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By Lisa Hatfield
In a quasi-judicial land use hearing continued from Nov. 15, the El Paso Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) voted 4-1 to permit the rezoning of Flying Horse North from RR-5 (5-acre lots) to a Planned Unit Development (PUD). The proposed development will eventually consist of 13 phases between Highway 83 and Black Forest Road south of Hodgen Road, at the eastern edge of the OCN coverage area that ends at Highway 83.
PRI 2 LLC’s proposed PUD development plan includes about 1,417 acres for 283 single-family residential lots with a minimum lot size of 2.5 acres, 114 acres of open space, and a 199-acre 18-hole golf course. Access to the development is proposed via an extension of Stagecoach Road from State Highway 83 on the west to Black Forest Road on the east. Other proposed access roads include Holmes Road and Hodgen Road.
On Oct.18, the El Paso County Planning Commission recommended denial of this rezoning application from RR-5 to PUD by a vote 5-2. Its resolution included statements that the application was not in general conformity with the Master Plan for the county, did not meet the stated purposes of Chapter 4, Section 4.2.6 of the El Paso County Land Development Code, the subject property was not suitable for the intended uses nor harmonious with the character of the surrounding area and neighboring community, and the proposed development will overburden the capacities of existing or planned road, utilities, and other public facilities including police and fire services, and water and sanitation.
Terry Stokka, representing the Friends of the Black Forest Preservation Plan (FOBFPP), reported after the Dec. 13 hearing that about a dozen neighbors spoke in opposition to the proposal, almost all against the proposed Stagecoach Road intersection at State Highway 83. District 1 Commissioner Darryl Glenn also voiced strong opposition because of traffic safety issues at that intersection, where Highway 83 is only two lanes wide and has very short sight distance.
Two neighbors submitted petitions in favor of the rezoning. One was David Wismer, owner of Shamrock Ranch, which sold the land to the applicant. Wismer supported the rezoning but strongly objected to Stagecoach Road becoming an arterial road instead of a collector. The other supporter was the Donald Wescott Fire Protection District (DWFPD), which has its Shamrock Station 2 at the corner of Highway 83 and Stagecoach Road. Note: DWFPD will lose over half of its current district and property tax revenue in the next two years and might need to limit operations on some days from Station 2 starting this month. See related DWFPD article on page 18.
About 50 residents and the High Forest Ranch Home Owners Association Board of Directors had sent comments against the rezoning to the Planning and Community Development Department before the hearing. Their concerns included increased traffic on Highway 83, which could now exceed 1,500 trips per day. They objected to the applicant’s request for an exemption to established traffic norms.
An official finding of sufficiency regarding quality, quantity, and dependability of water is not required at the zoning stage of development. BOCC will make the final decision on the adequacy and reliability of the planned supplementary water lease contract based in part on the Colorado State Engineer’s water supply analysis. However, neighbors who testified did voice many concerns about the anticipated future strain on the already-depleting Dawson Aquifer by this influx of an 18-hole golf course and 283 homes.
The BOCC resolution said that some of the water indicated as a supply for the development is not owned by the applicant but is leased by the applicant from the State Board of Land Commissioners. The lease depends upon an annual payment to the State Board coupled with a fee for the amount pumped. Staff concerns resulted in a recommended condition of approval stating that the State Board can terminate the applicant’s right to possession of the leased water if the applicant does not comply with the covenants, conditions, and requirements of the lease. Because of this risk of default, the applicant will have to provide assurances of an alternative viable water source prior to the approval of the preliminary plan.
The first four of the 13 proposed development phases include:
• Phase 1 − Pave Stagecoach Road from Highway 83 to the 35 lots in the center south of the High Forest Ranch development. East of there, Stagecoach will be a gravel emergency access and construction road that will be extended to Black Forest Road. Possible golf course grading.
• Phase 2 – Pave eastern stub of Stagecoach Road at Black Forest Road. Build eight lots west of that intersection.
• Phase 3 – Land north and east of Wescott Fire Station 2 is platted for about 30 lots immediately adjacent to High Forest Ranch. Access to State Highway 83 is controlled by the Colorado Department of Transportation, so improvements to State Highway 83 will be required then. The golf course should open during this phase.
• Phase 4 – Complete paving Stagecoach Road from Highway 83 to Black Forest Road. Build five more lots near the west side of the development.
The BOCC resolution did not agree with any of the objections stated by the Planning Commission or the neighbors. First, Glenn made a motion to deny the application, but this failed by a vote of 1-4, with Commissioners Sallie Clark, Dennis Hisey, Peggy Littleton, and Mark Waller opposed.
Then Hisey made a motion to approve the rezoning request, including all conditions and notations and the three additional recommendations, one added notation, an early grading permit, and two modifications. It was approved 4-1, with Glenn opposed.
See http://bcc.elpasoco.com/Pages/default.aspx for minutes and recordings of past meetings and future agendas.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at email@example.com.
Caption: The El Paso Board of County Commissioners approved the rezoning of Flying Horse North from 5-acre lots to Planned Unit Development on Dec. 13. The golf course development will encompass 1,417 acres that used to be part of the Shamrock Ranch, bounded by State Highway 83 on the west and Black Forest Road on the east. High Forest Ranch and Donald Wescott Fire Protection District Shamrock Station 2 are located at the northwest corner of the proposed subdivision. Map courtesy of El Paso County Board of County Commissioners.
By Lisa Hatfield
The Dec. 5 meeting of the Monument Board of Trustees included approval of the 2017 budget and a detailed discussion of five pending water infrastructure projects for the town. The trustees approved using the eminent domain process to try to remove the covenants on the piece of land where they want to build a new water tank, which is the subject of litigation between the town and Forest View Estates Neighborhood Association Filing IV.
Also, when public comments rolled around at 10 p.m., a resident asked for clarification on what actually happened at the Nov. 7 meeting when Trustees Shea Medlicott, Greg Coopman, Dennis Murphy, and Jeff Bornstein attempted to vote Mayor Jeff Kaiser and Mayor Pro-Tem Don Wilson back to their elected trustee positions. Town Attorney Gary Shupp said, "(Kaiser and Wilson) are in their positons and will remain in their positions and beyond that, unless the board directs, I don’t have any other comments."
As noted on the agenda, at the beginning of the meeting, the trustees voted unanimously to go into executive session to discuss pending litigation and the threat of litigation. When the meeting went back into open session at 7:15 p.m., no announcement was made nor vote taken.
Mayor and mayor pro-tem will keep their roles
Resident Nancy Swearengin asked about the "huge elephant in the room" regarding what had happened in meetings last month where Trustees Medlicott and Coopman made motions to move the mayor and mayor pro-tem back to their trustee positions and replace them with Trustees Dennis Murphy and Jeff Bornstein. "I don’t think there has been any clarification or finality… no resolution made in public record," Swearengin said.
Wilson said he thought clarifying the result was important for transparency to the community, and Trustee Kelly Elliott agreed. Shupp said, "We can close it by simply stating that they are in their positons and will remain in their positions." See http://www.ocn.me/v16n12.htm#mbot1107 and www.ocn.me/v16n12.htm#mbot1121.
2017 budget, appropriations, and property tax mill levy approved
Town Treasurer Pamela Smith presented an ordinance for adopting the town’s 2017 budget and one for appropriating the associated funds. Smith also presented a resolution for the trustees to certify the town’s property tax mill levy to the county assessor so they can collect property taxes for 2017. It was calculated at 6.289 mills to comply with TABOR for the allowable dollar amount for 2017. The trustees unanimously approved the resolution. No members of the public spoke with respect to any of the ordinances.
Smith said the final version included changes from the public budget workshops held this fall. Town Manager Chris Lowe said the town always "budgets to zero," so any money left over would be allocated to a specific reserve fund.
Note: Below is OCN’s attempt to summarize the 91-page budget. For details, contact Smith or see pages 64-155 of the Dec. 5 Board of Trustees packet at http://monumenttownco.minutesondemand.com.
Smith’s statements regarding the general fund included:
• Total expenditures − $6.3 million
• Total general fund revenues − $8.4 million
• Sales tax revenue represented 58 percent of revenue.
• Property tax represented 15 percent of revenue.
• $1.96 million in capital asset improvements across the general and enterprise funds with $375,000 being acquired in matching grant funds and $462,000 in new capital debt.
• Included $350,000 legal settlement with Colonial Management Group regarding the proposed methadone clinic.
• Grants paid for 80 percent of the sidewalks project.
• Budgeting for 3 percent increase in property tax revenue.
• Budget estimates 7 percent increase in sales tax revenue.
• A 5 percent wage increase was included so that some targeted raises could be awarded.
• Health insurance costs increased 20 percent.
Smith also recommended that Town Manager Lowe get a salary increase, but this was tied to board approval, and the consensus was to discuss this in January. The trustees also agreed they needed to "hold up their side of the bargain," as Bornstein said, and give Lowe the semi-annual reviews and lists of objectives they owed him.
Smith’s notes on the water enterprise fund included:
• No water rates increase was implemented for 2017.
• Expenditures − $2.397 million, including capital asset improvement expenditures including Well 4 and 5 treatment plant upgrade, Well 9 engineering for radium removal, and Well 9 ion exchange equipment and controls for radium removal.
• Revenues − $2.54 million
• Water enterprise fund balance will increase 23 percent due to 2016 rate increases, additional sales tax, impact fees, grant revenues, and capital financing.
• Scheduled a Colorado Rural Water Authority loan to cover the cost of the engineering on Well 9 for radium removal − $100,000.
Smith’s notes on the 2A Water ASD (Acquisition, Storage, and Delivery) fund included:
• Revenue will almost double to $867,000 due to the Town Hall building loan being paid off in 2016 and that revenue all going to ASD, and expected sales tax revenue increases.
• Expenditures − $1.8 million, including professional services, "acquisition, storage, and delivery," and purchasing land for new water use.
• Capital improvements − $1.5 million including the water reuse plant, pipeline, and tertiary treatment plant; new water tank and transmission line; emergency water interconnection with WWSD; and renewable water.
Appropriations for 2017 include:
• General fund − $6.3 million
• Water Enterprise Fund − $2.4 million
• 2A Water ASD fund − $1.8 million
Update on five imminent water projects
Will Koger, Steve Farabaugh and Jonathan Moore, water engineers from Forsgren Associates, gave a one-hour presentation outlining five projects that the town wants to complete soon for its water service area west of I-25. They described developments on the water reuse plant, changes to radium removal plans, Wells 4 and 5 treatment upgrades, adding a second water storage tank, and possibly constructing an emergency interconnection with Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD).
All five of the projects outlined were also included in line items in the town’s 2017 budget, which was approved at the same meeting. The trustees asked many questions about all five projects as the presentation proceeded.
Note: Town of Monument residents east of I-25 are not served by the town but instead by WWSD, or Triview Metropolitan District if south of Higby Road.
Potable water reuse plant
Koger said building a water reuse plant has been identified as a top priority for the town. Farabaugh explained that by adding more filters and pumping the water up to Monument Creek for dilution, the town could take advantage of 200,000 gallons of reusable water a day that it is currently wasting and that this number could grow to 400,000 gallons a day in the future. This would extend the life of the Denver Basin aquifers. It would also be compatible with future renewable water supplies the town might acquire and need to treat to drinking water standards. Water reuse would give the town a reliable year-round water supply before looking at and investing in bringing renewable surface water from 50 miles away.
Farabaugh said cons included a possible negative public perception about what water reuse is. He also mentioned that emerging contaminants such as pharmaceuticals and pesticides would be dealt with to meet the Colorado Department of Health and Environment’s (CDHE) most stringent category of reuse regulation with "robust treatment."
If Monument teamed up with WWSD on this project as is being discussed, Monument could spend $14.2 million instead of $11.7 million, Lowe said. Farabaugh said it could be completed in three to five years.
The land for either this plant or for a possible new town public works building was already in the process of being acquired north of DePuy-Synthes in a seven-acre parcel on Mitchell Avenue, Lowe said.
Later in the meeting, the trustees unanimously approved a resolution approving the town’s purchase of Lot 3, Block 1, Valument subdivision. Note: This lot would have either of two addresses: 16815 Mitchell Ave. or 901 Synthes Ave.
Proposed radium removal treatment process changed
Well 9 is an essential component of the town’s water supply, and according to Forsgren’s technical memorandum given to the trustees at the Oct. 11 meeting, radium concentrations in the water from Well 9 have been detected for many years. Until recently these concentrations were within the limits of the Safe Drinking Water Standards (SDWS) set by the EPA. Now that the levels have exceeded those standards, the town needs to remove the radium from the water. See www.ocn.me/v16n9.htm#water, www.ocn.me/v16n11.htm#mbot1003, and www.ocn.me/v16n11.htm#mbot1017.
Farabaugh said waste disposal issues can be very difficult but that the town is currently working with CDPHE to clear up some regulatory uncertainty about which type of treatment would be best to treat any health concerns in the potable water as well as addressing any concerns with the wastewater system.
Background: In October, Forsgren Associates had proposed using Hydrous Manganese Oxide (HMO) filtration "which used to be pretty common in the state." However, Farabaugh said now different groups within CDPHE are not as confident in the HMO process as they have been in the past because of implications on the waste side. Forsgren is trying to gain consensus from CDPHE on which treatments will benefit everyone involved. An alternative Koger mentioned would be the ion exchange process also listed in the October technical memo, which is more expensive than HMO. It would require pre-arranged disposal plans for all of the various used substances that could contain low-level radioactive material and could cost $275,000 plus an annual $14,000 in operations and maintenance (O&M), according to the memo.
Upgrade wells 4 and 5
Farabaugh said another project in the works is to upgrade the treatment capacity of wells 4 and 5. Those wells are not in service right now and need upgrades to be able to treat the iron-rich water from the alluvial wells, but if they were operating they could help meet peak water demands in the summer. Costs and options for this project are not complete yet, but Farabaugh said they hoped to go online next summer.
Water storage tank explained; eminent domain approved
Moore explained about the town’s need for a second town water storage tank so that the first one could be taken offline for much-needed repairs. It would also provide storage for daily demand fluctuations, water leaks, and fighting fires. He said the second tank would provide water at a lower pressure, reducing the need for mechanical pressure reduction valves (PRVs), and would improve system reliability in case of electricity failure when pumps couldn’t run.
Moore said after a failed attempt to obtain a tank site on national forest land, the town purchased property at 744 Forest View Way for the new tank. This is outside the town limits at a particular elevation that Forsgren’s studies recommend. It would require building water transmission lines from the tank directly east to the town, and "the alignment is yet to be determined." The tank would be painted forest green, screened by 14-foot trees, and partially buried in the ground to make it less noticeable, Moore said. It would cost an estimated $3.9 million.
Moore said the pre-application meeting held with El Paso County went well regarding the required 1041 permit, which eventually must be approved by the Board of County Commissioners. Lowe said the purpose of the 1041 process was to identify that a public purpose was being served by placing a water tank in that area, since "there is not ‘water tank zoning’ in the county," he said.
Forsgren Associates and the town have held public neighborhood meetings in both Forest View Acres and Red Rock Ranch to address objections from neighbors about the proposed tank. For example, see www.ocn.me/v16n4.htm#rrrhoa0314.
Later in the meeting, Lowe presented a resolution to the trustees regarding the property in Forest View Estates that the town had purchased for the new water tank. "We have the issue of restricted covenants that we would like removed from that piece of property. We would need to authorize the eminent domain proceedings on that parcel. It’s a very nice site where tank can be made very inconspicuous. There are a number of good reasons for this parcel that have already been explained. We intend to do this in the most respectful way that we can in that neighborhood but also protecting our ability to have a decent water system that has redundancy in future," Lowe said.
Lowe explained further, "Forest View HOA, which is outside the town boundaries and water service area, filed suit against us asking for a temporary and permanent injunction preventing us from constructing a tank in that location, citing restrictive covenants. However, at the advice of counsel, the town determined that it was necessary to condemn the property, which would remove the applicability of the covenants. Our counsel is confident that this is an appropriate way to respond to the lawsuit, which will also allow us to ultimately construct the tank. We are confident that the site, upon completion, will be very inconspicuous and will actually add to the value of the neighborhood as it may be accessed by some resident for emergency fire suppression," with the addition of pressurized hydrants along the water transmission line.
