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By Lisa Hatfield
At its June and July meetings, the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD) board voted to ask residents for a mill levy increase in November, celebrated several promotions and hirings, and approved a new battalion chief of training position. The directors also discussed the June structure fire in Wissler Ranch, the impact fees impasse in El Paso County, and future budget planning, and they approved moving district administrative offices to a new space in the Jackson Creek area late this year.
TLMFPD sets ballot language for 6.9 mill levy increase
In June, Larry Smith represented the citizen’s advisory group that voted 13-0-1 in favor of putting forth a November mill levy ballot initiative asking residents to approve a 6.9 mill increase from the current 11.5 mills. He said the committee and the responses from over 1,000 public opinion surveys returned indicated that the background information provided by the district presented a compelling case for the need for additional funding.
Over the past six months, the district’s staff has been busily working on documenting the needs of the organization and justifying the need for an increased mill levy. Those needs included the following:
• Maintaining timely emergency services and 911 response times
• Attracting and retaining experienced first responders, and mitigating costly turnover rates
• Replacing outdated emergency equipment, such as air packs, jaws of life, and heart monitors
• Replacing obsolete, front-line communications equipment and outdated, unreliable emergency response vehicles
• Improving energy efficiency and health/life safety issues at existing fire stations
• Strategically adding paramedics as well as training and inspection personnel to address an increase in emergency services demand.
On July 26, the directors voted unanimously to provide a district special election on Nov. 7, submitting a ballot issue to the eligible electors of TLMFPD authorizing the district to increase the property tax mill levy by 6.9 mills and to collect, retain, and spend that revenue.
Promotions and hirings
On June 28, the board and staff celebrated the promotions of Firefighter/Engineers Kevin Richmond, Jon Bodinsky, and Steve Buckner. And on July 26, Fire Chief Chris Truty swore in new firefighters Keith Barker, Braden Stoenner, and Derek Thorne.
Deputy Chief Randy Trost said that three experienced staff members were leaving the district the week of July 26. One is going to another fire district, one has to leave because of disability, and one is retiring. The district had anticipated some departures and so had planned to have more candidates in the hiring and training process, which takes several months. He said if no one else leaves this year, the district will be short one staff member and have 14, 14, and 13 firefighters and paramedics on the three shifts.
He said it has been hard to find and hire qualified staff. "The moral of the story is that we went through 12 people on our list to hire four."
Battalion chief of training position approved
On June 28, after considerable discussion, the directors voted 4-3 to approve creation of a battalion chief of training position effective Sept. 1. Truty explained that one specific individual he had in mind had "extraordinarily strong credentials" and had already met with the executive staff. This person is available right now but might not be later if the district waited to create and fill this position later, he said.
Truty said the position was to focus on quality of service and development and training of people, solely dedicated to helping individuals develop professionally and give insight on professional growth needs. Currently, training is done by the individual battalion chiefs for their shifts, but there is not one consistent, standardized program, Trost said.
Secretary Mike Smaldino spoke against the idea. His comments included:
• I am not in support of continuing to grow the upper end of this organization. This would put seven chiefs in our organization. I work for Colorado Springs Fire which has 17 chiefs for 450 people; there is a disparity there.
• I would rather get the proper number of firefighters on the street first. I thought I was pretty clear last month.
• This is a cart-before-horse approach, trying to make a new position to match the individual you want to hire.
Director Jason Buckingham also said he had trouble with the timing since TLMFPD just temporarily removed an engine from service in May because staffing was short. See www.ocn.me/v17n6.htm#tlmfpd.
Truty’s comments included:
• We do have money in the 2018 budget for hiring two more people to get to 15 on shift first.
• Hiring a training office would help support critical issues listed in our mill levy increase position, but we can still afford to hire him if the MLO does not pass.
• Having a training officer will make this district a more attractive place to stay and improve retention of people who are hired.
Trost’s comments included:
• The goal with hiring is to have three staff members on every engine and two on every ambulance, or a minimum staff of 14 for the A, B, and C shifts by the end of the year,
• It is unrealistic to think we are not going to lose any more people this year. The plan is to keep updating lists of potential new staff members because of the long lead time.
• I understand we are short staffed and don’t need any more white shirts or brass, but we are trying to build a team here and bringing on new people is one of the things that we do.
• We are not at our best level of training for our people, and a new training officer would provide consistency.
By a 4-3 vote, the directors approved creation of a battalion chief of training position. Jake Shirk, Roger Lance, Tom Tharnish, and John Hildebrandt voted in favor of it, while Buckingham, Terri Hayes, and Smaldino voted no. The consensus of the directors was that if the specific person being recruited did not take the position, the district would wait to fill the position.
Wissler Ranch structure fire described
TLMFPD responded to a report of "a small outside fire" on June 13 in the area of Lockridge and Roaming Drives in the Wissler Ranch subdivision east of Highway 83 and south of Palmer Divide Avenue/County Line Road. On June 28, Truty told the directors, "Our guys did an absolutely outstanding job given that they were going to a fire they had no idea what to encounter."
As it turned out, when the first truck arrived on scene at 11:57 p.m., 14 minutes after the call, the fire had actually started inside the garage, and flames were already extending into the living spaces. Truty said none of the callers to 9-1-1 specified that the house was on fire. The fire was declared under control at 1:43 a.m., and damage to the home was extensive, with the home not safe for occupancy. See www.ocn.me/v17n7.htm#tlmfpd.
The firefighters attacked the fire using water stored in the trucks and sent water tender trucks to Kilmer Elementary School to refill with water from the pressurized hydrant located at the school, thus avoiding the need for a pumper truck to refill the tenders. There are no fire hydrants in Wissler Ranch.
However, there are three cisterns maintained in Wissler Ranch, and some residents wanted to know why that water was not used to fight the fire. Truty and Battalion Chief Jamey Bumgarner explained at a neighborhood meeting on June 26 (and on the district’s website) that using the water from a cistern requires a dedicated pumper truck to transfer the water from the cistern to the tender truck. "Due to the initial dispatch of a ‘small outside fire,’ we did not have sufficient pumper trucks until 40 minutes into the incident that could have been used at a cistern," Bumgarner said.
Secretary Smaldino asked if the cisterns were in good service and what the standard operating procedure was for using them. "We definitely need to have a better policy on cisterns," Truty said, including needing to have the right units and apparatus to be able to use them. "If anyone at any point had said ‘structure’ or ‘house fire’ or anything like that, we would have immediately gotten two more tenders and more engines coming out right away," he said.
Vice President Lance asked if engine 2213 would have made a difference fighting the fire if it had been in service. Truty said he did not believe so. That engine was put back into service on June 15.
Truty also explained that a number of the residents were extraordinarily concerned about a "Black Forest-type fire" starting, and Bumgarner spent time explaining to them at the neighborhood meeting how the conditions that night were different from the day the Black Forest fire started and how TLMFPD has procedures in place they would have used to notify residents if they thought they were at any risk. Truty said, "I think we walked away (after the June 26 community meeting) with a very good feeling from everybody about not only how it was handled but getting all their questions answered."
Note: See http://tlmfire.org to read the June 14 press release and the June 22 "Lockridge Fire Follow-up" memo with more details about the battle, or call Bumgarner at 719-484-0911 with questions.
Impact fees update
Truty explained that after a fifth meeting with the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) on June 27, the BOCC refused to take a vote on fire district assessment of impact fees in El Paso County. Fire chiefs and homebuilders are at odds about when and how to assess the fees, which would be about $800 per new home in TLMFPD. Truty said the commissioners are worried about precedent-setting and possible lawsuits due to the vague wording of the new state statute HB 16-1088.
The El Paso County Attorney, the Pikes Peak Fire Chiefs Council, and fire chiefs across the state will keep advocating for the fire districts’ rights to assess impact fees on new development. "Meanwhile, there are 600 more homes that will be built in our district next year," Truty said. See www.ocn.me/v17n7.htm#epcbocc, www.ocn.me/v16n9.htm#tlmfpd.
Budget planning for 2018 ahead
Truty said that two budgets will be prepared for 2018 as the district awaits the outcome of the vote on the proposed 6.9 mill levy increase. The budgets will be discussed at the Sept. 27 and Oct. 25 meetings, and the public hearing will occur at the Nov. 15 meeting, with final approval at the Dec. 6 meeting.
