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By Jackie Burhans
The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) held two public meetings in January to present information and solicit public feedback on the proposed I-25 widening and improvement projects. The first meeting on Jan. 24 was held at Library 21C in Colorado Springs and was attended by about 160 people, including Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers. A similar meeting was held on Jan. 26 in Castle Rock at the Douglas County Fairgrounds with a similarly sized crowd.
The meetings consisted of a brief presentation providing an overview of the project and its long-range goals, with a special focus on advancing an early action construction project in the "Gap" area between Monument and Castle Rock where I-25 currently has two lanes in each direction. A key project vision is to provide near-term relief in the "Gap," supported by a long-term vision for the whole study area from Monument to C-470.
The accelerated "Gap" project would include an extra lane in each direction, wider shoulders, and some bridge replacements with construction starting in 2019 and finishing in 2021. To achieve this goal, construction funding would have to be identified by the end of 2017. If successful, this would be the fastest project completed by CDOT. Additional long-term projects would continue after the "Gap" early action is complete.
Some time was spent describing the process, which consists of a Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) study, a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) portion, a design phase, and construction. The PEL study combines federal requirements and environmental clearances, including community engagement through public meetings. CDOT staff noted the high attendance at these meetings compared to other projects. One driver of meeting attendance was a local Facebook group called "Fix I-25 Now" started by Monument resident and former public official Anne Howe (https://www.facebook.com/groups/fixi25now/). Traditionally the PEL, NEPA, design, and construction phases are sequential. The first three phases have been condensed and overlapped to accelerate the construction phase once funding is identified.
The PEL study is divided into three segments. Segment 1 covers I-25 from mile marker 161 to 179. This is the "Gap," which hasn’t been updated since the ‘60s, has a total of four lanes, narrow shoulders, varied topography, and is surrounded by open space. Congestion is present all week and into the weekends. Segment 2 covers mile marker 179 to 189 from Castle Rock to Castle Pines, which has six lanes and many planned development projects. Segment 3 covers mile marker 189 to 194 in the Denver South region and has eight lanes; it was recently widened but is already at the capacity expected for 2020.
CDOT staff members as well as representatives from CH2M, an environmental and engineering consulting firm with headquarters in Denver South, were available to answer questions at eight stations covering Project Background, PEL Process, Engineering and Infrastructure, Travel Reliability and Mobility, Safety, Environment, Funding and Financing, How to Get/Stay Involved, and Public Comments. Three tables at the back of the room held maps of the three study segments. At each station or table, a staff member with specialized knowledge was available to answer questions, and attendees were encouraged to ask questions, make comments, and write notes on the material about specific areas of concern.
One poster board at the Funding station let attendees pick three choices for potential additional revenue sources to fund highway construction. Choices included: tolls, sales tax, property tax, state income taxes, fuel taxes, vehicle miles travel fees (charging motorists based on how many miles they have traveled), lottery fees, vehicle registration fees, and more. The most widely selected options were lottery fees, marijuana taxes (a write-in choice), and vehicle miles travel fees.
Above: Attendance was high at the CDOT public meeting on the I-25 Colorado Springs Denver South Connection project on Jan. 24 at Pikes Peak Library 21C. A second meeting with a similar number of attendees was held in Castle Rock at the Douglas County Fairgrounds on Jan. 26. Photo by Jackie Burhans.
More information on the I-25 PEL: Colorado Springs Denver South Connection project can be found at https://www.codot.gov/projects/I25COSDEN.
Jackie Burhans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Lisa Hatfield
On Jan. 25, the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD) directors reviewed the 2016 financial summary. They discussed a Jan. 2 rescue (see photo on left) and considered a December request from Donald Wescott Fire Protection District (DWFPD) Chief Vinny Burns that Wescott be compensated by TLMFPD for the imbalance of automatic aid between the districts. And they approved a new job description for an "administrative battalion chief" who would also serve as fire marshal.
Treasurer John Hildebrandt was excused.
2016 financial summary
A memo from Chief Chris Truty about 2016’s finances included:
• Gross revenues − $5.95 million, 100 percent of budget
• Gross expenses − $5.88 million, 97 percent of budget
• A change in the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) billing service increased EMS billing revenues by 56 percent by increasing the actual collection rate per call.
• Run volume increased 12 percent, from 2,242 calls in 2015 to 2,514 calls in 2016.
A 12 percent increase is "a big spike, a reflection of growth," Deputy Chief Randy Trost said. He wondered when the district might need to consider acquiring a third ambulance if this type of increase became a pattern.
After the meeting, Truty told OCN that of the 2,514 total calls in 2016, TLMFPD had about 796 fire calls and 1,775 EMS calls.
The board consensus was that TLMFPD had a good working relationship with the City of Colorado Springs Fire Department and its contracted ambulance service, American Medical Response (AMR). Trost said TLMFPD has responded into Colorado Springs sometimes to help when it is busy there, but Trost and Secretary Mike Smaldino said a mutual benefit occurs, since the city will also move an ambulance farther north just in case it might be needed when TLFMPD is very busy.
Call volume disparity with Wescott discussed
DWFPD sent a letter to Truty in December notifying TLMFPD of Wescott’s decision to begin charging TLMFPD for a portion of the automatic aid Wescott provides. They suggested TLMFPD and Wescott sign an IGA where the per call fee would be $230 for certain calls, with an implementation date of Feb. 1. Burns estimated that Wescott provides automatic aid on all levels of EMS calls to the southern end of TLMFPD’s territory along Baptist Road about 100 times a year. See related DWFPD article on page 8.
After the meeting, Truty explained that automatic aid is defined as an arrangement where a neighboring jurisdiction will respond automatically into another jurisdiction to be the primary responder into a defined area. It can be fire or EMS. Mutual aid is where that other jurisdiction will only come in if the original jurisdiction either needs additional help or its resources are not currently available..
AMR is also Wescott’s outsourced ambulance service, but Wescott provides the driver for that ambulance as part of its contract.
Truty’s memo to the board offered six possible responses to DWFPD. He said the staff recommended Option 4, below. "We don’t feel like we are going to put people at risk by not putting Wescott on those certain call types," Trost said:
OPTION 1: Accept request as is: PRO: Quickest response by a unit of some type for all calls. CON: District would incur an expense that at the moment is not budgeted.
OPTION 2: Deny request completely: PROS: More consistent responses from TLMFPD resources. No additional expense. CON: Longer response times on some calls including life-threatening calls.
OPTION 3: TLMFPD units are solely dispatched with an officer’s ability to add Wescott units as conditions warrant. PROS: DWFPD could be added on an as-needed basis and may have quicker response times. TLMFPD manages responses. Reduced or no additional expense. CONS: Additional dispatch time could make DWFPD unnecessary due to loss of time advantage.
OPTION 4: TLMFPD units are dispatched on all District 4 calls and Wescott would be dispatched only in all the most serious, life-threatening calls (cardiac arrests and other Level E calls). PROS: Quickest response on most severe calls. Call volume reduced so that there is reduced or no additional expense. CONS: Lengthier response times on some calls. Distinguishing these types of calls alone could be a challenge due to the difficulty of listing all the special situations that would have to be known by the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office dispatchers for each of the six different dispatching contingency options, much less display them on a computer screen for the Sheriff’s Office dispatcher.
OPTION 5: TLMFPD units are dispatched on all District 4 calls that are clearly not urgent (such as "lift assists" when a person has fallen and cannot get up). Sends a Wescott unit on all calls except for clearly non-serious calls. PROS: Quicker response to calls that are clearly emergency calls. Call volume reduced so that there is reduced or no additional expense. CONS: Non-serious calls would have longer response times. Distinguishing these types of calls alone could be a challenge due to CAD flexibility.
OPTION 6: Hire/assign a staff member to run out of TLMFPD offices during normal business hours. PROS: Certain hours would allow a TLMFPD response unit. Additional administrative help. CONS: Additional personnel cost depending on hours. Equipment costs.
Truty told the board that TLMFPD "could significantly reduce the call disparity between TLMFPD and Wescott, possibly by as much as two-thirds, by modifying our response plans so that Wescott is no longer dispatched on non-serious calls. We would work with them and our dispatch center to more specifically identify what those are. With the reduction in the disparity that now exists, we believe we will be closer to an even exchange of services and can avoid fees."
The directors discussed the topic with great passion. Director Terri Hayes was concerned about public perception and letting $230 stand in the way, although she did not like the idea of paying another district either and wanted to keep a close eye on it if this were adopted.
Secretary Mike Smaldino was vehemently opposed to the idea of setting a precedent for districts to start paying to get automatic aid from each other, saying, "They are not going to balance their budget on the backs of us." Director Jason Buckingham wondered if it was worth a possible $23,000 a year to get a one-minute-better response time to those neighborhoods north of Baptist Road that are so close to Wescott’s Station 1.
Another part of the discussion centered on the fact that Wescott has cut almost all overtime pay this year, meaning staffing levels there could be unpredictable as far as TLMFPD is concerned.
The board finally decided not to vote on the subject at this meeting at all. Instead, they gave direction to Truty to ask Burns some more specified questions.
Dinner meeting with Wescott
A casual dinner and conversation meeting happened among six of seven TLMFPD board members and two board members and the two chiefs of DWFPD on Jan. 18. Truty said this was a special "get to know each other" meeting for both district board members. TLMFPD officially posted the meeting and had a majority of its board members in attendance, while DWFPD did not. See related DWFPD article.
Raspberry Lane structure fire
Trost and Battalion Chief Mike Keough reported that on Jan. 2, at 8:10 a.m., a fire broke out in the multifamily homes on Raspberry Lane south of Monument Lake Road. Two people were not able to escape their home due to extreme smoke and heat in the living room, so the man, a former firefighter, climbed out the third-story window, with his small son, onto the three-foot roof ledge, until they were rescued by Capt. Kris Mola and his crew. See photo on page 1.
Trost said, "It was a great job by the guys. They did a quick hit on the fire, too." Crews from DWFPD and Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department assisted on the scene, and three units from CSFD responded but were canceled before their arrival. The Monument Police Department and El Paso County Sheriff’s Office also assisted on the call, Trost and Keough said.
Fire marshal job description modified
In the wake of the abrupt unexplained departure of former TLMFPD Fire Marshal John Vincent in December, Truty proposed a set of modifications to that position, title, responsibilities, and salary. The proposed job description for an administrative battalion chief would include all fire marshal responsibilities plus have additional administrative responsibilities that currently are handled either by Truty or Trost.
Trost said that a Fire Inspector I certification would be required, and the district would support future education for this staff member to achieve the II and III level. Arson investigation certification would not be required, because El Paso County provides mutual aid on these criminal investigations when they are needed in TLMFPD.
The board voted unanimously to approve this job new description, which will first be posted internally.
Trost presented information on several topics, including:
• Updates have been made to the lieutenant and engineer hiring process.
• Three conditional job offers had been accepted by prospective new staff members, and they should be attending a fire academy class at West Metro Denver starting Jan. 30. This is an attempt to restore staffing levels to 14 per shift.
• One other offer was accepted and then subsequently refused on Jan. 16, so there was not time to fill that slot with another candidate to send to the West Metro academy class. Academy classes are not held very often, so this shortage causes a delay in filling one vacant staff position.
Buckingham suggested that if another candidate could be given a conditional offer, he might be able to go to a class at a different academy that Buckingham knew of that would start in March.
Trost and Keough explained ongoing problems with both exterior and interior lighting at all three stations. The staff has now decided to replace all the fixtures used for exterior lighting since they require very expensive bulbs to be replaced often, and there are electrical malfunctions that need to be fixed. It could cost tens of thousands of dollars just to upgrade the fixtures, and then lighting in the parking lots also is absent.
At 7:45 p.m., the meeting went into executive session to confer with district counsel for legal advice on the status of impact fees. Truty told OCN that no decisions or discussions took place after the end of the executive session.
Caption: Capt. Kris Mola and his crew rescued the occupant, his son, and their dog from a third-story roof ledge during the fire that broke out in the five-unit townhomes on Raspberry Lane south of Monument Lake Road on Jan 2. The occupant had been awakened by his smoke alarms and he attempted to leave the home, but he encountered too much heat and smoke to get down the stairs. He exited the third story bedroom window onto a roof ledge where he and his son were found and rescued. Crews from Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District contained the fire to the entry way and living room of the residence. Crews from DWFPD and the Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department assisted on the scene, as did the Monument Police Department and El Paso County Sheriff’s Office. Photo by TLMFPD Battalion Chief Mike Keough.
After the meeting, on Jan. 26, TLMFPD Chief Chris Truty announced that its new fire marshal would be Battalion Chief Jamey Bumgarner. Officially, Bumgarner will have the title of administrative battalion chief, which will include the responsibilities of district fire marshal.
Meetings are usually held the fourth Wednesday of each month. The next meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22 at TLMFPD Station 1, 18650 Highway 105. For information, contact Jennifer Martin at 719-484-0911 or see www.tlmfire.org.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at email@example.com.
By Lisa Hatfield
Sixteen members of the public attended the Jan. 17 Donald Wescott Fire Protection District (DWFPD) Board of Directors meeting, which was full of discussions about the future of the district and the upcoming mill levy vote planned because Wescott’s revenue will be cut 66 percent by 2019. The debate with neighbors of the Sun Hills Station 3 about the potential sale of that station continued. The public heard more about a Wescott meeting with Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD). And at the end of February, Wescott staff will be using the old Gleneagle Golf Club clubhouse as training for a controlled burn.
After the executive session, the directors voted to hire Webb Strategic Communications to help with public education about the mill levy, said Executive Administrator Stacey Popovich.
How did we get here?
Chief Vinny Burns summarized that DWFPD is currently "in a bit of a financial crisis" since the City of Colorado Springs annexed the southern half of Wescott in January 2004, and 12 years later the Colorado Springs Fire Department (CSFD) opened CSFD Fire Station 22 at 711 Copper Center Parkway off Voyager Parkway. A court decision allowed DWFPD to continue collecting full property taxes from the city’s annexed area due to the city not providing a staffed local CSFD fire station until April 4, 2016, when CSFD Station 22 was opened. The city never gave a discount or refund to these annexed Wescott property owners. See www.ocn.me/v3n9.htm#fhr, https://coloradosprings.gov/sites/default/files/planning/annexplan06.pdf, page 15, and https://csfd.coloradosprings.gov/article/event/station-22-grand-opening.
The Oct. 18 intergovernmental agreement (IGA) between DWFPD and the city covers the exclusion of the portion of the DWFPD service area now annexed into the city from Interquest Parkway north to Old Northgate Road. All of Flying Horse Ranch was annexed, as was the Northgate Highlands subdivision at the north end of Voyager Parkway. See www.maptechnica.com/city-map/Colorado+Springs/CO/0816000.
The overall effect will be to reduce the size of the district’s service area by half of its current 22 square miles and reduce its total revenue by 66 percent beginning in 2019 under the current district property tax of 7.0 mills. In 2017, DWFPD’s property tax revenue will not be affected, but in 2018 it will receive 33 percent less revenue, and in 2019 it will receive no property tax revenue from the part of the district south of Northgate Boulevard. Revenue loss is skewed because so much of the half of its territory Wescott is losing is commercial areas that are taxed at a higher rate See www.ocn.me/v16n11.htm#dwfpd.
Resident Lois Williams asked about TLMFPD’s statement in December that Wescott’s Shamrock Station 2 was closing. Burns said, "Where they got their information is beyond me. Our board is fully briefed that it is not fully closing. There are days when it will be closed, but not an everyday occurrence....Officially it is open, although at times it will be unstaffed." Due to the district’s decision in December to eliminate almost all overtime pay to save over $100,000 in 2017. See www.ocn.me/v17n1.htm#tlmfpd.
The district hopes voters in the sub-district north of the Colorado Springs northern boundary will approve a November 2017 mill levy increase ballot measure that would start generating revenue for DWPFD in 2019. During public comments Gary Rusnak, a Wescott homeowner and Gleneagle North Homeowner’s Association Treasurer, said he had done his own calculations on the budget and that the cuts planned by the district were $1.4 million short of what was needed to get them through to 2019. He asked the directors to move faster on adjusting the budget and on getting the word out to district voters about the implications of the upcoming ballot measure.
A workgroup for residents interested in working with the district to analyze the financial future was scheduled to meet Jan. 31 and report back to the regular February board meeting.
Public education consultant hired
Burns said Pinnacle Consulting Group Inc. recommended public relations firm Webb Strategic Communications to assist DWFPD with consumer and voter education regarding the November mill levy ballot measure.
Keith Webb of Webb Strategic Communications, who has 28 years’ experience in the fire district business, said:
• The time to educate voters is now. Once the ballot language is out, the district cannot spend any money on advocacy for a mill levy.
• The citizens committee should look at what the mill levy does to stabilize finances but also a third party to try to negotiate some kind of agreement with TLMFPD or Black Forest Fire Rescue Protection. There are definite advantages to unification, and we can help you with that.
Burns said, "We missed the mark in prior elections, and we want to do it better this time.... It’s too important to leave to chance. We are deciding the future of the fire district."
Sale of Station 3 debated
In November, the board voted to put the unmanned Sun Hills Station 3, at 15000 Sun Hills Drive, on the market. In December, George German, the property owner immediately adjacent to the station, protested this decision, saying the land for the station should revert to the donor instead of being sold as a residential property on 0.4 acres of land in the Sun Hills homeowners association (HOA) where all lots are five acres. He added that rezoning this lot from "fire station only" to residential with a waiver on the 5-acre limit would permanently damage this HOA covenant limit. In response to his request in December, the board delayed putting the station on the market for time for more research. See www.ocn.me/v16n12.htm#dwfpd1115 and www.ocn.me/v17n1.htm#dwfpd.
If the November 2017 mill levy increase passes, that extra property tax revenue would not actually come into the district until 2019, so selling Station 3 would help bridge that property tax revenue gap. Burns said the sale money could be used to keep people employed, but that a reduction in staff would worsen the Insurance Standards Organization (ISO) rating affecting residents’ insurance rates.
