CORRECTION NOTE: The printed copy of the July 2, 2016 issue has a headline error on page 11. The headline reads, "Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility Joint Use Committee, April 12: Phone line damaged by town repair work; TP clarifier construction ahead of schedule" is from the May 7, 2016 issue and does not reflect the content of the current article. The headline has been corrected in the pdf version of the paper which is available for download on this website. We apologize for any inconvenience or confusion caused by the error in the print copy.
This page contains only the text of the articles and columns in this issue. To see the photos and captions including the Snapshots of Our Community section, view the on-line version above or download the PDFs whose links follow this table of contents.
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By Harriet Halbig
The Lewis-Palmer D-38 Board of Education approved the budget for the 2016-17 school year and approved the signing of a 10-year contract with Monument Academy at its June 16 meeting.
In accordance with state statute, the board held a brief public hearing regarding the budget before a vote was taken.
Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Wangeman explained the budget process to the board and said that the proposed budget is balanced. Among the goals in creating the budget was maintenance of present class size, provision of adequate compensation for staff in order to retain well-qualified staff and compete with neighboring districts, absorption of the increased cost of health insurance and Public Employee Retirement Association costs, and a focus on the district’s technology infrastructure.
Wangeman pointed out that the district had been awarded a BEST grant to offset the cost of removing asbestos from Palmer Lake Elementary School and to provide a new roof there. As a result, a loan of $400,000 was taken from the General Fund until the project is complete.
She also explained that expenditures for technology upgrades would now be taken from the General Fund rather than the Capital Reserve because such upgrades are viewed as an ongoing activity.
Wangeman also requested advance approval for some capital improvements to be made during the summer.
Several members of the public spoke before the board. Jackie Burhans thanked the board for holding an open workshop on the subject of the budget. Don Patrick expressed concern about salaries for local teachers compared to those in adjoining districts. He also objected to the extent of salary increases received by administrative personnel compared to teachers. Doyle Oakey addressed the technology budget, saying that it is administered by someone with insufficient experience and that the district should do a better job of keeping adult and student addresses confidential.
Derek Araje agreed that teachers were receiving less of a salary increase than principals and suggested that no employee should receive a larger increase than teachers.
Laura Lee Hitzler commented that Monument Academy is being underfunded and as a result the teachers there are compensated less than in the traditional schools. She said that the board maintains that the original intent of the 1999 mill levy override (MLO) was to exclude Monument Academy, but that in fact it is unethical to exclude 15 percent of the student population from funding.
Steven Philips commented that he chose to move to the district because of the quality of its schools, but now fears that, with the current shortage of new teachers, the district will be unable to maintain the current excellent quality of staff. He said that due to the fact that many district teachers are retired military and therefore receive a pension in addition to their salary, the district is enjoying an advantage.
Members of the board thanked the citizens who came to share their comments.
District Superintendent Karen Brofft reported that an academy will be held for teachers to improve their technological skills and discuss curriculum. A draft of student technology skill requirements is ready, and the district has received an English Language Proficiency Act Excellence Award.
Wangeman reported that Lewis-Palmer Middle School will be taken off of federal funding for its lunch program beginning in the fall. The high schools took this action a few years ago when federal requirements for protein were significantly reduced and consequently many students chose to leave the campus for lunch. The nutrition program in the high schools returned to profitable status within the year and it is assumed that the middle school will follow suit. The action will be on a trial basis initially.
Wangeman also reported that the district’s bond rating is AA2, due to a healthy tax base and a strong financial position.
Board President Mark Pfoff, through questions to Wangeman, determined that the district budget has been balanced since 2008 and that the district is audited annually and has received awards for the quality of its financial reporting. Budgeting in the district is a fluid process with reviews each month.
Board Treasurer John Magerko commented that perhaps the district should re-examine its salary schedule, particularly in comparison with other local districts.
Director Sarah Sampayo suggested that the budget could be presented in a more straightforward format, perhaps using footnotes and definition of terms. She also suggested that salary schedules should be made more accessible and that teachers should receive the same percentage increases as others.
The budget was approved and the board voted to carry forward projects now underway.
Monument Academy contract
The board passed a motion to sign a 10-year contract with Monument Charter Academy and submit it to academy officials for signing. (Addendum: A press release the following day said the contract had been renewed and the district remains the authorizer for the academy. Monument Academy waived any claim to funds generated by the 1999 MLO and will receive $425,000 in funds and services for the first year and more than $300,000 each year following. The district will waive the Authorizer Administration Fee, making Monument Academy the only charter school in the state with the fee waived. The contract also allows Monument Academy to choose a different chartering authority within the next two years.)
School readiness waiver
The board passed a motion to authorize a request for a waiver from TS Gold readiness assessments for kindergarteners, stating that the district’s report cards are sufficiently detailed to determine readiness, and the board wants to keep student data local. Director of Curriculum Sheila Beving said that the state Board of Education will most likely vote on the request in September because the board does not meet during the summer. The district’s request for a waiver last year failed by a narrow margin.
The board voted to approve science curriculum for the seventh and eighth grades.
The board approved the new wording of Board Policy KF regarding community use of school facilities.
The board also approved new wording of Board Policy JS regarding technology use by students. The previous month the board had sent questions to board counsel whether parents should be allowed to opt out of technology use. The new wording stresses not sharing account numbers and passwords and that students have no expectation of privacy when using district technology so that such use may be investigated in case of wrongdoing. The policy also states that the district reserves the right to seek legal action against those who use another’s accounts or engage in harassment or plagiarism using district facilities. Students and parents must sign an agreement to abide by the policy at the beginning of each school year.
The board passed a resolution to hire RTA Architects to provide long-range planning services.
The board recognized a number of students for their athletic achievements. Among them were the Lewis-Palmer High School Girls Soccer Team, which won the state 4A Championship (including Brianna Alger, the Gazette Peak Performer of the Year, and co-coaches Joe Martin and Ryan Parsons, who were named Gazette Co-coaches of the year for Girls Soccer); Paul Tillotson, who was named Gatorade Baseball Player of the Year for Colorado; and various members of the Palmer Ridge Track Team who were not present. Among them were Caleb Ojennes, who was state champion in the 200m, 400m and 4x400; George Silvanic, discus state champion, and the state relay champions Brandon Pappas, Garret Obermeyer, Bailey Rosenstrauch and Caleb Ojennes.
Lewis-Palmer High School Principal Sandi Brandl introduced Laura Olson, who received a scholarship from the Monument Hill Kiwanis Club.
Caption: Members of the 4A State Champion Lewis-Palmer High Girls Soccer team with their coaches, Joe Martin and Ryan Parsons. The players from the left are Karly Sandoval, Haley Arsenault, Sarah Lyons, Brenna Oakey, Sammy Kazlausky, and Brianna Alger. Photo by Harriet Halbig.
The Lewis-Palmer D-38 Board of Education meets at 6 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month at the district’s Learning Center, 146 Jefferson St., Monument. There will be no meeting in July.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
● 7 a.m., Palmer Lake 4 Mile Fun Run, Palmer Lake Santa Fe Trailhead. Register at www.july4funrun.com.
● 7-10 a.m., Pancake breakfast, tickets at the door, St Peter Catholic Church, 55 Jefferson St.
● 8 a.m.-3 p.m., Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce Street Fair, 2nd Street and Washington Street
● 9:30 a.m., Monument Hill Kiwanis Children’s Parade, Downtown Monument
● 10 a.m.-noon, Monument Hill Kiwanis 4th of July Parade, Downtown Monument. Register to participate: www.monumenthillkiwanis.org. Kids’ games, Monument Community Presbyterian Church, 3rd & Jefferson.
● 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Tri-Lakes Chamber Beer Garden, family friendly, Limbach Park, Monument
● Noon-9 p.m., Monument Music Festival, Downtown Monument
● 7-9 p.m., Bands play at the Palmer Lake baseball diamond
● 9 p.m., Palmer Lake fireworks at dusk. For more information or to make a donation, write to email@example.com or see Facebook/Palmer Lake Fireworks.
Parade spectators are encouraged to come early, park at Palmer Ridge High School or Lewis-Palmer High School, and ride the free bus to and from downtown Monument.
By Lisa Hatfield
The Triview Metropolitan District Board meeting on June 14 included two newly elected board members and lasted 5½ hours. The energetic discussion included budgetary and operational ramifications of the 10 percent growth rate of the district and the need to hire another full-time employee. The directors heard presentations on the multiple roles for which Triview is responsible, the Sanctuary Pointe development in progress, and the need to plan for funding wastewater treatment plant capacity expansion and improvement to meet both current and future undetermined state regulations.
Note: On June 17, Triview imposed temporary emergency watering restrictions due to "unusually high water demand" that appears to be caused by unexpected residential outdoor irrigation despite higher than average rainfall. All residents had to stop outdoor water use except for drip irrigation systems and existing district-approved new sod permits, but those residents were asked to cut back on watering also. Triview board meetings are always open to the public, and the next one will be at the Fairfield Inn, 15275 Struthers Road, Colorado Springs. See related Donala article on page 12.
Triview, which includes two-thirds of the population of the town of Monument and is still growing, is a Title 32 special district within the town that provides roads, parks, and drainage maintenance, as well as water and sanitation utility services to the residents of Jackson Creek, Promontory Pointe, and Sanctuary Pointe.
New board elected
The new board elected in the May 3 election, which was not certified until after the regular May 17 meeting, is composed of President Reid Bolander, Vice President Mark Melville, Secretary/Treasurer Marco Fiorito, Director James Barnhart, and Director James Otis.
Public comment included:
• Can Triview make maintenance of the open space in Promontory Pointe more of a priority?
• Possible fire hazard related to lack of open space maintenance and all the dead trees in Promontory Pointe.
• Concern about mosquito control in detention ponds and culverts that had large openings that could be dangerous to kids or pets.
• Would Triview consider posting its meeting agendas and board packets on the district website?
"A Look at the District"
District Manager Valerie Remington gave a one-hour presentation summarizing the roles of Triview. Her comments included:
• It is one of the larger metro districts in the state and covers roads, drainage, parks, water, and sanitation.
• Seven full-time, one part-time, and four seasonal employees
• $8.6 million annual budget expenditures
• $4.2 million annual debt service, "which is not typical. We are heavily in debt."
• About 4,260 residents, which is two-thirds of Monument’s 6,200 total population
• About 1,450 taps
• Nine parks, 56 acres of open space, five miles of trails, 50 lane miles of road, 105 miles each of sewer, water, and storm drainage pipes (not including Sanctuary Pointe), 300 fire hydrants
• Eight wells, two water treatment plants, one 1.5 million gallon water tank (and one 1.1 million gallon tank and booster station under construction for Sanctuary Pointe)
• A total of 1.7 million gallons of water can be treated and pumped each day.
• The water tank holds less than one day’s water for normal summer irrigation season consumption.
• Triview’s sanitary sewer influent flows average 11.8 million gallons a month to Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility (UMCRWWTF).
• 340 irrigation zones, 732 water valves, 12 pressure reducing valves, and 150 storm boxes all requiring regular testing
• Annual 10 percent growth is expected through 2020 due to new residential construction in Sanctuary Pointe, Homeplace Ranch, and ongoing growth along Jackson Creek Parkway and Baptist Road.
Remington compared Triview’s staffing to the Town of Monument’s and Donala Water and Sanitation District’s, saying, "We have a much smaller staff and more to do."
She then proposed a new organizational structure for the district that would have the same number of full-time employees as before but would be reorganized to hire a lead water operator to optimize the use of the current plant. She said the only person who currently meets the Level B operator requirement is Water Superintendent Josh Cichocki, who would be busy with Sanctuary Pointe construction. "We are not out of compliance, but we need help," Remington said. She also presented an organizational chart for five years in the future showing her projected increases in staffing needed.
Engineer John McGinn of JDS-Hydro commented that the district needed to "get drinking water under control before it could do other things like roads and the 15 years of deferred maintenance." The district is growing at "breakneck speed," and the complexity of the water system was increasing with it, he said. Melville asked how the district would get ahead on hiring and infrastructure before those customers paid their development tap fees. Remington said it would come from the fund balance.
"We are not small any longer," she said. "Staff is setting up to do a major shift in how we do business. Maintenance cannot be ignored anymore, and it will cost us money. We had our head down trying to dig out of a hole, and now we need to look up collectively and look down the road further. Now that we have stabilized financially and legally, we can move forward."
New funding needs for wastewater treatment facility expansion also looming
Consulting engineer Roger Sams of GMS Inc. warned the directors that Triview will need to plan on spending money on a treatment plant expansion for the separate wastewater facility it shares with Donala and Forest Lakes Metropolitan District to meet future regulatory changes and capacity challenges.
He said the UMCRWWTF has been maintained very well and is currently in excellent compliance with regulations. However, since its discharge permit is subject to state and federal regulations and oversight, and because the EPA and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) update and tighten those regulations regularly, it is possible that stricter regulations regarding nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus could be required.
Another concern is that as the drinking water treatment process removes the naturally occurring arsenic in the district’s well water from the Denver Basin aquifer, the arsenic becomes part of the district’s wastewater and needs to be removed by UMCRWWTF before the treated effluent enters the stream. It might be possible to include this process with future phosphorus removal process, Sams said.
He also said since engineering projects take years for planning and years for construction, it is vital to plan four to five years ahead to meet future wastewater treatment capacity requirements. He said UMCRWWTF has enough real estate on which to expand its treatment plant when housing construction results in Triview no longer owning enough sewer flow treatment capacity to handle its forecast wastewater load growth. This need for wastewater flow treatment capacity expansion and simultaneous arsenic treatment construction could occur as soon as 2021.
Sams praised the work of the recently created AF CURE (Arkansas River/Fountain Creek Coalition for Urban/Rural River Evaluation), which is a coalition of 11 regional wastewater discharge permit holders working in cooperation to seek site-specific state water quality treatment standards for nutrients for different types of stream segments. Acting proactively, it and the recently created statewide Colorado Monitoring Framework have organized a new extensive coordinated wastewater and stream sampling effort to provide a scientifically sound statewide database for various stream segments to present to the CDPHE, Sams said. He discussed the recent June 13-15 Water Quality Control Commission triennial rulemaking hearing on Regulation 31, Basic Standards and Methodologies for Surface Water. (For more on the results of this hearing, see the article on the July Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility Joint Use Committee article coming in the August 2016 issue of OCN.)
The consensus of the directors, Sams, Remington, and McGinn was that rate increases would certainly be in store for Triview customers.
Sanctuary Pointe construction report
McGinn told the directors about progress constructing infrastructure in the Sanctuary Pointe development. He said the concrete water tank the directors approved in May is under construction in a difficult site but that work is on schedule. Remington said building there was like trying to balance a bus on the head of a pin because of the topography. The steep location makes access for cement trucks and cranes difficult.
McGinn said the Sanctuary Pointe booster station is out to bid, and due to timing issues he requested that the board hold a special meeting later in June to approve the lowest responsible bid so that work could continue on schedule and not run into bad weather in the fall. He said costs were coming in according to budget, but "let’s see what happens with the booster station," which will be pumping water two miles away from and 300 feet higher than the treatment plant.