Illegal marijuana cultivation operation
President Jake Shirk, who is the chief of the Monument Police Department (MPD), thanked TLMFPD for notifying MPD about a suspicious situation they discovered while responding to a small kitchen fire on Coyote Valley Court. According to the June 30 press release from MPD, the two homeowners were unable to provide the required State of Colorado documentation that would allow the hundreds of marijuana plants in the residence. They were both arrested and charged with felony crimes related to unlawful marijuana cultivation.
Cancer trust membership
Updating a 2014 resolution concerning cardiac issues suffered by firefighters, the directors voted unanimously to approve a resolution entering into the trust agreement for the Colorado Firefighter Heart and Cancer Benefits Trust. Truty said SB 17-214 was passed to strengthen medical coverage for firefighters diagnosed with any of five cancers that have been tied to the occupation of a firefighter.
Under the new legislation, all the treatment required for the illness is handled by the employees’ health insurance and all out-of-pocket costs handled by the trust. The cost to participate in this program has been set at $265 per firefighter, and TLMFPD’s worker’s compensation broker has said that projected rate deductions will more than compensate for this additional cost.
Fleet and stations report
Trost’s comments at both meetings included:
• Engine 3 needs all new brakes and a new generator for the light tower.
• Station 2 needs a new emergency generator.
• On June 15, engine 2213 was put back into service after four weeks so that there would be no forced hire backs (overtime) of existing staff due to short staffing.
Lt. Mo Ayala applied for and received a grant for $20,000 that will be used for TLMFPD bunker gear. More information on this grant will be provided after an awards presentation in August.
2016 audit accepted
Mitch Downs of Osborne, Parsons & Rosacker LLP presented the results of the 2016 audit and gave it an unqualified or "clean" opinion. He mentioned that he noted only nine adjustments, compared to last year’s 27 adjustments, and that this was a big improvement. Truty thanked district CPA Becky Weese and bookkeeper Jenny Bilbrey for the work they do for TLMFPD. The directors asked several questions about the use of purchase orders and then accepted the audit unanimously. To see the 58-page audit and management letter, contact TLMFPD.
TLMFPD administrative offices to move to Jackson Creek
The directors voted unanimously to approve the relocation of the TLMFPD administrative offices to the first floor of 16055 Old Forest Point in Monument, behind Ent Federal Credit Union. The move could happen as soon as Nov. 1, Truty told the board. The new office will be inside district boundaries and provide an interim space until a time when the district might build a future fire station with an administration wing, he said.
The June 28 meeting adjourned at 8:48 p.m. At the July 26 meeting, the meeting went into executive session at 7:50 p.m. to discuss personnel matters regarding the performance of Fire Chief Chris Truty. Office Administrator Jennifer Martin told OCN that no announcements were made nor votes taken after the executive session.
Meetings are usually held the fourth Wednesday of each month. The next meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Aug. 23 at TLMFPD Station 1, 18650 Highway 105. For information, contact Jennifer Martin at 719-484-0911. For upcoming agendas, see http://tlmfire.org/board.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Caption: The Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District board voted on July 26 to include a 6.9 mill levy increase ballot measure in the November election. From left are Director Jason Buckingham, Treasurer John Hildebrandt, President Jake Shirk, Director Terri Hayes, Vice President Roger Lance, Secretary Mike Smaldino, and Director Tom Tharnish. Photo by Lisa Hatfield.
Caption: On July 26, Tri-Lakes Monument Chief Chris Truty swore in three new firefighters. From left are Keith Barker, Braden Stoenner, and Derek Thorne. Photo by Lisa Hatfield.
By Jennifer Kaylor
Fifteen guests including firefighters, residents, and non-residents attended the July 19 Donald Wescott Fire Protection District (DWFPD) board meeting. Discussion focused primarily on the proposed mill levy increase on which the board continued to receive public comment. The board approved a resolution to put the mill levy increase proposal on the November ballot.
All board members were present except Secretary Harland Baker, who was excused. Assistant Chief Scott Ridings was also excused.
Board approves mill levy resolution
Director Bo McAllister reiterated his support for the mill levy increase and reminded the audience that the increase essentially would place DWFPD on par with surrounding districts. He added that the current disparity between Wescott and other districts makes the possibility of a merger or other kind of alliance impractical.
Chief Vinny Burns explained that if voters do not approve the mill increase, DWFPD will be reduced to three professional firefighters. The staff would be parsed to one professional firefighter per day, plus a chief, and however many volunteers can be mustered. Grants and mitigation programs will disappear and the ability to respond to a wide variety of emergencies will be seriously compromised. Burns stated, "Twenty-one point nine mills ... there’s a reason for it, and that’s the cost of doing business, of putting an organization on the street that’s effective." Burns urged residents to consider the facts and consequences of a failed mill levy increase when casting their votes.
Board President Greg Gent read aloud the three-page proposed resolution in its entirety. The main portion of the Nov. 7, 2017, ballot issue asks, "shall Donald Wescott Fire Protection District Northern Sub-district taxes be increased $1,418,411—first full fiscal year dollar increase annually—beginning in levy year 2017 for collection in calendar year 2018 by increasing the sub-district’s existing property tax of 7 mills by 14.9 mills to be used for the continuing provision of services, programs, and facilities within the sub-district...?" Board members unanimously voted to adopt the resolution.
Background: The City of Colorado Springs annexed 22 square miles of DWFPD’s tax-paying service area. Although the annexation was initiated in 2003, DWFPD has been servicing the annexed area to support residents until the city built Colorado Springs Fire Department Station 22 on Voyager Parkway. The city completed Station 22 in 2016. Now DWFPD is engaged in a two-phase process to exclude the annexed territory from its service area resulting in the Donald Wescott Fire Protection District Northern Sub-district. When phase 2 of the exclusion is complete as of Jan. 1, 2019, it will effectively reduce the district’s annual revenue by 66 percent. DWFPD anticipates that a 14.9 mill annual increase will provide revenue to cover services for the next eight to 10 years. For additional details, see www.ocn.me/v16n11.htm#dwfpd-1105.
Two district residents, Delroy Johnson and Gary Rusnak, opened the public comments portion of the meeting. Johnson expressed doubt that the mill levy proposal would succeed. He suggested that the district offer alternative mill increases on the ballot in addition to the currently proposed 14.9 mill levy increase. Rusnak inquired about his request for a revision of the May meeting minutes. Burns responded that the corrections had been made, but the minutes had yet to be posted online. Rusnak also cautioned that the meeting minutes not list wildland fire income as surplus since the board had clarified that wildland fire income was strictly reimbursement.
Professional firefighter Luke Jones and volunteer firefighter Tim Hampton reinforced their support for the mill levy increase. Jones affirmed the chiefs’ transparency throughout all discussions regarding the Colorado Springs annexation and stated that the community’s best interests have always been paramount to the district. Speaking for all DWFPD career firefighters, Jones declared support for the mill levy proposal and concluded, "Let’s get to work."
Hampton, representing the volunteer corps, spoke of the cascading effect that a loss of career firefighters would have on the volunteers. Not only do the volunteers rely heavily on the career staff for training, but any losses in career staff will ultimately require increased numbers of volunteers as well as volunteer hours. Hampton also backed the mill levy proposal. Volunteer firefighter Melissa Seydenberg advocated for the passage of the mill levy increase as well. She thanked DWFPD for the assistance provided to family and friends and attested that the safety of loved ones does not have a price tag.
Regular board business
Burns read the bank balances in the absence of Administrative Assistant Stacey Popovich. May balances were $3,951 for People’s National Bank, $542,630 for the PNB Colorado Peak Fund, and $1.115 million for the Wells Fargo Public Trust. The three accounts totaled $1.661 million in May. June balances were $3,951 for PNB, $533,177 for the PNB Colorado Peak Fund, and $1.108 million for the Wells Fargo Public Trust. The three accounts totaled $1.645 million for June, leaving a difference of minus $16,489 from May to June.
Due to Ridings’ absence, the June and July call volume statistics will be provided at the August board meeting.