Rusnak later said that DWFPD could meet its response times from either station to almost all parts of the district, "so that would not affect the ISO rating except for that one small sliver along Northgate Road."
German’s comments included:
• In 1981 there was an agreement between the Wescott board and the Sun Hills HOA that gave DWFPD a waiver of covenants for the sole purpose of building a fire station.
• It is clear that it was only granted to you, not whoever you wanted to sell it to.
• It sounds like you knew of that agreement prior to putting the house on the market.
Burns’ comments included:
• There is no record of this anywhere, and it’s not in the covenants for the property either.
• The bill of sale says the property belongs to the taxpayers of the district. We want to sell it to try to bolster our program to survive the next couple of years to provide fire protection to the district residents.
Chairman Greg Gent’s comments included:
• German made an offer on Station 3 two years ago for $15,000.
• The county said we could sell this property as a residence. That land was donated by the HOA 35 years ago, so there could be a fire station here, and now you have two bigger stations for that purpose.
• Everything around there is residential so it will become a residence, which I think the people there would like.
Joe Potter, former chairman of Sun Hills Homeowners Association Architectural Control Committee and former Wescott board director, spoke. His comments included:
• The HOA made a one-time exemption to its covenants with the understanding that once that station was no longer needed it would revert to covenants, and that documentation is there. We had a lengthy discussion with the Wescott board at the time.
• We have the document (showing agreement between DWPFD and Sun Hills HOA), but it is with our attorney.
Wescott and the HOA have both engaged lawyers who are also addressing this matter.
Possible IGA with TLMFPD explained
Rusnak asked about the possible intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with TLMFPD that OCN reported on last month in the TLMFPD meeting article. See www.ocn.me/v17n1.htm#tlmfpd.
Burns explained that DWFPD helps TLMFPD with medical calls in about a 7:1 ratio in the southern part of TLMFPD. Wescott has received no compensation for this after a handshake agreement between the two districts about two years ago, Burns said. He sent a letter to TLMFPD in December suggesting that they hammer out an IGA so that TLMFPD would reimburse DWFPD for those calls, which are mostly medical. This would be separate from the current IGA with TLMFPD for fire calls, he said.
No agreement has been made yet. See related TLMFPD article.
Special meeting with TLMFPD
Residents asked why DWFPD had not officially posted the special dinner meeting between Wescott and TLMFPD board members scheduled for Jan. 18. They said TLMFPD had officially posted it. The open record and meeting law, the Sunshine Law, requires 72-hour advance posting of public meetings involving more than two board members. Resident and former Wescott board Chairman Brian Ritz said, "You can’t miss those simple things or it will destroy you." Burns took responsibility for the lack of posting.
The consensus was to send only two board members to the meeting, along with Burns and Ridings, to make sure no rules were violated.
Burns said the old Gleneagle golf clubhouse would first be used for search and rescue and other trainings and then become part of a controlled burn that would also be for training purposes. The district will announce the burn date in as many media sources as possible to alert the public at the end of February.
Assistant Chief Scott Ridings said that total call volume in 2016 was 2,709 runs, a decrease of 8 percent from 2015. Later in the meeting, Ritz asked if medical calls made up 90 percent of the total actual runs (adjusting for canceled calls), and Burns confirmed this.
The meeting went into executive session at 8:40 p.m. Popovich told OCN that afterward the board voted unanimously to hire Webb Strategic Communications to help in election education, with a limit of $15,000.
Caption: Donald Wescott Fire Protection District Sun Hills Station 3 is located in the yellow parcel in the middle of this map, showing its location within the Sun Hills Homeowners Association. The land for Station 3 (then Station 1) was donated by the land owner of the parcel east and south of this parcel for the purpose of building Wescott’s first fire station in the early 1980s. Station 3 is no longer actively used by DWFPD, and the board has voted to sell the station to the dismay of the Sun Hills HOA, which argues that a half-acre residential lot does not meet HOA covenants for five-acre residences. Both sides have now engaged attorneys. Map courtesy of the El Paso County Assessor’s Office.
The next Donald Wescott Fire Protection District Board of Directors meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Feb. 21 at Station 1, 15415 Gleneagle Dr. Meetings are usually on the third Tuesday of each month. For information, call Executive Administrator Stacey Popovich at 488-8680 or see www.wescottfire.org. The district is also on Facebook.
Thank you to OCN volunteer Joyce Witte for recording this meeting. Lisa Hatfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Lisa Hatfield
At the Jan. 3 Monument Board of Trustees meeting, two Village Center Metro District (VCMD) residents again asked the town for help fixing the damage done to VCMD’s financial situation by town-approved actions in 2004 and 2014. The trustees also approved three land use ordinances: two in Sanctuary Pointe and one for the Jackson Creek Market Village townhome replat.
Trustee Dennis Murphy was excused. Town Manager Chris Lowe was absent.
Village Center Metro District request rebuffed by town
During public comments, VCMD Vice President Dustin Sparks addressed a letter he had received on Dec. 29 from Lowe refusing VCMD’s request to be put on a future meeting agenda for presentation to the trustees explaining why VCMD needs help from the town to cover its operating costs and debt service. VCMD has asked the town to take over street plowing, since the metro district cannot afford it, for example.
Sparks read from Lowe’s letter, which included, "It is the position of the town as directed to me by the board of trustees that you are a metro district and as such provide sufficient revenue to perform all the duties that you accepted when the district was formed.... The town is not responsible for the fact that this metro district is not providing sufficient revenue to even provide the most basic of services." The letter stated that VCMD should raise its mill levy to make up the difference and utilize the public comment portion of future meetings to make its case, but that it would not be authorized to do a 20-minute presentation to the trustees.
Background: VCMD requested help from the trustees on Nov 7. No response was given that day. But on Nov. 21, under Board Authorization Items, there was board consensus to allow VCMD to give a 20-minute presentation in the near future. See www.ocn.me/v16n12.htm#mbot1121. At the Dec. 5 meeting, the VCMD topic was not discussed at all in the public session and the board held an executive session "to discuss pending litigation," but no announcement was made afterward. The Dec. 19 meeting was canceled. It is not clear when the board was "fully briefed on the issue" or "gave direction" to Lowe to write the Dec. 29 letter cited by Sparks.
Sparks said the history of this situation is relevant. He said on Aug. 16, 2004, town minutes indicated that Town Manager Rick Sonnenburg declared that it was necessary to have income from a commercial area in VCMD to balance out the residential areas, and that without a commercial property tax, the district could not meet its financial obligations. For a recap of that meeting, see www.ocn.me/v4n9.htm#botaug16.
Sparks said that later in 2004, when the service plan was approved, Monument Mayor Byron Glenn said there would be a debt service cap of 25 mills, leaving 10 mills for operations and maintenance, but that cap was not included in the bond indenture. This allowed the bondholders to take all 35 mills generated by the metro district, "which in essence leaves zero dollars for the metro district to operate," Sparks said.
At the Nov. 3, 2014 Board of Trustees meeting, the town approved Classic Consulting Engineers and Surveyors’ application to change the zoning of 330,000 square feet in VCMD from commercial to residential, which cut property tax revenue in half and eliminated any sales taxes revenue that would have been generated, Sparks said. Trustee Jeff Bornstein was the lone trustee to vote against that reclassification, and it was expressed in public comments the rezoning would severely limit the metro district’s ability to pay back the debt or to operate. See www.ocn.me/v14n12.htm#mbot1103.
Sparks said the only options open to VCMD were to get financial help from the town by asking the town to help with road maintenance or raise the mill levy for residents, and either plan requires participation from the town since it is governed by the service plan.
VCMD resident (and past president) Jim Romanello also spoke during public comments. In his three minutes, he explained that past town boards have said VCMD could not function without commercial development, but then the town voted to rezone and eliminate the commercial section of the district. "And now you tell us the town is not responsible for the fact that we are not providing sufficient revenue. That doesn’t fly."
Lowe was not present at the Jan. 3 meeting, and no trustee commented on the VCMD topic.
Sanctuary Pointe Filings 2 and 3 plats approved
Principal Planner Larry Manning presented two ordinances for Classic Consulting Engineers and Surveyors’ application for approval of a Preliminary/Final Plats for two filings in Sanctuary Pointe, on the north side of Baptist Road and north of the Ridge at Fox Run. Both were approved unanimously with one amendment. The Monument Planning Commission approved both applications unanimously on Dec. 14. See www.ocn.me/v17n1.htm#mpc.
Sanctuary Pointe is within the Triview Metropolitan District service area, which will provide water, sanitation, roads, parks, and drainage maintenance. The will-serve letter from Triview stated that the district has water and sewer capacities sufficient for current commitments. See related Triview article on page 17.
The Carriages at Sanctuary Pointe, Filing 2, will be a 48-lot subdivision on 12 acres. Sanctuary Pointe, Filing 3, will contain 84 residential lots, one utility lot for Triview’s new second water tank and booster station at the northwest corner of the plat (lot 85), and 10 tracts, on 57 acres. A condition of approval recommended by the staff and approved by the Planning Commission stated: "An access easement for lot 85 and trails shall be recorded concurrently with this plat and each document should be cross-referenced with reception numbers."
Darren Palmer, whose property is north of both filings, spoke generally in support of the applications. However, he questioned how many trees had already been removed and where the walking path would go in relation to the water tank and the new retaining wall. Joe Loidolt of Classic Homes said the trail would wind in between the trees but the exact path was not set yet. Loidolt said they were also trying to work around the remaining historical Baptist Camp buildings that Palmer asked about. Classic Homes bought the 460-acre Baptist Camp in 2005. See www.ocn.me/v5n9.htm#brrta.
Trustee Greg Coopman was concerned with words in both ordinances saying, "Whereas the Board of Trustees finds that the final plat … implements the visions of the Town of Monument comprehensive plan update and the goals and visions of the residents of the town of Monument," since the comprehensive plan update has not been presented to the board or approved yet. Both ordinances were amended and then unanimously approved without that paragraph.
Jackson Creek Market Village replat approved
Manning presented an ordinance approving the Lokal Homes LLC application for a replat for Lots 4-43, Jackson Creek Market Village. The development would build 40 townhomes on Lyons Tail Road between Jackson Creek Parkway and Leather Chaps Drive. The replat had been approved on Dec. 14 by the Monument Planning Commission.
The Jackson Creek Market Village PD Site Plan was approved in 2005, Manning said, and instead of some townhomes having one-car garages, this replat provided that all the townhomes now have two-car garages.
The 2003 Monument Comprehensive Plan Future Land Use map designated the site as multi-family residential. The replat is consistent with the policy to accommodate a diversity of housing in terms of cost, density, lot size, and types, the staff report noted.
The developer has to buy water from Triview because the land does not have enough water rights on its own for this development. A land use permit will not be issued, and Triview will not provide a will-serve letter for water and sewer services, until an in-lieu-of payment is made for that water. Triview quoted the developer a price of $195,000 to buy this water in September.
Note: However, it will likely have to pay more than that now since Triview raised the costs for in-lieu-of fees for water development in December. See www.ocn.me/v17n1.htm#tvmd and related Triview article.
Manning said the land south of this townhome development is all platted already and there are no plans for any driving access into the King Soopers shopping center.
The trustees voted unanimously to direct Manning to get bids for an updated traffic study for Lyons Tail and the Jackson Creek Parkway area. He said it could begin within the next few weeks.
Tri-Lakes resident Ann Howe spoke against the ordinance, saying if all the townhomes had two-car garages, it would double the amount of potential traffic generated.
The replat ordinance was approved unanimously as amended, deleting the "implements the visions of the comprehensive plan update" paragraph Coopman had spoken about in the Sanctuary Pointe ordinances.
Last BRRTA resolution, ever!
The trustees voted unanimously to terminate the contract creating the Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority (BRRTA) and to dissolve the authority. The El Paso Board of County Commissioners had just passed a similar resolution on Dec. 9. For photos and more information about the whole set of BRRTA projects, see www.ocn.me/v17n1.htm#bbrta.
Thanks to volunteer police chaplain
Police Chief Jake Shirk presented the award for Outstanding Volunteer of the Year for the Town of Monument to Greg Fell, who had been an unpaid Monument reserve police officer since 2009. In 2013 he turned in his badge and became a volunteer chaplain for the Monument Police Department, using his doctorate in marriage and counseling and more than four decades of work in ministry to help officers and their families. "On behalf of the Police Department, but more on behalf of the town of Monument, thank you for your volunteerism," Shirk said.
Checks over $5,000
As part of the consent agenda, the trustees unanimously approved the following checks over $5,000:
• Triview Metropolitan District, October sales tax, November motor vehicle and regional building use tax − $164,941
• NORAA Concrete, sidewalk project − $14,541
• Pikes Peak Regional Communication Network, dispatch radio user fees − $6,020
• Community Matters Inc., comprehensive plan − $8,516
Public posting for meetings approved
Deputy Town Clerk Laura Hogan presented a resolution designating the official posting places for public meetings for the town. While notices may also be posted other places too, such as the Town of Monument Facebook page, the official sites are:
• Bulletin board located at Monument Town Hall (645 Beacon Lite Rd.)
• Bulletin board inside the Monument Post Office (545 Third St.),
• Town of Monument website (www.townofmonument.org)
The meeting adjourned at 7:25 p.m.
Caption: During public comments at the Jan. 3 Monument Board of Trustee meeting, Village Center Metro District (VCMD) Vice President Dustin Sparks, left, addressed a letter he had received on Dec. 29 from Town Manager Chris Lowe refusing VCMD’s request to do a 20-minute presentation to the trustees explaining why the district needs help from the town to cover its operating costs and debt service. VCMD resident Jim Romanello, right, said the streets can’t be maintained and the debt payment bonds can’t be paid because of the decisions of past Monument Board of Trustees regarding the mill levy and commercial zoning. "Where is the accountability for this? It is in your lap now. We need that help…. We don’t want to be blown off by you like this letter.… Please help us or please meet with us," Romanello said. Photo by Lisa Hatfield.
Caption: At the Jan. 3 Monument Board of Trustees meeting, Police Chief Jake Shirk, right, presented the award for Outstanding Volunteer of the Year for the Town of Monument to Greg Fell, who spends countless hours as a volunteer chaplain for the Police Department. "His primary goal is to help our officers and the things they have to face. He is always the first one to be here and assist," Shirk said. Photo by Lisa Hatfield.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at email@example.com.
By Kate Pangelinan
In late 2016, a Comprehensive Plan Advisory Board was formed to solidify a strategy for Monument’s growth. Planning Commissioners Michelle Glover and Jim Fitzpatrick served on this board, alongside people representing many differing viewpoints crucial to Monument’s success, including representatives from the local school board, businesses, and area residents. Together, they developed what Glover describes as a "vision" for the town’s future, highlighting what citizens particularly value in their community and working to direct coming growth and changes to preserve those valued elements.
Two Monument Planning Commission meetings were held in January—one on Jan. 11 and a "special meeting" on Jan. 25. Commissioner David Gwisdalla was absent from the first meeting, and Chairman Ed Delaney was absent from the second. Both meetings were dedicated to the discussion of a document compiled through the Comprehensive Plan Advisory Board’s efforts: the updated Comprehensive Plan for the town of Monument. This plan will replace a similar document compiled in 2003.
A great deal of both meetings was spent combing through the document example by example as commissioners registered questions about the plan and suggested changes to the document’s grammar, accuracy, and presentation. Further questions and comments will be registered until the document is updated and made available to the Monument Planning Commission for the Feb. 8 meeting.
Jan. 11 meeting
At the Jan. 11 meeting, Barb Cole, a consultant on the Comprehensive Plan update project and founder and representative of Community Matters Inc., presented information on the proposed draft. The Comprehensive Plan defines Monument as a town, first, and then proceeds to include a future land use map, along with annexation plans and proposed policy framework for developments to come. The document also discusses what Monument residents value and want to preserve in their town, as well as methods used to gather data during the course of the plan’s construction, including surveys, focus group meetings, and polls on social media. Opportunity was provided for people who work in Monument, but do not live there, to offer feedback if desired. Commissioner John Dick also remarked that the documented results only represent the ideas of those who "volunteered to respond," which may not be a fair assessment of all Monument.
Advisory Board discussions and community outreach efforts indicate that what Monument citizens really value in their town involves nature, including parks and open spaces for recreation purposes. Providing citizens with natural spaces and safety are both high priorities in the current Comprehensive Plan draft. The advisory board put a lot of effort into whittling down what a "small town" feel amounts to, as well—a lot of Monument residents really value the community’s "small town" atmosphere, so it is important to first define what makes such an impression possible. Once what a "small town" atmosphere means can be defined, steps can be taken to preserve it in Monument over the coming years.
Jan. 25 meeting
The Jan. 25 meeting featured two public comments. Karen Griffith brought a letter listing her proposed changes to the Comprehensive Plan draft. For example, Griffith advised removing the "Existing Zoning" map on page 21, as it will become outdated and misleading quickly, potentially creating a legal liability. The map also doesn’t depict "specific zoning designations of the land in the town," which could also cause confusion. She also spoke about concerns regarding POS-5 on page 38, which states, "Allow for the development of recreational facilities in any zone district if impacts are mitigated," because she fears this may result in lighted ballfields being built near people’s homes. She therefore believes the policy should read, "Locate recreational facilities in areas compatible with surrounding land use."
Commissioner Kathy Spence recommended implementing Griffith’s changes immediately, but Glover believed that doing so would undermine previous community involvement in the Comprehensive Plan update. She advised using the suggestions in a next-stage update to the draft instead of merely implementing them. In the end, it was decided to pass Griffith’s suggestions along to the project’s consultant and wait for their response. No decision has been made concerning the implementation of Griffith’s suggestions at this time.
