
By the staff at Covered Treasures
Look to your health; and if you have it, praise God, and value it next to a good conscience. —Izaak Walton
If 2016 is the year you’d like to improve your health, physically or mentally, there are some books to help you along the way—and some of them are just plain fun.
Eating on the Wild Side
By Jo Robinson (Little, Brown and Co.) $16
For 400 generations, we’ve unwittingly been selecting plants that are high in starch and sugar and low in many essential nutrients. Robinson shows how to regain vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants by choosing modern varieties that approach the nutritional content of wild plants but also please the modern palate. She tells how to select these new varieties and includes recipes, as well as tips on food handling, and gardening. Based on years of scientific research, this book will forever change the way we think about food.
The life-changing magic of tidying up: the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing
By Marie Kondo (Ten Speed Press) $16.99
Despite constant efforts to declutter your home, do papers still accumulate like snowdrifts and clothes pile up like a tangled mess of noodles? Maybe the KonMari Method is the answer for you. With its revolutionary category-by-category system, it leads to lasting results. With detailed guidance for determining which items in your house "spark joy"—and which don’t—this book will help you clear your clutter and enjoy the unique magic of a tidy home—and the calm, motivated mindset it can inspire.
Healing Ways: An Integrative Health Sourcebook
By Matilde Parente, M.D., F.C.A.P. (Barron’s) $14.99
Massage or pills? Acupuncture or surgery? Prescription drugs or nutritional therapy? It doesn’t have to be an either/or scenario. Learn how to use conventional medical therapies in combination with Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) for the best of both worlds. Discover how to be a better health consumer; how to decide which CAM methods are right for you and how to talk to your doctor about them. Take charge of your life—and your health—with this new approach to wellness.
You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life
By Jen Sincero (Running Press) $16
In this refreshingly entertaining how-to guide, Sincero serves up 27 bite-sized chapters full of hilariously inspiring stories, sage advice, and easy exercises to help you identify beliefs and behaviors that stop you from creating a life you totally love. By the end of the book, you’ll understand why you are how you are, how to love what you can’t change, and how to change what you don’t love.
Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person
By Shonda Rhimes (Simon & Schuster) $24.99
With three hit shows on television and three children at home, Rhimes, an introvert at heart, had lots of good reasons to say no when invitations arrived. When Shonda began her "Year of Yes" project, there were terrifying public "Yeses"—giving the commencement address at Dartmouth, and appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live. There were excruciating private "Yeses"—start taking her health seriously, and force herself to have difficult conversations about relationships and situations. Profound, impassioned and laugh-out-loud funny, this book reveals how saying yes changed—and saved—Rhimes’s life, and inspires readers to change their own lives with one little word: yes.
The Gratitude Diaries: How a Year Looking on the Bright Side Can Transform Your Life
By Janice Kaplan (Dutton) $26.95
On New Year’s Eve, Kaplan makes a promise to be grateful and look on the right side of whatever happens, realizing that how she feels over the next 12 months will have less to do with the events that occur than with her own attitude and perspective. Getting advice at every turn from psychologists, academics, doctors, and philosophers, she brings readers on a smart and witty journey to discover the value of appreciating what you have.
Until next month, happy reading.
The staff at Covered Treasures Bookstore can be reached at email@example.com.
By Harriet Halbig
The Family Fun program for January is the Snow Fest of Games and Crafts at 2:30 on Saturday, Jan. 9. All ages are welcome to join a winter-themed bash with crafts, games, and stories.
Tween Time for January is a chance to design and bake your own erasers of Sculpey polymer clay. The program will be on Friday, Jan. 15 from 4 to 5. Registration is required at 488-2370.
The Lego Club will meet on Saturday, Jan. 16 from 10 to 11:30. We provide the Legos and you bring your creativity.
The Fourth Friday craft program will be Friday, Jan. 22 from 4 to 5. Make foam and craft stick critters to use as bookmarks, puppets, or decorations.
There will be a Homeschool Books/Materials Exchange/Giveaway on Monday, Jan. 25 from 1 to 2. Give or take, just participate! Lots of free books and materials will be offered for your use. There will be crafts or an activity for the kids. Please register (noting the number in your group) as space in the meeting room is limited. Please bring only a box or two and take home anything you’ve brought that isn’t selected.
