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Donald Wescott Fire Protection District, April 19: Consultant, resident propose differing mill levy options
By Jennifer Kaylor and Jim Kendrick
The Donald Wescott Fire Protection District (DWFPD), in addition to addressing regular board business April 19, revealed the 15-mill levy increase proposal prepared by Pinnacle Consulting Group Inc., appointed a new director to the district board to fill a seat vacant since February, and assessed DWFPD’s role within the community. A Wescott taxpayer proposed a different option, a 7-mill levy increase, at the end of the meeting during public comments. Three board members were present. Director Harland Baker’s absence was excused. Attorney Dino Ross of Ireland Stapleton Pryor and Pascoe PC also attended.
Amanda Castle, assistant director of Finance and Accounting for Pinnacle, stated that Pinnacle specializes in accounting and management for special districts. Castle added that she has 11 years of accounting experience, most of which have been for local governments and fire districts. Castle’s stated position was that a mill levy increase is necessary. The four DWFPD directors voted unanimously to sign the $13,600 contract with Pinnacle Consulting at the Feb. 21 meeting. (www.ocn.me/v17n3.htm#dwfpd)
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 Oct. 18, 2016 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. (www.ocn.me/v17n2.htm#dwfpd)
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. (www.ocn.me/v16n11.htm#dwfpd)
DWFPD revenues will be also be reduced due to the Gallagher Amendment adjustment.
Note: The Gallagher Amendment to the Colorado state constitution, passed in 1982, decreases the factor used to determine assessed values from market values. That amendment required that commercial properties provide 55 percent of tax revenue while residential properties provide 45 percent. Commercial properties were required to be taxed at 29 percent. Over time, the value of residential property has increased at a much greater rate than commercial properties, causing residences to be taxed at a much lower level to maintain the balance. (www.ocn.me/v13n12.htm#daac)
Castle said she consulted Fire Chief Vinny Burns to present the district’s "financial picture" and "a 10-year landscape" based on two separate scenarios. Scenario 1 projects DWFPD’s financial health through 2028 if there is no increase from the current 7-mill property tax levy for those taxpayers who will still reside in the much smaller DWFPD service area. Scenario 2 projects the fire district’s finances to 2028 if the mill levy is increased to 22 mills.
Both scenarios assumed:
Note: At the June 23, 2010 DWFPD board meeting, the board unanimously approved a motion to obtain discounted federal BABs funding from Wells Fargo for the new station, the new pumper, and the aerial demonstration vehicle with a condition that the staff finalize the various loan agreements as proposed. (www.ocn.me/v10n7.htm#dwfpd, www.ocn.me/v10n8.htm#dwfpd)
Castle explained that income from the American Medical Response (AMR) contract was excluded from her revenue projections because contracts of this nature are unpredictable and when planning conservatively, districts should not "bank on" them. She did not say what the annual total net DWFPD revenue from AMR was that she excluded or what percentage of total DWFPD revenue this amounted to for the out-years starting in 2018.
Burns confirmed that capital is currently in good shape.
Castle reviewed a chart depicting scenario 1 (no mill levy increase), which projected total expenses of about $2.5 million and total income of $700,000. Pinnacle predicts that, as of early 2018, DWFPD will not be able sustain its current services. Castle stated that the district would have to fundamentally change its business model to maintain current services if a mill levy does not pass, but did not explain what the term "current services" would mean for a smaller DWFPD service area with roughly half the taxpayers and a third of the 2017 revenue. (www.ocn.me/v17n2.htm#dwfpd)
Although Pinnacle expects DWFPD to hold about $1.1 million in its 2017 ending fund balance, it predicts a deficit by 2019 based on current spending. Pinnacle suggests an operational reserve of 25 percent so the district can maintain operations until property tax revenues are received.
Reviewing scenario 2, Castle highlighted a graph depicting Total Revenues and Expenditures from 2018 through 2028. After an initial spike in revenue in 2018, expenses would remain slightly higher than revenues. Castle projected that the disparity between expenses and income would run the operational reserve into the negative around 2024.
In summary, Castle supported the increase to 22 mills to provide services to constituents at their current level and to increase DWFPD’s ISO rating, which may lower homeowners’ insurance rates. Castle stated that initially a higher mill increase was considered to create a more robust operational reserve; however, 22 mills is appropriate for the district.
The board did not take any action on the recommendation at this meeting.
Resident proposes lower mill levy increase
Resident Gary Rusnak challenged Pinnacle’s proposed mill increase during public comments at the close of the meeting. Rusnak, claiming 30 years’ financial management experience with government contracts, presented his independent financial analysis of DWFPD’s fiscal situation. Rusnak stated that a 7-mill levy increase could support current services if the district was willing to implement cost-saving changes such as reducing staff from five firefighters per shift to four, combining the chief and assistant chief positions into one role, selling equipment, operating out of one station as opposed to two, merging with other districts, restructuring the district’s loan, and delaying capital expenditures.
Rusnak reminded the board—and the chief and assistant chief as technical advisors to the board—that it has a fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers to approve operational budgets, negotiate partnerships and/or mergers, and establish mill levy tax rates. Rusnak continued with a summary of how much more a district resident could potentially pay in property taxes if the mill levy increased to 22 mills.
Rusnak concluded that "as an independent public person and the data that I was provided, that I was able to receive, was, I think with some sound management, financial management, I think the mill levy increase would need to be no more than 7 (mills) and could be even less."
Regular board business
The board unanimously approved the March meeting summary. Administrative Assistant Stacey Popovich presented the bank balances and financials. Total cash in March amounted to $1.421 million, up from $782,296 in February.
Popovich noted that DWFPD’s annual audit was conducted in March, and the audit report will be presented at the May board meeting. The Profit and Loss statement showed that the Legal Counsel line item is over budget by $5,188.
Chief’s and assistant chief’s reports
Chief Burns disclosed the agreement with Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD), which is intended to remedy the disparity in automatic aid calls between the two districts. Essentially, DWFPD will respond only to calls coded as Echo or Delta, which involve cardiac arrest, respiratory arrest, or other life-threatening medical trauma in the southern Jackson Creek and adjoining areas of the districts’ automatic aid territory. Burns stated that the plan is a reasonable solution and should eliminate unnecessary responses. Burns did not mention when the agreement starts, but a previous OCN article refers to an April 3 start date. See www.ocn.me/v17n4.htm#tlmfpd.
Burns reported that staff presented a 15-mill levy increase with a 10-year financial plan at the final steering committee meeting held on March 15. Eighteen homeowners’ associations (HOAs) fall within district boundaries and all 18 were invited to participate in the steering committee meetings. Thirteen HOAs were represented at the March meeting, at which an anonymous poll was taken. Burns said the vote favored the mill levy increase by a 2-to-1 ratio.
Burns discussed district goals based upon a recent SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats). Strengths included adequate fire equipment, a strong medical program (all are trained in Advanced Life Support and Basic Life Support), experienced and well-trained staff, and community involvement through smoke detector battery programs, public education in the schools, mitigation projects, and summer safety fairs.
Weaknesses identified by the analysis included personnel retention due to lack of advancement inherent to a small organization and lack of a community response team geared specifically to the elderly. Burns listed opportunities as maintaining current programs, preparing for a growing elderly population, sharing an engine or other fire safety responsibilities with the statewide organization, exploring mergers, consolidations, and authorities with other fire districts, and continuing deployments to wildland fires.
The two major threats Burns named were catastrophic fire, which is affected by the Wildland Urban Interface, and the severe loss of tax revenues. Goals included improving the district’s ISO rating to positively influence homeowners’ insurance premiums, pursuing several community certifications available to the district, and helping Gleneagle become a Firewise community. Burns added, however, that the primary goal is to become financially stable by 2019.
Burns turned his attention to a letter of appreciation received from Clark County, Kan. The letter thanked the DWFPD crew deployed to a wildland fire who encountered significant hazards and challenges. Burns also praised B Shift for its recent service to a woman in cardiac arrest. Both the hospital and the woman’s husband credited B Shift for saving her life. As of April 9, the woman was expected to make a full recovery. Burns recognized Sean Leonhardt for his work with special needs kids at Manitou Springs High School. Burns also announced that El Paso County had lifted the stage 1 fire ban.
Note: The district has three full-time shifts (A/B/C) that serve 48 hours on duty then 96 hours off duty in a continuous rotation.
Assistant Chief Scott Ridings compared the 243 emergency calls in March 2016 to the 254 emergency calls in March 2017, a 5 percent increase. He reported that DWFPD responded to one building fire that was an automatic aid call with TLMFPD, performed advanced life support skills in 15 medical calls, and performed basic life support skills in 10 medical calls.
Burns said the new agreement with TLMFPD "will eliminate a high number of responses from this station."
Note: Ridings did not break out the number of calls made to addresses within the current larger DWFPD service area that still includes some of the Colorado Springs Fire Department Station 22 service area, addresses within the final smallest boundary of DWFPD that excludes currently serviced addresses with the City of Colorado Springs which were annexed from DWFPD, nor addresses within the service area of TLMFPD.
Ridings did not specify the number of DWFPD D and E calls within the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD) to give a sense of what the DWFPD actual call demand from TLMFPD will be in 2018 and beyond. (www.ocn.me/v17n4.htm#dwfpd, www.ocn.me/v17n4.htm#tlmfpd, www.ocn.me/v17n2.htm#tlmfpd)
Neither Burns nor Ridings projected a total amount of in-district DWFPD calls for 2017 or 2018, nor did they compare any estimates with the totals of in-district DWFPD calls in previous years.
Castle did not discuss at this meeting whether an estimate for this reduced number of future in-district calls starting in 2018 was part of her analysis of future expenses for the no-mill levy increase or the 15-mill levy increase scenarios she compared.
To date, the DWFPD taxpayers who will remain within the smaller final DWFPD service area have not been provided this information for determining what the actual demand for services within DWFPD will be when they have an opportunity to vote on the proposed 15-mill DWFPD property tax mill levy increase. (End Note)
The March 2017 incident report by type included: Fire – 1, Rescue and Emergency Medical Service Incident – 140, Hazardous Condition (No Fire) – 4, Service Call – 16, Good Intent Call – 83, False Alarm and False Call – 10. Sixty-nine of the calls coded as Good Intent were dispatched and canceled en route.
New board member approved
Board President Greg Gent directed the meeting to voting for a new board member. As of the March board meeting, four letters of application had been received from Rusnak, Matthew Fisher, Louise Link, and Rachel Dunn. Gent remarked, "We appreciate all of you applying very much, it was good to have that kind of turnout…. We’d be fortunate to have any of the applicants on [the board], but the one I ... kind of liked ... was Rachel [Dunn]."
Gent invited comments and discussion. Board members Bo McAllister and Joyce Hartung concurred with Gent’s approval of Dunn. She was unanimously accepted and immediately sworn in to fill the vacant position on the DWFPD Board of Directors.
Pension Board of Directors meeting
At the pension board meeting before the regular meeting, Lt. Bryan Ackerman reported that requests for the actuarial growth study had been submitted for payouts to volunteers at $425, $450, and $475, an increase of $25 from current payouts. Lt. Tim Hampton explained that the Fire and Police Pension Association fund’s solvency did not support an increase last year, so the 2017 request is $25 lower than the 2016 payout levels to broaden the range of options and test the solvency of the fund.
The year-to-year comparison of the fund revealed a smaller deficit than the previous year and a decrease in benefits paid despite the addition of two retirees. Regarding the grant match, Ackerman confirmed that the request had been submitted, but because the grant is overfunded, the state will not be matching grant awards.
At 7:43 the board adjourned.
The next Donald Wescott Fire Protection District Board of Directors meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on May 16 at Station 1, 15415 Gleneagle Drive. Please call (719) 488-8680, a nonemergency number, for more information, or visit www.wescottfire.org. The district is also on Facebook.
Jennifer Kaylor can be reached at email@example.com.
Jim Kendrick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Caption: Donald Wescott Fire Protection District Board President Greg Gent swore in newly appointed Director Rachel Dunn on April 11. Photo by Jennifer Kaylor.
By James Howald
In April, the Palmer Lake Town Council met twice, on April 13 and 27. The first meeting began with a presentation from Michelle Connelly, a forester with the Coalition for the Upper South Platte, who spoke about fire conditions in Palmer Lake. This meeting was attended by 60 or more residents, most of whom were there to try to persuade the council to reverse its decision to close the hiking trail that runs beside the two reservoirs that provide the bulk of the town’s water supply.
The comments at times grew heated, and led to the council reversing its previous decision to close the trail. Most of the public comments supported the council’s decision to increase the fines for behavior on the trail that endangered the town’s water supply, and the council debated ordinances that codified the process for closing the trail and raised fines for fires and pet-related violations.
At the April 27 meeting, the council returned to the topic of regulation of marijuana-related businesses within the town boundaries.
The council transferred a liquor license to the new proprietors of The Villa.
Forester emphasizes risk to town
Connelly said that current forest conditions are very dry, and forest management practices over the years have increased the amount of fuel present and the risk of wildfire. Intense wildfires sterilize the soil and prevent trees and plants from regenerating, she said.
She illustrated many of her points with details of how the Waldo Canyon Fire affected property she owned, pointing out that erosion following the fire can also be extremely damaging. In the case of Palmer Lake, a fire adjacent to the reservoirs that supply the town’s drinking water would be catastrophic and could potentially lead to erosion that would cause the reservoirs to fill with silt and gravel. In that case, the town might need to truck in water for years.
Public questions council’s decision to close trail
Many of those present took advantage of the public comment period to express their disagreement with the council’s decision to close the trail to the reservoirs. They made the following arguments:
Many of the speakers applauded the council’s decision to increase the fines for fires, smoking, fishing or swimming in the reservoirs, and failing to clean up after pets. Several of the residents volunteered to donate their time to work on these issues.
Council decides to reopen trail
After the comments from the public, and to the vocal approval of the attendees, the council voted to reopen the trail immediately and to proceed with the rewriting of ordinances that clarified how the trail would be managed. People who see activity that is not allowed (listed in the ordinances below) can call the town at 481-2953 on weekdays, and a phone number for after-hours reporting is planned.
Council approves ordinances to protect town water
The council approved the following ordinances related to the discussions about fire safety and protecting the town’s water:
Council enacts ordinances to regulate marijuana-related businesses
At the April 27 meeting, the council approved two ordinances addressing businesses that cultivate or sell marijuana in the town:
The council also conducted a preliminary discussion of the town’s ordinance on the cultivation and sale of marijuana, with the goal of consolidating the ordinances on this topic. The policies debated included the number of plants that can be grown in a residence, the transferability of the licenses the town has granted to date, and whether to allow clubs were marijuana can be consumed.
Liquor license transferred
The council voted to transfer a liquor license in place at The Villa restaurant to the new managers of that property, Timothy Bernes and Jason Charbula.
The two meetings in May will be at 6:30 p.m. on May 8 and 22 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.
Woodmoor Improvement Association Board of Directors, April 26: Board hears about increase in area crime
By Jackie Burhans
The Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA) board met on April 26 to hear about an increase in burglaries of cars in the Monument area, to hear a resident’s concern about bed and breakfast (B&B) businesses, and to receive reports.
Monument sees crime increase
Director of Woodmoor Public Safety Brad Gleason reported the Monument area has seen an increase in crime recently. There have been at least 17 thefts from motor vehicles, five stolen vehicles, and a number of burglaries. Woodmoor has seen a single residential burglary and a couple of the thefts from motor vehicles. The thieves have used garage door openers found in a vehicle to enter homes—once while the homeowners were present where they took the keys and stole the car. Three arrests have been made.