The Northern El Paso County Coalition of Community Associations Inc. (NEPCO) honored DWFPD with a certificate of honorary associate membership on July 15. Burns referenced the presentation that he and Fire Chief Chris Truty and Fire Marshal/Battalion Chief Jamey Bumgarner of Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD) conducted for NEPCO in March. Burns expressed appreciation for NEPCO’s information regarding land use and infrastructure projects that will be helpful in preparing for future fire incidents and other emergencies. A local homeowners’ association invited Burns to educate an Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) focus group on public safety, fire prevention, and disaster evacuation.
Caption: On July 15 at the regular Northern El Paso County Coalition of Community Associations Inc. (NEPCO) bimonthly meeting, NEPCO President, Larry Oliver, left (incorrectly identified in the print edition as NEPCO Treasurer Greg Lynd), honored Donald Wescott Fire Protection District with a certificate of membership that was accepted by Wescott Fire Chief Vinny Burns. Burns said, "I really do appreciate this. Any time that the fire service gets recognized, it’s a good day for me, so thank you everybody." Photo by Jim Kendrick.
The board adjourned at 7:49 p.m.
The next Donald Wescott Fire Protection District Board of Directors meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Aug. 15 at Station 1, 15415 Gleneagle Drive. Please call (719) 488-8680, a nonemergency number, to confirm, as recent meetings have had to be rescheduled. You may visit the district’s website at www.wescottfire.org. The district is also on Facebook and Twitter.
Jennifer Kaylor can be reached at email@example.com.
By Lisa Hatfield
The Joint Use Committee (JUC) of the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility (TLWWTF) heard a report from its environmental attorney on July 11 about upcoming topics related to water reuse and statewide regulations that might affect TLWWTF and its operation.
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 Secretary Terry Madison filled in for MSD board Chairman Ed DeLaney, vice president; and PLSD board Director Pat Smith, who was appointed JUC treasurer/secretary at this meeting. Other board and staff members of the three owner districts also attended, including MSD District Manager Mike Wicklund, PLSD District Manager Becky Orcutt, and WWSD Assistant District Manager Randy Gillette.
Water reuse questions to consider
TLWWTF Environmental Attorney Gabe Racz of Vranish & Raisch LLP visited the JUC. Racz has appeared frequently before the Colorado Water Quality Control Commission (WQCC), and in the water courts and district courts, beginning in 2001. Since 2015, he has been the facility’s legal counsel to represent the facility to the county, the state, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on clean water matters.
Racz shared his view on the process for the proposed indirect potable water reuse project for the Town of Monument and how it might affect TLWWTF, which is not owned or operated by the town. He said that, as far as he understands it, the town is proposing to take its portion of the treated effluent from the TLWWTF discharge pipe and transport it to the north in a new town water pipeline, then discharge it at some point upstream of the current, state-permitted TLWWTF discharge point. TLWWTF’s treated effluent is well within compliance with its discharge permit and therefore complies with the Clean Water Act, he said.
Possible alternatives for the new discharge point for this transported town effluent could include:
• Crystal Creek, which flows into the northeast corner of Monument Lake.
• Monument Creek, upstream of Monument Lake.
The transported town effluent could then flow into Monument Lake from either point. In either of these alternatives, the better-than-stream-quality effluent would be blended with creek flows upstream of Monument Lake. However, Monument Lake would no longer enjoy the special category of being a "headwaters lake" upstream of every wastewater facility discharge pipe along Monument Creek, and the much different rules that would subsequently apply to Monument Lake would greatly increase the costs and difficulty for any water entity that might want to use Monument Lake as a direct-use drinking water supply in the future.
A third alternative Racz noted could be to have this town effluent transported from TLWWTF’s discharge pipe in a new town water pipeline and discharged directly into Monument Creek just downstream of the Monument Lake dam but still upstream of the Arnold Avenue bridge. The town’s transported effluent from upstream then could be removed by the existing WWSD Monument Creek surface water withdrawal pumping station already located at the Arnold Avenue bridge. This existing WWSD pumping station is deliberately located upstream of the existing TLWWTF effluent discharge pipe outfall so that WWSD does not also have to remove any of the effluent’s remaining impurities as well as the creek’s existing surface water impurities at the bridge.
In any case, the town would then withdraw an equal amount of Monument Creek stream water at the Arnold Avenue bridge, upstream of TLWWTF. This withdrawn creek water would then have to undergo more town treatment to reach drinking water standards before entering the town’s water distribution system, west of I-25.
Racz summarized that for the town to start indirect potable reuse, it was likely that the town would need to build two treatment plant upgrades, a pump station, and a pipeline. He said the idea was similar to one already in use by the Parker Water and Sanitation District. However, the big difference was that in that case, Parker owns all the components: Parker’s drinking water, the wastewater treatment plant, the reservoir, and the drinking water treatment system. "It’s simpler to figure out."
The potential owners and/or decision-makers for this town water reuse initiative would include several different entities: the town of Monument; the TLWWTF JUC, which has three representatives from the boards of MSD, PLSD, and WWSD; the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) Water Quality Control Division (WQCD); and the CDPHE Water Quality Control Commission. The commission issues discharge permits to dischargers that are subject to complicated and variable regulations based on factors including:
• Whether the new town discharge point constitutes a "new facility" that would be subject to stricter discharge standards.
• The precise location of the town discharge point, particularly if it is upstream of Monument Lake, which is a direct-use drinking water source and would thus also invoke even stricter discharge standards on the town.
In a lengthy technical discussion with the group, Racz emphasized it would be important to figure out who owns what, who would operate what, and who would pay for which pieces of the puzzle for the proposed water reuse plants. Some questions raised by the group included:
• Would TLWWTF need another discharge permit at the new discharge point upstream?
• Would TLWWTF be the permit-holder and be responsible for meeting all the state regulations?
• Or would the Town of Monument go into the wastewater business and get its own discharge permit?
• How would Colorado’s Basic Standards and Methodologies for Surface Water Regulation 31 and Nutrients Management Control Regulation 85 be applied by the WQCD in the site approval and design review process for any of the possible scenarios?
The key concerns of Racz and the JUC included which total phosphorus (TP), copper, and chlorophyll ‘a’ limits might be applied, and how a new discharge point would inevitably further tighten TLWWTF’s current and already tighter future strictly-regulated discharge standards. He also voiced a question about a likely anti-degradation review of Monument Creek that would occur for a new discharge point, which could also have a significant financial impact on TLWWTF because the facility would lose the biotic ligand model exemption for copper that it won in the 2013 Regulation 32 Arkansas River Basin triennial hearing. TLWWTF would again have to meet the much lower and currently unattainable table-value copper standards because the existing TLWWTF discharge pipe would no longer be the first discharge into Monument Creek from its headwaters. The total cost of attaining the biotic ligand model exemption for copper was $500,000, which would be lost in all three town-proposed options.
Racz said water suppliers like the Town of Monument are not in the wastewater business and do not fully understand how long the state permitting process will take, which would vary based on which discharge point is selected. "It takes months to get site approval, design approval, and preliminary effluent limits…. You can’t be in a hurry.… If they want treatment to occur here (at TLWWTF), they need to come to you (the JUC) and ask how that is going to work out." He said the problem was that the JUC members know about all these potential problems and questions, but the town does not know.
Wicklund said he is a town resident and was concerned that the town was spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on engineers that it could have saved by just visiting a JUC meeting and asking questions. Strom said that if the town came to the JUC with at least a conceptual design, then the JUC could help brainstorm. MSD had invited the town in a letter in April, but the ball was now in their court, he said. See www.ocn.me/v17n5.htm#tlwtfjuc.
Other nutrients topics, nutrient regulations, and more
As MSD environmental compliance coordinator Jim Kendrick has explained at many past JUC meetings, Racz discussed the other big issue facing TLWWTF in the next 10 years: discharge effluent nutrient concentrations and effluent temperature, as well as how scheduled state hearings might change the actual regulations or the way the regulations are applied to discharger permit holders. The next WQCC nutrient reduction rulemaking hearing will be held on Oct. 10 for Regulation 31, "Basic Standards," and Regulation 85, "Methodologies for Surface Water and Nutrients Management Control Regulation." The commission will be ruling on the specific timeline that stricter total phosphorus (TP) and total nitrogen (TN) regulations will take effect, and he said it would be in the best interest of stakeholders to delay those implementations. See https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/wqcc-rulemaking-proceedings.