McGinn and Remington told the directors about the request for proposals out for a pavement survey of the district. Results of the survey would recommend different types of repair for each road in Triview by testing in about 300 locations throughout the district.
Melville expressed concern about waiting even longer to get major road repairs underway, saying, "I don’t want the roads to fall apart," as the district has not done any real road maintenance in the past. Remington agreed, saying, "We are more than a year late," but she said crack sealing will be done this fall since that is the best season for minor maintenance. McGinn suggested that economies of scale will take effect if the district does three major projects every other year instead one every year.
The board approved Remington to execute the contract for the pavement study with Terracon Consultants Inc. for an amount not to exceed $61,000. Remington expected preliminary results by Aug. 31 in time for fall maintenance projects.
Daily water use increasing
In the operations report, Cichocki said daily water production as of the end of May was increasing (as it does normally each spring as shown in the five-year chart), and he emphasized how he believed in charting water use.
The directors also approved $48,000 of drainage maintenance for the detention pond at Saber Creek Drive and Leather Chaps Drive. Remington said four of the five pipes under the road were clogged, and Cichocki said the condition warranted immediate action.
Remington’s comments included:
• The source water protection program was completed for CDPHE.
• A board workshop on future capital projects is scheduled for 2 p.m. Aug. 12.
• It is hard to fairly compare Triview’s tap fees with those of other districts since they are not also responsible for roads, park, drainage, and sewer services. Water attorney Chris Cummins of Monson, Cummins & Shohet LLC said Triview’s tap fees are too low.
• Triview was one of five water districts sponsoring the movie The Great Divide on June 23 at Palmer Ridge High School. (See related Snapshot about The Great Divide on page 26.)
Remington said the regional water study preliminary infrastructure design from Forsgren Associates evaluated methods of bringing in surface water from other locations such as the Arkansas River as an alternative to pumping ground water from the Denver Basin aquifer. The consensus was to discuss it more at the next meeting to allow the new board members time to read it.
The board voted to go into executive session at 9:33 p.m. to confer with their attorneys on specific legal questions and personnel matters. Cummins and Remington told OCN that no announcements were made after the executive session. The meeting adjourned at 10:30 p.m.
Emergency watering restrictions imposed in Triview
On June 17, Triview residents were notified via reverse 911 calls and fliers distributed door-to-door that the district was experiencing "an abnormal, and unusually high, water demand that appears to be caused by residents’ outdoor irrigation." Residents were told not to do any outside watering until further notice so that the district could continue to provide critical household water needs and potential firefighting requirements.
The FAQs portion of www.colorado.gov/triviewmetro included:
• Restrictions are on all external watering of landscaping with the exception of drip systems and existing district-approved new sod permits.
• Recent water demand within Triview has far exceeded anything that the district has experienced in the past. The district, as a whole, needs to reduce usage overall.
• The district’s eight wells can maintain a pumping capacity of 1.8 million gallons per day.
• The demand for the past two weeks has approached 2 million gallons per day.
• We anticipate that these emergency measures are temporary.
• (When under normal summer watering restrictions, Triview residents, under a Town of Monument ordinance, may do landscape watering for odd-numbered addresses on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Even-numbered addresses can water on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.)
Note: The next Triview meeting will be held at 5 p.m. on July 12 at the Fairfield Inn, 15275 Struthers Road, Colorado Springs (at the southwest corner of West Baptist Road and Jackson Creek Parkway) in order to have room for all the Triview residents who would like to attend. Meetings are normally held on the second Tuesday of the month. Information: 488-6868 or see www.colorado.gov/triviewmetro.
Caption: Triview Metropolitan District water customers were notified on June 17 that the district was imposing emergency watering restrictions because it was experiencing "an abnormal, and unusually high, water demand that appears to be caused by residents’ outdoor irrigation." Residents were told not to do any outside watering until further notice so that the district could continue to provide critical household water needs and potential firefighting requirements. By June 22, emergency irrigation restrictions were posted saying residents could irrigate on two specific nights a week. Photo by Lisa Hatfield.
Note: To sign up your land line or cell phone for the reverse 911 emergency notification system, see www.elpasoteller911.org/.
Lisa Hatfield can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Jackie Burhans
The Monument Academy (MA) school board met June 9 to recognize outgoing board members, swear in incoming members, and appropriate $450,000 to a Potential Bonus Endowment Fund.
Recognition and oath for board members
Board member Sonya Camarco presented Jason Castro with a plaque in recognition of his three years of service on the board. Mario Ciabarra, who also concluded his service with the board, was absent. Board member Jason Castro administered the oath of office to new board members Patrick Hall and Matthew Dunston who will take office at the July meeting. Castro asked Camarco to chair the nominating committee and asked board members Andy Gifford and Julie Galusky to be members of the committee. The nominating committee was directed to meet before the next board meeting member to propose officers for next year as well as make recommendations for board committees and assignments. Since three board members will be meeting it must be an open meeting, although they are not required to post it.
Potential teacher bonus fund appropriated
In a discussion of the motion to revise the 2015-16 appropriation, Camarco noted that Colorado Statute 22-44-106(2) states that general expenses plus reserves cannot equal more than 15 percent of the budget. She noted that MA needed to appropriate (though not necessarily spend) about $450,000 for budgeting items as a contingency. The appropriation would be used for potential bonuses for teachers in the form of a segregated endowment. Per the board documents, this money could be used for general fund expenses in the event of a 7 percent decrease in students, per pupil revenue, or capital construction funds and may be used as performance-based bonuses as deemed appropriate by the administration. This type of appropriation will have to happen each year depending on the state of the budget. The MA board unanimously approved this motion.
The next line item was to amend the 2016-17 budget from April to reflect the appropriation change. This motion was also unanimously approved.
Board report highlights
• The assessment report will be ready for the board in time for the July meeting and will be put on the website.
• Teacher turnover rate was 17.85 percent, which was higher than previous year’s rate of 13 percent but is still seven to eight points below the national average. Principal Lis Richards noted that she is excited about the staff for the upcoming year as in the last year MA needed to do some pruning.
• Director Don Griffin discussed the D-38 data breach and noted that MA uses Google Apps for Education (GAFE) as a self-contained system from the district with a different sign in and no auto population.
• The board went into executive session for about an hour to discuss to discuss and receive legal advice on the negotiations with the district on the charter contract. Upon returning, the board unanimously voted to extend contract negotiations until June 30.
Update: The MA Board held an emergency meeting on June 23 where they went into executive session for half an hour and then came out and voted unanimously to approve the charter school renewal contract with D-38 (see LPSD School Board meeting article on page 1).
Caption: At the Monument Academy School Board meeting on June 9, the board recognized the services of outgoing board member Jason Castro.
Caption: New Monument Academy school board members Patrick Hall, left, and Matthew Dunston, right, are sworn in. Photos by Jackie Burhans.
The next meeting will be on Thursday, July 21 at the Monument Academy library at 1150 Village Ridge Point. The Monument Academy usually meets at 7 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month. Information on the MA School Board, including schedule, minutes, committee and finances can be found at http://www.monumentacademy.net/school-board.
Jackie Burhans can be reached at email@example.com.
By James Howald
The Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD) board met on June 9 to receive an update on implementing the Xpress bill pay service, to hear comments from customer Ken Ford, and to listen to operational reports from staff.
Contract with Xpress Bill Pay service approved
District Manager Jessie Shaffer notified the board that some of the outstanding issues with the Xpress Bill Pay service have been resolved. When implemented, Xpress Bill Pay will allow customers to pay their bill online using a credit card, to see their history of payments, and also to view their water consumption over time.
A point of contention was the state of Colorado’s requirement that Xpress Bill Pay verify that they do not employ workers not legally in the United States. Xpress Bill Pay was reluctant to provide the ongoing documentation the state requires on this point initially, but finally agreed to do so, Shaffer said, adding that WWSD had agreed to reimburse Xpress Bill Pay for the cost of providing the documentation.
The board voted unanimously to approve the district’s contract with Xpress Bill Pay, subject to an agreement between President Jim Taylor and District Attorney Erin Smith.
Customer questions proposal to provide water to Douglas County subdivisions
Longtime district customer Ken Ford addressed the board to express his reservations about WWSD adding the Ponderosa camp and Bald Mountain Estates subdivision to the areas the district serves, as had been discussed in a previous board meeting, especially when water restrictions are in place. Ford mentioned the costs the district had incurred to purchase the JV Ranch and its water rights.
Ford pointed out that both subdivisions are in Douglas County, that water is a precious resource, and said he would prefer the district’s water be reserved for the customers the district already serves.
Shaffer told Ford the district was not spending any money to investigate the possibility of adding the subdivisions to the WWSD service area. Some staff time was necessary to develop an estimate of the costs to service those areas, but no decisions had been made, Shaffer said. He expects the investigation to be completed by the end of the month.
Ford asked the board to include the community in the decision-making process, and Smith pointed out that public hearings on the question are required by law if the project goes beyond preliminary investigation.
Financial and operational reports raise no issues
Noting that afternoon rains were reducing water usage in the district, the board unanimously approved the financial report.
The Chilcott Ditch report mentioned that deferred maintenance tasks are being completed on schedule.
During the Manager’s Report, Shaffer mentioned that the district was not yet using water from Monument Lake.
In the Development Report, Shaffer mentioned that 72 new taps have been added in the first six months of the year. The district had budgeted for only 75 taps for the entire year, but the fast pace of residential development in the district means that number likely will be exceeded, Shaffer said.
The next meeting is scheduled for 1 p.m. July 14. Meetings are usually held at the district office at 1845 Woodmoor Drive on the second Thursday of each month at 1 p.m. See www.woodmoorwater.com or call 488-2525 to verify meeting times.
James Howald can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Lisa Hatfield
The June 14 meeting of the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility (TLWWTF) Joint Use Committee (JUC) included approval of a change order for Tetra Tech’s engineering on the total phosphorus (TP) chemical removal 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: WWSD board Director at Large Rich Strom, president; MSD board Chairman Ed Delaney, vice president; and PLSD board and JUC Secretary/Treasurer Ken Smith. Other board and staff members of the three owner districts also attended, including MSD District Manager Mike Wicklund, PLSD District Manager Becky Orcutt, and WWSD District Manager Jessie Shaffer.
Contract change order requested
Consulting engineer Mike Rothberg of Tetra Tech attended the meeting to answer questions about the letter that Tetra Tech sent to Facility Manager Bill Burks requesting a $23,085 TP clarifier project engineering services change order. Rothberg said the construction changes were needed due to comments from the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department (PPRBD) during the building permitting process. This caused Tetra Tech to change design plans, obtain a permit, and make design changes to contract documents. The issues included:
• The building location in relation to the flood plain: PPRBD used a more recent FEMA 100-year flood-plain map than what Tetra Tech used, and it was "easier and cheaper to put in the protection" (sections of foundation that collapse under flood pressures to allow water to flow under rather than collapse the foundation) than to go through the appeal process of modeling and presenting to FEMA that the facility’s strength was adequate to withstand floodwater pressures.
• The need for an emergency generator to operate the attached storage building’s ventilation system.
• The need to relocate the fire-water connection to the Town of Monument water system: The as-built drawings they used for reference did not reflect what was actually built.
In response to many questions from the members, Rothberg’s comments included:
• We didn’t know when the changes occurred to the FEMA flood-plain map. But Tetra Tech did not have access to the final map at the time we were working.
• When Tetra Tech designs a facility, we are not perfect and we are not expected to be perfect under the law.
• If it doesn’t rise to level of negligence, then it falls under what we would expect to be compensated for.
• We would advise a client during construction to plan on 5 percent contingency, but this project is running below that. This has been a relatively smooth and straightforward process overall.
The consensus of the members was that Tetra Tech should have known about this issue sooner. The members voted to go into executive session at 11:05 a.m. to determine positions relative to matters that may be subject to negotiations, developing strategy for negotiations, and instructing negotiators. When they came back into regular session at 11:40 a.m., they voted unanimously to approve the $23,085 change order request, "with the caveat that this should have been explained to us earlier without all this surprise," Delaney said.
Later in the meeting, Burks said there would likely be another change order regarding a culvert needed under Mitchell Avenue that was not included in the original design plans.
2015 audit approved
The members voted unanimously to approve the amended final 2015 audit that had been prepared by John Cutler of John Cutler and Associates LLC.
Plant manager’s report
Facility Manager Bill Burks reviewed the April discharge monitoring report (DMR). While there were a few minor issues, most results were well within the required parameters. He said overall the sampling seemed to be the same each month, "which is good."
Burks reported that construction was going well on the TP clarifier project and that he expected substantial completion by the end of June as long as the weather cooperated.
The members discussed how close the final construction cost would be to both the budgeted and contracted amounts, and Burks said it appeared that the cost might come in low. The contracted amount was $3.1 million, and the facility has paid $2.89 million so far. He said he would check with Aslan Construction as well as TLWWTF Accountant Jackie Spegele of Numeric Strategies LLC about what invoices were still expected.
Wicklund said that MSD Environmental Compliance Coordinator Jim Kendrick was at the three-day Water Quality Control Commission triennial rulemaking hearing on Regulation 31, Basic Standards and Methodologies for Surface Water. He said Kendrick would report on the results of that hearing at the July JUC meeting.
Burks attended the Arkansas Fountain Coalition for Urban and River Evaluation (AF CURE) meeting and the subsequent presentation to the Fountain Creek Flood Control and Drainage Committee. He said Dr. Timothy Gates explained that issues associated with return flows to the Arkansas River after water is used for irrigation included nutrient leaching, leaks in irrigation canals, not accounting for nutrients already in the water when applying fertilizer, and watering deeper than the root zone of the plants.
The meeting adjourned at 11:49 a.m.
The next meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on July 12 at the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility, 16510 Mitchell Ave. Meetings throughout 2016 will normally be held on the second Tuesday of the month and are open to the public. For information, call Bill Burks at (719) 481-4053.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at email@example.com.
By Jim Kendrick
On June 23 auditor Tom Sistare, of Hoelting and Co., presented an unmodified, or "clean," Donala Water and Sanitation District audit report for 2015. Sistare said there were neither negative audit report findings regarding internal controls nor any recommendations for improvements. The board unanimously accepted Sistare’s findings as presented and thanked Betsy Bray, Donala office manager, and Sharon Samek, Donala Accounts Payable, for their support of Sistare, and the other Hoelting staff.
Kevin Lusk of Colorado Springs Utilities gave a second annual progress report on Utilities’ ongoing Integrated Water Supply Planning Process.
Election of officers
The directors of the Donala board unanimously elected the following directors to these board offices for the next two years:
• Dave Powell, president
• Ken Judd, vice president
• Bob Denny, secretary/treasurer
General Manager Kip Petersen said that while 2016 water sales revenues have remained a little lower than average due to all the snow and rain to date, district plans for capital improvements this year remain in place thanks to remaining unused funding from a low-interest Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority loan. He added that he plans to use all of the remaining loan balance to help pay for needed district capital projects this year.
Petersen said the district’s new contract with Forest Lakes Metropolitan District that provides Donala staff support to operate and maintain Forest Lakes’ water and wastewater systems is still working well.