He said that alternative sites that have been proposed but are not acceptable for various reasons, and if the court disallows the condemnation petition, "which we feel unlikely," it could delay the construction of a second tank.
The trustees unanimously approved the resolution authorizing the acquisition of certain interests in real property through eminent domain proceedings for the construction of water storage facilities and related improvements.
At 10 p.m., during public comments at the end of the meeting, Raymond Decker, who is a resident of Forest View Estates IV, said, "I don’t live in town limits, but I feel like I am part of this community. It saddens me that you are going to go with eminent domain with this. What if someone built a water tank or sewage treatment or methadone clinic next to your property? We all bought property up there because we had a certain ideal of where we were going to live and what we wanted to be around, and this water tank is not part of it. I met with all the property owners here in the last week and it was unanimous, we are going to oppose this legally; we don’t want to do that …. I just wondered if maybe you are getting bad advice?"
Maggie Williamson also spoke on this issue during public comments, saying she respected Decker’s views, but said they are camouflaging the tank with all the trees and making the ground look good.
Note: Because OCN’s coverage focuses on the deliberations of governmental entities and Dec. 5 was the first time the litigation was discussed during a public meeting of the Monument Board of Trustees, this is the first time OCN has covered this litigation. A letter to the editor would have been another way of including this topic in OCN, but none on the topic has been received.
Moore explained the pros and cons of constructing an emergency water interconnection. "I hope you never need to use it, ever!" he said, but since Monument’s current water supply is all from wells and is a "stand-alone" system, it would give the town "peace of mind" to have options in case of a waterline break, fire, or problem with system security.
Of all neighboring districts, WWSD stood out in terms of accessibility, cost, and compatibility with possible future regional water system options, either connecting with Colorado Springs Utilities or the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority (PPRWA). Moore said it would benefit WWSD to team up with other entities to pipe the renewable water they own in the JV Ranch up to its customers here. He said the PPRWA Area 3 report is looking at those options now.
On the other side, WWSD is also a stand-alone system and in an emergency their first priority would be to serve their own customers before helping Monument.
Parks master plan update and possible sales tax vote
Public Works Director Tom Tharnish explained about the current proposed updates for the four town-managed parks west of I-25. Some of the plans are similar to those previously proposed for Limbach Park (with a water splash pad), Dirty Woman Creek Park (with a skate park and another playground north of the creek), and Lavelett Park (with exercise equipment), but the idea for Park Trail Park has changed completely from a BMX dirt bike track to a set of tennis courts.
The town has applied again for a $350,000 GOCO grant and hopes to use that money to pay for the Limbach park features. Tharnish also said that voters might be asked to approve a sales tax with a five-year sunset clause to help pay for improvements at all four parks, for which the total cost could be $1.7 million. He hoped that the improvements could be done on an aggressive timeline so that people could see the results sooner.
For many more details on the proposed parks feature improvements, see pages 56-63 of the Board of Trustees packet for Dec. 5 at http://monumenttownco.minutesondemand.com.
Trustee Kelly Elliott had several questions about the methods used in the Triview Metropolitan District and how much oversight the town has in monitoring its water quality, managing its long-term water supply, and paying its huge debt. She wanted to know if Triview could present information to the town on a more regular basis and if the town could work more closely with them.
Lowe said, "It takes two to tango," and that his biggest frustration was not being able to guarantee the same level of service to town residents depending on where they lived. He said Tharnish had already been assisting Triview with advice.
Kaiser said it had already been arranged for joint meetings between the town and Triview, and that Triview District Manager Valerie Remington would speak about the "State of Triview" at the Jan. 17 Board of Trustees meeting.
Koger said that Triview has been a participant in the first two phases of the PPRWA regional water supply system and that the state limits how much water is pumped from Denver Basin aquifers and maintains safe drinking water standards.
See related Triview Metropolitan District article on page 14.
The meeting adjourned at 10:01 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 Dec. 19 meeting was canceled. The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 17. Call 884-8014 or see www.townofmonument.org for information. To see upcoming agendas and complete board packets for the Monument Board of Trustees or to download audio recordings of past meetings, see http://monumenttownco.minutesondemand.com and click on Board of Trustees.
If you would like to help OCN cover the Monument Board of Trustees by recording meetings or writing articles, please contact Lisa Hatfield at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The time and skills involved vary greatly from job to job. OCN will provide whatever equipment and training you need.
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Caption: Our 2014 crop of volunteers included, from left, Nancy Wilkins, Mike Wicklund, Wayne Claybaugh, RaeJean Claybaugh, Lisa Hatfield, Allen Alchian, James Howald, Jackie Burhans, Harriet Halbig, John Heiser, Chris Pollard, Arjun Gheewala, Janet Sellers, Mark Aggers, and Bernard Minetti. Photo by Wayne Claybaugh.
By James Howald
The Monument Planning Commission (MPC) met on Dec. 12 to consider three developments currently underway in its jurisdiction. Commissioners Kathy Spence, Ed Delaney, Michelle Glover, and John Dick were present. Commissioners Jim Fitzpatrick, David Gwisdalla, and Daniel Rathke were excused.
Two Sanctuary Pointe filings approved
The MPC began by considering the preliminary final plat for Carriages at Sanctuary Pointe Filing 2. This development is located north of Baptist Road and west of Fox Run Park. Filing 2 will consist of 48 lots in four tracts on 12 acres.
Monument town staff recommended approval of the preliminary final plat as it met all requirements, and pointed out that the developer had obtained a will-serve letter from Triview Metropolitan District (TMD).
During the comments from citizens on this project, resident John Bender asked about the status of a trail indicated in the site plan and expressed skepticism that TMD actually had the water required to serve the development. Residents Tom Olson and Susan Petti both commented on the potential impact to traffic and availability of water.
Joe Loidolt of Classic Homes, the developer of the project, responded that the plans did include a trail on the Fox Run side of the development.
The commissioners voted unanimously to approve the preliminary final plat for the project.
The board then took up the preliminary final plat for Sanctuary Pointe filing 3, which is located to the west of filing 2 and consists of 84 residential lots on 58 acres. Town staff pointed out that filing 3 also has a will-serve letter from TMD and that there is an unresolved question about access to a water tank that will be built on land that is part of filing 3. Commissioner Glover remarked that the access to the water could conflict with the construction of a trail. Town staff recommended approval with the stipulation that the access question be resolved.
During public comments on the project, Bender pointed out that construction of the trail would be the responsibility of the developer according to the municipal code. Resident Ann Howe pointed out that there were upcoming meetings to discuss the widening of I-25 scheduled for Jan. 24 at Library 21C at 1175 Chapel Hills Dr. in Colorado Springs and Jan. 26 at the Douglas County Fairgrounds.
The commissioners voted unanimously to conditionally approve the preliminary final plat for the project, with the stipulations that the trail and access issues be resolved.
Jackson Creek Townhome replat advances
The Jackson Creek Townhome development will consist of 40 townhome lots on 4.1 acres located on the south side of Lyons Tail Road just northeast of the King Soopers store at Jackson Creek Crossing. The developer requested a replat of interior lot lines to adjust the size of some of the individual lots by about three feet. Town staff recommended approval with the condition that the developer acquire a will-serve letter from TMD.
ommissioner Michelle Glover pointed out that the original approval for the development was given in 2005, and argued that the developer should have to go through the entire approval process again. Town Attorney Gary Shupp said that once approval is granted, it becomes a vested property right and can’t be revoked simply because development does not proceed soon after approval.
Chris Bremer, representing Global Homes, confirmed that the replat was requested primarily to allow for two-car garages for each townhome.
Bender argued that the development should include a road that would allow townhome residents to drive to King Soopers without driving onto Jackson Creek Parkway, which is already congested at the entrance to King Soopers. Several other residents felt the development would increase traffic congestion.
The commissioners voted unanimously to approve the replat with the condition that the developer acquire a will-serve letter from TMD.
The next Monument Planning Commission meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 11 at 645 Beacon Lite Rd. Meetings are normally held on the second Wednesday of the month. Information: 884-8017 or http://www.townofmonument.org/meetings/
James Howald can be reached at email@example.com.
By James Howald
In December, the Palmer Lake Town Council met only once, on Dec. 8. The meeting included a session of the Palmer Lake Liquor and Marijuana Licensing Authority as well as a Town Council meeting.
Once again, the council wrestled with the question of how to properly tax marijuana businesses, this time in light of the new license fees approved by the council earlier in the year. The council also passed ordinances to adopt a previously approved budget for fiscal year 2017 and to extend the town’s sales tax, and granted a new liquor license.
New fee on marijuana licenses has unexpected impacts on local business
In 2016, Palmer Lake passed an ordinance that raised the licensing fees paid by marijuana-related businesses to $5,000 per license. At the Dec. 8 Town Council meeting, Dino Salvatori addressed the council and described to them the problems the fee increase posed to his business, Palmer Lake Wellness.
In his remarks to the council, Salvatori pointed out the benefits provided to the town by his marijuana cultivation and medical dispensary business: He spent $1 million renovating an empty building that was an eyesore, he has contributed $5,000 to the Palmer Lake Fire Department, he has created 16 jobs in the community, and his business reduced illegal drug sales in the town. Over the five years he has been in business, he has paid the town $60,000 in taxes, he said.
Salvatori went on to point out to the council that his business holds not one but four different licenses, so the new fees will add up to $20,000 per year. His medical licenses limit the number of plants that he can grow based on the number of patients that have designated him as their caregiver, Salvatori said, and that means he can’t simply grow more plants to help offset the new licensing fees without also increasing the number of patients he supports. He would have to add an additional 270 patients to cover the fee increase, he said.
Salvatori asked that the licensing fees be reduced, and said if they remained at their current amount he would close his business.
Town Attorney Jill Hassman said that if the council wanted to change the fee, they would have to pass a new resolution to do so, and that could not be done at the December meeting.
Mayor John Cressman asked that the issue be tabled until January, adding that the intent of the council in setting the fee was not to be punitive. Trustee Rich Kuehster said that when the council considered raising the fee in June, he did not understand the number of licenses held by Salvatori’s business. Trustee Mark Schuler and Town Manager Cathy Green-Sinnard agreed that they had not understood the multiple license issue either. There was a consensus among the trustees that some time was needed to review the fees charged in other communities. Trustee Paul Banta added "Everyone here wants to get the fees down for you; you have a sympathetic board; we are going to do what we can." Finally, Cressman stated that Salvatori would need to pay $10,000 for two of his licenses by Dec. 27 to remain in business but could put the fees for the other two licenses on hold for up to one year, according to state law.
2017 budget approved; sales tax extended
The council also passed ordinances to adopt a budget for fiscal year 2017 that had been discussed in previous Town Council meetings and work sessions, and to place funds in the accounts specified in the budget.
Another ordinance was passed to extend an existing sales tax in perpetuity. The tax was approved by voters in November, but this ordinance was required to prevent a one-month gap in the collection of the tax.
New liquor license granted to Arlene’s Beans
The council voted unanimously to approve a liquor license for Arlene’s Beans, a Mexican restaurant and convenience store at 56 Highway 105. The convenience store portion of the business will sell beer, wine and spirits, but the alcohol may not be consumed on the premises, according to the license granted.
The two meetings for January will be at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 12 and 26 at Town Hall, 42 Valley Crescent. Meetings are normally held on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month. Information: 481-2953.
James Howald can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Lisa Hatfield
At the Dec. 5 meeting, the joint boards and simultaneous meetings of the Forest Lakes Metropolitan District (FLMD) and Pinon Pines Metropolitan District 1 (PPMD 1), Pinon Pines Metro District 2 (PPMD 2), and Pinon Pines Metro District 3 (PPMD 3) approved amendments to the 2016 budgets, approved the 2017 budgets, and certified mill levies now totaling 50 mills for all three Pinon districts. See the map on page 10.
Note: Forest Lakes Metropolitan District has no relationship with the separate Forest View Acres Water District in the foothills to the north.
Secretary James Bolton was excused.
Background on Forest Lakes Metro District and taxing districts PPMD 1, 2, and 3
FLMD, west of I-25 at the end of West Baptist Road, is a service district in El Paso County established in 1985; the residential portions are not part of the town of Monument, but the commercial section PPMD 3 is within the town limits. FLMD holds joint board meetings with PPMD 1, 2 and 3, which were established in 2004 when FLMD was reorganized into its current half-acre size.
Board members for all four boards are President George Lenz, executive vice president of finance, Classic Homes; Secretary James Bolton, vice president/project manager, Classic Homes; Assistant Secretary and Treasurer Doug Stimple, CEO of Classic Homes; and Assistant Secretary Joe Loidolt, president of Classic Homes. One board member vacancy exists now. Ann Nichols is the district manager for all four districts. District Counsel Russell Dykstra and Tom Blunk of CP Real Estate Capital, representing Forest Lakes LLC and Forest Lakes Residential Development, also attended the Dec. 5 meeting.
FLMD and the three Pinons plan to eventually include 467 residential lots in PPMD 1 and 2 and 215 acres of commercial development in PPMD 3. FLMD is the operating district responsible for water and wastewater services, drainage and stormwater discharge, roads, parks and trails, and landscaping and street lights for the three Pinons. The residents of Forest Lakes will reside in three taxing districts, PPMD 1, 2, or 3, and all of the property tax revenue will flow to the Pinon Pines districts in 2017.
FLMD will hold and control all the public infrastructure and will provide all necessary utility and general governmental services to the residents of the Pinon Pines districts subject to the terms of an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) between the districts. From 2007 to 2014, FLMD financed construction of the public utility infrastructure through the use of Developer Advances provided to the district at 8 percent interest. FLMD has no outstanding general obligation debt, but the Pinons have already or will incur debt along the way as construction proceeds in each district.
The Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility (UMCRWWTF) is owned jointly by Donala Water and Sanitation District, Triview Metropolitan District, and FLMD. FLMD has contracted with Donala to operate the water and sewer systems. Donala operators and staff personnel will also provide meter reading and billing services, respectively, to Forest Lakes customers. FLMD has contracted with other providers for maintenance of the other infrastructure such as the Waterfront Park.
2016 budget amendments due to bonds
On Dec. 5, after a public hearing at which no member of the public spoke, the board unanimously approved amended 2016 budgets for both FLMD and PPMD 1. Nichols said this was necessitated by the fact that they did "a pretty good-sized" bond issue in October. FLMD added a bit over $6 million to its original budget, and PPMD 1 added two more funds and the capital projects fund, which is the size of the bond issue, Nichols said. The 2016 amended budgets include:
FLMD − $12.9 million
PPMD 1 general fund − $19,000
PPMD 1 debt service fund − $67,000
PPMD 1 capital projects fund − $8.3 million
Nichols explained after the meeting that the bonds are limited tax general obligation bonds sold to bondholders in minimum increments of $500,000. The total amount held is $8.3 million, resulting in charges of 5.25 to 5.375 percent, and will eventually be paid back using revenue from the property tax mill levies in each district and the facilities development fees charged by PPMD 1.
Mill levies increased
The board considered a resolution to set mill levies for 2017 for PPMD 1, 2, and 3. (FLMD does not impose a mill levy.) They unanimously approved the resolution certifying 10 mills for operations and maintenance for the non-utility systems and 40 mills for debt service, totaling 50 mills each for PPMD 1, 2, and 3.
Stimple’s comment was, "The mills will hopefully be stabilizing now."
2017 budgets and appropriations approved
No member of the public spoke at the public hearings on 2017 budgets for FLMD and PPMD 1, 2, and 3. Topics mentioned during the budget discussion covering all four districts included:
• Loidolt: Fourteen homes are occupied now in the Forest Lakes development. We are now getting to the point where we will be able see approximately how much it costs to run the water and wastewater systems.
• Nichols: The surface water treatment plant will cost about $6 million total, and $4.5 million of that is included in the 2017 budget for FLMD, which will own and operate the plant. The drinking water plant, transmission line, and surface water intake from Bristlecone Lake will be started in 2017. Engineering is being done by Wright Water Engineers.
• Nichols: Money has been set aside for landscape maintenance, which will be performed by the same company that installed it, Bear Claw. They are required to maintain it for one year after they install it.