There was a fire in the Twin Ponds common area that is believed to have been set by someone. The Sheriff’s Office is investigating. Graduation season means gifts and cards will be arriving, and residents should check their mail frequently to avoid mail theft. Please see related El Paso County Sheriff report on page 23.
Bed and breakfast business not allowed
Resident Liz Miller raised the issue of homeowners running B&B businesses in Woodmoor. Citing the Covenant documents, she noted that Article V, Section 10 states that "no commercial or business trade shall be carried on upon any tract, except that professional offices such as that of a lawyer, doctor, dentist, or engineer may be maintained within the main dwelling upon specific approval by the Architectural Control Committee.…" Yet she came across a website for bed and breakfasts and to her surprise found one in Woodmoor on the Airbnb website. She wanted to know how this came to be.
The board explained that the former homeowners’ association (HOA) director and a former president had approved the business over a year ago without bringing it to the Architectural Control Committee (ACC). Although this was found to be contrary to the covenants, the board cannot easily rescind this approval unless the business violates any additional covenants such as nuisance, too many vehicles, etc. This is an issue the current board is aware of and wants to address. They noted that they would not be approving any future requests for bed and breakfasts. Miller noted that a similar situation had occurred previously when incorrect fencing had been approved but could only be required to change when ownership changed.
Note: The board each year for the past three years has made a motion for in-home business applications to go to Covenants, as opposed to the ACC, as there are more concerns for covenant violations to be involved in a potential business. A former Covenants Director and a former President approved the Airbnb businesses, with the caveat that if there are any covenant violations, their in-home business application may be rescinded.
Board report highlights
Caption: Members of the WIA board are, from left, Lee Hanson, Jennifer Cunningham, Brian Bush, Peter Bille, Ed Miller, Robert Benjamin, Per Suhr, Brad Gleason, and Rich Wretschko. Photo by Jackie Burhans. For more information on the board, see www.woodmoor.org/board-of-directors/.
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 has been moved to Thursday, May 25 due to a scheduling conflict.
Jackie Burhans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Lisa Hatfield
On April 26, the directors of the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD) discussed several issues surrounding the current staffing situation, including approving six paramedic-only positions and contemplating further temporary reductions in minimum staffing levels. Fire Chief Chris Truty also presented a "2017 Mill Levy Proposal Frequently Asked Questions and Answers" document for residents’ education.
Secretary Mike Smaldino and Director Terri Hayes were absent.
Six non-fire paramedic hirings approved
Truty presented a proposal to alleviate the burden on current staff, which has been doing overtime shifts for an extended period of time to meet the staffing requirements set by the district while the constant search for new personnel to hire is in progress. The goal is to have 13 staff members on duty for every shift. But he said that since 2015, the district has lost five paramedics, and the firefighter/paramedic position is becoming a high-demand occupation across the state and the nation, so many qualified candidates are choosing to work in higher-paying districts. Truty said that TLMFPD is operating at a staffing level that’s six or seven people fewer than its desired minimum levels.
The new idea was to recruit people who only want to be paramedics and not train to be firefighters, since this might expand the potential hiring pool. Truty therefore asked for board approval to hire up to six non-fire paramedics and amend the 2017 salary structure to include steps for both firefighter/paramedic and the new position. They are looking for paramedics with at least three years’ experience.
Background: On May 25, 2016, TLMFPD had voted to approve a new paramedic wage schedule so that the district could hire paramedics and then train them to be firefighters by sending them to 16-week training academies, which are only offered intermittently. That option was instead of trying to hire trained firefighters and then getting them trained as paramedics, which had been the past practice. However, that strategy has not been effective either, partially due to the extended time and money needed to hire and train a new firefighter or paramedic. See www.ocn.me/v16n9.htm#tlmfpd.
Deputy Chief Randy Trost recommended creating a maximum of six new non-fire paramedic positions and rearrange the wage schedule to include a place for them. Wages would be the same as for firefighter paramedics, calculated on the 2017 wage schedule as starting at $56,507 per year.
"Furthermore, it would also be recommended to hire three additional staff to move our shift staffing to 15. This would allow the district to be operating from a better position in the case of future retirements or resignations," Trost’s report said. "Staffing at 15 with a minimum of 14 per shift would allow more flexibility to attend further education and professional development without jeopardizing our staffing levels for response."
Battalion Chief Mike Keough said having an Emergency Medical Services-focused job title would be different than just an ambulance crew waiting for someone to get hurt, because they would be part of the fire crew and assist with other support functions too.
The directors asked many questions about the proposal and how it would affect operations. The shift on duty was all in attendance at the meeting, and the consensus among them was positive. The directors voted unanimously to accept the paramedic-only staffing proposal as presented.
Temporary reduction in staffing level
Truty said the minimum staffing level had been temporarily reduced a few months ago to minimize the drain on firefighters who have been taking on so much overtime work due to unfilled full-time staff positions. The result is that some firefighters are not at home for up to 120 hours in a row.
He said he was still extraordinarily concerned and wanted to take additional action to preserve their health and avoid burnout. He was considering reducing the staffing level from 12 to 11 per shift and taking an engine out of service for a few months until more staff could be hired.
Truty is in the process of talking with the union about options, and in the next two weeks, they are expected to come to a decision. Lt. Franz Hankins, president of Local 4319 of International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) union, said the union was "not seeing eye to eye" with the administration yet, but "we appreciate the opportunity to have the conversation."
Since this is an operational issue, it can be decided without the board’s input, but the consensus of the directors was to do what was needed for the well-being of firefighters.
Mill levy increase discussion continues
Truty said that the citizens advisory task force regarding a possible mill levy increase still had two more meetings left. After that, TLMFPD will make a decision about whether or not to put a measure on the ballot.
He said a document called "2017 Mill Levy Proposal Frequently Asked Questions and Answers" is available to any citizen with questions. The 16-page document discusses why the district is considering placing a mill levy proposal on the November 2017 ballot, what its biggest challenges are, what the district has done to reduce expenses while maintaining services, how the proceeds of the proposed mill levy would be allocated, projected effects of either not pursuing or passing a mill levy increase, and a lot of other background information. See www.tlmfire.org/mill-levy and click on "FAQ," or call 481-3456 to obtain a printed copy.
Treasurer John Hildebrandt said that as of March 31, expenses were 3.9 percent below budget. Overtime pay was ahead of budget, but total wages were behind budget due to the staffing situation. Revenues were on track; however, ambulance revenues were 6 percent behind budgeted amounts, he said.
According to the report, overall assets for all the district funds available were $3.28 million as of March 31. See www.tlmfire.org/budget-information for 2017 budget.
Agreement with Wescott FPD
Administrative Battalion Chief/Fire Marshal Jamey Bumgarner said that as of April 3, the Donald Wescott Fire Protection District (DWFPD) would do automatic aid response to calls only in the southern part of TLMFPD for level D and E level (life-threatening) calls. This agreement was reached to reduce the imbalance in the number of automatic aid calls between DWFPD and TLMFPD, and he said it appeared that so far, the plan was helping to balance the numbers. See www.ocn.me/v17n4.htm#tlmfpd.
The directors requested Bumgarner provide run statistics again at the May meeting.
Truty’s report included:
Bumgarner said 23 homeowners’ associations had already signed up to send representatives to the May 6 Neighborhood Leadership Wildfire Day. He applauded the Mount Herman homeowners’ association for all the wildfire risk reduction work they have been doing in their neighborhood adjacent to the national forest.
The meeting adjourned at 7:47 p.m.
Meetings are usually held the fourth Wednesday of each month. The next meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. May 24 at TLMFPD Station 1, 18650 Highway 105. For information, contact Jennifer Martin at 719-484-0911. For upcoming agendas, see http://tlmfire.org/board-agendas-minutes.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at email@example.com.
By Lisa Hatfield
On April 3, the Monument Board of Trustees approved plans for the six-home Lake of the Rockies North development, heard another presentation about neighboring Donala Water and Sanitation’s water supply strategy, and approved a raise for Town Manager Chris Lowe.
Trustees Greg Coopman and Shea Medlicott were absent.
Lake of Rockies North will be northeast of Monument Lake
The trustees considered three ordinances pertaining to the proposed Lake of the Rockies North development at the northeast corner of Monument Lake. These consisted of a change from commercial to residential zoning, a Preliminary/Final PD Site Plan, and Final Plat. Principal Planner Larry Manning said that all three items were approved by the Planning Commission on March 8. See www.ocn.me/v17n4.htm#mpc.
Andrea Barlow of NES Inc. represented the applicant, Gulf Course Resorts Inc. Her comments included:
Four residents spoke during the public hearing segment on this item, but none of them were asked to come up to the designated speaker’s table or sign in there. Cheryl Wilson spoke up with concerns about more pesticides going into the lake and hurting wildlife and about additional traffic "racing down the lake road." A man who did not give his name asked about water shortages, endangered species, and wetlands.
Rick Squires and Nancy Swearengin both asked that the intersection of Mitchell Avenue and Second Street be converted to a three-way stop sign with a crosswalk to provide right-of-way for traffic southbound on Mitchell and so pedestrians walking between the lake and the new parking lot near Limbach Park could cross safely. Public Works Director Tom Tharnish and Town Attorney Gary Shupp said Tharnish is working with El Paso County to have a section of Mitchell Avenue deeded to the town so that the crosswalk and new flashing-LED stop signs can be installed.
The trustees voted unanimously to approve the zoning change, Preliminary/Final PD Site Plan, and Final Plat for Lake of the Rockies North.
Donala shares more information
Donala Water and Sanitation District Manager Kip Petersen returned to share more information with the trustees about Donala’s experience with both standard and emergency water interconnections between districts. Petersen had already addressed the trustees on this subject in October. See www.ocn.me/v16n11.htm#mbot1003.
Background: Donala, which is almost built-out, serves Gleneagle, The Ridge at Fox Run, and Struthers Ranch. It pumps water both from aquifers and from renewable surface water supplies it owns (on the Willow Creek Ranch south of Leadville) that is pumped directly into Donala’s drinking water distribution system from the Pueblo Reservoir, through Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) Southern Delivery System (SDS), treated by CSU’s potable surface water treatment plant, then piped directly to the interconnection.
Donala and Triview Metropolitan District have two emergency water interconnections on Baptist Road at the Gleneagle Drive and Struthers Road intersections. Only the Gleneagle Drive interconnect has ever been used to convey Donala groundwater to Triview in an emergency. The sole time it was used occurred in July 2016, when Triview experienced a 20- to 30-million-gallon distribution system water leak. Donala has no infrastructure connections with Monument’s potable water service area, which is entirely on the west side of I-25.
Petersen’s comments included:
Peterson’s responses to trustees’ questions about Monument’s potential emergency water connection included:
Lowe said he and Petersen have talked about a regional long-term solution for renewable water, where smaller local entities could partner financial resources to build a reservoir.
Town manager review process continues
Mayor Jeff Kaiser said the board still had not executed the review of the town manager it had promised in December, so Lowe had been with the town 18 months and still had not had a raise. Kaiser said the 2017 budget had allocated money for raises, but it was required by the board to approve Lowe’s raise, and his contract says he should have been reviewed every six months. "But in 18 months, we have done zero," Kaiser said.
Trustee Dennis Murphy reminded the trustees that the group had also agreed to have a dialogue with Lowe about his strategies, goals, and "what to talk about a year for now when we review 2017," but that had also gotten sidelined.
They voted unanimously for Lowe’s raise to take effect retroactively as of Jan. 1, and they also reached consensus that the objectives conversation needed to continue soon.
No-go for GOCO parks improvements grant
Mayor Pro-Tem Don Wilson asked if Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) grants might be available to help the town purchase open space. Lowe said "we could try," but he was "not a big fan of GOCO right now," because the town did not win the $350,000 GOCO grant it had applied for in December to help with its hoped-for parks improvements. Lowe said the GOCO review was inaccurate and "did not pay attention to the full scope of the town’s application." See www.ocn.me/v17n1.htm#mbot.
Trustee Kelly Elliott, who is a Triview resident, asked when Triview would be presenting to the Monument Board of Trustees again and answer her continued questions about Triview’s debt and long-term water plan.
Triview Director Jim Otis told the trustees that Triview’s monthly meetings on the second Tuesday of the month were open to the public and that they reviewed the budget every month.
Note: The only time an OCN volunteer has ever seen a Town of Monument board member at a Triview meeting was at the July 12, 2016 meeting regarding the water leak.
As he said last month, Lowe said he has been trying to contact Triview President Reid Bolander and District Manager Valerie Remington to set up a joint meeting. See related Triview article.
At 8:07 p.m., the trustees voted to go into executive session for a conference with the town attorney to receive legal advice regarding litigation. They returned to public session at 8:25 p.m., then went into executive session at 8:30 p.m. for determining positions relative to matters that may be subject to negotiations. Deputy Town Clerk Robert Bishop told OCN that no announcements were made nor votes taken after either of the executive sessions. The meeting adjourned at 9 p.m.
Lisa Hatfield can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Lisa Hatfield
At the April 17 meeting of the Monument Board of Trustees, the trustees ratified a settlement agreement for one of the two current litigations in progress regarding the proposed second water storage tank, and they approved the next step in the process for consideration of annexing Wagons West Addition No. 1.
Trustee Shea Medlicott was absent.
Water tank litigation proceeding
In December, the town initiated eminent domain proceedings to remove the restricted covenants from the property it purchased in Forest View Estates so that it would be able to build a 1.2-million-gallon water tank at 744 Forest View Way, outside the town limits. The Forest View Neighborhood Association filed suit against the town, trying to prevent the town from building a tank there. See www.ocn.me/v16n4.htm#rrrhoa0314, www.ocn.me/v17n1.htm#mbot.
On April 17, Town Attorney Gary Shupp presented a ratification of a settlement agreement for the trustees to approve before the trial date starting the week of April 24. He said there were two lawsuits regarding the proposed water tank site for the town, and this one involved the covenants. He said the settlement was that the town would not proceed with the water tank unless covenants were amended, or if a final decision, not appealable, was reached in the eminent domain action. The reason for the settlement was that it was a duplicate of what the town was already doing and there was no point in litigating it twice, Shupp said. The trustees voted unanimously in favor of the mayor signing the document.
Wagons West Addition No. 1
On Feb. 21, the trustees unanimously approved a resolution to set an April 17 hearing date for Wagons West Addition No. 1, specifically for "Substantial Compliance" with state statutes concerning the petition for annexation. The 35-acre Wagons West property is on Old Denver Road between the Trails End subdivision and the Colorado Sports Center, which both sit within the town limits. Teachout Creek runs across the northern half of the property See www.ocn.me/v17n3.htm#mbot0206, www.ocn.me/v17n3.htm#mbt0221.
At the April 17 meeting, they approved another resolution of "Findings of Fact and Conclusions," essentially confirming the previous action, Principal Planner Larry Manning said.
Now, an ordinance to annex the area can be heard by the Planning Commission and then by the trustees. It would consider the annexation agreement, including the zoning designation, and the preliminary planned development site plan. Manning anticipated this process would take a few months.
Comprehensive Plan and Arbor Day
Manning presented the 2017 Town of Monument Comprehensive Plan, which was made effective by the approval of Monument Planning Commission in February. The plan is intended to be a guiding document for future land use, transportation, and infrastructure systems of the town. The trustees voted unanimously for the mayor to sign the resolution approving the plan.