The financial reports were accepted as presented.
Petersen noted that Donala water operator Ronny Wright successfully completed all the requirements for his class 2 water distribution system certification. The board was enthusiastic in praising Wright for his continued professional development progress. On March 17, Petersen had announced that Wright had passed all requirements for his Colorado state collections 3 operator license. (http://ocn.me/v16n4.htm#dwsd0317)
Petersen reported that the revised construction plans for a new water pipeline extension project for connecting Donala’s Latrobe Court water tank to Donala’s Holbein Drive water tanks will be going out for bid the week of June 27. The bid opening is scheduled for July 15. The bid award will be made at the board’s July 21 regular meeting with a goal to ensure this project is completed before the first frost. After the winning bid is awarded, directional drilling for the pipeline will start in the Sun Hills area, and then go north to the Holbein tanks as soon as possible. The engineer’s total estimate for the pipeline project is $1.073 million. (http://ocn.me/v16n6.htm#dwsd0519)
Triview water concerns
Petersen said he had been contacted by Triview Metropolitan District District Manager Valerie Remington on June 17 regarding Triview’s unprecedented high potable water consumption that was thought to be caused by a large system leak that her staff could not find, or high consumer demand. Remington said water levels in Triview’s single water tank were dropping and Triview may need Donala’s assistance in providing potable water to Triview water customers. He told Remington that Donala would provide water to Triview if it was physically possible.
Petersen noted that there are two existing potable water connections between Donala’s and Triview’s potable water distribution systems along Baptist Road—at Struthers Road (the lowest elevation in the Triview service area) and at Gleneagle Drive. They have never been used for this kind of emergency situation, however, they were constructed for just this type of need.
Then Petersen told the Donala board that it is likely that Donala cannot pump water uphill through the Struthers connection due to gravity creating a much higher inline head pressure in Triview’s system at the interconnection because distribution system components are generally at a higher elevation than Donala’s. Petersen added that the Triview distribution line pressure at the Gleneagle connection may also be too much higher than Donala’s inline pressure for transfer of Donala potable water to the Triview distribution system.
Petersen said Wright met with new Triview Water Superintendent Josh Cichocki at the Triview water tank facility after Remington’s call on June 17 to help assess the situation.
No leak found
Members of both staffs met on Monday, June 20. No leak was found. Triview can produce 1.8 million gallons per day (mgd) but Triview water consumption before the irrigation ban on June 17 was about 2 mgd. Triview could not produce enough water to meet this demand. The Triview water tank only holds 1.1 million gallons and was rapidly emptying. Donala has four water tanks with a total capacity of 5 million gallons.
It was determined that Donala may be able to provide water to about two-thirds of Triview’s distribution system. An intergovernmental agreement (IGA) needs to be finalized regarding the conditions under which Donala would provide potable water to Triview, if necessary, only if all Triview outdoor irrigation is prohibited. There also is a need to ensure adequate indoor potable water and fire flows capability for fire emergencies.
This IGA would also have to define the costs for water provision including an industry standard 50 percent surcharge for water delivered out of district to Triview. There are no meters at either the Struthers or Gleneagle connections, Petersen said, because a former Triview general manager refused to pay Triview’s share of the meter installation costs. (http://ocn.me/v8n1.htm#tmd, http://ocn.me/v7n1.htm#tmd, http://ocn.me/v6n8.htm#dwsd)
Southern county groundwater problems
Petersen noted that there are no problems and cannot be any problems caused by spreading of the perfluorinated chemicals (PFC) in south El Paso County groundwater to either Donala’s groundwater or renewable surface. Minute amounts of PFC have been found in the Widefield aquifer at a level higher than 70 parts per trillion (ppt), the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) upper recommended threshold for pregnant woman or child consumption.
• One part per trillion is equivalent to one drop of detergent in enough dishwater to fill a string of railroad tank cars 10 miles long.
• The water in southern El Paso County, like all water, cannot flow uphill spontaneously.
• These perfluorinated chemicals are used to make cookware, furniture, carpet, clothes, some types of military firefighting foam, and even the packaging for microwave popcorn. There are no state or EPA standards for perfluorinated chemicals.
• No OCN coverage area water entities use groundwater or reuse water from the Widefield aquifer area.
• The EPA recommendation that pregnant women and small children not drink water exceeding 70 ppt for PFC is just a recommendation as this edition of OCN goes to press.
At this time, Donala continues to operate primarily with renewable surface water from Willow Creek Ranch, piped by Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) from Pueblo Reservoir to a CSU water treatment plant. CSU only uses renewable surface water for potable water distribution. Donala’s renewable surface drinking water is then piped from the CSU water treatment plant directly into the Donala distribution system at a connection by Northgate Boulevard.
Donala may yet lose some or all its remaining 50 acre-feet of stored ranch water in Pueblo Reservoir later this summer if this year’s snowmelt flows turn out to be high enough to cause a storage overflow. Because water entities with higher priority, full-time reservoir storage contracts would be able to completely fill all their full storage allotments due to these higher 2016 flows, they will use up all the reservoir’s available storage capacity. The federal Department of Reclamation would then "spill" all other water, including Donala’s, currently stored in the reservoir under lower priority, annual "if and when available" space-available contracts.
Donala’s groundwater wells and groundwater treatment system have been reactivated. The average amount of Donala’s Willow Creek Ranch renewable surface water being drawn from Pueblo Reservoir during non-irrigation season is about 30 acre-feet per month. Donala’s wells will be turned on if needed due to high peak production demands caused by irrigation in this high altitude alpine desert region.
For more information of Donala’s Pueblo Reservoir storage, see:
Donala water attorney Rick Fendel will renew discussions with Pueblo County on Donala’s 1041 permit application that has been stalled since October 2014.
The meeting adjourned at 4:13 p.m.
The next board meeting will be held at 1:30 p.m. on July 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Lisa Hatfield
At the June 6 Monument Board of Trustees meeting, the public learned that the forum on water rates would not be on June 9 but on June 20 instead. The delay was necessary because despite the promise from town staff at the May 16 meeting to deliver the original complete version of last fall’s water rates worksheets by the end of May so that the trustees and the public could analyze them, they were not posted until June 7. The updated worksheets were posted June 15.
The June 6 meeting also included approval of a contract for an update to the town’s Comprehensive Plan, approval of a contract for design and hosting of its new website, and approval of an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) between the town and Lewis-Palmer School District 38 for baseball field maintenance. The proposed code of ethics ordinance was continued until after the next board retreat. Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Marshal John Vincent challenged the town to work toward becoming a fire-adapted community and work on fuels mitigation, saying, "What is green today will be brown tomorrow!"
Public forum on water rates postponed
Trustee Greg Coopman spoke during trustee comments about the water rates issue, which was not on the agenda for this meeting. He said despite making at least three requests of town staff, he had not yet received the entire original study and worksheet data that led to the current rate increases approved March 7.
Note: At the May 16 meeting, Town Manager Chris Lowe and Will Koger, water engineer with Forsgren Associates, said the October spreadsheet and updated spreadsheet would be available by the end of May. See www.ocn.me/v16n6.htm#mbot0516.
However, on June 6, Lowe told the trustees that he and Koger "had not had a chance to connect until today." Koger agreed the October worksheet would be posted by the close of business the following day and the updated one by June 15.
The public water rates forum was scheduled for June 20.
Comprehensive Plan contract awarded
Planning Director Larry Manning presented a resolution for a contract with Denver-based Community Matters Inc., for professional services to update the Town Comprehensive Plan, and a contract with the Colorado Department of Local Affairs for a $25,000 grant to assist in funding the planning effort, estimated to cost a total of $65,000. Manning said six firms had submitted the required documentation, and two had also submitted bids.
Manning said the last update to the comprehensive plan was in 2003. Town Treasurer Pamela Smith said Community Matters Inc. did that update also and that they specialize in working with towns the size of Monument.
Trustee Shea Medlicott asked for clarification from Manning on the selection criteria. No members of the public made any comments on the resolution, and the trustees approved the resolution unanimously.
Note: After the meeting, Manning and Planner II Jennifer Jones said that the Comprehensive Plan will be developed with extensive input from the public and the help of Community Matters Inc. The plan will be a "guiding document" for staff, the Planning Commission, and the Board of Trustees and show anticipated areas of growth with suggested land uses for those new areas. It will also consider housing, infrastructure, transportation, other service districts, etc. Manning said that when the long public input process is over—which will use surveys, meetings, and social media to generate consensus—then the Board of Trustees will vote on it.
Contract for new town website approved
Lowe presented a resolution for the trustees to consider for a contract with Civic Plus for website design. He explained that the redesign was needed to communicate with and engage the public better.
No members of the public commented on the resolution. After asking questions about the ongoing costs, the trustees approved the resolution with a vote of 5-0-1. Bornstein abstained due to "too much information."
Santa Fe baseball fields IGA
The trustees discussed a proposed IGA between the town and Lewis-Palmer School District 38 (LPSD) regarding the baseball fields located northwest of the intersection of Santa Fe Avenue and Beacon Lite Road. Note: The Beacon Lite Road street name changes to Old Denver Road south of Santa Fe Avenue.
Lowe explained that the town planned to install irrigation and do other improvements to the two fields, which are east of the LPSD bus barn. Tri-Lakes Little League will continue to help with improvements to the fields too, the IGA stated. Any other groups that are interested in renting the fields would also be able to reserve them through the Town of Monument.
Medlicott had asked that this IGA be pulled from the consent agenda for discussion about the financial impact to the town, since he wondered why the town would take on this financial responsibility when the school district would retain ownership of the fields, the town did not provide any financial information in the consent agenda about this IGA, and, "This is ($25,000) the town would not have spent without this agreement."
Medlicott and others had to ask several times before Lowe and Public Works Director Tom Tharnish provided a "ballpark" dollar figure for the costs. Lowe said it would be taken care of through a line item for parks maintenance and that it was "a great thing to show the public we are providing an increase in level of service by combining two entities."
The consensus of the board was that it would be better in the future if staff would include at least some estimates of expense and revenue figures for proposed items in the board packets so that the trustees could make informed decisions. Then the board voted unanimously to approve the IGA.
Code of ethics to be continued
The agenda included consideration of a five-page ordinance that would add a code of ethics to the town ordinances. This was suggested by the prior board, Lowe said. However, a majority of the current trustees felt the draft ordinance was too long and prescriptive. After some discussion, the consensus was to discuss the code of ethics at the upcoming board retreat, and then Town Clerk Cynthia Sirochman would be directed to draft a new version for discussion.
Fire marshal challenges town to work on wildfire mitigation
Vincent reminded the new board of the need to reduce the town’s risk of experiencing a wildfire. His comments included:
• When is the town going to step into this fight and become a fire-adapted community?
• Monument is at risk for a wildfire. The town lies within the Black Forest, which extends from Meridian Road in a huge crescent west to Pike National Forest.
• Since Jackson Creek began, it has become a fuel bed: wooden fences and wooden houses close together.
• He wants to see a slash collection point for the town.
• The danger of fire threatens us all.
He said the May 7 collaboration of the Woodmoor Improvement Association and Tri-Lakes United Methodist Church to present a Community FireWise Event was a good example to follow for the 56 sub-communities in 384,000-acre Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District. He hopes more neighborhoods will become FireWise and conduct community education and slash collection events. See http://tlmfire.org/wildfire-prevention.
Tri-Lakes Views Art Sites for 2016
Tommie Plank, representing the Tri-Lakes Views Art Sites Committee, presented the trustees with information and photos of the new art pieces that would be installed in June around the Tri-Lakes area. The mission of Tri-Lakes Views, which was formed in 2003, is to enrich the community by supporting events that preserve the region’s history and showcase the arts.
She said that the organization needed funding and a dedicated, insured, visible location for the solid cement pedestals on which the art pieces would be installed. The committee pays stipends to the artists whose works are displayed each year. The group also has been raising money to help pay for the Aspen Grove that will be installed in the middle of the roundabout at West Baptist Road and Old Denver Road.
See www.trilakesviews.org, write to P.O. Box 2564, 80132, or look for the new Art Sites maps distributed in Monument to see where all the art pieces will be displayed or to make a donation.
Code Enforcement Officer Laura Hogan presented two liquor license applications. The trustees asked questions and then unanimously approved:
• Renewal of the Monument Walmart’s liquor license after a violation in January.
• Special event liquor license for Rocky Mountain Highway for a beer garden July 4 at Bliss Studios.
Town Attorney Gary Shupp received a welcome back greeting from the trustees.
Kaiser’s comments included:
• D-Day, where the Allied Forces stormed the beaches of Normandy, France, was 72 years ago today. We owe all the members of the armed forces a debt of gratitude. And we thank those who paid the ultimate sacrifice so we can enjoy the freedoms we do today.
• He attended a graduation ceremony for Tri-Lakes Cares. They give such good service to the community, and all the dollars and donations stay in the Tri-Lakes area. Excellent work!
• June 23 will be the groundbreaking ceremony for the new assisted-living and memory care center on Beacon Lite Road south of Second Street. (See related photo of Bethesda groundbreaking on page 26).
Appreciation for teddy bears project
Police Chief Jake Shirk presented a certificate of appreciation to Ella Malcho, an eighth-grader at Lewis-Palmer Middle School, for her Bears that Care project. She collected donations outside Walmart, with the store’s permission, to buy 54 teddy bears to donate to the Monument Police Department for the officers to give to kids after an accident to "take their mind off the bad stuff happening around them."
"Thank you for not only caring but personally taking action to make a positive difference," Shirk told Ella. "You have paid it forward."
The meeting adjourned at 9:01 p.m.
Caption: Ella Malcho, left, an eighth-grader at Lewis-Palmer Middle School, earned a certificate of appreciation from the Monument Police Department for her Bears that Care project. She collected money to buy 54 teddy bears so the police could give them to children after accidents or other situations. Police Chief Jake Shirk said, "Thank you for not only caring but for personally taking action to make a positive difference. You set the example for all of us to follow." Photo by Lisa Hatfield.
Caption: The new Monument Board of Trustees is pictured on June 6. From left are Dennis Murphy, Kelly Elliott, Mayor Pro-Tem Don Wilson, Mayor Jeff Kaiser, Jeff Bornstein, Shea Medlicott, and Greg Coopman. Photo by Lisa Hatfield
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at email@example.com.
By Kate Pangelinan
The Monument Planning Commission approved the site plan for the Murphy Express gas station and discussed possible changes to landscape ordinances at its June 8 meeting.
Murphy Express Final PD Site Plan
The proposed Murphy Express gas station and store would be located at 15931 Jackson Creek Parkway, adjacent to the tractor supply store and across the street from what will soon be a Qdoba. The site would cover 1.26 acres and would be served by two already-constructed shared driveway entrances. An 8-foot tall, 12-foot 8-inch wide sign would be built to advertise the establishment. Sidewalks already are in place by the site, along Jackson Creek Parkway and Leather Chaps Drive.
The Murphy Express Final Planned Development Site Plan was approved unanimously, and will now move on to appraisal by the Board of Trustees.