In 2022, a WQCC rulemaking hearing is scheduled regarding chlorophyll ‘a’ standards for all streams and lakes. And in 2027, it is likely that TP, TN, selenium, and ammonia standards will be on the table. "2027 will be a really tough hearing," Racz said. See www.ocn.me/v17n2.htm#tlwtf for more background.
Racz also described an incentive program still in development by the WQCD to encourage facilities to perform better than required by Reg. 85 limits before 2027. The reward for TLWWTF performing much better than the new Reg. 85 upper limits for total phosphorus removal could be an extended compliance schedule for their new total nitrogen permit requirements, and this could save money by delaying total nitrogen TLWWTF expansions. However, so far there are still multiple unknowns associated with this potential but still not approved incentive program that are making all Colorado wastewater treatment stakeholders wary about committing to participate.
The JUC consensus was to direct Racz to request "party status" for the October Water Quality Control Commission rulemaking hearing for the JUC, perhaps along with other stakeholder clients of Racz’s, so that Racz would be eligible to make official comments for the JUC during the October WQCC nutrients hearing.
Racz also discussed next year’s triennial Arkansas River Basin hearing and how its decisions on temperature standards for streams could affect stakeholders. He said at the triennial Gunnison and San Juan Basin hearings held on June 12 and 13 in Durango, the WQCC did not make much progress on what the allowed "shoulder season" (spring and fall) stream temperatures could be for various stream segments. Kendrick expressed concern about ways the commission makes unilateral decisions that do not allow for variations in widely disparate geographical conditions around the state, and he said, "that is why the Arkansas River/Fountain Creek Coalition for Urban/Rural River Evaluation (AF CURE) and TLWWTF keep collecting the data that will help to prove their ‘innocence’ as needed in the future." See www.ocn.me/v17n7.htm#tlwtfjuc.
Facility manager report
Facility Manager Bill Burks presented the discharge monitoring report (DMR) for May. As usual, there were no excursions from permitted limits. Strom said, "This plant is very well designed and does really good work, and we have really great operators running this plant and out in the districts."
Burks asked if he needed to keep reporting on TP contributions from each of the three districts, "Since the way the court case went, total phosphorus is not going to be an issue?"
Note: Burks was referring to the lawsuit filed in El Paso County District Court in 2015 by WWSD against MSD and PLSD over how the cost of the new TP chemical tertiary clarifier expansion would be shared. The judge’s decision on May 23, 2016 said that all costs for the TP clarifier expansion be divided by equal one-third shares, instead of by percentages based on each district’s proportional share of new total phosphorus treatment capacity; the district court judge interpreted the word "expansion" in the Joint Use of Facilities Agreement (JUA) to apply only to "flow capacity" expansions and not new "constituent treatment equipment" expansions like this new TP treatment constituent expansion. In their appeal on June 6, 2017, MSD and PLSD had cited "owned treatment capacity percentage" cost-sharing rules for constituent treatment expansions in Section 3 and Section 6 of the TLWWTF Joint Use of Facilities agreement. Three judges from the Colorado State Court of Appeals heard attorney statements from both sides, and on June 16, the court of appeals released its decision to uphold the district court’s decision, rendering moot these numerous paragraphs on cost-sharing for new permit-required constituent treatment capacity expansions by each district’s owned (and significantly unequal) percentage of flow treatment capacity. See www.ocn.me/v15n5.htm#tlfjuc0414, www.ocn.me/v15n6.htm#tljuc0512.
However, Strom said it has not been totally resolved, so Burks was directed to continue giving the individual district’s phosphorus contributions report until further notice. Burks said that for the year so far, Woodmoor contributed an average of 50 percent of the TP for the facility.
As Burks presented the financial report, he commented that one unusual item was that MSD had just written a check for $6,200 for the last few years of MSD’s north vault and south vault phosphorus monitoring. The consensus was that it was good to have data showing that the levels were different at the two points, because it meant that DePuy Synthes Johnson & Johnson, which already does its own industrial pre-treatment, might still need to modify its procedures further to reduce the TP it adds to MSD’s influent to TLWWTF.
Wicklund commented that it was nice to know about those results and that he, Burks, and Synthes would be meeting with Al Garcia of the EPA about it to try to reduce that phosphorus input. But he wished he had known about the results of the testing sooner. "We paid for two years of a study to see where phosphorus was coming from, but we just found out a meeting or two ago" (when the district was invoiced for these extra monthly tests) that the phosphorous level was significantly higher at the south vault than at the north vault, he said.
The financial report was accepted unanimously.
The meeting adjourned at 11:40 a.m.
The next meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. Aug. 8 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.
Thanks to OCN volunteer John Howe for recording this meeting. Lisa Hatfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jason Gross
The July 11 meeting of the Triview Metropolitan District focused primarily on district landscape maintenance issues raised by frustrated residents, and proposed standards for Triview public space maintenance. The board also received the results of an independent financial audit, discussed road repair delays, and considered ways to improve water conservation in the district.
New Superintendent of Public Works Gerry Shisler was introduced.
District Manager Valerie Remington, Shisler, General Counsel Gary Shupp, Board President Reid Bolander, Vice President Mark Melville, and Secretary/Treasurer Marco Fiorito were present. Director Jim Otis participated on teleconference. Director James Barnhart 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.
Residents frustrated by poor maintenance
The public meeting was attended by Jackson Creek and Promontory Pointe residents who came to complain about the poor open space maintenance, particularly the area in the center between 426 and 450 Oxbow Drive, and the park on the corner of Talus Road and Burke Hollow Drive. Discussion on landscape issues and solutions took up about half of the three-hour meeting.
Residents Misty McCuen, Brittany McPherson, Levi Murray, Peter Gordon, Jeff Lampman, Dennis Murphy, Jeff Bornstein, Thomas Olson, Arlene Olson, and LeeAnn Vennie had various landscaping concerns, summarized below. Murphy and Bornstein are also members of the Monument Board of Trustees.
• Public spaces, particularly along Leather Chaps Drive, weren’t watered/green as they should be.
• The open space on Oxbow Drive was just dirt and weeds. Residents claimed it has not had a working sprinkler system in two years.
• The open space on Oxbow Drive should be re-greened with sod and not just reseeded.
• No weed control on road medians/sidewalks.
• Dead trees on Gleneagle Drive (for the past year).
• The Burke Hollow Drive and the Kitchener Way Parks have bare spots and weeds.
• The Burke Hollow Drive Park playground equipment requires maintenance and additional mulch below the slides for child safety
• A bench and picnic table should be added at the Burke Hollow Drive Park.
• There are large tumbleweeds on the open space hillsides.
• Sand in the streets isn’t swept up.
• Residents have to keep asking for work to get done instead of the district taking care of it automatically as part of routine maintenance.
• Overall inadequate open space maintenance gives a poor appearance to the neighborhoods and detracts from home value.
Residents wanted an explanation of where their tax dollars have gone, since they say they apparently have not gone to landscape maintenance. They also wanted to know who was being held accountable for the poor state of the landscaping.
Remington said the sprinkler system issues had come to her attention on June 28, and she has "assertively" focused on landscaping since then to address those issues. She directed the maintenance team to focus solely on fixing the greenbelt issues, with the exception of road maintenance, until the issues get under control. She said that this means work on weeds, tree trimming, fences, and trail work will not be accomplished until the public space irrigation issues are fixed. Her efforts revealed 15 breaks in the irrigation systems that the team has been working on:
1. Creekside leak—two-day major dig costing about $5,000
2. Oxbow leak—two-day repair, last fix completed on July 12.
3. Chesapeake open space, minor repair
4. Paiute Park—repairs completed previous week
5. James Gate Park open space, repairs complete
6. Lyons Tail—two breaks, complete
7. Misty Creek—major break requiring outside contractor, $2,600 repair complete
8. Upper Promontory Point—still under Classic Homes warranty, working with Classic to fix
9. Anne Arbor, repair compete
10. Promontory Park, repairs complete
11. Promontory pond—two leaks, scheduled to be completed after Leather Chaps repairs later in July
12. Promontory pond by Baptist and Glen Eagle—two major leaks, repaired
13. Leather Chaps east side—major repairs to 3-inch lines, already three repairs this summer. If additional repairs are needed, may need to replace whole line.