Note: The Future Uses Map included in the plan does not designate a property’s zoning. However, when a property rezones, this document is used as one of the criteria for approval or denial by determining if the rezoning complies with the suggested land use "to ensure the town continues to develop in a manner the community desires," according to the town website.
For the Town of Monument’s zoning map, see http://www.townofmonument.org/227/Maps. See also www.townofmonument.org/234/Monument-Comprehensive-Plan, www.ocn.me/v17n3.htm#mpc.
Town Gardener Cassie Olgren read a proclamation about Arbor Day and invited the public to attend a tree-planting ceremony on April 28 at Dirty Woman Creek Park. See related photo on page 28.
Change in public comments sign-in
Town Clerk Laura Hogan and Mayor Jeffrey Kaiser explained a change in sign-in procedures for citizens wanting to make public comments. If commenting on an item specifically listed on the agenda, people need to fill out a slip at the beginning of the meeting and give it to the clerk.
However, comments on items that are not listed on the agenda can be made during the public comments section at the end of the meeting without prior registration.
Checks over $5,000
As part of the consent agenda, the trustees unanimously approved the following checks over $5,000:
Laramie Cummings of The Independence Center addressed the trustees with concerns about accessibility and safety for people with disabilities trying to cross Highway 105 to get to the Safeway Shopping Center. She said the rock gravel was difficult to walk on and caused people to have to walk in the road to get into the parking lot.
Public Works Director Tom Tharnish said he was already working with Safeway, the Colorado Department of Transportation, and El Paso County on this issue, since adding sidewalks there is not in the town’s jurisdiction.
Trustee Greg Coopman thanked Donala District Manager Kip Petersen for his presentation at the last meeting about Donala’s plans for renewable water supplies and his advice to the town.
Coopman also commended Police Chief Jake Shirk on his efforts and testimony in the state Legislature to form a statewide police reserve unit.
Trustee Jeff Bornstein thanked Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Terri Hayes for the James Bond-themed annual awards night held in Colorado Springs. He also asked that the board discuss some of the characteristics of the Monument Planning Commission as it compares to the board.
Mayor Pro-Tem Don Wilson mentioned his appreciation of all the work that went into the Chamber event. He also said that a second round of open houses regarding the Planning and Environmental Linkages Study (PEL) would occur on April 25 and 27 regarding widening I-25 between Monument and C-470. See photo on page 28.
Trustee Kelly Elliott thank all those volunteers and town staff involved in completing the 2017 Monument Comprehensive Plan.
Trustee Dennis Murphy said the last several meetings had been very good, "more of a team approach. I love it. Thanks to all."
Kaiser announced that the first phase of the extension of North Powers Boulevard (SH 21) would start this winter, taking 12-18 months to build through mostly vacant land to reach Voyager Parkway. The second phase, from Voyager to I-25, should follow that. The project is estimated to cost $36 million and will be funded through development and residential growth, he said.
Kaiser said that on April 19 the newly-formed I-25 Gap Coalition had a kickoff meeting, and that it might rename itself "Southern Gap" to differentiate from the North I-25 Coalition lobbying for improvement of I-25 between Denver and Fort Collins.
Kaiser mentioned that House Bill 17-1242 was coming up for a vote. If approved by the Legislature and then by Colorado voters, it would impose a half-cent 20-year sales tax on Colorado to improve the state’s transportation system. However, he said, the City of Colorado Springs opposes this sales tax because voters have already adopted local sales tax increases to help pay for roads and bridges, adding that the funds are already there in the state but not being prioritized correctly. Wilson said Douglas County also opposes the bill.
Note: On April 18, the El Paso Board of County Commissioners also passed a resolution in opposition to this proposed increase in state sales tax for transportation for the same reasons.
At 7:11 p.m., the trustees voted to go into executive session to discuss specific legal questions. Hogan said no announcement or votes took place afterward.
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 May 15. Call 884-8014 or see www.townofmonument.org for information about live video streaming. 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 email@example.com.
By Lisa Hatfield
On April 11, the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility (TLWWTF) Joint Use Committee (JUC) amended the wording of March’s invoicing method modification and received an update on Monument Sanitation District Manager Mike Wicklund’s attempts at gaining input from the Town of Monument regarding its specific plans for radium treatment and water reuse and discussion of how those plans might inadvertently affect TLWWTF.
TLWWTF operates as a separate joint venture public utility and is owned in equal one-third shares by Monument Sanitation District (MSD), Palmer Lake Sanitation District (PLSD), and Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD).
The three-member JUC acts as the board of the facility and consists of one director from each of the three owner districts’ boards: WWSD board Director at Large Rich Strom, president; MSD board Chairman Ed Delaney, vice president; and PLSD board and JUC Secretary/Treasurer Ken Smith. Other board and staff members of the three owner districts also attended, including Wicklund, PLSD District Manager Becky Orcutt, and WWSD Assistant District Manager Randy Gillette.
This meeting marked Ken Smith’s last day to serve on the committee. On behalf of the JUC members and TLWWTF, Strom thanked Smith for his service to PLSD and to the JUC. Smith then presented Facility Manager Bill Burks, a fellow Buckeye, with an Ohio State banner.
Invoicing method wording amended
In March, the JUC approved a modified invoicing method that will bill the owner districts twice a month to help ensure that payroll and other occasional large payment requirements can be met at the start of each month. See www.ocn.me/v17n4.htm#tlwfjuc.
At the April meeting, recording secretary Susanne Wielgopolan voiced a concern about how the wording of the March motion mentioned that those invoices would be divided. It referred only to dividing the costs by flow/BOD. But in fact, some expenditures are divided by equal one-third shares and others are divided by the flow/BOD percentages for each district.
After a discussion, the JUC approved an amendment to the motion to remove the specific reference to flow/BOD and just say that TLWWTF would invoice each of the three districts based on estimated monthly amounts by the third day of each month, and then a second invoice would be sent to each district based on actual amounts after approved by the JUC each month.
Still no briefing from town on radium or water reuse plans
Wicklund said that as the JUC had advised him, to do on March 14, he had called Monument Public Works Director Tom Tharnish to invite him to brief the Monument Sanitation District board about the town’s plans to deal with radionuclides in certain drinking water wells within the Monument Public Works drinking water service area and to talk about its potential water reuse plant. The water used by town residents and businesses enters MSD’s collection system as influent and is treated at TLWWTF and discharged into Monument Creek as treated effluent or else ends up in the TLWWTF sludge lagoon.
Wicklund said Tharnish seemed open to the idea of doing a briefing but did not finalize a plan with him.
Note: The radium and water reuse questions first surfaced in the town last summer, and Wicklund has been asking since then how the wastewater treatment facility would be involved or affected by both issues. See www.ocn.me/v16n9.htm#water, www.ocn.me/v16n9.htm#mbot0801, www.ocn.me/v16n11.htm#tlwwjuf , www.ocn.me/v17n4.htm#tlwfjuc.
On March 20, MSD board President Delaney sent a letter to Town of Monument trustees, Tharnish, and Town Manager Chris Lowe stating in part, "The board requests that (Tharnish and Lowe) give a briefing to discuss the town’s ideas, plans, financing, and timelines regarding these two issues at our next meeting at April 19, 2017, at 9:00 a.m."
Delaney’s letter said, "We believe it is our duty to tackle these two problems in cooperation with the town. It would be irresponsible to not help the town resolve these critical water quality and quantity issues." He added, "Designs of water and wastewater distribution, collection, and treatment facilities are very costly. These designs must include consideration of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) treatment regulations regarding wastewater discharge limits, discharge locations, biosolids disposal, and nutrient monitoring for lakes, streams, and reservoirs. The designs must also include approval from the district. Monument Sanitation District is the right agency to help the town in solving these water issues. We look forward to meeting with Tom and Chris."
On April 4, Lowe replied with a letter saying, "I am in receipt of a missive from you and your board demanding my and Tom Tharnish’s appearance at a meeting on April 19 at 9 a.m. I understand that you would like a ‘briefing’ because of ‘problems with the Town of Monument’s water quality.’"
Lowe went on to say that he disagreed with MSD’s mistaken premise and that the town "has an excellent record with respect to meeting safe drinking water standards.… I can assure you we are working closely and cooperatively with the State of Colorado to fulfill all of our responsibilities in this matter." Lowe concluded, "neither I, nor anyone else representing the town, plan to honor the demand to attend your April 19 meeting."
However, Lowe did propose that if MSD had "a professional staff that you would like to have meet with myself, Tom, or our other experts, I would certainly agree and … be happy to host that meeting to begin dialogue with respect to the issues you outlined in your letter." He continued, "You are welcome to call and schedule a meeting time" to discuss any concerns "with respect to our shared duties to the public." He added, "… we always welcome collegial and respectful dialogue."
Lowe’s letter stated that CDPHE had issued an approval letter for the piping redesign to facilitate the dilution plan designed by its engineers to deal with the radium issue.
Note: Since the end of August, many options to deal with the radium have been mentioned at Monument Board of Trustees meetings, including dilution/blending, hydrous manganese oxide (HMO) filtration, and an adsorptive resin process, but it has never been officially announced at a Monument Board of Trustees meeting which option was finally chosen by the staff or what had been approved by federal regulators as well as the state. Strom has suggested at several previous meetings that Monument Sanitation District take the lead in investigating what constituents the town is planning to discharge to MSD pipes for further treatment at TLWWTF. See www.ocn.me/v16n11.htm#mbot1017, www.ocn.me/v16n12.htm#tlfjuc1108, www.ocn.me/v17n1.htm#tlwtfjuc, www.ocn.me/v17n4.htm#mbot.
Wicklund distributed copies of the two letters at the April 11 meeting and thanked Strom for his suggestion. Strom said he wished the town was being more responsive and would talk to MSD. Smith asked, "Does that mean (the town doesn’t) feel like they are going to impact the wastewater treatment plant at all?"
Wicklund said he did not know if town staff or engineers were aware of the variety of potential problems associated with the wastewater treatment plant permit and the extent of how complicated current and future streams and reservoirs’ water quality regulations are as proposed by the state Water Quality Control Division (WQCD). As an example of the looming unknowns, he read part of a draft responsive prehearing statement from the facility’s environmental attorney Gabe Racz that will be submitted on behalf of TLWWTF to the state Water Quality Control Commission (WQCC) for a June rulemaking hearing about concerns on proposed temperature, chloride, or sulfate standards.
Wicklund said that if the town is really considering doing indirect potable reuse and wanting to pump TLWWTF effluent to a new discharge point in Crystal Creek upstream of Monument Lake, another potential problem was that the chemical treatment used by TLWWTF to remove phosphorus, as required by its discharge permit, could cause secondary odor and taste problems in a direct use water supply, which is regulated by Colorado Reg. 31, the Basic Standards and Methodologies for Surface Water.
Currently, this is not a problem since TLWWTF is so far upstream from the closest drinking water reservoir, Pikeview Reservoir, which is on Monument Creek at Garden of the Gods Road. However, the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility (UMCRWWTF), which serves Donala, Triview, Forest Lakes, and soon Academy Water and Sanitation District, is already impacted. UMCRWWTF has always had to meet stricter instream water quality discharge regulations than TLWWTF due to its closer proximity to Pikeview Reservoir as the first wastewater discharger upstream of Pikeview on Monument Creek, said Jim Kendrick, MSD’s environmental compliance coordinator.
Kendrick said WWSD’s current intake point on Monument Creek at Arnold Avenue, downstream of Monument Lake, follows "rivers and streams" categorization. But he said that WQCD engineer Bret Icenogle was emphatic at the WQCC meeting on April 10 that if TLWWTF added a discharge point upstream from Monument Lake, the lake’s classification as a headwaters lake would be lost and it would then be treated the same as any other "reservoir or lake" downstream of a wastewater treatment plant discharge point, with profoundly stricter regulations. This would also mean that more restrictive state regulations would apply to TLWWTF effluent, which is discharged solely downstream of Monument Lake now, than currently apply to TLWWTF. "If we allow a discharge point into Crystal Creek from this facility, it will be a self-inflicted wound," Kendrick said.
These issues would be in addition to the separate qualms about side-effects of nutrients in drinking water reservoirs that Wicklund expressed in March. See www.ocn.me/v17n4.htm#tlwfjuc.
"Without planning and working together, I am afraid what is going to happen is the town is going to put a lot of money into design and possibly even construction and then come to find out we are not going to allow discharge from this facility up to Crystal Creek for these very reasons," Wicklund said.
The JUC did not discuss the next action to take. However, Wicklund said the letter from Lowe would be discussed at the MSD board meeting on April 19.
Stakeholder meeting updates
Burks reviewed the events at the April 4 Arkansas River/Fountain Creek Coalition for Urban/Rural River Evaluation (AF CURE) meeting. The members elected Mark Shea of Colorado Springs Utilities as chairman, and Kendrick and Andra Ahrens of the City of Pueblo as vice chairs, for the extensively revised organizational model for the stakeholder group. Engineering consultant Brown and Caldwell will remain the executive director of AF CURE operations, but AF CURE will now have an organizational structure parallel to that of the "parent" Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority (PPRWA).
Kendrick reported key results from the March 20 Water Quality Forum and the April 10 WQCC meetings, including:
The meeting adjourned 11:27 a.m.
Note: The May 1 Monument Board of Trustees agenda was scheduled to include two items that could be of interest to TLWWTF. One was a proposed resolution awarding a contract to Velocity Plant Services for the Well 9 treatment modifications project. The memo from Monument Public Works Director Tom Tharnish indicated that the town has chosen dilution as the method it will use to treat radium in one of its wells.
Also, Trustee Greg Coopman requested a discussion of an OCN article, "Tri-¬Lakes Wastewater Facility Joint Use Committee, March 14: Still working toward relationship with town of Monument."
See the June 3 issue of OCN for results of these two scheduled agenda items.
The next meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. May 9 at the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility, 16510 Mitchell Ave. Meetings are normally held on the second Tuesday of the month and are open to the public. For information, call Bill Burks at 719-481-4053.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District, April 6: Board considers transfer of taps to Dunes at Woodmoor
By James Howald
The Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD) board met on April 6 to discuss the transfer of water taps from The Cove to new residences being built at The Dunes at Woodmoor, to discuss a change to their strategy for investing district reserve funds, and to hear operational reports.
To accommodate the schedules of board members, the meeting on April 6 was held a week ahead of the usual date for the district’s meetings, which are typically held on the second Thursday of each month.
Board takes up transfer of taps to new development
District Manager Jessie Shaffer asked the board for guidance concerning a request to transfer 39 taps that were originally purchased for use at The Cove, a multi-family complex adjacent to Woodmoor Lake, to residences currently under construction at a new development, The Dunes at Woodmoor, located on the east side of Woodmoor Drive. A tap is a connection between one or more buildings and the water service for the area.
Shaffer told the board that it would have to explicitly approve the transfer of the taps. The taps were originally purchased for use with multi-family residences, which typically use 25 percent less water than single-family residences, Shaffer said. The owner of the taps, La Plata Communities, wants to transfer the taps to single-family residences at The Dunes at Woodmoor.
Shaffer pointed out that transfers could be approved only in cases where the current owner of the taps owned the properties the taps were originally purchased for as well as the properties to receive the taps at the same time.
The request raised some legal issues that required discussion in executive session, and the board took no action on the request at the meeting.
Board changes strategy on investment of reserve funds
Shaffer told the board that a portion of the district’s reserve funds had been invested through Integrity Bank and Trust in a program called the Certificate of Deposit Account Registry (CDARS). CDARS had performed well in the past, but it is time to consider changing the underlying investments to get a higher return, Shaffer said.
