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By Harriet Halbig
The District Accountability Advisory Committee (DAAC) of Lewis-Palmer School District 38 began its Oct. 10 meeting with a presentation supporting an application by Monument Academy to create a high school.
Monument Academy (MA) Executive Director Don Griffin and Chief Executive Officer and Principal Elizabeth Davis explained that MA parents had long requested the addition of a high school for grades 9 through 12 where their children could continue their education abiding by the same principles as the academy’s current grade K-through-8 facility.
The current academy, now 22 years old, has a student population of just over 1,000, and the facility cannot expand due to its location.
Griffin said that planning for a high school began about two years ago. School officials felt that they should try to offer a different approach than the public high schools, because there are already two excellent high schools in the district. He said that population growth in the district could support the addition of a high school for 500 students.
Davis explained that the committee developing the curriculum for the new high school is using a character-first approach and following the guidelines of Strata Leadership LLC, an Oklahoma company that strives to teach leadership on the levels of self, team, organization, and community. Students are taught such traits as diligence, self-control, patience, and willingness to work.
The mission of the school will be to use a challenging, content-rich program to develop good citizens and community leaders. There will continue to be programs in the arts and athletics.
An aspect of the current MA curriculum is the concept of houses in grades six through eight. The students are divided into groups of 30 or so, mixed grades, to form the basis of the school day. The students do not all attend the same classes, but this small group serves as a base where students can get to know and support one another rather than feeling lost in a larger community.
Davis said that parents are praising this system and that students feel much more comfortable and included as a result.
The house system will continue into the high school. With a total population of fewer than 500 students, each class will include about 115 students, divided into houses of 30 or so.
The plan is to open the school in 2019 with a ninth-grade class and half of a 10th-grade class and increase population each year thereafter.
Another planned feature of the new school is that juniors and seniors will either serve an internship in the community or create a Capstone project (long-term investigative projects culminating in a presentation or performance to demonstrate their conclusions and presented to a panel).
Davis said MA has developed relationships with the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, Pikes Peak Community College, and Grand Canyon University to offer students classes that will earn college credit. MA also hopes to train its own teachers to qualify as adjunct professors so that classes taught on site can earn such credit.
When asked about the level of participation by MA in standardized testing, Griffin said the school is now stressing the PSAT test and uses the NWEA (Northwest Education Association) tests at all levels.
When asked about potential locations for the school, Griffin said they had considered locations in School District 49 and Douglas County, but decided to remain in District 38, favoring a district-owned 70-acre property at the intersection of Highways 83 and 105.
Regarding staffing, Griffin said that the staff will consist primarily of teachers at the master’s level.
When asked about financing, Griffin said that the construction and financing of the school would be done through the sale of bonds.
Griffin said the new school may not be appropriate for all current MA students. For example, high-powered athletes would benefit from the exposure offered by the two larger high schools. The school is also likely to be too small to support a marching band.
Students from other high schools can choose to attend MA, but current MA students will have priority.
DAAC Co-chair Anne-Marie Hasstedt said the Board of Education would hear the presentation on Oct. 12 and offer a final opportunity for public comment at its Nov. 16 meeting.
Hasstedt called for the creation of a subcommittee to review the application and report back to the DAAC in November.
During its regular meeting, DAAC approved the nomination of Deborah Goth as co-chair of the committee.
Superintendent Karen Brofft reported that the theme of the 2017-18 school year is "Through Their Eyes and in Their Shoes." She commented that the lives of students pass at a very frantic pace and that it is important for parents and educators to take this into account.
She enumerated the achievements of this district in its accreditation with distinction, multiple years on the Advanced Placement Honor Roll (four of the past five years), and graduation rate.
Lewis-Palmer’s faculty is all highly qualified with over 60 percent holding a master’s or doctoral degree, she said.
Brofft also enumerated such programs as gifted education, special needs education, the Transitions program for students through age 21, the homeschool enrichment academy, and concurrent enrollment, which allows students to attend local colleges while also attending high school.
Brofft reported that STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) programs are now offered at all grade levels, and there is a growing vocational program for students who do not wish to pursue a four-year post-graduate degree.
The quality education offered by the district prepares students to be productive citizens of the community and supports high property values, she said.
The Long Term Planning Committee is considering such aspects as the value and viability of buildings, capacity of the facilities, physical security, energy efficiency, and community demographics.
A new district safety and security plan that will include support for mental health and peer support is being emphasized.
Brofft said that this is the first year in which each site created its own budget with an effort to maintain current class sizes and workloads.
Board of Education Liaison John Magerko praised DAAC for its administration of a recent candidate forum and spoke of his priorities during his tenure on the school board. He has chosen not to run for re-election. He asked that community members and district officials listen to one another and retain respect in their discussions. He said that the district has been very transparent in its financial dealings and urged all to educate themselves about the candidates for the board and to vote.
Director of Personnel and Student Services Bob Foster explained upcoming changes in the staff assessment process, saying that the rubric used for assessment has been simplified. The rubric for assessment of principals is also being revised.
Hasstedt announced the schedule for DAAC meetings during the 2017-18 school year. There will be five meetings at various locations.
DAAC meets five times a year. Locations vary. The next meeting will be at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 14 at Lewis-Palmer High School, 1300 Higby Road, Monument.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Lisa Hatfield
The Triview Metropolitan District board met on Sept. 29, Oct. 5, 10, and 18. This was because at a special meeting on Sept. 21, the board had announced that District Manager Valerie Remington had gone on administrative leave after its regular Sept. 11 meeting. See www.ocn.me/v17n10.htm#tvmd.
On Sept. 29, after OCN went to press, and on Oct. 5, Triview held special meetings to discuss water rates and fees and to hold an executive session to discuss personnel matters, but no announcements were made at those meetings.
On Oct. 10, at the end of the regular meeting, the board accepted Remington’s resignation and hired an interim district manager, Jim McGrady of Walker Schooler District Managers.
On Oct. 18, McGrady called a special meeting, because he saw the need for some decisions that could not wait until the next regularly scheduled meeting on Nov. 14. He and the directors also brainstormed about ways to work more efficiently.
Also at the September and October meetings, the board worked toward a new water use rates schedule that would both encourage conservation and bring the water enterprise fund closer to solvency. Since Triview bought 500 shares of renewable water in December, the board contemplated a new renewable water fee for all residents so the district could pay off that loan within 15 years.
Triview is a Title 32 special district inside Monument that provides roads, landscaping, open space maintenance, and water and sanitation services to Jackson Creek, Promontory Pointe, Sanctuary Pointe, and several commercial areas. However, the town of Monument provides land use planning, police, and general governance for the district’s property owners.
Sept. 29 and Oct. 5 special meetings
The special meetings on Sept. 29 and Oct. 5 consisted of a board workshop discussion of water rates and fees and an executive session to confer with the district’s attorney, Gary Shupp, regarding legal advice on personnel matters. Water attorney Chris Cummins of Monson, Cummins & Shohet LLC, and engineer John McGinn of JDS Hydro Consultants Inc. advised the board in the water rates and fees workshops. Remington did not attend either meeting.
At the beginning of the regular Oct. 10 meeting, President Reid Bolander explained, "Some of our vagueness and lack of knowledge is because the district has been without a manager in some regards for about a month. Valerie has been on leave. The staff has been doing an awesome job with issues as they come up, and the board has also been trying to jump in and provide certain guidance to staff, but there is some segment of being a little bit rudderless. Hopefully this will be remedied fairly soon. We do have a manager, and the manager has been on leave for the last month."
Part of the scheduled roads maintenance may be delayed
On Oct. 10, Director Jim Otis said that last winter, the district made plans to complete $830,000 in roads maintenance starting in April 2017. However, "a series of frustrating events" kept delaying the start of the project. These events included late deliverables from Terracon Consultants Inc., which did the road assessments, a low number of bids, higher bid amounts than Terracon had estimated, and miscommunication between Terracon and the roads contractor who was selected. "This is just basic Project Management 101 issues," he said.
Now that the weather is growing cool, the cape seal weatherproofing work and the few sections of more intensive road repair might need to be delayed to 2018. (Cape seal is like chip seal, but with another layer of oil on top.) However, Secretary/Treasurer Marco Fiorito said the district did still anticipate timely completion of the concrete pan work that had been scheduled for 2017.
Note: Later, on Oct. 18, McGrady said that the district does still hope to get $300,000 of the repairs done in 2017. See below.
Water rates increase needed to encourage conservation, pay for actual costs
Bolander explained that the district needed to increase its water enterprise fund revenue by $300,000 over the next three years to make up a consistent shortfall, since current revenue is not high enough to cover the actual cost of producing the water. He said the water fund is losing money every year and was being artificially supported by general fund revenues. "We went years without a water rates increase (to cover operations costs), and we were too low to begin with. We need to get back in equilibrium," he said. Fiorito said the cost of water and electricity for pumping has increased every year, so everyone needs to help with that.
Note: A similar situation occurred in the Town of Monument’s water service area west of I-25, and after a drawn-out series of debates starting in 2015, water rates increases were ultimately approved by a divided vote in 2016. See www.ocn.me/v15n11.htm#mbot1005, www.ocn.me/v16n4.htm#mbot0307.
The Triview board consensus was to encourage district residents to conserve water to protect declining supplies in the Denver Basin aquifer. McGinn provided more examples to follow up with the two previous water rates workshops. "You need a new rate structure that makes sense," he said.
McGinn showed examples of low, medium, and high water users for the district. Overall, Triview ought to see its typical water user characteristic be reduced by 10 to 15 percent, because, "Your users tend to use more water than in comparable water districts." The current average single-family home uses 0.45 acre-feet of water a year (AF/year); he hopes this will drop to 0.3 AF/year. In the winter, all Triview users are similar, using about 5,000 gallons a month. However, due to turf grass irrigation in the summer, residents each use anywhere between 10,000 and 35,000 gallons a month, he said. For comparison, see Academy Water and Sanitation District article.
Here is a summary of the proposed rates, on which there will be a public hearing on Nov. 14:
• Base rate: increase from $20 to $22/month, a 10 percent increase
• Block 1: 0-6,000 gallons – rate change to $3.66/1,000 gallons, a 4 percent increase
• Block 2: 6,001-15,000 gallons a month− $4.62/1,000 gallons, a 6 percent increase
• Block 3: 15,001-30,000 − $8.44/1,000 gallons, a 9.5 percent increase
• Block 4: 30,001 gallons and higher − $13/1,000 gallons, combines the two highest current blocks, a 23 to 49 percent increase
In this inverted block structure, all residents would pay $3.66 per thousand gallons for the first 6,000 gallons, but people who use more water and climb into the higher volumetric tiers will pay more per 1,000 gallons for that water.
McGinn said this new structure would increase conservation pressure on upper-end users:
• The lowest 50 percent of residential users would see a 7-9 percent total increase.
• The next 27 percent would see an 8-13 percent increase.
• The top 10 percent of users would see a 15-22 percent total increase.
The commercial base rate would also increase by 10 percent and the consumption charge would increase to $3.93/1,000 gallons.
These changes would probably increase revenue by $90,000 to $105,000 a year, depending on how price elasticity affected individuals’ water use. Many residents will either make temporary or permanent changes when the new rates go into effect. Permanent changes include installing low-flow devices and changing landscaping to more xeric grass and plants or even artificial turf or rocks, he said.
Residents who would like more detailed information before the Nov. 14 water rates hearing should contact the Triview office.
Renewable water fee discussed
The directors also discussed the implementation of a new renewable water fee of $20 to $28 per month per residence. Vice President Mark Melville said at $28 it would take about 15 years to pay the $6.5 million in principal and $2 million in interest owed on the 500 shares of Fountain Mutual Irrigation Co. (FMIC) renewable water shares purchased in December. See www.ocn.me/v17n1.htm#tvmd, www.ocn.me/v17n3.htm#tvmd.
McGinn said that although that renewable water fee had no relationship with actual water use, it would have a huge psychological impact and would still cause people to reduce their water use.
It is very appropriate that this district implement a fee to help pay for renewable water, McGinn said. This fee would go away when the loan is paid off in about 15 years, Fiorito said.
Note: Neighboring Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD) residents were required to start paying a Renewable Water Investment Fee (RWIF) of $45/month in 2012 to pay for WWSD’s purchase of about 3,500 AF of renewable water in the JV Ranch in 2011 in southern El Paso County. See www.ocn.me/v11n6.htm#wwsd, www.ocn.me/v13n1.htm#wwsd.
Note: Like Triview, WWSD does not have physical infrastructure to import that water, nor a local storage location for its renewable water. These entities, along with the Town of Monument and others, are discussing ways they could combine forces by creating a local water authority to "regionalize" solutions to bring renewable water to the Tri-Lakes area. For example, see related Oct. 9 and 16 Monument Board of Trustees article, www.ocn.me/v17n7.htm#tvmd, www.ocn.me/v17n10.htm#mbot0918.
Criteria for water required from developers
Cummins said that "on paper," Triview already owns more Denver Basin groundwater (aquifer) rights than it needs for whatever future development wishes to come into the district, because Triview has taken steps over the last seven years to build up its "instantly available portfolio," although it will take drilling more wells to be able to take advantage of those water rights.
That does not even count the 500 shares of FMIC renewable water, but the district does not have the physical infrastructure to import that water or store it here yet. See related Oct. 2 www.ocn.me/v17n10.htm#mbot1002 and the Oct. 9 and 16 Monument Board of Trustees article. See also www.ocn.me/v17n1.htm#tvmd, www.ocn.me/v17n3.htm#tvmd.
Cummins suggested that the board clarify its recent resolution outlining how much and what kind of water developers could provide to the district when working on a new development. When developers do not have sufficient water rights on the land within Triview, they must either bring other water rights to Triview that are "suitable" for the district to use, or they must pay in-lieu-of water fees so Triview can purchase more water.
The demand is calculated based on Town of Monument ordinances that allocate certain amounts of water for different types of development, Cummins said. He encouraged the new district manager, whoever that would be, to work with the town to make sure the ordinance makes sense, since there is some inequity in the current policy regarding multi-family homes. They use less water per dwelling unit than single-family homes do because of the smaller amount of turf grass being irrigated, he said. McGinn said, "an acre of turf grass sure uses up a bunch of water compared to apartments."
Melville was concerned that if the criteria were too strict, it would discourage development that was needed sooner rather than later to help the district’s financial situation. Note: 60 percent of the General Fund and 47 percent of the water Enterprise Fund’s revenue go to debt payments. See expense pie charts at www.ocn.me/pdf/v17n9%2013.pdf.
The board consensus was to direct Cummins to draft revisions to the existing resolution. Each application would be considered on a case-by-case basis. "It has to be a water right that makes sense for the district," he said.
Deep well needs repair
Water Superintendent Shawn Sexton’s biggest news for the board in the operations report was that the needed repairs to Well A-8 would cost about $83,000. He said that this is a typical cost for this kind of repair and that all the district’s deep wells would be starting to have this type of problem. McGinn explained that putting a 200-horsepower motor at the bottom of a 2,000-foot-deep well was a high-maintenance element, and that fixing a deep well once a year will start to be a regular occurrence. He added it was good that there was time to get Well A8 repaired before the much higher pumping demands of the lawn irrigation season begin again.
Draft 2018 budget to be reviewed
Bolander said that CPA Cathy Fromm of Special District Solutions had just emailed the directors a very preliminary 2018 draft budget. The directors voted unanimously to acknowledge receipt of that draft, which was due by Oct. 15, review it this month, and discuss it at the Nov. 14 meeting.
Seven members of the public spoke up, and their comments included:
• Questions about the district subcontracting certain jobs such as landscaping maintenance and snowplowing, and concern with how Triview could manage to add Sanctuary Pointe to its maintenance load in the future when it accepted those phases from Classic Homes.
• The status of the alfalfa taking over where grass should be growing on Midlands Way.
• Monument’s site plans for land use in Promontory Pointe and Sanctuary Pointe did not include places for snowplow drivers to push snow into cul-de-sacs without blocking driveways.
• Thank you for fixing the Oxbow "eyebrow" green space.
• Promontory Pointe Homeowners’ Association had a list of detailed questions that the board discussed.
Fiorito said, "We get handed the (land use planning) sandwich that Monument approves."