AfterMath free math tutoring will resume on Monday, Jan. 11 from 3:30 to 7. Experienced math tutors will assist students of all ages with their math questions. Please note that this program is only available on Mondays when the schools and library are open. In January, AfterMath will be available on the 11th and 25th due to closure for Martin Luther King Day.
The Monumental Readers will meet from 10 to noon on Friday, Jan. 15 to discuss M’olakai
by Alan Brennert. All patrons are welcome to attend this monthly book group.
Artwork by students of Palmer Ridge High School will be on the walls of the library and in the display case during January.
Palmer Lake Library events
The Family Fun program for January will be on Saturday, Jan. 16 at 10:30 and features bear stories. Do you know how many kinds of bear there are in the world? How many different bears live in North America? Only one kind of bear lives in Colorado. Learn what they eat, how they live and make a bear mask to take home. Susan Permut, volunteer naturalist at Castlewood Canyon State Park, will tell bear stories and help you with the mask.
Artwork in the Palmer Lake Library during January will be Ceramic Stars made by students from Palmer Lake Elementary School.
Please note that all Pikes Peak Library District facilities will be closed on Monday, Jan. 18 in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Al Walter
Join the Palmer Lake Historical Society on Thursday, Jan. 21, at 6:30 p.m. for its annual pot luck dinner and membership meeting at the Palmer Lake Town Hall, 28 Valley Crescent, Palmer Lake. At the annual business meeting, the outgoing president will provide the membership an overview of the Historical Society’s activities and present the Board of Directors’ nominees for president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer for 2016 for a vote by the membership. Nominations for the four officer positions will also be accepted from the floor. The elected officers serve a one-year term and must be members of the Historical Society.
Following the business meeting, attendees are invited to enjoy an old-fashioned pot luck dinner. Baked ham, coffee, and tea will be provided. Please bring a side dish or dessert to share. As a special treat, local artist and musician Joe Bohler will amaze with his skills on the piano.
This event is free to the public. For more information, visit the Historical Society’s website at www.palmerdividehistory.org or call 719-559-0837.
By David Futey
On Jan. 2, the Western Museum of Mining & Industry (WMMI) hosted its annual Geology Day. Visitors had a variety of activities to choose from during their visit. The Gold Prospectors of Colorado taught visitors how to gold pan and provided demonstrations on sluicing techniques; Richard Sweeney of Pilot Mining demonstrated modern assaying processes to separate minerals; the Colorado Springs Mineralogical Society and their Pebble Pup program offered a hands-on digging activity, provided information on fossils, rocks, and minerals along with free mineral samples; Florissant Fossil Beds provided information on the geology and history of the park; and museum staff operated their historic steam engines and provided guided tours of exhibits.
If you missed this day, the museum will offer a Science Day on March 12. Information on that event and other upcoming events at the museum is at www.wmmi.org.
Caption: A member of the Gold Prospectors of Colorado demonstrates sluicing, a process to separate heavier minerals such as gold from lighter materials, at the WMMI Geology Day.
Caption: Autumn Ascano, a volunteer with Florissant Fossil Beds, explains the geology and history of the park to a visitor.
Caption: WMMI tour guide Ken Aron explains the operation of the 35-ton Corliss engine.
Caption: In the museum’s library, hands-on activities were available and visitors learned about fossils and formation of minerals, and could select a mineral to take home. Photos by David Futey.
David Futey can be reached at email@example.com.
By Janet Sellers
"Every artist was first an amateur." —
Ralph Waldo Emerson
January is a great month to hunker down and read or draw pictures. The cold weather and emptiness after the holidays just begs us to go inside ourselves and connect with our imagination. It is a time to rebalance ourselves and our life direction. We all have ways that we get in touch with our creative feelings, and there is a way to get creative in less than five minutes.
A popular Huffington Post article "18 Things That Creative People Do Differently" by Carolyn Gregoire (which generated 5 million views and 500,000 Facebook shares in one week), has inspired her to write book on the subject with psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman titled, Wired to Create. Their research indicates, of all things, that when taking a shower one taps into deep insights more so than at one’s job or workplace.
So many artists and innovators live in serial paradoxes with their abilities stimulated by, as the book aptly points out, "mindfulness and daydreaming, seriousness and play, openness and sensitivity, and solitude and collaboration – to show that it is by embracing our own contradictions that we are able to tap into our deepest creativity".