14. Leather Chaps and Kitchener—repairs should be done in current week
15. Leather Chaps west side—two breaks in 3-inch main line should be fixed in current week
Remington also explained that cost was the reason the district opted to go with seeding the Oxbow open space instead of laying sod. They received an estimate of $6,000 for sod, and that didn’t include a sod cutting machine, topsoil, or fertilizer. Oxbow-area residents at the meeting asked the board to just till the area and hold off on seeding until sod could be purchased. The residents’ consensus appeared to be that seeding the area would be waste of money since numerous children play in the area and the seed wouldn’t likely grow.
Other actions that Remington has directed include:
• Verifying all sprinkler controllers are programmed correctly.
• Changing watering to daytime hours so staff is available to verify the system is working.
• Fertilizing and doing extra watering are planned but are limited since public space watering takes a lot of water, and there needs to be sufficient time each day for water recovery in the storage tank to meet peak residential water use times.
Regarding the question on where the money has gone for maintenance, Remington said that until the last few years the district has been in very poor financial condition, and very little was done for either water system or landscape maintenance. The district is $56 million in debt and has been paying $3 million yearly in interest. In recent years, renewed residential growth has increased district income, and last year the current board refinanced the debt to a lower interest rate, providing additional money to use for maintenance. The district has prioritized first improving the household water systems. The available funds were used to hire Josh Cichocki as water superintendent and operator in responsible charge, and perform upgrades and overdue maintenance on the residential drinking water systems. Remington said Shisler was just hired earlier in July to be the public works superintendent. One additional hiring is planned for the landscape division next year, and the board will consider adding even more in next year’s budget.
Murphy suggested that given the limited funds, the board needed a prioritized plan for landscape maintenance. The board agreed with his recommendation. District President Reid Bolander assessed the district’s efforts on landscaping as failing, and all board members present empathized with the resident’s concerns. He directed District Manager Remington to examine this year’s budget to see if there was any way to obtain sod for the Oxbow greenbelt since it was a particularly egregious example and an area heavily used by children.
Residents Thomas and Arlene Olson were concerned about a vehicle fluid leak from a landscape contractor that discolored the street in front of their home. The board was aware of the issue and said that it was hydraulic fluid and that they would look into what was needed to improve the cleanup. Bornstein said he was very familiar with hydraulic fluid and that it would be impossible to clean up the discoloration without destroying the asphalt. He advised the discoloration should fade over time.
While they noted their frustration and desire for accountability, the residents at the meeting were cordial. They expressed their appreciation for Cichocki for his explanations and engagement with the residents on their concerns.
Note: In May 2013, Triview subcontracted its water operations management to an off-site company called ORC Water Professionals. Cichocki was hired in May 2016 as the Triview water superintendent, the first since 2013. He has been reporting to the board about landscaping, roads, and drainage maintenance issues this year just as much as he has been reporting on water system maintenance and Sanctuary Pointe water system construction. See www.ocn.me/v13n6.htm#bot0506, www.ocn.me/v16n6.htm#tvmd0517.
Resident Peter Gordon offered to organize his neighbors to help weed if the district provided weed killer. Other residents present said they were willing to help lay sod for the Oxbow open space problem if it helped with costs, and suggested the district organize some sort of volunteer residential cleanup day. Trustees Murphy and Bornstein expressed their appreciation for the way both the residents present and the Triview board respectfully talked about the issues.
Triview landscape standards policy approved
The board discussed a proposed landscape policy document that President Bolander said "will be the standard in the future" to guide maintenance personnel and provide accountability. This document can be reviewed on the Triview website at www.colorado.gov/pacific/triviewmetro/district-policies.
District Manager Remington explained to the board the results of her initial analysis on the cost to implement the policy. A basic "mow, blow, and go" costs about $80,000 per year. Implementing the proposed standards would cost about a half-million dollars a year for supplies, repairs, and labor, not including additional equipment for employees added to meet the increased workload. Board member Mark Melville noted the current budget for landscaping, tree removal, sprinklers, etc., is about $95,000 a year. The board discussed the standards extensively, primarily the need for increased xeriscaping to decrease water use and costs, concluding the standards were necessary but it would take time to fully implement them.
The board voted to accept the standards with the caveats that it will be financially constrained and be a multi-year implementation plan. The goal is to fully implement the plan in three to five years. The vote was 4-0 in favor of accepting the policy.
Road repairs delayed
Triview has been planning district road improvements since September 2016, hiring the firm Terracon to advise on the most economic and effective approach (see www.ocn.me/v16n10.htm#tvmd). During public comments, the board was asked about the status since the summer is half over and no road improvements have been observed. Remington said the road work was supposed to have gone out for bids by the end May, but due to personnel turnover at Terracon the work has been delayed. Melville asked Remington if some of the money that was given to Terracon could be refunded due to the delay. Remington said she would look into it.
Remington also said once road work started, work on landscape improvements except for basic mowing will be affected because the public works personnel will need to help with lane closures and traffic control.
Contact information for issues in Triview
In response to the numerous concerns on landscaping, Remington clarified that the best options for informing Triview of any issues was to use the email on the website, email@example.com, or call the office at 719-488-6868 and speak to Administrative Assistant Wendy Brown. Remington said email was monitored daily, and Brown was responsible for ensuring issues were sent to the correct Triview department for action.
New Sanctuary Pointe homes require sewage lifts
Remington brought to the board’s attention that sewage lifts were being installed in the new homes in Sanctuary Pointe. She explained that sewage lifts are used when a home’s solid waste pipes are lower than the central sewage pipe. She requested the board adopt standards similar to those of the City of Colorado Springs for the lifts. She also requested a policy statement be developed to make clear to homeowners in Sanctuary Pointe that any sewage lift repair was the responsibility of the homeowner, and not Triview. The board concurred. Remington said she would consult with legal counsel on the wording and provide a statement for approval later.
Independent audit accepted
Independent audit firm Stockman, Kast Ryan and Co. presented the board with the results of its audit of Triview’s accounts. Auditor Steve Hochstetter said the audit went well, and there were no indications of improper financial practices. Financial statements were "fairly presented in all material respects," which is the highest level of assurance the firm gives on financial statements. The board accepted the audit unanimously.
Checks over $5,000
Two checks for over $5,000 were presented to the board for approval.
• $6,416 to 4Rivers Equipment for repairs to the district’s backhoe
• $91,471 to Donala Water and Sanitation District for Triview’s quarterly share of operating the Upper Monument Creek Wastewater Facility
The board approved the checks unanimously.
District to receive collaboration award
Remington announced that Triview, along with Donala Water and Sanitation District, will receive a collaboration award from the Special District Association of Colorado for their cooperation during last summer’s water leak in Triview.
Note: On July 28, Triview posted a notice of a public information session to be held Aug. 1 at 5:30 p.m. The session consisted of a 2½-hour presentation by Remington and Shisler and a board discussion on progress made and problems encountered over the two weeks since the last meeting to improve landscaping maintenance. As posted on the agenda, no public comment was allowed during this special meeting. Then the meeting went into executive session to confer with the district’s attorney regarding legal advice on specific legal questions and personnel matters. The directors told OCN they did not expect to take any votes or make any announcements after the executive session. More information about this special meeting will be summarized as part of the Aug. 8 Triview meeting article.
Jason Gross can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By James Howald
At the July 13 meeting of the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD) board, a representative of audit firm John Cutler and Associates presented the results of the district’s financial audit. Also, the board discussed a suggestion concerning its strategy for refunding the district’s water and wastewater revenue bonds. Finally, the board heard operational reports from staff.
Audit report shows "extreme good financial health"
Uli Keeley, audit manager at John Cutler and Associates LLC, presented to the board the results of the district’s financial audit. According to Keeley, the audit went smoothly and WWSD was well-prepared. The district will receive an unmodified opinion in the audit report with only minor adjustments needed, Keeley said.
In her remarks to the board, Keeley pointed out that total revenue for the district in 2016 was $10.982 million, about $2 million higher than expected. Keeley attributed the higher revenue to tap fees generated by the quick pace of development in the district. District expenditures were about $750,000 less than anticipated, coming in at $7.310 million for the same period. Together, these factors brought about the district’s "extreme good financial health" finding, Keeley said.
The board voted unanimously to accept the audit report.