Remington resigns; McGrady hired as interim district manager
At the end of the Oct. 10 meeting, the board went into executive session at 7:30 p.m. When they returned to open session, Bolander and Shupp said the board had unanimously voted to accept Valerie Remington’s resignation and then to enter into a contract with Walker Schooler District Managers to provide management services to the district for a period of no less than six months. Jim McGrady of that firm will be Triview’s interim district manager.
Bolander said, "McGrady has a lot of experience, and we feel extremely fortunate to have him on board."
Special meeting Oct. 18 includes optimism about some roads repairs this fall
McGrady called a special meeting of the Triview board on Oct. 18 so that the directors could make time-sensitive decisions about winter operations, including vehicles and operators, sooner than the regular Nov. 14 meeting. Fiorito and Barnhart were absent.
McGrady consulted with the directors about how to handle a shortage of employees who could operate snowplows. There are three snowplows in place, but right now only Public Works Superintendent Gerry Shisler can drive one. Water Superintendent Shawn Sexton said that last year, water operators filled in that gap, but this year, the Water Department is separate from Public Works, and none of the directors pursued this angle further.
Two temporary employees’ contracts could be bought out for about $7,000 total so they could become official Triview employees; this way, the district’s insurance would cover them, and they would be eligible to operate district vehicles, McGrady said. One other option for snowplowing was to hire a subcontractor who uses his own equipment, but the hourly charge for this was considerably more. The board voted to proceed with adding these two positions, and McGrady said he would post them.
McGrady said on Oct. 18 that he had met with several staff members from the Town of Monument, engineers from Terracon Consultants, and Avery Asphalt, the company doing the actual roads resurfacing contract. The current plan is to still try to complete concrete cross pan work, crack sealing, and repairs to "alligatored" damage this fall, spending $300,000 and rolling the other $600,000 into the 2018 budget. Avery, or perhaps a bigger company, will complete the rest of the 2017 work as soon as weather allows in 2018. McGrady wants to put the next phase of work planned for 2018 out to bid very soon so that work can also be completed in early 2018.
Other issues covered included:
• Triview approved the purchase of a $39,000 specially-equipped truck already budgeted for the Water Department so that it could return the truck it had borrowed from the Public Works Department.
• Triview will try to do bid requests for road maintenance at same time as the Town of Monument to attract more serious bidders and capitalize on synergies.
• Parks and open spaces are being analyzed, custom fertilized, and winterized.
• McGrady is meeting with an irrigation control system company to take advantage of technology to make systems work more efficiently.
• Next year Triview must prepare to spend at least $1 million on arsenic treatment in the wastewater treatment plant. See www.ocn.me/v17n10.htm#tvmd.
• Communication with the residents of Triview is critical.
Caption: Triview Metropolitan District’s new interim district manager, Jim McGrady of Walker Schooler District Managers, left, spoke with John McGinn of JDS-Hydro Engineers at a special meeting on Oct. 18. McGrady will lead Triview for no less than six months, and he told OCN, "I am so happy to be here!" Photo by Lisa Hatfield.
A public hearing is scheduled for the next Triview meeting on Nov. 14 at 5 p.m. at the Fairfield Inn, Mt. Herman Conference Room, Fairfield Inn, 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. Triview also is on Facebook and NextDoor.com.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at: email@example.com.
Thank you so much to OCN volunteer Jennifer Kaylor for assistance in recording events at these meetings.
By Jackie Burhans
The Monument Academy (MA) School Board met on Oct. 11 to review progress on its high school application, discuss collaborating with the Lewis-Palmer School District (LPSD) on grants, and revise board policy to require a background check for anyone running for School Board.
Board member Julie Galusky came late. Board member Patrick Hall was absent.
Progress on high school application
Dr. Elizabeth Davis, principal and chief academic officer, reported a very successful meeting and presentation on the proposed new high school at a LPSD District Accountability and Advisory Committee (DAAC) meeting. She said she felt positive about the public feedback as well as the slide presentation. Board President Scott Saunders said he thought Davis and Dr. Don Griffin did a great job sharing the vision of the MA High School and addressing questions.
Griffin noted that he and Davis had a district meeting that included department heads who had many questions and clarifications. They also spent an hour on the phone with Ryan Marks from the Charter School Institute (CSI) to review and score the application. Griffin asked that the board attend the public hearing on Oct. 12 as a show of support. He also noted that the subsequent public hearing will be on Nov. 15 at 6 p.m. and that the DAAC will provide a recommendation and the Lewis-Palmer Board of Education will consider a resolution to accept or deny the application.
Collaborating with district on literacy grant
Davis noted that MA has been working with the district on an Early Literacy Assessment Tool (ELAT) grant that would help pay for Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) testing. She has been coordinating with the district and the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) and feels that it is a great partnership between all three entities. The goal is to make sure that grant funds are being used in a great way for kids who need early intervention by getting it to them as quickly as possible. She noted that she now has a direct line to the ELAT coordinator at CDE, which is a great contact.
Background checks for board members
The MA board discussed a recommendation from members to update the board code of conduct policy 1514 to require background checks of all new members coming on the board. The policy would require that when a person declares an interest in running, they must obtain fingerprints and submit a background check. Should anything later arise that would disqualify them per the policy, they must self-report the incident. The policy change has been reviewed by MA lawyers and the Governance Committee. President Scott Saunders agreed that this was a good "best practice" to adopt. The board unanimously approved this change. The policy can be viewed online at http://bit.ly/ma-policy1514.
• The October student count will report 913.82 full-time equivalent students (kindergartners only count as .58 of a student).
• Allison Wise, MA’s English Learner teacher, got an award for "Best Practice" for teaching the LPSD community Adult Literacy class for several years. She was recognized by the CDE’s State Advisory Council for Parent Involvement in Education.
• Jessica Coote, director of Extended School Servics (ESS), was presented with an award of $1,000 for classroom supplies by the Air Force Athletics Department. Coote was nominated by her students as their favorite teacher.
• Parent Michael O’Hare spoke to the board about supporting specific candidates to achieve a 3-2 majority of MA supporters on the Lewis-Palmer Board of Education.
The next meeting will be on Thursday, Nov. 9 at the Monument Academy library at 1150 Village Ridge Point. The MA School Board usually meets at 6 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month. There will be no December meeting. Meetings are adjusted as needed to avoid conflicts. Information on the MA School Board, including schedule, minutes, committees, and finances can be found at http://www.monumentacademy.net/school-board.
Jackie Burhans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Harriet Halbig
The Oct. 12 meeting of the Lewis-Palmer D-38 Board of Education was divided into two parts. The first was a public hearing on the application for a Monument Academy High School, and the second covered more routine board business.
Monument Academy High School discussion
The application under discussion for a Monument Academy High School is referred to as an expansion application since the Monument Academy (MA) already exists.
Monument Academy Executive Director Don Griffin and Chief Executive Officer and Principal Elizabeth Davis gave a presentation on the high school proposal. For further information on the presentation, please see the District Accountability Advisory Committee article on page 1 of this issue.
Davis stressed that that high school would present a curriculum stressing the school’s current policy of emphasizing character first.
When asked about a location for the school, Griffin said they were considering a 70-acre, district-owned property on the corner of Highways 83 and 105. Because the charter will be through District 38, it seemed wise to locate here, he said.
Board Secretary Mark Pfoff said that the house system sounded interesting and shows that the MA committee has thought things through.
Griffin said that each house in the current middle school has a name, a shield, and a logo. The same will be true at the high school.
MA parent Chris Taylor asked whether the MA football team will no longer have to play in Colorado Springs once the high school is built. Griffin said that an attraction of this new, larger site is to make additional extracurricular activities possible.
Pfoff pointed out that the new contract between the district and MA offers the middle school field for the charter school’s use. The issue has been conflicting schedules.
Griffin said that MA now has an athletic director and a band, but MA students could have the option of playing for Lewis-Palmer or Palmer Ridge teams.
Davis said that MA now has a process to certify teachers so that Advanced Placement (AP) courses can be taught on site and earn college credit.
In answer to a question, Davis said that the house system does not prevent students from meeting all others in the school, but offers a supportive home base where they can feel supported.
A number of questions were asked about the internships that will be part of the junior and senior year curriculum.
Board President Sherri Hawkins asked whether internship hours would count toward graduation requirements. Davis responded that the Planning Committee is looking into the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs program to see how it is handled.
Hawkins also inquired how the school would get the students to their internships. Davis responded that MA does not provide transportation for its students.
In answer to a question about the effect on class sizes at Lewis-Palmer and Palmer Ridge High Schools in the event of this school being built, Superintendent Karen Brofft commented that this district is growing and by the time the MA high school would open in 2019, having an additional 500 spaces at the high school level should alleviate overcrowding at the existing schools.
Board Treasurer John Magerko thanked Griffin and Davis for their presentation and said that the founding of the high school would continue to provide choice in the district.
The Palmer Ridge High School Chamber Choir performed the national anthem.
Adviser Tom Patrick and staff of the Palmer Ridge yearbook and newspaper were recognized for their award-winning publications. The Epilogue yearbook was awarded the All Colorado award from the Colorado Student Media Association, and the Bear Truth newspaper received numerous awards at the Rocky Mountain Journalism Camp.
Palmer Ridge High School theater teacher Josh Belk and several of his students demonstrated the use of improvisation and discussed its application to real-life situations.
Dr. Stephanie Johnson, English learner facilitator, and Allisson Wise, English learner and Adult Literacy teacher, were recognized for their acknowledgement by the Colorado Department of Education for promising partnership practice.
Honorees of the Lewis-Palmer Hall of Fame were recognized. See a photo of the installation on page 25 of this issue.
Panel on frozen salaries reports
Eight members of a Frozen Committee, from different schools, collaborated to propose several solutions to the fact that salaries were frozen beginning in 2009 and continuing through 2013 to various degrees.
The group acknowledged that the national economic downturn caused changes in the compensation process and the fact that the mill levy proposed for staffing of Palmer Ridge had failed, further stretching compensation funds.
All committee members testified that District 38 is a great place to work and know that the students need them. The students weren’t directly affected by the downturn.
Bonuses and step increases provided during this time were appreciated, but the committee proposed restoration of lost compensation retroactive to the beginning of the 2017-18 school year.
The committee said that restoring salaries would show an investment in the teachers of the district and that the board appreciates their efforts and encourages veteran teachers to stay.
Hawkins recognized the time and dedication of the committee, saying one reason she wished to serve on the board was the commitment to a culture of caring.
Pfoff also thanked them for their efforts and apologized for serving on the board during the period when drastic budget cuts were taken.
Magerko commented that the committee’s work has resulted in important conversations. The district had no idea how long the recession would last and has had to compensate for the failed mill levy override. With the economy strengthening, we hope we can now help.
Director Sarah Sampayo said that one of her goals in running for a position on the board was to fix this problem.
Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Wangeman presented proposed budget adjustments for the 2017-18 year, to include solutions to the frozen salary issue.
Wangeman said that the Frozen Committee’s proposal could cost $643,000 annually. One source of funds could be postponing purchase of school buses ($100,000 each) and applying the savings to salaries.
Sampayo commented that school buses provide safety for the students. She suggested that, since the district had recently spent a great deal on technology, perhaps some of the proposed tech funding could be diverted to buses. Perhaps some students could bring their own computers from home, she said.
Magerko agreed that it would not be wise to sacrifice safety, and perhaps a way could be found to purchase the needed items incrementally. Parts for old school buses are expensive and hard to find.
Pfoff said the board has been saving money for so long that they find it hard to spend it. The district has $6 million in reserves. Pfoff proposed spending $300,000 on three new buses.
The board approved a restoration of lost steps retroactive to the start of the 2017-18 school year and the purchase of three buses from reserves. The cost of the compensation adjustment will be about $650,000 per year, to be covered by increased enrollment and state funding.
Online high school update
Executive Director of Secondary Learning Services Lori Benton, Palmer Ridge Assistant Principal Kim Sandoval, and Lewis-Palmer High School Assistant Principal Bridget O’Connor reported that students are already benefitting from the online high school program.
Three full-time students (six to seven classes) and 28 part-time students (two to five classes) participate in the program. The provider of the classes is Fuel Education.
Students are allowed to attend classes online for two weeks to determine whether this is an appropriate fit for their needs before committing to it.
The online high school is useful for students who are homebound, those with family issues or mental health problems, and those who are competitive athletes who have conflicts in their schedules.
The district is now hiring classes, and each class is only offered at a specific time. The hope is that some district teachers can develop online courses.
The courses are rigorous, and the pace is difficult for some. The cost per course is $175 plus a teacher fee.
The course is updated every night to give students and parents an idea of how they are doing.
The online high school is open to every student. If they fall behind, the district can request that the course be offered again.
Brofft shared the agenda for a board retreat scheduled for December, which would involve the newly elected director and a discussion led by Dr. Martin Carcasson explaining the process of public deliberation.
She reminded the board that, although the election will be in November, it often takes three weeks for results to be certified. For that reason, the new member of the board cannot be sworn in until after the November meeting.
Brofft said that new forms for volunteers and new background checks are being formulated in keeping with the new School Safety Act, also known as the Claire Davis Act. She said that the act deprives schools of protection from lawsuits unless schools show reasonable care in protecting the safety of students. The act includes incidents in schools and at school-sponsored events. For this reason, the district will conduct more rigorous background checks.
Brofft also reported that a recent parent survey found that 95 percent of parents were satisfied with district special education services.
Caption: At the Oct. 12 the D38 school board meeting, the board (left) listens as Monument Academy Chief Executive Officer and Principal Elizabeth Davis and Executive Director Don Griffin and present their plans for a new high school. Photo by Jackie Burhans.
Caption: Staff members of Palmer Ridge High School’s Epilogue yearbook and Bear Truth newspaper, with their staff adviser, Tom Patrick, were acknowledged for awards received for their publications.
Caption: Allison Wise, left, English learner and Adult Literacy teacher, and English Learner Facilitator Stephanie Johnson, were recognized by the Colorado Department of Education for their Promising Partnership Practice for adult literacy and the annual international dinner. Photos by Harriet Halbig.
The Lewis-Palmer D-38 Board of Education meets at 6 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month at the district’s Learning Center, 146 Jefferson St., Monument. The next meeting will be on Nov. 16.
Harriet Halbig can be contacted at email@example.com.
By Lisa Hatfield
In September and October, the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility (TLWWTF) Joint Use Committee (JUC) began to plan its 2018 budget and discussed a new option that the Town of Monument is investigating regarding indirect potable water reuse.
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 Director Pat Smith, treasurer/secretary. 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.
2018 budget draft presented
Facility manager Bill Burks presented draft versions of the 2018 budget at both meetings. Some discussions included:
• The cost and frequency of sludge removal from the facility will be greater than previously budgeted. Usually sludge removal from the lagoons has been done every other year. However, he has budgeted $132,000 for both 2018 and 2019, since in 2017 the contractors reached the limit of 300 dry tons and had to stop, but they had not yet completed their sweep.
• His recommendation to change the hierarchy of the facility to promote Plant Operator Toby Ormandy to senior operator.
• Because the stricter total phosphorus limits for discharge will not yet need to be met, the chemical total phosphorus (TP) removal tertiary clarifier expansion will be mothballed for 2018. This will save $200,000 for one year of alum, polymer, and/or sodium hydroxide, Burks said.
• Other discussions included options on rebuilding the clarifier drive gear box, replacing a return activated sludge pump, and repairing the "muffin monster grinder."
• Influent phosphorus monitoring for each individual district input into TLWWTF will be discontinued, saving over $14,000 a year.
Note: The El Paso County District Court and Colorado Court of Appeals results for the recent lawsuit mandated that the costs related to the chemical TP removal tertiary clarifier expansion be divided in thirds, and not proportionate to the unequal percentages of the three districts’ owned flow treatment capacity. Due to the courts’ interpretation of cost-sharing procedures in Section 3 and Section 6 of the TLWWTF Joint Use of Facilities Agreement (JUA) regarding construction of new equipment for new treatment constituent (TP in this case) federal EPA and state Health Department requirements, it is no longer necessary to measure each individual district’s influent phosphorus level. For background, see www.ocn.me/v17n10.htm#msd, www.ocn.me/v17n10.htm#wwsd.
The regular Nov. 14 JUC meeting agenda will include the public hearing on the proposed final TLWWTF 2018 budget.