Cassandra Olgren also spoke to the Planning Commission, noting first that she agrees with the idea that "cookie-cutter" housing has overtaken many formerly "small-town" communities, and expressing hope that such a thing doesn’t happen in Monument. She then commented on the importance of maintaining small sections of "wild land" for children to play in, saying this would be more important to the youths of the day than being able to walk to designated parks. She then spoke about how there is a "narrow margin for the family size and income that Monument can welcome in," given that there isn’t a lot of housing variety available at the moment. Most homes are large and unrealistically priced for many needs and situations. Among other things, this may prevent younger adults from being able to make their lives in Monument, bringing their talents to the community.
The Comprehensive Plan draft is available for public view online at the Town of Monument’s website by going to the "Documents-on-Demand" page and selecting "Planning Commission Packets." Recordings of Monument Planning Commission meetings can now be found there, too, by selecting "Planning Commission Recordings." https://monumenttownco.documents-on-demand.com/.
The next Monument Planning Commission meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 8 at 645 Beacon Lite Rd. Meetings are normally held on the second Wednesday of the month. Information: 884-8017 or http://www.townofmonument.org/meetings/.
Kate Pangelinan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Lisa Hatfield
On Jan. 17, the Monument Board of Trustees recognized town staff, approved revisions to the snowstorm parking regulation, and listened to a presentation about Triview Metropolitan District, which is a Title 32 special district within the town boundaries. A presentation about the town’s xeriscaping and landscaping ordinance was scheduled for Feb. 6.
Recognition of Water and Street Department staff
Monument Public Works Director Tom Tharnish presented certificates of appreciation to the staff members of the Water and Street departments who worked straight through on Jan. 4 and 5 in dangerously cold weather to repair a leak in a water valve that caused a huge hole to form in middle of the westbound lane of Second Street west of the Rocky Mountain Oil Change Center. "I never heard one complaint," Tharnish said.
Parking regulations during
At two meetings last spring, Tharnish presented a revised snow removal traffic regulation ordinance to the trustees intending to make it easier for town snowplows to clear streets during snowstorms by ensuring that no parked cars blocked their progress, but after considerable discussion, it failed by a 3-3 tie vote. See www.ocn.me/v16n6.htm#mbot0502.
Tharnish presented another version of the ordinance on Jan. 17. The trustees discussed it at length. During public comments, town Parks Foreman and snow plow operator James Shubauer spoke strongly in favor of the ordinance, describing the difficult logistics of maneuvering a 45-foot motor grader at the end of a cul-de-sac or down a narrow street when there are cars parked in the way. Police Chief Jake Shirk also supported the ordinance from a public safety perspective.
Finally, the trustees approved the new ordinance unanimously. Its components include:
• When there are 2 or more inches of non-drifted snow, or enough sleet, snow or ice to cause a solid coat of ice, no parking will be allowed on designated town emergency snow routes.
• Emergency snow routes can include residential streets and will be marked with posted traffic signs.
• The ordinance applies to the entire town of Monument, including all the metro districts within the town, even though they, and not the town, plow their roads.
• Any owner of a motor vehicle that is in violation may be issued up to two warnings per snow season. A third violation may result in a fine of $25 and vehicle being towed, or a citation from the officer.
• The municipal court judge can impose a fine can as high as $999 if warranted.
Residents with questions should contact the Town of Monument, not their homeowners association or metro district.
"A look at Triview Metropolitan District"
Triview District Manager Valerie Remington and board President Reid Bolander briefed the trustees about the current state of Triview as part of an effort to increase communication between the two entities. Triview is subject to the ordinances, police coverage, and land use planning of the town of Monument. Triview’s specific sovereign functions include water treatment and distribution, wastewater collection, storm drainage, parks, trails, and roads maintenance, and mosquito control to areas including Jackson Creek, Promontory Pointe, and Remington Hill, as well as the brand new Sanctuary Pointe, and the anticipated Homeplace Ranch and other new developments south of Higby Road. See www.ocn.me/v16n7.htm#tmd-0614.
Note: Besides Triview, other metropolitan districts within the town of Monument include Village Center, Lake of the Rockies, and Pinon Pines 3 (the future commercial area that will be operated by Forest Lakes Metropolitan District). Other metro districts in the Tri-Lakes area that are not in Monument but in El Paso County include Misty Acres and Pinon Pines 1 and 2, which are operated by the Forest Lakes district.
Remington shared many statistics about the Triview political subdivision of Monument, including:
• Currently 4,770 residents and 1,590 taps
• Final buildout estimates almost double those figures
• Nine employees plus more to be hired in 2017
• Nine parks, 56 acres of open space, five miles of trails
• 3.7 million square feet of roads, eight wells, two water tanks
• 63 miles of sewer, water, and storm drain pipes
• Annual expenditures $7.7 million
• Annual debt service $4.5 million
• Capital expenditures $1.7 million in 2017
• $53 million in debt
Recent refinancing of general obligation bonds will save $800,000 in 2017 and $10 million over the next 23 years, Remington said. Bolander said, "We don’t like debt. We have had some tight years in the past, but revenue is growing now, and growth can help pay off the debt. We hope to pay it off sooner than in 30 years."
Remington described the water supply available to the district using a chart created by water attorney Chris Cummins of Monson, Cummins & Shohet LLC. The bottom line is that the district has enough water for 6,093 single-family equivalents (SFEs), which is twice what they anticipate needing by final buildout of about 3,500 SFEs, she said.
When inclusion of Homeplace Ranch eventually happens, it will deed its water to Triview. The district also owns water rights beneath Bent Tree subdivision north of Higby Road.
In December, Triview purchased 500 shares of renewable water (about 350-500 annual acre-feet) from the Fountain Mutual Irrigation Co. on Fountain Creek south of Colorado Springs. That water will eventually be delivered to the district through a Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority (PPRWA) infrastructure project or a similar project, she said. Meanwhile, Triview is earning revenue by leasing that "wet" water to entities that need it.
Remington said there is a plan to change the current landscaping profile of the district over time to conserve more water, and that watering restrictions and water rate structure changes should also encourage residents’ water conservation. See www.ocn.me/v17n1.htm#tvmd and Triview article.
Remington said Triview is planning a reuse plant to generate non-potable water to be used for irrigation for the district’s parks. (Non-potable water will not be available to residents, because the infrastructure is not there.) It will withdraw water from alluvial wells along Monument Creek to reuse the treated effluent discharged into the Monument Creek by the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility (UMCRWWTF). She said this system should be online by summer 2018. Water reuse will extend the life of Denver Basin aquifers, which are not recharging, by reducing the amount of first-time pumping from them.
With Donala Water and Sanitation and Forest Lakes Metro District, Triview is one of three owners of UMCRWWTF. Due to population growth as well as changes in state regulations for dischargers, which have not yet been finalized, UMCRWWTF will be undergoing a major expansion and upgrade in the near future. See related Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility Joint Use Committee article on page 14.
Remington said Triview is now using a running five-year plan for extensive road maintenance using pavement analysis from Terracon Consultants Inc. Bolander said he was not happy when the district hired an outside consultant to do another roads analysis after Tharnish had done one for free, but he now felt like it was worth the money for the scientific method Terracon used to assess the roads. See www.ocn.me/v15n12.htm#tmd-1110 and www.ocn.me/v16n3.htm#tvmd0209.
Jackson Creek Parkway is on the radar to receive funds from the Pikes Peak Regional Transportation Authority (PPRTA) to be widened in 2021, but the timing of that work will also depend on how fast the section of Triview south of Higby Road is developed, Bolander said.
Remington said the 20- to 30-million-gallon water leak in 2016, which took 36 days to find and fix, was "a cavalcade of a lot of exceptional things happening. It was a large leak, on pipes that were not on our maps, leaking into a federally-protected open space we did not have access to and into a beaver pond that made it hard to see." She said they did an after-action report on all the lessons learned, and they did a survey that helped them to further update their maps. See www.ocn.me/v16n9.htm#tmd, www.ocn.me/v16n8.htm#tvmd0712.
She said another major leak later in 2016 was detected and fixed within 17 minutes.
She and Bolander both said Triview has a new set of operations staff who take preventive maintenance seriously. She said that planned work is reflected in more than just one budget line item and that the master plan for infrastructure is being updated and will be posted on the new district website.
One of Bolander’s suggestions to improve communication between the town and Triview was a shared help ticket system to reduce the amount of "ping-pong ball" treatment of residents who mistakenly call the town for help when they should call Triview, or vice-versa.
There was consensus to hold joint Town of Monument/Triview board meetings semiannually.
Purchasing ordinance changes continued, again
Town Manager Chris Lowe presented revisions to the ordinance regarding the town’s purchasing policy and informal and formal bidding procedures. This had been addressed already on Nov. 7, but the proposed changes failed by a 3-4 vote. The trustees who voted no then said that the revisions did not address the intention of their suggestions from Oct. 3, such as when and if the board would be consulted on large purchases. See www.ocn.me/v16n12.htm#mbot1107.
Note: To see Chapter 3.08 – Municipal Contracts in the Monument Municipal Code, search www.municode.com/library/co/monument/codes/code_of_ordinances.
Lowe said the new revisions took the trustees’ requests for more input into consideration. All purchases must be approved by the town manager and current budget. Making the changes would ensure that town staff is correctly approving purchases and contracts, and bidding those that require bidding, "without the process being onerous."
Trustee Greg Coopman said the new revisions were heading in the right direction but that he still had concerns, as Trustee Shea Medlicott had asked on Oct. 3, about the integrity of the bidding process to avoid favoritism, and why the board approved checks as they were going out the door instead of earlier in the process. Coopman also said it seemed drastic to change from $5,000 to a proposed $15,000 without needing a bid, for example. The issue was not if it was in the budget but the fact that one individual contractor might have gotten all the work, he said.
Lowe said he was very sensitive to Coopman’s comments and that all the department heads were parsimonious and protective of the public’s dollars. For some kinds of very specialized work, there is only a small number of contractors who have the skills to bid it, he said.
No members of the public spoke either for or against the item during the public hearing.
Medlicott made a motion to continue the discussion again. This motion passed 5-2, with Mayor Jeff Kaiser and Mayor Pro-Tem Don Wilson voting no.
Tax exempt obligations resolution approved
Lowe presented a resolution described in a memo written by Town Treasurer Pamela Smith. In December 2016, the town purchased land at Mitchell Road and Synthes Avenue to be used for a planned water reuse facility and a future public works facility for $710,000. This was paid for by the 2A Water Acquisition, Storage, and Delivery (ASD) Fund as a cash purchase. This purchase depleted the ASD Fund, which should also be available to use for "future water endeavors," including construction of those two future projects.
Wells Fargo Investment Banking had indicated if the town wishes to utilize tax-exempt financing to pay back the cash expended for the land and finance the two future projects, the town needed to pass a resolution authorizing the town to participate in a future issuance of tax-exempt obligations, Lowe said.
Coopman and Trustee Jeff Bornstein raised many concerns about rushing into making commitments, prioritization of spending money, and why the bank was concerned about the property.
Lowe explained that the resolution was generated by the bank and that it did not bind the town into any future monetary commitments, nor did it bind the town into doing business with Wells Fargo.
The resolution was approved by a vote of 5-2, with Bornstein and Coopman voting no.
Checks over $5,000
The following checks over $5,000 were approved unanimously as part of the consent agenda.
• Triview Metro District November sales tax, December motor vehicle tax "not to exceed," December Regional Building use tax − $184,718
Xeriscaping presentation scheduled for Feb. 6
Principal Planner Larry Manning will make a presentation to the trustees on Feb. 6 regarding possible changes to the landscaping requirements of the town, including xeriscaping.
Note: To read the town’s current landscaping ordinance, search for Chapter 17.52 - Landscaping at www.municode.com/library/co/monument/codes/code_of_ordinances.
Some of the trustees’ comments included:
• Medlicott said it was time for a strategy meeting to set goals and objectives for Lowe and review "where we started, what has been accomplished." He is the only town employee who did not get a raise in 2017, and any raise must be approved by the board.
• Coopman agreed that the trustees needed to get more compliant with Lowe’s contract and set measurable goals and objectives. He also thanked Lowe for better communication with the trustees in the last few months.
• Kaiser told the trustees about the Colorado Juniors girls volleyball club on Mitchell Road. They are rated the No. 1 club in Colorado and No. 5 in the nation. "It is a prestigious organization, but people in town are not aware of it."
At 9:04 p.m., the board voted unanimously to go into executive session to receive legal advice from the town attorney regarding litigation. Deputy Town Clerk Laura Hogan told OCN that no votes were taken nor any announcements made after the executive session.
Caption: On Jan. 6, the town of Monument announced that westbound Second Street between Highway 105 and Old Denver Road had been closed Jan. 4 and 5 to repair a water main leak first spotted the morning of Jan. 4. The town’s Water Department and Streets Department staff worked overnight in wind-chill as low as minus 22 degrees F to repair the leak by Thursday morning at 5 a.m. Public Works Director Tom Tharnish said the break and repair did not affect any water customers and that the excavation site would be paved when weather conditions allowed. Contact Tharnish at email@example.com or call 719-481-2954 with questions. Photo courtesy of the Town of Monument.
Caption: On Jan. 17, Monument Public Works Director Tom Tharnish recognized water and street department staff that worked through the night in sub-zero weather on Jan. 4 and 5 to repair a leak in a water valve that collapsed part of Second Street. From left are Tharnish, Water Superintendent Steve Sheffield, Chief Water Operator Nick Harris, Water Tech I Dan Jurekovic, Parks Foreman James Shubauer, Street Tech II Jonathon Rigaud, and Water Tech II Denny Phillips. Photo by Lisa Hatfield.
Caption: Triview Metropolitan District Manager Valerie Remington, left, and board President Reid Bolander presented the "State of Triview" at the Monument Board of Trustees Jan. 17. This was part of an effort to increase communication between the town and Triview, which is a Title 32 special district within the town boundaries. They outlined the financial and water supply situation and described streets, water, and sanitation infrastructure capital improvements plans. Photo by Lisa Hatfield.
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 Feb. 6. Call 884-8014 or see www.townofmonument.org for information. To see upcoming agendas and complete board packets for the Monument Board of Trustees or to download audio recordings of past meetings, see http://monumenttownco.minutesondemand.com and click on Board of Trustees.
Lisa Hatfield can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By James Howald
In January, the Palmer Lake Town Council met twice, on Jan. 12 and 26. The Jan. 26 meeting included a session of the Palmer Lake Liquor and Marijuana Licensing Authority as well as a Town Council meeting.
In both meetings, the board continued to work on the issues raised by the excise tax and increased licensing fees approved by voters in November on Palmer Lake marijuana businesses. The board heard comments from the owners of the two existing marijuana businesses in the town that detailed how the increased licensing fees would impact their operations. The business owners also provided information about how other towns tax marijuana businesses.
The board also granted a new business license at the Jan. 12 meeting, heard a word of thanks from Rabbi Oswald Garagorry, and discussed the need to improve the sound equipment in Town Hall.
Pros and cons of marijuana excise tax discussed
Brenda and Melissa Woodward, owners of Premier Organics, explained to the board how the 5 percent excise tax on the marijuana they grow for the retail market would adversely affect their business. They argued the tax unfairly punished a specific business, even though that business is legal. They pointed out that there was incorrect information in the guide that the town provided to voters before the election, since the guide said two businesses would pay the tax when in fact only Premier Organics grows marijuana for the retail market. The Woodwards said that prices for wholesale marijuana were dropping statewide, keeping their business from making a profit, and the excise tax would mean they would have to lay off workers.
The Woodwards pointed out that other towns that had passed similar excise taxes had grandfathered in existing businesses, and asked that the board offer this to their business, or vote to lower the excise tax.
Town Attorney Maureen Juran pointed out that any excise tax must be a percentage of the state’s average price, and that in her opinion the board did not have the discretion to grandfather in the Woodward’s business at a lower tax rate.
After a lengthy consideration of alternatives, the board voted to put in place a 1 percent excise tax on marijuana grown for retail sale beginning July 1 and increasing the tax 1 percent each year until a maximum of 5 percent is reached.
Marijuana licensing fees compared across the state
Dino Salvatori, owner of Palmer Lake Wellness, a medical marijuana dispensary and cultivation business, gave the board his feedback on research done by town staff to determine how other towns are licensing marijuana businesses. Salvatori provided evidence that the town’s research overestimated the licensing fees in Boulder, Pueblo, Gunnison, Carbondale, and Fort Collins, among others.
At the Jan. 12 meeting, the board gave Juran direction to rewrite the licensing fee ordinance to charge $5,000 for new licenses, but to reduce license renewal charges from $5,000 to $1,000. At the Jan. 26 meeting, the board voted unanimously to approve the updated ordinance, making it retroactive to Dec. 1.
Rabbi thanks board for use of Town Hall; invites community
Rabbi Garagorry and his wife, Sonia, thanked the board for allowing his congregation to use the Palmer Lake Town Hall. Rabbi Garagorry invited the board and the community to have breakfast with his congregation any Saturday morning at 10 a.m.
Board considers new audio equipment for Town Hall
Wanting to improve the sound quality for audiences at board meetings, and needing more reliable recordings for its own records, the board announced it would look into a new sound system for Town Hall. Better audio would help the town rent the facility more often, according to Town Administrator Cathy Green-Sinnard.
German dining comes to town
The board voted unanimously to approve a business license for April Fullman, who will open a restaurant to be called The Stube at 292w Highway 105 that will serve food with a German flair.
The two meetings for February will be at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 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 Lisa Hatfield
At the Jan. 10 meeting of the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility (TLWWTF) Joint Use Committee (JUC), Facility Manager Bill Burks announced that a final payment of $262,506 was made in December to Aslan Construction for the total phosphorus (TP) chemical removal clarifier expansion. Also, the 25-year-old return activated sludge centrifugal pumps were replaced by Aslan in December, ensuring that the very low cost disposal of biosolid waste via agricultural land application could continue.