Board considers advanced refunding strategy for bonds
District Manager Jessie Shaffer asked the board to consider whether to refinance water and wastewater revenue bonds the district issued in 2011. The bonds are backed by revenues and not by taxes, cannot be called in the first 10 years, and can only be refinanced once, Shaffer said. Shaffer asked the board to consider an advanced refunding of some of the district’s non-callable debt, which he argued would save the district money over the long run.
The strategy had been reviewed by district financial advisor Jim Manire, Shaffer said, adding the board would need to decide when the cost savings would be enough to justify the refinancing, and that this decision would have to be based on expectations about whether interest rates were likely to rise or to fall.
In response to a question from Director Brian Bush about the costs of refinancing, Shaffer said the district would pay fees to the bonds’ underwriters and to the district’s bond counsel. These fees would be covered by savings over the life of the bonds, Shaffer said. The projected savings after all fees were paid would be close to $1 million, Shaffer said.
The board elected to do further analysis on the strategy before making a decision.
Board reschedules meeting
To accommodate staff schedules, the board decided to change its August meeting from Aug. 10 to Aug. 17.
Operational report highlights
The operational report included the following:
• The siphon reconstruction project at the Chilcott Ditch has been completed within budget.
• Lake water is currently being used, and the lake water aerators are functioning well.
• Equipment for the ozone treatment project has arrived.
The next meeting is scheduled for Aug. 17 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., but the district delayed the August meeting by one week. See www.woodmoorwater.com or call 488-2525 to verify meeting times.
James Howald can be reached at email@example.com.
By Jim Kendrick
On July 20, there was once again consensus by the Donala Water and Sanitation District board that Donala’s primary water mission is to ensure its customers have a sufficient stable supply of clean, safe drinking water. Donala has no plans to be a water provider for any other water entity, other than Triview during another dire water supply emergency.
Donala recently turned on its interconnect with Triview for the first time, temporarily, when Triview was about 15 minutes away from not having enough water in its single water tank to be able to operate its fire hydrants during a major structure fire event. However, the cause of that Triview emergency has been eliminated.
Board President Dave Powell’s absence on an out-of-state trip was unanimously excused.
Developers’ water worries wane
District General Manager Kip Petersen reported on delays in El Paso County approval for an amended land use proposal for converting some portions of the former Gleneagle golf course property from the previously approved 47 patio home lot zoning to standard single-home zoning. This first approval only permitted 41 residential single-family lots. The developer then proposed another amendment that increased the proposed number of single-family lots to 56. Ensuing county approval delays will now cause the receipt of Donala tap fee payments in 2017 for some of these 56 tap fees to be further delayed until after the end of this year, creating a 2017 budget capital project cash reserve shortfall.
This postponement of about $400,000 in 2017 tap fee revenue that had been targeted to pay for a like amount of 2017 capital project costs will now require rescheduling of some projects for after 2017.
This golf course residential infill project had been delayed in part by the county Planning Commission and Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) due to a waiver request for county acceptance of a Donala water service guarantee of 100 years instead of 300 years.
Furthermore, the separate Academy Gateway commercial project at the south end of Gleneagle Drive, between Struthers Road and I-25, has been similarly delayed in part by the county due to a waiver request for county acceptance of a Donala water service guarantee of 100 years instead of 300 years. The county 300-year groundwater guarantee regulation does not currently take into account any renewable water supplies that reduce or even entirely replace a project’s groundwater dependence.
Note: For more information on the BOCC’s unprecedented approval of these two complicated land use issues, see the OCN May 23 BOCC meeting report at www.ocn.me/v17n6.htm#epbocc. Also, see items 13 through 19 of the May 23 BOCC minutes and their linked approved BOCC resolution at http://bcc2.elpasoco.com/bocc/agendas/ 2017AgendaResults/17-05-23Minutes.pdf. For more complete descriptions of the complexities, see:
Other information is available at: http://www.gleneaglehoa.org/Portals/0/newsletters/The%20Eagles%20View%20April%202016%20Web.pdf?ver= 2016-04-07-223007-873
Petersen noted that budget numbers for other line items and capital projects are normal. Water sales were about 50 percent of the forecast total at the end of June. The first two quarterly payments for operation of the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility from the Triview and Forest Lakes Metropolitan Districts have been received. Donala staff members operate the joint venture wastewater facility for the three owner districts and also oversee Forest Lakes water and wastewater district operations on a contract basis.
The financial reports were unanimously accepted as presented.
Petersen said he had arranged to have Jim Broderick, general manager of the Southeast Colorado Water Conservancy District, attend the Aug. 17 regular Donala board meeting to discuss how Donala could become a conservancy district member. The conservancy district manages the Pueblo Reservoir for the owner, the federal Bureau of Reclamation. As a conservancy district member, Donala may be able to secure more favorable long-term reservoir storage leases. A condition of membership would be that Donala property owners approve a ballot measure for a 0.9 mill property tax specifically dedicated to ensure conservancy district dues and water storage lease fees will be paid annually by Donala in future years. Currently Donala is only eligible for annual "if and when excess storage is available for lease" rates, if and when excess Pueblo Reservoir storage capacity has not been all been leased by higher-priority reservoir leaseholders. Mill levy election options are May 2018 or May 2020.
Petersen reported on his panel presentation at the July 15 local water issues forum, hosted by the Northern El Paso County Coalition of Community Associations (NEPCO), as district manager for Donala and as this year’s president of the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority (PPRWA). Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District Manager and last year’s PPRWA President Jessie Shaffer and Triview board member James Otis also spoke on water issues. There were 25 representatives of Tri-Lakes region homeowners’ associations in attendance. These three answered questions about:
• Their board’s composition and size
• What services they can legally provide
• Types of district customers
• Their water service area boundaries
• Types of owned water rights and each water right’s individual sustainability
• How their district plans to keep water rates affordable
Now that the Legislature has adjourned for 2017, the next meetings of the PPRWA will be held in the fourth quarter of the year.
Willow Creek Ranch
A Donala crew will be at Willow Creek Ranch just southwest of Leadville conducting routine equipment maintenance for the flumes, siltation removal, and fencing repairs. Other items are landscaping to optimize snowmelt flows and wildfire mitigation.
Petersen said that irrigation season demands are being met with district groundwater pumping infrastructure, which is working well after being turned off for many months over the winter and spring. Overall, about 42 million gallons were produced in June. One low-flow shallow potable groundwater well pump (well 2D) was damaged by sand ingestion and will be repaired later this year. The Upper Monument wastewater effluent flume needs to be replaced simply due to its age. The GMS engineering firm will formulate a re-design project plan. The preliminary estimated replacement cost is about $30,000.
The Doral Way pipeline replacement project (3,200 feet of 8-inch potable water lines) will start in mid-August and should be finished in early October.
Restaurant grease trap and dentist amalgam separator inspections will continue to be performed by the district to ensure compliance.
The meeting adjourned at 2:35 p.m.
The next board meeting will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Aug. 17 in the district conference room at 15850 Holbein Drive. Information: 488-3603 or www.donalawater.org. Regular meetings are normally held on the third Thursday of the month, except in June and November. http://donalawater.org/images/stories/pdfs/Board%20Meeting%20Annual%20Schedule.pdf
Jim Kendrick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Lisa Hatfield
Building a new reservoir in the Tri-Lakes area, co-owned by several water entities, could provide storage for renewable water purchased and imported from other places, the trustees learned at the July 17 Monument Board of Trustees (BOT) meeting. The board also decided that town code enforcement will now be handled by a subcontractor, and they discussed marijuana and roads maintenance and approved a new fast-food restaurant.
Town employee Zachary Deblois received a certificate of recognition from Town Manager Chris Lowe for his quick action in administering first aid to an injured teen, and new town attorney Alicia Corley was sworn in. See related photos on the facing page.
Trustee Greg Coopman was absent.
Regional water supply system presentation
Engineer Will Koger of Forsgren Associates presented information about future water supplies for the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority (PPRWA) that was similar to presentations Forsgren Associates gave last month at both Donala Water and Sanitation District and Triview Metropolitan District board meetings. See www.ocn.me/v17n7.htm#tvmd for more details about the future of water in our area.
Key point: For the purposes of the regional water plan, it was assumed that it will not be economically feasible to pump water from large municipal wells in the Denver Basin aquifers by 2050. Additional wells would not produce enough water to justify the cost of drilling them, Koger said.