Information from town on water treatment, reuse
On Oct. 10, Forsgren Associates Engineer Will Koger visited the JUC. Forsgren is the engineering firm consulting with the town on water and wastewater engineering issues.
Koger spoke briefly about Monument’s upgrades to its existing surface water treatment plant for the town’s alluvial wells 4 and 5. The Colorado Department of Health and Environment (CDPHE) required PLSD to give its approval even on small changes to the town’s potable water treatment system. The town’s upgrades related to iron in its alluvial water treatment plant on Monument Lake Road would cause slight changes in the wastewater quality of the alluvial well filters’ backwash discharge into the PLSD domestic sanitary sewer system, he said.
When asked, Koger also spoke briefly about the town’s new proposed idea to "manage return flows" (indirect potable water reuse) by drilling an alluvial well on Monument Creek a mile downstream of TLWWTF and pumping that water to a new water treatment plant that could be built on the property the town acquired at the intersection of Mitchell Avenue and Synthes Avenue last December. See potable water reuse plant section in www.ocn.me/v17n1.htm#mbot.
Wicklund and Burks said that the only issue with this for TLWWTF might be that local alluvial wells are "filthy with iron," and the state limits how much iron TLWWTF can have in its discharge, which would be increased by reuse water put into the system. Burks said TLWWTF’s design does not include a method to remove dissolved iron from its influent wastewater.
MSD Environmental Compliance Coordinator Jim Kendrick said that TLWWTF’s environmental attorney, Gabe Racz of Vranish & Raisch LLP, would be representing multiple stakeholders at the Water Quality Control Commission’s nutrient reduction rulemaking hearing on Oct. 10 for Regulation 31, "Basic Standards," and Regulation 85, "Methodologies for Surface Water and Nutrients Management Control Regulation."
The commission will be ruling on the specific timeline that much stricter total phosphorus (TP) and total nitrogen (TN) regulations will take effect, and Racz said it would be in the best interest of stakeholders to delay those implementations from 2022 to 2027 to give them more time to find resources to try to meet the new EPA nutrient limits and replace the current regulations that facilities had planned for.
The current annual in-stream median interim values listed in Regulation 31.17 for warm plains streams like Monument Creek are 0.17 mg/l for total phosphorus and 2.01 mg/l for total nitrogen TN. These interim values were to become effective in the first Tri-Lakes facility discharge permit issued after May 31, 2022. www.ocn.me/v14n9.htm#tljuc-0812
Note: As the facility’s stakeholder representative, Kendrick attended the Oct. 10 commission Reg 85/31.17 rulemaking hearing and will update the JUC on the outcome at its November meeting.
Kendrick, who is a vice chairman of the Arkansas River/Fountain Creek Coalition for Urban/Rural River Evaluation (AF CURE), will join the other AF CURE officers and environmental engineering consultants from Brown & Caldwell Engineering to meet with the Colorado Water Quality Control Division to discuss stream segmentation on Oct. 12, 2017. The stakeholders would like to divide Monument Creek into two segments, upper/rural (north of Academy Boulevard) and lower/urban (to the south), because this would make more sense geographically and would affect how specific nutrient limits like total inorganic nitrogen are applied now and for total nitrogen after 2027.
Meanwhile, AF CURE member wastewater treatment facilities are collecting data to demonstrate the actual negligible effects of current levels of nutrients, which meet or exceed current regulations, on many stream segments in the Fountain/Monument Creek watershed, and also to show how much nutrient input in the stream comes from other non-point sources such as agricultural E. coli and nutrient-rich fertilizer runoff into upper Monument Creek.
Burks’ two monthly reports included:
• No final invoice has been sent yet by Aslan Construction for the new TP chemical tertiary clarifier expansion.
• He is negotiating with Tetra Tech, TLWWTF’s engineers, about some final details related to the added requirement for a fire sprinkler panel for the chemical TP removal tertiary clarifier expansion.
Field trip to Fort Carson
Burks described his recent tour of the Fort Carson wastewater treatment facility, and he expressed his disappointment at its operation and how it was "not even in the ballpark" of meeting Reg. 85 nitrogen or phosphorus discharge limits. He also said "the federal government" was dumping potable Colorado Springs Utilities water on the ground so drinking water would not age in the pipes.
The next meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. Nov. 14 at the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility, 16510 Mitchell Ave. Meetings are normally held on the second Tuesday of the month and are open to the public. For information, call Bill Burks at 719-481-4053.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By James Howald
At its Oct. 12 meeting, the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD) board heard a presentation from a representative of Resource Based International about the district’s efforts to revegetate portions of Woodmoor Ranch that were previously used as farmland, discussed the proposed development of a trail around Lake Woodmoor, answered questions from the public, and scheduled a budget work session.
Revegetation project at Woodmoor Ranch advances
Paul Flack, of Resource Based International, the contractor managing the revegetation work at Woodmoor Ranch, updated the board on progress made in 2017, and presented plans and goals for 2018.
District Manager Jessie Shaffer said in his introduction of Flack that in 2016 the focus of the project was on collecting data, but in 2017 the focus switched to active remediation of the historically-irrigated land on the ranch that the district is required by law to revegetate with native grasses to prevent erosion. The project, which has been underway for two years, is estimated to take between five to seven years to complete, according to Shaffer. The goal is to return the land to a pre-agricultural condition.
In 2017, the project irrigated 375 acres, seeded 200 acres with drought-resistant grasses, and did weed control work on 1,350 acres, Flack said. Weed control has been a challenge for the project, and some of the land was being flood-irrigated to address high salinity. The requirements to revegetate put in place by the water decree have been met for 350 acres, according to Flack.
Flack said some areas needed to be dried up to eliminate non-native grasses before being re-seeded with native grasses. Grasshoppers were a challenge, according to Flack, and personnel changes on the ranch were also a factor.
In 2018, the project will irrigate 230 acres, will seed 230 acres, and will do weed control work on 1,350 acres, Flack said, adding that he expected to bring another 275 acres into compliance with the water decree in 2018.
Flack said he estimated the total cost of the project would be $3.5 million to $4 million, and that "weather is everything" in determining the final cost and timing for the project.
WWSD and the Lewis-Palmer School District propose trail around Lake Woodmoor
Shaffer said the Lewis-Palmer D38 School District was submitting a grant request to the Safe Routes to Schools program, which is a federal program administered by the state, to fund the construction of trails for students walking to district schools. Lewis-Palmer D38 has been working on the plan for two years, Shaffer said, and was ready to present its request by Nov. 1.
Part of the proposed trail will be adjacent to Lake Woodmoor, Shaffer said, creating an issue for how to handle the spillway at the south end of the lake. One solution would be to build a bridge over the spillway, at an estimated cost of $80,000. Both WWSD and the engineer who designs the spillway will have input into the final design, Shaffer said.
Shaffer told the board that the school district had asked for a letter of support from WWSD to include in the grant request. WWSD Treasurer Jim Wyss asked that safety issues raised by increased foot traffic on the trail be addressed in the planning for the trail.
The board voted unanimously to write the letter requested by the school district.
Low water level in Lake Woodmoor addressed
In response to a question from the public, Shaffer explained the reasons for the low level of water currently in Lake Woodmoor. Shaffer said the lake, which is part of the district’s water supply, fills with water in the winter, and the water level typically falls by the end of the summer due to increased demand caused by lawn watering and other hot-weather uses. In previous years, WWSD used more well water in summer months, Shaffer said, but now water stored in the lake is used to meet peak demands, and that cuts costs by delaying the need to drill new wells. Shaffer pointed out that much of the water in Lake Woodmoor is taken from Monument Creek, and that water costs one-third of what water pumped from the Arapahoe aquifer costs.
Sessions open to public
The board scheduled a budget planning session for Nov. 9 and a rate hearing for Dec. 14. Please check the WWSD website (http://www.woodmoorwater.com) or call 488-2525 to confirm times for the meetings.
The next meeting is scheduled for Nov. 9 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.
James Howald can be reached at email@example.com.
By Lisa Hatfield
The Academy Water and Sanitation District (AWSD) board met on Oct. 18 to discuss anticipated increases in water rates and sewer fees, and the draft 2018 budget.
AWSD includes the Pleasant View neighborhood, with 308 water taps and 292 sewer taps.
Exact sewer fees increase will be determined soon
Engineer Dave Frisch of GMS Inc. reported on the $3.1 million lift station and force main project underway that will allow AWSD to pump its wastewater over the hill into Donala Water and Sanitation District’s system. From there, it will go to the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility, which is equipped to meet new state standards for ammonia, phosphorus, and nitrogen. AWSD’s current lagoon treatment system can no longer meet these standards. See www.ocn.me/v16n3.htm#awsd0217, or www.colorado.gov/pacific/awsd/state-compliance for a detailed technical explanation.
Frisch said the project is "still in limbo" since, five months later, it is still waiting for plan review comments from the Colorado Department of Health and Environment. Other applications already approved include the site location and the 1041 permit. The specific calculations on the 30-year loan will be done by the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority, which administers the Water Pollution Control Revolving Fund (WPCRF) loan for the new AWSD lift station, and when that amount is known, the district’s needed sewer rate increases can be determined exactly.
AWSD customers currently pay $80/month for sewer service, and it might go up to about $92/month in 2018 to account for the addition of the Donala sewer system user charge and the loan payment.
Frisch anticipated that construction on the project could begin in March. When the new lift station is completed, AWSD will discontinue using the two old lift stations, the two lagoons, and two blowers.
Director Steve Callicot said that at the recent Town Hall meeting AWSD hosted to explain the history of the project and the reason for the additional costs, residents were very positive overall. "The message needs to get out," he said.
2018 water rates increase discussed
Treasurer Walter Reiss said he had investigated Director Ronald Curry’s question about why the district’s reserve fund was decreasing, and he discovered that since 2010, district residents had steadily cut back on their water use, so revenues were not meeting operations costs. Reiss said half of AWSD’s customers use less than 5,000 gallons/month, and only 8 percent use more than 12,000 gallons/month. For comparison, see Triview article.
The directors discussed District Manager Anthony Pastorello’s proposal to change the water rate schedule from two to five volumetric tiers in a structure similar to the one used by Donala, and to increase the cost per thousand gallons in each tier. Residents who use less water will pay less per 1,000 gallons, but people who use enough water to climb into the higher tiers will pay more per 1,000 gallons at that point.
A public hearing will be held and a final decision will be made this winter.
The Academy Water and Sanitation District board meets at 6 p.m. the third Wednesday of each month at the Donald Wescott Fire Station, 15415 Gleneagle Dr. Contact District Manager Anthony Pastorello at 481-0711 or see the district website at www.colorado.gov/pacific/awsd/general-info.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jim Kendrick
The Donala Water and Sanitation District board met Sept. 21 and Oct. 19 to acknowledge an award and to hear a presentation on water rates.
Sept. 21 regular meeting
The absence of Director Ed Houle was excused.
On Sept. 21, the board congratulated Donala Water and Sanitation District General Manager Kip Petersen for Donala receiving the Annual Colorado Special Districts Association’s Collaboration Award for the emergency sharing of Donala potable water with Triview Metropolitan District that began on July 4, 2016 and ended on July 9. The incident started on June 3. About 20 million to 30 million gallons of Triview water was lost. A continuous flow of 750 gallons per minute from Donala was established for 111 hours. Triview’s cost for Donala’s transfer of potable water was $151,943.
The broken 5-foot section of a Triview water main southwest of Bear Creek Elementary School leaked 20 million to 30 million gallons of water in June and July and caused a water emergency. Although the break had been blocked off on July 9 when the leak was found, it could not be repaired until the Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of Wildlife, and the property owner all granted permission for the district to access the site. The 5-foot split took only 39 minutes to repair once Triview finally was granted permission access the leak site, which lies within protected Preble’s mouse habitat. See the following articles for details:
The board tabled any further discussions of the feasibility of Donala joining the Colorado Southeastern Conservancy District until the Nov. 16 board workshop on future goals, water rights, and strategies for financing. www.secwcd.org.
Petersen noted that he and engineering consultant Roger Sams of GMS Inc. attended the Sept. 11 regular Triview board meeting. Sams presented a review of current project planning, regulatory framework, funding, and operational events and needs for the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility (UMCRWWTF). Triview, Donala, and Forest Lakes Metropolitan District share ownership of UMCRWWTF. See the following articles for details:
The UMCRWWTF effluent discharge flume that measures the discharge flow has been replaced. The plant’s state-approved arsenic removal upgrades will now be constructed in 2019-20. Donala runs UMCRWWTF for the three owner districts. Petersen presented a draft facility budget for 2018 in September.
Petersen noted that Donala has been contacted by a development group that will be building a 64-room extended stay MY Place hotel on the Barash Academy Gateway parcel, the vacant lot at the northwest corner of Struthers Road and North Gate Boulevard, near the I-25 North Gate Exit 156. A Starbucks and a convenience store are also planned for this county parcel, which is in Donala’s service area. Petersen said on Sept. 21 that he also had met with the county to learn about a major stormwater project planned at this intersection. Note: Donala has no responsibilities beyond water and wastewater in its service plan (charter) and is not responsible for stormwater in its service area. www.ocn.me/v17n6.htm#epbocc
Donala’s surface water right for use of snow-melt flows from its Willow Creek Ranch in Leadville ended on Aug. 31. Donala stored 270 acre-feet in 2017. The total amount of stored Donala ranch water in the Pueblo Reservoir was 280 acre-feet. Donala can store up to 499 acre-feet of ranch water in the reservoir.
The meeting adjourned at 3 p.m.
Oct. 19 regular meeting
On Oct. 19, Petersen and Sams presented a preliminary report on a Donala rate study being performed by GMS to determine how close Donala water rates are to paying for the actual cost of service, a long-term board goal over the last several years. Petersen also presented a draft 2018 Donala budget that will be voted on by the board at a public hearing on Dec. 7.
Petersen announced the Dec. 31 retirement of Office Manager Betsy Bray, who has worked for Donala for 24 years. Tanja Smith, of Accounts Receivable, was promoted to replace Bray and take over the office manager duties at this meeting to allow for some overlap with Bray during the transition.
All five board members were present as was Christina Hawker of Accounts Payable.
Presentation on User Charge Evaluation and analysis
Sams stated that the User Charge Evaluation examined the cost of operations and the operations revenue required for the two-year period of 2018-19. There was an hourlong technical discussion about the numerous regulatory trade-offs for various risk factors for various rate structures to meet sufficient revenue for inevitable steep increases in both Donala’s unique drinking water treatment operating expenses and Donala’s share of UMCRWWTF’s unique sequencing batch reactor wastewater treatment operating expenses. Petersen noted he would recommend a 4 percent increase for each of Donala’s potable water tier rates and a $2 per month increase in sewage service fees for 2018.
Presentation of the proposed 2018 Donala budget
Petersen gave a lengthy in-depth presentation on his proposed 2018 preliminary budget, with total expenditures increasing from $8.52 million for 2017 to $8.93 million for 2018. Petersen said that the draft budget is available at the Donala office at 15850 Holbein Drive for Donala constituents to review. Contact the office at (719) 488-3603.
Petersen noted that use of renewable surface water had been expanded in 2017 and Donala had already switched over to treating only groundwater for the rest of the year to reduce operating costs. Well water costs less to produce, and the wells had been turned off entirely for more months than in previous years to extend their service life by reducing annual consumption of this finite groundwater source.
The financial reports were unanimously accepted as presented.
The meeting adjourned at 4:11 p.m.
The next regular board meeting will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Dec. 7 in the district conference room at 15850 Holbein Drive. This meeting will feature the public hearing on the final 2018 budget. Information: 488-3603 or www.donalawater.org.
Jim Kendrick can be reached at email@example.com.
By Lisa Hatfield
The board members of the Forest Lakes Metropolitan District (FLMD) and Pinon Pines Metropolitan Districts 1, 2, and 3 (PPMD 1, 2, and 3) met on Oct. 30 to discuss tap fees, approve a property exclusion, and hear a development update. They announced that the November meeting will be canceled, and the Dec. 4 meeting would include the 2018 budget hearings and approval for all four districts.
President George Lenz, executive vice president of finance of Classic Homes, was excused.