TLWWTF operates as a separate joint venture public utility and is owned in equal one-third shares by Monument Sanitation District (MSD), Palmer Lake Sanitation District (PLSD), and Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD).
The three-member JUC acts as the board of the facility and consists of one director from each of the three owner districts’ boards: WWSD board Director at Large Rich Strom, president; MSD board Chairman Ed Delaney, vice president; and PLSD board and JUC Secretary/Treasurer Ken Smith, who was excused. PLSD Board Chairman Mark Bruce, an alternate PLSD JUC board member, filled in for Smith. Other board and staff members of the three owner districts also attended, including MSD District Manager Mike Wicklund, PLSD District Manager Becky Orcutt, and WWSD Assistant District Manager Randy Gillette. MSD board Secretary Terri Madison, MSD board member John Howe and PLSD resident Jeffrey Morris also attended.
Phosphorus removal under way
Plant manager Bill Burks said that the new total phosphorus (TP) clarifier expansion was basically completed and he had initiated phosphorus chemical removal operations on Dec. 27. He is gradually adjusting the amount of chemicals needed to reduce the TP level to be able to comply with the state’s Nutrient Monitoring Control Regulation 85 (Reg. 85) TP discharge effluent limit of a rolling annual median of 1 milligram per liter (mg/l) in accordance with the compliance schedule in the facility’s May 1, 2015 five-year discharge permit. Burks’ staff will formally begin recording data on Nov. 1, 2019 per this discharge permit. After a year of data has been collected and recorded, rolling annual median results will be reported to the state and EPA beginning with the facility’s submittal of its Nov. 1, 2020 discharge monitoring report.
Since this is a technical/chemical treatment, he wants to add only as much hydrated potassium aluminum sulfate (alum), polymer, and sodium hydroxide as it will take to meet the 1 mg/l TP permit limit. Burks said that the EPA has stated that it would prefer that facilities install biological nutrient removal treatment (BNR) equipment instead. However, no such reliable or affordable BNR treatment processes or equipment currently exist. Burks said, "Biological phosphorus removal is a challenge even for an experienced operator. No matter what the conditions are, you can always add chemicals to remove the phosphorus, but temperature swings like we have here would affect live organisms so much."
Burks said a bit of painting, landscaping, and the fire panel installation to monitor and report automatic operations of the sprinkler system were still not complete, and that $31,000 was on retainage to pay for finishing those up in 2017, but otherwise the $3 million project is complete. The facility already meets the Control Regulation 85 total nitrogen (TN) November 2019 limit of 15 mg/l.
MSD and Upper Monument Water Quality Management Association environmental compliance coordinator Jim Kendrick pointed out that it was extraordinarily expensive to focus on a hundred pounds of phosphorus a month when the facility handles 4,400 pounds of sludge every day. He said the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) Water Quality Control Division’s direction continues to be ambiguous and uncertain, making it difficult for treatment facilities to decide how to commit capital funds for new nutrient treatments that take years to plan, design, and build.
Burks said TLWWTF was in good shape as far as options for the plant in the future, and they could add filtration to remove phosphorus down to 0.2 mg/l if needed. Wicklund mentioned water reuse possibilities the town is discussing, saying, "Once you put filters on the end of this, the quality of the (discharged) water will be incredible."
The consensus of the group was that it would be better if plant operators got to make more of the states’ regulatory decisions, because they are out in the field and understand the real-world difficulties of types of treatment. Kendrick said decisions are made by state engineers and "lawyers sitting in cubicles … throwing darts to choose new limits" that will have to be met if and when new treatment technology is created that may comply with these new limits.
New pumps working well
Burks said the new return activated sludge pumps had been installed and were working smoothly. He said the facility got its money’s worth out of the old pumps, one of which has pumped 3 billion gallons over its 129,000 hours of operation.
Baseline radium sampling plan made
Wicklund said no date had been set yet to meet with the town of Monument Water Department, water engineers Forsgren Associates, and Roger Sams of GMS Engineering to discuss the town’s plans for dealing with the naturally occurring radium in its drinking water. If the town could use dilution to get all of its drinking water below 5 picocuries per liter by the time it gets to the town’s distribution system for delivery to Monument water customers, it would be acceptable to the state. Then TLWWTF would not have to do anything about naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM) that is already in the influent coming from the town through the MSD collection system.
But if the town has to implement direct drinking water treatment to remove the radium, which would create federally-regulated technologically enhanced naturally occurring radioactive material (TENORM) as a byproduct of this direct treatment, then MSD, TLWWTF staff, and the JUC would have many questions for the town before they decide whether or not to accept that town TENORM into its separately-owned and operated collection and wastewater treatment system. See www.ocn.me/v16n9.htm#water, www.ocn.me/v16n12.htm#tlfjuc1108.
Strom said, "Not knowing makes me uncomfortable. We want to stay engaged on what their plan is."
Burks said he had consulted the staff at Donala Water and Sanitation District for some tips on testing for NORM radium levels in biosolids. The board consensus was that Burks should do an annual radium sample of the facility’s treated biosolids in its sludge lagoon this spring when sludge hauling for regular biannual agricultural land application. That would give a baseline indication of the concentration of the last two years’ worth of radium from currently produced TLWWTF NORM influent.
The JUC confirmed its previous December direction to Burks to collect a 24-hour composite sample of the combined influent from all three districts for the TLWWTF’s baseline radium information. Also, the consensus was that Burks should find out when the town was actually pumping backwash water from the town’s Well 9 sand filter where the radium gets partially removed and becomes more highly concentrated than in the well 9 raw water. Well 9 has the highest naturally occurring radium levels of all the town’s active groundwater wells. A few years ago, town well 6 was turned off indefinitely due to radium levels that exceed federal standards.
District manager reports
Gillette and Orcutt did not have anything to report to the JUC. Wicklund said MSD had just completed its annual sewer line cleaning, and Burks said his staff had noted a spike in biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) in December that correlated with this operation, which flushes any lingering trapped solid wastes in the collection lines down to the facility.
The town had a drinking water main leak on Second Street on Jan. 4 and 5, Wicklund said. He wondered why the town did not use specialized emergency contractors for that size repair, since it would be safer and more affordable. See related photo in the Jan. 3 and Jan. 17 Monument Board of Trustees articles on page 8 and 11.
Plant manager’s report
Burks summarized the facility’s discharge monitoring report required by the state for effluent discharge into Monument Creek and said all parameters were easily within permit limits. "What we are discharging to the stream is very, very good water," Wicklund said.
Kendrick said a lot of other plants would have difficulty meeting a Reg. 85 10 mg/l total inorganic nitrogen (TIN) limit, a state-proposed reduction from the current 15 mg/l limit for TIN, and it was not clear, despite all the state Water Quality Control Division briefings he has attended, when or if that lower TIN limit might be imposed by the Colorado Water Quality Control Commission. He pointed out that the if the state did decide to lower the limit on TIN from 15 to 10 mg/l, merely to show progress on nutrient reductions to the EPA despite the enormous costs for the other 360 state wastewater facilities, that the lower TIN limit would be easy for TLWWTF to meet since its effluent is consistently well below 10 mg/l TIN.
Reg. 31.17 still in state’s plans, apparently
Kendrick gave more examples of the unpredictable nature of government regulations. He said that in July and September, the EPA, after a four-year delay, "took no action" on a proposed Regulation 31.17 "interim value" for a rivers and streams water quality TP and TN standards set by the Water Quality Control Commission (WQCC) in June 2012 for implementation in May 2022. Despite EPA’s "no action" decisions, the state still announced at the Jan. 9, 2017 WQCC meeting that those 2012 interim values would still take effect in May 2022 and perhaps sooner than originally planned.
Kendrick reviewed by saying the July EPA decision applied to Regulation 31.17 statewide interim TP/TN values and the September decision applied to interim TP/TN implementation locally through the Arkansas River Basin Reg. 32 revision currently scheduled in 2023. See adjacent timetable slide.
The EPA decision to take no action was based on EPA’s determination that these interim values lack scientific validity as do the statistical procedures used by the Water Quality Control Division for setting these recommended Reg. 31.17 interim water quality standards for TP and TN in 2012 for future implementation in 2022 for state rivers and streams. These values could only be reached if and when technology emerges that could meet them, but none has appeared to date. In September, the EPA also stated it could not defend these Water Quality Control Commission interim TP/TN values for 2022 in court, Kendrick summarized.
Kendrick had previously reported these long-deferred EPA "no action" decisions to the JUC, saying that WQCC Administrator and state attorney Trisha Oeth’s statement at the Nov. 1 nutrient stakeholder workgroup meeting was that Reg. 31.17 had no scientific validity and would not be supported by the EPA. www.ocn.me/v17n1.htm#tlwtfjuc.
However, the opposite became apparent Jan. 9 at the Colorado Water Quality Control Commission meeting. CDPHE Clean Water Program Manager Nicole Rowan told the WQCC that the "interim values" of Reg. 31.17 have not gone away despite the EPA’s memo and might even be implemented sooner than the division had said before. Kendrick summarized that because of a separate Sept. 22 EPA national nutrient program memo from Joel Beauvais, the deputy assistant administrator for the Office of Water at the EPA, the division was now scrambling to find other ways to "show progress" to the EPA. See www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-09/documents/renewed-call-nutrient-memo-2016.pdf .
Background: At the first WQCC nutrient reduction rule-making hearing in 2012, the commission first adopted rulemaking that allowed for phased implementation of nutrients and controls (Reg. 85 and 31.17). During that hearing, after long discussions and negotiations between the division and affected stakeholders, the commission reversed its acceptance of the negotiated agreement for an "interim value" for total phosphorus of 2.0 mg/l and imposed on the last day of this three-day hearing, without warning or notice, a recommendation by CDPHE engineer Bret Icenogle to impose a "Phase 1" limit of 1.0 mg/l on "large" WWTFs, to the total surprise of the wastewater stakeholders and operators. "Phase 2" of Reg. 85 will impose this 1 mg/l TP limit on all other facilities in 2022, except a few small facilities that may be exempted for various reasons at that point.
The next WQCC nutrient reduction rulemaking hearing on Reg. 85 and Reg. 31.17 is currently scheduled for October 2017. "Everything is focused on this upcoming October hearing," Kendrick said. That hearing has resulted in a new round of meetings for Reg. 85 Stakeholder Workgroups and subgroups. Stakeholders, such as Kendrick for TLWWTF, and their lawyers speak up at these meetings with concerns, but there is little actual dialogue with the state. Areas of ongoing ambiguity include:
• How, when, and to which wastewater treatment facilities various new and different Reg. 85 as-yet-undetermined permit limits and/or Reg. 31.17 interim TP/TN, and now also selenium, water quality standards will be imposed without new science-based processes as required by the EPA’s Water Quality Act.
• How much and for how long effluent and instream nutrient/selenium monitoring will be required.
• Chlorophyll ‘a’ and total phosphorus and total nitrogen concentration "interim values" for rivers and streams.
• What year these new interim standards will actually be implemented: 2022 as currently imposed, as soon as 2017 as the division now wishes to implement in some basins, or delayed until 2027 to collect enough data for scientifically valid standard setting.
• Whether future rulemaking hearings will revise Reg. 31.17 interim values for lakes and reservoirs one river basin at a time or all at once without regard to varying geography in each basin.
Both state regulators and wastewater plant operators are still struggling with how to evaluate the confusion created in the fall by the EPA’s refusal to act upon, much less approve, the WQCD’s approved 31.17 interim values for TP, TN, and chlorophyll ‘a’.
Current evolving water reuse plans by the town of Monument and WWSD could even be subject to unintended consequences because of the ways dischargers can invite oversight from the state in unforeseeable ways that regulatory definitions and policies are interpreted and then reinterpreted by CDPHE or the EPA, Kendrick said.
These kinds of regulatory uncertainties are why it is important that stakeholder groups like the Arkansas River/Fountain Creek Coalition for Urban/Rural River Evaluation (AF CURE) continue to collect data and help dischargers prepare and pay for coherent evidence and comments for the division toward enactment of discharger specific variance for TLWWTF. "We are doing this as self-defense," Kendrick said.
AF CURE is a sub-group of the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority (PPRWA) and was created in 2012 in response to the nutrient monitoring requirements contained in Reg. 85 and the need for watershed-wide monitoring plans and programs. AF CURE submitted the Reg. 85 Nutrients Sampling and Analysis Plan to CDPHE in March 2013.
Kendrick said because AF CURE’s scope has had to expand since it was formed, its members talked more at the Jan. 3 meeting about more efficient ways of administering the group’s six current data sampling contracts through Brown & Caldwell and legal advocacy efforts through environmental attorney Gabe Racz of Vranish & Raisch LLP, who is also the attorney for stakeholder workgroups in Regs. 85 and 31.
The meeting adjourned at 11:57 a.m.
Caption: This slide shows the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) Water Quality Control Division’s current schedule of potential modifications to state nutrient regulations for dischargers that were initially adopted in 2012 with CDPHE Nutrient Monitoring Control Regulation 85. CDPHE Clean Water Program Manager Nicole Rowan talked about potential changes to this already tentative implementation schedule at the Jan. 9 Water Quality Control Commission Nutrients Work Group Update meeting, said Jim Kendrick, environmental compliance coordinator for the Monument Sanitation District. Chart courtesy of Colorado Water Quality Control Division, CDPHE.
After this meeting, Icenogle stated at the Jan. 12 division nutrients stakeholder workgroup meeting 2 in Aurora, attended by OCN, that progress in developing plausible treatment technologies that could meet either the Reg 31.17 TP or TN interim values has not been evident to date and it is appearing unlikely that it will by 2022.
The next meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. Feb. 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 or see www.tlwastewater.com.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Lisa Hatfield
The Triview Metropolitan District Board of Directors discussed ongoing maintenance and operations and leasing and selling water, and they held a hearing on increases in residential volumetric water rates at the Jan. 10 meeting. They also heard and responded to public comments about district operations.
Director James Barnhardt was excused.
Triview, on the east side of I-25, includes two-thirds of the population of Monument and is growing at a rapid rate. Triview was created as one of the first Colorado Title 32 developer special metropolitan districts within the Regency Park development. Regency Park was annexed into the town in 1987. Triview provides roads, parks, and drainage maintenance, as well as water and sanitation utility services, to the residents of Jackson Creek, Promontory Pointe, and Sanctuary Pointe. Triview’s water system is wholly independent of Monument’s Public Works water system located on the west side of I-25. The Town of Monument provides land use planning, police, and general governance for the district’s property owners.
Road work in the works
During the manager’s report, Valerie Remington, Triview’s district manager, got consensus from the directors to direct Terracon Consultants Inc. to do detailed pavement analysis of a subsection of the district’s roads and create a request for proposal (RFP) for the maintenance and repair work to be done this year. Remington wanted to send out the RFP no later than May 1 so as not to miss the road maintenance weather window.
The district has budgeted about $825,000 for roads maintenance this year, along with $25,000 for this analysis to pinpoint the most efficient way to spend the funds and protect the most roads for the longest amount of time. See detailed explanation at www.ocn.me/v16n10.htm#tvmd.
The board agreed that the controller for the traffic signal at Jackson Creek Parkway and Leather Chaps Drive should be repaired, and the timing for the whole intersection will be re-evaluated.
President Reid Bolander said he would follow up with Monument Police Chief Jake Shirk about commercial vehicles using engine braking ("Jake brakes") coming down Gleneagle Drive, since those brakes are not allowed under town ordinance. The consensus of the directors was that Classic Homes was almost done with construction at the top of Promontory Pointe, but if other developments north of there, such as Homeplace Ranch, begin construction, it would be good to have a plan for what to do about that construction-related noise.
Josh Cichocki, Triview’s water superintendent, presented information about operations and maintenance work around the district, including:
• Closed-circuit filming of 20 percent of the sewer lines is complete, and he will analyze that video looking for problems needing repair.
• Raw water analysis data will be compiled soon as the district sets up its new water treatment plant.
• Start-up went beautifully for new pumps, control valves, and pressure reducing valves.
• The new water tank and distribution system in Sanctuary Pointe are still being tested and assessed. Some pressure issues required attention, but they have been fixed.
• Triview has hired a new water operator with three decades of technical experience.
• District operators currently hold a total of 12 professional water and wastewater certifications, which is six more than last year.
• The focus has been to get more efficient on sanding and snowplowing and following the new street standards policy.
• When there are 4 or more inches of snow, contractors are called in to help, but otherwise water operators run the snowplows.
Water to be leased for revenue
Remington said the district had purchased 500 shares of renewable water rights in December from Fountain Mutual Irrigation Co. for $6.5 million. Since there is no way to transport that water from Fountain up to Triview yet, Chris Cummins of Monson, Cummins & Shohet LLC drafted a letter to be sent to entities who might be interested in bidding on leasing that water for short-term (one- to five-year) leases.
No formal vote would be needed by the directors until a formal agreement is ready to be signed, Remington said.
Jackson Creek Market Village needs water
A new townhome development called Jackson Creek Market Village, proposed for an area northeast of King Soopers on Lyons Tail Road, has been going through the land use approval process with the Town of Monument. See related Jan. 3 Monument Board of Trustees article on page 8.
Part of this approval process includes verification that Triview can provide adequate water and sanitation service to the site for its proposed use. This is confirmed in a "will-serve" letter from the district that Triview could not issue to the town until the water in-lieu-of fee was paid. Jackson Creek Market Village got an in-lieu-of fee estimate of $195,000 to buy 15 acre-feet of water from Triview in September. Triview raised this fee in December. In February, the cost would have been $255,000 for that fee, which still has not been paid.
Remington said the developer also asked if Triview could also finance the cost of that water for them so that they could buy the water and proceed with the development. Director Jim Otis summarized the viewpoints of the directors, saying, "We can’t afford to accept risk on behalf of a metro district."
Increase to volumetric water rates discussed
The district held a public hearing on the volumetric water rates increase to be voted on in March. The proposed new structure provides that all per-thousand-gallon water rates would increase at least 3 percent, and any gallons used above 20,000 gallons per month would increase 15 percent. No member of the public spoke for or against the proposed rates. For details, see the PDF on Triview’s website.