Shaffer mentioned he had met with Jason Akridge of Integrity Wealth and discussed moving the district’s funds to U.S. Treasury bonds and other double-A rated bonds. Changing the investments would require the district to pay a management fee of 15 basis points on the district’s $10 million investment, Shaffer said, whereas previously there was no fee. The fee is standard or low, Shaffer said, and he asked the board to approve the monthly fee before proceeding with the new strategy. The new strategy would pay the district a higher rate of return, even after the new fee is paid, Shaffer said.
Director Jim Wyss recused himself from the decision to change the investment strategy. The board voted unanimously to authorize Shaffer to proceed.
Operational report highlights
The next meeting is scheduled for May 10 at 1 p.m. Meetings are usually held at the district office at 1845 Woodmoor Drive on the second Thursday of each month at 1 p.m. See www.woodmoorwater.com or call 488-2525 to verify meeting times.
James Howald can be reached at email@example.com.
By Jason Gross
At the public meeting held by Triview Metropolitan District on April 11, the board discussed road maintenance needs and reviewed options by Terracon Consultants Inc. on the best way ahead to improve road conditions within budget limitations. Other discussions included implementation of an emergency communication option on the district’s website, water restrictions to go into effect soon, and the purchase of a "Weather Wire" subscription that may help save plowing expenses by increasing local weather prediction accuracy.
President Reid Bolander was absent.
Triview is a Title 32 special district within the town of Monument that provides roads and open space maintenance, water, and sanitation services to the residents of Jackson Creek, Promontory Pointe, and Sanctuary Pointe.
Terracon makes recommendations
In 2016, Triview hired Terracon Consultants to advise the district on the best options to maintain district roads. In October 2016, it presented a "network level study" that consisted of a random analysis of 20 percent of the district’s roads to get a rough idea of the general condition and likely maintenance needs. See the October 2016 OCN article at www.ocn.me/v16n10.htm#tvmd for additional details.
During the April 11 board meeting, Terracon consultants Robert Hernandez and Ryan Feist presented the results of a full review of district’s most vulnerable roads and two road maintenance and repair options for the board to consider. The consultants indicated about $1.5 million in maintenance and repair efforts were required. Both maintenance options took into account Triview’s $830,000 road repair budget for 2017 and noted what roads were the best candidates for immediate repair and which could be delayed until 2018.
Terracon recommended prioritizing preventive maintenance, such as filling potholes and cracks, and extending the life of the high traffic and moderately damaged roads with "global surface treatments." The consultants explained roads need to be maintained with a surface treatment (various types of tar and aggregate) every three to five years to preserve the rough texture providing road friction and to seal them against water damage. If left untouched for 20 years, due to ultra-violet (UV) radiation degrading the road tar and years of use, the aggregate surface becomes polished and slippery. This maintenance is less costly in the long run as well, because properly maintaining roads and extending their life is less expensive than having to completely replace (mill and overlay) neglected pavement that has failed, they said.
Much of the discussion focused on the west end of Lyon’s Tail Road due to the ongoing construction of the Jackson Creek Townhomes development. Board members were concerned that if repairs and surface treatments were done too soon, road damage from construction traffic would waste the effort. Similarly, Creekside Drive near Bear Creek Elementary School was highlighted as a road very much in need of repairs, but the board wanted to ensure any repair work was planned around the school schedule and potential construction traffic if a new school is built next to Bear Creek Elementary.
The Terracon consultants also discussed the need to repair some of the concrete "pans" at road junctions. The board concluded that Terracon and District Manager Valerie Remington should finalize the options based on board recommendations and that Terracon could start working on preliminary design and bid packages for board approval.
Other items discussed included:
Remington mentioned an emergency email signup list that has been set up on the Triview website. Residents can sign up for emergency notifications from the district. Also, Policy Level 2 water restrictions were set to go into effect on May 1. Residents will see a notification on their water bill, but for clarity on what policy is in effect residents should check the Triview website.
Remington informed the board she has signed up for "Weather Wire," a subscription weather service that provides a more accurate weather prediction for the Palmer Divide. It consists of 24/7 weather analysis with hourly updates and the ability to call a meteorologist directly about current conditions in the Monument area. Water Superintendent Josh Cichocki said the subscription has already paid for itself by saving unnecessary overtime, fuel, and expenses in plowing operations.
The meeting adjourned at 7:26 p.m. with the board going into executive session to confer with the district’s attorney on legal questions. Remington said the board did not make any announcements or take any votes after the executive session.
The next Triview meeting will be held on May 9 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/triview-metro.
Jason Gross can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donala Water and Sanitation District, April 20: Laughlin Ditch renewable surface water right purchase approved
By Jim Kendrick
On April 20, District General Manager Kip Petersen’s recommendation that the Donala Water and Sanitation District board finalize the purchase the Laughlin Ditch water right for 324 acre-feet per year of Fountain Creek renewable surface water was unanimously approved. This purchase increases Donala’s surface water right portfolio up to roughly 70 percent of Donala’s potable water demand at build-out.
Petersen also reported that the preliminary project concept cost for additional treatment equipment for removing groundwater arsenic from Donala and Triview Metropolitan District by the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility (UMCRWWTF) would be about $2.1 million that would be paid for by Donala and Triview.
At the start of the meeting, Petersen introduced Christina Hawker, the district’s new staff accountant.
Water right purchased
The Laughlin Ditch renewable surface water contract provides that the seller, the Gray Family Management Trust, will carry the purchase note at 4 percent per year for five years with annual payments of $200,000, paid quarterly. A down payment of $380,000 is due at closing, for a beginning loan balance of $3.42 million. The contract’s final balloon payment is $3.093 million due on or before the 21st quarterly payment date.
This renewable surface water could be reused to extinction, adding another potential 162 acre-feet of annual use, 486 acre-feet in all. The trust also offered to provide seller financing for Donala’s purchase. The Laughlin Ditch is located near Colorado Springs Utilities’ Las Vegas Wastewater Treatment Facility by the U.S. Highway 24 exit on I-25. (www.ocn.me/v16n11.htm#dwsd)
Petersen stated that after closing this purchase, Donala’s water attorney Rick Fendel would then go to Colorado Division 2 water court to request a change of place and a change of use for all for all of Donala’s possible uses for this water right. This court process is currently estimated to take 12 to 18 months to complete.
Petersen advised the board that he was working on the final draft of a letter of intent to send to the City of Fountain, which would indicate Donala’s intent to store this Laughlin Ditch water in Fountain’s future gravel pit storage project off Fountain Creek. After another 36 months to complete Fountain’s gravel pit storage construction, an exchange agreement could be arranged for Fountain to store this water in the new Fountain water storage area. Fountain could then exchange a like amount to Donala from Fountain’s existing water storage right in the Pueblo Reservoir. In turn, Donala would have Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) transport this exchanged Fountain reservoir water north by CSU’s Southern Delivery System (SDS) pipeline to a CSU potable water treatment plant. CSU would then transport this treated potable water through another CSU water main to the CSU-Donala interconnect at Struthers and Northgate Roads for direct distribution to Donala customers.
This is the same method currently used by Donala to have CSU transport Donala’s stored Willow Creek Ranch renewable surface water from the Pueblo Reservoir for CSU treatment and subsequent CSU transport to the CSU-Donala interconnection for distribution to Donala customers.
All the water court actions and the storage, transport, and treatment agreements have to be completed before this new water can be distributed to Donala’s customers. In the interim, Donala will lease its new exchanged Laughlin Ditch stored water in the Pueblo Reservoir to the Arkansas Groundwater Users Association.
Petersen noted that at the March 16 Donala board meeting, Director Ed Houle had stated it is rare to be able to obtain a renewable surface water right and arrange for storage and conveyance all at the same time.
Arsenic control memorandum
Petersen briefed the board on the UMCRWWTF Effluent Arsenic Control Preliminary Design Concept Memorandum prepared by professional engineer consultant Roger Sams of GMS Inc. This memorandum was prepared for the UMCRWWTF Operations Committee and the three owner districts: Donala, Triview Metro District, and Forest Lakes Metro District. It contained a suggested process for the control of arsenic in the effluent discharged from UMCRWWTF to upper Monument Creek. The preliminary design will be further refined before GMS prepares a Site Location Amendment for this project to the state Water Quality Control Division for review and approval.
The current very small levels of arsenic in Donala’s and Triview’s groundwater are well below all applicable state and federal standards for both groundwater and wastewater and have never been a problem in drinking water delivered to residents. These low amounts of arsenic are already being trapped in the groundwater filters that are designed to remove iron and manganese. This existing groundwater filtering leads to relatively higher concentrations but still minute amounts of arsenic in the backwash water that periodically cleans these groundwater filters. This backwash water with filter-heightened arsenic concentrations then enters the Donala and Triview wastewater collection systems during backwash surges for transport to UMCRWWTF for further treatment from time to time during these intermittent backwash treatment cycles.
After extensive sampling and testing of arsenic levels throughout both district water distribution systems and sanitary sewer wastewater collection systems, the optimum design would remove additional amounts of arsenic from UMCRWWTF effluent, with centralized equipment and centralized automatic process control, rather than dispersed treatment of raw water at the individual groundwater treatment plants.
The proposed GMS engineering design must be able to remove sufficient amounts of arsenic at a relatively high rate for short intervals intermittently during groundwater treatment plant filter backwash flushing flow surges to meet recently imposed stark regulatory decreases to sharply lower arsenic discharge concentrations than ever imposed before. These much lower arsenic levels in the treated effluent discharged to Monument Creek are further diluted by the creek’s normal existing stream flows by the time these two combined flows reach the end of the UMCRWWTF mixing zone.
Petersen discussed a meeting regarding another long-considered potential reservoir storage option: the joint purchase of the 100-acre Homeplace Ranch site by Donala, the Town of Monument, Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District, and Triview Metropolitan District for creation of a reservoir. Gary Barber and Kevin Butcher, representatives for the Homeplace Ranch trustee, had advised these four water entities that Challenger Homes was set to close on purchase of the ranch around May 1. These two representatives had asked the four water entities to formally express their interest in purchasing the property prior to the two representatives writing a contract with Challenger.
Petersen said the representatives for the four entities agreed to have their boards make a decision at their regular April board meetings. The Triview board met on April 11 and decided not to participate in this option. He added that the Monument and Woodmoor boards won’t be discussing this option until their regular May board meetings.
Petersen asked the Donala board to consider joining Monument and Woodmoor in purchasing the entire Homeplace Ranch parcel, and then selling the unused ranch land after the reservoir is constructed. The 100-acre parcel would cost $5.8 million and the reservoir construction would cost an estimated $17 million to $23 million. He noted that previous Donala boards had determined this was too large a project for Donala to initiate without cost-sharing partners.
After a discussion of all factors, the Donala board chose not to participate in the proposed joint purchase of the Home Place Ranch parcel.
Petersen noted that he would be participating in the joint Arkansas Basin Roundtable and Arkansas River Forum meetings in the last week of April. He reviewed the current status of some bills under review by the state Legislature. He said he might have the Forsgren Associates engineering firm brief the Donala board on a state infrastructure study during the regular May 18 board meeting.
Petersen reported that he had again presented a briefing on reuse and emergency water interconnection risks and reward to the Monument Board of Trustees on April 3. See the April 3 BOT article on page 8.
Petersen also reported that 28 Donala residents attended the district-sponsored Water Returns Spring Landscape Seminar Workshop held on April 12. The fall 2017 seminar will be held in Antelope Trails Elementary School due to the growing number of attendees.
Operations and projects
Donala’s groundwater treatment facilities have been only in nominal production for several months for annual deep cleaning, leading to noticeable well pumping electrical utility savings. A tri-annual state Health Department sanitary survey inspection of cleanliness, security, operations, and paperwork is scheduled for the end of May. The Holbein water treatment plant was to be started up again the week of April 24.
The district has been distributing surface water solely from its storage in the Pueblo Reservoir, for several months to make room for storage of heavier than average snowmelt from its Willow Creek Ranch south of Leadville. The district’s snowmelt storage window starts May 1 each year. On April 14, Donala had only 32 acre-feet of renewable surface water remaining in the Pueblo Reservoir, but with its junior water rights, it makes sense to use that water as soon as it can in the season. Donala leases 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 will undertake a major $775,000 water main replacement in the area of Doral Way of 3,250 feet of 8-inch pipes that are about 50 years old. The construction will go out for bids in late April. Residents will receive notices from Donala, and the district will hold an open house before this construction begins by June. (ocn.me/v17n4.htm#dwsd)
The continued April El Paso County Planning Commission hearing on a site plan and plat for the proposed conversion of some abandoned Gleneagle golf course property to 56 residential lots was continued again to May 2, due to lack of a quorum who had heard all the previous testimony at the previous hearings.
For more information, see the El Paso County Planning Commission article on page 23, www.ocn.me/v17n4.htm#epcpc, http://adm.elpasoco.com/Development%20Services/Pages/PlanningCommission2017.aspx, and a detailed article in the June 3 issue of OCN that should also include Planning Commission information about the proposed Academy Gateway development on the northwest corner of Northgate and Struthers Roads.
The meeting adjourned at 2:58 p.m.
The next board meeting will be held at 1:30 p.m. on May 18 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, a licensed wastewater operator, can be reached at email@example.com.
D-38 District Accountability Advisory Committee, April 10: Committee reviews unified improvement plans
By Harriet Halbig
The Lewis-Palmer D-38 District Accountability Advisory Committee (DAAC) reviewed the unified improvement plans (UIPs) for each school and the district at its April 10 meeting. The meeting had been postponed due to a snow day on April 4.
Unified improvement plans
Part of the charge of the DAAC is to review the UIPs of the individual schools and the district before they are submitted to the Colorado Department of Education in mid-April.
At this meeting, membership of the committee divided into groups to hear detailed information from each school regarding its strengths, weaknesses, and plans to meet goals. The groups then reconvened to hear a brief summary of each UIP.
To view detailed information, please go to http://www.cde.state.co.us/schoolview/performance. Select the district (they are listed alphabetically) and then the school.
Common trends were that students with disabilities were underperforming in language arts and math. Some proposed actions included offering additional professional development for teachers to allow them to differentiate instruction in the classroom so that students are not pulled out for individual help. Teachers were also to share best practices and improve communication between special education and general education teachers. A third solution was to use instructional coaches.
At Lewis-Palmer High School, customized study halls are used to offer additional instruction in reading and math, and some math courses are divided into shorter periods daily. After-school tutoring sessions are also offered.
A common thread between the schools is a relative lack of participation in standardized testing. Although the district’s accreditation does not suffer from this, it makes it more difficult for administrators and teachers to compare year-to-year progress when a small percentage of students participate. The tests themselves have changed over the past few years, making comparison difficult.
The district UIP referred to the fact that students with disabilities are not growing fast enough to close the achievement gap in language arts, math, and reading. Increased professional development and use of intervention and progress monitoring were listed as solutions. Teachers will receive training in the use of Skills Navigator and data interpretation. Skills Navigator helps teachers interpret the use of Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) tests. During this time when state tests have varied from one year to the next, NWEA has offered consistent data.
Teachers will also receive additional training during the Summer Learning Academy and delayed start meetings.
This year for the first time, there was an addendum to the UIP that evaluates the Gifted Education Program in the district. It was stated that gifted students meet or exceed state requirements and that gifted students perform well above their non-identified peers.
Board liaison John Magerko showed a video describing the impact of the Gallagher Amendment (which controls the assessment rate for taxation of business versus residential property) and TABOR (the Taxpayers Bill of Rights) on school funding.