Higher tap fees effective Nov. 1
The board unanimously approved a resolution increasing water development fees, or tap fees, by $3,500 effective Nov. 1. This brought the one-time tap fee cost to $12,529 for any single-family home in PPMD 1 or PPMD 2 that had not pulled a building permit by Nov. 1. The resolution also added a statement to the new tap kit inspection fee in the Falcon Commerce Center commercial property (PPMD 3), saying that cost will vary based on the actual cost of developing each parcel, said District Manager Ann Nichols.
One reason for this increase was that the new surface water treatment plant "had cost a couple of million dollars more than planned," said Assistant Secretary and Treasurer Doug Stimple, CEO of Classic Homes. One family currently owns all the Forest Lakes property as Forest Lakes LLC. Classic Homes does not own it but manages the development and the metropolitan districts. He said Forest Lakes LLC paid a development advance to the district and wants to get some of its capital back, although this increase "will only fill about half the gap" for the surface water treatment plant.
Nichols said the $3,500 tap fee increase will generate $1 million to $1.3 million, and Tom Blunk of CP Real Estate Capital, representing Forest Lakes LLC and Forest Lakes Residential Development, who attended the meeting by phone, said this would be not be termed "pledged revenue."
Background: In September, the district was negotiating a contract "not to exceed $8.5 million" for this new infrastructure. See www.ocn.me/v17n10.htm#flmd.
Also, the market analysis Nichols had done comparing FLMD with Triview Metropolitan District, Donala Water and Sanitation District, Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District, Wolf Ranch, and other districts showed that this new fee level was a fair request for new development.
Four members of the public attended this meeting, but none made comments during the public hearing on this resolution.
Exclusion petition accepted
The directors voted unanimously to approve a petition for exclusion of a 159-acre parcel in the southeastern section of PPMD 2. Stimple said that this parcel is hard to access and includes some federally-protected Preble’s meadow jumping mouse habitat. He and Assistant Secretary Joe Loidolt, president of Classic Homes, said it would be very expensive to provide utilities to this area and that it would not generate enough tax revenue to maintain them. The potential new owners plan to build just five units on the whole property and install well and septic fields instead of trying to connect to Forest Lakes infrastructure.
The sale of the land is contingent upon resolution of water and septic system details with Colorado Springs Utilities, Stimple said.
The resolution was conditional on the actual sale of the property for this minimal development.
District Counsel Russel Dykstra said that he would work with the petitioners and the El Paso County District Court to finalize the details.
Development overview and town’s easement
Secretary James Boulton, vice president/project manager of Classic Homes, said 72 homes had been sold so far this year in Forest Lakes, and over 50 new lots in Filing 2B would open up soon. Phase 2 was going to be submitted to El Paso County in November.
Stimple mentioned that Blunk needed to know when Boulton was going to submit the paperwork to the county so that FLMD could coordinate its response letter to the Town of Monument regarding the blanket easement owned by the town. "We are trying to get them to not have a blanket easement, and there are some other things in there as well," he said.
Note: The Monument Board of Trustees approved the supplemental and amended partial vacation of blanket easements in Forest Lakes in April 2016. At the time, Town of Monument Public Works Manager Tom Tharnish said the easements would allow the town to have the ability to drill wells and install pipelines to access its water rights and still allow Forest Lakes the ability to move forward with building lots. The land in question is in El Paso County, outside the town limits. See www.ocn.me/v16n5.htm#mbot0418.
The meeting adjourned at 10:46 a.m.
FLMD, west of I-25 at the end of West Baptist Road, is a Title 32 service district in El Paso County established in 1985. FLMD is the half-acre operating district responsible for the public infrastructure and utility and general governmental services for the residents of PPMD 1, 2, and 3, which actually collect the property taxes. PPMD 1 and 2 are not part 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.
The next meeting is scheduled for Dec. 4 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, an open-space tract owned by all four districts. For general questions, contact Ann Nichols at 327-5810 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lisa Hatfield can be contacted at email@example.com.
By Jennifer Kaylor
The Oct. 17 meeting of the Donald Wescott Fire Protection District (DWFPD) included a swearing-in ceremony and the presentation of a painting given by a local artist. Brief comments by the staff and the public, chiefs’ reports, and other administrative items resulted in a 20-minute review of business.
Directors Joyce Hartung and Harland Baker were excused from the board meeting.
A bevy of volunteers join Wescott
Community support for the district shone brightly as evidenced by the record number of volunteers sworn in. Board President Greg Gent led five men and three women in promising to uphold "the Constitution of the United States and the state of Colorado and the laws pursuant thereto, and to faithfully perform the duties of volunteer firefighters for the Donald Wescott Fire Protection District upon which [they were] about to enter."
Fire Chief Vinny Burns stated that the training exercises and initiations by which the volunteers learned equipment, standards, and procedures stretched throughout the year. Burns applauded the volunteers’ families for supporting them in their learning process.
Family and friends pinned their respective volunteers with a badge fashioned after the Maltese cross. The badge is the symbol adopted by firefighters worldwide and the cross’s eight points represent "observation, tact, resource, dexterity, explicitness, discrimination, perseverance, and sympathy," explained Burns. Treating others gently in the face of trauma, stepping up when duty calls, commitment to the fire service, honor, and courage culminate in the character demanded of the badge. Burns reminded the volunteers that they not only represent DWFPD, but all fire districts and firefighters, living and fallen. Burns, Assistant Chief Scott Ridings, and Lt. Brian Ackerman welcomed the initiates into the broad family of firefighters.
Following the ceremony, the volunteers presented the professional staff with a gift expressing their appreciation for providing the extra time and energy necessary to conduct their training. Burns and Ridings graciously received the large wooden flag and discussed options for displaying the surprise gift.
Painting honors first responders
Carlin Kielcheski, accompanied by his wife, Shirley, spoke of the debt we all owe to the firefighters and police officers who responded to the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001. Kielcheski, a retired art instructor for the Air Force Academy, painted his vision of first-responder sacrifices in a "situation that no one could prepare for." Kielcheski gave the painting to the district in appreciation of the times Wescott firefighters came to his aid.
Financial status reviewed
Administrative Assistant Stacey Popovich reported that the district’s funds now total $1.78 million, a draw-down of about $144,500 from the previous month. The Profit and Loss vs. Actual statement confirmed income from the wildland fire deployments of slightly less than $48,000*. The specific ownership tax also exceeded budget expectations by adding more than $25,000 to the district’s income. Year-to-date total income stood at 102.6 percent of the budget. Despite higher-than-anticipated expenses in the legal counsel; identity insurance; station repair and maintenance; professional accreditations; and information technology (IT) infrastructure line items, year-to-date expenses lingered at 51.8 percent of the budget.
Note: Ridings responded to resident Gary Rusnak’s question stating that when firefighters deploy to wildfires elsewhere, the district receives reimbursement to pay the deployed firefighters and the backfill (backup) firefighters’ overtime. Backfill can be provided by either part-time or full-time firefighters, but not volunteers.
Chiefs report dispatch and deployment activity
Ridings provided run reports for August and September. The district switched to a new inverse-reporting system that is tied to El Paso County’s computer-aided dispatch and generates reports immediately, Ridings said. Wescott responded to 35 Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and 36 fire calls in August and 27 EMS and 26 fire calls in September for a total of 124 calls over the two months. In comparison, the total call volume for 2016 was 2,709. This is because the district is shrinking due to Colorado Springs annexing a large part of the district.
Ridings stated that calls include incidents such as traffic accidents and other emergencies. In response to a question posed by Rusnak during the opening public comments, Ridings confirmed that the report encompassed only those calls in the remaining portion of the district. The August and September breakdown of mutual aid included 16 and nine calls in which Wescott provided aid, and four and two times in which Wescott received aid, respectively. Average response times were 5 minutes and 44 seconds in August and 5 minutes and 39 seconds in September.
Ridings reported that the wildfire risk reduction grant received for the south side of High Forest Ranch’s shaded fuel-break project, which included the northern portion of Shamrock Ranch, had been completed. (A shaded fuel break is a wide and easily accessible strip of land in which trees and brush are reduced to improve fire control opportunities.) The 50/50 matching grant provided $57,720, and the remainder of the $115,000 total cost was covered by the respective property owners. The project treated 82 acres at a mitigation cost of $1,400 per acre, enhanced 30 homes with defensible space, and treated roughly 300 acres of adjacent lands.
Burns announced that the deployment in Oregon was completed and, although California still needed help, DWFPD had not been called to assist.
Election will determine budget
Burns commented that "all boxes have been checked" with regard to the Nov. 7 election. Because the district’s taxpayers will vote to approve or deny an increase from 7 mills to 21.9 mills, Burns stated that he would present a budget once the election was final. Gent suggested that the board may need to schedule an additional meeting due to the postponed budget process.
The meeting adjourned at 8:13 p.m.
Caption: The new DWFPD volunteers are, from left, Cory Trottier, Melissa Seidenberg, Rachael Peters, Zack Parker, Stefanie Metcalf, George Laugesen, Andrew Kopp, and Gage Froedge. Photo by Jennifer Kaylor
The next DWFPD Board of Directors meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 21, at 7 p.m. at Station 1, 15415 Gleneagle Drive. Please call (719) 488-8680, a nonemergency number, for more information, or visit www.wescottfire.org. The district is also on Facebook and Twitter.
Jennifer Kaylor can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Lisa Hatfield
At the Oct. 25 Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD) board meeting, the directors approved an amended 2017 budget, viewed new versions of both the 2018 proposed budgets, and voted to un-freeze the chief’s and deputy chief’s salaries. They also heard updates on the current hiring process.
Vice President Roger Lance ran the meeting in the absence of President Jake Shirk. Secretary Mike Smaldino and Director Terri Hayes were also excused.
2017 amended budget approved
Fire Chief Chris Truty explained the purpose of the amended budget was to adjust the current budget based on significant unanticipated events or organizational changes that occurred after the normal budgeting process last fall. In 2017, these have included the short staffing situation, the impact fee arrangement with builders, and a move to different administrative offices. The budget is still balanced as required by law.
No members of the public spoke during the public hearing, and the directors then voted unanimously to approve the 2017 amended budget, which can be viewed in its entirety at http://tlmfire.org/budget.
2018 proposed budgets reviewed
Truty presented new versions of both 2018 proposed budgets, which included changes made based on the directors’ comments from the September meeting.
Two versions of the budget have been prepared. If the proposed 6.9 mill levy increase from 11.5 to 18.4 mills is approved, revenue is estimated at $9 million and total fund expenses estimated $8.8 million. If the mill levy stays at 11.5 mills in 2018, projected revenue would be about $6.3 million, and total fund expenses would be about $6.2 million. See http://tlmfire.org.
Over the last several years, Truty has consistently explained the need to increase wages in TLMFPD to prevent loss of experienced staff to higher-paying districts. To see many more details and proposed dollar figures for the operating fund, capital improvement fund, impact fees fund, emergency reserve fund, and the vehicle replacement fund, and to see how both proposed budgets compare to the 2017 budget and what other changes Truty has suggested, see http://tlmfire.org/mill-levy, www.ocn.me/v17n10.htm#tlmfpd, www.ocn.me/v17n8.htm#tlmfpd, and www.ocn.me/v14n9.htm#tlmfpd-0827.
At the Nov. 15 meeting, the public hearing on the 2018 budget will be held. By then, the district will know if the ballot measure was approved by voters or not.
Chiefs’ compensation restored to normal
Director Jason Buckingham made a motion that the chief and deputy chief’s salaries, which had been frozen at the end of 2016, be restored to meet the new compensation formula that all other ranks have been using since the beginning of 2017. See www.ocn.me/v17n1.htm#tlmfpd.
Treasurer John Hildebrandt said he felt this was appropriate, and Buckingham said Shirk had agreed with the idea when he discussed it with him earlier. The motion was approved unanimously.
Hildebrandt presented the monthly financial report as of Sept. 30. He said overtime pay was noticeably over budget due to the staffing shortage, but overall wages were 3.5 percent under budget, and overall expenses as of the end of September were 2.4 percent below budget.
Hiring process and promotions
Truty said 37 people sat for recent initial written exams, and 23 passed. Also, 13 people took the EMS/paramedic exam, and nine passed. Several more stages of testing will follow in a long process, and by the end of November, candidates will be identified to be hired and sent to the West Metro firefighter academy that starts in January.
Truty said TLMFPD is hoping to hire three new people to get full-time staffing to 15 per shift, and hire four others to fill four existing vacancies that are currently being staffed by overtime, for a total of seven new hires.
Later, Lance asked if there had been policy changes that staff was not aware of regarding eligibility to apply for promotion to lieutenant. Truty said it had been announced in February that applicants would need to have their Fire Officer 1 certification in hand in order to apply, and right now there were only one or two eligible staff members who might apply for the two open lieutenant positions.
New radios on the way
Fire Marshal/Administrative Battalion Chief Jamey Bumgarner said that replacing obsolete, front-line communications equipment was well under way after TLMFPD received $365,798 in Federal Emergency Management Agency grant money to replace outdated, unrepairable radios with Motorolas that have a lot more capabilities.
Other topics discussed briefly included:
• The International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) union gave away close to 500 pumpkins at Tractor Supply on Oct. 21 and answered residents’ question about the TLMFPD mill levy increase ballot issue. See related photo on page 26.
• It is vital to keep using social media, including Twitter and Nextdoor, to inform residents about local situations such as controlled burns in our area.
• The Monument Police Department and TLMFPD are working on an intergovernmental agreement about use and maintenance of snowmobiles that were donated to both agencies.
• TLMFPD crews presented fire prevention education to over 1,200 kindergarten, first- and second-graders in October.
• Truty said he had been interviewed by the Gazette recently as one of three local fire districts with ballot issues being decided this fall.
The Oct. 25 meeting agenda included a summary of call volume statistics comparing the number of runs in 2016 with 2017. The chart said that by September 2016, there had been 1,854 total runs, and by September 2017, there have been 1,791 total runs. The directors did not discuss these data totals. However, Bumgarner explained some details about the reduced number of automatic aid calls by Wescott FPD into TLMFPD since switching the response criteria to only life-threatening calls.
The meeting adjourned at 7:25 p.m.
Starting Nov. 1, the new leased location for the TLMFPD administrative offices will be 16055 Old Forest Point, Suite 103, in Monument.
Meetings are usually held the fourth Wednesday of each month. The next two meetings are scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Nov. 15 and Dec. 6 at TLMFPD Station 1, 18650 Highway 105. For information, contact Jennifer Martin at 484-0911. For upcoming agendas, see http://tlmfire.org/board.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at email@example.com.
Thank you so much to OCN Volunteer Joyce Witte for recording this meeting.
By Lisa Hatfield
On Oct. 9, the Monument Board of Trustees held a five-year water capital improvements plan (CIP) workshop that was a follow-up to the Sept. 18 workshop. On Oct. 16, they held a five-year general capital improvements workshop to "dream big" about parks, community centers, and ways to enhance Monument’s unique qualities. They also heard about the I-25 Gap Coalition, Land Use Planning 101, and the new Art Sites walking tour.
Trustee Shea Medlicott was absent for the Oct. 16 meeting.
Follow-up water capital improvements workshop
On Oct. 9, Town Manager Chris Lowe presented part two of his summary of the 2018 Water Capital Improvements Plan (CIP) that staff suggested for Monument’s potable water service area, which is entirely on the west side of I-25. (Triview Metropolitan District and Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District both supply potable water to some town residents on the east side of the highway.) For part one, see www.ocn.me/v17n10.htm#mbot0918.
"Our task is to create a sustainable, renewable water system," he said. Staff-recommended water CIP projects for the next five years are:
• Immediately find a way to manage return flows (water reuse).
• Continue pursuing the Area 3 reservoir for renewable water storage, possibly in the Home Place Ranch area of Triview.
• Acquire renewable water rights.
• Continue updating the town’s 20-year water master plan as development changes.
Lowe explained more about the new idea for water reuse, different from others mentioned this year. "We could utilize 200,000 gallons, or 40 percent of our water, that just goes over the dam every day, if we could recoup that water by doing indirect potable management of return flows."
Town staff is proposing that, downstream from the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility, they would drill shallow alluvial wells, allowing the stream water to be filtered through the sand. Then, the town would pump the water to a new drinking water tertiary treatment plant at its property on Mitchell Avenue and Synthes Avenue. This project would cost $5 million to $8 million, but it would significantly increase the water available to the town and could be done relatively quickly, Lowe said.