Fences, plowing, and trees
Three Triview residents spoke with public comments and questions for the directors, and district staff said they would do individual follow-up to questions they could not answer.
Dan Sailer asked if Triview had an obligation to replace privacy fences along Baptist Road that had blown down in the January windstorm. He felt it was an inappropriate use of district money to do so. Remington explained the district was not responsible for privacy fences and that the only privacy fences that are allowed in Triview now are ones that already exist and are "grandfathered in."
Later in the meeting, she explained that previous boards had decided that any district-maintained fences along its open space would be maintained as four-rail fences. The board consensus was that residents could replace their existing privacy fences at their own expense, or they can ask Triview to install and pay for a new split-rail fence in its place that would adhere to current district specifications.
Arlene Fisher-Olson was concerned about the water pressure in her home and asked if the new water tank at Sanctuary Pointe could impact her water pressure. Cichocki explained water pressure may increase slightly or fluctuate while the pumps adjust, but should normalize once that is complete. He offered to do a home visit to check if the water pressure issue was related to the home’s plumbing.
Tommy Olson asked how often district water tanks were cleaned, because the chlorine taste in water coming into his home was very strong. Cichocki explained the district has two water tanks that are monitored quarterly and are cleaned every 10 years per regulation through divers using sanitized wetsuits and equipment. The last cleaning occurred two years ago. Cichocki explained that the chlorine smell was likely due to the filling of the new water tank at Sanctuary Pointe and that people in Promontory Pointe and along Kitchener Drive would be more likely to notice it because that is where the water blends in the system and then goes through "tributaries" to the rest of the distribution system.
Olson complimented the district for its snow plowing around the mailboxes near his home but said that on Gleneagle Drive only half the road appeared to be getting cleared thoroughly, and he indicated that water melts and freezes in the area below the model homes. Bolander said they are focusing more on sanding that area and working on improvements.
Olson was also concerned about the number of dead trees along Gleneagle and asked if the district had plans to replace them. He recommended prior to replacing the trees that they check the waterlines to ensure they aren’t clogged.
Later in the meeting, Bolander said he would be working with resident Anthony Sexton, who has offered his landscape maintenance expertise to the district, to see if they have allocated enough resources to keep the parks looking nice in the future. Cichocki said the deciduous trees that were originally planted along Gleneagle Drive were inappropriate to the local soil, and evergreens thrive better. Triview replaces thousands of dollars in trees each year, and plans are to replace some each year.
Remington said last summer she looked into a new landscape company to assist with improvements to the open space, and she has found a new supplier who specializes in native trees. Secretary Mark Melville recommended the board consider funding an analysis on "greening up our common spaces."
Public postings and indemnification
The directors unanimously approved two resolutions. One said that official public meeting posting places will remain the same as in 2016. They include:
• Triview office, 16055 Old Forest Point
• El Paso County clerk and recorder
• Creekside Park
• Old Creek Park
• Burke Hollow Park
• Oxbow Park
• Venison Park
They also agreed to send copies of meeting notices to the Promontory Pointe homeowners association so they could hang up the notices in Promontory Pointe Park, but this will be an unofficial posting place.
A second resolution affirmed an existing policy in regards to indemnification of directors and employees of the district.
Remington presented the financial report as of Nov. 30. Her comments included:
• The general fund professional services category was over budget, but it was worth it to help deal with the events of 2016, including the water leak last summer.
• Operations and maintenance were also above budget due to extraordinary circumstances last year.
• Water revenue ran behind in 2016. The good news, and the bad news, is that conservation is working.
• Capital projects revenue was only at 15 percent of what was budgeted for 2016 due to fewer new tap fees being sold.
• The tap fee price increases May 1, and she anticipates developers will pre-pay for more taps before that deadline.
• Enterprise fund expenses were 185 percent of 2016 budget, about $775,000 over budget, but this is due to Promontory Pointe expenditures that will be reimbursed by Classic Homes.
Bolander and Treasurer Marco Fiorito asked for a clearer way to display the finances to show what revenue is being set aside for predetermined purposes.
This month’s checks over $5,000 were:
• JDS-Hydro, Sanctuary Pointe pump station − $9,109
• Schmueser & Associates, Sanctuary Pointe booster pump station − $137,873
• Donala Water and Sanitation District, quarterly/monthly sanitation − $137,282
• Monson, Cummins & Shohet LLC, district water attorney − $7,695
The meeting adjourned at 7:04 p.m.
The next Triview meeting will be held Feb. 14 at 5 p.m. at the Fairfield Inn, Mt. Herman Conference Room, 15275 Struthers Road, Colorado Springs. Meetings are normally held on the second Tuesday of the month. Information: 488-6868 or see www.colorado.gov/triviewmetro. See also "Triview Metropolitan District" on Facebook, or Twitter.com/@TriviewMetro.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at email@example.com.
By James Howald
The Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD) board met on Jan. 12 to consider a request for supplemental water service from Woodmoor Village, and to hear operational reports from district staff.
Local brewpub drives demand for additional water
At a previous meeting of the board, Greg Nagel, the owner of Woodmoor Village LLC, requested a supplemental water service agreement. The request was made to allow one of his tenants, Pikes Peak Brewing Co., to expand its operations, Nagel said. In that earlier meeting, the board authorized District Manager Jessie Shaffer and Attorney Erin Smith to work out the details of the agreement.
The agreement required a covenant to be put in place for Nagel’s property, Shaffer said.
At the January meeting, the board reviewed the details of the agreement that Shaffer and Smith had written, and voted unanimously to approve it.
Operational reports show district in good financial shape
The financial report presented to the board showed that revenues for 2016 came in at 122.5 percent of the planned amount due to the increase in development in the district, and at the same time operational costs were about 97 percent of the budgeted amount.
High radium level a cause for concern
In his Joint Use Committee report, Director Rich Strom mentioned that high radium levels in water from Monument well 9 will require remediation. Well 9 has been shut down, Strom said, and added that Monument will work with a consulting company to develop a plan to manage the issue. The high radium levels may require the treatment plant to change the way it disposes of sludge, according to Strom.
Siphon repair planned for Chilcott ditch
Shaffer reported that a project to replace the siphon used by the Chilcott ditch will go out to bid on Jan. 20. The siphon was originally built in 1940, Shaffer said.
The next meeting is scheduled for Feb. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jim Kendrick
On Jan. 19, District General Manager Kip Petersen briefed Donala Water and Sanitation District board members on the December 2016 financial report, giving them a preliminary overview of full year’s financial results. Donala completed 2016 with a balanced budget.
Petersen said Donala’s total for 2016 water operating revenues through Dec. 31 was $7.64 million––$154,507 (2.06 percent) higher than the total amount budgeted. This difference was due primarily to the $151,943 emergency water sale to Triview Metropolitan District and a $75,000 FEMA grant for rebuilding the secondary access road under the railroad trellis that a flood washed away. These two items offset the lower-than-average water sales revenue during a wet spring and early summer. The total for 2016 actual specific ownership tax and motor vehicle tax revenue was $186,112––$56,112 (43.2 percent) higher than budgeted.
The total for 2016 water operating and capital projects expenses was $6.46 million––$882,393 (12.0 percent) less than budgeted. The total 2016 professional water engineering cost from the consultant firm Leonard Rice was $81,152––$11,152 (15.9 percent) more than budgeted. Some Donala capital projects were delayed until 2017 to provide an offsetting savings on budgeted capital engineering and construction expenses to keep Donala’s 2016 water operating expenditures in balance. The district will use the remaining $375,000 of a low-interest loan from the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority for capital projects in 2017.
Leonard Rice is conducting discussions with the federal Bureau of Reclamation on how to model Donala’s use of the Pueblo Reservoir for its renewable surface water from Willow Creek Ranch southwest of Leadville. This modeling project is part of Donala’s negotiations with the bureau for a long-term storage lease contract to replace the current annual storage lease renewals. Donala has leased 499 acre-feet of the reservoir’s total storage capacity of 250,000 acre-feet (0.2 percent). An acre-foot is 325,851 gallons. Donala’s leased storage capacity is about 163 million gallons.
Over the past four years, Donala has produced about 800 acre-feet of water per year, dramatically down from 900 to 1,400 acre-feet per year in 2000 through 2012. Donala has been able to supply its entire summer water demand with this renewable Willow Creek Ranch surface water, which prolongs the limited lifespan of its Denver basin groundwater supply and provides savings on annual pumping costs. In 2016, over half of Donala’s produced water came from Willow Creek Ranch. This ranch contribution is quite variable year-to-year depending on the previous winter’s snowfall around Leadville and Donala rainfall during the following irrigation season. Donala’ ranch water right is an annual rolling average of 280 acre-feet per year over a 38-year period. It began in 2012.
The Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility’s (UMCRWWTF) total for 2016 wastewater operating revenues through Dec. 31 was $1.136 million––$263,511 (18.8 percent) lower than the total amount budgeted. The facility’s 2016 total for wastewater operating and capital projects expenses was $1.163 million––$178,865 (13.3 percent) less than budgeted.
The total 2016 professional wastewater engineering cost for UMCRWWTF was $74,264––$39,264 (112 percent) more than budgeted. This was due in part to $25,000 for engineering for the replacement secondary access road. Yocam Construction LLC completed rebuilding the adjacent Monument Creek streambank reinforcements and the secondary access road before the Sept. 30 deadline for winter hibernation noise restrictions for the adjacent Preble’s meadow jumping mouse habitat imposed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Future flood waters will flow over the reinforced banks, along the new roadway, and back into the channel. See www.ocn.me/v16n1.htm#dwsd1210 and www.ocn.me/v16n6.htm#dwsd0519.
The rest of the overage was for the unbudgeted expansion of the number of in-stream water quality studies and related in-stream sampling that UMCRWWTF is conducting for the Arkansas River/Fountain Creek Coalition for Urban/Rural River Evaluation (AF CURE). These new AF CURE initiatives will help its member wastewater districts better meet the burgeoning state reporting requirements for not only nutrients but many other wastewater effluent constituent metal and organic chemical concentrations now required by the state Water Quality Control Commission’s Nutrients Management Control Regulation 85.
The total 2016 cost for large high-pressure air blower removal and replacement for UMCRWWTF was $117, 171––$37,141 (46.5 percent) more than budgeted.
The board asked Petersen to provide semi-annual summary reports on Donala’s various very conservative cash investments with Chandler Asset Management.
The board unanimously accepted the financial reports as presented.
2017 regular meeting schedule adopted
The board unanimously approved the 2017 annual schedule of board meetings and posting locations notice, which was essentially unchanged from 2016. Donala’s board meetings are normally held on the third Thursday of the month at 1:30 p.m. However, there are three standard exceptions again in 2017:
1. The regular June meeting will be held on Thursday, June 22 rather than June 15.
2. The Nov. 15 meeting is changed to a workshop that will be held at 9 a.m. rather than 1:30 p.m.
3. The December regular board meeting will be held on Dec. 7 for approval of the 2018 budget to meet the state’s December 15 submission deadline.
Donala meetings continue to be posted at the district office at 15850 Holbein Drive, People’s National Bank on the south end of Gleneagle Drive, the Loaf-N-Jug on Gleneagle Drive, next to the district drop box, and http://donalawater.org/images/stories/pdfs/Board%20Meeting%20Annual%20Schedule.pdf.
Petersen said Donala’s water attorney, Rick Fendel, continues to conduct further due diligence investigations on the Gray Family Trust’s proposed sale to Donala for $3.8 million. See www.ocn.me/v16n11.htm#dwsd and www.ocn.me/v17n1.htm#dwsd.
Fendel has confirmed 254 acre-feet of this water right but is still attempting to confirm the other 70 acre-feet. The due diligence period expires on Feb. 17, but can be extended another 60 days for $25,000. The full amount is refundable if the sale is not completed.
Petersen said he received the signed 2017 annual renewable surface water transport and treatment agreement on Jan. 5 from Colorado Springs Utilities, which is good through Dec. 31. A 25-year agreement with CSU cannot be signed until Donala obtains a long-term Pueblo Reservoir storage agreement from the Bureau of Reclamation and Pueblo County 1041 permit compliance approval.
Peterson noted he will be this year’s president of the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority.
The meeting went into executive session at 3 p.m. for the board’s annual performance review for Petersen.
The next board meeting will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Feb. 16 in the district conference room at 15850 Holbein Drive. Information: 488-3603 or www.donalawater.org. Meetings are normally held on the third Thursday of the month.
Jim Kendrick can be reached at email@example.com.
By Harriet Halbig
The Lewis-Palmer D-38 District Accountability Advisory Committee received advance information on the District Performance Framework and Unified Improvement Plans (UIPs) before reviewing the UIPs of the district and individual schools.
Director of Secondary Learning Services Lori Benton gave an overview of the District Performance Framework, based on last year’s test scores. She explained that the areas for rating were academic achievement, academic growth, and postsecondary and workforce readiness. The postsecondary and workforce readiness area includes graduation rate and ACT scores. The ACT was taken by juniors over the past several years and is used by colleges to determine achievement. Beginning this year, the SAT will be administered instead, with the PSAT offered first.
She explained that all related documents are color coded, with blue to indicate "exceeds," green to indicate "meets," yellow to indicate "approaching," and red to indicate "does not meet." Only the areas indicated in red or yellow require an improvement plan.
The district is accredited with distinction, with low participation in the tests. Although the federal government still requires 95 percent participation in testing, the state offered waivers in the event that parents declined to have students take a test. Therefore, although the district’s accreditation remains high, it must develop an improvement plan to increase participation.
Benton stressed that the only way to evaluate growth is by generation of reliable data. Data and accountability are vital, she said.
The Unified Improvement Plan Process consists of gathering data, describing trends, setting performance targets, and identifying strategies for improvement through the use of benchmarks. Improvement should be evaluated at least quarterly.
The District Performance Framework can be viewed on the district website, www.lewispalmer.org.
Safety and Security update
Chief of Safety and Security Dennis Coates outlined his plans for his new position and department. His primary vision is to provide a safe environment in which students and faculty are free to concentrate on learning without fear of violence or disruptions. To achieve this, he will coordinate and oversee drills at all locations, train faculty and staff, act as liaison with local law enforcement, and assist in threat assessments.
Coates said that he intends to add a security presence at the elementary and middle school levels and to examine and improve such aspects of security as cameras, clarification of which individuals have access to schools and students, and improved communication.
He also wishes to improve communication with parents and the community. One aspect of improving communication would be to standardize announcements that would be used in the stadium or school when there is a need for evacuation or other action so that misunderstandings could be avoided.
Board Liaison John Magerko reported on trends at the state level, reminding committee members that the Colorado Department of Education is reviewing state academic standards this year and invites educators and the public to make their opinions known.
The Colorado Association of School Boards is continuing its efforts to eliminate unfunded mandates by embarking on a new initiative called Give Us Liberty or Give Us Funding. Unfortunately, trends in the state budget imply that state funding might decrease and the district will need to remain innovative in funding its schools.
Magerko offered a brief meeting before the DAAC meeting during which he explained the process of budgeting for the district. The meeting was agreed upon because one of DAAC’s responsibilities is to advise the board on budget matters.
Monument Academy Principal Lis Richard gave an introduction to the academy campus. Enrollment is approaching 1,000 students in grades K through 8. Due to space constraints, there is now a waiting list for enrollment.
Richard explained that the academy has its own Board of Education, but the district enforces state statutes. It also offers special education services, which are often absent in charter schools.
The academy’s middle school now offers academic, arts, and athletic programs.
The academy was able to increase compensation for its staff but still falls behind the level of the traditional schools. The academy maintains a large budget for staff development and is considering opening a high school while limiting the overall size of the school.
The committee reviewed the proposed calendar for the 2018-19 school year in advance of presentation to the Board of Education.
Committee Co-Chair Anne-Marie Haastedt reported on the presentation of the proposed bylaws to the Board of Education at its December meeting. The committee requested that the board no longer propose a formal charge but instead allow the committee to incorporate its responsibilities and subcommittees in its bylaws.
In response to a question, Haastedt said that the Committee for Political Achievement is only active during years of school board elections.
Another committee member pointed out that a charge to the committee is still mentioned in the bylaws and suggested that the bylaws be reworded to remove the reference. The committee will vote on this revision at its February meeting.
The Lewis-Palmer D-38 District Accountability Advisory Committee meets at 7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of the month. Locations vary. The Feb. 7 meeting will be at Lewis-Palmer Elementary Schools, 1315 Lake Woodmoor Dr., Monument.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jackie Burhans
The Monument Academy (MA) School Board met on Jan. 18 to hear about plans for a Grandparents Day event. Board member Patrick Hall and Principal Lis Richard were absent.
Parents Amy Torrence and Angela Leighty presented plans for an upcoming Grandparents Day event scheduled for April 28. They said they had dreamt of having a Grandparents Day and appreciated the enthusiastic support of the board this year. They want to bring grandparents into the fold of the school, introduce them to the environment, and bring them into the classrooms. They thanked grandparents for their contributions and encouraged them to volunteer. The event will include a continental breakfast, choir performances, and an opening assembly, and will culminate in spending time in their grandkids’ classroom. Teachers are very supportive and parents are excited. There are corporate and family-named sponsorships available. Torrence and Leighty asked for the board’s consideration of sponsorship at some level.
The goal is to send 1,000 invites with an expectation of 400 to 500 attendees. They will have offsite parking and shuttles. Board President Sonya Camarco noted that the event will yield a promotional piece of MA with a professional logo, a video crew and drone footage of the school. This will be available for use on the school’s website. Standing boards with information about the school tenets and event parking signs will be created and available for use at other events.
Treasurer Nancy Tive reported that revenue for December was higher than budgeted revenue due to receiving READ Act and G/T funding in December that is amortized over 12 months in the budget. Academic Fee Income was higher than the budgeted amount but Before and After School Enrichment (BASE) revenue was lower than budgeted.