Because the Gallagher Amendment requires that 55 percent of tax revenues come from commercial property and 45 percent from residential, the state is not benefiting from the upsurge in real estate activity. Instead, the assessed rate on homes must be decreased.
Magerko also commented on the series of long-range planning meetings held in the district and encouraged members to attend these to learn of trends in development and the state of facilities.
2017-18 budget approved
DAAC is required to review budget proposals before their presentation to the Board of Education. Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Wangeman offered a presentation on the history and status of school funding in the state.
Wangeman said that projections estimate the increase in revenues due to inflation at about $190 per student, offset by a reduction in property taxes. The district is fortunate in that it anticipates an increase in enrollment of about 190 students. Current per-pupil revenue is about $7,051, and that is expected to remain the same for next year. The increased enrollment will increase revenues by about $1.34 million.
Increased expenditures will arise from higher payments for PERA, insurance, and new teachers to serve the increased number of students.
Wangeman added that the district also will need new bus routes to serve the new students, and continued updating in technology.
Capital needs include flooring at Lewis-Palmer Middle School and Lewis-Palmer Elementary School, and windows and doors at the middle school, Lewis-Palmer Elementary and Kilmer Elementary. The turf at the district stadium needs replacement, and maintenance of dampers, bathrooms, HVAC controls, roof maintenance, and buses is also needed. Door locks at several schools are not up to fire codes.
The committee approved the budget for submission to the board.
The District Accountability Advisory Committee for Lewis-Palmer District 38 meets five times per year. Locations vary. This was the final meeting of the 2016-17 school year.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jackie Burhans
The Monument Academy (MA) School Board met on April 13 to hear about the Unified Improvement Plan (UIP), to get updated on the progress of bringing the new principal on board, and to vote on the budget. Board member Scott Saunders was absent and Julie Galusky was late due to traffic. Because the board did not have a quorum until Galusky arrived, members decided to cover other matters on the agenda and wait until she arrived to take any votes.
Unified Improvement Plan
According to outgoing Principal Lis Richard, the UIP was presented to the District Accountability Committee and is available on the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) website at http://bit.ly/ma-uip-1516. The report online at CDE is based on the state PARCC test; only about 30 percent of MA students take the test. Richard noted that MA builds its own report based on NWEA testing, which has a higher participation rate. MA did get noted for "low participation" along with other D38 schools that did not have 95 percent of the students participating.
In the UIP, MA identified that its top performance challenge is that the number of proficient and advanced students in reading in 2015 in all grades showed a drop in proficiency, with grade six being most significant. The root cause is that middle school students don’t meet local expectations for reading because there is not a continuum of reading curriculum that consistently focuses the students on reading comprehension to enable them to prepare for high school. MA’s improvement strategy includes getting a concentrated cross-curricular effort by teachers to focus on comprehension skills, providing training to teachers focusing on developing these skills in middle school students, and purchasing a reading curriculum for lower-performing readers to target the intervention for those who are struggling.
The next identified performance challenge showed a continued decrease in the percentage of fifth-grade students testing greater than the 50th percentile of the national average in math. In reviewing enrollment, MA noted a significant influx in fifth-graders over the past five years. New students come in at fifth grade, not knowing the curriculum of basic math. MA will implement a review program for new students coming into the school to introduce them to the Saxon Math program, review basic math facts, and take a placement test.
New principal transition
Outgoing Principal Lis Richard reported that newly hired Principal Elizabeth Davis is spending time in the office, and that is going well. They are spending time doing a transfer of knowledge; Richard will start to phase away and let Davis take the reins, and Richard feels the school has made a good decision. Board member Dunston said he hoped that Davis will be able to see how Richard handles some of the special events. Davis comes to Monument Academy from a charter school in Castle Rock.
Once board member Galusky arrived, the MA board quickly approved the 2017-18 budget in time for the April 15 deadline to submit it to the district. Treasurer Patrick Hall reported that the budget shows a net income of $80,286 and will be trued up on Oct. 1 when the per pupil revenue count is available. Revenue is based on a preliminary per pupil funding for 919 students. There were no questions or comments ahead of the unanimous vote to approve the budget.
The next meeting will be on Thursday, May 18 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, committee and finances can be found at http://www.monumentacademy.net/school-board.
Jackie Burhans can be reached at email@example.com.
Lewis-Palmer D-38 Board of Education, April 18: Board approves second resource officer and two policies
By Harriet Halbig
The Lewis-Palmer D-38 Board of Education discussed and approved the addition of a second School Resource Officer (SRO) and approved policies at its April 18 meeting.
School Resource Officer added
Chief of Safety and Security Dennis Coates told the board that adding a second SRO to the district would allow more thorough coverage before and after school hours and coverage if one of the officers should be called away on Sheriff’s Office business during school hours.
Coates said that the SRO, while a law officer, also is involved with law counseling, law education, serving as a role model, and acting as a community liaison. He also is involved in traffic control around the schools, and the additional officer would allow a presence in the middle and elementary schools as well as the high schools. The current SRO is Todd Ronk. As community liaison, the SRO is often contacted by parents requesting that the SRO speak to their children, he said. Coates said that an additional SRO would allow overlapping shifts. Although the first SRO is provided without cost to the district, the second will be salaried.
The addition of a second SRO was approved as part of the Consent Agenda.
Confidential information policy approved
The board discussed policy JRCB regarding confidential information at the policy’s second reading. Director Sarah Sampayo expressed concern over protection of medical information and suggested adding language that on-demand providers of services would be held to the same standards as contract providers regarding confidentiality.
Superintendent Karen Brofft said that some parents disclose psychological information to the district to ensure appropriate support services for students. She assured Sampayo that the district protects all medical data.
Director of Personnel and Student Services Bob Foster said that, even if such information is subpoenaed by a court, parents could act to quash the subpoena.
Sampayo made a motion to amend the policy to require that on-demand providers be held to the same standards at contract providers. The motion was not seconded.
The policy was approved 4-1 with Sampayo voting no.
The board approved the second reading of policy ADF regarding school wellness. The policy requires schools to offer nutrition education, supply nutritious meals, and offer daily opportunities for physical activity, to be overseen by a Wellness Committee.
Lewis-Palmer High School Principal Sandi Brandl and Assistant Principal Dawn Klein spoke of the Emergenetics program, which analyzes personality traits to promote better interaction between teachers and administrators. They explained that individuals approach problems with various styles, and knowledge of this fact enables individuals to interact more effectively.
Klein said the program also can improve a teacher’s ability to deal with various learning styles among students and enable them to adjust their teaching approach accordingly. It also is useful in mentoring new teachers.
The questionnaire upon which the program is based was originated in the 1980s. This tool is in use by many corporations as well.
Take Charge presentation
Tom Pulford, physical education teacher and football coach at Palmer Ridge High School, spoke of Take Charge, an upcoming program addressing mental health among students.
Due to the recent upsurge in teen suicides and depression, he saw the need to offer a program to the community to address these issues. He said his high school football coach noticed that he needed help and hopes to pass on the advantage of seeking help for mental issues.
The program also addresses the influence of social media among today’s teens.
The program will include input from such groups as Path 2 Empathy, the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, the El Pomar Foundation, and the Positive Coaching Alliance and will include time for discussion as well as formal presentations. The target audience is sixth grade and up.
Brofft reported that the Air Academy Credit Union would award scholarships to winners of this year’s art contest on Monday, April 24.
She said that progress on seeking the charter school waiver continues, with the District Accountability Advisory Committee approving it the previous week. There will be three public hearings on the subject with a board resolution in August. The board voted Jan. 19 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.
Brofft announced that there is curriculum review underway for Algebra 1, Geometry, Trigonometry, and Pre-calculus and encouraged the public to review the materials.
She then announced that Principal Brandl is leaving the district and outlined the procedure for finding her replacement, with the selection expected to be approved at the board’s May meeting. The position closed on April 21.
Home School Enrichment Academy
Chuck Stovall, the new administrator of the Home School Enrichment Academy, reported on the school, which offers instruction on Thursdays to students in grades K-8. Subjects include physical education, music, art, drama, science, world cultures, journalism, and social studies.
The academy includes students from in and outside of the district, features licensed teachers, and is funded through the state.
Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Wangeman informed the board of preliminary district budget information.
Matt Dunston praised the board for its work and for instituting the long-range planning process. As a parent of students in Monument Academy, he found that many questions at the planning meeting involved that school.
Terry Miller said that he contacted Sampayo after the previous meeting to thank her for her response to previous comments and said that teachers and administrators must learn to work together.
Tommy Summers praised the district for its care of children, saying that his children were abused at their former district in Missouri. He said he is grateful that the teachers and other staff here care for children.
Melinda Zark commented that the use of Emergenetics is fine for staff, but that teachers are doing fine in engaging with students. She also wishes to see increased efforts to recoup the expense of the geothermal system at Palmer Ridge and feels the district is not being aggressive enough with the original engineers.
Board President Sherri Hawking announced an executive session to discuss compensation, but Sampayo objected on the grounds that this subject does not require an executive session under state statute. She suggested that the subject instead be discussed at the next board work session. No executive session was held.
The meeting was adjourned at 9 p.m.
The Lewis-Palmer D-38 Board of Education meets at 6 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month at the district’s Learning Center, 146 Jefferson St., Monument. The next meeting will be on May 18.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
El Paso County Planning Commission, May 2: Gleneagle Golf Course residential infill project and Academy Gateway applications approved
By Helen Walklett
At its May 2 meeting, The El Paso County Planning Commission approved requests relating to the golf course land in Gleneagle and to the Academy Gateway development on the northwest corner of Struthers Road and North Gate Boulevard.
Gleneagle Golf Course development
After detailed discussion regarding ongoing drainage issues, the commission approved 6-1 (Commissioner Kevin Curry voted against) a preliminary plan and final plat approval requests relating to the development of the golf course land in Gleneagle. The applicant, Westbrook Capital Holdings LLC, is applying to build 56 single-family homes on a 28-acre portion of the former golf course land.
The applicant had requested two waivers. The first was a waiver of the county requirement for a maximum of 25 lots on a dead-end roadway, the Mission Hill Way cul-de-sac. This request would add 22 more single-family-home lots, only accessible via Mission Hill Way, which already serves two townhome developments and multiple single-family lots. The second request was for a waiver of the county requirement that the water supply be sufficient for 300 years to allow the state’s 100-year water supply requirement to apply to these 56 lots.
Note: Only the state 100-year water supply requirement applied when the existing development, plats/zoning/site plans were originally approved. However, the state’s previously applicable 100-year rule is not automatically "grandfathered" since this request is for a new land use that has a much higher water demand.
Both waivers were approved.
The commission first considered the application at its March 21 meeting, but after three hours of discussion it voted to continue the items to its April 18 meeting to allow time for the applicant to secure missing drainage easements and for county staff to approve the preliminary and final drainage and erosion control plan and reports. See www.ocn.me/v17n4.htm#epcpc.
At the commission’s April 18 meeting, it was initially thought that there was a quorum of commissioners present who had heard the earlier testimony but it was quickly realized that this was not the case. The items were therefore continued to the May 2 meeting.
Discussion at the May 2 meeting concerned unresolved drainage issues. In summing up the situation, Craig Dossey, executive director, county Planning and Community Development Department, stated that the developer and the county "are at a total impasse" regarding the unresolved drainage situation. He said a policy decision now needed to be taken on these technical issues and that this could only be done by the Board of County Commissioners.
The commissioners unanimously approved a preliminary plan and final plat approval requests for Academy Gateway, the proposed commercial development on an 18-acre parcel of land at the northwest corner of Struthers Road and North Gate Boulevard. The developer, James Barash, is one of the original developers of Gleneagle.
The preliminary plan includes 11 commercial lots and one tract that would be used as a private loop road serving the development. The applicant requested three waivers to allow for the construction of a private road instead of a public road, to modify the design standards for a private road and to allow a water sufficiency finding for a 100-year water supply instead of a 300-year water supply. All three waivers were approved.
The final plat request was for three commercial lots, two future development tracts, and one tract to be used for a private road serving the development.
The El Paso County Department of Public Works and its consultant are in the process of a preliminary design for a roundabout at the Struthers Road and Gleneagle Drive intersection. The final decision to construct a roundabout, rather than install a traffic light, is the county’s to make. The roundabout has proved controversial. See www.ocn.me/v17n3.htm#roundabout.
Both the Gleaneagle Golf Course and Academy Gateway applications will now be heard at a meeting of the Board of County Commissioners.
Helen Walklett can be reached at email@example.com.
The following information was compiled from the monthly El Paso County Sheriff’s Office (EPSO) Neighborhood News. OCN’s report covers only EPSO District 1 (see map at right) and does not include criminal activity from the Town of Monument, the Town of Palmer Lake, or Colorado Springs addresses:
Burglary: 16000 block Red Fox Ln., 18100 block Augusta Dr., 19500 block Fox Trail Way (attempted), 17200 block Colonial Park Dr.
Criminal Trespass Auto: 15100 block Chelmsford St, 900 block Burning Bush Pt.
Criminal Mischief: 19300 Draco Dr., County Line Rd/Indi Dr., 13800 block Gleneagle Dr., 18200 block Will O The Wisp Wy.
Theft: 20200 block Hunting Downs Wy., 1800 block Woodmoor Dr., 500 block Heatherdowns, 18500 block Knollwood Blvd.
Motor Vehicle Theft: 15200 block Chelmsford St.
Caption: The light blue area is County Sheriff’s District 1. It excludes the towns of Palmer Lake and Monument.
Coffee With a Cop (El Paso County Sheriff)
Meet your neighbors and El Paso Sheriff Office deputies for coffee and conversation! No agenda or speeches, just a chance to ask questions, voice concerns, and get to know the deputies in your neighborhood.
To subscribe to monthly email for El Paso County Sheriff’s Office Neighborhood News, contact Crime Prevention Coordinator Merody Broom, 719-520-7151 or MerodyBroom@elpasoco.com.
Also see the notice on page 28 and the WIA article.
By Bill Kappel
April started and ended cold and snowy, with plenty of dry and mild weather in between. The active weather during the month brought much-needed moisture during one of the most important times of the year as we begin our growing season. Temperatures were slightly warmer than normal overall for the month, but there was a lot of variability between the warm and cold periods.
An active weather pattern continued from the end of March into the beginning of April. This was a welcome sight, given how dry and warm most of February and March had been. The first day of April was cold and snowy around the region. Most areas above 7,000 feet received 4 to 8 inches of new snow, including around a half-inch of liquid precipitation. Temperatures only managed the mid-30s during the afternoon, but the strong April sunshine helped to melt some of the snow. Melting was very efficient the next two days as highs reached into the low to mid-50s, melting most of the snow by the afternoon of the 3rd.
The next storm began moving into the region during the early morning hours of the 4th. This storm packed even more moisture and slightly colder temperatures then the previous one. This allowed significant snow to accumulate at even lower elevations. Travel was hazardous in many areas around the region, especially during the morning commute. The heavy snowfall held temperatures well below normal, as highs struggled to reach the low 30s on the 4th. The storm slowly exited the region by afternoon with just some light snow and flurries continuing to early the next morning. Skies cleared that night, and that allowed temperatures to plummet by the morning of the 5th. Lows dipped into the single digits the morning of the 5th. Temperatures began their slow climb that afternoon, reaching the low 40s on the 5th, as much of the sun’s energy was used to melt the fresh snow.