To find out if this option will work, the first step would be to drill test wells and sample the water over the next year, both summer and winter, to see how much natural scrubbing and dilution happens between Monument Creek and the shallow alluvial wells. The design process, which would require approval from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, could start after that, Lowe said.
Lowe’s additional comments included:
• An acre-foot of water weighs 17 tons, which is a lot to pump uphill.
• If these renewable water ownership, transportation, and storage projects are delayed, the town will have no choice but to drill more wells into a declining aquifer.
• Small towns need regional partners. Woodmoor Water, Donala, and Triview have all purchased renewable water that they can’t get up here or store it up here. We need to cooperate and form a local water authority of regional partners.
The trustees asked many more questions related to Lowe’s comments, as well as more about any possibility of partnership with Forest Lakes Metropolitan District or Colorado Springs Utilities.
Trustee Greg Coopman summed up by saying, "I am incredibly optimistic. It took us awhile to get to this point."
Lowe said, "the best way to codify and put in black and white what the board wants to commit to … would be either to make a resolution that adopts the water CIP" including the short-, medium- and long-term projects he had discussed. Then he would have direction to start making connections related to the local water authority, for example. The consensus was to direct Town Attorney Alicia Corley to draft a resolution for their approval at the regular Oct. 16 meeting.
The mood was positive, and Lowe said, "You can be the board that started, and finished, the long-range water plan for the community. You will have secured the water rights, the process of distributing water in the most cost efficient and home-ruled entity whose profits go back into the community (instead of to Colorado Springs Utilities. You are the board that would have fulfilled the long-term water master plan."
On Oct. 2, Town Treasurer Pamela Smith said budget workshops for the trustees and the public were scheduled for Oct. 28 and Nov. 18. She told OCN that the budget was sent to the trustees for the Oct. 2 meeting; it was not included in the board packet available online, though.
Resolution on water CIP approved 4-2
Subsequently, on Oct. 16, Lowe’s report on the resolution to ratify and adopt the town’s Water Capital Improvement Plan stated, in part, "The BOT [Board of Trustees], at the workshop session on October 9, 2017, committed to a Water Capital Improvement Plan which will direct staff efforts with respect to the Water Enterprise and 2A funds through 2022.… This document is meant to be the policy direction to staff to pursue the strategy as outlined in this memorandum and as discussed over the last couple of years."
Coopman thanked Lowe and Tharnish for the CIP. "I think you have unanimous support on moving forward in 2018 and the big picture for how we get to those goals. But I have concerns on the verbiage of the resolution. What is intent of resolution?" He was specifically concerned with this section: "Be it resolved that … the Board of Trustees hereby approves and adopts the Water Capital Improvement Projects as presented for the Town of Monument and by the Mayor signing, commit the resources of the Town and staff to pursue these projects as presented."
Coopman said that was basically asking the BOT to commit financial resources to five years’ worth of projects, when in its legal role it only appropriates funds on an annual basis, and that a sitting board could not make budget decisions for future boards.
Lowe said, "All money spent by town is subject to appropriation annually, so this just codifies that at this point in time, the board committed to a course of action. They can change that any time they would like." However, it would be good to codify so that future boards are not ignorant of the intentions of this board, which has committed significant resources in a particular path, he said. He did not want to waste hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Trustee Dennis Murphy said he thought the five-year approach was great and would help "keep our eye on the ball," but he had the same concerns Coopman did. He also wanted to know how these financial decisions would affect individual families’ budgets, and he asked again whether the board could receive updates from staff as they pursued other possible options with CSU.
After a long discussion and several questions to Lowe and Town Attorney Alicia Corley on whether it needed to be amended to add a provision that it was not appropriating any money for future budgets, the five-year water CIP resolution was approved 4-2 without any amendments. Coopman and Murphy voted no.
Five-year CIP workshop includes parks, community center, and more
Before the regular Oct. 16 meeting, Lowe presented a detailed list of other capital improvements the town might consider in the next five years to achieve "downtown and economic revitalization." The goal on some of these items is not core services for municipal operations but to engage in "placemaking," or determining what unique characteristic set the town apart from other communities. "We want people to live, play, and work in this community," he said.
Some of his and Public Works Director Tom Tharnish’s ideas included:
• A $2.8 million public works facility (possibly combined with drinking water treatment plant) in 2018
• $200,000 toward a splash park at Limbach Park with help from a hoped-for GOCO grant
• Recreation updates (and a new name!) for Park Trail Park in 2018
• Annual streets overlay/chip seal work of $300,000 to $500,000 from 2018 to 2022
• Permanent bathrooms at Monument Lake in 2018
• A $3 million to $5 million combined "community and senior center," which multiple generations could appreciate, in 2019
• $1 million for trails and open space in 2020
Lowe said the board would officially direct any of the projects to begin via the upcoming two budget workshops and budget approval for 2018.
Mayor Pro-Tem Don Wilson clarified that no town projects were planned for the Jackson Creek, Promontory Pointe, or Sanctuary Pointe neighborhoods, since those are under the purview of Triview Metropolitan District.
Lowe said he and Tharnish had met with Triview’s new interim District Manager Jim McGrady. "He is a huge believer in partnerships, and we are already talking about economies of scale, such as parks maintenance. We will work on cooperating more fully. I am excited for the opportunity to work with that board and their new manager." See related Triview article on page 1.
I-25 Gap Coalition
Wilson introduced El Paso County Commissioner Mark Waller, who expressed optimism about the process of widening I-25 from County Line Road to Castle Rock. He said, "local commitment through ballot issues" and "shovel-ready projects" created a huge advantage on the chances getting millions of dollars in federal funding.
Waller said, "I think we are in pretty darn good shape" and predicted that construction to widen I-25 to three lanes north of Monument could begin in fall 2019.
Note: The Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development and Visitor Center Board of Directors voted at its most recent meeting to support two measures: El Paso County measure 1A allows taxes raised in excess of TABOR limits to go toward the I-25 Corridor Gap improvement project, disaster recovery projects, and parks, trails, and open space projects. Measure 5B would adjust how Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (PPRTA) spends its revenue and add the I-25 Gap to the list of projects.
Land use planning workshop coming Jan. 8
At the request of the BOT, staff is putting together a workshop called "Planning 101: An Overview of the Development Review Process from Start to Finish." It will instruct the trustees, planning commissioners, and board of adjustment members, and other interested parties such as the Grow Smart Monument group.
The trustees requested that it also include strategies on how to shape growth and actually fulfill the vision of the community while still adhering to the legal parameters of quasi-judicial land use decision-making.
Upcoming land use projects
Part of Lowe’s town manager report included a list of projects headed for the Planning Commission and/or BOT over the next few months. They include, but are not limited to:
• Wagons West Annexation, a residential development
• Nexus, an office warehouse project
• Sanctuary Pointe, a residential development
• Dukes request, a proposal to purchase town property
• Mikulas, a determination of permitted use.
Financial report and checks over $5,000
The third-quarter financial report was approved as part of the consent agenda, as were these checks:
• Triview Metropolitan District, sales and motor vehicle taxes - $207,606
• Triview, property tax - $250,606
• Green Electric Co., radium removal - $8,634
• Lytle Water Solutions LLC, professional services 2A water - $6,034
• CIRSA Insurance - $18,278
• CIRSA Insurance - $20,056
• Habitat Construction, Second and Front Street improvement project - $96,880
Tri-Lakes Views’ ninth annual Art Sites walking tour
Sky Hall, president of volunteer-run Tri Lakes Views, presented slides of all the sculptures available on the 2017-18 Art Sites walking tour, including those at Big Red, along the Santa Fe Trail, and at the roundabout on Old Denver Road and Baptist Road—at least 24 of them! This is "public art in the Tri-Lakes region of northern El Paso County, Colorado." To see the map, ask at local businesses or see www.trilakesviews.org.
"We are self-funded, plus help from the community. It’s an acknowledgement that what is going on is good and we want to continue it," Hall said. It’s almost time for the 2018 "call to artists," and he hopes for financial help from people so they can do more.
The meeting adjourned at 7:38 p.m.
A second budget workshop is scheduled for Nov. 18 at the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce meeting room, from 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
The Monument Board of Trustees usually meets at 6:30 p.m. on the first and third Mondays of each month at Monument Town Hall, 645 Beacon Lite Road. The next meeting is scheduled for Nov. 20. Call 884-8014 or see www.townofmonument.org for information about live video streaming of meetings. To see upcoming agendas and complete board packets for the Board of Trustees or to download audio recordings of past meetings, see http://monumenttownco.minutesondemand.com and click on Board of Trustees. To see if you live within the boundaries of the Town of Monument, see https://arcg.is/0TTjib.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By James Howald
The Palmer Lake Town Council met twice in October: on Oct. 12 and Oct. 26. The council returned to the topic of marijuana-related businesses and added restrictions to the ordinance that defines how those businesses may operate in Palmer Lake. Updates to the ordinance restricting outdoor burning also were debated. The council withdrew the moratorium it recently put in place on new construction and passed a resolution in support of the Great Outdoor Colorado (GOCO) organization. Also, the council addressed several other administrative issues.
Controls on marijuana-related businesses tightened
At the Oct. 26 meeting, Trustees Paul Banta and Mark Schuler returned to the long-discussed topic of how to regulate marijuana-related businesses in Palmer Lake. Both argued that the town’s ordinance contained a loophole that could, under some circumstances, allow the existing two licensees to add additional licensees within the town boundaries.
Town Attorney Maureen Juran presented to the council an updated ordinance that limited the number of licensees in the town to two, while still allowing those two existing license-holders to transfer their licenses to others. The updated ordinance requires that if an existing license holder chooses to transfer their licenses, they must transfer all licenses, so that there are never more than two licensees operating within town boundaries, Juran said.
In public comments, the updated ordinance met with objections from Dino Salvatori, owner of Palmer Lake Wellness and one of the two license-holders legally doing business in Palmer Lake. Salvatori argued that the updated ordinance is not what the council agreed to in January 2016, and hindered his ability to develop his business. Salvatori said the new ordinance would prevent him from bringing his son into the business. Trustee Glant Havenar pointed out that Salvatori’s son could be added to Salvatori’s limited liability corporation, and could join the business in that way.
After a lengthy discussion that touched on the requirement that there be a 500-foot separation between marijuana-related businesses and many other topics, the council voted to approve the updated ordinance. Trustees Havenar, Shuler, and Banta voted to approve the updated ordinance, as did Mayor John Cressman. Trustees Mitchell Davis and Rich Kuehster voted nay. Trustee Bob Mutu was not present at the meeting.
Fire ordinance takes shape; town writes first $1,000 campfire ticket
At the Oct. 12 meeting, Town Administrator Kathy Green-Sinnard told the council that Ordinance 23 of 2017, which addresses outdoor burning, had been rewritten to make all open burns of slash illegal. The rewritten ordinance allows recreational fires such as barbecues and adds a requirement that fire pits constructed by homeowners must be inspected and permitted, Green-Sinnard said.
Green-Sinnard mentioned that the town had recently given its first $1,000 ticket to someone who had an illegal campfire near the town’s reservoir.
After discussion, this ordinance was tabled at both the Oct. 12 and Oct. 26 meetings.
Moratorium on new land use permits lifted
Cressman told the council that he felt the revised permitting process for new construction in Palmer Lake was too expensive for developers and put the town in the position of having to enforce regulations that it did not have the resources to enforce.
The council voted to lift the moratorium on new land use permits, with Banta abstaining.
GOCO gets vote of approval
Cressman told the board that GOCO had contacted the town to ask for a statement of support for its mission, to encourage the state of Colorado to continue funding the organization.
The council voted unanimously to write a letter in support of GOCO.
Other administrative actions taken
• The Palmer Lake Liquor and Marijuana Licensing Authority granted a liquor license to Matt Beck of BG Capital Group, which is reopening The Villa restaurant at 75 Highway 105 as a family Italian restaurant
• The council granted a business license to Dr. Jason Golec of Southwest Mobile Chiropractic at 755 Highway 105, Suite 2C-1
• The request to vacate a portion of Spring Street was withdrawn
• The council began consideration of a preliminary budget for 2018
The two meetings for November will be at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 9 and 23 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 email@example.com.
By Helen Walklett
At its Oct. 10 meeting, the El Paso Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) voted 3-1 to approve a rezoning application made by Dave Hellbusch to allow the operation of an RV and boat storage yard on his land north of Monument Lake Road and Mitchell Avenue. The BOCC also made decisions in October relating to the Jackson Ranch and Settler Ranch developments and to the Pikes Peak Brewing Co. premises on Lake Woodmoor Drive.
The request was to rezone a 3.75-acre parcel of land currently zoned RR-5 (residential rural) to CS (commercial service) to allow the operation of an RV and boat storage yard at the site. In 2013, the BOCC approved a variance of use for the land to allow a small-engine repair business to operate legally on the site. In 2016, a separate variance of use request to allow the outdoor storage business to operate legally was turned down by the BOCC after having been recommended for approval by the county Planning Commission. The Planning Commission heard the rezoning request at the beginning of September and recommended denial amid concerns that a rezoning would also allow other uses that might not be appropriate at the site. See article at http://www.ocn.me/v17n10.htm#epcpc.
At the Oct. 10 meeting, Hellbusch addressed the commissioners, saying, "I’ve been told over and over to be in compliance and that’s what I’m trying to do." He stated that he had misunderstood the process and had been mistaken to start up the storage business in 2016 before the variance of use request had been heard. He said, "I learned my lesson and it’s [the site’s] empty." Project Manager/Planner II Nina Ruiz of the Planning and Community Development Department confirmed that the site had been cleared following issuance of a violation notice, and that the applicant was now in full compliance with the current zoning.
Duncan Bremer, attorney for the applicant, said that historically the site had a commercial use and argued that it was suitable for limited commercial use given the lack of a sewer connection and the very restricted access. He stated that the proposed use would have "virtually no adverse impacts." He detailed the county’s specific screening requirements for outdoor storage and said that his client was fully prepared to comply with all of them. Such requirements would be agreed upon and set out in a site development plan.
The county had notified the two adjacent property owners. Sue Huismann spoke in opposition to the request. Thomas Pennewell, the owner of the three properties that surround the Hellbusch property, had written a letter in favor of it.
Commissioner Longinos Gonzalez raised the Planning Commission’s concerns that a rezoning would allow other uses. Ruiz confirmed that this was correct but said that any further use would require the applicant to go back to county for an additional site development plan.
Commissioner Peggy Littleton stated that the only reason she had voted against the variance in 2016 was because Hellbusch had developed the property before the application had been heard. After hearing that the site had been cleared and having seen the owner go through the application process, she supported the rezoning application.
Commissioner Darryl Glenn said, "when you look at the overall historic use of this property, it’s clearly more in line with commercial zoning so I am not in a position where I am concerned." Although sharing a lot of Commissioner Gonzalez’ concerns, Commissioner Mark Waller thought that considering the circumstances, the rezoning was the right thing to do.
The BOCC voted 3-1 to allow the rezoning request. Commissioner Gonzalez opposed and Commissioner Stan VanderWerf was absent.
The applicant now has 120 days from the date of the BOCC decision to apply for and have approved a site development plan demonstrating compliance with all development standards, including landscaping.
Other items unanimously approved by the commissioners:
• Oct. 3—the appointment to the county Planning Commission of Jane Dillon and Sharon Friedman. Their appointments will run until Oct. 30, 2018. Dillon was previously a member of the Planning Commission from 2009 to 2016 and was vice chair for four years.
• Oct. 17—the first partial release of a letter of credit for public improvements of Jackson Ranch Filing No. 2 for $89,723 following completion and inspection of the public improvements in this subdivision.
• Oct.17—the first partial release of a letter of credit for grading and erosion control of Settlers Ranch Filing 2B for $28,245 following completion and inspection of the improvements.
• Oct. 19—an application by Colorado Brewers Group LLC (trading as Pikes Peak Brewing Co.) for a modification of its premises on Lake Woodmoor Drive in Monument.
Helen Walklett can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jackie Burhans
The Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA) board met on Oct. 25 to discuss the upcoming board elections and annual meeting, clarify sharing of event information, support the Safe Route to Schools grant, and present the 2018 budget. Forestry Director Ed Miller and Public Safety Director Brad Gleason were absent.