Landscape ordinance discussions
The town planners also presented some ideas to revise Monument’s landscape ordinances. The goal at this meeting was to offer the Planning Commission ideas and drafts in order to receive feedback moving forward with the project.
Many of these ordinance changes were intended primarily for clarification purposes, and on the whole the revisions were considered to be well-written improvements. More specific changes to the code included the possibility of requiring fewer plants on a business establishments’ properties and allowing people with approved landscape plans to submit adapted plans that suit the new rules.
The distinction between what town ordinances require in terms of greenery and what insurance companies may require for fire safety was also noted. Commissioner Michelle Glover suggested that insurance companies could be offered the chance to say what’s insurable, providing input for Monument’s code.
Fire Marshal John Vincent, of the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District, was also present at the meeting, and he noted that it is important to make one’s property "firewise" as soon as possible.
More input on the proposed ordinance revisions will be provided to the planners by email over coming weeks.
Commissioner Glover revisited her concerns from previous months about the RVs camped out in Walmart’s parking lot, generating discussion about what could conceivably be done to alter current rules. As it stands, all RV parking is allowed on the east side of the Walmart parking lot, where it is more difficult to see from the road.
The next Monument Planning Commission meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 13 at 645 Beacon Lite Road. Meetings are normally held on the second Wednesday of the month. For more information call 884-8017 or visit http://www.townofmonument.org/meetings/
Kate Pangelinan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Lisa Hatfield
The regular June 20 Monument Board of Trustees meeting took place at the Lewis-Palmer Administration building to accommodate the large number of residents that were anticipated to attend due to the public water forum after the regular meeting; however, only about 30 people attended. At the forum, residents were warned that as soon as 2020, the town’s wells would not be able to produce enough water to keep up with the demand.
The meeting included recognition of the retirement of Town Gardener Sharon Williams and mention of the watering restrictions in Triview Metropolitan District, which is not part of the town’s water service area. It also included several heated exchanges between Town Manager Chris Lowe, Trustee Greg Coopman, Trustee Dennis Murphy, and Trustee Shea Medlicott regarding the town organizational chart and other topics.
It was followed by a presentation about water supplies that mirrored a similar presentation in September 2014. For three hours, the group discussed future water plans for the Town of Monument customers west of I-25, how to prioritize those plans, and how to begin to pay for those future needs. Remarkably, the last hour of the meeting was literally conducted in the dark, since lightning strikes took out the electricity to Big Red, but few of the participants left until the end due to the intensity of the discussion. In as little as four years, the town’s wells might not be able to produce enough water to meet demand, said Will Koger of Forsgren Associates.
Mayor Jeff Kaiser and Trustee Kelly Elliott were absent.
Trustee and public comments
Coopman requested that the trustee comment section be added to the meeting agenda, since it was not listed.
Murphy asked why the discussion about the code of ethics was not mentioned at all in the minutes for the June 6 meeting. Lowe said the town clerk writes "action-only minutes," so if no action is taken she does not list it in the minutes. See related June 6 Monument Board of Trustees article on page 13.
Mayor Pro-Tem Don Wilson said he and Kaiser attended the Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority (BRRTA) meeting on June 17. For details, see related BRRTA article on page 20.
Murphy said he attended his first Pikes Peak Regional Building Department meeting and that it had "really good positive people."
Monument resident Cheri Hysell thanked the staff, the board, and the previous boards for moving the bulk fill water station to its new location at 538 W. Highway 105, on the un-named eastern cul-de-sac between the Conoco Fuel Station and Arby’s. Public Works Director Tom Tharnish said there is no current plan on what to do with the old site on Wagon Gap Trail.
Triview watering restrictions
Wilson announced that Triview residents were currently under an outdoor watering ban "until further notice." The Triview service area lies entirely within the Town of Monument’s boundaries following several annexations since the original annexation of Regency Park in 1987. Triview constituents are town residents, but receive water and wastewater utility service, as well as roads, drainage, and parks maintenance, from Triview, which is a Title 32 metropolitan special district, annexed within the town. Murphy said Triview customers with drip irrigation systems were not prohibited from watering, "So if you in fact practice xeriscaping, you will do well." He said the district had not said what caused the outdoors watering ban. See related Triview article on page 1.
Tharnish confirmed that he had heard about the restrictions and had offered to share the town’s assets and experience, but otherwise, "We don’t communicate with Triview unless they need something from us."
Note: None of the Triview potable water restrictions apply to any town residents who are not Triview potable water customers.
Town organizational chart
In a very tense discussion, Coopman, Medlicott, and Murphy asked Lowe why the organizational chart on the town website showed the mayor above all the other trustees instead of equal to them, and with only the mayor having direct contact to town staff, implying that the trustees had to go through him/her to reach the town manager and other staff. This topic was discussed at the trustees’ retreat last weekend, according to Murphy, but the chart did not reflect the type of government actually used in Monument where it is the entire Board of Trustees that acts, not just the mayor.
Lowe said he thought the mayor had replied to Coopman’s emailed question, that it was the town clerk’s job to share information with the board, and he did not know who had produced the organizational chart on the website.
Treasurer Pamela Smith said the chart was a few years old, was made by the town clerk, and just reflected how things had been done for efficiency in the past. Town Attorney Gary Shupp confirmed that legally the board is one body; the only difference is that the mayor performs ceremonial functions and presides at the meetings.
The board voted unanimously to direct Lowe to "authorize someone to make a clearer representation of the type of government in Monument" for the website.
Town gardener recognized
Sharon Williams is retiring, and she was recognized for her dedication and innovative work as the town’s gardener since 2007. Tharnish praised her work habits and willingness to teach others as a master gardener and native plant master. Programs she started included creating a town tree inventory with the help of the Colorado State University extension office, a noxious weed management program, and soil amendment programs using old coffee grounds. Tharnish said Williams was a responder at the attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001 and had seen the destruction firsthand.
"You have made downtown beautiful. You care!" said Terri Hayes, executive director of the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce, echoing what many other members of the public said about Williams. "She will be sorely missed by our town. She is one of the most talented people I know in this industry," Tharnish said. Williams said her position has not been posted.
Future agenda items approved
One of the board directions that came out of the June 18 board retreat was that the trustees did not want any ordinance to be placed on a future agenda without the trustees’ prior approval. Accordingly, Lowe presented ideas for two ordinances that staff would start drafting, with the board’s permission, for the July 18 meeting. One was a business license ordinance and the other a zoning ordinance regarding the expiration of the moratorium on clinics. The board voted unanimously to approve this direction.
Invoices over $5,000 approved as part of the consent agenda consisted of:
• Triview Metro District, sales tax for April, motor vehicle and regional building use tax for May: $142,138
• Brownstein, Hyatt, Farber and Schreck, land use attorney professional services: $11,310
• Forsgren Associates Inc., water rate and fee study: $6,336
• Forsgren Associates Inc., water reuse plan: $13,996
• NORAA Concrete Construction Corp., downtown sidewalks project: $136,100
• Jacobs Engineering, downtown sidewalks project: $5,226
The meeting adjourned at 6:20 p.m.
Public forum on water rates and plans for future water
Professional engineers Will Koger and Allison Schaub-DiRosa of Forsgren Associates provided a broad overview of the scarcity of water from a global to a local level. Then they explained why the town’s water customers needed to think ahead so they would have some money saved to begin long-term projects that would provide water. Koger said as soon as 2020, the town’s wells would not be able to produce enough water to keep up with the demand.
The town Public Works Department water service area includes the 40 percent of town that is west of I-25. Note: Triview Metropolitan District and Woodmoor Water and Sanitation (WWSD) are the water utilities that serve Monument residents on the east side of I-25. See related Triview article on page 1 and WWSD on page 10.
Koger said the Front Range population is growing every day and that growth represents the largest of the various causes of the projected state water supply gap of 500,000 acre feet per year by 2050. His comments included:
• The town relies almost exclusively on wells drilled into the Denver Basin aquifers, which contain nonrenewable Ice Age water within the sand and gravel.
• Aquifer water is getting used up much more quickly than it can be replenished from the surface, even in wet years. This current source is not sustainable.
• Cascading reduction in well yields means water wells are in a death spiral, economically and practically.
• The town needs to start saving for alternative water production methods.
• Paying just for basic maintenance, pumping, and treating well water is not enough.
In 2014, the town approved a 20-year water master plan that addressed these issues but did not commit the town to any particular project. The plan was discussed in August and September 2014 and unanimously accepted by the trustees on Sept. 2, 2014. See www.ocn.me/v14n9.htm#mbot-0804 and www.ocn.me/v14n10.htm#MBoT0902. To read the entire 75-page Water Master Plan Final Report, see the Aug. 18, 2014 board packet at http://monumenttownco.minutesondemand.com.
Some of the projects outlined in the water master plan include:
• A new water tank and transmission line—$3.72 million: to add 1.2 million gallons of storage capacity in case of a line break, allow for repairs needed on the existing tank, meeting peak demand time needs, or to sustain fire flows to hydrants in an emergency.
• New water reuse system—Monument’s co-share would be $12 million of an $18.9 million project if committed soon. It would capture and further purify and filter the town’s share of the treated wastewater effluent from Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility that is currently discharged directly to Monument Creek; the town has water rights for its effluent but is not using them currently for either reuse or sale to downstream agricultural irrigation users.
• Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority (PPRWA) regional water system—cost undetermined, but possible total cost split among all seven partners could be $280 million. Would bring renewable surface water from Arkansas River up to Monument in a pipeline through Black Forest.
The PPRWA regional water system proposal generated a lengthy technical discussion. PPRWA is still in the planning and collaboration phase with seven potential partners including the Town of Monument, Triview, Donala, the Town of Palmer Lake, Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District, Cherokee Metro District, and the City of Fountain. It will be 15 to 20 years before anyone could receive any water from it.
Murphy asked repeatedly why Monument could not instead just ask Colorado Springs Utilities if it could connect to the Southern Delivery System (SDS), which also brings water from the Arkansas River. Koger and Smith said it would be much more efficient to collaborate with partner water districts on big projects.
Note: SDS was completed this spring after decades of planning and collaboration. It cost $825 million.
Koger’s theme was that if the town prolonged the delay in raising funds, it would never catch up with where it needed to be. Also, delaying decisions and actions could cause the town to miss out on multiple opportunities to partner with other entities on big projects and make more efficient use of the money required.
His recommendation was that board adopt the five-year program of automatically increasing water rates that had been proposed this year. On March 7, the trustees approved just the first increment of those new rates, which for example increased the base rate for three-quarter-inch taps by 252 percent, 1½-inch taps by 620 percent, larger taps increasing even more, and also roughly doubling the volumetric tier rates (price per gallon). See www.ocn.me/v16n4.htm#mbot0307.
The automatic increases over the next five years after the initial shocking jump were intended for the town to accomplish its goals of making the water enterprise operation and maintenance self-sustaining, begin to build a reserve fund for emergencies, provide money to transfer back to the general fund, and provide revenue for needed capital repair and replacement expenditures.
For several hours, the trustees and members of the public asked questions of Koger, Smith, and Tharnish about where the money would come from, why the financial figures kept changing, why the rate increases could not be spread out over more time, how financing projects would help with the situation, and what, specifically, the extra revenue from the new water rates would be used for.
Coopman said he had yet to see justification for such a high increase that passed on March 7 and why it had to be crammed into six years. He also did not like the idea of money being accumulated that could lead to "continued excessive spending," and he repeated that the water enterprise fund needed to lower costs instead of increasing expenses and spending money "recklessly."
The consensus was that it was confusing and made it hard to trust the spreadsheets when there was so much data, including spreadsheets that kept being updated, and unaudited and audited numbers that did not match. Smith said the 2015 audit figures were now final, and that would help.
Coopman said, "No one is debating we need a water rate increase, but we need to spread this out as much as possible to not hurt residents." Murphy agreed that the board was no longer trying "to ‘go back to go forward’ with the rates… We are not going to change those unless we have a basis to do it on."
Monument water customer Nancy Swearingen’s comments included:
• If I want to do a big project on my house, I know I have to save money and figure out how to pay for that project even before I have a specific plan.
• If you do not have a viable source of water in the future, how will you sell your business or pass it along to your kids?
• The longer you put it off, the more expensive and more difficult it will be.
• We are sitting close to the edge of a crisis. The aquifer is really not a viable long-term solution, but reuse is a very viable option.
Business owner A.B. Tellez asked again why the town did not seem to consider the high costs of irrigation for the types of commercial landscaping that town ordinances required him to install and irrigate to keep them alive. Tharnish said Planning Director Larry Manning was looking at the existing ordinances and that the landscaping issue would come before the board in the future. See related Monument Planning Commission article on page 16.
The consensus among Koger, Tharnish, and a majority of the trustees was that the most urgent priority, after getting the drinking water enterprise fund operating in the black, is to focus on making the water reuse plant a reality.
The board also agreed that at the next water forum, the town manager should invite the town’s water attorney, Bob Krassa, to answer some of the public’s legal questions.
The public water forum ended at 9:04 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 July 18. Call 884-8014 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: Sharon Williams, the town’s gardener since 2007, retired this month and was honored at the June 20 Monument Board of Trustees meeting. Many staff members and residents thanked her for all she had accomplished. "I did have a vision for this job," she said. "We have to look long term in what we plant.… I hope in some small way I have made a difference and brought us to a new level." Photo by Lisa Hatfield.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at email@example.com.
By Lisa Hatfield
In a special meeting on June 27, the Monument Board of Trustees agenda included only a resolution regarding the 2015 audit and an executive session to discuss the purchase, acquisition, lease, transfer, or sale of any real, personal, or other property, in this case for the water utility.
Mayor Jeff Kaiser and Trustee Kelly Elliott were excused.
Kyle Logan of Logan and Associates gave the 2015 town an unmodified or "clean" audit opinion with some suggestions for improvement in the future and spent most of his 80-minute presentation educating the new trustees on how a Colorado town audit works. The year 2015 was potentially controversial for the town’s finances, since besides the water rates debates it included a $350,000 settlement with Colonial Management Group, but this was not mentioned. See www.ocn.me/v16n6.htm#mbot0502.
Logan and Town Treasurer Pamela Smith answered questions about controls within the town and about the water enterprise fund. Logan explained that the water fund lost money again, but state statute requires a balanced fund, so money was transferred again from the general fund as it has every year since 2012. He said he would have suggested raising water rates just as the town did in March 2016.
At the start of the executive session agenda item, Town Manager Chris Lowe said that because this was a special meeting, a two-thirds vote would be required for passage of a motion. Lowe added that he did not expect any vote to be taken at this special meeting.
The consensus of the trustees was that it would be better if all seven trustees were in attendance to discuss anything regarding the controversial water utility.
Then Lowe mentioned that he had talked on the telephone with Mayor Jeff Kaiser, who had called Lowe just before this June 27 meeting to tell him that he had been injured and could not get to the meeting. Lowe said he outlined the purpose of the executive session for Kaiser. However, Lowe added that he had not talked to Trustee Kelly Elliott about the executive session. This lack of equivalent notification to Elliott about the executive session upset several trustees. The trustees then voted unanimously to refuse to go into executive session at all and they immediately adjourned at 8:25 p.m.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By James Howald
In June, the Palmer Lake Town Council met twice: on June 9 the town council met at its usual location, the Palmer Lake town hall; on June 23 Palmer Ridge High School hosted the town council as well as the boards of several local water districts for a showing of The Great Divide, a documentary about water issues, in their auditorium.