He emphasized the need for local water districts to find additional sources of renewable water since the current groundwater supplies are diminishing. The Town of Monument’s water system west of I-25 currently relies almost exclusively on water from the aquifers. By 2050, a deficit of 9,397 acre-feet a year is projected for just the Tri-Lakes area, and statewide a 500,000 acre-foot gap is forecast by then. An acre-foot is about the amount of water used by two single-family homes for one year.
All 350,000 people who currently rely on Denver Basin water need to take note and make changes, Koger said. Municipalities up and down the Front Range are all working to find alternative renewable water sources. (In answer to this reporter’s question after the meeting, he told OCN that individually owned domestic wells in the shallow Dawson aquifer would hopefully still have adequate flow for individual residences in 2050, but this would vary on a case-by-case basis.)
The goal of the PPRWA regional water infrastructure study was to find ways to use current supplies as efficiently as possible and create an infrastructure network for renewable water delivery from elsewhere. The Forsgren Area 3 section of the regional study included the Town of Monument, the Town of Palmer Lake, Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District, Triview Metropolitan District, and Donala Water and Sanitation District, Koger said. All of those entities could begin regional cooperation and "bring something to the table" including pipelines, water rights, and corridors where pipeline infrastructure could be built to deal with the huge projected gap in water supply that is looming.
For example, the Southern Delivery System (SDS) pipeline already exists between the Pueblo Reservoir/Arkansas River and Colorado Springs, and another pipeline reaches between the Sundance Ranch wellfield in Black Forest and the Cherokee Metropolitan District east of Colorado Springs. Both of those pipes might help bring water from the Arkansas River to the Tri-Lakes area—in maybe 15 to 20 years and at an estimated cost of $280 million, Koger said.
The "hub of the wheel" in the Tri-Lakes area is finding a place to store the renewable water that could be piped up this way during the off-season months when water is actually available and not being used by senior water rights holders. Koger said the Homeplace Ranch Reservoir idea makes the most sense right now. The idea is to build a $20.5 million, 86-acre reservoir between Higby Road and Gleneagle Drive/Promontory Pointe that could hold 2,750 acre-feet of water behind a dam. Right now, that land is owned by Challenger Homes.
Estimates from Forsgren Associates say the full-scale PPRWA Area 3 Preliminary Engineering Study would cost $54 million and take five to 10 years to complete the detailed analysis that would need to be done before anything new could be built.
Koger’s comments included:
• A new governance structure would still need to be created to coordinate ownership of the reservoir among all the entities who might decide to participate.
• The costs estimated in the study did not include purchasing water rights; those must be purchased separately by each entity to plug into the system.
• Operations and maintenance costs were also not included in the figures he presented.
• A capital expenditure plan would need to be phased in.
• It would take time to get permits from the state regarding proximity of a dam to I-25, building on wetlands, and building on Preble’s jumping mouse habitat.
Trustee Shea Medlicott suggested that any policy decisions among local water providers were still in the "cat herding" phase, saying, "Let’s get out in front of it, instead of waiting for everyone to figure out what they are doing," and the trustees agreed. Koger said it might be better for all the PPRWA members together to reach out to Challenger Homes about purchasing the land for the reservoir, and Town Manager Chris Lowe said he would commit to contacting the other potential regional partners to discuss how to accomplish that goal.
Note: In April, the Donala board chose not to participate in the proposed joint purchase of the Homeplace Ranch parcel. See www.ocn.me/v17n5.htm#dwsd in the manager’s report section.
Besides the reservoir, ideas included treating the imported renewable water to drinking water standards and pumping it back into the aquifers for storage until it is needed in peak demand season. This is called Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR), and it is being done in Highlands Ranch already, Koger said. For more information, see www.ocn.me/v17n7.htm#tvmd.
Code enforcement will be sub-contracted
Town Manager Lowe presented a resolution asking the trustees to authorize a contract for code enforcement services for the town to be performed by Community Preservation Specialists Inc. He said this would be the most cost-effective method of replacing a staff position that has seasonal demands and that the level of service could be adjusted based on the town’s needs. The trustees voted unanimously to accept the resolution.
Trustee Jeff Bornstein asked Town Attorney Alicia Corley if the town could impose penalties on Triview Metropolitan District the same way it could for residents of the town who have code violations, such as managing weeds in their yards. "What if a metro district is not standing up to its responsibilities?" Corley said she would investigate.
Note: Triview is a Colorado Title 32 special district, completely within Monument’s town boundaries, mostly on the east side of I-25. Title 32 special districts are local governments authorized by the Colorado Revised Statutes for specific functions, and their activities are subject to strict statutory guidelines. Triview provides roads, parks, and drainage maintenance, and water and sanitation utility services, to the residents and businesses in the district roughly bordered by Old Denver Road, Higby Road, and Baptist Road. See related Triview article on page 12.
Illegal marijuana seized, and more statistics
The police report included in the town manager report said that in June, based upon information from the Fire Department, Monument police wrote a search warrant and seized 153 marijuana plants and arrested two people for illegal cultivation, a felony. The Police Department received assistance from the Vice and Narcotics Task Force on this case.
The report also said that criminal trespass auto cases have dramatically slowed since June based on arrests of most of the suspects.
Later in the meeting, Bornstein reported on the June 29 Joint Municipalities/County Meeting held in Colorado Springs. Besides discussions on the need to widen I-25, and a possible regionalization of city and county emergency management services, Bornstein said Colorado Springs District Attorney Dan May and Colorado Springs Police Chief Peter Carey presented the gathered mayors, first responder chiefs, and other local leaders with information such as:
• 60 percent of Americans want to be able to procure marijuana.
• Colorado is in the top 5 percent of drug use in the U.S.
• Colorado’s 12- to 17-year-olds are 74 percent above average marijuana use for that age.
• Opiates and heroin use is rising very aggressively.
• Methamphetamine use is holding steady, and cocaine is coming back.
• Marijuana cultivation consumes 1 percent of U.S. energy supplies.
• 50 percent of babies born in Pueblo have marijuana in their systems.
• Over 50 percent of homeless people came to Colorado because of marijuana availability.
Fast-food restaurant final PD site plan
Planner II Jennifer Jones presented the trustees with an ordinance for a Final PD Site Plan for a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant in Monument Marketplace, at 15822 Jackson Creek Parkway. The Monument Planning Commission approved the plan on June 14 by a vote of 4-2. See www.ocn.me/v17n7.htm#mpc.
Jones said Triview Metropolitan District had not yet issued a water will-serve letter for the site, but those details would be worked out as a condition of final approval. The trustees asked a few questions about the proposed signage on the building, which will include both earth-tone stripes and red-and-white stripes and a large image of Colonel Sanders. She said the proposed design fell within the town’s sign standards, and the signs would be approved separately from this final PD site plan.
No members of the public spoke either for or against the ordinance. The trustees voted unanimously to approve the final PD site plan.
MVEA substation landscaping amended
Principal Planner Larry Manning presented a major amendment to an approved PD site plan from 2014 for the Anderson Mountain View Electric Association (MVEA) substation on Jackson Creek Parkway. The site is south of a new Triview well and west of a self-storage facility.
Manning explained that the proposal was to remove landscaping requirements for sections of the north and east side of the lot, adjacent to the well site and self-storage building. No members of the public spoke either for or against the ordinance. The trustees voted unanimously to approve the amendment.
Sidewalk work beginning on Baptist Road
Mayor Pro-Tem Don Wilson reported that work was scheduled to begin soon on medians and a sidewalk on the north side of West Baptist Road from Jackson Creek Parkway at least to Leather Chaps Drive. This project was using the last of the funds generated by the Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority. See related BRRTA sidewalk photo on the facing page.
Asphalt overlay project
The July 3 BOT meeting was canceled. At a special meeting on July 7, the trustees approved a resolution awarding a $127,000 contract to Martin Marietta for the 2017 asphalt overlay project. It will include improving sections of Beacon Lite Road and Mitchell Avenue.
Road maintenance plan debated
Bornstein announced that he had attended the July 11 Triview meeting, along with Trustee Dennis Murphy, and that he was told there that Triview would not be doing roads repairs this year.