Board elections and annual meeting
President Peter Bille noted that WIA board elections are coming up in January. Three board positions are open. Those interested in running can fill out a nomination form online at https://www.woodmoor.org/wia-board-nomination/. Once the nomination form has been submitted, a WIA staff member will follow up. The deadline for nominations has been extended until Nov. 30. Biographical information on candidates and ballots will be mailed in December’s annual dues invoice.
The election will be held at the annual meeting Jan. 29. Secretary and Director of Community Outreach Jennifer Cunningham is soliciting donations for door prizes from local companies for the annual meeting.
Sharing event information
Vice President Brian Bush clarified that WIA may choose to inform members of certain events at the Barn and in the community via social media and the WIA website if they think the information is relevant and may consider doing so if requested for non-commercial events. Cunningham indicated that anyone wishing WIA to inform the community about an event should email her at DirCommunityOutreach@woodmoor.org and copy HOA administrator Denise Cagliaro at email@example.com.
Safe Routes to School grant letter
Members of the WIA board and staff have been meeting with representatives from the Lewis-Palmer School District to discuss the district’s application for a Safe Routes to School grant to fund 20 percent of the projected cost, not to exceed $44,845, of a trail that would go around Lake Woodmoor. It would connect Lewis-Palmer Elementary School and Lewis-Palmer Middle School, and end at the boundary to Palmer Ridge High School. The grant application was submitted to the state on Nov. 1 and the decision will be available in March 2018.
The district has asked WIA to partner with it on the grant, which requires three things:
1. Commitment to funding 20 percent of the $44,845 projected project cost
2. Allowing use of 5,000 linear feet of the common area for the trail
3. Maintaining the portion of the trail that is east of Woodmoor Drive (the district would maintain the portion that is west of Woodmoor Drive).
Bush said that the proposal has merit and shows that the community is progressive. He asked for a motion to direct President Bille to sign the letter of support for the proposal. The board unanimously approved the motion.
2018 budget keeps same dues
Treasurer Lee Hanson noted that the board met the previous week to put together the proposed 2018 budget, which was approved by the board. Hanson stated that the budget is consistent with 2018 plans and includes keeping the annual dues at the same rate. The budget was presented to the public in this Oct. 25 board meeting. Budget statements, when available, can be found on the internet along with other WIA financial information by scrolling to the bottom of https://www.woodmoor.org/board-of-directors/.
Board report highlights
• Bush reiterated that the increased covenant fines are not a revenue-generating activity for the board. The board seeks compliance and has many ways to resolve covenant violations that don’t involve fines, which are only used as a last measure.
• HOA administrator Cagliaro noted that the document scanning project is making great strides through the efforts of WIA staff member Amy Mast.
• Bears have become very active in preparing for the winter; residents should not leave out trash cans, dog food, or bird feeders.
• The recent edition of the Tribune noted that it has been 40 years since voters approved the purchase of the Barn for $100,000 by the Woodmoor Improvement Association.
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 be on Nov. 15 due to the Thanksgiving holiday.
Jackie Burhans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Bill Kappel
October was a little warmer and drier than normal. During the month, there were two periods of cool weather and moisture, otherwise the rest of the month was mild and dry.
The month started with relatively cool weather and lots of fog, lows clouds, drizzle, and rain showers. Highs were in the upper 60s on the first, then mid-50s from the 2nd through the 4th. Drier and warmer weather moved in for the next few days with upper 60s to low 70s from the 5th through the 8th. These temperatures were a good 15-20 degrees warmer than normal. Of course, this was ahead of some cooler air and our first taste of winter.
An initial cold front moved in during the early evening of the 8th, then a secondary push moved in around 11 p.m. This produced some light flurries in the region before midnight with snow and blowing snow filling in just after midnight. The snow continued through the next afternoon before clear skies moved back in. Cold air stuck around all day with the "high" falling to temperatures just above freezing at midnight. Temperatures on the 9th were stuck in the 20s around the region, making for a cold day, especially after the previously warm weather. Anywhere from 1-3 inches of snow accumulated around the region, and with the previously warm weather, much of this turned to ice on the roads, causing some tough driving conditions.
Dry and mild conditions then quickly returned for the next two weeks. Highs reached the mid-50s on the 10th, then mid-70s on the 11th and 12th. Temperatures dropped slightly the next few day, with low 70s for highs from the 13th through the 15th before warming again from the 16th through the 20th. Temperatures cooled again slightly, moving back to about normal levels with mid-50s to mid-60s from the 21st to the 24th. One last day of warmth occurred on the 25th, as highs reached near-record levels in the mid-70’s on the 25th.
The last week of the month saw a return to cooler and unsettled conditions. A quick-moving cold front brought cooler temperatures by the afternoon of the 26th and some light snow. Temperatures were chilly the next day with lows starting in the single digits and teens on the morning of the 27th. Temperatures warmed to near 50 on the 28th, then upper 60s on the 29th, before a final cold front moved in during the evening of the 29th.
This last front brought some treacherous driving conditions with it, as areas of freezing drizzle developed that evening and continued into the morning of the 30th. Roads were covered in a sheet of ice around the region, making the morning commute very difficult. Light snow and flurries developed again that afternoon and continued through the morning of the 31st. Temperatures stayed cool through the afternoon, before sunshine returned just in time for Halloween afternoon.
A look ahead
November is generally dry and cool around the region. We usually get several light snowfalls interspersed with sunny skies. Gusty winds commonly develop on a couple of days as the jet stream becomes more active and more directly affects Colorado. Our first sub-zero morning low temperatures occur during the month as well. High temperatures average in the upper 40s early in the month to low 40s by the end with overnight lows often dipping into the teens and single digits.
October 2017 Weather Statistics
Average High 61.1° (+1.6°)
100-year return frequency value max 67.7° min 50.7°
Average Low 29.8° (+1.5°)
100-year return frequency value max 36.8° min 26.4°
Monthly Precipitation 0.41" (-1.32")
100-year return frequency value max 4.63" min 0.18"
Monthly Snowfall 4.1" (-6.9")
Highest Temperature 76° on the 11th
Lowest Temperature 14° on the 27th
Season to Date Snow 4.1" (-7.1") (the snow season, October 1 to September 30)
Season to Date Precip. 0.41" (-1.32") (the precip season, October 1 to September 30)
Heating Degree Days 584 (+6)
Cooling Degree Days 0 (0)
Bill Kappel is a meteorologist and Tri-Lakes resident. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Letters to Our Community should not be interpreted as the views of OCN even if the letter writer is an OCN volunteer.
Support for schools
In regard to the misleading attack ad that appeared in the October OCN, I can only say that we’re lucky we have any teachers left in D38. I’m sick and tired of the vilification of teachers. The lack of respect and support for teachers exhibited by many people in this community is disgraceful.
D38 is moving in a liberal direction? I believe that, like many educational institutions, D-38 encourages people to have open minds. If that’s your definition of liberal, so be it. Whoever paid for the publication of that screed obviously had enough money to buy a half-page ad, but they are bankrupt morally and ethically. Since they didn’t have the courage to attach their name to it, I can only assume a) they never finished high school or had a bad high school experience; b) they certainly have never been a teacher, or c) they’re just bitter and resentful of anyone with a higher level of education.
I would like to see such critics do a teacher’s job for just one week. I doubt they would last a day. Teaching is the most noble of professions. Doctors and nurses may save lives, public safety and military professionals may protect us, but you wouldn’t have people in those professions without teachers now would you? Long ago someone paid for my high school education. Ever since then I’ve considered it my civic duty to pay for those coming up behind me, to provide them with the best education possible. It’s my obligation. It’s the right thing to do. It’s the responsible thing to do.
De Angelis for D38
It is an honor to run for the D38 school board and I want to thank everyone, whether a supporter or not, for your engagement.
I am running as a father of two kids in D38 and as someone who grew up in a family of 10 diverse learners. I believe public schools are here to serve all students, and that we, as a community, should lead this effort.
I am running as an Air Force Academy graduate and former service member. I believe in integrity and living a life that contributes to the greater good. As a community, we should model collaborative behavior and show our children what it means to face challenges with dignity and respect for others. I also stand by my non-partisan pledge in service to the community above all else.
I am running as a leader with skills to continue our excellence and to meet our future. I have worked in complex leadership and business environments for 17 years as an Air Force officer, director for Oracle, and as a senior executive at a technology firm where I have grown our company’s profitability by 20 percent and grown overall revenues in excess of $120 million. I understand governing, private business, complex budgets, and working as a team towards excellence.
From this experience I developed the focus for my campaign: 1. to create the best educational experience for all of our kids; 2. to plan strategically for growth; 3. to promote civility; and 4. to protect our largest community investment—our schools.
I am grateful to the parents, teachers, and community members who are passionate about our schools. We are Lewis-Palmer, a District of Distinction. It is together that we will continue our tradition of excellence. Let’s keep D38 great!
De Angelis for School Board
The upcoming School Board election has brought about a sense of division in our community, which is shameful. I have seen the words conservative and liberal used as weapons against each other, rather than understood as just a different way of looking at things. I have seen candidates use their political affiliation to garner a voter base, even though public education is not about politics. Our teachers do not teach to Democrats or Republican children, they teach to students.
I would rather look at the candidates’ experience and vote on their ability to lead the community in collaborative efforts toward maintaining the excellent school district we have here in D38. I know Tom De Angelis has the experience to make sure D38 continues to exceed any expectations, and that our students will continue to thrive. As a former Air Force officer, he was selected the No. 1 officer in his career field (out of 2,000 officers in the Air Force)—proof that he understands how to lead people and bring them together. He is an advocate for all schools, including Monument Academy, which has a wonderful standing in this community.
Tom believes that integrity is everything. His wife, Dr. Karin De Angelis, is also a former officer and teaches at the Air Force Academy. While they are no longer on active duty, they continue to live by the core values, and believe in character first. Tom has managed multi- million-dollar projects for Oracle, and he understands prioritizing dollars and making sure all schools are supported.
As a parent of two children in our district, he supports and trusts teachers to make decisions based on the welfare of all students. Long-term strategic planning is his forte, proven again and again. We are undergoing significant growth in our district, and we need to elect the candidate with proven experience to keep it great.
Fall into great books
By the staff at Covered Treasures
We just had one of our favorite activities of the year, our annual bookseller’s trade show. We have the opportunity to meet authors and publishers and talk about their new releases. It’s a slice of heaven for us. We always come back with great books. Here is just a sampling, and they make great gifts.
Harry Potter: A Journey through a History of Magic
By British Library (Arthur A. Levine Books) $19.99
Carefully curated by the British Library, this is an unmissable journey for Harry Potter fans to explore the history of the magic at the heart of J.K. Rowling’s stories. You will find previously unseen material and illustrations from artist Jim Kay. Discover the truth behind the origins of the Philosopher’s Stone, monstrous dragons, and troublesome trolls; examine real-life wands and find out what actually makes a mandrake scream; pore over remarkable pages from daVinci’s notebook; and discover the oldest atlas of the night sky.
Turtles All the Way Down
By John Green (Dutton Books) $19.99
It all begins with a fugitive billionaire and the promise of a cash reward. This is a story about lifelong friendship, the intimacy of an unexpected reunion, Star Wars fan fiction, and tuatara. But at its heart is Aza Holmes, a young woman navigating daily existence within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.
The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine
By Mark Twain and Philip Stead (Doubleday Books for Young Readers) $24.99
In 1879, Twain began a story for his daughters. He jotted some notes, but never finished the tale. With only Twain’s fragmentary script, Caldecott Medalists Philip and Erin Stead (illustrator) imagine what might have been if Twain had fully realized this work. Johnny meets a kind woman who gives him seeds that change his fortune, allowing him to speak with animals and sending him on a quest to rescue a stolen prince. In the face of a bullying tyrant king, Johnny and his animal friends come to understand that generosity, empathy, and quiet courage are gifts more precious in this world than power and gold.
Astronaut Scott Kelly: My Journey to the Stars
By Scott Kelly with Emily Easton (Crown Books for Young Readers) $17.99
NASA astronaut Scott Kelly was the first to spend an entire year in space. Discover his awe-inspiring journey in this picture-book memoir that takes young readers from Kelly’s childhood as an average student to his record-breaking year among the stars while in command of the International Space Station. Scott and his brother, Mark, were the first twin astronauts in history. This story of an ordinary boy who grew up to do extraordinary things will inspire children and anyone who has ever tried to defy the odds.
By Martha Brockenbrough (Arthur A. Levine Books) $17.99
Year after year, a young girl writes to Santa and Santa writes back. A heartwarming relationship develops until one year, the girl writes to her mother instead. This transformative tale spins a universal childhood experience into a story about love, giving, and the spirit of Christmas.
Ghosts of Greenglass House
By Kate Milford (Clarion Books) $17.99
Bestselling author Milford welcomes readers back to the irresistible world of Greenglass House, where 13-year-old Milo is, once again, spending the winter holidays stuck in a house full of strange guests who are not what they seem.
The Illustrated Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
By J.K. Rowling (Arthur A. Levine Books) $39.99
The third book of the Harry Potter series is now beautifully reimagined in full color by award-winning artist Jim Kay. During his third year at Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry Potter must confront the devious and dangerous wizard responsible for his parents’ deaths.
Stop in, say hello, and browse through our new selections. Choose some to enjoy yourself during these cool fall nights, and find special gifts for the readers on your list. Until next month, happy reading.
The staff at Covered Treasures can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .
By Harriet Halbig
Join us from 2:30 to 3:30 on Saturday, Nov. 11 for a Family Fun program on hovercrafts. Representatives from Cool Science will teach attendees about air pressure and how hovercrafts work by helping you to build your own with a balloon and a CD.
The Lego Build Club will meet from 10 to 11:30 on Saturday, Nov. 18. All ages are welcome and Legos are provided.
AfterMath is a free tutoring program for math students of all ages. Come to the library on Mondays from 3:30 to 7 to get help from experienced adult tutors. No appointment is necessary. AfterMath is not held on days when the schools or library are closed.
Wednesdays are the days for intergenerational knitting at the library. The program will be held on Nov. 8 and 15 from 3 to 4:30. Practice materials are provided, but you are encouraged to bring your own current project. Some instruction provided for those new to the craft.
November is National Novel Writing Month. Come to the library from 1 to 4 on Nov. 5, 12, 19, 26, and 30 to write on your own or with a friend. No reservation required.
The Monument Teen Creative Writing Group will meet from 5 to 7:30 on Tuesday, Nov. 7. This group for ages 12 to 18 allows you to meet with fellow writers, share ideas, do writing exercises, and share snacks.
Closing out the 2017 All Pikes Peak Reads program, Oregon Trail Game Night will be held Wednesday, Nov. 17 from 4 to 5. We will play the original computer game and the new card game version. We will discuss Under a Painted Sky, enjoy trail foods, and discuss survival on the road west. There will be games, crafts, and food galore.
The Teen Arts and Crafts Studio will be held from 4 to 5:30 on Wednesday, Nov. 29. This month we will be making triskele globes. Design your own triskele as a decoration, a gift, or an ornament. Registration is required because supplies are limited. All supplies will be provided.
See the above section for information about intergenerational knitting groups and National Novel Writing Month schedules.
The Second Thursday Craft for November is quilting. Harriet is back this month to teach how to make needle cases and mug rugs using English paper piecing and applique skills. Registration is required and opens two weeks before the class. All supplies are provided, but bring small scissors if you have them.
Jim Sawatzki will present his new film on the Palmer Divide Christmas Star on Sunday, Nov. 12 from 2 to 3:15. The showing will be followed by the question-and-answer session, and DVDs will be available for purchase.
The Monumental Bookworms will meet on Tuesday, Nov. 14 from 7 to 8:30 to discuss Lost Lake by Sarah Addison. All patrons are welcome to attend this new evening book club sponsored by the Tri-Lakes Friends of the Library.
The Monumental Readers will meet from 10 to noon on Friday, Nov. 17 to discuss A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. All patrons are welcome to attend this monthly book group.
Tom Pulford, head football coach and PE/Health teacher at Palmer Ridge High School, will speak on positive coaching on Tuesday, Nov. 21 from 6:15 to 8:45.
Palmer Lake Library events
The Palmer Lake Book Group meets at 9 a.m. on the first Friday of each month. All patrons are welcome to attend. Please call 481-2587 for the current selection.
The Family Fun Cool Science program on Saturday, Nov. 18 at 10:30 is Balloon Science. Watch us play with and even abuse some balloons in the name of science.