• Nichols: PPMD 1 is under construction now. It pays FLMD for expenses. I am still in the process of determining the methodology for allocating costs back to the three Pinons so that when assessed valuation is more substantial, this methodology will be in place.
• Dykstra: PPMD 3 is the commercial section southwest of the intersection of I-25 and West Baptist Road. It will interact with all the retailers.
The board unanimously approved the resolution for adopting FLMD, PPMD 1, 2, and 3 2016 budgets, as presented. They also unanimously approved the corresponding resolution to appropriate funds for all four budgets. Nichols provided OCN with the following 2017 appropriation amounts:
FLMD − $7.3 million
PPMD 1 general fund − $ 13,000
PPMD 1 debt service fund − $737,000
PPMD 1 capital projects fund − $0
PPMD 2 general fund − $ 6,000
PPMD 3 general fund − $4,000
Citizens advisory committee for Pinon Pines residents
Nichols said that the FLMD service plan required an attempt to form a citizens advisory committee when there are more than 50 homes owned by third parties. She anticipated reaching that number of rooftops in PPMD 1 by next summer.
Stimple said, "We have some pretty involved homeowners already," especially with respect to the parks, Bristlecone Lake, and Pinon Lake, where access is limited to district residents or to people who have purchased a permit. The consensus was that next summer, Nichols would send letters to all residents and also to those with homes under contract asking for interest in their participation in either the citizens advisory committee or the homeowners association.
Nichols said the service plan also required that one of the citizens advisory committee members becomes an ex officio member of the FLMD board.
PPMD 3 infrastructure fee discussed
The board also discussed the possibility of an Add-On Public Infrastructure Fee (PIF) for the PPMD 3 commercial property, which is inside the town of Monument. The PPMD 3 board would be the collection agent for the PIF, if it were adopted, and PPMD 3 would issue bonds to reimburse the cost of its share of the public infrastructure. FLMD would end up owning the infrastructure.
Stimple said he hoped the town of Monument would be very responsive to this idea as a sales tax generator, but that there was "a level of unpredictability where they are going to go on any given issue." Dykstra said whatever the final decision was, it would be recorded before any property is sold in that district. The consensus was to wait and see what the change in administration at the federal level might have on this topic before making a decision.
Other items approved
The board unanimously approved the following actions:
• Engagement letters with Hoelting & Co. for the 2016 audit for both FLMD and PPMD 1
• Fourteenth Amendment to Professional Services Agreement between FLMD and Ann Nichols, extending her contract to Jan. 2, 2018
• 2017 Annual Administrative Resolution
• 2017 Transparency Notices for FLMD and PPMD 1, 2, and 3. This information will be listed on the Special District Association (SDA) website as well as the FLMD website.
The meeting adjourned at 11:15 a.m.
Caption: The Forest Lakes Metropolitan District (FLMD) is the half-acre "operating district" responsible for the public infrastructure and utility and general governmental services for the residents of Pinon Pines Metropolitan Districts (PPMD) 1, 2, and 3, which actually collect the property taxes. The commercial area PPMD 3 is within the town of Monument, but the residential areas (PPMD 1 and PPMD 2) are in El Paso County but outside the town limits. The development is at the western terminus of West Baptist Road, west of I-25. Map courtesy of Forest Lakes Metropolitan District.
The next joint meeting of FLMD and PPMD 1, 2, and 3 is scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday, Feb. 6, in the Classic Homes office at 6385 Corporate Drive, Suite 200, Colorado Springs. Meetings are usually held the first Monday of each month. Meeting notices are posted on the district website http://forestlakesmetrodistrict.com and at 3625 Mesa Top Drive, Monument, which is an open space tract owned by all four districts. For general questions, contact Ann Nichols at 719-327-5810 or at email@example.com.
For questions about operations, billing, or meter reading, contact Contract Operator, Donala Water and Sanitation District, at 719-488-3603. The Donala Office is at 15850 Holbein Drive, Colorado Springs. For after-hours emergencies call: 719-488-3603.
For recreational matters or to request a permit, contact the Forest Lakes Residential Owners Association, Steve Emery, Hammersmith Management, 719-389-0700, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Forest Lakes Residential Owners Association manages Bristlecone Park and Lake and enforces covenants explained at www.forestlakescolorado.com, which is separate from the metropolitan district website.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at email@example.com.
By Jim Kendrick
On Dec. 8, the Donala Water and Sanitation District unanimously approved five resolutions for the 2017 budget—the 2017 appropriation, setting both Donala 2017 property tax mill levies (unchanged), a 4 percent increase across all water use rate tiers, and a $1 sewer service rate increase to $31 per month. The board opted to add a 10 percent increase to each of the eight commercial water tap fees as well as the commercial sewer tap fee for 2017. These commercial tap fees were last increased in 2007. The commercial water development fee was also increased by $1,500 to $6,500 to equal the existing residential water development fee.
End-of-year finance update
District General Manager Kip Petersen reported that total 2016 revenues might be 5 to 6 percent less than the total amount budgeted, while total 2016 expenditures will be about 8.3 percent less than budgeted. Water sales revenue for 2016 will be about $180,000 more than budgeted due to the fall being drier than forecast, resulting in higher 2016 irrigation sales. The district will use an additional $829,000 from a low-interest loan from the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority by the end of 2016 for a 2016 total of $1.4 million to pay for Donala capital projects. Wastewater revenues and expenses for the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility through November were down 28.4 and 25.9 percent respectively for the totals budgeted for 2016.
2017 budget discussion
Petersen said that there were no citizen comments on the 2017 budget prior to this meeting. There were no citizen comments during the open portion of the public 2017 budget hearing as well.
Petersen noted that Donala’s property mill levies in the first two resolutions will not change in 2017. The 21.296 mill rate that applies to most of the district property owners will raise $1.63 million. The 10.648 mill rate that applies to Chaparral Hills property owners will raise $3,047. These two mill levy resolutions were unanimously approved.
The board unanimously approved the third resolution for 2017 as presented, which estimated that total expenditures would be about $11.9 million and total revenues would be about $20.7 million. Petersen said the difference represents money already held by Donala "in the bank" in several mandatory cash reserve accounts.
The board unanimously approved the fourth resolution for the 2017 appropriation of this overall total of $20.7 million as presented. The board also unanimously approved the fifth resolution for 2017 rates as amended for the commercial fees noted above. Board President Dave Powell said, "Well done." The other directors and Petersen concurred.
Petersen stated that it is likely that Colorado Water Conservation Board low-cost loan availability will be significantly reduced for the next few years. He also noted that the 2017 Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority budget had been approved at the authority’s Nov. 2 meeting.
Laughlin Ditch water right due diligence
Petersen gave an update of ongoing due diligence work for the proposed renewable surface water right purchase agreement from the Gray Family Trust for a potential water right from Laughlin Ditch flows of 324 acre-feet of consumptive use surface water per year. This offer was presented to the district board by trust water broker Gary Barber at a special district board meeting on Oct. 5. This renewable ditch surface water could be reused to extinction. The trust also offered to provide seller financing for Donala’s purchase.
On Oct. 20, the Donala board unanimously approved a motion for Petersen and Donala’s water attorney Rick Fendel to conduct further due diligence investigations on the trust’s proposed sale to Donala and the final draft of the proposed sale offer from the Gray Family Trust. The purchase price for this water right was $3.8 million.
Petersen said he and Fendel had met with representatives of Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) in early November to discuss possible CSU assistance in treating Laughlin ditch water and delivering the potable water to Donala. CSU was still reviewing Donala’s paperwork.
The Laughlin Ditch is located near Colorado Springs Utilities’ Las Vegas Wastewater Treatment Facility near the U.S. Highway 24 exit on I-25. (See http://pubs.usgs.gov/sir/2007/5028/pdf/SIR07-5028_plate1.pdf)
Annual addendum to CSU treatment agreement approved
The board unanimously approved an addendum for the second year of a three-year agreement, including a 6.5 percent CSU rate increase for month-to-month water service by CSU for Donala during 2017. CSU transports and treats Donala’s renewable surface water from Willow Creek Ranch near Leadville that is stored in the federal Department of the Interior Bureau of Reclamation’s Pueblo Reservoir in CSU’s pipeline to a CSU water treatment plant. After treatment by CSU, this now-potable water is transported to an interconnection with Donala’s distribution system for direct delivery to Donala’s water customers.
The Holbein and Hull water treatment facilities will undergo annual cleaning during low demand over the next few months. Some control system upgrade and replacement work will also be performed at the Hull facility.
The Latrobe water tank line extension project is essentially complete. The line is active and moving water within the district. When the weather warms up, some asphalt work will be done on the Holbein Tank driveway.
Yocam Construction has completed the secondary Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility access road that goes under the adjacent railroad trestle to the north gate of the facility. Reseeding the area will be completed when the weather is warm enough.
The meeting went into executive session to discuss specialized details of security arrangements at 2:45 p.m. No announcements were made or votes taken after the executive session concluded before adjournment.
The next board meeting will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 19 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 Chris Pollard
The Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD) board met on Dec. 8 to hear the results of a further review of the water rate structure that had been prepared by Raftelis Financial Consultants, and to get updates from Randy Gillette, the assistant district manager. The board also approved the 2017 budget.
A motion to excuse Rich Strom from the last meeting was approved along with one to excuse Directors Brian Bush and Tommy Schwab from this meeting.
Public meeting on proposed water rates—revised proposal
A revised water rate proposal was presented to the board by Rick Giardina, executive vice president, and Rob Wadsworth, senior consultant, of Raftelis. They had been tasked by Jessie Shaffer, the district manager, to revisit the cost of service for non-potable customers and adjust other parts of the rate structure due to a misalignment in allocation of costs among the five categories of customers in the district. Residential customers were basically subsidizing the costs for the non-potable water system customers, Giardina said. He noted that the changes would be less than previously proposed rates but would still provide the needed 1 percent increase in overall district revenue. The question was how to achieve that among the various customer classes.
Two adjustments had been made since November. One new non-potable customer, a homeowners association (HOA), was classified as residential but should have been in the non-potable class (The district has only three non-potable customers: the golf course, the high school, and the new HOA). The other change was to the allocation of service charges that had been weighted toward individual customers, which made the residential class pay a disproportionate amount of the costs. The revised proposal bases costs on use and in particular commercial and non-potable irrigation customers that have a higher peaking ratio than the residential class. The current cost of service doesn’t reflect revenue from those, so the November proposal was a five-year change for non-potable water of 116 percent. The revised proposal would increase residential rates by 8 percent over five years, but the other four classes would have more of their actual distribution system cost allocated to them, Giardina said.
Wadsworth said this change in cost-of-service methodology now has the customer classes more appropriately sharing in the cost that the district incurs to serve their different types of demand. The five-year cost increase for non-potable customers was revised to 78 percent from the 116 percent that had been proposed in November. First-year increases are around 5 percent, rising to the mid-teens in the last three years.
Giardina said using a five-year transition period to the higher rates for non-potable customers would be better than spreading it out over 10 years, because meanwhile other customer classes were paying more than they should, and pushing out longer than five years would leave the burden with those customers longer than it should. President Jim Taylor expressed concern about the impact of raising the costs on the golf course.
The consultants reminded the board that the cost of service may change over time due to unforeseen circumstances and changes in growth, so the numbers in all five categories might need to be revisited in the future. Wadsworth summarized that as far as most residents are concerned, the monthly service charge goes from $9.01 to $9.20 in the first year of the five-year increases, and the less than 6,000-gallon volume charge per thousand gallons goes from $5.89 to $5.93. The new rates were subsequently approved by the board.
This was a continuation of the rates discussion from the November meeting. See www.ocn.me/v16n12.htm#wwsd1117.
Concern was expressed that the Tri-Lakes Waste Water Treatment Facility construction project was still not finished. TetraTech was still fixing issues with the new plant, which they thought at one time was supposed to be done in May. Shaffer said that a fire department inspection was the main hurdle.
Chilcott Ditch company is on track to borrow money to replace a siphon.
Gillette reported a problem where water from well 15 was supposed to be pumping into Lake Woodmoor. A valve had been incorrectly set, so for seven to eight days nearly a million gallons went into the backwash tank and subsequently the sewer. This has caused losses for the month to be driven temporarily to a 10 percent total, with 6 percent being unaccounted for. There was some discussion by the board about further training of the water operators to make sure this does not happen again. It was announced that a new operator had been hired with backhoe operation experience, a valuable skill.
Construction and planning projects
The new JV Ranch storage building was expected to be complete by end of December, and the Lake Woodmoor aeration system is fully installed.
Conditional approvals had been granted for filings at Misty Acres and the Dunes at Woodmoor developments. Inspections indicated conformance to the district’s construction standards. Once a certificate of approval is issued, tap permits will be granted.
The board went into executive session for matters subject to negotiation, legal discussions regarding the joint use agreement and contract for consulting engineering services with FEI Engineers Inc., and personnel matters
The next meeting is scheduled for Jan. 12 at 1 p.m. 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.
Chris Pollard can be reached at email@example.com.
By Lisa Hatfield
At the Dec. 13 Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility (TLWWTF) Joint Use Committee (JUC), the members discussed the almost-complete total phosphorus (TP) chemical removal clarifier expansion. Also, Jonathan Moore, a water resource engineer from Forsgren Associates, attended the meeting to listen to JUC members, which was the first step toward communication with the town of Monument and its engineers on questions about the town’s plans for treatment of radium in the town’s drinking water wells.
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 Assistant District Manager Randy Gillette. Monument Sanitation District board members Marylee Reisig and John Howe and WWSD board President Jim Taylor also attended the meeting.
Financial and construction report
Facility Manager Bill Burks said Tetra Tech, the facility’s engineering firm, had missed sending one construction invoice in July for the TP chemical removal clarifier expansion (The check was included with the checks for November). He said as of Dec. 13, Aslan Construction had still not sent its final invoice, either, but he was optimistic it would be received so he could write a final check to them before Dec. 31, as budgeted by all three of the owner districts.
Burks explained that the new TP clarifier expansion had undergone four fire inspections without getting a written checklist on what still needed to be done and that Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Marshal John Vincent had apparently not been sharing complete information about the construction with the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department. The Colorado Springs fire marshal was also participating in the inspections.
These Tri-Lakes/Monument Fire Protection District fire inspections have been an issue since 2015, when Tetra Tech was first surprised by the unprecedented requirement from the fire marshals to include a backup electrical generator for ventilation and temperature control in the chemical storage area. Several other requirements have surfaced since then. See www.ocn.me/v15n11.htm#tkfjuc1013 for more details.
Burks said Tetra Tech was working on forwarding the missing emails and letters to Regional Building so that it would have the information needed for a required department approval of the TLWWTF TP expansion as well. He said Aslan Construction would receive the written report from the building inspector.
Note: On Dec. 16, Fire Chief Chris Truty notified OCN that Vincent was no longer with TLMFPD, but no further explanation was given.
Conversation about town’s radium treatment begins with consulting engineer
After noting that GMS Engineering has already dealt with radium in other districts, Wicklund said he had asked Roger Sams of GMS to set up a meeting in January to be attended by:
• GMS Engineering staff
• Steven Farabaugh, the radium project manager from town water engineering consultants Forsgren Associates
• TLWWTF’s Tetra Tech engineers
• All three JUC member district managers
• The three JUC directors
"We have not really been in the loop" about the town’s proposed treatment process for radium in the town of Monument’s wells, Wicklund said.
See related Dec. 5 Monument Board of Trustees article on page 1 and www.ocn.me/v16n12.htm#tlfjuc1108.
Then Wicklund welcomed Moore and asked him how he happened to be at this meeting. Moore said he was there at the invitation of the town of Monument to just listen to what the JUC had to say. Moore is Forsgren’s project manager for several other current town water system projects, but he is not the project manager for the town’s drinking water radium treatment issue. However, the JUC members and district managers stated a long series of comments and questions for the town and Moore took notes on each to pass along to the town.
Wicklund’s comments included:
• This wastewater facility is highly regulated, and it is much more complicated than water treatment.
• We have to deal with disposal of biosolids, which can become an issue if they start to contain Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (TENORM) hazardous materials waste due to the radium treatment options that Forsgren presented to Monument on Oct. 17. See www.ocn.me/v16n11.htm#mbot1017 or the Oct. 17 board packet at https://monumenttownco.documents-on-demand.com.