On June 9, the board granted a special event permit to the Palmer Lake Fireworks Committee, allowing the group to bring Fourth of July fireworks back to Palmer Lake. The board also heard presentations on wildfire preparedness, passed a resolution allowing Town Administrator Cathy Green-Sinnard to finalize a contract, and granted a new business license.
Permit granted to allow July 4 fireworks over Palmer Lake
At its previous meeting on May 12, the town council heard a request for a special event permit from the Palmer Lake Fireworks Committee, a group of local residents headed by Jennifer Coopman, who were planning a July Fourth fireworks display. At the meeting in May the town council raised a number of issues about the plan the group presented, and asked for more detail on parking, security, and public safety.
On June 9, to the great delight of fireworks lovers in the audience, Green-Sinnard announced that the committee had, over the last month, successfully addressed all outstanding issues. Representatives from the Palmer Lake Police and Fire departments told the board they were in favor of granting the permit.
Fire Trustee Rich Kuehster reminded the committee that they would need an evacuation plan, a permit from the Colorado Department of Transportation if they planned to restrict traffic on Highway 105 during the event, and that if there were any active fires within a 48-hour window before the fireworks the town might be forced to withdraw the permit.
Following those reminders, and to cheers from the audience, the board voted unanimously to grant the permit and let the 20-minute fireworks display proceed.
Fire mitigation effort still underway; more funds available
Resident Judith Harrington, who has spearheaded the town’s fire mitigation efforts and has served on the town council, introduced Forester Michelle Connelly, an employee of the Coalition for the Upper South Platte (CUSP). The women told the board that additional funds had been found to help the town continue its successful mitigation efforts.
Approximately $90,000 has been made available to the town by The Nature Conservancy, Connelly said, adding that the Palmer Lake area is crucial to protect. The town will need to raise $158,000 in matching funds to make the most of the grant money, Connelly said. She also discussed a project managed by the U.S. Forest Service that will affect the town, since one of the town’s two reservoirs is on land owned by the federal government.
Board authorizes Green-Sinnard to sign contract
The board voted unanimously to authorize Green-Sinnard to execute a contract with the Colorado Department of Agriculture that will provide the town with a $2,000 grant to eradicate noxious weeds, and will require the town to provide an equal amount of matching funds.
Business License awarded
The board voted unanimously to approve a business license to Carol Nolan for an in-home family child care business named Carol’s Cares, which will do business at 726 Westward Lane.
The two meetings for July will be at 6:30 p.m. on July 14 and July 28, at Town Hall, 42 Valley Crescent. Meetings are normally held on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month. For more information call 481-2953.
James Howald can be reached at email@example.com.
By Lisa Hatfield
At the June 21 meeting of the Donald Wescott Fire Protection District (DWFPD), the consensus of the directors was to wait until summer 2017 to decide about putting a possible mill levy override (MLO) vote on the ballot.
Director Harland Baker and Assistant Chief Scott Ridings were absent.
Citizen input needed this year on MLO ballot decision
Chief Vinny Burns said it is time to discuss the future of the fire district and what type and level of service its residents expect and will be willing to pay for in the future. The City of Colorado Springs continues to annex more land to the north, in the direction of Wescott, and the result is that the Colorado Springs Fire Department (CSFD) is now serving more territory overlapping with the south end of the Wescott District court-directed dual taxation area. These post-annexation city residents now have the choice of petitioning to be de-included from one district or the other with the arrival of CSFD Station 22 at 711 Copper Center Parkway.
Burns’ comments included:
• It is hard to plan for the future when CSFD does not communicate with DWFPD.
• We are going to have to find a way to continue operations and in what form.
• The consensus at the first two homeowners associations (HOA) input meetings was that residents would like us to have an election about a mill levy increase.
• Waiting until 2017 (instead of voting in 2016) will give us time to work this through and find an agreeable mill levy where we stay in operation and give voters the best possible service we can for the money
• These HOA input meetings will continue until we are ready to make a decision by July 2017 for the November 2017 ballot.
The first two HOA input meetings included just one representative from each of the district’s HOAs on June 7 and 14. Resident Bill Lowes, a former Wescott board president, said it was vital to have more of a board presence at future HOA input meetings, since this component was missing in the last district MLO election in November 2013 that failed. Director Bo McAllister agreed, saying, "It is incumbent on us to get the word out."
2015 audit accepted
Auditor Tom Sistare, of Hoelting and Co., presented an unmodified, or "clean," opinion for 2015. He said accounts receivable increased by $229,000 in 2015 and that this is made up mostly of property taxes receivable. Sistare will work with Executive Administrator Stacey Popovich about how to continue to improve the number of internal controls in this small district.
The board voted unanimously to accept the 2015 audit as presented.
At 7:49 p.m., the board voted to go into executive session to determine positions relative to matters that may be subject to negotiations, developing strategy for negotiations, and instructing negotiators. The meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m. Popovich said no votes were taken and no announcements were made after the directors returned to regular session to immediately adjourn.
The next Donald Wescott Fire Protection District Board of Directors meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. July 19 at Station 1, 15415 Gleneagle Drive. Please call 488-8680, a nonemergency number, for more information, or visit www.wescottfire.org. The district is also on Facebook.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Caption: The Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD) board members toured four fire stations on June 22 as part of their regular meeting. The tour started at the new Colorado Springs Fire Department Station 22 (on Voyager Parkway just south of Northgate Road, pictured on the left), because Fire Chief Chris Truty wanted the board to see it as a model of a "modern fire station." Then they visited TLMFPD Stations 1 (on Highway 105, pictured on the right), 2, and 3 to see where the district’s firefighters and paramedics spend time in between calls and training. Battalion Chief Michael Keough explained that none of the three stations was being used for the same purpose for which it had originally been designed due to changes in how the district is staffed. Many spaces have had to be repurposed to try to meet current needs, and staff members have done many of their own alterations and upgrades to make the spaces safer and more homelike. Photos by Lisa Hatfield.
By Jim Kendrick
On June 17, Elaine Johnsen, EPC Funding Optimization manager and district manager for the Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority (BRRTA), advised the BRRTA Board of Directors that all of BRRTA’s remaining outstanding 2007 privately held road construction revenue bonds had been paid off through an extraordinary mandatory redemption on June 1—as directed by the board on March 18. June 31, 2016, was the first eligible redemption date in the bond covenants after BRRTA received a final state reimbursement through the Colorado Department of Revenue. On March 18, Johnsen said the estimated total cost of early redemption is $14.8 million for principal, interest, and trustee fees, while BRRTA’s current total bond resources are $14.9 million as of Feb. 29, for a remaining excess of $85,594. (For more information see http://ocn.me/v16n4.htm#brrta0318)
CPA Braden Hammond and Certified Fraud Examiner Josephus Le Roux, of CPA firm BiggsKofford P.C. of Colorado Springs, reported an unconditional (or "clean") opinion in its final 2015 audit, which the board unanimously approved. At least one more annual full audit for 2016 by BiggsKofford is required due to several large 2016 financial transactions. BRRTA road use fees and use taxes were terminated at the March 18, 2016, BRRTA board meeting. About $700,000 will remain in BRRTA’s general fund after BRRTA receives its June sales tax revenues late in August. By state law the earliest date BRRTA’s temporary one-cent sales tax in the BRRTA service area could be ended after the final BRRTA revenue bond redemption was June 30, 2016.
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 Jeff Kaiser (chair), Monument Mayor Pro Tem Don Wilson, County Commissioner Darryl Glenn, County Commissioner Dennis Hisey, and County Assessor Steve Schleiker.
The absence of Glenn was excused.
Termination timeline troublesome
There was a lengthy technical discussion about BRRTA’s termination timeline. Since there are so few deliberately defined government agency demises, the board and staff are dealing with a dearth of definitive data on how to determine decision deadlines in the most efficient and economical manner. Many remaining actions by the board and staff may each still create yet another new legal requirement to maintain another separate cash reserve in case there is a lawsuit for damages or overpayment of taxes or fees or any other minor future construction projects. BRRTA, if not careful, could create new administrative fund reserve requirements under the various related statutes of limitation of up to three years each.
It was the board’s and staff’s consensus that none of the looming termination timeline decisions could be made at this meeting and will require further staff research.
The board unanimously approved a $3,500 charitable sponsorship donation request from Sky Hall of Tri-Lakes Views for one of the 12 stainless steel aspen tree sculptures to be installed in the new roundabout at the intersection of West Baptist Road and Old Denver Road. All of the 12 trees now have sponsors.
Gary Rusnak of Gleneagle asked the board to consider using some of the remaining $700,000 in BRRTA’s general fund to replace the gravel path on the north side of Baptist Road and east of the King Soopers shopping center with a cement sidewalk. The board concurred that this was a good project for BRRTA sponsorship because the path is part of the Baptist Road right-of-way. The board also decided that any remaining funds also might be used for partially replacing the gravel in the Baptist Road median with concrete, as originally planned but unaffordable at the time of the road-widening project. The BRRTA staff will seek other recommendations for final low-cost projects within the Baptist Road right-of-way, as required by state law.
The scheduled Aug. 12 board meeting was postponed to Sept. 16 to give time to county Finance Manager Nikki Simmons to conduct a financial analysis of final sales tax revenues and to Senior Assistant County Attorney Lori Seago for more research into the precedents set by the shutdown of the Struthers Road Improvement District.
The next regular board meeting is now scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Sept. 16 in the Academy Conference Room of Citizen Service Center, 1675 W. Garden of the Gods Road. Meetings are normally held on the second Friday of the second month of the quarter. For more information call 520-5547 or 520-6386.
Caption: On June 17, during the Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority (BRRTA) meeting Citizen Request agenda item, Gary Rusnak asked the board to use some of the approximately $700,000 that will be left in the BRRTA general fund, now that all BRRTA revenue bonds have been redeemed, for construction of a concrete sidewalk on the north side of Baptist Road between Leather Chaps Road and Jackson Creek Parkway. The existing gravel hiking path that BRRTA constructed when Baptist Road was widened from two lanes is deeply eroded and weed-infested, as shown by this photo of a basketball and soccer ball fitting side-by-side below grade in the existing eroded area. Photo by Jim Kendrick.
Jim Kendrick can be reached at email@example.com.
By Lisa Hatfield
On June 21, the El Paso County Planning Commission unanimously approved a recommendation to the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) to approve David Hellbusch’s proposed new 1-acre RV and boat storage yard variance of use within his RR-5 (Residential Rural) 3.75-acre property located north of the intersection Mitchell Avenue and North Monument Lake Road. Hellbusch was represented by county Planning Commissioner Jerry Hannigan, a Monument resident and owner of Jerome W. Hannigan & Associates Inc., a land planning, surveying, and development company. Hannigan recused himself from this commission agenda item.
The RR-5 zoning district does not allow small engine repair or automobile and boat storage yard uses. As outlined in the county Development Services staff packet, the property was used as a nursery with small engine repair as an accessory use beginning in the 1970s. The nursery use has been discontinued, and the small engine repair use was legalized through approval of a variance of use in 2013. See www.ocn.me/v13n11.htm#bocc.
Hannigan told the commissioners that a variance of use would give the county more control over what happens on the property than a special use permit would, and that it was also better than a rezoning request because that would be permanent.
According to Nina Ruiz of Development Services, this additional variance of use would allow boats, RVs, and campers, but it would not allow cars, scrap metal, RV dumping, or repair work, despite the fact that the official variance wording said "automobile and boat storage." It would allow this use in addition to continuing small engine repair on the site.
The parcel is surrounded on three sides by the Mount Herman RV Storage facility that is within the Town of Monument, and access to the property is through a shared driveway. See www.ocn.me/v14n12.htm#mbot1103. The Town of Monument required Mount Herman Storage to widen, realign, and pave the access point as part of its site approval plan, and the county does not see the need for future access improvements by the applicant.
Gene and Sue Huismann, owners of the adjacent property to the north, spoke against the request. They said the property in question has been graded recently and is higher than it was before, and it was therefore more visible from Highway 105 and the surrounding area than Mount Herman RV Storage, and the edges of the graded areas had steep slopes that should be reinforced. They said there is no house on the property, and Hellbusch ought to apply for a commercial rezoning due to the uses he is requesting. They wanted it to go through a more rigorous application process such as Mount Herman RV Storage did when going through the Town of Monument. They also said that Hellbusch had already been storing RVs on the site this year without any variance permission, and they wondered if the requirements of the 2013 variance for the small engine repair use had been met. The Huismanns were also concerned about runoff issues because both properties drain directly into Crystal Creek.
The commission’s approval included five conditions and five notations. The site development plan, which will include any requirements about landscaping and detention of drainage to Crystal Creek, will undergo administrative approval process before the BOCC hearing. See http://adm.elpasoco.com/Development%20Services/Pages/PlanningCommission2016.aspx for this June 21 commission staff packet as well as the meeting recording and minutes.
See http://bcc.elpasoco.com/Pages/default.aspx to determine when the BOCC will hold its hearing on this proposed variance.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jackie Burhans
The Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA) board met June 22 and approved a proposal to move the association’s water line to save money and reduce risk. The board also heard updates on the document digitization project and reports from each of the board directors. President Erik Stensland and Secretary/Community Outreach Director Jennifer Cunningham were absent. The meeting was chaired by Vice President Peter Bille.
Water main replacement
Commons area administrator Bob Pearsall presented a proposal to replace the water main, increase the ¾-inch pipe off a 2-inch tap, and relocate the meter. The water line primarily sits on a piece of La Plata land just north of the WIA property. Three options were considered: 1) do nothing; 2) leave the existing line but relocate the meter to The Barn; and 3) move the line to an easement with the La Plata property and then onto WIA property, decrease the tap size, and increase the pipe to the building to 1 inch, and move the meter to The Barn.
Leaving things as is means the water line would run under any properties that might be built on the land that does not belong to WIA, and the association could be liable for any damages. The second option would not meet the minimum standards for water pressure per the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation. WIA currently has pressure tanks in the toilets in The Barn due to inadequate pressure. Director Rich Wretschko noted that the WIA pipes are the same age as the Woodmoor Townhomes’ pipes, which have had a number of issues.
The board asked for a motion to go with the third option. This option would improve water pressure and lower the monthly RWIF water fee from $312 per month to around $80 per month. The cost of the project would be between $22,000 and $28,000 and the HOA would see a return on investment in six to eight years. This plan calls for downgrading from a 2-inch tap to a 1-inch tap, which would save money. The pipe would be increased to 1½ inches to reduce friction and then stepped down to 1 inch again at the building. The meter would be moved to The Barn, which is customarily where it should be. The project will also install a split meter so that the water used for irrigation is not billed as wastewater, which will also save money. The board unanimously approved the motion to proceed with this project.