If hopping in the shower is, for the moment inconvenient, other creativity boosters such as daydreaming, taking time for solitude, seeking out new experiences, making time for play, nurturing emotional sensitivity, turning challenges into opportunities for growth (aka turning failure into success), and achieving mastery are tops on the list. Other activities that stimulate creative imagination are running, walking the dog, and drinking coffee at a busy cafe as the Impressionists did, as well as taking a class with others on a creative subject. Even looking at kittens and puppies or just photos of baby animals boosts creativity and productivity as well. (Per a Hiroshima University study in Japan a few years ago.)
It seems that doing something out of one’s common habit offers the novelty part of our minds a chance to explore and discover more to enjoy. Nikola Tesla said that his most creative thoughts came to him while on a leisurely stroll with a friend. Gertrude Stein was inspired while driving her car. She was most inspired by looking at cows, and would drive the countryside looking for the perfect cow to observe each day. She wrote for 30 minutes a day. Arguably creativity is quite a necessity these days, as our era of creative innovators make visual games, electronics, and special-effects movies to the tune of billions of dollars and millions of loyal customers.
As I sit enjoying the sunshine from my sunny window surrounded by bright red geraniums and a poinsettia—and even some ripe red tomatoes in a pot—I feel glad. While the cold weather may keep us indoors quite a bit, let’s take an artful chance on our creative senses and do something with our imagination. We can start a sketchbook, take a class, visit with friends and artful places, or just take a friend for a ride and enjoy the beautiful local scenery from the warmth of the car.
Art around town this month
Wisdom Tea House exhibit, "The Language of Art" with Marie Simpson, Kathleen Nalley and Carol Groesbeck, through Jan. 16; 65 Second St., Monument
Bella Art and Frame, ongoing resident artists show with over a dozen fine artists in painting, sculpture, mixed media, glass, jewelry, and more. 183 Washington St., Monument
Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA) Call for Artists, Jan. 16 – Final Entries/Registration Due to TLCA for "Visions of Light" photo show. Online application at www.TriLakesArts.org.
Public art news: The El Paso County Commissioners approved an installation of a sculpture at the Baptist Road and Old Denver Highway roundabout site. This is the first roundabout to have art for the entire I-25 corridor, making it a significant installation and visible landmark for the intersection. Tri-Lakes Views (TLV) has been approved to commission the art, and is currently seeking sponsorship for the proposed sculpture to be created by Reven-Marie Swanson. For sponsorship details, contact TLV President Sky Hall at (719) 491-3638 or at firstname.lastname@example.org, or fundraising Chair Dr. Betty Konarski at (719) 481-2769 or email@example.com.
Janet Sellers is a Colorado artist and art teacher; her artworks and public art sculptures are in exhibitions in city and museum venues in Colorado, and of course, the Tri-Lakes area. Sellers lives in Woodmoor. She can be reached at JanetSellers@OCN.me.
North Pole at Tri-Lakes Craft Fair, Dec. 5
The North Pole at Tri-Lakes Craft Show sponsored by Monument Hill Kiwanis was held on Saturday, Dec. 5 at Grace Best Community Center.
Program Manager Bob Nissen said that the fair featured 69 vendors and was attended by over 1,600 individuals. Those attending donated 413 pounds of food, $365, and two boxes of toys to benefit Tri-Lakes Cares.
The cookie walk sponsored by Tri-Lakes United Methodist Church offered 7,000 cookies from which to select, priced by the pound to benefit local charities. Several thousand dollars were raised.
District 38 singers and musicians and other local musicians entertained during the event.
All proceeds go to fund the School District 38 granting program.
Caption: Singers from Lewis-Palmer Middle School entertained during the craft fair. Photo by Harriet Halbig.
Harriet Halbig can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Handbell Concert, Dec. 12
Cheeseman organizes service project
On Dec. 5, Jacob Cheeseman, right, of Boy Scouts of America (BSA) Troop 17 organized an Eagle Scout service project to build feral cat feeding stations for the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region. Seventeen boys primarily from BSA Troop 17 along with a handful from Palmer Ridge High School National Honor Society gathered in a chilly garage and spent the day assembling kits that were created ahead of time by Cheeseman and his uncle. After nailing together the feeding stations, the boys then primed them so that they could be painted and delivered to the Humane Society on Dec. 18 for distribution to community cat colonies where they are used to feed feral cats and to attract them so they can be vaccinated and spayed or neutered. Jasper Howald is at left. Photo by Jackie Burhans.