Over the next week, temperatures continued to climb as the pattern changed back to dry and warm. Highs reached into the mid-50s on the 6th then upper 60s to low 70s on the 7th and 8th. Temperatures cooled slightly on the 9th and 10th, reaching the low to mid-50s each afternoon. Mild air moved back in from the 12th through the 16th, with highs reaching into the 60s and low 70s each afternoon. No precipitation fell during the period as well.
Dry and mild conditions continued for the first few days during the week of the 17th. High temperatures reached the mid- to upper 60s each afternoon with only high and mid-level clouds at times. The pattern began to change during the 20th, with clouds increasing as a storm system approached the region. By the evening of the 20th, rain began to fall in the region, with snow mixing in late. Temperatures stayed below normal for the next couple of days, with highs only reaching the upper 40s. Areas of rain and snow continued to affect the region, with the heaviest snow occurring overnight Friday into Saturday morning. During the period, a half to one inch of moisture accumulated in most areas. Sunshine quickly returned to end the weekend, with highs rebounding into the 60s.
The last week of the month was hit with a one-two punch of storms. The first affected the area on the 25th. Clouds increased that morning, with rain showers turning to snow around mid-afternoon. Snow continued that evening with 2-3 inches accumulating. A very brief break on the 26th melted most of that snow, but this was short lived as the most powerful storm of the season was approaching the region. The first signs of a change showed up around early afternoon on the 27th. Clouds thickened and thunderstorms developed. This produced a little bit of everything: rain, hail, and graupel.
But this was just the beginning, as the main storm was moving closer and drawing in both moisture and cold air. The main front with this storm began to move through the region during the late afternoon of the 28th. Snow began to fall and winds kicked up. Again, there were some thunderstorms in the area as well, signifying just how energetic this system was. Snow and wind continued all day on the 29th, holding temperatures well below normal. Highs only made it to the mid-20s, with the strong winds making things feel even colder.
The storm slowly cleared the region by early the next morning. In its wake, more than a foot of snow had accumulated, including around an inch of liquid equivalent. Sunshine returned to end the month, and the melt began in earnest by the afternoon of the 30th.
A look ahead
May often experiences a wide variety of weather conditions in the region from warm, sunny days to severe thunderstorms and hail, and even some snowfall. May 2007 was a snowy May, with over 20 inches accumulating for the month, while other times very little snow fell during the month. In general, we can usually expect warmer conditions to finally settle in, with temperatures reaching above 80°F likely to occur on several afternoons.
April 2017 Weather Statistics
Average High 55.6° (-0.9°)
Average Low 29.6° (+2.2°)
Highest Temperature 73° on the 14th
Lowest Temperature 7° on the 5th
Monthly Precipitation 3.33" (+0.37", 10% above normal)
Monthly Snowfall 33.1" (+6.4", 20% above normal)
Season to Date Snow 84.1" (-32.1", 27% below normal) (the snow season is from July 1 to June 30)
Season to Date Precip. 13.34" (-3.83", 24% below normal) (the precip season is from July 1 to June 30)
Heating Degree Days 672 (-16)
Cooling Degree Days 0
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.
Monument Hill Foundation thanks Chamber for award
On behalf of the Monument Hill Foundation, I would like to thank the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce for the honor of receiving the 2016 Non-Profit of the Year Award at the Chamber Dinner on Saturday, April 8. The Monument Hill Foundation is the charitable-giving arm of the Monument Hill Kiwanis Club, and our sole mission is to provide grants to support the youth and community of the Tri-Lakes area. Grants have assisted individual students, youth, and community organizations. Ours is a totally volunteer foundation, and in the six years we have been in existence, we have distributed over $275,000 to our youth and community.
For example, 360 children have participated in the Children’s Literacy Program at the Monument Library; over 100 students at Palmer Ridge and Lewis-Palmer High Schools have participated in the Rocky Mountain Youth Leadership Conferences; through The Resource Exchange program, grants have supported 280 families in the Tri-Lakes area; 50 students have participated in the Griffith Centers for Youth programs; 20 students have been assisted in the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program; and over 20 Lewis-Palmer High School and Palmer Ridge High School students have received Career Starter Scholarships to help in post-graduate vocations.
I would also compliment Terri Hayes (executive director of the Tri-Lakes Chamber), her board, and staff for a wonderful evening of entertainment, silent and live auctions, and all-around great social engagement with members of the community. I know it took hours of planning and organization to make this a highlight event of the year.
To find out more about the Monument Hill Foundation, please go to our website at www.monumenthillfoundation.org. There one will find information about who we are, what we do, and how to apply for grants in the 2017-18 granting cycle.
, Executive Director, Monument Hill Foundation
Awake Palmer Lake defended
I have served on the Awake Palmer Lake (APL) board for the last eight years. In the April 1 issue of OCN, it was suggested by a couple of Town Council members that the committee is not consulting with the council before taking actions. I want to assure your readers that this is not the case. Paul Banta had been our liaison to the council and stopped coming to meetings. Also, Kathy Green, the town manager, has attended our meetings and has reported back to the town regarding those meetings. In addition, the APL committee chair spent many hours of his own time putting together the grant application for GOCO without any help from the town. He was also able to lead us through the legal maze with the state of Colorado, which eventually led to the refilling of the lake.
The design of the pedestrian bridge was also called into question. The use of railroad shipping containers is meant to pay homage to Palmer Lake’s history. As you know, the lake was used by the railroad for the purposes of taking on water for their steam engines. The railroad theme seemed to be a natural path to take, and the town has never objected.
Lastly, I would like to make everyone aware that the APL committee meets the first Wednesday of every month at 6:30 p.m. at the Palmer Lake Museum. The community is invited to attend, and we welcome your input. Also, we are on Facebook, and our website is www.Awakepalmerlake.org.
I hope this gives everyone a clearer picture of our work and our intentions. We have worked hard to make Palmer Lake a place people want to come to by restoring its natural beauty that we all have come to love.
LPHS After Prom appreciation
Thanks to our great community of parents, LP staff, and students, After Prom was a huge success! We had approximately 400 students attend the event.
Many school districts do not offer an After Prom event, as the planning and coordination involved take a substantial amount of time and money. Both District 38 high schools have such a dedicated group of staff, parents, and community patrons that we have been able to make After Prom a yearly tradition.
Much of the financial support comes from donations from local businesses and families, who all understand the importance of keeping the students safe on that night. We would like to specifically recognize the following: Avery Asphalt, Back East Bar and Grill, Chick-fil-A, Coca-Cola Refreshments, Columbine Gardens Restaurant, Costco, Danelle’s Boutique & Bridal/Tuxedo Junction, Deuces Wild Casino Rentals, Dion’s Pizza, Gravity Play, Hamula Orthodontics, Home Depot, Hyland Hills Park & Rec (Water World), Jackson Creek Chinese Restaurant, Jimmie John’s, King Soopers, P.F. Chang’s, Papa John’s Pizza, Peoples Bank, Qdoba Mexican Grill, Safeway, Target, Tri-Lakes Printing, and Wal-Mart, as well as the Barry, Hudson, Kadlubowski, Oliver, Purdham, Sampson, Shuman, and Witt families.
Also, thanks to all the parents, LP staff, LP Art Club, and students who contributed in so many ways. We had over 100 volunteers who helped with everything from mailing invitations to building props, artwork for invitations, posters, and tickets, selling tickets, decorating, working on the night of the event, and cleaning up the day after.
A final and very special thank you goes to the After Prom committee of Lynne Asman, Christi Barry, Laura Barkocy, Julie Cook, Melanie Davis, Gretchen Donisi, Diane MacPherson, Audrey Meredith, Melanie Oliver, Lauralyn Purdham, Chele Randell, Karen Tucker, and Joanna Witt.
, LPHS After Prom Chair
D38’s eight-year crystal ball should inspire skepticism
School District 38 leaders have hosted three community presentations about long-term planning. The apparent purpose of the meetings was to have expensive consultants inform us that we need two new schools and structural additions to existing schools because of what they say will happen in our area—in eight years.
While it’s true that current trends in construction point to a student population increase, District 38 still has plenty of unused space. One of our high schools currently has room for 400 more students. And there’s an empty elementary school building in the middle of Monument which can hold 575 students. Its funding and complete renovation would cost a fraction of what it would cost to build a new building and could be finished within one year.
Not content to manage such a humble, cost-effective solution, D-38 has asked its experts to project a full eight years out to reach numbers that would justify an obnoxious, expensive construction binge. It’s telling that the consultants didn’t factor in the cyclical downturn that’s approaching, or expected tax reforms that will inhibit housing growth. All they did was look at local developers’ long-term plans and assume there will be a family with 0.6 kids living on every one of their lots by 2024.
Developers’ plans are not a reliable predictor of the future. King’s Deer is 20 years old and, as of today, 90 of its 530 lots still sit empty. Hilltop Pines, a development with 30 beautiful parcels, has been here 10 years and has only one home built. One home!
The point is that the further out they predict, the less you can rely on their predictions. If you think anyone can predict what’s going to happen in eight years, D-38 has a $50 million construction binge to sell you.
Civil behavior needed
Civility: the act of showing regard for others; courteous behavior, politeness; a courteous act or utterance. A civil society requires civil behavior and civil discourse.
Respect, trust, and courteous behavior are hallmarks of a healthy organization. Unfortunately, recent D38 school board meetings have been disrupted by the discourteous, disrespectful behavior of a vocal minority who sees only agendas and ulterior motives, and who treat public meetings as a field of battle.
The important public work of our elected D38 representatives depends on and benefits from constructive, courteous comments and respectful inputs from community members. I urge all community members to embrace and follow these essential principles in school board meetings and discussions: "Civility requires that we listen to others with the knowledge of the possibility that they are right and we are wrong. It requires that we express ourselves in ways that demonstrate our respect for others. And it creates not merely a negative duty not to do harm, but an affirmative duty to do good."—From Civility by Dr. Stephen L. Carter, Yale law professor, writer, and novelist.
D-38 should stop accepting nonresident students before it asks for new buildings
If you manage a growing organization and realize that you are running out of space for your members, the solution is obvious: Stop allowing guests to use your facilities. If you run a school district and realize that your local population is going to increase so much that you need to build new school buildings, the solution is just as obvious: Stop allowing nonresident students to opt into schools that have run out of room.
Colorado’s system of statewide open enrollment is specifically designed to ensure that local taxpayers are not forced to pay for new buildings to make room for nonresident students. Administrators can simply advise nonresident applicants they need the room for students who live in their districts. For some reason, however, stopping the flow of nonresident students into our district is never mentioned in the detailed solutions presented at D38’s Community Open Houses. Instead, they offer construction-only solutions that leave taxpayers paying for two new schools and additions to existing schools.
Increasing our community’s tax burden should be a last resort, not a reflex. Please consider helping us petition D38 leaders to rethink their solutions. Visit us at www.trilakesconservatives.org to find out more.
By the staff at Covered Treasures
"All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother."—Abraham Lincoln
Don’t give Mom another scarf for Mother’s Day on May 14. Give her some quiet time and a cup of tea to relax and enjoy a great book! Here are some new titles to consider:
By Peter Heller (Alfred A. Knopf) $25.95
From the best-selling author of The Dog Stars and The Painter comes a luminous, masterly novel of suspense, inspired by Heller’s own mother. This is the story of Celine, an elegant, aristocratic private eye who specializes in reuniting families while trying to make amends for a loss in her own past.
The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane
By Lisa See (Scribner), $27
This is a powerful story about two women separated by circumstance, culture, and distance, and the enduring connection between mothers and daughters. In their remote Chinese mountain village, Li-yan and her family align their lives around the seasons and the farming of tea. Life goes on as it has for generations until a stranger arrives and marks the entrance of the modern world in the lives of the Akha people. Lisa See has crafted an unforgettable portrait of a little-known region and its people and a celebration of the bonds of family.
By Margot Lee Shetterly (William Morrow) $15.99
Before John Glenn orbited Earth, or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as "human computers" used pencils, slide rules, and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space. Starting in World War II and moving through to the Cold War, the Civil Rights movement, and the space race, Hidden Figures follows the interwoven true accounts of four African-American women who participated in some of NASA’s greatest successes. It chronicles their careers over nearly three decades as they faced challenges, forged alliances, and used their intellect to change their own lives and their country’s future.
Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy
By Anne Lamott (Riverhead Books) $20
With sensitivity, wisdom, and humor, Anne Lamott explains the importance of mercy in our lives, the extraordinary power it can have if we welcome it, and the unexpected value of sharing it with others and with ourselves.
Girl in Disguise
By Greer Macallister (Sourcebooks Landmark) $25.99
For America’s first female detective, respect is hard to come by. Danger is not. Set in 1856 Chicago and inspired by the real story of Kate Warne, this spirited novel follows the detective’s rise during a time of crisis in the nation, bringing to life a fiercely independent woman whose triumphs helped sway the fate of the country.
The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper
By Phaedra Patrick (Mira Books) $15.99
Sixty-nine-year-old Arthur Pepper lives a simple life, just as he did when his wife was alive. But on the one-year anniversary of Miriam’s death, while sorting through her possessions, Arthur finds an exquisite gold charm bracelet he’s never seen before. What follows is an odyssey that takes Arthur from London to Paris to India in an epic quest to find out the truth about his wife’s secret life before they met—a journey that leads him to find hope, healing, and self-discovery in unexpected places.
By Diane Les Becquets (Penguin Random House) $16
Diane Les Becquets tells the story of one woman missing in the Colorado wilderness and another bent on discovering her whereabouts. Following them in alternating threads, Breaking Wild assumes the pace of a thriller, laying bare Amy Raye’s ultimate reckoning with the secrets of her life and Pru’s dogged pursuit of the woman who she believes she can find.
A New Way to Bake
From the Kitchens of Martha Stewart (Clarkson Potter Publishers) $26
Here is the go-to, next generation home-baking bible, with 130 foolproof recipes that take us beyond white flour and sugar to include better-for-you and delicious ingredients—superfoods, coconut oil, farro flour, quinoa, and more. It includes a DIY section for making your own nut butter, yogurt, coconut milk, and other basics, and more than 150 photographs.
"To describe my mother would be to write about a hurricane in its perfect power. Or the climbing, falling colors of a rainbow."—Maya Angelou
Until next month, happy reading.
The staff at Covered Treasures can be reached at email@example.com.
By Harriet Halbig
As the school year winds down, consider joining us for an intergenerational activity at the Monument Library.
Activities this month include an intergenerational knitting group on May 3 and 17 from 3 to 4:30 (some supplies provided or bring your own), or, an annual favorite, our Mother’s Day Tea Party on May 13 at Palmer Lake Town Hall (see the Palmer Lake section for details).
On Saturday, May 13 from 2:30 to 3:30, Marc Straub from Cool Science will teach us how to make Dippin’ Dots ice cream using liquid nitrogen. Science never tasted so good!
The Lego Build Club will meet from 10 to 11:30 on Saturday, May 20.
Need a last-minute Mother’s Day gift? Teens and tweens are invited between 3:30 and 4:45 on May 9 to create handmade cards, origami projects and bookmarks for Mom. No registration required.
The Monument Teen Creative Writing Group meets on the first Tuesday of each month from 6 to 7:30 in the study room. Next meeting is June 6.
Teens are invited to the intergenerational knitting group, which meets on the first and third Wednesday of the month from 3 to 4:30.
Saturday, May 6 is Free Comic Book Day. Come to the library from 1 to 3:15 to watch a comic book-themed movie, receive free comics, and enjoy snacks and super hero-themed crafts.