HOA Manager Denise Cagliaro reported that the digitization project is making progress with one of seven cabinets almost complete. As files are digitized, any documents that the HOA is not required to retain are shredded. Currently the digitized files are protected by RAID drives and onsite backup. Staff member Bob Pearsall noted that the WIA IT contractor is going to a class to get an update on compliance requirements on encryption.
Board report highlights
• Bille noted that the country club did a survey and sent letters to residents regarding the property lines. The club wanted to raise awareness but did not indicate any intent to take any action.
• WIA Treasurer Brian Bush reported that the auditor’s report was favorable and the appropriate IRS forms will be submitted this week.
• Public Safety Director Per Suhr reported on recent cases of criminal trespass where items were taken from unlocked cars, and five cases of criminal mischief including damage to mailboxes and a stolen padlock, as well as lawn chairs thrown into the pool at the country club. The reports are lower than the average of 10 cases for this time of year.
• The next chipping day will be July 9 at Lewis-Palmer Middle School.
• The sprinkler system upgrade approved at the May meeting was completed June 23 at the cost of $6,900, which included an extra $400 over the estimate due to work on the turf.
• No fireworks are allowed in Woodmoor due to the risk of fire.
The WIA Board of Directors usually meets at 7 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of each month in the Barn at 1691 Woodmoor Drive, Monument. The next meeting will be July 27. The WIA calendar can be found at: https://www.woodmoor.org/wia-calendar/. WIA board meeting minutes can be found at: https://www.woodmoor.org/meeting-minutes/ once approved and posted.
Jackie Burhans can be reached at email@example.com.
By Bill Kappel
June was wetter than normal for the month. Temperatures were also a little above average and unlike last year, we did manage to break across the 90-degree mark during the month (94°F on the 19th).
June started off quiet and mild, with highs reaching into the 70s each afternoon from the 1st through the 7th. Moisture began to return to the area starting on the 6th, with afternoon thunderstorms, brief heavy rain, and areas of hail occurring each afternoon and early evening through the 8th. Temperatures also began to warm during the period, with our first sustained period of highs reaching the 80s from the 8th through the 12th. More thunderstorms and rain developed each afternoon from the 10th through the 13th. Then, drier air finally worked back in on the 14th. Skies remained nearly cloud free (very rare for June) from the 14th through the early afternoon of the 19th. Temperatures also warmed up each day as the area of high pressure strengthened over the region. This allowed highs to reach near record territory, with mid 80s from the 15th through the 18th, then peaking in the low to mid 90s on the 19th. Overall, a sunny, warm Father’s Day weekend.
The first week of summer saw a very typical beginning, with quiet mornings followed by building clouds and scattered thunderstorms. The heaviest rain, with some hail, occurred on the evening of the 20th and again on the afternoon of the 23rd. Highs each afternoon reached the mid to upper 70s on the 20th, 22nd, and 25th, with mid to upper 80s on the 21st, 23rd, and 24th. These latest rounds of showers have put us a little ahead of the monthly normal for precipitation, with another week to go.
The month ended with more of the same. Highs reached in the low to mid 80s from the 27th through the 29th, before a push of cooler air worked in on the last day of the month, dropping the high back to around 70. Quiet morning gave way to partly cloudy skies by afternoon on the 27th and 28th. Thunderstorms developed a little later than normal on those days, with storms rolling through during the early to mid-evening hours. Moisture levels and instability continued to increase on the 29th and 30th, with lots of storms and areas of heavy rain developing each day.
A Look Ahead
July can be an active weather month around the region, as the southwest monsoon season gets going. Afternoon and evening thunderstorms are a common occurrence, and when they are able to tap into higher levels of moisture, flash flooding can result. Hot, stagnant weather can also take hold for a few days at time, with highs hitting well into the 90s.
June 2016 Weather Statistics
Average High 80.9° (+3.5°)
100-year return frequency value max 82.5° min 66.3°
Average Low 48.5° (+4.1°)
100-year return frequency value max 50.7° min 40.2°
Highest Temperature 94°F on the 19th
Lowest Temperature 42°F on the 2nd, 14th, 15th
Monthly Precipitation 2.34" (+0.39" 17% above normal)
100-year return frequency value max 6.94" min 0.15"
Monthly Snowfall 0.0" (-0.1" 100% below normal)
Season to Date Snow 157.8" (+35.5" 22% above normal)
(the snow season is from July 1 to June 30)
Season to Date Precip 22.56" (+0.93" 5% above normal) (the precip season is from July 1 to June 30)
Heating Degree Days 51 (-28)
Cooling Degree Days 42 (+14)
Bill Kappel is a meteorologist and Tri-Lakes resident. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Guidelines for letters to the editor are on page 31.
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
No on Amendment 69—again
In the June 4 edition of OCN, a letter smugly suggested Colorado health care providers, and taxpayers who would owe extra thousands of dollars a year, who don’t want to be forced to participate in ColoradoCare is "because change is scary." And as usual from supporters of this amendment, some key details are missing, such as what all the income sources that would be taxed an additional 10 percent are. Such as also interest, dividends, capital gains, IRA/401k distributions, business, taxable refunds, rents, royalties, partnerships, trusts, and farm income.
There’s no exemption for Colorado residents who are military stationed here and already fully covered by federal government—they’d be forced to pay thousands extra per year for this anyway. And their working non-military spouses, although also fully covered, would also be forced to pay even if the military member isn’t a Colorado resident. Last month’s letter implied they should be happy to pay this, I suppose for the greater good, or some other socialist tripe.
Employers/individuals are already free to voluntarily get with health care providers and work out arrangements to cut out insurance middlemen on their own collective volitions if, and to what extent, they choose—no need to force all care providers and taxpayers to participate with this proposed amendment. And the $60,000 exemption mentioned is only for those age 65-plus. Surely these supporters would welcome random visits to their homes to ensure they’re eating right, exercising enough, not doing drugs, not smoking, not abusing alcohol, etc. if everyone else would be forced to pay for their care, right? It’s especially rich when these supporters refer you to a 52-page "guide," but never to the Colorado Amendment 69 full proposal itself—only 12 pages. It’s easily found with an internet search from where you can choose your preferred source, or alternatively, at www.coloradansforcoloradans.com under the "About" tab.
Please read before voting
In response to the last couple of editorials on Amendment 69, I would like to offer a practical thought before you decide.
I am not looking to take a jab at the state government as they have managed many business concerns over the years. Running health care, however, I believe should be left to the professionals. Can you imagine the state running a $25 billion-a-year health care plan?
We don’t have to go back very far to see what happened when the state took over a new industry (recreational marijuana). The state was not ready to run it, and remember they didn’t even have a tax structure in place in the beginning.
This vote is, if anything, too soon for the state to even consider tackling just a serious matter. The feds are having trouble and they have been working on it for years.
Make up your own mind, my words will not convince you but please read up on it before you vote.
D-38 computer security breach
The reported D-38 serious computer system security violations resulted in a Monument Police report and district school computer systems being taken offline. This appears to have been an ongoing student privacy data breach since at least October-November 2015 with no district report to the community until more than seven months passed. Because of this unreported and ongoing district data breach, I believe the community deserves a full independent financial and student privacy data audit be immediately requested from the Colorado Department of Education. We must have an independent agency determine how much critical information has been exposed or stolen.
Our climate is changing—and it’s a big deal!
Speaking truth to fairy tale, noted astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson once said, "The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe it." With slightly changed words, the same can be said about climate change, aka global warming. Our climate is warming and it is due mostly, if not entirely, to human activities. The level of carbon dioxide, a potent greenhouse gas that provides much of the warmth for our planet, and comes at least in part from the burning of fossil fuels, has been relatively stable for many centuries. That level is now rising dramatically as highlighted in a headline in the June edition of Scientific American: Antarctic CO2 Hit 400 PPM for First Time in 4 Million Years.
Once denied completely, skeptics now begrudgingly accept the science, but not entirely. Two of their favorite refrains are, "But the climate has always changed," or "There’s nothing we can do about it." Those who cling to the claim that the climate has always changed apparently don’t understand the concept of rate of change. In the past, it took centuries, or more, for the climate to make substantial changes. Now only decades or years are required. With respect to what can be done to arrest climate change, it is true that we are going to have to live with the consequences for years to come, but we can mitigate those consequences if we work together and cease the bickering and cherry picking. To the remaining skeptics, I say accept the science completely and "get on board."
Woodmoor’s present fencing rules do not address fire risks
Recently, the Woodmoor Architectural Control Committee denied my request to use an architecturally correct, high end, FireWise recommended metal fencing material to replace our wood split-rail dog kennel fence. The fence would have been well within our30-foot fire-defensible space in its entirety, and is up against our home on both ends and under a low roof soffit on one end. Our lot has high-risk topographical fire risks that we cannot control. These features directly impact the location of the fence. We also live in the highest fire-risk area according to Woodmoor’s Forestry Information Bulletin lot fire rating map.
In May, our appeal to the Woodmoor Board of Directors was again denied citing the present-day governing documents allowing only split-rail or dowel fencing. Out of respect for the members of the Woodmoor Architectural Control Committee and Board of Directors, the rules and regulations are binding, and are the basis for their decisions regarding my fencing material request.
Woodmoor has been a recognized FireWise Community for 10 years, and has distributed FireWise materials recommending the use of noncombustible fencing materials, such as metal, up against houses. Metal fencing that is treated as part of the home will not detract from the rustic community feel that Woodmoor is trying to achieve.
Woodmoor’s rules and regulations in their Project Design Standards Manual do not reflect current fire risks to our homes. Woodmoor residents need to be able to utilize safer fencing materials in light of the present extended fire seasons that now exist for all of us. Outdated rules and regulations should not prevent our residents from using safer, noncombustible metal fencing materials within our home’s fire-defensible space that are architecturally consistent. It is time for a rule change.
Lynn M. Welch
Lewis-Palmer’s technology management questioned
District 38’s superintendent and school board are mismanaging, risking child-community security, and obfuscating poor practice if not outright incompetence in the district’s Technology Services Department.
Item 1: In 2015 the superintendent and board hired Ms. Liz Walhof at $98,000 per year as Director of Technology (http://lewis.schoolwires.net//site/Default.aspx?PageID=5986) although her LinkedIn profile and own resume demonstrate no education or previous technology expertise in security, vendor management, or budgetary responsibility.
There are far more qualified applicants in Monument, Colorado Springs, and the region willing to create first-line information technology (IT) support, develop IT road maps, and follow vendor management protocols for $98,000 a year. I have placed them in positions for far less.
Further, Lewis-Palmer IT could likely be outsourced at a 25 percent savings off of the $2.2 million budget giving teachers a well-deserved raise.
Item 2: Parents recently discovered that over 2,000 students’ private information (including HIPPA files), associated personal photo, bus arrival times, and parents’ and siblings’ information were available through district websites because security protocols were severely limited.
Item 3: While nearly forcing student adoption of public Internet technology, the school district simultaneously and entirely indemnifies itself from "... all costs, claims, damages or losses resulting from my child’s use of district technology devices, including use of the Internet and electronic communications..."
As an IT professional I believe in the power of technology. Still, if the district obligates students and faculty to use select L-P School District tech tools, the school district has a fiduciary and financial responsibility to assure staff competence and create ample safeguards.
The board’s hesitation to publicize poor security is appropriate. Conversely, unwillingness to be very public on resolution and the qualifications of a $100,000-a-year IT director is inappropriate.
Doyle Ray Oakey
By the staff at Covered Treasures
We’re in the middle of summer and family travel time. Paperback books travel well, and here are a few that will entertain you and the kids.
The Secret History of Wonder Woman
By Jill LePore (Vintage Books), $16.95
A riveting work of historical detection revealing that the origin of one of the world’s most iconic superheroes hides within it a fascinating family story—and a crucial history of 20th-century feminism. Wonder Woman, created in 1941, is the most popular female superhero of all time. Aside from Superman and Batman, no superhero has lasted as long or commanded so vast and wildly passionate a following. Like every other superhero, Wonder Woman has a secret identity. Unlike every other superhero, she has also had a secret history.
By Erik Larson (Broadway Books), $17
A master of narrative nonfiction brings us the compelling and riveting story of the sinking of the Lusitania, a story many of us think we know but don’t. Erik Larson tells it thrillingly, while painting a larger portrait of America at the height of the Progressive Era. Full of glamour and suspense, Dead Wake brings to life a cast of evocative characters, from famed Boston bookseller Charles Lauriat to pioneering female architect Theodate Pope to President Woodrow Wilson. Gripping and important, Dead Wake captures the sheer drama and emotional power of a disaster whose intimate details and true meaning have long been obscured by history. Did the Lusitania cause the U.S. to enter WWI or was there more to the story?
A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail
By Bill Bryson (Broadway Books), $15.99
The Appalachian Trail stretches from Georgia to Maine and covers some of the most breathtaking terrain in America—majestic mountains, silent forests, sparkling lakes. If you’re going to take a hike, it’s probably a good place to go, and Bill Bryson is surely the most entertaining guide you’ll find. He introduces us to the history and ecology of the trail and to some of the other hardy (or just foolhardy) folks he meets along the way—and a couple of bears. Already a classic, A Walk in the Woods will make you long for the great outdoors (or at least for a comfortable chair to sit and read in).
The Friends We Keep
By Susan Mallery (Mira Books), $15.99
In this insightful and compelling story from book club favorite Susan Mallery, three close friends test the boundaries of how much a woman can give before she has nothing left. Mallery draws you into the lives of Gabby, Hayley, and Nicole and the various crossroads of their lives. As their bonds of friendship deepen against the beautiful backdrop of Mischief Bay, they will rely on good food, good wine and especially each other to navigate life’s toughest changes.
The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine
By Alexander McCall Smith (Anchor Books), $15.00
Business is slow at the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, so slow in fact that for the first time in her estimable career Precious Ramotswe has reluctantly agreed to take a holiday. The week of uninterrupted peace is short-lived, however, when she meets Samuel, a young troublemaker who is himself in some trouble. Ultimately, Ramotswe will need to draw upon her kindness, generosity, and good sense, and will serve to remind everyone that ordinary human failings should be treated with a large helping of charity and compassion.
Bones Never Lie: How Forensics Helps Solve History’s Mysteries
By Elizabeth Macleod (Annick Press), $14.95
Thanks to forensics, we now know that King Tut died of malaria. We also know that stomach cancer, and not arsenic as suspected, killed Napoleon. Seven intriguing stories about historical royal figures whose demise was suspicious, and hard scientific facts about crime-solving techniques make each event seem like an episode of "CSI" rather than a history lesson. Kids will be fascinated to find out how scientists use autopsy results, DNA testing, bone fragments, and even insects to determine the cause of death. This book will be hard to put down for kids who love mysteries.
DK Eyewitness Books: Space Exploration
(DK Publishing), $9.99
Space Exploration takes young readers on a journey through the solar system and highlights advancements in space technology. Discover how satellites help us forecast the weather, how the Large Space Simulator is used to test spacecraft, and how the landing craft probes and explores planets. Learn how a special sleeping bag helps astronauts sleep in weightless conditions, how astronauts repair an orbiting spacecraft from the outside, and how an astronaut’s body is affected upon reentering the Earth’s atmosphere in this updated edition of a best-selling title from the Eyewitness series.