Yule Log Potluck Dinner, Dec. 8
Yule Log Hunt, Dec. 13
Josh Porter, the Cutter of the Log, and Sara Lundeen Plott, the finder of this year’s Yule Log, work together to cut the Yule Log in half. One half of the log was burned as this year’s Yule Log while the other half is saved for next year’s kindling log. Photos by Molly Porter. Captions by Audrey Burkart.
Santa on Patrol, Dec. 19
Santa with Blake Cossaboom during Santa on Patrol. Police Chief Jake Shirk thanked the Tri-Lakes residents, Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce, and Walmart who collected and donated toys and money so that hundreds of local children in need could personally receive a gift from Santa on Patrol on Dec. 19, the Saturday before Christmas. Shirk started this program in 1993 in Aurora when the shopping malls received death threats against Santa. Now he and the Monument Police and several local fire departments help this "hidden segment of our society" right here in our own community. He said so many donations were made this year that he had extra gifts to give to Tri-Lakes Cares, and he appreciates how the community stepped forward. Photos by Shauna Arrington of Arrington Photography.
Legacy Sertoma and Monument Hill Kiwanis ring the bells
Legacy Sertoma member Jim Fitzpatrick and his two granddaughters, Rachel and Sarah Fitzpatrick helped collect donations for the Red Kettle Christmas Campaign. The donations enable The Salvation Army to provide food, toys and clothing to over 6 million people during the Christmas season and help more than 34 million Americans recovering from all kinds of personal disasters nationwide. The Red Kettle campaign, first started in San Francisco in 1891, has traditionally been the Salvation Army’s most prominent fund-raiser. The Legacy Sertoma group in Monument collected $3,965. Photo courtesy of Legacy Sertoma.
Caption: Monument Hill Kiwanis club supplied scores of volunteer Red Kettle bell-ringers in the Tri-Lakes area. Don Johnson mans the Red Kettle at a memorial service for deceased Kiwanian Bill Healy. Attendees deposited $1000 to the Kettle to honor Bill a long time bell ringer and co-chairman of this year’s campaign. Monument Hill Kiwanis in association with Lewis Palmer School District 38, Key Clubs and Builders Clubs, and Kohls employees once again manned the Salvation Army Red Kettles at King Soopers, Safeway and Walmart. This year Kiwanis raised a total of $45,003. Photo courtesy Monument Hill Kiwanis.
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
Jan. 13: Raspberry chipotle chicken, roasted potatoes, salad
Jan. 20: Beef brisket sandwich, baked beans, coleslaw
Jan. 27: Tuna on a croissant, avocado, chips
Rolls and butter are served with each meal except sandwiches. Dessert is also provided.
Lunch is at 11:30 a.m. at 146 Jefferson St., Monument (the School District 38 Administration Building). $3 voluntary donation. Entertainment follows lunch. For more information, call Judy, 487-9067. An activity of Tri-Lakes Health Advocacy Partnership. Meals are provided by Pinecrest Catering, Palmer Lake; Nikki McDonald, executive chef, 481-3307.
Apply by March 15 for Tri-Lakes Women’s Club 2016 grants
Tri-Lakes Women’s Club (TLWC) grant application for 2016 will be available Jan.15 to Mar. 15 on the TLWC website, www.tlwc.net. Eligible organizations include nonprofit and public service organizations and public schools that serve the Tri-Lakes area. Special program and project requests are welcomed. The application package includes the instructions as well as other important qualifying information. Completed applications can be mailed to Tri-Lakes Women’s Club, Attn: Grant Committee, PO Box 669, Monument, 80132 with a postmark no later than March 15, 2016. For more information, contact the committee chair at email@example.com or visit www.tlwc.net.