• From MSD’s standpoint, we just really want to understand what is going on and how it is going to affect MSD, TLWWTF, our operators, and the community.
Strom’s comments included:
• We are very concerned about whatever decision is made. Whatever (the town) does with all this affects us.
• We appreciate the opportunity to participate in the process, because this is a systems approach. We can’t treat this (radium treatment decision) as if it has no impact on anybody else. That should be included in your scope of work with the town.
MSD Environmental Compliance Coordinator Jim Kendrick’s comments included:
• We are just trying to be transparent with you so that we don’t come up against a start date where we have not had a chance to do all the necessary MSD and TLWWTF engineering work and research. It’s a lot better when everybody is working toward the same goal.
• So far we have heard nothing from the town about what radium treatment methods are being considered.
• TENORM is federally regulated, and this pre-treatment might involve Al Garcia of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 8 Pretreatment Unit.
Questions that were asked, with answers desired at the expected January meeting that Sams would be coordinating, included:
• Was the $100,000 Colorado Rural Water Association (CRWA) grant the town applied for going to be used for hydrous manganese oxide (HMO) treatment or for ion exchange treatment?
• Would the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) come to MSD and/or TLWWTF directly to have Wicklund and/or Burks sign off on any kind of treatment?
• Would the town be paying for TENORM testing at TLWWTF since the town is creating this new requirement, not MSD?
The consensus of the JUC members was to start doing its own baseline radionuclide testing in January before it is required as self-protection. The members gave Burks several suggestions on other entities to consult with that already had experience with radium. Gillette said that baseline testing should be paid for by the JUC, not the town, since it was just to see where the plant was with Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (NORM) (not federally regulated) before the Town of Monument did any treating of radium into TENORM.
Plant manager’s report
Burks said CDPHE had just changed its position on when TLWWTF had to start testing and treating for phosphorus ahead of its new TP limits, which take effect on Nov. 1, 2019. The facility’s discharge permit states that it has to meet the rolling annual median (the median for the previous 12 calendar months) on that date, but without 12 months of prior data, it would have no annual median to report to CDPHE on the TLWWTF Discharge Monitoring Report.
Burks said $200,000 in chemicals could be saved if he waited until November 2019 to start treating for phosphorus with the new TP clarifier expansion, but Wicklund said it made sense to start treating ahead of time to make sure the plant would not have a violation in the first month of its new permit, would have enough monthly data for an annual median, and had been already proven to operate reliably in all kinds of weather.
Colorado Wastewater Utility Council report
Multiple metric indexing (MMI) aquatic life studies have been used for over a decade to assess the biological response of fish and macro invertebrates to nutrients in different stream segments. Members of organizations such as the Arkansas River/Fountain Creek Coalition for Urban/Rural River Evaluation (AF CURE) and SP CURE (South Platte) have paid for numerous independent studies using both U.S. Geological Survey and CDPHE standards to collect and publish MMI and instream concentration data to show CDPHE whether the nutrient levels, including various forms of nitrogen and phosphorus, are affecting the naturally occurring amount and variety of aquatic life species in a given stream segment. The basic premise of the CDPHE policy is that the "more" aquatic life of preferred types, the healthier a stream segment is, whether it is a warm, low-flow, shallow, sandy bottom stream such as Monument Creek or a cold, fast-flowing alpine stream above Lake Dillon.
However, Kendrick said that at the Colorado Regulation 85 Nutrient Management Stakeholder Work Group meeting on Nov. 1, Water Quality Control Commission Administrator and state attorney Trisha Oeth told the stakeholders that the EPA has declared MMI "not scientifically valid" for setting the interim nutrient values of Reg. 31.17. See www.ocn.me/v16n12.htm#tlfjuc1108.
Despite this news, Chris Theel of the CDPHE Water Quality Control Division Standards Unit talked about the proposed extension and expansion of Aquatic Life Policy 10-1 at the Colorado Waste Water Utility Council on Nov. 9. Theel’s message was that CDPHE is working on recalibrating the MMIs requirements, including increasing the spectrum of which type of aquatic life and what quantity of each type of organisms indicated that a stream was "healthy" and that they planned to increase the number of different organisms tested for by 67 percent. Kendrick reported this new set of standards would be done with no accommodation for variations in the state’s eight separate geographical regions.
Kendrick said this MMI recalibration would directly impact the replacement interim values for TP and total nitrogen stream standards, which would affect TLWWTF’s discharge permit in the near future.
"Mike (Wicklund) and attorney John Hall and I have been doing this for seven years," Kendrick said, referring to stakeholder attempts to inform and solidify decisions from CDPHE so that stakeholders such as TLWWTF could plan future capital investments without having the requirements increased as the years go by, causing the upgrades to be insufficient by the time they are built. Stakeholder groups also keep advocating for requirements that make sense for each specific discharger’s location, geology, naturally-occurring stream aquatic life, temperature, etc. as well as being achievable, affordable, and sustainable with reasonable user fees.
Kendrick and Wicklund said that Hall, who used to work with nutrient stakeholders in the Colorado Nutrient Coalition and the Colorado Rural Communities Coalition that Kendrick and Wicklund helped create, now will be working with the Trump administration to attempt to revise and reduce some of the actions that the EPA that have been achieved solely through executive orders.
Kendrick said that when he, Wicklund, and other Fountain Creek watershed wastewater plant operators first started AF CURE, the original mission statement was to aggregate specific data for advocacy concerning Reg. 85 to have the Colorado Data Sharing network forward to both CDPHE and EPA. He said mission creep has occurred since then, but more and more data is now needed "to know how to defend ourselves" against arbitrary decisions from CDPHE and the EPA. However, some members of AFCURE are balking at spending more money on additional studies as the data requirements increase every year, and there is now a discussion about whether to turn AF CURE into a 501c3 and hire someone to manage its numerous additional programs.
The meeting adjourned at 11:46 a.m.
The next meeting will be held Jan. 10 at 10 a.m. at the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility, 16510 Mitchell Ave. Meetings are normally held on the second Tuesday of the month and are open to the public. For information, call Bill Burks at 719-481-4053 or see www.tlwastewater.com.
If you would like to help OCN cover the TLWWTF JUC by recording meetings or writing articles, please contact Lisa Hatfield at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Lisa Hatfield
On Dec. 13, the Triview Metropolitan District Board of Directors approved the 2017 budget, which includes plans for roads maintenance starting this spring and continuing planning and investment in a non-potable water reuse plant. They also increased the fee charged of developers when they do not have sufficient water rights on the land they are developing. They summarized the increases in residential and commercial water and wastewater rates and in the one-time fees charged to developers for residential and commercial tap/impact fees that will take effect soon.
A large portion of the meeting included questions and answers from Town of Monument Public Works Director Tom Tharnish and a list of updates on current Triview capital projects from Engineer John McGinn of JDS-Hydro.
After this meeting, a Dec. 16 Triview press release stated that Triview acquired 500 shares of renewable water in the Fountain Mutual Irrigation Co. (FMIC) for $6.5 million.
Director James Barnhardt was excused.
Triview, on the east side of I-25, includes two-thirds of the population of Monument and is still growing at a rapid rate. Triview was created as one of the first Colorado Title 32 developer special metropolitan districts within the Regency Park development. Regency Park was annexed into the town in 1987. Triview 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. Triview’s water system is wholly independent of Monument’s Public Works water system located on the west side of I-25. The Town of Monument provides land use planning, police, and general governance for the district’s property owners.
2017 budget approved
At the public hearing for 2017 budget, resident Jason Gross asked what moved lower on the priority list in order to balance the 2017 budget. The answer was that a generator, two new wells, and some other items have been postponed. Also, cash was taken from reserve funds (savings) to pay for over $1 million of capital improvement projects in 2017, Cathy Fromm of Special District Solutions, the district’s accountant, explained.
Capital expenditures planned for 2017 include $830,000 in street improvements and at least $570,000 in water system improvements. The cost of the non-potable water reuse system will be determined this spring. The 2017 budget also includes two new full-time employees who will be starting in operations in March.
After briefly going into executive session in the middle of the meeting to confer with the district’s attorney, the directors brought the meeting back into public session and unanimously approved a resolution summarizing the revenues and expenditures for each fund, adopting the 2017 budget, and appropriating sums of money to the funds and certifying the general fund property tax mill levy of 35 mills.
Estimated for 2017:
• General fund revenue − $5.2 million
• General fund expenditures − $4.4 million
• Transfers to enterprise fund and capital projects fund − $1.3 million
• Water, Wastewater and Reuse Enterprise Fund revenue − $3.0 million
• Water, Wastewater and Reuse Enterprise Fund expenditures − $3.4 million
• Capital projects fund revenue − $845,000
• Capital projects fund expenditures − $1.7 million
Water development requirements modified
The directors unanimously approved a resolution modifying the water development requirements and the "in-lieu-of fee" that is paid by developers when they do not have sufficient water rights on the land within Triview that they are developing, said Water Attorney Chris Cummins of Monson, Cummins & Shohet LLC. The fee had been $6,500 per single-family equivalent (SFE), or $13,000 per acre-foot, which was substantially below market value. The new one-time fee will now be $8,500 per SFE, or $19,000 an acre-foot, which is more reasonably close to the costs for renewable water, Cummins said.
New 2017 water, wastewater rates and tap/impact fees outlined
In the manager’s report, District Manager Valerie Remington and the directors reviewed the new district tap fees and water rates that were already approved at several board meetings in 2016 and will go into effect in 2017. Here is just a summary:
On Feb. 1, new base rates and volumetric water rates for residential, commercial, and commercial irrigation and new wastewater rates for residential and commercial entities will take effect. The consensus of the directors was that conservation of water was very important as the district is still working on new sources of water besides well water from aquifers. McGinn said the rates "will have the number one impact on water use, so continuing to ratchet the rates will help user characteristics change in hopes that the demand curve will flatten out over next few years."
On May 1, new residential tap/impact fees that will only apply to new development will go into effect. They include water tap fee, sewer tap fee, renewable water fee, reuse tap fee, drainage impact tap fee, landscaping fee, road and bridge fee, review and comment fee, water meter fee, and sewer impact fee starting at about $19,000 for each apartment and $35,745 for each single-family home. Fees in Sanctuary Pointe and in the Creekside development off Leather Chaps Road (still in planning phases) are slightly higher.
New commercial, office, and industrial tap fees that will only apply to new development will go into effect May 1 also. They include water tap fee, sewer tap fee, renewable water fee, reuse tap fee, and a lot inspection fee. These fees are calculated based on water tap size, beginning at $55,000 for a 1-inch tap and range up to $1 million for a 4-inch tap, but then more fees are added for drainage impact, road and bridge, and review, with those calculations based on the type of business and the square footage of the building.
For more details and exact calculations for any tap fees, impact fees, or water rates, contact Remington for the complete set of five charts that show all the residential and commercial figures for the different sections of Triview.
Town public works director asks questions
Tharnish attended the meeting, as he has before, but this time he also brought a list of questions about operations in Triview.
Note: Employees of the town of Monument took over daily operations for Triview, and Triview’s employees became town employees, from 2009 to 2012 in order to save money for Triview. See www.ocn.me/v9n1.htm#tmd, www.ocn.me/v9n6.htm#tmd.
Remington will be presenting a more detailed "State of Triview" to the Monument Board of Trustees on Tuesday, Jan. 17 in an effort to increase transparency and communication between the two government entities. Meanwhile, some of the staff’s and board’s answers to Tharnish’s questions included:
• JDS-Hydro is doing preliminary planning for using non-potable reuse water for irrigation in eight of the district’s nine parks east of I-25. See details below.
• By Jan. 16 the district hoped to make an announcement about purchasing renewable water. See details below.
• The district is working on a detailed five-year capital project plan including water, wastewater, stormwater, and roads.
• Water Superintendent Josh Cichocki performs Triview’s stormwater and grease trap inspections.
Tharnish also shared with the directors some future capital plans the town has for its water system west of I-25, including:
• The town has a water master plan approved in concept through projected full build-out in 2035 that drives the capital projects.
• The town plans to have a potable reuse plant operating by summer 2020, which it will share with Woodmoor Water and Sanitation (WWSD). The town’s reuse system will also include a new tertiary treatment plant on land owned by the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility that will pump this treated town of Monument wastewater effluent up to Monument Lake before it is subsequently withdrawn from Monument Creek downstream by the existing WWSD pumping station at the Arnold Avenue bridge and pumped back into town for further town drinking water plant treatment to meet state drinking water standards.
• In the end, when Triview is built out and debt is paid off, its systems will become the responsibility of the town (if both boards agree to dissolve the district).
• We have a vested interest as citizens in your capital development.
• Maybe down the road the town could assist Triview on infrastructure or from an operations standpoint.
• or the four parks west of I-2. Triview’s nine parks east of I-25 are not the town’s responsibility.
Note: Construction of a new town-owned treatment facility within the special district-owned Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility property has never been brought up to the Tri-Lakes Joint Use Committee. See related TLWWTF JUC article.
While this discussion cleared up a lot of basic questions between the two entities, the consensus was that some other issues still need further communication, including:
• The town Planning Department approves applications for development within Triview, such as roads, parks, and housing developments, but Triview does not know what is planned until it is all built and takes over maintenance. The need for collaborative planning was expressed by both entities.
• Town Engineer Tom Martinez is the one Tharnish holds accountable for all inspections on new construction, but Triview Water Superintendent Josh Cichocki does other inspections. Better communication is needed between Tharnish and Remington so he can submit annual inspections reports to the state.
• Tharnish mentioned a grading problem near the new storage unit business on Jackson Creek Parkway. McGinn said a natural drainage point had been cut off and that the problem originated with errors in the planning drawings approved by the town.
• Tharnish gained consensus from the Triview board to participate with the town in a matching-grant money project to widen Jackson Creek Parkway to four lanes from Baptist Road north to Highway 105 around 2020. Triview maintains the road from Baptist Road to Higby Road, and the town maintains the section from Higby to 105.
• Two of the town’s water operators, Steve Sheffield and Nick Harris, spent time working on Triview’s water system from 2009 to 2012 and have input they could share about its operation. President Reid Bolander was receptive to inviting town staff and the Board of Trustees on tours of the current facilities and the idea of mutual assistance between the town and Triview.
Bolander suggested creating a document to guide all town and Triview staff in giving correct answers to residents with questions about which entity is in charge of what. In the case of plowing Baptist Road, Higby Road, and Highway 105, it is neither Monument nor Triview but actually El Paso County that is responsible.
Water tank, reuse, and other projects
McGinn presented an update on a few of the projects JDS-Hydro is working on with Triview. His comments included:
• After two years of work, the new 1.1-million-gallon water tank in Sanctuary Pointe is online now and is well within budget.
• Finishing the upper Sanctuary zone will allow construction in all of Sanctuary Pointe Phase 1 and portions of Phase 2.
• Well 9 will be the next well to be drilled, but it has been delayed beyond 2017 due to the district’s budget.
• Using reuse water would make less impact on aquifers and help the district meet peak demands by giving it more capacity in your potable system. By moving forward with reuse, we postpone the need to drill a new well.
• Triview already has some of the infrastructure it would need for doing non-potable water reuse at the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility (UMCRWWTF). (It had been used for non-potable irrigation of Gleneagle golf course that is now closed.)
• Triview needs to do either reuse or a new well in 2017. You can’t not do something.
• With change to water base rates and volumetric rates, in the next three or four years, you will start seeing the demand curve flatten as people conserve water to save money.
• Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) upgrades for the existing potable (drinking) water system are going out to request for proposal. A bid just based on lowest cost is not suitable for this project.
• State-mandated upgrades must be made to the UMCRWWTF wastewater treatment plant in the next few years.
The non-potable reuse water would only be used to irrigate the district’s parks, but due to the infrastructure, that water would not be available for residential irrigation.
McGinn said the second phase of the reuse plant could potentially add to irrigation for the elementary school. It might also include potable water, but the limitation right now was the district did not have a place to store the water. He said two possible pond locations were being considered.
Tharnish made several pointed suggestions to McGinn about specific technical requirements for the upcoming SCADA upgrade. Several times McGinn said to Tharnish, "I am way ahead of you." Monument Town Manager Chris Lowe interjected, "That would be a first! Sorry I shouldn’t have said that, but it’s true." He left the meeting soon after this exchange. See related Dec. 5 Monument Board of Trustees article.