Toddler Time in Palmer Lake is on Fridays at 10:30 and Story Time for preschoolers is on Wednesdays at 10:30.
All Pikes Peak Library facilities will close at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 22 and remained closed on Nov. 23 in observance of Thanksgiving.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at email@example.com.
By Sigi Walker
On Oct. 19, an enthusiastic audience enjoyed a potpourri of short videos by multi-award-winning documentary filmmaker Rich Luckin. All the videos were filled with spectacular scenery and trains. A number were not produced for commercial purposes. This was true of the short film with which he opened the program. It features the Utica (NY) Union Station, a beautifully restored 1914 classically-inspired Beaux Arts structure. Of interest were the massive wooden benches that were once heated with steam from steam pipes and vents. Today, Amtrak and the Adirondack Scenic Railroad as well as intercity and local buses serve the station.
Another video featured Amtrak’s "Zephyr in Colorado" as it traveled from Denver to Glenwood Springs. Surprisingly, some videos were taken with his cell phone and then adapted to video format with music and subtitles added. He pointed out that all the principles of good photography apply when using a cell phone.
Scenery is the star in the 2008 GrandLuxe promotional short video filmed in Montana for travel agents, along with the scenes of the first-class dining service aboard that train. GrandLuxe was the successor to the American Orient Express. The name was changed to GrandLuxe following a lawsuit brought by the European Orient Express. Unfortunately, GrandLuxe went out of business shortly after the promo was completed. A place setting of GrandLuxe china was available for the audience to inspect.
Luckin also showed an early Amtrak promotional as well as clips from the film Amtrak: The First 40 Years (1971-2011), which he produced for the 40th anniversary of Amtrak. He traveled all over the United States for a month to make the film—at Amtrak’s expense.
Included in the potpourri was a longer film on the history of Kansas City Union Station, showing the early days, the busy station during World War II, the station’s decline, and its restoration.
Two short videos featured the Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden, one of which was made using footage shot with a drone. He explained the necessity of planning where and what to film when using drones. He also mentioned that you have to take wind into consideration because it will cause the drone to wobble.
Mark your calendars for Thursday, Nov. 16, when the Palmer Lake Historical Society will present the program The Star on Sundance Mountain hosted by award-winning documentary filmmaker Jim Sawatzki. The film tells the story of this uniquely Palmer Lake institution that has become an iconic symbol of inspiration. The world’s largest illuminated star, it can be seen for over 20 miles. Historical Society events and programs are held in the Palmer Lake Town Hall, 28 Valley Crescent St. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.; program begins at 7 p.m. and is free and open to all. Visit www.palmerdividehistory.org for more information.
Above: From left are Tom Baker, Kathleen Luckin, Rich Luckin, and Mike Walker at the Palmer Lake Historical Society’s Oct. 19 program. Photo by Doris Baker.
Above: GrandLuxe china, the last complete set sold. Photo by Doris Baker.
Article and illustrations by Elizabeth Hacker
October is a month when many minds turn to ghoulish fantasy. Think Halloween, and what bird comes to mind? The owl, with its haunting yellow eyes, is a bird steeped in superstition and legend. Today, owls often are referred to as "wise and old." I’ve not tried the Colorado Springs restaurant, "The Burrowing Owl," but I imagine it to be a cozy restaurant for "book worms."
Legend aside, owls are a predatory bird that silently hunt their prey, mainly at night. Of the 19 species of owls in the United States, 13 are found in Colorado.
Owls vary in size from the great gray owl, 27 inches in length, to the diminutive 5.5-inch elf owl. Female owls are larger than the males. Owls have large rotating heads with facial discs and big, round eyes that are fixed in their sockets so they can’t move, causing an owl to turn its neck to look in different directions. The large discs on an owl’s face funnel sound to its ears, located not in ear tufts but asymmetrically at the side of its head.
Most owls swallow their prey whole and expel pellets of undigested bone, feathers, and fur. The bigger the owl, the bigger the pellet.
Most bird feathers have sharp edges that emit a flapping sound, but owl feathers are soft and muffle the sound of any air movement, allowing owls to silently grab unsuspecting prey in their sharp talons.
Owls on the Divide
The three owls commonly found here are very different from each other and vary in size, diet preferences, behavior, and habitat selection. Included here are the great horned owl, the burrowing owl, and the barn owl.
Great horned owl
The great horned owl, large with yellow eyes and ear tufts, is commonly found in woodlands of North America. In this region, it nests in a variety of habitats including coniferous forest, grassland, and wetlands. While it often nests in trees, it will also nest on high shelves in garden centers, like Home Depot, where chicks are protected from predators like the red-tailed hawk. Garden centers provide an easy and abundant source of food, and owls help to control rodent and sparrow populations at these centers. Owl chicks are cute, and people enjoy watching them. People will go to a garden center to watch as the chicks develop, which can be an asset for a seasonal business.
Great horned owls mate for life but if one dies, the survivor will pursue another mate. Females lay up to four eggs in early spring and sit on them for 35 days while the male brings her food. After the chicks
hatch, the male and female take turns tending the nest and hunting. Due to competition for food, it is rare to see more than two chicks fledge a nest. Smaller chicks can’t compete with their larger siblings.
Once a fledgling leaves the nest, it stays near its parents for several months learning survival and hunting skills. In late fall, it will have learned to fend for itself and establish a new territory. The parents separate into territories until the following spring, when they will reunite to mate.
The great horned owls’ range on the Palmer Divide is expanding and their numbers are increasing. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the great horned owl is an opportunistic and adaptable bird that nests in a greater variety of sites than any other bird in North America.
Burrowing owls are small migratory birds with long legs found in dry, open grasslands and deserts. They fly en masse to arrive here mid-March to mid-April. As the name implies, the burrowing owl makes its home underground in abandoned holes excavated by animals like prairie dogs.
It nests in loose colonies. Females are the same size as males. After she lays up to a dozen eggs, both she and her mate take turns incubating the eggs and hunting for food. A male may mate with more than one female and tend to several nests.
The burrowing owl is diurnal, meaning that it primarily hunts during the day. Large insects, small rodents, amphibians, and reptiles make up the burrowing owl diet, and to ensure a readily available food supply, prey is stored in large underground caches. The burrow entrance is often lined with cow dung to attract beetles that chicks can hunt without venturing too far.
Many of the eggs will hatch, and it’s truly amazing to watch all these little heads pop up and down as they peer out from their burrows. Only a few chicks will survive to adulthood. Interestingly, adults will mimic the sound of a rattlesnake in an effort to scare away predators like coyotes.
Once commonly found in this area, burrowing owl populations have dwindled due to habitat lost to development and extermination of the prairie dog. The City of Colorado Springs has dedicated land for burrowing owls, but there has been no effort that I am aware of to do so in northern El Paso County.
The barn owl is an exceptionally beautiful and graceful bird and is the only member of the family of Tytonidae. It is a medium-size owl with a slender body and a heart-shaped face. Its large dark eyes contrast with the white feathers on its face, and the tawny colored feathers on its side and back are lighter than other owls.
The barn owls’ diet is restricted to mice and small rodents and it is found only in areas where mice are abundant, like barns— thus the name. It is also found in marshy areas where the protected Preble’s meadow jumping mouse is also found.
Barn owls mate for life and when one dies, the remaining mate might or might not seek another. The female builds a nest from the pellets she expels while the male supplies her with a cache of food that might last up to a month. Barn owls will defend a nesting location, but they do not establish or defend a territory.
Unfortunately, the barn owl is not an adaptable species, and sadly its numbers are declining due to a variety of factors including habitat loss.
I’ve only scratched the surface of information available on these owls, and every year new research provides even more information about these amazing birds. The Nature and Rapture Center of Pueblo is open to the public and often rescues owls. It’s well worth a visit.
Elizabeth Hacker is a writer and artist. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org to share bird pictures and stories.
By Janet Sellers
Want to live green all season—even on vacation? Olla (oh-yah) is an ancient watering system for easy, consistent watering care used with plants indoors or outdoors. An olla is a lidded terracotta water jug, a mini water tower that seeps water into the soil and has been used for thousands of years in Asia and the Americas. It saves lugging water to the garden and offers consistent moisture underground. Usually filled once a week, and with good mulching (using the plant’s natural canopy of leaves such as big squash leaves, dried pine needles, leaves or gravel on the ground), the moisture stays in the ground with the plant roots.
Olla keeps a consistent moisture in the under-surface soil environment for healthy microbiological support of crops and ornamentals, and benefits our surrounding forest habitat area as well, limiting the water loss we experience with irrigation/evaporation issues. The olla sits idle when it rains, as water is not drawn from its moist surface to the plants. A 2-gallon olla can reach a 36-inch diameter garden bed area, so make sure the olla’s pot is a size relative to the planter.
Potted plants can also use the olla system on a smaller scale with good results, and it’s not limited to terracotta jugs. One can use a milk jug, water bottle, or another container as long as it can be submerged into the soil, with non-porous containers using tiny pinprick holes to let the water seep out into the soil. Or, glue an upside-down terracotta pot to a snug-fitting terracotta dish and bury it upside down; water fills the pot via the hole.
Let’s all plan now for spring garden success, and let’s fall in love with native plants. Native grasses and flowers evolved to thrive in our area and offer breathtaking beauty in all their growing cycles. Wild iris, Mariposa lily, pasque flowers, and our show-stopping yucca plants are just a few of our native beauties. Yucca flowers are edible, they say, and I heard one gardener tout stuffing them with cheese and deep-frying them.
We need to respect our local habitat as we care for our gardens. Bringing in non-native plants doesn’t always work out for the rest of the ecosystem. Charlotte Reemts, vegetation ecologist of the Nature Conservancy, explains that "insects, and sometimes other wildlife are unable to eat or breed on introduced plants with the same success. Like any healthy food web, where you find insects—like butterflies and moths—you will also find the species that feed upon them, such as birds, mammals, and reptiles. Without native plants as the primary food source, diversity in such a system can be drastically reduced."
Many plants used thoughtfully in terms of the forest clime can do well and not ruin the forest habitat we so love in our region. Dry, rocky soil-loving and new to me are the long-seasoned chocolate flower (yellow daisy-like, smells chocolatey, edible), and cowboy’s delight, a hollyhock-looking groundcover.
Janet Sellers is an avid lazy gardener (aka leave-it-natural) and active ethnoecologist promoting the dynamic relationships between people, biota, and environments from the cultures of the past and immediate present. She can be reached at JanetSellers@ocn.me.
By Janet Sellers
Cold days are upon us, and here are some ideas to warm your heart right up. Did you know that making art can be a powerful mood elevator? Mindless sketching and doodling are powerful friends for helping us focus. And they are powerful friends to help balance our brain and relax as well. Curiously, though, making art can also create short-term mood repair, regulate mood, and more.
Many people have the blues in winter, and making some art just might be a helpful activity. Humans have made art throughout their existence, with no particular reason or motive other than it feels satisfying or important to do because it is meaningful. Researchers in the field of ethnoecology, which looks at the relationship between humans and the natural world emphasizing the cognition, resource management, and actions people take to reframe their world optimally, seem about to learn what the ancients (and artists) always have known: that making art is vital to a meaningful, satisfying life. I would further the idea that art is integral in how people manage to thrive wherever they are.
A study in the journal Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts found that "... in confronting sadness through art making, distraction is more beneficial than venting." The researchers found that distracting yourself by making unrelated art was far more effective than either venting your feelings through art or just sitting in your sadness. (Other forms of distraction might have this effect too.)
Lots of times, people won’t get started on their own but will get going when with others if given the chance. People can enjoy a class or group workshop to get them started and begin enjoying making art and lifting their spirits. Art classes make for a gift of a lifetime, and anybody can set up a month or two of art classes for the proven winter uplift effect.
Local art events
Join our local art scene this month for a fine art time and bring a friend or your sweetie. The following places not only have art you can bring home the same day but also offer a wish-list program so you can get just the right artful gift and see the smiles grow big.
Southwinds Art Gallery—10 local artists for the holiday season: paintings, photography, glasswork, jewelry, fiber art. Nov. 3-5; Friday 5-9 artist reception, Saturday 10-6, Sunday 1-5. 16575 Roller Coaster Rd., corner of Baptist and Roller Coaster Roads.
Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts—2017 Member and Resident Artist Show through Dec 30. Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts, 304 Highway 105, Palmer Lake.
Holiday Pop Up Shops—see Facebook: "local holiday pop up shops" Tri-Lakes area.
Bella Art and Frame Gallery—Nov. 4 and Dec. 2, 2-4 p.m., artist Joseph Bohler is selling and signing his art prints with a special incentive. 183 Washington St., Monument.
Janet Sellers is an award-winning artist, writer, and speaker. She teaches art and creative writing in the studio and on location. Contact her at email@example.com.
Hands-on learning at the museum:
Caption: Sunny days and Questers volunteers greeted the many visitors who enjoyed the sixth annual Reynolds Ranch Harvest Festival hosted by the Western Museum of Mining and Industry (WMMI) on Oct. 7 and 8. WMMI works to preserve the history of the Colorado Springs area. Thousands of artifacts throughout the exhibit helped visitors learn and interpret mining and industrial technology, geology, and environmental concerns of Colorado and the West. The original Reynolds home—a working farm, dairy farm, ranch, and sawmill—occupied terrain that the U.S. Air Force Academy now inhabits. The festival invited guests to ride a hay wagon, shop a farmers’ market, operate indoor and outdoor machinery, stroll through a pumpkin patch, create crafts, witness Gold Canyon Gunfighters’ dramas, and peruse the farm buildings and museum. Eliyah Houston, pictured, playfully panned for gold and gems in the cool shade and gentle breeze of a Colorado afternoon. Caption and photo by Jennifer Kaylor.
RMMA Concert, Sept. 30
Caption: The Prometheus Piano Trio performed a Mozart program at the first Rocky Mountain Music Alliance (RMMA) concert of the season on Sept. 30. Pastry chef Guy Mendel prepared special treats for everyone who attended. For information about future concerts, call Coleen Abeyta at 630-8165 or see www.rmmaonline.org. Photo by Barbara Taylor.
Empty Bowls fundraiser, Oct. 4
By David Futey
On Oct. 4, over 650 members of the Tri-Lakes community supported the Empty Bowls fundraiser for Tri-Lakes Cares. Joe Dague, Tri-Lakes Cares board chair, said the event is "our major fundraiser that enables us to offer emergency support and reach out to the community to provide support to those in need." He added that "although the economy has recovered there are still many in need."
Wood turner Lou Greene said he and others, such as Dusty Severn who organized potters, donate their works because they "believe in Tri-Lakes Cares and its efforts in the community." Those efforts go toward emergency, self-sufficiency, and relief programs.
With Monument Hill Kiwanis organizing it, over 40 organizations donated food and drinks along with a variety of items for the Silent Auction.
On a somber note, the event honored Anne Shimek, who passed away earlier this summer. Shimek co-founded Empty Bowls over 20 years ago and supported it through her pottery and event organization. David Futey can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Caption: Monument Kiwanis Empty Bowls Co-chairs Bill Kaelin and Dave Wittman flank Sharon Williams at a display for Empty Bowls co-founder Anne Shimek. Shimek, who passed away this year, co-founded the Empty Bowls over 20 years ago as a fundraiser for Tri-Lakes Cares. Below: As part of admission to the Empty Bowls, attendees could select a wood-turned or pottered bowl. Photos by David Futey.
Palmer Lake Art Group (PLAG) Art and Craft Sale
Caption: Palmer Lake Art Group held its annual Art and Craft Sale the first weekend in October at Palmer Lake Town Hall. Here, "Marjorie" shows her crafts of cuddly "Woolies" she has been making out of repurposed sweaters for the event. The group’s annual sale supports scholarships for local high school art students. Photo by Janet Sellers.