Expenses for December were higher than budgeted due to the salary true-up, bonuses, stipends, and master teacher payments. The line item for technology is at 99 percent of the budget, due to unbudgeted payments for upgrades that were financed by a capital lease from First National Bank. The upgrade payments totaled $38,107 for December and 82,711 year-to-date. The budget will be revised to reflect this spending. The project included upgrading a total of 130 computers; however, 24 of them were paid for by the Parent Teacher Organization.
Other board highlights
• Parent Cynthia Fong Smith reported that two of the four expanded character curriculum lessons had been delivered before the Christmas holiday and were well-received. All who attended the first lesson returned for the second lesson. Fong Smith thanked the board for its support.
• MA’s membership in the El Paso County Coalition of Charter Schools was renewed. It receives information on what is going on in Denver and work with other charter schools that are part of the coalition.
• The board unanimously approved the 2017-18 School Calendar, which includes a four-day break in the fall and eight or nine days of the state mandatory requirement to account for snow days.
• The board entered an executive session to discuss the next steps concerning the high school, with regard to authorizers, timetables, and the application process.
The next meeting will be on Wednesday, Feb. 9 at the Monument Academy library at 1150 Village Ridge Point. The Monument Academy usually meets at 6 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month. 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 email@example.com.
By Harriet Halbig
The Lewis-Palmer D-38 Board of Education reorganized its assigned positions and received an operations report from Monument Academy at its Jan. 19 meeting
Following Mark Pfoff’s resignation as president of the board at its December meeting, the officers were reassigned to include Sherri Hawkins as president, Matthew Clawson as vice president, Mark Pfoff as secretary, and Dr. John Magerko as treasurer. Sarah Sampayo will serve as a director. Hawkins and Clawson were elected, and the remainder of officers were appointed.
Monument Academy operations report
Dr. Don Griffin, executive director of Monument Academy, presented an operations report to the board.
Griffin reported that the academy has its own Board of Education, with four members present at this meeting. Enrollment for this school year is 907.86 full-time equivalent (FTE) students. Enrollment has increased by 62 students over last year, and the eighth-grade class of 309 is the largest in the school’s history.
There have been slight increases in the exceptional student and gifted student populations, and the school has received a state leadership award as a choice school.
The largest expenditure last year was $130,000 for a new turf field, and the school has added high-definition cameras and fences as recommended.
Griffin reported that 200 middle school students are now involved with athletic programs, and dramatic arts and music are also offered. The middle school band won an award this year.
The biggest concern of academy board members and parents is the proposed addition of a median on Highway 105 that would restrict access to the school and the church next door. The school is working with the church to make their concerns known.
Monument Academy would like to expand its offerings to add a high school in the near future. Planning is underway to make this a reality.
The board recognized the contributions of Tri-Lakes Radio. General Manager Michael Bailey reported that the station is streaming hockey and basketball games to the community and has sold advertising to support the district. Bailey presented checks from JJ Tracks and Act II (a new thrift store) to Superintendent Karen Brofft.
Demonstration of communication
Lewis-Palmer High School teacher Michele Baxter explained her Project Lead the Way curriculum in the area of biomedical sciences. She explained that the program spans four years and the demonstration was about human body systems with an emphasis on communication.
Students worked with members of the board to demonstrate how communication works.
Baxter said that all classes in the curriculum are inquiry-based, rather than lectures. Each unit includes discussion questions.
Brofft spoke of the actions of the district in response to the previous week’s windstorm, acclaiming the excellent coordination in getting kids home in the wake of having to discontinue bus service as required by the Colorado Department of Transportation.
Brofft also mentioned the value of the Path2Empathy program in special education, a virtual reality program at the middle school that reflected the experiences of a local veteran at the attack on Pearl Harbor, and continuing professional development on such subjects as mental health training, CPR, and other areas.
The district is once again accredited with distinction with low participation. This refers to the fact that, although federal guidelines require a 95 percent participation rate in standardized testing, the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) has granted a waiver to students whose parents opt out of testing. However, the district must develop a program to improve participation, she said.
Brofft reported that the annual open enrollment period is underway. The district has 300 students choosing open enrollment (referring to attending a district school other than the neighborhood school, or someone from another district attending school in District 38).
The rules of open enrollment require parents to reapply each year, and school principals determine whether there is space and sufficient staff to accept additional students.
Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Wangeman reported that the outflow of students as opposed to inflow during the 2014-15 school year was 130 students. In 2016 only nine more students left than entered the district. She pointed out, however, that as district buildings reach capacity this trend may change.
Regarding the windstorm, Wangeman reflected that the district should have been notified earlier because the winds at 2 a.m. were already dangerous.
Director of Personnel and Student Services Bob Foster offered a first reading of the proposed 2018-19 school calendar.
The board approved policy DC-B regarding debt management. Wangeman said that the district’s financial planner suggested the usefulness of such a policy. The first reading was presented at the December meeting.
The board voted to request a waiver on the procedure for application for a new charter school. The state requires that an application for a charter school must be submitted by Oct. 1 of the year before the opening of a school. The board is requesting that the deadline instead be April 1 of the previous year, allowing more time for processing and consideration.
The board discussed the policies regarding requests for information under the Colorado Open Records Act. The board stressed that it is not the recipient of such a request, but rather Foster and his office.
Magerko suggested that members of the community should ask questions more informally rather than using the formal route of placing requests.
At the request of Director Sampayo, the board discussed renewal of early literacy assessments. She was concerned about the release of personally identifiable data and whether parents will be informed of what data is collected and how it is used.
Brofft responded that data is presented by way of an assessment matrix and personal data is protected.
The board approved a consent agenda consisting of various routine matters such as approval of late starts to school days because of weather, minutes of previous meetings, and similar matters.
The board went into executive session at 7:30 and no further business was conducted thereafter.
Caption: Michael Bailey, left, general manager of Tri-Lakes Radio, received recognition for his station’s streaming of district athletic events. Superintendent Karen Brofft and board President Sherri Hawkins, right, listen to his acceptance. Photo by Harriet Halbig.
Clarification: The board at its December meeting did not approve the automatic renewal of Superintendent Brofft’s contract but approved her evaluation and designated Clawson to negotiate Brofft’s contract. The contract itself will be considered at the February meeting.
The Board of Education of Lewis-Palmer D-38 meets at 6 p.m. on the third Thursday of the month in the district’s Learning Center, 146 Jefferson St., Monument. The next meeting will be on Feb. 16.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Helen Walklett
The El Paso Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) considered items relating to two developments in the Tri-Lakes area at its Jan. 17 meeting.
District 1 Commissioner Darryl Glenn is the new president of the BOCC, having been appointed by his peers at the Jan. 10 meeting.
The Dunes at Woodmoor Development
The BOCC unanimously approved an application for preliminary acceptance of certain streets within the Dunes at Woodmoor development into the county road maintenance system. County Engineer Jennifer Irvine’s report said that the application followed completion and inspection of the public improvements associated with this development.
The three roads involved are Sandy Shore Lane, Willow Park Way, and Dunes Lake Lane. Willow Park Way and Sandy Shore Lane intersect with Woodmoor Drive. The Transportation Division of the Public Works Department reviewed and approved the application before it came before the BOCC.
Also at the Jan. 17 meeting, the BOCC unanimously approved three separate partial releases of letters of credit relating to subdivision Filings 2C, 3, and 4 in the Misty Acres development.
The developer, Rivers Misty Acres LLC, had agreed to public improvements including road, erosion, and storm drain work.
Irvine’s reports said that 80 percent of the required public improvements in each of the three subdivisions had been completed and inspected. In relation to Filing 2C, she recommended release of $64,926 with the remaining $8,989 retained for two years for the defect warranty period. For Filing 3, she recommended release of $194,753. with $147,694 held for the two-year defect warranty period and, for subdivision 4, release of $22,120 with $31,400 to be held for the two-year defect warranty period.
Helen Walklett can be reached at email@example.com.
By Jackie Burhans
The Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA) board met on Jan. 25 to discuss the North Bay development, hear owner concerns about coyote behavior, and conduct other business. Director Alan Bassett, who has moved out of Woodmoor, was absent.
La Plata North Bay
The La Plata North Bay development on Deer Creek Road just north and west of The Barn is expected to have 28 houses on that tract of land when complete. As with other developments, the board has begun negotiations with La Plata for infrastructure and governance of the sub-homeowners association. Per the rules and regulations of WIA, a motion was made to engage the HOA lawyer in these discussions and cap the expenditure at $10,000 before coming back to the board for additional approvals. This cost is expected to be recovered through non-refundable administrative fees paid by La Plata.
New paths to be built
Director Per Suhr reported that Woodmoor Public Safety Chief Kevin Nielsen met with the Lewis-Palmer School District 38 board and administration in regards to a grant they are seeking from Safe Routes to Schools. The district would like to make a walking path from Palmer Ridge High School (PRHS) to Lewis-Palmer Middle School (LPMS) and to Lewis-Palmer Elementary School (LPES). WIA Architectural Control and Common Areas administrator Bob Pearsall and Common Areas Director Rich Wretschko discussed the existing trails, one of which almost completes what the grant would entail.
Pearsall and Wretschko are invited to attend the planning stages. Pearsall has already received commitments from developers and property owners. The district would like to get a letter of support for the trail system from the WIA board. The district’s goal is to get a grant for the bulk of the cost and fund the rest from other sources, including possible community donations. More information on the program is available at http://www.saferoutesinfo.org/.
Residents raised concerns about coyotes in Woodmoor, asking for an agenda item to be added for the Annual Meeting on Jan. 30. Additional questions covered the impact of development projects on animal movement, concerns about coyote dens in Woodmoor common areas near schools, and stalking and attacking people and pets. Finally, it was noted that some people are feeding coyotes, attracting them to the area and causing them to be unafraid of people.
Pearsall noted that developers get reviewed by multiple agencies, including Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW). President Erik Stensland noted that WIA statistics do not show increased coyote activity. WIA could take action against people who feed coyotes or other wildlife under the Article V, Section 10 Nuisance section of the covenants, but there must be a formal report made. Postings on social media sites such as Facebook or Nextdoor are not considered formal reports.
Nielsen said WIA created a board-approved Coyote/Wildlife Management Plan in 2014 with the assistance of CPW (http://bit.ly/wia-wildlife-plan) that includes education, reporting, and a program of lethal control if coyote behavior becomes dangerous. Additional resources available on the WIA website under Public Safety include a CPW Coyote Deterrents document (http://bit.ly/wia-cpw-coyote-deter) and a CPW Coyote Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document (http://bit.ly/wia-cpw-coyote-faqs).
Reports of coyote or other wildlife sightings and interactions can be made to WIA in person at The Barn or by phone to Woodmoor Public Safety at 719-499-9771. WPS will attempt to confirm the sighting or incident and will track all reports and identify "hot spots" where additional investigation may be needed.
Board report highlights
• No open fires are allowed in Woodmoor. Violations of this convenant can result in a minimum fine of $500. It is very dry this winter.
• President Stensland noted that this was his last regular board meeting, as his term on the board is coming to an end. He thanked the staff for all its hard work.
• Due to a great response, Ring has extended its $25 discount offer on its video doorbell and cloud storage for Monument residents until March 1. Product information and ordering is available at www.ring.com. Use the code 3monument25 (all lower case).
• The board confirmed that the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office has stepped up its patrolling in Woodmoor.
Caption: Vice president Peter Bille (center) gives a certificates of appreciation to outgoing director of Archiectural Control Mark Ponti (left) and and outgoing President Erik Stensland. Photo by Jackie Burhans.
The WIA Board of Directors usually meets at 7 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of each month in The Barn at 1691 Woodmoor Drive, Monument. The next meeting will be on Feb. 22. The WIA calendar can be found at https://www.woodmoor.org/wia-calendar/. WIA board meeting minutes can be found at https://www.woodmoor.org/meeting-minutes/ once approved and posted.
Jackie Burhans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Bill Kappel
Temperatures were slightly cooler than normal and precipitation was right at normal for January, but the big weather event of the month was the damaging Chinook winds that developed on the 9th.
The month was book-ended by cold air, with lows well below zero from the 4th through the 7th and again from the 26th to the 27th. We also had our normal "January thaw" late in the month.
The new year started off cold and a little snowy, but we are still waiting for a big snowstorm to affect the region. The first two days of the new year saw slightly above-normal temperatures and dry conditions. Highs reached into the low to mid-40s, with overnight lows in the low teens. But these were the last above-normal temperatures for the remainder of the first week of the year. A strong push of Arctic air moved into the region around 3:30 p.m. on the 2nd. This held temperatures in the teens and low 20s for highs on the 3rd with low clouds, fog, and a few flurries developing.
However, that was a shallow air mass, so the next morning, that cold air drained away briefly from the high areas of the Palmer Divide (generally above 7,000 feet). This resulted in an unusual situation where we were warmer, reaching the low 40s, than the lower elevations to our north and south, known as an inversion. The lower elevation regions were stuck in the shallow layer of cold air, with highs only reaching the teens and low 20s. But, by early that afternoon, a stronger and deeper push of cold air rushed back in and this time there was no escaping for us. Temperatures quickly tumbled below zero that evening and didn’t warm much the next afternoon.
Highs only managed to reach the mid-single digits on the 5th with light snow falling most of the day. Most areas received 2-6 inches of powdery snow, just enough to cause driving problems and require driveways to be cleared. Skies cleared out that evening and, with the cold air in place, combined with very efficient radiational cooling, temperatures plummeted to record levels. Lows reached 15-25 degrees F below zero for many spots; thank goodness the wind wasn’t blowing too. During the period starting from the evening of the 4th through the morning of the 7th, temperatures reached below zero each day, a pretty long stretch of cold for us. A slow warming trend returned over the next few days, just in time for the weekend. Temperatures were in the low 30s on Saturday, and then back to normal levels by Sunday afternoon as highs reached the mid-40s.
The second week of January was mild and dry compared to the first week of the month, but there was plenty of excitement during that week. Temperatures reached the mid-40s to low 50s each afternoon from the 8th through the 11th, but these mild temperatures were aided by strong westerly winds, known as Chinook winds in our region. The term is derived from the name of the Native American tribe along the West Coast (Chinook) and has been used to reference the situation where strong, warm winds occur and melt snow very efficiently. The term Chinook is there also known as "snow eater" because of how efficiently the dry and warm winds melt snow. This type of weather pattern is very common along the Front Range of the Rockies, and occurs several times per year in our region.
Normally, the winds are relatively well-behaved, with only minor inconveniences for our area. This time was different. Winds peaked across the region from the morning through the afternoon of the 9th. During this 12-to-18-hour period, winds consistently gusted over 60mph. The winds set a new all-time record at the Colorado Springs Airport when an 80mph gust occurred. Areas along the west slopes of Cheyenne Mountain reached over 100mph. These strong, Chinook winds not only melted most of the snow that had accumulated the previous week, but also caused significant damage in the area and caused havoc on the roadways.
The usual Chinook winds were enhanced this time by two factors. First, a very strong jet stream (winds around 16,000 feet above the surface) was moving over the region at the same time the atmospheric profile forced the winds that normally stay aloft to be deflected down to the surface. Imagine the Rocky Mountains acting like rocks on the bottom of a stream and the airflow acting like the water flowing over them. In this case, the Rocky Mountains cause ripples in the airflow. Normally, the up-and-down motion never reaches the ground because it can move freely into the higher atmosphere. But the ripples were forced to the surface because there was a lid on the atmosphere (known as a stable layer). Also, the air was colder than surrounding air to start off with (meaning denser). This allowed it to accelerate downward and was enhanced as it "flowed down the east slopes of the Front Range. As the air descended, it warmed up and dried out (the reason it is so efficient at melting snow). Also unusual was the duration that these key factors were in place over our region. The duration and intensity of the event combined to produce the dangerous and damaging conditions we experienced.
Colder air moved into the region that evening and changed the atmospheric profile enough to stop the damaging winds, but intensive winds still continued on the 10th as cold air rushed into the area. Another quick push of cold air ended the strong westerly flow on the 12th and cooled temperatures back to below normal levels, as highs only reached the low 30s that afternoon.
Temperatures jumped back to the low 40s the next two days as a storm system began to affect the region. This storm originated in the Southwest, so there wasn’t much cold air associated with it. This led to wet snow (especially by January standards). The storm affected the region with various rounds of snow moving through the region over the three-day period, with 3-6 inches of snow accumulating.
The week of Jan. 16th started off cold and snowy, with highs holding in the upper 20s that afternoon as light snow accumulated to about 2-3 inches in the area by early evening. The storm departed quickly, and sunshine returned over the next few days. Temperatures also moderated, reaching the low 40s on the 17th, the mid-40s on the 18th, and low 50s on the 19th. But another quick-moving system rolled in late on the 19th and brought some light snow just in time for the morning commute on the 20th. This made for some slippery roads, as 1-2 inches of snow fell that morning. Temperatures also cooled back to normal and slightly below normal level through the remainder of the weekend, with mid- to upper 30s each afternoon.
The last week of the month started cold, then warmed up nicely through the end of the month. Temperatures were seasonal from the 22nd through the 24th, with highs reaching the upper 30s and low 40s. There were plenty of high clouds around each day, but nothing that would produce any precipitation. This quiet weather pattern was interrupted during the early morning hours of the 24th, as a push of cold air moved in before sunrise. This cold front was shallow and lacked any significant moisture or associated storm energy. Therefore, we mainly saw fog and low clouds that day with a few flurries at times. The cold air stuck around for the next few days, holding temperatures well below freezing during the day and touching below zero overnight.
A few areas of light snow developed each afternoon, as the atmosphere was just unstable enough to squeeze out any moisture available. Temperatures held below freezing from the evening of the 23rd through the morning of the 28th, but only about a half inch of snow accumulated during the period. This cold air mass was quickly replaced by high pressure moving in from the west that brought with it mild air. Temperatures reached the low 40s on the 28th, then the warmest temperatures of the month moved in from the 29th through the 31st as highs reached the low to mid-50s each afternoon.