The consensus of the board was that this spring, they needed to finalize the details of their five-year capital plan. It will include two to four wells, modifications and extensions to the existing non-potable water reuse plant, and upgrades to the wastewater treatment plant to meet new state standards. A multi-year roads maintenance plan will also be included using the input from Terracon Consultants Inc.
Checks over $5,000
The directors unanimously approved the following checks over $5,000:
• JDS-Hydro, Sanctuary Pointe pump station − $9,853
• Kempton Construction, Sanctuary Pointe transmission line − $18,455
• Schmueser & Associates, Sanctuary Point pump station, October − $254,556
• Schmueser & Associates, Sanctuary Point pump station, November − $108,825
• Colorado Special Districts Property & Liability Pool − $38,335
• Applied Ingenuity LLC, Well A-4 pull and video − $6,812
• Mech One, replacement heater − $6,240
• Bradley Excavating Inc., Agate Creek Drive and Saber Creek Drive stormwater projects − $54,288
• Terracon Consultants Inc., geotechnical engineering services − $19,600
• Monson, Cummins & Shohet LLC − $5,340
Remington’s report included:
• Drainage pipe installation is complete at Agate Creek Drainage.
• Detention pond clearing is complete.
• District operators recently earned one Class D water treatment and one Class 2 distribution certificate, and "they continue to strive for further advancement."
• Well A-4 equipment is being repaired.
• Water operators will assist with streets and parks maintenance work until a new full-time landscaping staff starts this spring.
• Contractors and water operators are on standby to assist with plowing when the district accumulates 4 or more inches of snow.
At 8:38 p.m., the meeting went into executive session to confer with the district’s attorneys. Remington told OCN that no announcements were made after the executive session.
Renewable water and bond refinancing announcements, Dec. 16
On Dec. 16, Remington sent out a press release notifying the public that Triview acquired 500 shares of renewable water in the Fountain Mutual Irrigation Co. (FMIC) for $6.5 million. FMIC owns eight water rights, with the most senior one originating in 1861. FMIC is run by an elected Board of Directors and overseen by all FMIC shareholders. "This water purchase is part of our ongoing strategy to ensure long-term water needs are met for our residents. We are especially pleased to find renewable water resources as the wells in the Denver Aquifer have a finite life," said Triview Board President Reid Bolander.
This is the third major water purchase for Triview in the last two years, Remington said. The two previous purchases were for ground water.
Remington also announced that the district process of refinancing its general obligation (GO) bonds closed on Dec. 16. "This will save the district over $800,000 in 2017 alone and approximately $3 million over the next five years. It was a big week for Triview with a lot of positive news," Remington told OCN.
The next Triview meeting will be held Jan. 10 at 5 p.m. at the Fairfield Inn, Mt. Herman Conference Room, 15275 Struthers Road, Colorado Springs. Meetings are normally held on the second Tuesday of the month. Information: 488-6868 or see www.colorado.gov/triviewmetro. See also "Triview Metropolitan District" on Facebook, or Twitter.com/@TriviewMetro.
If you would like to help OCN cover Triview Metropolitan District by recording meetings or writing articles, please contact Lisa Hatfield at email@example.com.
By Harriet Halbig
The Lewis-Palmer D-38 Board of Education discussed long-range planning and information security among other issues at its Dec. 15 meeting. Board President Mark Pfoff said he was resigning as president but will remain on the board. Also, several individuals and groups were recognized for their achievements.
Long-range planning discussion
Doug Abernethy of RTA presented a long-range planning update to include the steps the firm will take to formulate an action plan.
The group is analyzing the demographics of the district and the rate of development and population growth. Other concerns are cost estimates if the number or use of school buildings changes, a district-wide security assessment considering school environments such as sight lines and lighting, and a policy as to who has access to which areas of schools.
Abernethy predicted that the district will have an enrollment challenge in the next two or three years if the present rate of growth continues. The planning steering committee will meet three times to discuss these issues.
There will be community input by way of a survey regarding goals and preferences and meetings throughout the district. Abernethy stressed that the district is demographically diverse and he wishes to ensure that such outlying schools as Kilmer Elementary have equal input in the process. When possible, the community meetings may piggyback on another district event at the same location.
The committee includes representatives from all parts of the community, leadership from schools, students, and community members with a historical perspective on the district. He said, however, that he would prefer to keep the membership to 20 or fewer individuals.
The ultimate goal is to develop a master plan that would accommodate a variance in enrollment.
Public meetings will be announced on the website, but the dates will not be determined until after the winter break.
Pfoff resigns as president; roles of board members discussed
The board conducted a lengthy discussion of the roles of board members and the necessity to listen to one another and work together. Some suggested solutions were to attend conferences together or meet in pairs to get to know one another.
Pfoff stressed that it is inappropriate for an individual board member to express opinions outside of meetings because the public may assume that the opinion is that of the whole board. Once the board votes on an issue, that must be the only opinion expressed.
Pfoff also said that when he first joined the board he made a point of asking questions and keeping the kids of the district as his only focus.
Asked for her opinion, Superintendent Karen Brofft said she has served in many roles in education and found that what often causes problems is the inability to listen. One should seek synergy in a group instead of only forwarding one’s own agenda. If you feel misunderstood, you should ask for clarification.
Pfoff then read a letter to the board saying that he is much busier than he expected since his retirement from law enforcement and founding his own business. He said that effective Jan. 19 he will resign as president of the board but will remain on the board.
He said that in this way the board would have a month to reorganize as needed.
The board voted to accept the letter and thanked Pfoff for his leadership.
Applied Trust technology audit
Brofft reported on an audit of the district’s information technology (IT) by Applied Trust. The firm examined many aspects of the district’s IT and determined which areas required improvement. They examined possible vulnerabilities that would allow outside individuals and commercial entities to gain access.
Applied Trust determined that it is very difficult to access personally identifiable data in the district’s system, and that the district can determine who can control the data and how it can be controlled.
Brofft stressed that the district required a confidentiality agreement with the auditor before the study could be done.
Director Sarah Sampayo said that the district sent an email to the community announcing the hiring of Applied Trust and saying that there was no data breach. She wished to know the time period to which the email referred.
Director of Instructional and Informational Technology Liz Walhof said that she would look into the issue of whether in fact there was a breach, but an investigation at the time determined that there was none.
Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Wangeman said that the firm determined that no breach occurred. They did an audit to determine what they need to target for investigation.
Walhof commented that individuals continue to form their own opinions on the issue of a breach. She encouraged Sampayo to wait for the final report before drawing conclusions. Too much transparency in the process of investigation could increase vulnerability.
Board Secretary Matthew Clawson said that the district should have an annual audit by a third party to ensure that processes are up to date and secure.
Walhof said that it is also necessary to see the human part of the equation and not assume that any problem is technological. Ongoing professional development is necessary. In answer to a question from Clawson, Walhof said that passwords for staff and secondary students are changed every 180 days, with longer intervals for younger students.
Board Treasurer John Magerko also commented on the necessity to not share passwords.
Superintendent evaluation update
Magerko explained that the process for evaluating the superintendent’s performance was similar to that for teachers.
Pfoff said that the board had approved the midyear evaluation and had asked Clawson to perform any necessary negotiations with the superintendent.
Magerko praised Brofft for her efforts in getting to know the staff and said that the staff now feel that they are being heard.
Clawson said that he has met administrators from other districts who feel that the district is fortunate to have her. He thanked Magerko for his time and effort in doing the evaluation.
Pfoff said that he has heard from many teachers how much they like her and her support of them and the kids.
Sampayo commented that the district was high performing before the arrival of Brofft and therefore all credit should not go to her. She said that teachers and parents are also important.
Clawson agreed but said that Brofft is important in that she provides direction.
Pfoff said that the resolution is simply to recognize the superintendent and show the board’s commitment to her.
The board voted to approve the resolution, with Sampayo opposed.
Later in the meeting, the board approved the automatic one-year renewal of Brofft’s contract. The initial contract was for three years.
The board approved a revision of policy IKF regarding graduation requirements to include mention of district-provided online instruction.
The board discussed a new policy DCB regarding debt management. Wangeman said that this policy was created on the advice of the district’s financial advisor. The audit committee was also involved in its creation. The policy includes forms of debt, implications on credit, affordability, a debt issuance checklist, legal review, and other issues. The policy will be reviewed every five years.
The board recognized Palmer Lake Elementary School fifth-grader Lauren Baker for winning the Tri-Lakes Phone Book art contest. Lauren will receive a plaque and other items from the publisher, and the school will receive $500.
The board recognized the Palmer Ridge High School Cross Country Team, coach Larry Rudnicki, and assistant coach Rob Collins for winning the state 4A championship. Rudnicki said that the team also came in second in a national meet in California.
The board recognized Phyllis Robinette and Janet Sandstrom for renewing their national board certification. The renewal process includes submission of written documents, videos, and other analyses of their teaching abilities.
Lewis-Palmer High School student Meiling Melzer read a statement objecting to the choice of Thoroughly Modern Milly as the high school’s fall musical because she said it presents Asians as villains. She felt offended and unwelcome and found it especially offensive that this would be chosen as the musical during a year when the district is hosting a Chinese exchange teacher.
The teacher who chose the musical told Melzer that it was meant to prompt discussion.
Frank John commented that his son and others were on an alphabetized list that included family members, locker combinations, and grades and that the list was first hacked last December. He asked why the administration had not addressed the issue.
Before passing the consent agenda, that board discussed a few individual items
• Sampayo asked where student fees go when they are collected. Wangeman said that the fees go into the general fund and then for purchase of supplies. In the case of technology, the fees cover licensing and software. Bob Foster, director of Personnel and Student Services, also commented that such sports supplies as balls and arrows are consumable. Wangeman said that students on free/reduced lunch or otherwise disadvantaged are exempt from fees. She said that, during the recession, parents surveyed said that they would rather have fees and keep programs than cancel programs.
• Sampayo expressed concern about the density of development around the middle school. Wangeman said that the district wishes to be a good neighbor and is adding an access point at the middle school. The district is also talking with El Paso County about the access road leading to Palmer Ridge High School. Developers in the area are discussing ways to create paths in the area to keep the kids from having to walk along Woodmoor Drive.
The consent agenda was passed.
Caption: The Palmer Ridge High School Cross Country Team was honored as the 4A state champions this year. Photo by Harriet Halbig.
The Lewis-Palmer D-38 Board of Education meets at 6 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month in the district’s Learning Center, 146 Jefferson St., Monument. The next meeting will be on Jan. 19.
Harriet Halbig may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Lisa Hatfield
The Dec. 6 Donald Wescott Fire Protection District (DWFPD) Board of Directors meeting included approval of the 2017 budget, discussions about the status of Wescott’s Shamrock Station 2 at Highway 83 and Stagecoach Road, and future staffing constraints. The recent City of Colorado Springs’ full annexation of the southern half of the formerly dual-taxed area of the Wescott district will result in a drastic drop in future Wescott tax revenue in 2018. All revenue from the dual-taxed area will cease in 2019.
The board also agreed to delay putting Wescott Station 3 up for sale while adjacent neighbors researched their claim on the title to the Station 3 property now that the district no longer has a use for it.
Director John Fredell was excused.
2017 budget and appropriations approved
Chief Vinny Burns said that almost all overtime pay has been eliminated for 2017 as a cost-saving measure; however, some overtime could be authorized at his discretion to cover a catastrophic day with multiple sicknesses or true "red flag" fire danger days. The recent intergovernmental agreement between DWFPD and the City of Colorado Springs will cut the district’s service area in half and permanently reduce its revenue by about 33 percent in 2018 and by 66 percent in 2019. He said by the end of 2017, the district plans to have $1.3 million total in savings to help get through the next few years. See www.ocn.me/v16n12.htm#dwfpd1115.
The meeting included thoughtful questions from some of the directors and from five district residents: former Wescott board treasurer and volunteer paramedic Dennis Feltz, Gleneagle North Homeowner’s Association Treasurer Gary Rusnak, Gleneagle Civic Association representative Bill Lowes who is a former Wescott board president, Lois Williams, and Chris McCloy. Burns and Executive Administrator Stacey Popovich tried to show in the 2016 and 2017 budgets how much savings were being set aside in anticipation of leaner revenue years ahead and in what line item(s) those amounts showed up.
• Funds rolled over from 2016 − $1.07 million
• Total 2017 revenue − $2.28 million
• Total 2017 expenditures − $2.68 million
• Reserves set aside in 2017 − $311,900
Burns explained that because the district’s property owners had previously voted in favor of "de-Brucing," the Wescott board did not have a TABOR requirement to worry about and would be allowed to keep those extra funds in reserve.
The directors unanimously approved the 2017 budget, the resolution appropriating funds for the budget, and the resolution certifying the 2017 mill levy at 7 mills.
President Greg Gent read the 2017 district budget message, which included:
• It will begin the process of lean budgeting to ensure sustainability through December 2018
• Maintain operational expenses for two fire stations
• Decrease vehicle maintenance and fuel expenses
• Provide salary step increases for career firefighters
• Eliminate all overtime pay except for unforeseen fire danger and sickness
• Station 2 may not be staffed continuously due to reduction in staffing
• The district is chartered to provide fire protection and first response medical services
Burns clarified that the goal is to keep five staff members on each shift. One of them is the American Medical Response (AMR) paramedic paid for by AMR. DWFPD outsources its district ambulance service. A Wescott emergency medical technician (EMT) drives the AMR ambulance, and the contract with AMR helps defray the cost of that EMT/driver’s salary. AMR’s paramedic is not cross-trained as a firefighter. Assistant Chief Scott Ridings said that Wescott is a combination district that also includes volunteer firefighters, and said the district would be able to supplement the staffing next year when a firefighter is out sick or on vacation.
Shamrock Station 2 to remain open for now
Eliminating most overtime pay means that, "there will be times when staffing will be reduced," and on those days, all staff would operate together out of Station 1 on Gleneagle Drive. "But Station 2 will not be closed," Burns said several times.
District homeowner Rusnak stated that if the district starts losing employees, it might become necessary to consider closing Station 2 earlier. Ridings said, "I don’t think we are closing anything. We might sometimes redistribute the staff," and have volunteers fill in.
Note: Wescott calls Station 2 the "Shamrock Station." It opened in 2012 at 15505 Highway 83 after the land was donated to the district by David Wismer, owner of the adjacent 500-acre Shamrock Ranch property. The only debt the district holds now is a $1.2 million loan to pay for the building’s construction. See www.ocn.me/v9n9.htm#dwfpd, www.ocn.me/v12n4.htm#shamrock.
Mill levy steering committee in the works
The residents in attendance repeatedly expressed interest in helping the district with its planning for publicizing the reasons for the mill levy ballot measure they intend to place on the November ballot. Burns said a steering committee would start in January. The committee would also help determine the proposed mill levy increase that would have the most chance of success with voters.
The November 2017 ballot measure will ask district property owners to approve a mill levy increase to help pay for budget shortfalls due to the annexation of over half the remaining district by Colorado Springs. By 2019, Wescott will be operating on 33 percent of its current revenue, and it will be up to voters to say what level of service they want from DWFPD and are willing to pay for.
Burns said the steering committee meetings will be advertised well in advance to allow any or all board members to attend at the same time without concerns about violating the Sunshine Law if three or more directors (a board meeting quorum) happen to attend.
Long-term viability discussed
Feltz asked about the long-term viability of the district. Director Harland Baker said the district could last three to four years using the same operating budget as it has for 2017 and spending down its reserves. After that, "we would have to reduce staff." But he was optimistic that the mill levy might be changed from 7 to 9 or 10, that property values would also go up, and these increases would change the equation. The steering committee will look at those numbers in detail, he said.
Feltz asked if the board was exploring any other opportunities. "Like merging?" Baker said. "I think there are options available, but it takes two to tango. We could say ‘yes we want to merge,’ but someone else has to say they want to merge too to make it work."
Station 3 sale delayed
Burns first asked the question about what to do with Station 3 at 15000 Sun Hills Drive back in 2013 when construction of the new Shamrock Station 2 was completed. Selling Station 3 has been discussed on and off several times since then, finally culminating in last month’s decision by the board to hire a realtor and list the property for $195,000. See www.ocn.me/v13n5.htm#dwfpd and www.ocn.me/v16n12.htm#dwfpd1115.