Cars, Trains and Planes Creativity Book and The Monster Creativity Book
By Anna Bowles and Penny Worms (Barron’s Educational Series, Inc.), $12.99 each
Whether it’s big diggers, zooming trains, and high flying planes, or wacky aliens, wild monsters, and mythical beasts, these activity books will keep kids occupied. Featuring games, puzzles, stencils and stickers, no additional supplies are needed with this book, and it will help stave off the dreaded "Are we there yet?" question.
Until next month, happy reading.
The staff at Covered Treasures can be reached at email@example.com.
By Harriet Halbig
Summer reading is in full swing as I write this, but let me be the first to invite you to our End of Summer Reading Party on the Palmer Lake Village Green, from 10 a.m. to noon on Friday, July 29. We’ll have animals galore this year: miniature horses, giant lizards, and more. We’ll also have face painting, crafts, an inflatable obstacle course, a toddler play area, refreshments, and more. Bring the whole family!
Monument Library is one of the most active in the district when it comes to summer reading. As of June 17, we have registered 13 babies, 1,216 kids and 442 teens in the program. Join us! There is still time to finish the program, which ends July 31.
Monument Library Events
• Each Monday throughout July, we will continue to have a special program for children ages 7 and up from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m.
• Tuesday mornings, in place of our usual story time, will be Summer Morning Fun programs from 10:30 to 11:30.
• Each Thursday afternoon from 2:30 to 3:30 will be a program for school-age kids.
• July 4: The library will be closed.
• July 5: Laura Foye will bring her colorful chickens and there will be chicken crafts.
• July 7: I Want to Win
• July 11: Wilderness Readiness for Kids
• July 12: Wag that Tale with Denise Gard and her Border Collie Sienna
• July 14: Go Bananas
• July 16: The regular meeting of the Legos Club from 10 to 11:30 a.m. We provide the Legos and you bring your imagination. All ages are welcome.
• July 18: Minute to Win, a collection of brief challenges
• July 19: Dynamic Dance Party with streamers, music, and lots of movement for kids ages 7 and under
• July 21: Go Bananas featuring a music and movement theme
• July 8: If you have questions about using your computer, register for our Computer Help Lab from 9 to 10 a.m. Call us at 488-2370.
• July 13: From 5 to 5:45 p.m. we will have a program by local doctor of physical therapy Scott Simpson who will discuss the balance systems, fall facts, and what you can do to prevent unintentional falls. No registration is required.
• July 20: The Monumental Readers will meet from 10 a.m. to noon to discuss Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. All patrons are welcome to attend this monthly book group.
• July 30: At 10 a.m. local firefighters will teach you how to better protect yourself and your property from wildfires. No registration is necessary.
• July 6: Come and play Superfight from 3 to 5 p.m. If that’s not your style, we have other, more classic board games. This program is for grades 6 to 12.
• July 8: The Teen Advisory Board will meet from 4 to 5 p.m. in the study room. Help us to plan library programs and parties in the library for teens.
• July 20: Learn to make healthy microwave mug meals from 3 to 5 p.m. Join us to experiment with cooking healthful meals for one! Registration is required.
• July 27: Enjoy a library-friendly form of "The Amazing Race" from 3 to 5 p.m. Registration is required.
• Oil/watercolor/acrylic paintings by Lisa Cush will be on the walls of the library during July. A collection of cell phones from Chuck Hardy will be in the display case.
Palmer Lake Library Events
• July 4: All Pikes Peak Library facilities will be closed.
• Summer reading programs at Palmer Lake will be on Wednesdays, beginning at 10:30 a.m.
• July 7: Dynamic Dance Party
• July 13: A program on bees
• July 16: Our Saturday family program begins at 10:30 a.m. and will feature a speaker from Colorado Parks and Wildlife to discuss living with wildlife.
• July 20: Zumba for kids
• July 27: Ready, Set, Meet the Challenge, a collection of fun races and other challenges
• July 29: Please come to the End of Summer Reading Program Party on July 29 from 10 a.m. to noon. There will be activities and snacks for all ages. For more information, see the beginning of this article or pick up a flier at the library.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Sigi Walker
On June 19 the Palmer Lake Historical Society treated fathers and families to free pie, ice cream, and musical entertainment at the annual Father’s Day Ice Cream Social, continuing the society’s long-standing tradition of honoring fathers in the Tri-Lakes community. The event was free to the public and was supported by donations from the Rock House (ice cream) and the Monument Village Inn (five pies). Despite the heat, more than 200 people enjoyed themselves munching 20 pies and three tubs of ice cream while enjoying singer/guitarist Nick Davey on both electric and acoustic guitars.
One upcoming program and one upcoming event are of special note. The July 21 Monthly History Series program features Larry Schlupp, vice president of Historic Douglas County Inc., who will present "The Goodnight Legacies." Charles Goodnight was primarily a self-educated man, possessing a strong entrepreneurial mind and superb innovating attributes to become successful. He was a key contributor to the growth of the cattle industry in the mid-19th century West. Goodnight’s strong moral character, far-ranging insight, inventiveness, and his ability to attract and establish beneficial relationships forged what today is the oldest ranch in the Texas Panhandle, the JA Ranch, which has operations in Colorado. If you ever read Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove, you likely have dipped into the essence of Charles Goodnight and his friend and partner, Oliver Loving.
From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Aug. 6, the Palmer Lake Historical Society presents "The Return of the Rocky Mountain Chautauqua." Chautauquas began in New York state in 1874 as an adult education movement and spread throughout rural America until the mid-1920s. They brought entertainment and culture for the whole community, with speakers, teachers, musicians, entertainers, preachers, and specialists of the day. Former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt was quoted as saying that Chautauqua is "the most American thing in America." A full day of vintage arts, crafts, portrayals of historic men and women, wildlife displays, and bluegrass music is planned.
For more information, visit our website at www.palmerdividehistory.org or call (719) 559-0837.
Caption: The Father’s Day Ice Cream Social serving table. Photo by Mike Walker.
Sigi Walker can be contacted at email@example.com.
By Janet Sellers
Well, it is high season for gardening now. So many have their crops in and going up—some things are even ready. My garden is smaller this year, and I plan on making more of it work for late summer. With a lot of seedlings indoors that I started, it looks to be a good year for tomato sprouts and the ever-present zuke and cuke spreading out in the garden.
A number of gardeners this year have told me they will try out arching, overhead squashes on a trellis or strings for the vines to climb. I have done that for several years at the Monument Community Garden along the fence, to great results. It is so easy to pick squash and cucumber from along the fence line or a raised area.
I usually write about food gardening, but I have had such success with propagating flower plants such as geraniums and others that I thought I’d mention that many plants give us easy propagation in a glass of water. I can take some side stems from geraniums, or herbs such as rosemary or basil stems, which I pinch off to inspire the plant to get bushy and not leggy, then put the stems in spring or filtered water (tap water filled with chlorine retards the rooting) and in about a week to 10 days I have a new basil plant ready for soil. Chlorinated water kills bacteria, but bacteria are the awesome life forms that support plant growth and garden success.
Garden walks this summer will be at the usual ad hoc times, and likely in late July or August when there are crops to view and of course, lots of questions answered.
We can keep on the lookout for fliers around town and notices on www.nextdoor.com for upcoming garden walks in our area. I’ve enjoyed the informal walks around our community for several years now, and they are often in Palmer Lake or Monument town areas. Enjoy!
Did anybody plant watermelon or strawberries this year? I’d love to know what’s in your garden!
Janet Sellers is an avid HANG newbie, and welcomes your tips and handy hints to share with others here at our high altitude. She can be reached at JanetSellers@OCN.me.
By Janet Sellers
Possibly the most satisfying yet difficult paintings to make are plein air paintings. The artist is outdoors, and there are many distractions—not the least of which are heat, bugs, wind, drifting pollen, and all the usual outdoor things we run into on a hike. On top of that, all these things can get onto the painting, brush and palette of colors, which is challenging for watercolorists but quite a predicament for the oil painter.
In spite of that, the beauty and immediacy of impulse to brush, and thereby paint to canvas, are unmatched with plein air painting compared to any other genre, and that is likely why artists—and art collectors—are so compelled to enjoy these works of art. The most immediate expression is in the lightning speed of watercolor painting to put the paint down and be dry, finished, and ready to go home at any time, while oils are slower to apply and use on a canvas, and often cannot be completed alla prima, or in one sitting. Oils must go home in a wet canvas carrier to dry quite slowly, taking weeks or a year or more.
I recently brought together a small and talented group of artists to a plein air paint out in Fox Run Park. Our goal was to paint the stunning ponderosa Ute Indian Prayer Trees there. While interesting and amazing, these trees pose a visual problem to solve that I had never before experienced. The trees themselves are culturally modified into extraordinary shapes, usually at the lower quarter of the tree, yet the trees’ natural full expression at the crown of the tree is visible in its entirety in the dense forest of ponderosa pine.
The artists were able to choose to paint only the striking modified part, or include the whole tree, often many stories high, and the composition of this is quite complex to pull off, given that the modified sculptural section and the natural tree itself are at once integrated, harmonious, and yet convey supernatural forms.
For me, the best part of plein air painting is being outdoors in harmony with nature and the other artists. The forest offers us her healing airs and atmospheres, supporting us artists to delve deep into our imaginations to bring out our best in our painting. In a plein air paint out, each person paints on his or her own, but still feels connected to the group, so the energy to keep on going is strong and supportive. And while each artist can personally solve his or her paintings, it is comforting that all the while, knowing that if needed or asked, another artist can offer a kind suggestion here and there throughout the day.
Caption: JArtist Ermi Knoth stands with her sculpture He Loves Me Not that was recently installed at Monument Sculpture Park for the 2016-17 Tri-Lakes Views outdoor art exhibition. The nonprofit group supports the annual exhibition, and most of the artworks are for sale by the artists through the group. Photo by Janet Sellers.
Janet Sellers is a Colorado artist and art teacher; her paintings and public art sculptures are in exhibitions in city and museum outdoor venues in Colorado, and of course, the Tri-Lakes area. Sellers can be reached at JanetSellers@OCN.me.
Picnic-N-Planes at the WMMI
Caption: On June 2, the Western Museum of Mining & Industry (WMMI) held its annual Picnic-N-Planes event in conjunction with 2016 graduation festivities at the Air Force Academy. For a donation per car, visitors could sit atop the museum’s hill for one of the best vantage points of the Thunderbirds’ aerial show that concludes the graduation. In this photo, visitors had a 360-degree vantage point to the Thunderbirds’ aerial show. The Thunderbirds can be seen making their way toward the visitors atop the museum’s hill. After the show, visitors received a discounted museum admission and thus had the opportunity to do a little gold panning and watch steam engines operate. Information on upcoming events at the museum, including the July expo, is at www.wmmi.org. Photo by David Futey. David Futey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Silver Alliance opens new thrift store
Caption: On June 7, current and past Thrift Store volunteers and Silver Alliance board members watch as store volunteer Susie Staubs prepares to officially open the new Silver Alliance Thrift Store. The new store, at 755 Highway 105, Suite N, Palmer Lake, offers more space and improved lighting. Re/Max Properties in Monument supported the event with food and refreshments. Melissa Bagnall, Tri-Lakes Silver Alliance board president, thanked the Thrift Store volunteers for their many hours of donated services. Earnings from the Thrift Store support Silver Alliance senior citizens’ programs, which includes the operation of the Tri-Lakes Senior Center. Photo by Allen Alchian.
Caption: From left, Michele Sandro, Isla McDaniel, and Danielle Haskin did a little shopping at the Tri-Lakes Alliance Thrift Store grand reopening. Proceeds benefit Tri-Lakes Silver Alliance, an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization supporting local seniors. Photo by Caryn Collette.
Hooked on Palmer Lake Fundraiser
Caption: On June 4, the Hooked on Palmer Lake Fireworks Fundraiser included a fishing derby, snow cones, local music, merchants, a pie-eating contest (won by Mario Liguez and Emily Mulberry), and art displays. Organizers included, from left, Cindy Graff, Chris Garcia, Jennifer Coopman, Racquel Garcia, Zach Goss, Shelly Wheeler, Eric Burt, and Denise Goss. Garcia said, "Everyone who came had so much fun. We wanted Hooked on Palmer Lake to be small-town American event, and that is exactly what we got. The weather was perfect, the music rocked, the hula hoops whirled, and the food from Sara’s Sausage was so good! Our hope is that this will be a yearly event that can help support the fireworks going forward." On June 9, the Palmer Lake Town Council awarded the permit for the July 4 fireworks at Palmer Lake. For more information or to make a donation, write to email@example.com or see Facebook/Palmer Lake Fireworks. Photo courtesy of Racquel Garcia.
Black Forest Fire Remembrance
On June 11 at Log School Park, the community of Black Forest held a Remembrance Ceremony on the three-year anniversary of the start of the wildfire that killed two people and destroyed nearly 500 homes and 22 square miles of forest. Dr. Bob Bender, pastor of Black Forest First Baptist Church, led the prayer service, and the Black Forest Choir provided music. The event was sponsored by the Black Forest Interagency Forum including Black Forest Community Club, Park Foundation, Trails Association, Friends of the BF Preservation Plan, Black Forest Together, Slash and Mulch, and Black Forest Fire & Rescue. Anyone in the Tri-Lakes area who is able to contribute some time to help with the ongoing effort to clear so many slash piles and dead trees still left from the fire should contact Black Forest Together at (719) 495-2445 or see www.blackforesttogether.org. Caption: Jay and Barb, two of the Black Forest Together volunteers who help drag slash and operate wood chippers. Photos by Lisa Hatfield.
Stand up and paddle
On June 11, UpaDowna, an organization with a mission to provide access to outdoor adventures for all, along with Pikes Peak Outfitters, sponsored a fun and free SUP (stand-up paddleboard) social at Palmer Lake. Caption: Local artist and gardener Janet Sellers learns how to paddleboard with her dog Bianca. The program is designed to encourage folks to try the sport of stand-up paddleboarding and to provide information about where to rent or buy equipment. UpaDowna provided life jackets, paddles, and boards for singles as well as multiperson boards. Pikes Peak Outfitters also provided gear for the event. Locals lined up to enjoy paddleboarding while standing, kneeling, and sitting as well as maneuvering kayaks for a pleasant afternoon on the lake. For information about upcoming events, see http://www.upadowna.org; for information on where to rent gear see http://www.pikespeakoutfitter.com. Photo by Jackie Burhans.