Having trouble with math? Free math tutoring is available at the library on Mondays from 3:30 to 7 during the school year. Drop by for AfterMath and get help from experienced tutors.
The Teen Arts and Crafts Open Studio is on Wednesday, May 31 from 4 to 6. Come use our meeting room for your creative space. Supplies will be provided as available, or bring whatever material your current project needs.
The Second Thursday Craft for May, from 2 to 4 on May 11, is Recycled Paper Jewelry. We will make handmade beads out of used magazines and wrapping paper and use them to make original jewelry. Supplies will be provided. Registration is necessary and opens a week before craft day.
Yoga at the Monument Library will be offered from noon to 1 on Thursday, May 11 and 18 before beginning the summer recess.
The Monumental Readers will meet from 10 to noon on Friday, May 19 to discuss Rebecca by Daphne de Maurier. All patrons are welcome to attend this monthly book group.
Interested in genealogy? Ancestry.com has billions of records for discovering your family’s history. Come join us on Monday, May 22 from 1 to 3 as you learn to create a solid search and new ways to use the information you find. No registration required.
As summer nears, fire awareness mounts. On Saturday, May 27 from 4 to 5 p.m. our local firefighters will teach us how to be safe. Learn to prepare yourself and your family and how to protect your property. No registration required and all ages welcome.
Watercolors by Judith Haynes will be on display during May.
Palmer Lake Library Events
Come to a Tea for all Ages on Saturday, May 13 at the Palmer Lake Town Hall. All ages are welcome. Wear your Sunday best (hats optional) and bring your own unique tea cup. Space is limited, so please register at the Palmer Lake or Monument Library. There will be treats and activities for all ages.
Regularly occurring events at Palmer Lake include Story Time on Wednesdays, Toddler Time on Fridays, and the Palmer Lake Book Group, which meets at 9 a.m. on the first Friday of each month. Please call 481-2587 for the current selection.
Please note that all Pikes Peak Library facilities will be closed on Monday, May 29 in observance of Memorial Day.
Harriet Halbig can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Mike and Sigi Walker
On April 20, the Palmer Lake Historical Society’s monthly history series featured "The Alexander Film Company" presented by Steve Antonuccio. Illustrated by photos and video, Antonuccio told the story behind the company that in the 1940s and 1950s occupied 260 acres on North Nevada Avenue and employed 600 employees in Colorado Springs. The company pioneered the production of advertising for upcoming films and commercials for TV and radio of well-known products of the time.
The company was founded in Seattle by two brothers, J. Don and Don M. Alexander. J. Don was the older by eight years with an extroverted "salesman" personality. Don M. was an introverted technical genius with a degree in electrical engineering. As the company grew, they needed a more central location, locating first to the Denver suburb of Englewood in 1923 and then to Colorado Springs in 1928.
To complement their advertising business, J. Don became interested in aviation as a way to quickly travel to customer’s facilities. This led to the brothers forming a separate aviation company in 1925, the Alexander Aircraft Co. It produced four models of aircraft, including a number of successful versions of the "Eaglerock" biplane. An Eaglerock 24 is on display at the Pueblo Weisbrod Aircraft Museum and an Eaglerock A-14 is now on display at Denver International Airport. Unfortunately, after moving to Colorado Springs in 1931, the Depression forced the aviation company into bankruptcy in 1932.
Antonuccio showed a number of the advertisements that he helped archive for the Carnegie library in Colorado Springs. In all, about 150 of these short films are in the archives, all filmed and produced at the Colorado Springs facility. Although the company headquarters no longer stands, the production studios still exist and are now used by a local TV station. At the end of Antonuccio’s presentation, several members of the audience shared their personal experiences as employees or relatives of employees of the Alexander Film Co.
Caption: Presenter Steve Antonuccio told the story behind the Alexander Film Co. Photo by Mike Walker.
Mark your calendars for Thursday, May 18, when Laurel Campbell and Linda Crawford will present "Charles Goodnight in Colorado." The presentation includes his early interest in Texas Longhorns, his partnership with Oliver Loving and their first cattle drives through Colorado, and the settling in 1868 of his Rock Canyon Ranch near Pueblo, and his life there. The presentation focuses on the building of Goodnight’s magnificent stone barn in 1870 and the current efforts to restore the barn. Campbell and Crawford are co-chairs of the Goodnight Barn Preservation Committee and will provide updated information on this effort. This program is free and open to all at 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.
Sigi Walker can be reached at email@example.com.
By Elizabeth Hacker
Spring is here, but on days when the weather turns cold and snow covers the ground, it may not seem like it. Why do birds fly thousands of miles only to land in possibly unfavorable conditions? Short answer: They don’t have a choice. Bird migration is the seasonal movement between a bird’s wintering and breeding grounds. Timing of migration is thought to be controlled primarily by changes in day length rather than weather, but much is yet to be learned. While some birds, generally sea birds such as the albatross, circle the globe, the birds that migrate to El Paso County generally follow a north-south route referred to as the Rocky Mountain Flyway.
How do birds prepare to migrate?
In the weeks before birds begin their epic journey, they must molt and increase their body fat. Old worn feathers are not suitable for long-distance flights and must be replaced by new, stealth ones. To attract a mate, male birds must stand out from their competition and new feathers will often be colorful.
One example is the American goldfinch. During the winter, it is dull and blends in with all the other little brown birds. Each spring after the male molts, it continues to feed at the thistle feeder but suddenly one day it appears with bright yellow, black and white plumage, and it is truly striking. It will continue feeding until it doubles its body weight, at which time it leaves and I won’t see it again until fall.
Most songbirds fly at night and rest during the day. While resting, they forage to restore the body fat they’ve lost. Wind conditions are generally more favorable at night and the threat from predators, such as hawks, diminishes. Often, after a storm or in high wind conditions, I’ll find birds uncommon to this region seeking shelter in trees near a source of water like Monument Creek. Their stop is a brief one. As the sun sets and weather conditions become more favorable, these birds will again lift off to continue their journey.
It is difficult to spot small birds because they know how to hide, but they often communicate through calls. Experienced birders identify birds both by sight and sound and can identify hidden birds by their songs and chirps. Sometimes in the evening, I’ll hear flocks fly overhead and identify them by their chatter.
How do birds know where to fly?
It has long been thought that birds use the stars and earth’s magnetic field to guide their navigation, but scientists continue to discover new information and have found that there are great variations between species. Migration routes and departure and arrival dates are unique to each species. While wind direction and velocity are a factor for some species, it doesn’t appear to matter to others. Some birds fly nonstop, while others make frequent stops. Some fly great distances, while others move about the region. Much is yet to be discovered.
Consider the yellow warbler that nests here. It leaves en masse to fly from as far south as Panama to as far north as Alaska. This beautiful bright lemon-yellow bird will arrive at the southern border of the United States in early April. Males fly separately from females and arrive earlier to establish territories. In El Paso County, the male yellow warblers arrive in early May, and by early June pairs are nesting.
Do birds migrate to the same location?
Many birds return to the same nesting areas while others fly to different regions. For years, we observed a pair of broad-tail hummingbirds nesting in the same scrub oak. We always assumed that it was the same family but we had no way of knowing. Bird banding programs have made it possible to track the movement of specific birds and have indicated that some birds do return to the same location. Banding, along with other methods, indicate that many species have expanded their range and breeding areas are changing. Wild fires, habitat loss, and changes in climate are all thought to be influences on species expansion. More research is needed to determine the effect range change will have on bird populations.
What methods are used to track bird migration?
For centuries, ornithology has been a field of study at many major universities around the world. As with any science, methods are tested and retested, and with new information our knowledge expands. Today, as technology evolves, new methods of tracking migration are emerging, and the following are but a few examples.
Free cellphone apps like Ebird, Audubon Birds, and other similar apps are a birder’s new best friend. They are used to both record and find the exact location and time that birds have been observed. Both experienced and casual birders alike use these apps and report findings. Information is gathered and recorded daily. They already have enhanced our knowledge of bird movement.
Radar aeroecology is an emerging science being tested at the University of Oklahoma to track animal migration. It integrates atmospheric science with earth science, geography, and engineering to investigate the location and movement of animals. The same radar systems that scan the atmosphere to monitor weather and track aircraft also contain signals from other sources, including birds that show up as tiny specks on the radar.
It is with great pleasure that I return to OCN after a three-year absence to write about a subject that is near and dear to my heart. I enjoy hearing from readers, so please contact me with questions, to report the birds you see, or just say hi.
Elizabeth Hacker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
High Altitude Nature and Gardens (HANG): Forest wisdom: a gardening guide for what to plant and when
By Janet Sellers
In Tri-Lakes, we live in forest habitat—that is why we came here. Our local ponderosa forests have more than an abundance of life and critters and their sustenance all living harmoniously within them. Native peoples enjoyed this abundance of gourmet foods, each food having its time and place as the sun moved the seasons along. Below I will list not only what the forest naturally provides for us to eat, but also how the forest and Mother Nature advise us about what and when to plant other common stuff we are used to having for food.
Microclimates on the Front Range
Here’s the reason we pay attention to what is already here and thriving in place. Our microclimates along the Front Range provide the rich sources of support for our indigenous plants and their seasons of emergence, fruition, and the ever-important decay preparation cycles. Each tiny area—and it can be in the same home garden or down the street or down the mountain—has its warm, cold, moist, or dry air flow, often changing hour to hour. The forest has adapted to this clime with vigor, creating its own health and habitat of tree canopy and forest floor with symbiotic relationships.
The decay cycle prepares the soil floor for the upcoming year, and that is done in the winter when most of us think the Earth is sleeping or dead. The truth is, it is a vital part of a healthy habitat cycle. With only growth, there is no decay upon which to feed the growth. With only decay, there is no growth and ongoing habitat. All our lives depend on the cycles.
The forest provides plenty of food for its inhabitants, many of which we all know about and consume. Just think of berries or asparagus; morel, porcini and chanterelle mushrooms; and our protein- and mineral-rich dandelions—even early cattail stems are delicacies! If you are ever lost in the woods or just hankering for some easy pickings, the forest has millions of years’ experience of palatable provisions if you just know where to look. Caveat: Check out the Colorado Mycological Society for updates and information. Be safe! There are plant and ‘shroom imposters that are deadly.
Most of us have a garden because we like planning, planting, and watching it grow, and eat the food from it. I love the food from my garden beds, but truth be told, I have a dark secret: I do not get much from just throwing a seed in or planting a plant. A prepared raised bed is required to succeed, lined with a one-fourth-inch metal mesh of some sort to deter underground pests but keep the underground life involved.
Our spring weather is goofy and unpredictable for us humans, but we can observe the forest and nature for its clues on having a food garden that is familiar to us. Many locals have tried and failed at having a common kitchen garden, but there is hope for an easy, successful kitchen gourmet garden on the deck, in the windowsill, and even outside in glorious, changeable Colorado weather. Here’s a step-by-step guide for planting vegetables using the wisdom of nature:
1. Pasque flowers tell us when we can start seeds indoors.
2. Plant peas when the daffodils bloom or when spring peepers (frogs) sing.
3. Plant cool-weather spring veggies when dandelions are in bloom or the lilacs have leafed out.
4. Plant bush beans and summer squash when the lilac flowers have faded
5. Transplant tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant when the bearded iris is in bloom.
Caption: Look but don’t touch: The pasque flower, genus pulsatilla, is possibly the earliest flower to bloom in the Tri-Lakes area and is so named because it blooms in spring near the Passover/ Easter holiday season. Some people say it looks like a fuzzy purple crocus flower. The plant has a medicinal use history but it is highly toxic, just like tulips and other garden flowers. Photo by Janet Sellers.
Janet Sellers is an enthusiast for nature and organic gardening, and welcomes your handy hints at email@example.com. Also, visit www.Facebook.com/MonumentCommunityGarden for videos, articles, and more about high-altitude nature and gardening.
By Janet Sellers
"All art that is worthwhile is a record of intense life …"—Robert Henri
It may surprise you that some of the finest records of intense life in art and imagination exists in the rocks and ponderosa modified trees that we can see close by our homes here in the Our Community News readership area. Ancient history as a moniker denotes a mere several thousand years before our time, while the Native Americans in our area are known to have been here for over 12,000 years.
Naturally occurring trees and rocks with artful, almost magical forms in them have been appreciated by humans for millennia as divine, sacred natural forms because of their mystery, beauty, and obvious figurative forms. The confirmed Culturally Modified Trees (CMT) we see living right here in our area are of course made with human intelligence applied to nature, are known as sacred spirit trees, and are highly revered as natural artforms by the admiring public.
The hundreds, more likely thousands, of years of outdoor art in our local area via our figurative rock formations and forests with sacred spirit trees are testaments to life and a memorial to our ancients who lived here. Our willingness to protect these natural treasures and living forest treasures as well as bring in contemporary art to enjoy in town reflects who we are now. Most of us have seen Elephant Rock, but I’ve also seen bear rock formations, portrait rocks, turtle rocks and living trees with mysterious animal forms in them here. Once you see the forms in the rocks and trees, they are unmistakable. We have found rock formations with Eocene epoch turtle fossils, too.
Most of our CMT were made by those who lived here long before the likes of Spanish explorers Cortes and Balboa (a tree in Black Forest bears an arborglyph, aka tree picture, of a conquistador complete with helmet), before George Washington crossed the Delaware, before Thomas Jefferson built Monticello, and before Ben Franklin put a key on a kite string.
The makers of the spirit trees way back when are now the ancestors, as we will become the ancestors to our future generations. What amazing imaginations the Native Americans had of life and love to create living art forms, knowing they will be seen and imagined and remembered—or at least wondered about—by their families down the line. That makes not only for an understanding of the longevity of human imagination and creativity, but also of the shortness of our personal lives. Thankfully, those of us who live here now are included in the creative benefits from that hard work and love put into modifying the trees. Their art is the human touch in nature that bears witness to humanity centuries ago.
No brick and mortar memorial will bring you the image of the conditions in the rich mountain forest life of our first peoples here. You can only know it by seeing authentic nature, trees, rock formations, and more in their original authentic space, with the authentic elements. What happened in the mountains and forests is beyond our imagination, yet we have a beautiful reminder of the early peoples who had such great forethought and foresight to the future. Protecting these live art forms can bring us closer to the people, the history, the legacy, and the love these art forms bring down to us through the ages.
We can go outdoors with family and friends and embrace the fine weather as it shows up, and appreciate these treasures in person. The CMT were created hundreds of years ago (ponderosa live up to 800 years) with a great love in mind for those who would follow as descendants and their future, too. They are a memorial of the ancestors who walked these forests, enjoyed the trees, flowers and vistas, the sights and smells and sounds of the forests just as we do now. We walk amid our ancient history when we walk through our forests, just as they did, friends and family together.
Art Hop and other exhibits
In addition to the historic art forms of the trees and rock formations, we have some contemporary art to enjoy, and it’s all over town, especially starting in May with our annual Art Hop season.
The Art Hop starts May 18. Each summer for over a decade, local merchants from the towns of Palmer Lake and Monument host for us the local art and artists at their venues with refreshments and live music. Join the fun, support the arts and buy sculpture, paintings, jewelry, pottery and more. The Art Hop runs from 5 to 8 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month, May through October.
In June, the upcoming 2017-18 Tri-Lakes Views outdoor art exhibition will be on view. Many thanks to the efforts of the Tri-Lakes Views group and to the artists who made the sculptures for our enjoyment. A map of the exhibit locations is forthcoming this summer.