However, on Dec. 6, the neighbors immediately adjacent to the property asked the board to delay putting the property on the market, because they had just become aware of the fact it might be sold. They said they knew of two people who said a 1984 warranty deed document stipulated that if the building ceased to be used as a fire station, it would revert the property back to the grantor, which was their property.
"We need a chance to do our due diligence," George German said. He and his wife Ruth were also concerned that if the existing building were converted to a home, it would violate covenants that exist in that neighborhood, and they were disappointed not to have been notified that the property was going to be put on the market.
President Greg Gent and Burns both explained the legal searches they had already done, and that this warranty deed had not turned up then. Also, Burns said it was not mentioned on the original copy of the deed. However, the consensus of the board was to delay putting the property on the market until these neighbors’ questions could be resolved.
The meeting adjourned at 8:45 p.m.
The next Donald Wescott Fire Protection District Board of Directors meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Jan. 17 at Station 1, 15415 Gleneagle Dr. Meeting are usually on the third Tuesday of each month. For information, call Executive Administrator Stacey Popovich at 488-8680 or see www.wescottfire.org. The district is also on Facebook.
If you would like to help OCN report on the Donald Wescott Fire Protection District by recording meetings or writing articles, contact Lisa Hatfield at email@example.com.
By Lisa Hatfield
At the Dec. 7 meeting of the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD), the directors approved a 2017 budget that includes a 6 percent wage increase and discussed the current hiring process and a proposed intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with Donald Wescott Fire Protection District (DWFPD).
2017 budget approved
The directors unanimously approved a resolution finalizing the 2017 budget:
• Total revenue − $6.1 million
• Total expenditures − $6.0 million
They also approved a resolution appropriating funds for that budget and a resolution formally setting the mill levy at 11.5 mills.
Then they unanimously approved a 2017 wage scale that reflects a 6 percent increase in base wages for all personnel with the exception of the chief and deputy chief, whose salaries will remain the same as 2016. Fire Chief Chris Truty said this increase puts wages 8 to 10 percent below comparable district’s average wages, but this was better than the 20 percent below average it was a few years ago. See www.ocn.me/v15n9.htm#tlmfpd0826.
The plan is to increase wages again next year to bring them closer to the average of those in comparable districts. Truty said he thought the current mill levy could handle that.
However, Truty said that the 2017 budget is the second in a row that sets aside less than $100,000 for future capital expenditures such as vehicle purchases or station improvements.
Hiring process under way
Deputy Chief Randy Trost said that of 87 applicants in the recent hiring process, 47 had correctly completed the application, making them eligible to take the written exam, and 34 of those people passed that exam. The staff has decided to conduct oral boards with those 34 and continue with psychological exams, physicals, etc. as they work to fill the four open positions and line up other qualified candidates for future hiring. Trost said the goal was to send new hires to the West Metro Denver Fire Academy at the end of January.
Wescott FPD requests IGA
Truty told the directors that on Dec. 6, the district received a letter from DWFPD advising TLMFPD that an IGA would be needed between the two fire protection districts by the end of January regarding fees TLMFPD would pay DWFPD for the disproportionate amount of aid DWFPD is providing. Mutual aid for fire calls would remain intact, but automatic aid is different and looking for clarification, Truty said. Note: This topic was not discussed in the public session of any recent DWFPD meeting.
Truty said that in the Jackson Creek and Fox Run areas of TLMFPD, it is DWFPD that answers a majority of the calls. "They are providing a level of service to us that we do not do on our own," Truty said. Wescott’s Station 1 on Gleneagle Drive is minutes closer in response time to the southern portion of TLMFPD’s service area.
The directors and Truty discussed many other details of these negotiations during the public session of the meeting. Vice President Roger Lance said he had heard from a Wescott board member that DWPFD’s Shamrock Station 2 would be closing and therefore sending all those staff members to Station 1 on Gleneagle Drive starting Jan. 1. Note: This information contradicts what was said at the Dec. 6 DWFPD board meeting.
President Jake Shirk said he had already talked with one of the DWFPD board members to request an informal relationship-building meeting between the two districts. Note: This information is inconsistent with what was said at the Dec. 6 DWFPD meeting.
See related Dec. 6 DWFPD meeting on page 18.
Truty said DWFPD’s Chief Vinny Burns requested an answer by Jan. 31, but the consensus of the TLMFPD board was that they had a lot of questions and clarifications to answer before they could come up with an agreement, and the next TLMFPD board meeting is not scheduled until Jan. 25.
The meeting adjourned at 7:23 p.m.
On Dec. 16, Fire Chief Chris Truty notified OCN that Fire Marshal John Vincent was no longer with TLMFPD. The interim fire marshal will be Battalion Chief Jamey Bumgarner, who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-484-0911.
Meetings are usually held the fourth Wednesday of each month. The next meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 25 at TLMFPD Station 1, 18650 Highway 105. For information, contact Jennifer Martin at 719-484-0911 or see www.tlmfire.org.
If you would like to help OCN report on the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District by recording meetings or writing articles, contact Lisa Hatfield at email@example.com.
By Jim Kendrick
On Dec. 9, the directors and county staff for the Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority board (BRRTA) completed their final administrative, final, and management actions. The board then unanimously approved the final resolution, which stated that BRRTA had completed all the design, finance, and construction requirements for all its improvement projects, fully repaid all the bonds used to finance the construction, achieved all of its purposes, and formally dissolved BRRTA. Paragraph 9 of BRRTA’s creating contract requires a vote of concurring approval of both El Paso County and the Town of Monument to terminate the creating contract and dissolve BRRTA.
The county staff and BOCC will now administer all BRRTA’s assets that have now been officially transferred to El Paso County and supervise the spending of BRRTA’s remaining $1.3 million on completing prioritized capital improvement projects within the county’s Baptist Road right-of-way.
After this last BRRTA meeting adjourned, the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners formally concurred on the BRRTA dissolution on Dec. 20 by unanimously approving a resolution to terminate the county’s contract creating BRRTA and to dissolve the authority. The Monument Board of Trustees is scheduled to perform the same actions at the regular Jan. 3, 2017 meeting to complete this dissolution.
For more information see:
Caption: This pre-2009 view of Baptist Road looks east from I-25 toward Jackson Creek Parkway and Family of Christ Lutheran Church and shows how the road looked before BRRTA widened the road and made a variety of other improvements. Photos courtesy of El Paso County.
Caption: This recent view of Baptist Road looking west past Desiree and Kingswood Drives shows how one of BRRTA’s projects starting in 2009 expanded the road from two to four lanes from Tari Drive to Jackson Creek Parkway. Photo courtesy of El Paso County.
Between 1997 and 2016, BRRTA completed multiple projects to improve the Baptist Road corridor. The most recently completed were the new bridge from Old Denver Road west over the railroad tracks and the roundabout at Old Denver Road. In 2006, voters approved a 1 percent sales tax collected by businesses and administered by BRRTA to fund the improvement of the interchange at I-25 and West Baptist Road. The sales tax started in 2006 and ended in the summer of 2016 done.
Caption: Yellow shows the BRRTA boundaries. The crosshatched area shows the portion within the Town of Monument. Map courtesy of El Paso County.
Caption: This recent view of Baptist Road was taken from near the same spot as the photo on the left and shows how the roead looks now. Tari Drive is in the trees near the top of the distant hill. Photo by Lisa Hatfield.
Project highlights of the I-25/Baptist Road Exchange expansion in 2008-09 included widening Baptist Road close to the interchange to four lanes and adding turn lanes, widening the road over I-25 to eight lanes, adding new traffic signals and modifying the ramps, and installing new water and sewer lines. Caption: The old I-25 bridge on the left and the new one on the right. Caption: Removal of the old bridge. Photos courtesy of El Paso County.
Jim Kendrick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jackie Burhans
The Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA) board met on Dec. 14 to hear owner concerns about Toboggan Hill and its new parking lot, to discuss the upcoming annual meeting and elections, and to finalize the 2017 budget.
Toboggan Hill concerns
Resident Janet Sellers spoke during the owner’s comments section to express concern about the parking lot work being done for Toboggan Hill. The back of Sellers’ property overlooks the popular sledding area off Deer Creek Road. Sellers raised concerns about the cutting down Indian sacred trees, unstable soil under the parking lot, lack of compliance with no-parking signs, and the impact of people from outside the neighborhood. She also noted that people use the hill at night and disturb the peace.
Board member Rich Wretschko noted that the plan is to replace any trees that are removed and said that the parking lot is stable and being designed so that runoff is better controlled. The board’s concern is community safety with the current situation making it difficult for emergency vehicles to pass. President Erik Stensland noted that there was community outreach to survey impacted homeowners. This was sent out via email, noted on the website and Facebook, and mentioned in the local paper. Each property owner adjacent to the hill was sent a postcard. Woodmoor Public Safety Chief Kevin Nielsen noted that a local news channel and online web sites mention Toboggan Hill as a great sledding hill. WIA is not able to prevent people from outside the area coming to use public spaces, he said.
The annual meeting will be at 7 p.m. Jan. 30 at Lewis-Palmer Middle School, 1776 Woodmoor Drive. There will be food and door prizes—you must be present to win. Elections will be held via mail-in ballot and during the annual meeting. All residents are encouraged to attend.
Board report highlights
• The board unanimously approved the 2017 budget, which will be posted on the website at https://www.woodmoor.org/budget-statements/.
• Fire hazard levels continue to be high; the board asks that residents not burn pine needles or garbage in their yards and be careful about disposing of coals from any fire pits.
• There have been a number of reports of packages stolen from porches in Woodmoor Park.
• Home surveillance company Ring offers a $25 discount for Monument residents available till Jan. 31 using the code 3monument (all lower case.) Product information is available at www.ring.com.
• Residents are reminded to check the ID of anyone who claims to be from a local utility such as water, phone, or cable—or anyone who shows up on your property unexpectedly. Call the utility or Woodmoor Public Safety to verify identity.
The WIA Board of Directors usually meets at 7 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of each month in the Barn at 1691 Woodmoor Drive, Monument. The next meeting will be on Jan. 25. 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
Temperatures were almost exactly normal during December, but it was drier than normal once again, with about half as much snowfall as normal. We did see a wide range of temperatures, bouncing from well below zero to the low 60s.
December started off a little cooler than normal, with some light snow on the 2nd. Highs held below freezing that afternoon as well. Temperatures warmed to normal levels over the next couple of days, with highs reaching the upper 30s to mid-40s. Winds kicked up as well ahead of a strong surge of Arctic air. This rushed in around 6 p.m. on the 5th with temperatures dropping from the 40s to the single digits by midnight. Cold air continued to filter into the region over the next couple of days, with light snow as well.
Highs only reached the low 20s on the 6th, then only the upper single digits to low teens on the 7th and 8th. Low temperatures dipped below zero as well each morning. During the period, 2 to 4 inches of powdery snow accumulated. This cold air mass was pushed to the east by gusty westerly winds starting on the 9th. This allowed temperatures to quickly jump to above-normal levels over the next few days, reaching the upper 40s to upper 50s.
The second week of December started off normal enough with high temperatures a little above average on the 12th, reaching into the 40s. Cooler air worked in over the next few days, with highs holding in the 30s on the 13th and 14th, slightly below normal for mid-December. Then, as often happens n our region, winds kicked up out of the west/southwest over the next two days ahead of a strong storm system. These westerly winds produce downslope (descending air) off the Rocky Mountains to the west. As air descends it warms and dries. This of course left us with temperatures well above average on the 15th and 16th, with highs hitting the 50s to low 60s.
But a big change was on the way as Arctic air was moving down the Plains states to our north and just waiting for the storm system to kick out of the region and allow the winds to turn from the west to the north. This happened quickly during the evening of the 16th as the Artic front moved in. Temperatures dropped 30 to 40 degrees in a few hours, hitting the single digits above and below zero by midnight. Cold air continued to filter in at the same time the atmosphere began to moisten up. The extremely cold air was very efficient at squeezing out any moisture available, with 3 to 6 inches of fluffy snow accumulating from late that evening through early the next afternoon.
Cold air held a tight grip on the region on the 17th, with daytime highs barely breaking zero degrees. Lots of sunshine returned that afternoon and into Sunday the 18th, but temperatures only managed to warm into the mid-20s to end the weekend.
The week of Christmas started quiet and seasonably cool but ended with snow and wind just in time for Christmas Day. Temperatures started off the week of the 19th on the cool side, as some fresh snow and clear skies allowed morning temperatures to drop well into the single digits. However, plenty of sunshine and gusty winds warmed things up quickly on the 20th. Highs reached the low 50s that afternoon and, because the winds continued through the night, low temperatures were not very low, staying above freezing in many locations. Cooler air began to work into the region over the next couple of days, knocking temperatures back to normal. Also, a switch to east/southeasterly winds allowed a little fog and a few flurries to develop during the afternoon of the 22nd. Westerly winds along with lots of sunshine quickly returned on Friday and Christmas Eve. This warmed temperatures back to above-normal levels, with highs hitting the upper 40s to low 50s each day.
But this was ahead of a very powerful storm system that was dropping out of the Pacific Northwest toward Colorado. Unfortunately for those of us who love lots of snow, this storm moved just a little too far north and too quickly through the region to produce heavy snow for us, although the mountains did well. But it did pack enough punch to produce 1 to 3 inches of snow early Christmas morning, making for a beautiful white Christmas. The storm really strengthened just to our east, and the tight pressure gradient from the storm allowed winds to blow hard most of Christmas Day. Wind gusts reached over 70mph in some spots around the Palmer Divide and over 100mph near Boulder. The storm was quite energetic, as evidenced not only by the winds but also the fact that a few thunderstorms developed that morning in southern Elbert County; pretty unusual for December—good thing Santa was already done in the area.
The month ended on a quiet note with temperatures generally above normal. Highs reached the mid- to upper 40s on the 27th and 28th, then cooled slightly to the 30s on the 29th. But gusty winds on the 30th allowed low 50s to return before one final dip to the 30s on New Year’s Eve. From the 26th through the 31st, no precipitation fell, ending the month on a dry note and just what was expected after a near record dry fall and early winter.
A look ahead
January temperatures can be the coldest temperatures of the year, but there is often a proverbial "January thaw" where mild temperatures make a brief appearance. Precipitation is on the low side, with amounts generally less than an inch. The month has numerous sunny and windy days, with quick shots of snow in between.
December 2016 Weather Statistics
Average High 38.7° (+0.2°)
100-year return frequency value max 50.5° min 32.6°
Average Low 13.2° (+0.8°)
100-year return frequency value max 22.4° min 5.4°
Monthly Precipitation 0.69" (-0.32", 31% below normal)
100-year return frequency value max 2.82" min 0.00"
Monthly Snowfall 9.7" (-8.0", 45% below normal)
Highest Temperature 60° on the 15th
Lowest Temperature -11° on the 17th
Season to Date Snow 15.0" (-24.9", 62% below normal) (the snow season is from July 1 to June 30)
Season to Date Precip. 6.90" (-4.19", 48% below normal) (the precip season is from July 1 to June 30)
Heating Degree Days 1211 (-16)
Cooling Degree Days 0 (0)
Caption: After a sunny Christmas Eve in the upper 40s, the Tri-Lakes area awoke to a winter wonderland on Christmas Day after snow fell overnight. This made for picturesque sights around the area, including the gazebo at Fox Run Regional Park. Photo by David Futey.
Bill Kappel is a meteorologist and Tri-Lakes resident. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
True holiday spirit in action
"Oh what fun it is ..." to be bell ringing at Safeway on a balmy Friday morning just before Christmas. Spirits were bright and faces smiling as the folks approached the doors. I was so very pleased at the response as coins and dollars were generously pushed into the red kettle. Individuals and families were filling the kettle and parents were teaching their children to joyfully put in a donation. All of this made me smile and "blessings and Merry Christmas" fall easily off my tongue the two hours I spent ringing that tiny bell.