Town of Monument seeks Planning Commission alternate member
The Board of Trustees of the Town of Monument is accepting applications for a Planning Commission alternate member. Candidates must be at least 18 years of age, be a U.S. citizen, and have lived within the Town of Monument for at least the last 12 consecutive months. If interested, submit an application to the Development Services Department, 645 Beacon Lite Road, Monument, CO 80132. To request an application or more information, contact the Town of Monument at 481-2954 or e-mail Larry Manning at Lmanning@tomgov.org.
Tri-Lakes Land Use Committee seeks volunteers, Jan. 11
The Tri-Lakes Land Use Committee is being reinvigorated as a result of the current resurgence in local development activity. The group was established by the 2000 Tri-Lakes Comprehensive Plan and receives a copy of development applications submitted to the town and county. The committee then has the opportunity to provide comments on proposed developments in the Tri-Lakes area while it is still early enough in the process to have a chance at influencing the direction of growth. Ideally, this group should include representatives from across the Tri-Lakes area. With all the development going on, citizens should be aware of the existence of this vehicle for community involvement in the process. The next meeting is Jan. 11, 6:30-8:30 p.m., at the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce, 166 Second St., Monument. For more information, contact Jerry Hannigan, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Register now for CSU Extension Single-Day Landscaping/Gardening Classes
For landscape professionals and home gardeners who want to focus on a particular topic, single-day classes provide an opportunity for in-depth education. These research-based classes are taught by Colorado State University Extension faculty. Classes will be held on Thursdays, beginning Jan. 14, at the El Paso County Extension office, 17 N. Spruce St. (west of I-25 at Bijou exit). See a list of classes at http://elpasoco.colostate.edu/ and click on ‘Horticulture.’ Register online at http://EPCExtension.eventbrite.com.
Volunteer needed for county’s DHS Advisory Commission, apply by Jan. 15
The El Paso County Board of Commissioners is seeking a community-minded citizen volunteer from District 1 to serve on the Department of Human Services (DHS) Advisory Commission. Applications are due by Jan. 15. 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.
Volunteers needed for county’s Fair & Events Complex Advisory Board
The El Paso County Board of Commissioners is seeking community-minded citizen volunteers to serve on the Fair & Events Complex Advisory Board. Applications are due by Jan. 15. 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.
Four Monument trustee positions open
The Town of Monument Board of Trustees has four trustee positions open. Nomination petitions are now available from the town clerk’s office, 645 Beacon Lite Rd. Petitions must be turned in by Monday, Jan. 25. Candidates must be at least 18, a registered voter, and must have resided within the incorporated limits of the Town of Monument for 12 consecutive months immediately preceding the date of the election, April 5. For more information, visit www.townofmonument.org/departments/elections/.
BOCC approves expenditures for the Gleneagle Pedestrian Improvement Project
At their Dec. 15 meeting, the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) passed a resolution to recognize federal revenue and to appropriate expenditures in the amount of $126,920 (federal aid funds) to the Road and Bridge 2015 budget for the construction of the Gleneagle Pedestrian Improvements Project. The project includes the installation of curb, gutter, and sidewalk along the west side of Gleneagle Drive between Jessie Drive and Wuthering Heights Drive. The pedestrian improvements will provide a community benefit and will also provide a safe route between Antelope Trails Elementary School and the adjacent neighborhoods. The project will be completed within the first quarter of 2016.
Monument Academy’s "Green 4 Green" campaign
Monument Academy’s PTO has launched a fundraising campaign to provide a green, usable playing field at the school. The existing playground is a hard-packed dirt surface that becomes unusable for several days after rain due to poor drainage. Even on dry days, the playground is a dusty, unforgiving surface full of indentations. Installing turf would make the field safer and more usable for recess, physical education classes, and sports. As a charter school, MA operates on less funding than other public schools but is required to meet or exceed district and state academic standards. Therefore, funding to construct a play area must be raised independently. The total projected funds needed are $150,000. MA PTO has scheduled a "Green 4 Green Tailgate Kickoff" live and silent auction for March 5. For more information or to contribute toward the campaign, please email MA PTO President Lance Goraczkowski, email@example.com.
Election judges needed
The Town of Palmer Lake is looking for five volunteers to serve as election judges in the upcoming election on April 5, 2016. If you are interested, please contact the town office at 42 Valley Crescent or call 481-2953.