D38 Hall of Fame inductees
Caption: Lewis-Palmer School District recognized four Hall of Fame award recipients during its fifth annual ceremony on Oct. 7. From left are Ida Liebert, Linda Wilson, Tommie Plank, Shauna Lambros, and Kevin Cassidy. Cassidy and Lambros, son and daughter of Michael Cassidy, accepted the Special Legacy Award for their father. The siblings expressed their gratitude and proudly recounted memories of Michael Cassidy’s personal and professional contributions to family and community. Lauded for her innovation, Hall of Fame inductee Liebert, who served as principal for Kilmer and Prairie Winds Elementary Schools, shared fun stories about the students she served. Former district board Director Tommie Plank, recognized for her "focus, knowledge of current educational issues, problem-solving ability and communication skills," thanked the community for its support that allowed students to thrive as enrollment climbed. Wilson, a retired Palmer Lake Elementary School teacher, engaged and inspired others to such a degree that she was voted "Most Memorable Teacher" by Palmer Ridge High School graduates—twice. Caption and photo by Jennifer Kaylor.
Fire recovery needs help
By Nancy Trosper and Lisa Hatfield
Although much progress has been made since the June 2013 Black Forest Fire, there is still much to do for recovery and proactive wildfire risk reduction to help prevent another catastrophic forest fire, said Black Forest Together’s (BFT) Eddie Bracken, who is board chair and an active volunteer. He and Bill Mantia, Recovery Projects board director and another very active volunteer, explained at BFT’s first-ever fundraiser, held Oct. 7, that they need more help to cover operating expenses so that BFT can remain open and continue to support the community.
The fire resulted in the loss of two lives, burned over 14,000 acres of the forest, destroyed 500 homes, and forced the evacuation of 38,000 residents. BFT, a grassroots 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization, has led cleanup and restoration efforts in the community since August 2013 and continues organizing work projects to clean up more burned trees and do fire mitigation to reduce the risk of another fire.
BFT has completed over 300 recovery, restoration, and proactive fire mitigation projects, leading 40,000-plus hours of volunteer labor, representing about $1 million of in-kind contributions back to the community. BFT’s Resource Center and projects have been made possible by the Pikes Peak Community Foundation, American Red Cross, El Pomar Foundation, Mountain View Electric Association, Black Hills Energy, and many more local organizations and private donors. BFT also received federal Community Development Block Grant funding for temporary staffing of two paid positions to assist the community, but funding for these positions ends in June 2018.
Mantia explained on Oct. 7, "There is no federal, state, or county money. If we want help to keep clearing the damage, we have to do this ourselves."
Interested individuals and organizations are encouraged to support BFT and can find more information at their website www.blackforesttogether.org or call 719-495-2445.
Caption: Eddie Bracken spoke to the audience at the 2017 Black Forest Together fundraiser, the first of its kind since the 2013 fire. Photo by Nancy Trosper.
Shawn Colvin at TLCA
Caption: On Oct. 18, Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter Shawn Colvin graced the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA) stage in celebration of the 20th anniversary release of her album A Few Small Repairs. The album propelled her career in 1997, and this is her first major tour with a full band since its release. In between opening with Tom Petty’s Wildflowers and doing an encore that included a Beatles song, Colvin and her all-star band performed each song from the album in order. They started with Sonny Came Home, the song that epitomizes her artistic depth. Throughout the evening, Colvin guided the audience by providing insight into the background inspiration of certain songs and the process she uses in her songwriting (writing her lyrics in longhand and making adjustments to follow the work in progress) while receiving numerous standing ovations in return. Information on upcoming events at the TLCA is at trilakesarts.org. Photo by David Futey.
Bumper Jacksons at TLCA
The Bumper Jacksons brought their American roots music to the Tri-Lakes Center of the Arts stage on Oct. 23. Clarinetist, washboard player, and vocalist Jess Eliot Myhre said band members "come from all different and unique [backgrounds], New Orleans jazz, swing, hip-hop, country and together we have developed our own sound." An example of the uniqueness in background is guitarist and vocalist Chris Ousley. Ousley said "I started playing banjo at square dances in western PA, met Jess with her New Orleans sound, starting playing old-time tunes then gradually melded the other band members into the sound." The result is a lively and refreshing sound that encompasses originals such as I Like Bacon on Everything and covers like Dirt Road Blues by Bob Dylan in their own style. Information on upcoming events at the TLCA is at trilakesarts.org.
Caption: Jess Eliot Myhre and Chris Ousley are two of the Bumper Jacksons quintet that performed at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts. Photo by David Futey.
Palmer Lake .5K Fundraiser
Caption: The annual Awake Palmer Lake .5K (yes .5) was held on Oct. 8. This fundraiser event for Awake Palmer Lake included 1,660 feet of semi-cardio-workout along the west side of Rockin the Rails Park in Palmer Lake, a "donut aid station" at the halfway point, and beer after the finish line. Organizers said they wanted to help people start bulking up for the long winter ahead while getting together for a good cause and actually get "a little" exercise. See http://awakepalmerlake.org/. Photo by John Crouse.
Outpouring: Boomers’ Impact
By Lynn Weber
Kent Mathews from the Family Caregiver Support Center spoke at Outpouring, the Tri-Lakes area’s version of TED Talks, on Oct. 17. Mathews’ presentation was titled "Evolution of Caregiving: The Boomer’s Impact."
Mathews said that most everyone will be a caregiver or need a caregiver at some point in their life. Modern medicine often produces a living death. Baby boomers will need help and care for longer periods of time. In 2010, 70 percent of those 80 or more years old had some kind of disability, with 55 percent having a severe disability. Today the 80s are considered the high-risk years for aging. The oldest boomers begin to reach their 80s in the 2020s. All the Boomers will enter their 80s from 2030 to 2050. The ratio of caregivers to care receivers transitions from 7.5 to 1 in 2010 to 2.5 to 1 in 2050.
Being a caregiver has significant demands on one’s health, finances, and time, Mathews said. Women experience more severe impacts since they are more likely to be caregivers and are less likely to have adequate resources. Currently, most caregivers perform medical/nursing tasks without any preparation or training. Boomers are known for fighting the aging process.
All of this means more caregiving will be needed with fewer resources unless we adjust for the boomer impact. Possible options are expanding long-term care options, more paid caregivers, time banks, and increasing the use of technology.
If you have concerns about caregiving or need help with your caregiving situation, please contact Kent at 719-471-7080 ext. 115 or email@example.com for more information.
The Outpouring speaker on Nov. 21 will be Irv Halter, who will present "Current Population and Economic Trends in Colorado and Its Effects on Rural and Small Communities." Halter is the executive director of the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) and a member of Gov. John Hickenlooper’s Cabinet. DOLA supports communities throughout Colorado by partnering with local governments and community service organizations. Halter is responsible for a statewide team that annually distributes over $300 million through grants and other funding programs that support community development and affordable housing.
For more information on Outpouring and future programs, go to http://tlumc.org/outreach. Outpouring is sponsored by Tri-Lakes United Methodist Church and meets the third Tuesday of each month in the Barrel Room at Pikes Peak Brewing Co.
Free pumpkins, Oct. 21
Caption: Despite the chilly winds Oct. 21, kids and their families from the Tri-Lakes area descended upon the Free Pumpkin Event held at the Tractor Supply Co. on Jackson Creek Parkway. Sponsored by the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District, the event supplied visitors with a pumpkin, a bit of candy and popcorn, a peak into a fire truck and police car, and an opportunity to learn about the district’s ballot issue on the November election. Caption by Jennifer Kaylor. Photo by Janet Sellers.
Kevin Swenson remembered
Caption:The flag is presented to Claudia Swenson, widow of Kevin Swenson, as Kevin’s mother and sister look on at a memorial service on Oct. 21. Kevin, the first police officer for the Town of Monument, was also the first lifeguard for Monument Lake. He succumbed to cancer on Sept. 22 after a four-year battle. Caption by John Howe. Photos by Sky Hall.
Trunk or Treat at St. Peter, Oct. 27
Caption:A safe Trunk or Treat event was held at St. Peter Catholic Church on Oct. 27, on a chilly evening filled with happy costumed revelers ready for candies and other treats. Participants decorated their vehicles as Halloween booths while children of all ages enjoyed the goings on. Photo by Janet Sellers.
Benet Hill Concert
Caption: The sisters of Benet Hill Monastery hosted violinist Jerilyn Jorgensen and pianist Cullan Bryant in the first in a series of four chamber concerts. As part of Arts at Benet Hill Monastery, Jorgensen and Cullan initiated the series by performing pieces from Mozart, Szymanowski, Webern, and Grieg. The musicians possess impressive credentials and extensive experience working with one another. Enhanced by natural light and acoustics of the chapel, guests enjoyed an atmosphere of extraordinary music in a beautiful and peaceful setting. The next concert in the series features Parish House Baroque on Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018 at 2:30 p.m. For more information about Arts at Benet Hill Monastery, go to www.benethillmonastery.org. Caption and photo by Jennifer Kaylor.
David Payne portrays C.S. Lewis
On Oct. 28, author C.S. Lewis was brought to life on the Tri-Lakes Center of Arts stage through the captivating portrayal by British actor David Payne. Payne wrote and has performed this one-man show over 700 times since 2001. The setup for the portrayal is the year 1963, the year Lewis died, with Lewis hosting a group of American writers in his living room. Through Payne’s portrayal, we learned of Lewis’s struggle with the acceptance of God from "youthful atheism" until he concluded there was "some type of God." His strong Christian faith greatly influenced his writings, as in the Narnia books. During his 30 years of tutoring at Oxford, Lewis developed a friendship with J.R.R. Tolkien. This relationship was such that they would read each other’s manuscripts to offer feedback. We also learned about his late-in-life marriage to American Joy Davidman and the impact of her untimely death. Photo by David Futey.
Creepy Crawl 5K at the YMCA
Caption: The Creepy Crawl 5k race fundraiser at Palmer Lake, sponsored by the local YMCA and others, was held on Oct. 28 with a costumed race for big kids, a slower "race" for walkers, and a special race for kids on foot and in strollers. Costume prizes for funniest, scariest, etc. were handed out along with pirate-themed treats. Photo by Janet Sellers.
Caption: Reader Kelly Kline sent us these photos of extensive Halloween decorations at a home in The Ridge at Misty Acres.
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.
Ringers needed for handbell choir
High school and adult ringers are needed for a local community choir or a church choir. For more information, contact Betty Jenik, 488-3853.
Tri-Lakes Music Association (TLMA) seeks singers and orchestra musicians
TLMA needs vocal and orchestra musicians for its annual Christmas concert Dec. 15-17 in Monument. See ad on page 12. Practices are at Tri-Lakes United Methodist Church, 20256 Hunting Downs Way, Monument. Vocal practices are Sundays, 1:30 p.m., and Mondays, 6 p.m. Orchestra rehearsals are on Sundays; call for times. Students, please note that TLMA offers two $500 scholarships each year, and one of the criteria is that the student must have performed with TLMA. For more information contact: Bob Manning, 232-4114, firstname.lastname@example.org; vocal, Matt Manning, 271-3643, email@example.com; orchestra, Rose Dunphey, 481-1553, firstname.lastname@example.org; www.trilakesmusic.org.
YMCA 5K Race Series and Kids Fun Runs, register early to save
Two races of the three-race series remain: the Turkey Trot Nov. 23 at the Briargate YMCA and the Jingle Bell Dec. 9 at Fountain Creek Regional Park. Sign up online at www.ppymca.org/programs/adult/running-races/ymca-5k-race-series.
LEAP—Help for heating bills begins Nov. 1
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 Nov. 1-April 30. Application packets will automatically be mailed to residents who received LEAP assistance last year at the address where they were living at that time. To find out if you qualify for LEAP, call 1-866 HEAT-HELP (1-866-432-8435) or visit www.colorado.gov/cdhs/leap.
MVEA essay contest, enter by Nov. 20
High school juniors can enter to win an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C., for the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour, or win a stay at the Colorado Electric Education Institute’s Youth Leadership Camp in Clark, Colo. Last year’s first place winner was Gavin Hornung from Palmer Ridge High School. To enter, write a 500-word essay on the following topic: "What is the difference between energy conservation and energy efficiency? Do you feel that members should use one method over the other if they want to use less energy?" Essays must be received by Nov. 20. For entry qualifications and to complete an online entry form, visit www.mvea.coop/youth-programs.
Toy donations needed for Santa on Patrol
Santa on Patrol will team with the Monument Police Department, Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District, and the Palmer Lake Police Department to deliver toys and good cheer to many children in the Tri-Lakes area in December. The date has not yet been announced. Santa and his elves from the fire and police departments hope to deliver more than 1,000 toys again this year. New, unwrapped toys and gift cards may be dropped off by mid-December so there will be time to get them ready for delivery by Santa and his elves. Please take them to the following locations: Monument Police Department, 645 Beacon Lite Rd.; Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Stations 1, 2, and 3; or Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Department administration offices, 16055 Old Forest Point, Suite 103. For more information, contact Monument Police Chief Shirk, 481-3253.
MVEA Scholarships, enter by Jan. 16
Each year, MVEA awards $1,000 scholarships to 14 graduating high school seniors. Applications are due by Jan. 16, 2018. For entry qualifications and to complete an online entry form, visit www.mvea.coop/youth-programs.
Monument text alerts
Text "Monument" to 41411 to receive updates and news of meetings, weather alerts, openings and closings, as well as important town information to your phone or personal mobile device.
Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District wins grant for communications equipment
The Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD) received a grant of $365,798 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, a component of the Department of Homeland Security. TLMFPD will use the money for state-of-the-art apparatus-mounted and hand-held radios.
Forest Lakes/Pinon Pines residents needed for Citizens Advisory Council
Forest Lakes Metropolitan District (FLMD) seeks five Pinon Pines residents to serve on a Citizens Advisory Council. The council will serve as a forum for Pinon Pines residents to learn about district issues and to advise FLMD on resident issues. If you are interested in serving on this advisory council to FLMD, please contact your HOA administrator, Steve Emery of Hammersmith Management, at 719-389-0700.
Residence vacation check
The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office will conduct vacation checks of homes in El Paso County for residents who are on vacation. This is a great way to add security to your home when you’re away for multiple days. Either a deputy or trained volunteer will visit your home while you’re away and check it periodically. To add your home to their schedule, visit www.epcsheriffsoffice.com. Info: 520-7151.
Volunteer weather observers needed
The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS) is seeking volunteer weather observers in this area. The nationwide network is made up of volunteers who help measure and record precipitation in their areas. Volunteers are expected to purchase a rain gauge, which costs about $30. Learn more and sign up on the network’s web page at www.cocorahs.org.
Monthly arts and crafts group forming
The Tri-Lakes Silver Alliance Senior Center is looking for anyone interested in various types of arts and crafts such as needlework, knitting, beading, coloring, or quilting. If you’re interested in any of these
activities or have a suggestion of your own, contact Sue, 464-6873.
Silver Alliance Thrift Store needs volunteers
Volunteers are needed for various tasks. The store is located at 755 Highway 105, Suite N, in the West End Center and is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. See ad on page 32. To volunteer, call 488-3495.
Free transportation and handyman services for seniors
Mountain Community Senior Services offers free transportation and handyman 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 or visit www.coloradoseniorhelp.com.
Volunteer drivers needed for seniors’ transportation service
Mountain Community Transportation for Seniors is a nonprofit, grant-funded organization that provides free transportation to Tri-Lakes seniors 60 years old and over. The program needs additional volunteer drivers. For information, email MCSS at email@example.com or call the MCSS dispatch hotline at 488-0076.
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 Mon.-Fri. at the Mountain Community Mennonite Church, 643 Highway 105, Palmer Lake. It also contains the schedule of the classes and events for the month at the Senior Citizens Center and senior-friendly library programs. 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.
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 branches will close 6 p.m. Nov. 22-Nov. 23 for Thanksgiving
• The Palmer Lake Library hours are Tue.-Fri., 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and Sat., 10 a.m.-2 p.m. 66 Lower Glenway. Info: 481-2587, www.ppld.org.
• The Monument Branch Library hours are Mon.-Thu., 9 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri. & Sat, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sun., 1-5 p.m. 1706 Lake Woodmoor Dr. Info: 488-2370, www.ppld.org.
WEEKLY & MONTHLY EVENTS
Our community calendar carries listings on a space-available basis for Tri-Lakes events that are sponsored by local governmental entities and not-for-profit organizations. We include events that are open to the general public and are not religious or self-promotional in nature. If space is available, complimentary calendar listings are included, when requested, for events advertised in the current issue. To have your event listed at no charge in Our Community Calendar, please call (719) 339-7831 or send the information to firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 1742, Monument, Colorado 80132.
Contact us at (719) 488-3455, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, or P.O. Box 1742, Monument, Colorado 80132-1742.
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