During this time, the holiday spirit was exhibited in an incident that needed some of the staff of Safeway to assist a lady who had fallen ill. The staff held her and consoled her and her friend while an emergency call was made. Monument police and Tri-Lakes EMT responded quickly. I was pleased to see the gentle way each handled the situation until the lady was taken in the ambulance to the hospital.
Congratulations to them. The true holiday spirit. Thank you everyone.
By the staff at Covered Treasures
Want to make 2017 the best year ever? Here are some great reads to get you started, from exploring our world to living well.
Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders
By Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras, and Ella Morton (Workman Publishing) $35
Inspiring equal parts wonder and wanderlust, Atlas Obscura celebrates over 600 of the strangest and most curious places in the world. It revels in the weird, the unexpected, the overlooked, the hidden, and the mysterious. Every page expands our sense of how strange and marvelous the world really is. And with its compelling descriptions, hundreds of photographs, surprising charts, and maps for every region of the world, it is a book you can open anywhere.
Parent Hacks: 134 Genius Shortcuts for Life with Kids
By Asha Dornfest (Workman Publishing) $12.95
Here’s an indispensable collection of 134 simple, unexpected solutions to kid-related problems. Drawn from a community of real-life MacGyvers—fellow parents who share their flashes of problem-solving genius—these inspired hacks cover all phases of life with kids, including pregnancy, sleep, eating, bath time, travel, and more.
Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
By Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D. (Random House) $16
Dweck explains why it’s not just our abilities and talent that bring success—but whether we approach our goals with a fixed or growth mindset. She makes clear why praising our children’s intelligence and ability doesn’t foster self-esteem and lead to accomplishment but may actually jeopardize success. With the right mindset, we can motivate our kids and help them to improve in school, as well as reach our own goals, personal and professional.
Big Magic; Creative Living Beyond Fear
By Elizabeth Gilbert (Riverhead Books) $16
Sharing her unique perspective on creativity, the author offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love and how to face down what we most fear. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the talents that are hidden within each of us.
Play Anything: The Pleasure of Limits, The Uses of Boredom, and The Secret of Games
By Ian Bogost (Hachette Books) $26.99
Life is boring: filled with meetings and traffic, errands, and emails. Nothing we’d ever call fun. But what if we’ve gotten fun wrong? In Play Anything, visionary game designer and philosopher Ian Bogost shows how we can overcome our daily anxiety: by transforming the boring, ordinary world around us into one of endless, playful possibilities.
Younger Next Year for Women and Younger Next Year for Men
By Chris Crowley and Henry S. Lodge, M.D. (Workman Publishing) $12.95
Bestselling references for over 15 years, each edition addresses the specific aging issues of men and women. Menopause, cardiac disease, osteoporosis, prostate issues, sexuality, and many other topics are covered. These books are bibles of information on aging. "A must-read for anyone interested in being active and living well when they are seventy, eighty, and ninety-plus."
Food Anatomy: The Curious Parts & Pieces of Our Edible World
By Julia Rothman (Storey Publishing) $16.95
Get your daily allowance of recommended facts and fun with Rothman’s third installment of her best-selling Anatomy series. Delve into the culinary world with this delightful visual tour of cookery and international cuisine. Histories and curiosities of food around the world are illustrated and explained with Rothman’s uniquely charming style.
Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations
By Thomas Friedman (Farrar, Straus & Giroux) $28
Friedman exposes the tectonic movements that are reshaping the world today and explains how to get the most out of them and cushion their worst impacts. His thesis: to understand the 21st century you need to understand that the planet’s three largest forces—Moore’s law (technology), the Market (globalization), and Mother Nature (climate change and biodiversity loss)—are accelerating all at once. These accelerations are transforming five key realms: the workplace, politics, geopolitics, ethics, and community.
We at Covered Treasures wish each of you a healthy and interesting 2017. Until next month, happy reading.
The staff at Covered Treasures can be reached at email@example.com.
By Harriet Halbig
Make a resolution to get involved at the library during the new year. We have programs for toddlers and seniors and everyone in between. Weekly discussion groups, free math tutoring, a book club, and a yoga class are among the offerings for adults at the Monument Library. Toddler Time and Story Time are weekly features. There are also programs by community members about such subjects as travel, cooking, and health issues.
January’s Family Fun program from 2:30 to 3:30 on Saturday, Jan.14 is a presentation by the Black Falcon School of Arms. Travel back to the middle ages and come to Knight School. See a 15th-century fully armored combat demonstration and learn about sword-fighting techniques from instructors from the Black Falcon School of Arms. Learn about sword-fighting myths and which are true.
The Lego Build Club will meet from 10 to 11:30 on Saturday, Jan. 21. We provide the Legos and you bring your imagination.
January’s Homeschool program on Monday, Jan. 30 from 1:30 to 2:30 is All About Insects. Adam Strong and Kellie Kuhn from the Air Force Academy Biology Department will bring insect specimens and explain their role in nature and their life cycles.
Come to the library for Teen Gaming on Saturday, Jan. 7 from noon to 2 p.m. Join us for table top games, card games and Wii video games. We encourage attendants to bring any kind of game they would like to play. Please keep things age appropriate. For teens ages 12 to 18, no registration is required.
An intergenerational knitting group meets at the library on the first and third Wednesday of each month from 3 to 4:30. January meetings will be on the 4th and the 18th. Practice materials are provided but attendees are encouraged to bring their own materials. Some instruction provided for those new to knitting.
Join us from 3 to 4 on Saturday, Jan. 7 for Youtuber Basics, a class taught by a teen for other teens. Registration required.
The Monument Library Teen Advisory Board will meet on Friday, Jan. 13 from 4 to 5 p.m. Help us plan future events and parties for teens at the library. Meet us in the study room for snacks and conversation. No registration required.
Every Monday (following the D-38 schedule) come to the library between 3:30 and 7 for free math tutoring. AfterMath offers the services of experienced math tutors at no charge. No AfterMath on Jan. 2 or 16 due to school and library closings.
The Teens Arts and Crafts Open Studio will take place on Wednesday, Jan. 25 from 4 to 6. Come use our meeting room as space to create. Supplies will be provided as available; however, feel free to bring whatever materials you are currently working with and use the space. No registration required.
Join us on the first and third Wednesday of each month from 3 to 4:30 for an intergenerational knitting group. Practice materials are provided, but attendees are encouraged to bring their own materials. Some instruction is provided for those new to knitting.
The January Second Thursday Craft on Jan. 12 from 2 to 4 is origami. Taught by Connie Stanton, all materials will be provided. Registration is required and opens a week before the class.
On the second Friday of each month, come to the library between 9 and 10 for our Computer Help Lab. This is an informal session to help with your computer questions. Registration is required and opens one week before the class.
Join Pikes Peak Library District’s first established yoga group at the Monument Library every Thursday from noon to 1. The first class of the new year will be held on Jan. 12. Classes are held following D-38’s calendar.
The Monumental Readers will meet from 10 to noon on Friday, Jan. 20 to discuss Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah. All patrons are welcome to attend this monthly book group, and no registration is required.
Join paper-crafting teacher Theresa Pingel on Friday, Feb. 3 from 10:30 to noon for Valentine’s Day card-making and other paper crafts. Anyone age 14 and up is welcome. Please bring scissors and your favorite adhesive if possible. Space is limited and registration is required online or at 488-2370.
Art on the walls and in the display case during January will be provided by Palmer Ridge High School art students.
Palmer Lake Library Events
The Palmer Lake Book Group meets at 9 a.m. on the first Friday of each month. Please call 481-2587 for the current selection. All patrons are invited to attend this monthly book group.
The Third Saturday at Palmer Lake program on Saturday, Jan. 21 will be a craft program presented by the Palmer Lake Art Club. The program is open to all ages, and no registration is required.
See also the caption in Snapshots Of Our Community.
Please note that all Pikes Peak Library District facilities will be closed on Monday, Jan. 16 in observance of Martin Luther King Day.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Sigi Walker
On Nov. 17, 20 brave people gathered during a snowstorm to hear local historian Jack Anthony present the debut of his new program, A Tale of Two Husteds, as part of the Society’s Monthly History Series. Anthony included slides and a short video in his presentation.
A Tale of Two Husteds documents the two adjacent "tank towns" of East Husted and West Husted. Beginning in the late 1890s, the two Husted depots, midway between Colorado Springs and Palmer Lake, became a place for the D&RG and ATSF railroads to pick up passengers and shipments of agricultural products. The towns grew into thriving communities until the 1920s, when they went into decline as the number of automobiles increased.
In the mid-1950s, the development of the U.S. Air Force Academy resulted in the removal or demolition of the remaining buildings. Only the Reynolds Ranch House remains in its original location and can be seen east of Interstate 25 on the property of the Western Museum of Mining & Industry (WMMI) on Colorado Springs’ north side.
Anthony is well-known for his advocacy to list the Palmer Lake Star on the State Register of Historical Properties. He is a graduate of the Air Force Academy and for almost 40 years has served in various military, intelligence, and NASA roles as an engineer, educator, leader, and operator.
Caption: Reynolds Ranch House remains as a last vestige of the two Husteds. Photo by Mike Walker.
Caption: Historic photo of D&RG railroad "Husted" station sign. Photo courtesy of Larry Green.
Mark your calendars for two dates in January. On Tuesday the 17th, Anthony will repeat his presentation of A Tale of Two Husteds. Note that this is a joint program of the WMMI and the Palmer Lake Historical Society and that the venue is the WMMI, located at 225 North Gate Blvd. (use I-25 Exit 156). The event is free and open to all. Light refreshments will be served before the presentation. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the program begins at 7.
On Thursday the 19th, the Annual Potluck and Membership Meeting will be held at the Palmer Lake Town Hall from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The Historical Society furnishes the ham, rolls, coffee, and tea. Attendees are asked to bring a salad, side dish, or dessert. Local artist Joe Bohler will entertain with his rousing style of honky tonk piano. This program is free and open to all.
Caption: On Dec. 14, the Haunted Mines haunted house presented the Western Museum of Mining & Industry (WMMI) with a check for the 2016 donation amount of $111,456. The Haunted Mines operates on the museum property on North Gate Boulevard and acts as a fundraiser for the museum, which is a 501c3. From left, board Treasurer Mark Yoder and Executive Director Richard Sauers accepted the check for the museum from Haunted Mines President/CEO Angel Nuce and representative Ken Quigley. Information on the museum is at www.wmmi.org and information on Haunted Mines is at www.hauntedmines.org. Photo by David Futey.
Caption: Through the end of January, the Western Museum of Mining & Industry (WMMI) will display an exhibit on model trains and historic train photographs. The exhibit, created by museum volunteer Johnnie Zeornes and museum staff person Audrey Gregg, shows the differences in model trains, from N gauge with a 9mm distance between rails, to G gauge with a 45mm distance between rails. O gauge and HO gauge trains will be operated periodically by museum personnel. Also included in the exhibit is a display on how to create scenery, a handmade railroad from around 1910, and information on railroad history such as the joining of the transcontinental railroad. The exhibit walls are lined with rare William Henry Jackson photo prints from the museum collection. The photos depict railroads at various locations in Colorado as Jackson was commissioned by railroad companies to take promotional photos to draw the interest of Eastern travelers. Information on this and upcoming events at the museum is at www.wmmi.org. Photo by David Futey.
By Janet Sellers
"Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud"—Maya Angelou
Happy New Year, dear readers. One of my students sent me a clip of Maya Angelou talking about the people who have been rainbows in her life, and of course that changed my whole new year’s outlook to write about art for you. I’d like to think about what our art and creativity brings into the new year for all of us and share that idea.
In the clip, Angelou explains that she "brings everyone" with her in her life: on stage, into her writing and classes and more. Also, that she is "never alone" because all her memories of friends are with her. That is vital to remember in the cold, dark winter times, especially for creatives. Not only for us as we go about our days, but also for our art that greets new and old friends in homes, offices, and museums if we are so lucky, and art venues of all kinds.
Many cities and nations have had centuries of looking at art integrated into their buildings, town squares, and corners. When we see that a human hand has touched and made something for us to look at and enjoy, it also touches us inside warmly, and that feeling lingers as long as we feel like resonating with it. We can recall artwork we’ve seen and enjoyed in memory and relive that, too.
In our area, we have a number of art venues that are unconventional and some that are conventional, such as galleries and dedicated arts venues. Our installed public art numbers over three dozen outdoor pieces with the benefit of Tri-Lakes Views and such sponsors. Each spring, Tri-Lakes Views holds a call for artists to submit sculptures for the annual exhibit spots all over our community. Stay tuned for the next call for artists, I think it is coming up very soon.
Our most precious and oldest—hundreds of years old—outdoor art forms in our community are in our local forests, particularly in the Monument Preserve. While the trees have been here longer than any of us, we have needed to be educated to notice and appreciate them as cultural art forms that we need to protect for future generations from misguided utility installations (we lost a wonderful tree to some power line installations that could have spared the tree), uninformed fire mitigation efforts (the older trees are fire resistant anyhow), and so on.
The ancient trees are greatly endangered by the ill-informed and we can never get the trees back if they are harmed in any way, because even the Indians no longer know how to make the trees, what they mean in all their many details, and so on. All we know is that the trees are here, have sacred meanings and sacred origins, and must be protected now or we won’t have them in the future.
For many, the spirit trees, or Sacred Prayer Trees, have become a common sight nowadays thanks to increased attention by nature lovers in our area and authors such as John W. Anderson and his book, Ute Indian Prayer Trees of the Pikes Peak Region, and the many new "friends" of the trees Anderson has introduced through his informative walks and talks all over Colorado. He has a second book coming out this year, and I hear it is about a broader region of the Rocky Mountains and the spirit trees’ wider range.
Ute Sacred Prayer Trees in Monument Preserve
The easiest sacred trees for me to locate (I’m really good at getting lost in the forest but at the same time enjoying the adventure) are the Sacred Prayer Trees on the eastern side of the Monument Preserve, and there are many of these kinds of trees throughout the preserve as well as the forests of the Pikes Peak region. A number of the trees I have loved seeing there I learned about from Anderson’s informative walks, and they are confirmed Ute Indian culturally modified trees. We can easily detect their presence in the forest by noting the unusual leanings, bends, and shapes among the straight, skyward-reaching ponderosa pines.
The Ute Indians have, for many hundreds of years, modified ponderosa pines into shapes that reflect prayerful intention, and the trees were visited annually by the families who cherished them and what they embody in meaningful forms. Although some people today may not understand the mystery behind the trees as fully as the Native Americans who created them, it is clear that they are important living cultural artifacts to be protected and treasured by contemporary stewards of the preserve.
Often, the culturally modified trees also align with the stars, proving advanced celestial knowledge as well as relationships to navigating the Front Range and Pikes Peak. We are fortunate to have the Friends of Monument Preserve, right here in our area, and they are looking for helpers and volunteers. The group can be reached at www.fomp.org.
Call for artists
Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts—Artist call: Visions of Light; entry deadline is Jan. 16, exhibit dates Feb. 28 to March 24. Contact Lynn Roth: email@example.com or 719-649-4241.
Janet Sellers is a local fine artist, writer, and art teacher. She has public art and sculptures in many Colorado cities, local drawing and painting classes for all ages, and welcomes your art questions. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Caption: A Ute Indian Prayer Tree is easily seen from the path on the east side of the Monument Preserve. Orange coloring in the bark denotes that it is hundreds of years old, and ponderosas can live to be 600 to 800 years old. Photo by Janet Sellers.
Lions contribute to TLC, Nov. 28
Caption: The El Paso County Tri-Lakes Lions Club presented a $3,000 contribution to Tri-Lakes Cares (TLC) in support of its Healthy Choices Diabetes Prevention program on Nov. 28. Pictured, from left, are Peter Pintus of the Tri-Lakes Lions, Executive Director Haley Chapin of TLC, Development Manager Christine Bucher, and Dave Prejean, Tri-Lakes Lions president. Lions Clubs, also known as "The Knights of Sight," is a worldwide service organization focused on assisting with vision challenges, including the Lions Clubs program KidSight for K-3 early vision screening and to help identify and resolve childhood and adult vision issues. We would love to chat with new volunteers in our Tri-Lakes community interested to come help everyone see into a better future. Our Lions Club International mission is simple: "We Serve!" See www.e-clubhouse.org/sites/elpasoctl/ for more information. Photo courtesy of Gordon Reichal.