A look ahead
February is often a dry and cold month for the region as we move toward the snowy and unsettled conditions of March and April. Precipitation averages less than an inch, with average high temperatures in the 30s. It can get very cold in February with Arctic air making strong pushes into the region, but days begin to get a little longer, which leads to some nice, sunny days and snow melts faster.
January 2017 Weather Statistics
Average High 38.1° (-2.0°)
100-year return frequency value max 48.4° min 30.8°
Average Low 12.9° (+0.3°)
100-year return frequency value max 26.6° min 6.6°
Highest Temperature 56° on the 31st
Lowest Temperature -15° on the 6th
Monthly Precipitation 0.59" (-0.12" 17% below normal)
100-year return frequency value max 1.56" min 0.01"
Monthly Snowfall 11.3" (-2.0", 15% below normal)
Season to Date Snow 53.6" (-27.3", 49% below normal) (the snow season is from July 1 to June 30)
Season to Date Precip. 7.49" (-4.14", 26% below normal) (the precip season is from July 1 to June 30)
Heating Degree Days 1225 (+34)
Cooling Degree Days 0
From Jan. 8-11, the extreme Chinook winds got our attention. Even seasoned Colorado residents kept saying they had never seen anything like this before. On Jan. 9, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) imposed a high-profile vehicle restriction from Monument to the New Mexico border. CDOT reported that at least 16 semi-trucks blew over onto their sides on I-25 alone. Among countless downed trees, a 75-foot pine blew down on Palmer Divide Avenue east of Highway 83. Flying debris smashed windows, buildings, and into people. A woman in Woodmoor reported that a flying piece of metal smashed through the back window of her car, where she had two pups in the back seat; they were upset but unharmed. People lost greenhouse panels and trampolines, and the wind destroyed storage sheds or moved them off their foundations. And parents had to collect their students from school using their own cars, since school bus service was canceled in the afternoon to avoid those high-profile vehicles blowing over.
The El Paso County Office of Emergency Management set up a helpline at 575-8888 for residents who needed resources, or for senior or disabled residents who needed help with debris cleanup, which was done by the county as well as local volunteer groups coordinated by the South Central Colorado chapter of Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD). To see how your volunteer organization’s skills can be connected with this network in future emergencies, contact Isaac Ring at email@example.com.
CDOT reminded motorists to consult the department’s traveler information tools when they have questions: See www.COTRIP.org to view road conditions, travel alerts, and track snow plows. Call 511 anywhere in Colorado for periodically updated road conditions, or sign up for GovDelivery text or email alerts.
Caption: High-profile trucks waited on the side of I-25 ramp during the high winds. Photo by Jackie Burhans.
Caption: Sand blasted right through Patrick and Becky Burkart’s car window. Photo by Audrey Burkart.
Bill Kappel is a meteorologist and Tri-Lakes resident. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Letters to Our Community should not be interpreted as the views of OCN even if the letter writer is an OCN volunteer.
Derek Araje donates to D38 security
I would like to recognize Derek Araje for his support of Lewis-Palmer District 38. In response to new state laws and student safety concerns, our district has hired former El Paso County Deputy Dennis Coates as chief of Safety and Security. At the December 2016 school board meeting, Araje generously donated a Diamond Membership for Coates at the prestigious Front Sight Firearms Training Institute. This membership entitles him to lifetime training as often as Coates would like to participate. This training will increase his ability to keep our children and staff safe and our district’s insurance premiums down. Thank you, Derek, for looking out for our community and your continuous involvement for the welfare of D38 students.
Corporations taking over local veterinary field
I have a concern about the future of our community and the corporation VCA, Veterinary Centers of America. They quietly purchased Front Range Animal Hospital and are attempting to acquire another local veterinary hospital in the area. They have also purchased two private veterinary hospitals in Colorado Springs recently. Now VCA has been purchased by Mars Inc., the candy company. This means VCA, Banfield and Antech Diagnostics are now owned by the same parent company.
VCA’s dealings should be known by our community—they approach the owner of a business and offer far above the value of the business. By doing this if one of the practicing veterinarians is interested in purchasing the business, they’re unable to compete with VCA; no bank will loan an individual more than the value of the business. Black Forest Veterinary Clinic was also purchased recently by another corporation. The amount of money these corporations offer above the businesses’ worth is difficult to resist.
Being part of a small community is wonderful, and I understand we have many corporations in our community, but do not like the way these corporations are taking over the veterinary field. There will only be two private veterinary hospitals left in the Tri-Lakes community, and I would not be surprised if Mars/VCA starts courting them also. Mars Inc. is now under investor investigation for potential wrongdoing regarding the acquisition of VCA Inc.
We can make our voices heard by putting our support and our money behind our local veterinarians.
Name withheld by request
By the staff at Covered Treasures
Several popular books of recent years will be made into major motion pictures in 2017. Read the book, then see the movie!
The Glass Castle
By Jeannette Walls, (Scribner Book Co.) $17
Walls has written a stunning and life-affirming memoir about surviving a willfully impoverished, eccentric, and severely misguided family. This is a remarkable memoir of resilience and redemption, and a look into a family at once deeply dysfunctional and uniquely vibrant. The Glass Castle is a memoir permeated by the intense love of a peculiar but loyal family.
By Dave Eggers (Vintage Books) $16
When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company, she feels she’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users’ personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency. What begins as the captivating story of one woman’s ambition and idealism soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge.
By Kristin Hannah, (St. Martin’s Press) $27.99
With courage, grace, and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah captures the panorama of World War II and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women’s war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experiences, by ideals, passion, and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France—a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women.
The Goldfinch: A Novel
By Donna Tartt (Back Bay Books) $20
This novel won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2014. Theo Decker, a 13-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue and tormented with longing for his mother, he clings to the one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art. As an adult, Theo moves between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love—and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.
Looking for Alaska
By John Green (Penguin Books) $9.99
Miles Halter is fascinated by famous last words and tired of his safe life at home. In boarding school he becomes encircled by friends whose lives are everything but safe and boring. Their nucleus is a razor-sharp, sexy, and self-destructive Alaska, who has perfected the arts of pranking and evading school rules. When tragedy strikes the close-knit group, Miles discovers the value of living and loving unconditionally.
The Devil in the White City
By Erik Larson (Random House) $16.95
The story of two men’s obsessions with the Chicago World’s Fair, one its architect, the other a murderer. The Devil in the White City draws the reader into a time of magic and majesty, made more appealing by a supporting cast of real-life characters, including Buffalo Bill, Theodore Dreiser, Susan B. Anthony, Thomas Edison, Archduke Francis Ferdinand, and others.
Rules of Civility
By Amor Towles (Penguin Books) $17
This novel presents the story of a young woman whose life is on the brink of transformation. On the last night of 1937, 25-year-old Katey is in a second-rate Greenwich Village jazz bar when Tinker Grey, a handsome banker, happens to sit down at the neighboring table. This chance encounter and its startling consequences propel Katey on a year-long journey into the upper echelons of New York society where she will have little to rely upon other than a bracing wit and her own cool nerve. Elegant and captivating, Rules of Civility turns an eye on how spur-of-the-moment decisions can define life for decades to come.
Until next month, happy reading.
The Covered Treasures staff can be reached at email@example.com.
By Harriet Halbig
Come to the library for the Lego Build Club on Saturday, Feb. 18 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Legos and Duplos are provided; just bring your creativity.
Join us on the first Friday of each month for Coloring for Everyone. February’s event was held too late for this February issue of OCN. March’s theme is Undersea Beauty. Come and relax in the community room from 3:30 to 5:30 on March 3.
On March 2 from 3 to 4:30, we will celebrate Dr. Seuss’s birthday with the Pi Beta Phi alumnae. Enjoy birthday cake, stories, and Dr. Seuss crafts! All ages are welcome and no registration is necessary.
Join us for a Monument Teen Creative Writing Group for ages 12-18 on the first Wednesday of each month from 6 to 7:30. No registration is required.
On the first and third Wednesdays of each month, an intergenerational knitting group meets in the community room from 3 to 4:30. Practice materials are provided, but attendees are encouraged to bring their own materials. Some instruction is provided for those new to the world of knitting.
The Monument Library Teen Advisory Board will meet in the community room on Friday, Feb. 10 from 4 to 5. Help us plan future events and parties for teens here at the library. Meet us for snacks and conversation. No registration required.
Having trouble with math? Come each Monday from 3:30 to 7 for free math tutoring with AfterMath. Bring your homework and work one-on-one with experienced tutors. No appointment necessary. AfterMath will not be held on Presidents’ Day, Feb. 20.
The Teen Arts and Crafts Open Studio will be offered on Wednesday, Feb. 22 from 4 to 6 p.m. Come use our meeting room as space to create. Supplies will be provided as available, however, feel free to bring whatever materials you are currently using and use the space. No registration required.
See above for Coloring for Everyone and intergenerational knitting.
The Second Thursday craft on Feb. 9 from 2 to 4 is Spa Day. Join in preparing two different scrubs, one for lips and one for body. Just the thing to help you through the cold, dry winter months. Registration is required online or at 488-2370.
Every Thursday, from noon to 1, join Pikes Peak Library District’s first established yoga group. All levels of experience welcome. Classes are held following D38’s calendar.
The Monumental Readers will meet from 10 to noon on Friday, Feb. 17 to discuss Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. All patrons are welcome to attend this monthly book group.
On Friday, Feb. 24 from 2 to 3, Colorado Springs fiber artist and author Mary Madison will tell stories of Southern plantation slave weavers. She’ll include a slide presentation and oral histories taken from former slaves. Copies of her book Plantation Slave Weavers will be available for sale. No registration is necessary,.
On Friday, March 3 from 10:30 to noon there will be a program about the basics of acupuncture. Randy Johnson, certified Seitai Shinpo practitioner from the Manitou Springs Clinic of Acupuncture will explain basic techniques, show equipment, and answer questions. No registration required.
On the walls and in the display cabinet during February will be art work by Lewis-Palmer high School students.
Palmer Lake Library events
The Palmer Lake Library book group meets on the first Friday of each month at 9 a.m. Call the library at 481-2587 for the current title. All patrons are welcome to attend.
On Saturday, Feb. 18 at 10:30 join the Young Rembrandts for a free program. Registration is required for this program so that sufficient materials will be available for all. Young Rembrandt’s elementary-age curriculum is designed to teach basic to advanced drawing skills, art techniques, and vocabulary. This program promotes and encourages creative expression.
Above: Ben Roberts of the Black Falcon School of Arms explained armor and weapons at a library program in January. Roberts is being assisted by his squire, Rou Barnett, right, and a young patron. Photo by Harriet Halbig.
Please note that all Pikes Peak Library District libraries will be closed on Monday, Feb. 20 for Presidents’ Day.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Sigi Walker
On Jan. 19, the Palmer Lake Historical Society’s (PLHS) Annual Potluck and Membership Meeting was held at the Palmer Lake Town Hall. The PLHS furnished the ham, rolls, coffee, and tea. Attendees brought a wide array of salads, side dishes, and desserts. Local artist Joe Bohler entertained with his magical honky-tonk piano.
Following the election of 2017 officers, PLHS President Tom Baker used a slide presentation to recap the 2016 activities and accomplishments of the society. In retrospect, it is quite an impressive list. Programs informed us about boys who were Civil War soldiers, early autos, races, and traffic rules in the Pikes Peak area, the importance of spinning in the West, Spencer and Julie Penrose, Charles Goodnight and his legacy, Colorado inventors and their inventions, Juan Bautista de Anza and Comanche Chief Cuermo Verde, and the "tale" of East and West Husted. We sponsored three events: A Walking Tour of the Monument Tree Nursery Site, the Annual Fathers’ Day Ice Cream Social, and the Annual Return of the Rocky Mountain Chautauqua. All were free and open to all who wanted to participate.
Education and outreach activities included the PLHS Newsletter, published three times a year; the maintenance of the PLHS website and Facebook page; support of the Coalition of Pikes Historical Museums; provision of content (through research by PLHS member Jack Anthony) for the Aspen Grove sculpture signage; support for Jim Sawatzki’s new film, Star on Sundance; support for the Western Museum of Mining & Industry "Restoration Day"; and presence of a PLHS information table at Parker Day and museum summer programs.
The 2017 programs and events schedule was available for attendees to pick up. The 2017 Tri-Lakes Historical Calendar, featuring a cover painting by Joe Bohler, and supported by our advertisers, was also available at the meeting.
Caption: (L to R) Alaina Bohler, Joe Bohler, and PLHS past President Phyllis Bonser are pictured at the annual meeting, where Joe Bohler played his unique style of honky-tonk piano. The Bohlers are longtime members of the society. Photo by Doris Baker.
Mark your calendars for Thursday, Feb. 16, when Mike and Sigi Walker will tell the story of a 19th-century "robber baron." He was one of the nation’s wealthiest but least known entrepreneurs, a peer of the likes of Aster, Carnegie, Mellon, Rockefeller, and Stanford, and he made his money from Colorado coal! Find out who John Cleveland Osgood was, what his relationship to Pueblo’s Colorado Fuel & Iron (CF&I) was, and how he was connected to the Ludlow Massacre. You’ll get a glimpse of his legacy: the town of Redstone, Colo., the line of brick and cinder block "huts" along Highway 133, and the 42-room Tudor mansion just south of the town.
This program is free and open to all. Venue is the Palmer Lake Town Hall. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the program begins at 7. Light refreshments are served after the presentation.
By Janet Sellers
Most of us moved to the Tri-Lakes area for the natural beauty of the forests and mountains. These natural attractions have taken many millions of years to develop, and we love their grandeur. But for the home gardener, not all soils are created equal, and sometimes the transplanted humans can have a hard time making friends and planting flowers and food with the native soil.
There is a very good reason for this. The forest eco-system evolved to support itself, not tomatoes and carrots. It has wonderful vegetation and life and decay cycles specific to its needs and its future. That said, invasive species (European settlers) have brought in all manner of attempts to change that eco-system.
Now my question is, are we killing our forests? I have a confession to make. For the last few years, I’ve touted worm towers and using composting worms to make great vegetable and flower garden soil, but only for contained, raised food production and flower beds to amend soil for that purpose. Worms work great to break down our kitchen organic matter for that, but only in a raised bed or indoor container situation because it is dangerous to our forests! The composting idea using kitchen scraps makes soil related to the nutrients for those common market-type vegetables (invasive species, by the way) that people eat, but it can destroy our forests. As invasive species, the worms destroy the natural local decaying organic matter that our local forests depend on for nutrients for their life cycle.
According to Peter Groffman, a microbial ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, when earthworms colonize forest floors, they destroy the rich layer of organic matter that sustains forest plants and animals. He said, "You can go out to these forests where these earthworms are and you can see basically bare mineral soil and some earthworm castes on the surface. There’s great concern that this is a fundamental change in forests, making them more susceptible to erosion, reducing their ability to store carbon and nitrogen from the atmosphere, and then having a negative effect on biodiversity—especially these spring ephemeral plants like trillium and trout lily, and salamanders."
Conventional wisdom is that earthworms improve soil by aerating it, so their establishment might seem like a non-issue. But forest soils are already well-aerated, and with earthworms, "Within about three to five years, the forest floor just disappears."
For the sake of our forests, we need to keep any composting we look to do as far away from our forested areas as possible. Earthworms have been touted for decades as beneficial, but it depends on where they reside, and many were imported (by accident) from Europe and proliferated. In the Pacific Northwest, there are no native earthworms. They all vanished with the glaciers, and any found now are not only foreign but dangerous to the ecosystem to the tune of obliterating the forests. The forests are well-aerated by their own ecosystems, and when fishermen dump out their worms on the shore near the forests, within three to five years, the forest floor just disappears.
This is not to say that forests don’t support food for humans and animals. Historically, in foraging culture, there are many fruit and vegetable-type edible plants throughout the Rocky Mountain forests, but most of us don’t know about those edible plants. I wrote about the foraging delicacies here for fun in the past few years, but now we need to be vigilant and really seek out the native edibles. Many of these are similar to familiar foods, if we just know what to look for. I have it on good authority from foraging experts, such as the Colorado Mycological Society that offers hikes, and various groups in the mushroom science boom, that the morel mushrooms of the Front Range are amazing, and there are native edibles that eat like spinach, celery, asparagus (steamed early cattail stalks), and more.
Forest immersion, aka forest bathing, is as ancient as the Native American life in our region, and currently is a popular activity in our area, and we know instinctively that our pine forests are important to our overall health. We are the ones lucky enough to live so near to them, to benefit our health with a walk in the forest and enjoy the air and hear the sounds of nature as well as be filled with the forests’ health giving treasures of all kinds.
I recently saw the details for herbal supplements touting the benefits of pine bark extract.
The package indicates benefits of the pine bark that the Ute have known and used for millennia. The extract contains free radical scavenging OPC’s and supports healthy insulin function, blood vessel and cardiovascular health, healthy cholesterol levels, and skin, eye, and hair health. That’s a lot for a pine tree to offer us. Greater support both physically and mentally has been shown with forest bathing, and the studies in Japan and more show similar positive results just by walking through the forests.
So, as we plan our flower and vegetable gardens this year, let us keep in mind where we live, respect the superb and ancient forest habitat and live in harmony with that venerable tradition. Let us learn to make what we do be prosperous for our needs, but informed by our great love and respect for our forests, with its trees, plants, animals and countless creatures that make the forest alive and well.
For easy access to information, check here for a variety of how-to articles and videos I am posting for our community on the Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/MonumentCommunityGarden. We have a great Tri-Lakes Gardening Community (TLGC) page link there as well. TLGC is a bunch of friendly local gardeners with endless tips and frequent ad hoc talks and walkabouts to local gardens.