Bella Art and Frame Gallery offers a photography show by Kim McFadden-Effinger, through May 26. Artist reception May 18 at the gallery,183 Washington, Monument.
Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA) offers the Predictions and Perceptions exhibit through June 2; Delicate Balance sculpture exhibit by Reven Marie Swansen through June 2, Lucy Owens Gallery. TLCA, 304 Highway 105, Palmer Lake.
Janet Sellers is a local artist, writer and teacher. Her paintings and sculptures are exhibited in Colorado and California cities, galleries, and museums, as well as in private collections. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ascent Church annual Easter egg hunt
Caption: On Saturday, April 15, the Ascent Church hosted its annual community Easter egg hunt at the Palmer Lake Town Hall. On the sunny spring day, hundreds of children had fun looking for eggs or playing in the bouncy house. Photo by Lauren Jones.
Sertoma names essay winners
Caption: Each year, Legacy Sertoma sponsors an essay competition among Monument Academy eighth-grade students on the subject of "What Freedom Means to Me." Authors of the top three entries each receive an engraved trophy and a monetary award. The club recently announced those winners as Kathryn Smith, first place; Evan Swanigan, second place (both pictured), and Kylin Fell (not pictured), third place. The objective of the competition is to instill a better understanding and appreciation of the freedoms and benefits that are enjoyed by this country’s citizens. Nathan Piotrowski, eighth-grade teacher, provided on-scene guidance and leadership. Photo courtesy of Legacy Sertoma.
Bill Nance blood drive, Mar. 30
Caption: The Bill Nance blood drive was held at Antelope Trails Elementary School on March 30. Volunteers from sponsor Gleneagle Sertoma hosted the event, while locals also participated. The late Bill Nance was a longtime volunteer with the group who is much revered and had a big hand in the blood drive efforts, and the event was respectfully named for him. Photo by Dean Jones.
Veterans Outreach, April 8
Caption: April 8 marked the first annual Veterans Outreach, which was organized and sponsored by the Point Man International Ministries Monument outpost. Several area veterans service providers attended. Angels of America’s Fallen funds positive year-round activities for the children of fallen members of all branches of military service as well as first responders, regardless of cause of death. Freedom Hunters connects active-duty and combat veterans, families of fallen heroes, children of the deployed, and wounded soldiers with outdoor adventures. The Colorado Springs Vet Center provides readjustment counseling services and community education, and serves as a liaison with Veterans Affairs facilities. The El Paso County Veteran Services Office primarily helps vets, their dependents, and their survivors cut through governmental red tape when applying for service-connected benefits. Representatives from Pikes Peak Hospice and Palliative Care, American Red Cross, Innova, and Mt. Carmel Center for Excellence also attended the April 8 event. Hearing tests were available throughout the morning. For more information about Veterans Outreach, contact Vinny Maffia at email@example.com. Photo by Jennifer Kaylor.
Workplace generational diversity
By Chrystie Hopkins
How do the different generations, Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials, talk to each other to achieve a healthy culture? This was the focus of a workshop by the Colorado Small Business Development Center (SBDC) on "Millennials, Gen Xers, and Boomers: Synergistic Strategies for Your Business" on March 15 at the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce.
Lawrence Wagner, CEO and co-founder of Spark Mindset, wanted to take the time to "dive deep" into Millennials because of the challenge Baby Boomers and Generation Xers have in communicating properly with Millennials. He emphasized the onerous of this communication is the responsibility of the business leaders, which are typically from the older generations.
Wagner cited statistics that by 2025, 75 percent of the workforce will be made up of Millennials. He suggested that Millennials work best in an environment where they can be part of the process, have input, and collaborate. Millennials like to know "why" they are being asked to do a task and what the purpose and impact their work is having. Whether it be searching for a more socially responsible or impactful position, or a better paycheck, they are more likely to move on from a company after two years or less if not engaged in their work and the future of the company.
Wagner talked about how we often hear the word "entitlement" when referring to Millennials. He noted that this term, while perhaps true, is not fully accurate. Lawrence took time to highlight the many positives that Millennials bring to the workforce, including an overwhelming desire for excellence and success. They are very results-oriented and want feedback and mentoring so that they can gauge whether they are a success. Millennials thrive in an environment with flexibility and like validation and to know they are contributing in a positive way.
The workshop was sponsored by Ent Credit Union, Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce and Spark Mindset. Spark Mindset offers many workshops and seminars on the subject of diversity in the workplace and many other areas to aid in engagement and productivity in the workplace. Visit www.sparkmedia.com for more information and schedule.
Chrystie Hopkins can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Caption: Lawrence Wagner, CEO and co-founder of Spark Mindset, leads a seminar on "Millennials, Gen Xers, and Boomers: Synergistic Strategies for Your Business" at the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce. Photo by Chrystie Hopkins.
Newcomer at TLCA, April 5
Caption: On April 5, Carrie Newcomer brought her musical style of "progressive spirituality" to the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA). Newcomer’s musical career started in college, though she "was unsure where it would lead." However, following what she "loved" to do musically and her Quaker faith led to collaborations with a variety of musicians and artists such as Parker J. Palmer, travels to India as cultural ambassador for The American Center, and support for numerous social causes like the Interfaith Hunger Initiative. Newcomer said she "writes in an inclusive way about spiritual experience involving community and social justice to create a better world." Her music identifies those "things we all recognize across cultures," that there is "something sacred in the ordinary day as we discover what really matters is our connection to the human story," and "we have more in common than not." Information on upcoming events at the TLCA is at www.trilakesarts.org. Photo by David Futey.
Monument Community Lunch
Caption: Yes, there is such a thing as free lunch. On April 22, at the second annual Town of Monument Community Lunch, free chili with all the fixings, conversations galore with neighbors, and real light sabers to play with took place at Monument Community Presbyterian Church. Shown here, Cub Scouts Koa and Hunter Best and their mom, Miki, stopped in to eat and warm up after volunteering with the Great American Cleanup in the Tri-Lakes area in the morning. Lunch co-organizer Deb Dalton said, "Many people have asked why are we providing a free meal. My short answer to that is ‘community.’ We live one of the most wonderful communities in Colorado. And yet, we don’t get to know those who reside in the next block or down the street. I hear often how a tragedy brings communities together—well, can’t we do that without a threat to our way of life?" Photo by Lisa Hatfield
Caption: Brooke Middents models a donated dress recently at Lillian’s of Monument as part of Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother Project. It all began with a simple conversation. The staff at Lillian’s speculated about the number of prom dresses that would remain hanging unused in closets throughout the upcoming prom season. One idea led to another and, almost magically, Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother Project was born. By contacting local high schools and using social media, Lillian’s encouraged mothers and teen girls to donate gently used and ready-to-wear prom dresses, shoes, evening handbags, and jewelry to the shop. The donated items were then made available free of charge to any girls who wished to wear them for an upcoming prom. As of April 8, about 60 dresses had been donated and dress-seeking girls were beginning to arrive. Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother Project began mid-March and ended April 30. Because of Lillian’s philanthropic focus, girls should look for the project to reappear next year. Caption and photo by Jennifer Kaylor.
Great American Cleanup, Apr. 22
Caption: Mother Nature was out in her full and unpredictable spring glory on Earth Day, April 22. However, the low fog, cold, and sleet didn’t keep individuals and families from participating in the Great American Cleanup events around Monument. The annual Great American Cleanup is organized by the national nonprofit Keep America Beautiful. Its mission is simply to make communities more beautiful by keeping them clean and green. Around Earth Day, many events are organized across the country to engage people in beautifying their own communities. This year, three events were held in Monument and organized locally by Pikes Peak Partners—two along the Santa Fe Trail and one along Jackson Creek Parkway. People were given safety vests, gloves, and garbage bags to collect litter along the heavily traveled routes. The events were well-attended, even with spring showers, and many bags of litter were collected and properly disposed of. Volunteers were treated to lunch at Monument Community Presbyterian Church once their garbage bags were filled. Photo by Erin Poole.
I-25 "Gap" Planning
Caption: Michelle Pinkerton, CDOT consultant, and Ron Standley are pictured viewing and discussing lane configuration alternatives for "the Gap," the section of I-25 between Monument and Castle Rock. CDOT’s Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) study seeks to identify immediate and long-term solutions for issues related to safety, mobility, and travel reliability along the I-25 corridor. The second series of public meetings, held on April 25 and 27 in Castle Rock and Colorado Springs, respectively, reported on the input provided by the public meetings held in January. CDOT is looking to advance an early action construction project on the Gap. Because most of CDOT’s budget is dedicated to maintaining infrastructure, securing funding for the construction is a top priority. Current considerations include improving interchanges, expanding alternate routes, and adding general purpose lanes, express lanes, peak period lanes, and full inside and/or outside shoulders. For more information or to submit input, see www.codot.gov/projects/I25COSDEN. Photo by Jennifer Kaylor.
Hazel Miller at TLCA, Mar. 11
Caption: Elegant, dynamic, and captivating are just a few of the adjectives that describe Hazel Miller and her band’s performance April 21 at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA). The audience had an inclination this night would be special when the first four songs sung by Miller, accompanied by Rich Lamb on bass, Dana Marsh on keyboard and Brian Mikulish on drums, were Pat Benatar’s True Love, songs from Al Jarreau and Nancy Wilson, then the Beatles’ Come Together. Miller wanted to provide a "toe tapping affair." That and more were accomplished as audience members danced throughout the two sets to this engaging performer from Denver. Information on upcoming events at the TLCA is at www.trilakesarts.org. Photo by David Futey.
Lavelett Park expanded
Caption: Progress by the Town of Monument is shown at Lavelett Park, Third Street and Beacon Lite. By closing a small section of Fourth Street, the north and south parts of the park are now connected. Photo by John Howe.
Arbor Day in Monument, Apr. 28
Caption: Cassie Olgren, town gardener, invited the public to attend the tree planting ceremony at Dirty Woman Creek Park for the Arbor Day celebration on April 28. Shown with tools ready to plant the tree are, from left, Kellyn Bryan, Town of Monument, Olgren, and Don Wilson, Monument mayor pro tem, amid public works personnel and local citizens who cheered them on for the task. Photo by Janet Sellers.
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.
Free wildfire risk home assessments for Palmer Lake residents
The Coalition for the Upper South Platte (CUSP) is partnering with the Town of Palmer Lake and the Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department to offer free home assessments to make site-specific recommendations to reduce wildfire risk. The partners are also holding a free chipping day May 6. To schedule a home assessment, phone 719-748-0033.
Slash-Mulch season is underway
The El Paso County Black Forest Slash and Mulch program will accept slash (tree and brush debris only) through Sept. 10. Mulch will be available May 13-Sept. 23 or when mulch runs out. Hours of operation are: Saturdays, 7 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sundays, noon-4 p.m.; Tuesday and Thursday evenings, 5-7:30 p.m. The mulch loader schedule is Saturdays only, 7 a.m.-4 p.m. The cost for slash is $2 per load. The mulch loader fee is $5 per bucket, about 2 cubic yards. The slash and mulch site is located at the southeast corner of Shoup and Herring Roads in the Black Forest area. For more information, visit www.bfslash.org or phone Carolyn, 495-3127; Chuck, 495-8675; Jeff, 495-8024; or the County Environmental Division, 520-7878.
Monument Hill Foundation Call for Grants, apply by May 15
The Monument Hill Foundation is the granting arm of the Monument Hill Kiwanis Club. The foundation provides funds in support of the club’s mission to support youth and the community, with a focus on the Tri-Lakes community. Club fundraising projects include the annual Empty Bowls Dinner that supports Tri-Lakes Cares and the Holiday Red Kettle Campaign collections that go directly to the Salvation Army. The club works on many other activities each year to raise funds that go to the Monument Hill Foundation for direct granting. The grant application form and information can be found at www.monumenthillfoundation.org.
New Non-Profit Council forming, meets May 17
Attention nonprofits, schools, churches, government entities, businesses, other organizations and anyone else interested in serving the community. The Non-Profit Council will meet May 17, 9 a.m., at the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce, 166 Second St., Monument. The Non-Profit Council provides an opportunity for organizations to meet in a collaborative environment to understand each other’s mission and to explore areas of cooperation. For further details, call Rich Strom with the Monument Hill Kiwanis Club, 719-963-4464.
Woodmoor Waves Summer Swim Clinics, enroll now
Two 3-week swim sessions will be held at the Country Club at Woodmoor, 18945 Pebble Beach Way, Monument. Classes are Mon., Wed., & Thu., 10-10:45 a.m., Jun. 5-Jun. 22 and Jul. 10-Jul. 27. Registration forms are available at the pool or online at www.woodmoorwaves.org. See the ad for $5 off. For more information, contact Chris Bains, 303-506-0089, email@example.com. See ad on page 18.
Thefts from vehicles and vehicle thefts
The Monument Police Department issued a press release April 12 about a rise in vehicles being entered illegally. Over the previous three weeks, criminals entered and stole items from 14 vehicles. All but one of these vehicles were parked at residences and the vehicles were left unlocked. In at least one of these cases, the suspects gained access to the vehicle by entering a garage whose main door had been left open. Also, three other vehicles were stolen during the same time frame. During the investigation, officers found that two of the vehicles had the keys left in them and the car doors were left unlocked. In the case of the third vehicle, the garage was left open and the suspect(s) entered the house, found the keys, and took the car without the homeowner’s knowledge. The Monument Police Department urges everyone to lock their car doors, not leave valuables in plain view, or better yet, take valuables out of vehicles. If you see someone looking in vehicles or residences, or if you see something in your neighborhood that does not look right, call local law enforcement for your jurisdiction or if it is urgent, call 911. If you have information related to the vehicle trespasses or thefts, call the Monument Police Department, 481-3253.
Monument Academy now enrolling for 2017-18 year
Monument Academy, a free public school of choice, features academic excellence, award-winning programs, and more. For more information or to schedule a tour, call 481-1950 or visit www.monumentacademy.net.
St. Peter Catholic School now enrolling for 2017-18
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.
Become a host family in July
Host a student from Spain, France, Germany, or Italy this July. The family will receive a stipend to support activities. For details, contact 481-4412, www.xploreUSA.org. See ad on page 5.
County launches new community website
Check out all the interesting county data available for you at http://community.spatialest.com/co/elpaso/.
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/.
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.
Tri-Lakes Silver Alliance Senior Center, new expanded hours
The Tri-Lakes Silver Alliance Senior Citizens Center is next to the Lewis-Palmer High School Stadium (across from the YMCA). With the addition of 16 morning exercise classes, the new hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.; Saturday, 8:45-10 a.m.; and Sunday, 11:45 a.m.-1 p.m. The facility has a lounge, craft room, game room, and multipurpose room. Programs include bridge, pinochle, bingo, National Mah-jongg, Zumba, Line Dancing, Yoga, Chair Yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates, Total Body Strength, Better Balance and Strength, and many more! There’s also ping-pong, Wii video games, puzzles and board games, refreshments, a lending library, computers with Internet connections, and an information table. For information about programs for seniors, visit www.TriLakesSeniors.org or call Sue Walker, 719-330-0241.
Senior Beat newsletter—subscribe for free
Each monthly Senior Beat newsletter is full of information for local seniors, including the daily menu of the senior lunches offered Mon.-Fri. at the Mountain Community Mennonite Church, 643 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.
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.
By Judy Barnes, Community Calendar Editor
Although we strive for accuracy in these listings, dates or times are often changed after publication. Please double-check the time and place of any event you wish to attend by calling the info number for that event.
LOCAL LIBRARY EVENTS
All branches close May 29 in observance of Memorial 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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