Monument Open House, Nov. 30
Caption: On Nov. 30, the Monument Planning Commission hosted a Community Open House at the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce to invite the public to provide their opinions on how Monument should grow. The event, which was open from 4 to 7 p.m., featured display boards on tables that lined the meeting room. Members of the committee working to update the Town of Monument Comprehensive Plan were on hand to staff each display and answer any questions. The firm Community Matters Inc. was hired by the Town of Monument to guide the update process, along with a 15-member Community Advisory Group of individuals from other community organizations, including the Lewis-Palmer Board of Education and the Triview Metropolitan District. Attendees had the opportunity to ask questions, review survey results and maps, and add their own comments and suggestions on the display. A presentation summarizing the plan review and update process is available on the Town of Monument website at http://www.townofmonument.org/departments/comprehensive-plan/ along with a copy of the 2003 version of the Comprehensive Plan. Additional community meetings are planned for January, with a completion target of the end of February. Photo by Jackie Burhans.
Pearl Harbor Vet at LPMS, Dec. 1
By Lisa Hatfield
On Dec. 1, retired Navy Lt. Jim Downing told students, teachers, and parents at Lewis-Palmer Middle School about the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on Dec. 7, 1941 by the naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan. Downing’s main theme for the students was, "You are the generation of leaders. My message for you is to keep America strong! The lesson we learned from the Pearl Harbor attack is that, as Ronald Reagan said, ‘Weakness invites aggression.’ So be strong in space, in cyberspace, on the seas, on the ground, and under the sea, so that no tyrant and his government will ever be tempted to attack us." He said it was not until 50 years after the attack on Pearl Harbor that its significance was even mentioned in history.
Downing said there were 27 clues warning the U.S. of the impending attack, including radar signatures showing the Japanese planes coming, but they were ignored. "Leaders who have not been in combat are too optimistic and think it can’t happen," he said.
Downing, who is now 103 years old, said he joined the military during the Great Depression to leave his life in a rural small town. He was 28 when the Japanese attacked the naval base at Pearl Harbor. During the attack, with a fire hose in one hand as he tried to keep the ammunition from catching fire and exploding, Downing said he memorized the name tags of the bodies all around him on the USS West Virginia so he could write letters to their families about their last hours of life. He reminded the students that there were seven other attacks across the Pacific on the same day.
"War is caused by greed," he told the audience. "Greed keeps the world in a state of unrest."
Downing wrote The Other Side of Infamy, which tells his account of Pearl Harbor. He has been interviewed by Time and The History Channel. He said he appreciates all the attention he gets, but he wanted to remind everyone about all the veterans who are physically and emotionally disabled or homeless, and about the disproportionally high suicide rate among veterans.
His favorite part of the military was the amount of responsibility it gave him that helped him grow stronger. By age 39, he was the commanding officer of the USS Patapsco during the Korean War. He said one of the greatest scientific advancements since the nuclear bomb is Global Positioning Systems (GPS) technology.
At Lewis-Palmer Middle School, he was greeted by the Colorado Patriot Guard Riders, a volunteer, nonprofit organization that ensures dignity and respect at memorial services honoring Fallen Military Heroes, First Responders, and honorably discharged veterans.
Caption: Retired Navy Lt. Jim Downing was greeted by the Colorado Patriot Guard Riders, a volunteer, nonprofit organization that created a flag corridor on Dec. 1 at Lewis-Palmer Middle School to honor the presence of this 103-year-old veteran and Pearl Harbor attack survivor. Photo by Lisa Hatfield.
Lisa Hatfield can be contacted at email@example.com.
Christmas Concert, Dec. 10
Caption: The Tri-Lakes Handbell Choir was part of the 15th Annual Christmas Handbell Concert was held Dec. 10 at the Monument Community Presbyterian Church. The free concert included bells, chimes, organ, vocal selections, and accompanists Leanne Rubinstein and Barbara Taylor for some of the selections. Musicians who would like to participate next year should contact Betty Jenik at 488-3853. Photo by Janet Sellers.
North Pole Fair, Dec. 3
Caption: Barbara Hadley, left, and Jean Wetjer welcomed shoppers to the Cookie Walk at the 11th Annual North Pole at Tri-Lakes Arts and Crafts Fair held at the Grace Best Education Center Dec. 3. Featuring 80 vendors, the fair was attended by about 1,200 people. As the price of admission, the fair collected 300 pounds of food and $623 in cash to benefit Tri-Lakes Cares. One generous individual donated a box of toys. Shoppers were entertained by a number of vocal groups from local schools and by Miguel Dakota. The Tri-Lakes United Methodist Church’s Cookie Walk was sold out by 3 p.m., as were other food vendors. The church will give the proceeds to local charities. The fair is sponsored by the Monument Hill Kiwanis. Project Manager Bob Nissen reported that some vendors have already committed to participating next year. Proceeds from the booth rentals support D-38 programs such as therapeutic riding. Photo by Harriet Halbig.
Small Town Christmas, Dec. 3
Caption: Children and adults tried out ice skating all afternoon at Limbach Park during Monument’s Small Town Christmas, Dec. 3. The event also included Santa and Mrs. Claus and their reindeer, crafts, hayrides, open houses, and special activities at many local merchants. Photo by Janet Sellers.
John Adams at TLCA, Dec. 9
Caption: On a crisp and clear Dec. 9, John Adams and his John Denver tribute band performed their Rocky Mountain Christmas Show at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA), bringing the holiday spirit to the sold-out show. This performance by Adams, a perennial favorite, was his seventh at the TLCA and perhaps most memorable. In the first set, Adams and his band performed a variety Christmas songs that Denver performed including Alpenglow, Christmas for Cowboys, and Silent Night. The second set included Denver standards as Rocky Mountain High, Back Home Again, Leaving on a Jet Plane, and Take Me Home, Country Roads with an encore of White Christmas. The evening included more than a song or two with the audience singing along. Adams has a full 2017 schedule, with perhaps a return to the TLCA, then a European tour in 2018. Photo by David Futey.
Kiwanis, Sertoma ring the bell
Caption: The Monument Hill Kiwanis Club has rung the bell for the Salvation Army for 26 years, and this annual Christmas season’s service project produces over $40,000 each year for needy families and individuals in the Pikes Peak region. Here’s club photographer Bonnie Nasser taking a shift to help. These funds are utilized by the Salvation Army for "Doing the Most Good" serving over 17,000 families each year. Services include operating a 24/7 emergency shelter, a nutritional meals program, a transitional housing service, and many programs for children and youths. Assisting the club each year are the D38 high school Key Clubs and middle school Builders’ Club students. Local Boy Scout Troops 93, 85, 17, and 8 also participate in this important community outreach project. Others assisting include the D20 Schools’ Discovery Canyon Campus Cheerleaders, employees of King Soopers, and other local firms’ CEOs. The Monument Hill Kiwanis Club is a 501(c)(3) public charity that meets each Saturday morning. See www.monumenthillkiwanis.org or write to P.O. Box 102, Monument, Colorado 80132. Come visit the club and enjoy breakfast and an interesting guest-speaker program. Photo courtesy of Monument Hill Kiwanis.
Caption: Legacy Sertoma Sergeant at Arms Berry Huffman helped collect donations for the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Christmas Campaign in December. The donations provide food, toys and clothing to over 6 million people during the Christmas season and help more than 34 million Americans recovering from all kinds of personal disasters nationwide. See www.legacysertoma.org for information about service activities and dinner meetings. Photo courtesy of Legacy Sertoma.
Yule Log Hunt, Dec. 11
At the annual Palmer Lake Yule Log Hunt on Dec. 11, participants trekked up into The Glen in search of the Yule Log. Daniel Leidenberger, the finder of the Yule Log, shared the honors in cutting the log in half using the saw used for the Yule Log Ceremony for the past 84 years. The first half is used in the fire, and the second half is saved for next year’s ceremony fire. Leidenberger rode the Yule Log back to town and got the first cup of wassail. Non-hunters stayed warm indoors with carols and stories. Caption: Daniel Leidenberger, the proud finder of the Yule Log, smiles for the first ride on the log as hunters drag it back into town. Caption: Leidenberger shares the honors in cutting the log in half using the saw used for the Yule Log Ceremony for the past 84 years. The first half is used in the fire, and the second half is saved for next year’s ceremony fire. Caption by Audrey Burkart. Photos by Molly Porter.
Palmer Ridge High School Singers, Dec. 13
Caption: Singers from Palmer Ridge High School entertained with traditional carols in the library on Dec. 13. Photo by Harriet Halbig. See the monthly library events article.
Overhead myth, Dec. 20
Caption: Haley Chapin, executive director of Tri-Lakes Cares (TLC), spoke about the "Overhead Myth" at Outpourings, a Tri-Lakes United Methodist Church group event on Dec. 20. Pictured from left are Kim Whisenhunt, TLC operations manager; Joe Dague, board president of TLC; and Chapin. Chapin talked about what the Overhead Myth really means, what is acceptable, and what donors should be looking for when deciding which nonprofits to support. The talk focused on learning new paradigms and not using false, albeit common, conceptions about funding in charities. Photo by Janet Sellers.
Santa on Patrol, Dec. 24
After Santa gave the official Oath of the Elves for helpers, aka peace officers, fire and emergency responders, and some civilians, on Dec. 24 at the Town Hall, the grand caravan of squad cars, fire trucks, and a few civilian vehicles with sirens and horns blaring made its way through Monument and Palmer Lake. Santa and Mrs. Claus handed out gifts to children at various stops. Monument Police Chief Shirk said he would like to personally thank everyone for the support they have shown to the Monument Police Department Santa on Patrol event. The generous donations from all over the community ensured the event was a huge success. Photos by Janet Sellers.
Caption: Ten-year-old Isaiah Berberette (center), his 5-year-old brother Carson (left), and 10-year-old friend Breeana Noel set up a hot chocolate stand in Peyton, and in one week they raised over $260. They brought toys they purchased with the money to Chief Jake Shirk at the Monument Police Department for the Santa on Patrol toy drive. Photo courtesy of the Monument Police Department.
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.
Tri-Lakes Y winter basketball, register now
Registration is now open for winter basketball, preschool to grade 8. The season begins Jan. 9. Financial assistance is available. Register at www.ppymca.org or at the Y, 17250 Jackson Creek Parkway, Monument.
ACT II thrift shop open for donations
ACT II is a unique community thrift shop that will benefit Tri-Lakes area nonprofits. The shop is located at 245 Jefferson St., next to Tri-Lakes Cares and across the street from Northland Community Church. Volunteers and donations of gently used articles and money are needed. Act II is now open for donations only, Tue.-Fri., 2-5 p.m., and Sat., 10 a.m.-2 p.m. In mid-January, the shop will open for business Tue.-Fri., 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sat., 10 a.m.-2 p.m. For more information, visit the website, www.mynorthlandchurch.org/act-ii, or contact Executive Director Cara Vanderkolk, firstname.lastname@example.org or 487-3268.
Volunteers needed for county Highway Advisory Commission, apply by Jan. 15
The El Paso County Board of Commissioners is seeking community-minded citizen volunteers to serve on the Highway Advisory Commission. Applications are due by Jan. 15. The volunteer application is located at www.elpasoco.com. Click on the "Volunteer Boards" link. For more information, call 520-6436 or visit www.elpasoco.com.
Tri-Lakes Women’s Club announces 2017 grant process, Jan. 15-March 15
Tri-Lakes Women’s Club’s (TLWC) grant application for 2017 will be available Jan. 15 through March 15 on the TLWC website, www.tlwc.net. Eligible organizations include nonprofit and public service organizations and public schools that serve the Tri-Lakes area. Special program and project requests are welcomed. The application package includes the instructions as well as other important qualifying information. Completed applications can be mailed to Tri-Lakes Women’s Club, Attn: Grant Committee, P.O. Box 669, Monument, 80132 with a postmark no later than March 15. For more information, contact the committee chair, Barbara Betzler, at email@example.com.
CDOT studies I-25 improvements, public meetings Jan. 24 and 26
CDOT will hold two public meetings this month to inform residents about the project to improve I-25 in Douglas County and to hear your concerns and ideas for improvements. The first meeting will be Jan. 24, 5-7 p.m., at Pikes Peak Library 21c, 1175 Chapel Hills Dr. in Colorado Springs. The second will be in Castle Rock Jan. 26, 5-7 p.m. at the Douglas County Fairgrounds’ Kirk Hall, 500 Fairgrounds Rd. The meetings will cover the same information. For more information, visit www.codot.gov/projects/i-25-co-springs-denver-south-pel.
CSU Extension launches "Your Energy" website and blog
The Colorado State University Extension now has a "Your Energy" website to help Coloradans make more informed energy decisions. The site includes decision tools, fact sheets, and a blog. The decision tools can help you figure out energy savings from using more efficient lighting, low-flow showerheads, heating and cooling systems, water heaters, and more. Other tools can help you understand how much you spend on heating, cooling, and baseload electricity and your bottom line if you install a wind turbine or solar array. Visit the site at http://yourenergy.extension.colostate.edu/.
2017 Visions of Light Photographic Exhibition Call for Entries
Photographers of all levels are invited to submit their original photography for consideration. For details, visit www.trilakesarts.org.
Survey for small-scale and urban poultry/livestock producers
This survey aims to identify the needs of livestock and poultry owners related to animal health, animal husbandry, food safety, and the role that veterinarians play on small farms. The study will serve as a benchmark for designing effective educational programs to train farmers, backyard producers, and veterinarians working within this sector. For more information, contact Alda Pires at 530-754-9855 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The survey can be found at http://ucanr.edu/survey/survey.cfm?surveynumber=15917
Tri-Lakes Silver Alliance 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 donated items. To volunteer, call 488-3495.
LEAP—Help for heating bills
The Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) is a federally funded program that provides cash assistance to help families and individuals pay a portion of winter home heating costs. The eligibility period for LEAP runs through April 30. Application packets were automatically mailed to residents who received LEAP assistance last year at their address at that time. To find out if you qualify for LEAP, call 1-866 HEAT-HELP (1-866-432-8435) or visit www.colorado.gov/cdhs/leap.
St. Peter Catholic School now enrolling for the 2016-17 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 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, a 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 supplies, and 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.
El Paso County expands services to veterans
Three El Paso County agencies providing services to veterans now have satellite offices at the Mount Carmel Center of Excellence, 530 Communications Circle, Colorado Springs. The Veterans Service office at Mount 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 Mount 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 help veterans with their employment needs. Call 667-3729 for an appointment. The county Department of Human Services also has a Mount Carmel office open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Become a CASA volunteer
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.
Free transportation and safety services for seniors
Mountain Community Senior Services offers free transportation and safety services to Tri-Lakes seniors. If you need a ride to a medical appointment, grocery shopping, or the local senior lunches, a volunteer driver will be happy to help you. Call 488-0076 to leave a message for the dispatcher. If you need 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 M-F at the Mountain Community Mennonite Church, 643 Hwy 105, Palmer Lake. 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.TriLakesSeniors.org.
Free gun-lock kit
The Monument Police Department is offering free firearm safety kits to local residents through a partnership with Project ChildSafe, the nationwide firearms safety education program. Each kit contains gun safety information and a cable-style gunlock that fits most types of handguns, rifles, and shotguns. The Police Department administrative offices at 645 Beacon Lite Rd. are open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Drop by during those times to pick up a free gun-lock kit. For information, phone 481-3253.
By Judy Barnes, Community Calendar Editor
Although we strive for accuracy in these listings, dates or times are often changed after publication. Please double-check the time and place of any event you wish to attend by calling the info number for that event.
LOCAL LIBRARY EVENTS
All libraries are closed Jan. 16 in observation of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
WEEKLY AND MONTHLY EVENTS
Our community calendar carries listings on a space-available basis for Tri-Lakes events that are sponsored by local governmental entities and not-for-profit organizations. We include events that are open to the general public and are not religious or self-promotional in nature. If space is available, complimentary calendar listings are included, when requested, for events advertised in the current issue. To have your event listed at no charge in Our Community Calendar, please call (719) 339-7831 or send the information to email@example.com or P.O. Box 1742, Monument, Colorado 80132.
Contact us at (719) 488-3455, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, or P.O. Box 1742, Monument, Colorado 80132-1742.
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