Caption: A Native American culturally modified ponderosa pine tree in Woodmoor shows that the ancient Americans were involved in forestry long ago. They created culturally modified forms within a grand scheme of forestry with knowledge that has been passed down through the ages to the Native American families that cared diligently for the special Culturally Modified Trees in our area. This Native American modified tree has ligature marks and a variety of modifications exemplifying an extremely advanced understanding of arboriculture and forestry management. (The ladder steps are obviously an addition of very recent inhabitants in the last 25 years or so). Photo by Janet Sellers.
Janet Sellers is an avid HANG newbie, and welcomes your tips and handy hints to share with others here at our high altitude. She can be reached at JanetSellers@OCN.me.
By Janet Sellers
"Solitude is the profoundest fact of the human condition. Man is the only being who knows he is alone, and the only one who seeks out another."—Octavio Paz
Early or late in life, we find that we can be alone but not lonely, or alone in a crowd. Our give and take in all matters depends on circumstances, mostly, and a full life consists of that flow. A better thought might be, "What is my own fullest life?" Art brings that answer to every artist and, in truth, to every person. Visual art is like a quiet friend, a heart-to-heart connection from one person to another, between days or between millennia.
Great statesmen in the capitols as well as regular people living in cities, suburbia, and country sides have turned to art in their bright and dark days for solace and sanity. Winston Churchill was a painter. In addressing the Royal Academy in 1938, he referred to arts and sculpture: "The arts are essential to any complete national life. The State owes it to itself to sustain and encourage them…. Ill fares the race which fails to salute the arts with the reverence and delight which are their due."
Many turn to art-making later in life, when they can devote their ideas and energies to it as they see fit. In contrast to young artists filled with hope and excitement and exploration, the mature person brings to their art a wisdom only years of life experience can offer. Gallerists mention that the mature artist offers interest, stability, and creativity to success—and sales—and they don’t worry as they do with the artists in their 20s.
Our area is fortunate to have many kinds of artists of all ages and styles and levels. We have world-class artists, local favorites, and year-round art shows to prove it. Our oldest art group, Palmer Lake Art Group (PLAG), began its winter art show and sale in January and continues it through February at Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts. PLAG’s shows always include a percent to benefit our high school seniors with scholarships. The artist reception dovetailed nicely with the adjacent show, "Juxtaposition," with local artist Joe Beavers’ abstract paintings and Ray Shaw’s realism works of wildlife and forests, in the Lucy Owens Gallery.
I was so happy to see Beavers exhibiting his newest abstract works. They are large format, colorfully expressive paintings. Beavers lives near me in Woodmoor, and I was fortunate to visit him at his studio in December, just before this show went into full swing. We talked about his lifelong love of being creative and his large-format paintings that he does now at this stage of his art life. I think he had the biggest paint trolley filled with endless tubes of colors that I’ve ever seen. He thoroughly delights in his art and studio time.
Art to see in February
Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA)—Joe Beavers and Ray Shaw, Juxtaposition art show, abstract show, and the PLAG art show through Feb 25. TLCA, 304 Highway 105, Palmer Lake.
Public outdoor art in Tri-Lakes—our local outdoor art numbers in the dozens from Palmer Lake to the Monument and Woodmoor areas. Maps for the locations of public art on view are available at local merchants, courtesy of Tri-Lakes Views.
Tri-Lakes Views announces a Call for Entries for its annual yearlong outdoor sculpture ARTSites 2017 exhibition:
• Artists are invited to submit entries for ARTSites 2017, the yearlong outdoor public art exhibit to be installed in the Tri-Lakes area.
• The juried exhibit will be installed in June and be on display for one year. Artists selected for the exhibit will receive a $500 honorarium. Entries may be submitted on a CD or by mail and should include photographs from several views of the pieces being submitted and should include the title of the pieces, medium, scale and price, including a 25 percent commission. Artist’s name, address, phone number, email address and website (if appropriate) should also be included. Entries must be submitted no later than April 30.
• Entries may be sent by email to email@example.com or by mail to Tri-Lakes Views, PO Box 2564, Monument, CO 80132.
Caption: Woodmoor artist Joe Beavers, left, and his wife Carolyn enjoyed visiting with guests for the two-man art show, Juxtaposition, in the TLCA Lucy Owens Gallery at the artist reception on Jan. 13.
Caption: Artist Ray Shaw exhibited his large-scale paintings of nature at the art show, Juxtaposition. Shaw’s studio is in Rye, Colorado.
Photos by Janet Sellers.
Janet Sellers is a local fine artist, writer and art teacher. She has public art and sculptures in many Colorado cities, local drawing and painting classes for all ages, and welcomes your art questions. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Handbell caption correction
Correction: The above photo of the Tri-Lakes Handbell Choir in our January 7th issue should have been credited to Tommy Olson. OCN regrets the error.
Relationship Marketing, Dec. 13
Caption: Speaker Brenda Sanchez gave a talk on Relationship Marketing, part of the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce Monthly Education Series, on Dec. 13. She stressed the importance of nurturing relationships in life and business, as well as how to plug into a system that nurtures relationships via thoughtful reminders and greetings to clients throughout the year. Photo by Janet Sellers.
WMMI Geology Day, Jan. 7
Caption: On Jan. 7, the Western Museum of Mining & Industry held its annual Geology Day. Visitors panned for gold, saw demonstrations of gold-processing techniques by the Gold Prospectors of Colorado, learned about fossils and geologic processes from the Colorado Springs Mineralogical Society and staff from Florissant Fossil Beds, and saw demonstrations of historic and modern-day assaying processes. A member of the Gold Prospectors of Colorado is pictured searching for gold in his pan as the last stage demonstrating a gold separation technique using a "high banker" and other equipment. The gold assayed from this material yielded over 20 ounces per ton, while typical ore deposits yield closer to 3 ounces per ton. Information on upcoming museum events, like the Writers Workshop and Science Day, can be found at www.wmmi.org. Photo by David Futey
Wal-Mart donation to TLC
Caption: Tri-Lakes Cares (TLC) recently received a $25,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation’s State Giving Program to support the organization’s mission of improving people’s lives through emergency, self-sufficiency, and relief programs. "Tri-Lakes Cares is so grateful for the continued support of the Walmart Foundation’s State Giving Program," said Haley Chapin, TLC executive director. "These funds will be incredibly instrumental in allowing us to serve folks struggling to make ends meet. We are the only comprehensive community resource in this part of the county, so the programs and services we offer are critical to our clients." The grant was presented to TLC during a check presentation ceremony Jan. 23 at its offices. Pictured are, from left, Haley Chapin, Jillian Smull, Kaitlyn Ward, and Lori Zarkovacki. Photo courtesy of Tri-Lakes Cares.
Our Community News, Inc. Annual Meeting, Jan. 22
Caption: The 2017 OCN Annual Meeting of the volunteers was held January 22.
The back row from the left, Chris Pollard, Helen Walklett, Jackie Burhans, Mark Aggers, Harriet Halbig, James Howald, Natalie Barszcz, John Howe, Ronald Henrikson, Brian Volk, Jeff Morris, Bev Zimmermann, and Allen Alchian.
The front row from the left, Lisa Hatfield, Jennifer Kaylor, Sharon Williams, Lauren Jones, and Jason Gross. Over 20 other OCN volunteers are not pictured.
If you are interested in helping with this unique and well-respected publication, contact Lisa Hatfield at email@example.com or call 339-7831. Photo by Lisa Hatfield.
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.
MVEA warns members about recent scamming attempts
Scammers are pretending to work for or represent area utilities. In one case, a scammer requested that an MVEA member pay their bill using a pre-paid Visa card. When the member said they felt like the call was a scam, the caller threatened to shut off their power. MVEA will never request a pre-paid payment card over the phone for an account balance. If a member wants to pay their balance with a payment card over the phone, the member will be transfered to an automated-pay-by-phone system so the payment and information remain secure.
In a second incident, an MVEA member reported that two men came to his door and stated they were contracted through MVEA and needed to check his electrical panel inside the home. MVEA does not require access to electrical panels inside members’ homes. Any MVEA employee who would require access to a members’ outside property would have an MVEA identification badge, MVEA clothing, and an MVEA vehicle. If you are ever in doubt, call MVEA immediately at 1-800-388-9881.
Scammers can be very convincing, and MVEA wants their members to protect themselves with the following tips:
• Do not assume the name and number on your caller ID are legitimate. Caller IDs can be spoofed.
• Never share your personal information if someone if threatening to disconnect your service, including date of birth, Social Security number or banking account information.
• Never wire money to someone you do not know.
• Do not click links or call numbers in unexpected emails or texts, especially those asking for your account information.
• MVEA accepts many forms of payment, but will NOT require a specific type of payment for account balances.
• If you receive a call, or in-person visit, that you believe is a scam, call the police and also report the incident to MVEA at 1-800-388-9881.
D-38 Community Open House: Long-Term Planning, Feb. 13
The Lewis-Palmer School District has contracted with RTA Architects for long-range facilities planning and consultation services. RTA Architects will hold a meeting Monday, Feb. 13, 5:30-7:30 p.m., at Bear Creek Elementary School, 1330 Creekside Dr. in Monument to provide a first opportunity for the public to hear the initial findings and provide feedback. Info: 481-9546, www.lewispalmer.org.
Tri-Lakes Y Youth Spring Sports, register now
Practices begin March 27 for outdoor soccer, volleyball, and flag football; April 8 for indoor soccer. Financial assistance is available. Register at www.ppymca.org or at the Y, 17250 Jackson Creek Parkway, Monument. See ad on page 6.
Ranger Lacrosse, register now
Boys K-8th grade, the season begins March 1. Register online at www.rangerlacrosse.org. See ad on page 31.
Tri-Lakes Little League, register now
Boys and girls ages 4-14 can sign up for baseball and softball. Register online, www.trilakeslittleleague.com. See ad on page 4.
Mountain View Electric Association board nominations now open
If you are interested in being a candidate, find application details at www.mvea.coop. See ad on page 17.
ACT II thrift shop now open
ACT II is a unique community thrift shop that will benefit Tri-Lakes area nonprofits. The shop is located at 245 Jefferson St., next to Tri-Lakes Cares and across the street from Northland Community Church. Act II is now open for donations and sales Tue.-Fri., 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sat., 10 a.m.-2 p.m. The grand opening and ribbon cutting is Feb. 11, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Volunteers and donations of gently used articles and money are needed. For more information, visit the website, www.mynorthlandchurch.org/act-ii, or contact Executive Director Cara Vanderkolk, firstname.lastname@example.org or 487-3268.
Tri-Lakes Women’s Club announces 2017 grant process, apply by March 15
Tri-Lakes Women’s Club’s (TLWC) grant application for 2017 will be available through March 15 on the TLWC website, www.tlwc.net. Eligible organizations include nonprofit and public service organizations and public schools that serve the Tri-Lakes area. Special program and project requests are welcomed. The application package includes the instructions as well as other important qualifying information. Completed applications can be mailed to Tri-Lakes Women’s Club, Attn: Grant Committee, P.O. Box 669, Monument, 80132 with a postmark no later than March 15. For more information, contact the committee chair, Barbara Betzler, at email@example.com.
Save the date: 41st Annual Pine Forest Spring Show & Sale, May 6-7
The Tri-Lakes Women’s Club presents its annual spring show and sale May 6-7, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday, at Lewis-Palmer High School, 1300 Higby Rd., Monument. This popular fundraiser features antiques, home decor, garden exhibits, gourmet food trucks, "The Bakery," raffle, glass repair, and MOPS Kid’s Corner. Admission is $6. Bring in ad or a can of food for Tri-Lakes Cares for $1 off admission. All proceeds benefit nonprofit service organizations and public schools in the Tri-Lakes community. For more information visit www.tlwc.net.
Free income tax help
Through its Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, Pikes Peak United Way, in partnership with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), provides free income tax preparation assistance to individuals and families with a household income of $52,000 a year or less. To find out if you qualify or to schedule an appointment, call 2-1-1 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; or visit www.ppunitedway.org/vitaeitc.html.
Tri-Lakes Silver Alliance Thrift Store needs volunteers
Volunteers are needed to work a three-hour shift once a week in the store, to move items from storage into the store, or to pick up donated items. To volunteer, call 488-3495.
LEAP—Help for heating bills
The Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) is a federally funded program that provides cash assistance to help families and individuals pay a portion of winter home heating costs. The eligibility period for LEAP runs through April 30. Application packets were automatically mailed to residents who received LEAP assistance last year at their address at that time. To find out if you qualify for LEAP, call 1-866 HEAT-HELP (1-866-432-8435) or visit www.colorado.gov/cdhs/leap.
St. Peter Catholic School now enrolling for the 2016-17 school year
The school offers full and half-day preschool, Core Knowledge Curriculum with small class sizes, Christ-centered education, athletics, and more for preschool-eighth grade. Call or visit: 124 First St., Monument; 481-1855; www.petertherock.org. See ad on page 2.
CSU Extension launches "Your Energy" website and blog
The Colorado State University Extension now has a "Your Energy" website to help Coloradans make more informed energy decisions. The site includes decision tools, fact sheets, and a blog. The decision tools can help you figure out energy savings from using more efficient lighting, low-flow showerheads, heating and cooling systems, water heaters, and more. Other tools can help you understand how much you spend on heating, cooling, and baseload electricity and your bottom line if you install a wind turbine or solar array. Visit the site at http://yourenergy.extension.colostate.edu/.
Help the Black Forest Animal Sanctuary (BFAS) rescue animals
Southern Colorado Animal Rescue BFAS is an animal rescue and rehab farm that has been helping animals since 1994. The all-volunteer organization has rescued thousands of horses, farm animals, dogs, cats, and various small wild animals and birds. BFAS provides rescue operations, adoption programs, foster and sponsorship programs, a student/horse education program, service dogs to veterans, and local and national rescue efforts. They also work with local schools and scouts. Donations are needed for supplies, and volunteers are needed for day-to-day operations. To find out how you can help, call 494-0158, email BFASFarm@gmail.com, or visit www.bfasfarm.org.
Free transportation and safety services for seniors
Mountain Community Senior Services offers free transportation and safety services to Tri-Lakes seniors. If you need a ride to a medical appointment, grocery shopping, or the local senior lunches, a volunteer driver will be happy to help you. Call 488-0076 to leave a message for the dispatcher. If you need grab bars in the bathroom, a ramp to your door, or repair of stairs or railings, please call Cindy Rush, 488-0076, and leave a message. For more information, visit www.TriLakes-mcts-sshs.org.
Volunteer drivers needed for seniors’ transportation service
Mountain Community Transportation for Seniors is a nonprofit, grant-funded organization that provides free transportation to Tri-Lakes seniors 60 years old and over. The program needs additional volunteer drivers. For information, email MCSS at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the MCSS dispatch hotline at 488-0076.
Tri-Lakes Silver Alliance Senior Center programs
The Tri-Lakes Silver Alliance Senior Citizens Center is next to the Lewis-Palmer High School Stadium (across from the YMCA) and is open 1-4 p.m., Tue.-Fri., and earlier for scheduled activities. The facility has a lounge, craft room, game room, and multipurpose room. Programs include bridge, pinochle, National Mah-jongg, line dancing, tea time, bingo, and more. Ping-pong, Wii video games, puzzles and board games, refreshments, a lending library, computers with Internet connections, and an information table are also available. For information about programs for seniors, visit www.TriLakesSeniors.org.
Senior Beat newsletter—subscribe for free
Each monthly Senior Beat newsletter is full of information for local seniors, including the daily menu of the senior lunches offered M-F at the Mountain Community Mennonite Church, 643 Hwy. 105, Palmer Lake. It also contains the schedule of the classes and events for the month at the Senior Citizens Center. To subscribe, send an email with your name and mailing address to SeniorBeat@TriLakesSeniors.org. Senior Beat can also be viewed online at www.TriLakesSeniors.org.
Become a CASA volunteer
Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) offers a volunteer opportunity like no other. As appointed representatives of the court, CASA volunteers are empowered to make a lifelong difference in the lives of abused and neglected children. You can explore the program at the CASA 4-1-1 Hour Feb. 11, 10-11 a.m., at 701 S. Cascade Ave., Colorado Springs. Learn more at http://www.casappr.org/volunteer-colorado-springs/ or contact Kelly at 447-9898, ext. 1033, or email@example.com.
Free gun-lock kit
The Monument Police Department is offering free firearm safety kits to local residents through a partnership with Project ChildSafe, the nationwide firearms safety education program. Each kit contains gun safety information and a cable-style gunlock that fits most types of handguns, rifles, and shotguns. The Police Department administrative offices at 645 Beacon Lite Rd. are open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Drop by during those times to pick up a free gun-lock kit. For information, phone 481-3253.
By Judy Barnes, Community Calendar Editor
Although we strive for accuracy in these listings, dates or times are often changed after publication. Please double-check the time and place of any event you wish to attend by calling the info number for that event.
LOCAL LIBRARY EVENTS
All libraries will close Feb. 20 in observation of Presidents’ Day
The Palmer Lake Library hours are Tue.-Fri., 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and Sat., 10 a.m.-2 p.m. 66 Lower Glenway. Info: 481-2587, www.ppld.org.
The Monument Branch Library hours are Mon.-Thu., 9 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri. & Sat, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sun., 1-5 p.m. 1706 Lake Woodmoor Dr. Info: 488-2370, www.ppld.org.
WEEKLY AND MONTHLY EVENTS
Our community calendar carries listings on a space-available basis for Tri-Lakes events that are sponsored by local governmental entities and not-for-profit organizations. We include events that are open to the general public and are not religious or self-promotional in nature. If space is available, complimentary calendar listings are included, when requested, for events advertised in the current issue. To have your event listed at no charge in Our Community Calendar, please call (719) 339-7831 or send the information to firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 1742, Monument, Colorado 80132.
Contact us at (719) 488-3455, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, or P.O. Box 1742, Monument, Colorado 80132-1742.
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