The Accidentals at TLCA
Caption: On June 24, The Accidentals—Katie Larson, Michael Dause, and Savannah Buist—performed to an enthusiastic audience at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA). The recent high school graduates from Traverse City, Mich., brought an originality and genre mixing not often heard. Acclaimed as one of Billboard’s Breakout Bands in 2015, the trio has performed more than 230 shows in the past year including some of the nation’s largest festivals, opened for the likes of Joan Baez, Arlo Guthrie, and Ladysmith Black Mambazo, scored original pieces for a 72-piece orchestra, and recorded two albums. They play a combined 13 instruments. It is quite a beginning for this highly talented indie folk band.Information on The Accidentals is at www.moreaccidentals.com. Information on upcoming events at the TLCA, including tickets for the September performance by Judy Collins, is at www.trilakesarts.org. Photo by David Futey. David Futey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pickin’ on the Divide
Caption: At the sold-out Pickin’ on the Divide bluegrass family music festival at the Church at Woodmoor on June 25, The Flying W Wranglers, shown here, joined other bands including Grass It Up, Wirewood Station, Bettman and Halpin, and Out of Nowhere for a stormy summer Colorado afternoon of relaxation, art, and food, a classic car show, a fiddling competition, and the HawkQuest Hawks. Photo by Gordon Reichal.
Senior facility groundbreaking
Caption: The Tri-Lakes area has been attempting for decades to provide senior living options to its residents. With great excitement, on June 23, Bethesda Gardens Monument broke ground for the Senior Living Community it plans to open in fall 2017 at 55 Beacon Lite Road, Monument. Bethesda Ministries is a faith-based nonprofit with its national headquarters in Colorado Springs. During the ceremony, Bethesda President Larry Smith asked for God’s blessings on the planners, workers, and residents of this facility, and Bethesda CEO Dana Rasic said they would start accepting reservations for assisted living and memory care apartments next spring. Monument Mayor Jeff Kaiser said it will employ about 50 full- and part-time professionals and caregivers, making this one of the larger employers in the community. From left are Rasic, Project Manager Bryan Beamer, Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Terri Hayes, Bethesda Vice President Matt Laud, Smith, and Kaiser. For information, contact email@example.com. Photo by Lisa Hatfield.
Great Divide film presentation
Caption: On June 23, about 85 Tri-Lakes residents gathered to watch the documentary The Great Divide by Jim Havey. The feature-length film shows the influence of water from the rivers of the Colorado mountains on this state and beyond. The goal of the film is to raise public understanding and appreciation of Colorado’s water heritage while inspiring personal responsibility and informed discussion. The showing was sponsored by the Town of Palmer Lake, Town of Monument, Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District, Triview Metropolitan District, and Donala Water and Sanitation District. District managers pictured above are, from left: Kip Petersen of Donala Water and Sanitation District, Valerie Remington of Triview Metropolitan District, and Jessie Shaffer of Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District. Photo by Jackie Burhans.
Monument Free Movie Night
Caption: The next best thing to going to the drive-in is Monument Movie Night, occurring six times this summer. This event is held at the Jackson Creek Clock Tower between Walmart and Home Depot. June 23 was the kickoff with a showing of Jurassic Park. The weather was perfect despite the earlier rain. Bring the family along with chairs or comfy things to lay on the grass. Please leave the pets at home. Activities start at 7 p.m. and the movie starts at dark. The next movie night is Thursday, July 14 with a showing of The Goonies. Photo by Mark Barrett.
Legacy Sertoma honors Al Brown
Caption: Club President Eddie Kinney, right, presents Legacy Sertoma’s Service to Mankind Award to Alexander (Al) Brown in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the community. The Sertoma Service to Mankind Award is presented to recognize a non-Sertoman who, through volunteerism, has made a difference in his or her community. Brown of Monument was named the 2016 award recipient in recognition of his more than 20 years of volunteer work with the local Sheriff’s Office as well as working with a large number of other service organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, Ronald McDonald House, Rocky Mountain Innovation Partners, local schools, and more. Photo courtesy of Legacy Sertoma.
Integrity Bank donates to 4th Parade
Caption: For 10 years, Integrity Bank and Trust has sponsored the Monument Hill Kiwanis Club’s Fourth of July Parade in Monument with a donation to cover many of the costs of operating the parade. This donation also reduces the entry fee charged to organizations that march in the parade. This lower fee then encourages greater community participation in the parade. At a recent Monument Hill Kiwanis Club breakfast, Brett Wyss, senior loan officer at Integrity Bank and Trust and member of the bank’s executive committee, presented a check for $5,000 to the club for the 2016 Fourth of July Parade. Pictured are Brett Wyss, left, and Harry Brandon, club immediate past president, presenting and accepting the $5,000 check. Photo courtesy of Monument Hill Kiwanis Club.
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.
Senior lunch now Mon. through Fri., new location
Senior lunches are now served Mondays-Fridays, 12-12:30 p.m., at Mountain Community Mennonite Church, 643 Highway 105, Palmer Lake. Lunches are now provided by Silver Key Senior Services Golden Circle Nutrition Program. A voluntary donation of $2.25 is requested. Stay for bingo the second Thu. each month. Reservations are requested; call 884-2304.
Black Forest Slash Mulch site now open
The Black Forest Slash-Mulch Program is a wildfire mitigation and recycling program. Slash drop-off ends Sept. 11; mulch pickup ends Sept. 24. For the schedule and other details, visit www.bfslash.org or call Carolyn, 495-3127; Chuck, 495-8675; or Jeff, 495-8024.
Tri-Lakes Y fall sports, register now
Registration is now open for soccer, ages 3-14; flag football, grades 1-6; volleyball, grades 1-8. Register until Aug. 9, practices begin the week of Aug. 29, and games are Sept. 10–Oct. 15. Financial assistance is available. See the ad on page 6 for a free one-day pass during July. Register at www.ppymca.org or at the Y, 17250 Jackson Creek Parkway, Monument.
Monument Hill Kiwanis annual peach sale, order by July 30
Fresh Colorado Palisades freestone large peaches, handpicked and specially delivered in two days, are just $35 per 18-lb. box. Get your prepaid order in by July 30. Pick up your peaches Aug. 6, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., at Lewis-Palmer High School, 1300 Higby Rd., Monument. All net proceeds go back to the community through projects supported by the Monument Hill Kiwanis Club. See the ad on page 14 for $1 refund. Order online at www.monumenthillkiwanis.org or phone Mark Zeiger, 488-5934, or Larry Young, 418-6623.
National Night Out Aug. 2, register your neighborhood event by July 8
National Night Out (NNO) is an annual event promoting crime prevention and drug prevention in communities across the country. The event’s theme is "Give neighborhood crime and drugs a going away party." The concept is to turn on porch lights and join neighbors outside to make a show of solidarity and strength, and send the message to criminals that we won’t tolerate crime in our neighborhoods. It’s also a great way to welcome new residents to the area and help them get to know their new neighbors. In addition to the symbolic act of turning on porch lights, residents can hold a block party, barbecue, neighborhood walk, or other activity to show their participation.
The Sheriff’s Office encourages all residents of unincorporated El Paso County to plan an event and let the office know about it. Sheriff’s Office employees will travel around the county Aug. 2 to attend the neighborhood celebrations. Tips on planning your NNO event and the registration form can be found at www.natw.org. Registration forms must be returned by July 8. For more information, contact Merody Broom, Crime Prevention Coordinator, 520-7151, MerodyBroom@elpasoco.com, or visit www.natw.org.
Trail through Air Force Academy reopens
The nearly seven-mile stretch of the New Santa Fe Regional Trail running through the U. S. Air Force Academy is once again open to the public. The trail is an important connecting link for hikers and bikers, providing access to other segments of the statewide trail system. Local joggers, hikers, and visitors were barred from using the popular trail in May 2015 while the Academy dealt with Department of Defense security requirements and County workers repaired storm water damage.
Chipper operators needed
Black Forest Together is preparing for the next six months of recovery projects and needs to train more chipper operators. The training is free. If you are interested in helping, email Volunteer Coordinator Donna Arkowski, firstname.lastname@example.org; or call Co-Founder Ed Bracken, 495-9396 or 331-4966.
St. Peter Catholic School now enrolling for the 2016-2017 school year
The school offers full and half-day preschool, Core Knowledge Curriculum with small class sizes, Christ-centered education, athletics, and more for preschool-eighth grade. Call or visit: 124 First St., Monument; 481-1855; www.petertherock.org.
Help the Black Forest Animal Sanctuary (BFAS) rescue animals
Southern Colorado Animal Rescue needs volunteers and donations to continue its work at the sanctuary in Black Forest. BFAS is an animal rescue and rehab farm that has been helping animals since 1994. The all-volunteer organization has rescued thousands of horses, farm animals, dogs, cats, and various small wild animals and birds. BFAS provides rescue operations, adoption programs, foster and sponsorship programs, student/horse education program, service dogs to veterans, and local and national rescue efforts. They also work with local schools and scouts. Donations are needed for animal feed and veterinary care, hay, sand for the training arena, a horse stall barn, and office supplies. Volunteers are needed for day-to-day operations. To find out how you can help, call 494-0158, email BFASFarm@gmail.com, or visit www.bfasfarm.org.
Would you like to honor a member of your family who served honorably in our United States military? Join American Legion Post 9-11 in honoring your family hero by having an 18-by-36-inch banner flown in the Tri-Lakes area featuring his/her photo in uniform with area and dates served on active duty. The banner will be attached to town posts by Palmer Lake Legionnaires and flown from Memorial Day through Veterans Day. The cost to each family is $125. To order or for more information, call Post Headquarters at the Depot Restaurant, 481-8668.
Tri-Lakes Silver Alliance (formerly HAP) Thrift Store needs volunteers
Volunteers are needed to work a three-hour shift once a week in the store, to move items from storage into the store, or to pick up and transport donated items. To volunteer, call 488-3495.
Tri-Lakes EDC and Tri-Lakes Chamber announce strategic partnership
The Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce and the EDC have worked together for several years to promote Tri-Lakes’ business and economic development. Their agreement to form a strategic partnership will improve their ability to support Tri-Lakes businesses, recruit new businesses, and retain existing businesses. Through this initiative, the Chamber and the EDC will be better equipped to focus on their missions to increase economic development in the Tri-Lakes area, including job attraction, job growth, local industry and business retention, capital investment, and community development for the Tri-Lakes area.
El Paso County expands services to veterans
Three El Paso County agencies providing services to veterans are making it easier to receive assistance by opening satellite offices at the Mt. Carmel Center of Excellence, 530 Communications Circle, in Colorado Springs. The Veterans Service office at Mt. Carmel is open Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m.-4 p.m., and closes noon-1 p.m. for lunch. Call 667-3816 for an appointment.
The Pikes Peak Workforce Center (PPWFC) has also opened an office to serve veterans and transitioning military personnel at the Mt. Carmel location. The PPWFC Mt. Carmel office is open Tuesdays, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. (closed for lunch noon-1 p.m.), and is staffed with two workforce center employees who specialize in helping veterans with their employment needs. Call 667-3729 for an appointment. The county Department of Human Services also has an office open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Mt. Carmel Center of Excellence. For more information, contact Dave Rose, 520-6540, DaveRose@elpasoco.com.
Property tax exemption for qualifying seniors and disabled veterans
El Paso County Assessor Steve Schleiker reminds residents that the Colorado Constitution establishes a property tax exemption for senior citizens and disabled veterans. For those who qualify, 50 percent of the first $200,000 in actual value of the primary residence is exempted from property tax. The State of Colorado pays the property taxes on the exempted value. The application deadline for disabled vets is July 1, and for seniors July 15. For an application or a brochure that explains the exemptions or for questions regarding the exemptions, please call the assessor’s office at 520-6600, email ASRWEB@elpasoco.com, or visit www.elpasoco.com and click on "News Releases."
Become a CASA volunteer
Become a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate). CASA offers a volunteer opportunity like no other. As appointed representatives of the court, CASA volunteers are empowered to make a lifelong difference in the lives of abused and neglected children. Learn more at http://www.casappr.org/volunteer-colorado-springs/ or contact Kelly at 447-9898, ext. 1033, or email@example.com.
Tri-Lakes Silver Alliance needs volunteers
The Tri-Lakes Silver Alliance is a nonprofit, all-volunteer organization that serves and supports seniors in our community. The Alliance currently needs volunteers, three hours a week; and active board members, eight to 10 hours a month. For more information, call board President Dave Betzler, at 205-7651.
Attention Tri-Lakes residents with medical conditions
If you have a medical condition or a physical disability, please contact Jennifer at Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District, 484-0911, to register for emergency assistance if evacuation is required.
Free transportation and safety handyman services for seniors
Mountain Community Senior Services offers free transportation and safety services to Tri-Lakes seniors. If you need a ride to a medical appointment, grocery shopping, or the local senior lunches, a volunteer driver will be happy to help you. Call 488-0076 to leave a message for the dispatcher. If you are in need of grab bars in the bathroom, a ramp to your door, or repair of stairs or railings, please call Cindy Rush, 488-0076, and leave a message. For more information, visit www.TriLakes-mcts-sshs.org.
Volunteer drivers needed for seniors’ transportation service
Mountain Community Transportation for Seniors is a nonprofit, grant-funded organization that provides free transportation to Tri-Lakes seniors 60 years old and over. The program needs additional volunteer drivers. For information, email MCSS at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the MCSS dispatch hotline at 488-0076.
Tri-Lakes Silver Alliance Senior Center programs
The Tri-Lakes Silver Alliance Senior Citizens Center is next to the Lewis-Palmer High School Stadium (across from the YMCA) and is open 1-4 p.m., Tue.-Fri., and earlier for scheduled activities. The facility has a lounge, craft room, game room, and multipurpose room. Programs include bridge, pinochle, National Mah-jongg, line dancing, tea time, bingo, and more. Ping-pong, Wii video games, puzzles and board games, refreshments, a lending library, computers with Internet connections, and an information table are also available. For information about programs for seniors, visit www.TriLakesSeniors.org.
Senior Beat newsletter—subscribe for free
Each monthly Senior Beat newsletter is full of information for local seniors, including the daily menu of the senior lunches offered Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays in Monument. It also contains the schedule of the classes and events for the month at the Senior Citizens Center. To subscribe, send an email with your name and mailing address to SeniorBeat@TriLakesSeniors.org. Senior Beat can also be viewed online at www.TriLakesHAP.org.
Senior Safety Program
Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District offers a free senior safety program to all Tri-Lakes seniors. The program includes smoke detector evaluations, home safety assessments, vial of life, and fire prevention. For information call 484-0911 or visit www.tri-lakesfire.com.
Free gun-lock kit
The Monument Police Department is offering free firearm safety kits to local residents through a partnership with Project ChildSafe, the nationwide firearms safety education program. Each kit contains gun safety information and a cable-style gunlock that fits most types of handguns, rifles, and shotguns. The Police Department administrative offices at 645 Beacon Lite Rd. are open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Drop by during those times to pick up a free gun-lock kit. For information, call 481-3253.
By Judy Barnes, Community Calendar Editor
LOCAL LIBRARY EVENTS
WEEKLY AND MONTHLY EVENTS
For July 4th events, see page 1
Our community calendar carries listings on a space-available basis for Tri-Lakes events that are sponsored by local governmental entities and not-for-profit organizations. We include events that are open to the general public and are not religious or self-promotional in nature. If space is available, complimentary calendar listings are included, when requested, for events advertised in the current issue. To have your event listed at no charge in Our Community Calendar, please call (719) 339-7831 or send the information to email@example.com or P.O. Box 1742, Monument, Colorado 80132.
Contact us at (719) 488-3455, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, or P.O. Box 1742, Monument, Colorado 80132-1742.
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