Free Winter Survival Kit App
The free "Winter Survival Kit App" was developed by the North Dakota State University Extension Service and is designed to help anyone who frequently drives in winter weather and could become stranded during a storm. The app for iPhones and Androids can help pinpoint your location, call 911, notify friends and family of your situation, and even help you estimate how long you can run your vehicle to keep warm before you run out of fuel. You can download the app at www.ag.ndsu.edu/extension/apps/winter-survival-kit. For information on what to carry in your vehicle’s winter survival kit, go to the Office of Emergency Management page on the El Paso County website: www.elpasoco.com.
Grow Smart Monument group forming
Grow Smart Monument is dedicated to preserving open space and trails, recreational opportunities, natural resources, and community character. Across the U.S., access to parks and open spaces has become a measure of community wealth; a tool for attracting businesses and residents by guaranteeing quality of life and economic health. This group invites collaboration with developers and civic organizations in creating a path to smart growth in our beautiful town. For more information, see the Facebook page, www.facebook.com/groups/growsmartmonument/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tri-Lakes men’s a cappella singing group seeks singers
Singers are wanted for a unique men’s singing group that will feature close harmony, a cappella singing, somewhat in the style of the Four Freshmen and Vocal Majority. For more information, call John Hobson at 368-7833, or Phil Zara, 481-3197.
Three steps to recycle right
Recycle all empty plastic bottles, cans, and paper. Keep foods and liquids out of the recycling. Keep plastic bags out of the recycling. These three steps have a big impact on getting the right things in the recycling bin. Did you know that plastic bags can shut down an entire recycling plant? So keep plastic bags out of the recycling and when in doubt, leave it out. For more information, visit www.recycleoftenrecycleright.com.
SafeCare Colorado services now in El Paso County
Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains (LFS) now provides SafeCare Colorado Services in El Paso County. SafeCare Colorado offers proactive in-home, voluntary services that support at-risk families in understanding the health, development, and safety needs of young children. LFS home visitors will deliver the SafeCare curriculum to parents through weekly visits over a four- to five-month period. The curriculum covers: Infant and Child Health, Home Safety, and Parent/Child Interaction. The goal of SafeCare is to build parental skills and consistently reinforce positive communication and problem-solving skills—helping to prevent child abuse. For more information, contact 303-217-5854, www.lfsrm.org.
Bustang and Park-n-Ride improvements
Bustang, the new interregional express bus service from the Colorado Department of Transportation, has begun. Along I-25, there are seven round trips per day, Mon. to Fri., from Colorado Springs to Denver, with a stop at I-25/Monument Park-and-Ride. Single ride tickets from Monument to Denver’s Union Station cost only $9, $7.50 for seniors. Each coach is equipped with restrooms, bike racks, free Wi-Fi, power outlets and USB ports. Parking lot improvements include new asphalt paving, lighting, striping, signing, and new shelters equipped with lighting and infrared heating units. For information or to buy tickets online, visit www.ridebustang.com, or phone 800-900-3011.
HAP needs volunteers
The Tri-Lakes Health Advocacy Partnership (HAP) is a nonprofit, all-volunteer organization that serves and supports seniors in our community. HAP currently needs volunteers, three hours a week; and active board members, eight to 10 hours a month. For more information, call HAP board president, Dave Betzler, at 205-7651.
Emergency Notification System
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.
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 email@example.com.
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.
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
All libraries close Jan. 18 in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
The Palmer Lake Library hours are Tue.-Fri., 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and Sat., 10 a.m.-2 p.m. 66 Lower Glenway. Info: 481-2587, www.ppld.org.
The Monument Branch Library hours are Mon.-Thu., 9 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri. & Sat, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sun., 1-5 p.m. 1706 Lake Woodmoor Dr. Info: 488-2370, www.ppld.org.
WEEKLY AND MONTHLY EVENTS
Our community calendar carries listings on a space-available basis for Tri-Lakes events that are sponsored by local governmental entities and not-for-profit organizations. We include events that are open to the general public and are not religious or self-promotional in nature. If space is available, complimentary calendar listings are included, when requested, for events advertised in the current issue. To have your event listed at no charge in Our Community Calendar, please call (719) 339-7831 or send the information to firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 1742, Monument, Colorado 80132.
Contact us at (719) 488-3455, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, or P.O. Box 1742, Monument, Colorado 80132-1742.
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