However, Triview District Manager Valerie Remington spoke up at that point to correct Bornstein, saying the district had allocated $830,000 for 2017 roads maintenance, the pavement conditions had been evaluated by engineers, and the bids for the work were due by late July. See www.ocn.me/v17n7.htm#tvmd and related July 11 Triview article.
Checks over $5,000
On July 7 and 17, the following checks over $5,000 for were approved as part of the consent agendas:
• Logan and Associates LLC, final 2016 audit billing − $6,800
• Triview Metro District, sales tax, motor vehicle tax, and regional building tax − $186,662
• CIRSA Insurance, third-quarter workers comp − $18,278
• CIRSA Insurance, third-quarter liability − $29,056
• Lytle Water Solutions LLC, well engineering on five projects − $8,358
• Applied Ingenuity, emergency repairs to well 8 − $82,169
• Velocity Plant Services, well 9 treatment modifications − $64,240
• Mountain States Recreation, fishing dock at Monument Lake − $23,286
• Blue Line Rental Equipment Sales, walk behind trencher − $16,395
• Civic Plus Web Design, annual web service − $7,899
Village Center update
Mayor Jeff Kaiser asked Lowe about the status of the Village Center Metropolitan District’s request to meet with the town about its financial situation and how the town could help. Lowe said he had met with them right after the June 5 board meeting but that to his knowledge, they had not taken any action since then and, "the ball is in their court right now." See www.ocn.me/v17n7.htm#mbot.
The meeting adjourned at 8:02 p.m.
Note: Monument Town Manager Chris Lowe is hosting a listening tour, which is designed to allow the public to share concerns, discuss issues, and provide information to help the town learn more about the community it serves. These are intended for individual citizens to have one-on-one conversations with Chris. The following are the tour dates:
• "Early Bird Coffee" will take place at Espresso Americano, 15954 Jackson Creek Parkway, Monument, on Aug. 15 from 7 to 9 a.m.
• "Lunch Break" at Serrano’s Coffee, 625 Highway 105, Monument, on Aug. 16 from 1 to 3 p.m.
• "After Hours" at Back East Bar and Grill, 1455 Cipriani Loop, Monument, date and time to be determined. Please check the website for updates: www.townofmonument.org.
If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact Lowe at email@example.com.
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 Aug. 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 Board of Trustees or to download audio recordings of past meetings, see http://monumenttownco.minutesondemand.com and click on Board of Trustees.
Lisa Hatfield can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Caption: Town employee Zachary Deblois received a certificate of recognition from Town Manager Chris Lowe on July 17 for his quick action in administering first aid to a teen who had suffered a bike accident. While on his street sweeping route, Deblois saw the injured teenager on the ground and used the first aid kit in his truck to stem the heavy bleeding until the teen’s mother arrived and took him to an urgent care clinic. Photo by Lisa Hatfield.
Caption: Alicia Corley, left, the Town of Monument’s new staff attorney, was sworn in July 17 by Town Clerk Laura Hogan. Photo by Lisa Hatfield.
Caption: Local residents are enjoying Monument Lake’s new dock. Fishing (with a license) and boating (without a motor) are allowed at both Monument Lake and Palmer Lake. Call the towns for details on lake ordinances. Photo by Lisa Hatfield.
By James Howald
The Palmer Lake Town Council met twice in July: on July 13 and 27. Attorney Christopher Price, of Widner Juran LLP, attended the first meeting in place of Town Attorney Maureen Juran. Juran attended the second meeting.
The council devoted the bulk of both meetings to detailed discussions of two proposed ordinances. The first ordinance attempts to address fire prevention in the Glen, a neighborhood in the west side of Palmer Lake. The second ordinance, which has been discussed at several previous meetings, aims to extend the town’s moratorium on marijuana-related businesses.
The council also discussed the town’s new purchasing policy and decided to move ahead with the planned upgrade to the audio system in the Town Hall.
Fire prevention concerns spark debate
At the July 13 meeting, resident Gary Faust addressed the council on the topic of fire danger in the Glen, which he argued was extremely high, and requested that the neighborhood be put on permanent stage 2 fire restrictions. Faust said the town’s existing ordinances were not clear and were not consistently enforced.
Fire Chief Adam Colvin explained to the council that existing ordinances distinguished between two types of fires: "open burns," which are typically used to maintain a property and require a permit and the presence of Fire Department staff, and "open fires," which are recreational in nature, and are often used for cooking or for religious ceremonies. Open fires require an inspection, but not a permit. Stage 2 restrictions would allow the town to limit both types of fires, Colvin said
Several other residents echoed Faust’s concerns at the July 13 meeting.
At the July 27 meeting, Town Administrator Cathy Green-Sinnard said she had spoken to the Coalition for the Upper South Platte (CUSP), an organization that has helped the town with its fire mitigation efforts. CUSP said restrictions on a specific neighborhood, rather than on the entire town, would likely require a ballot initiative and a vote by the residents.
Faust spoke again to argue that fire in the Glen would be catastrophic and could impact the town’s water supply.
Resident Alex Farr said that permanent fire restrictions in the Glen would take away his property rights.
The council asked Colvin to work on more precise language to define exactly what fell into the category of an open fire, and to present his work at a future meeting.
Council returns to design of marijuana ordinance
At the July 27 meeting, Juran summarized the recent changes she had made to the town’s ordinance on marijuana-related businesses. She had consolidated several ordinances into one, with the goal of simplification, and had removed provisions that are regulated by state law. Juran mentioned she had met with owners of the town’s two marijuana businesses and had incorporated some of their suggestions. She pointed out that marijuana licenses are granted to a single addressed structure, and said she hoped the council would be ready to move to adoption.
The owners of the town’s two existing marijuana-related businesses objected to the adoption of the new ordinance, arguing that it would prevent them from expanding their current businesses. In the case of Premier Organics LLC, owned by the Woodward family, the new ordinance would prohibit them from expanding into an additional building in the Palmer Lake Technology Center. In the case of Palmer Lake Wellness, owned by Dino Salvatori, the new ordinance could potentially prevent him from using space in his current building that is presently unused.
After a lengthy discussion revolving around the legal definitions of addressed structures, parcels, and lots, the council voted unanimously to table further discussion of the ordinance to allow Juran to draft language that would be more acceptable to the business owners but still meet the requirements of the council.
New purchasing policy exercised to purchase boat
At the July 27 meeting, Green-Sinnard asked the council to approve the payment of an invoice for $73,000 for a boat with weed-trimming equipment that will be used to remove aquatic weeds from the upper reservoir. The weeds need to be removed so they don’t block the water system intake, Green-Sinnard said.
The town’s recently-approved purchasing policy allows the Town Administrator to approve budgeted purchases only up to $15,000.
The council voted unanimously to approve the purchase of the equipment.
Council approves bid for upgrade to audio system
The council voted unanimously to approve a bid of $16,863 from ListenUp for an upgrade to the microphone and speakers at the Town Hall.
The two meetings for August will be at 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 10 and 24 at Town Hall, 42 Valley Crescent. Meetings are normally held on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month. Information: 481-2953.
James Howald can be reached at email@example.com.
By Jackie Burhans
Lewis-Palmer School District (LPSD) held a public hearing on July 18 on its request for a waiver from the state Board of Education regarding the deadline for filing a charter school application. The meeting, run by Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Wangeman, was attended by Superintendent Karen Brofft, Secretary to the Superintendent Vicki Wood, board member Sarah Sampayo, and five members of the public.
Wangeman presented an overview of the waiver request that had been presented by the district Board of Education and reviewed the steps that were taken to notify the public.
District 38 desires to change the charter school application filing deadline from Oct. 1 to April 30 for a charter applicant to be eligible for consideration for opening in the fall of the following calendar year. The meeting material explained that this would provide the school district with an additional five months to review the application for completeness and to request additional information as may be necessary before officially submitting the application to the local Board of Education. This earlier submittal deadline would provide charter school planning teams with more time to prepare for the opening of the new school. A submittal deadline of April 30 also aligns with the application timeline adhered to by the Colorado Charter School Institute.
Per state regulations, to request this waiver LPSD must create a replacement plan, which is simply moving the date from October to April. The District Accountability Advisory Committee and licensed administrators and principals for LPSD and Monument Academy (MA) agree with this request. The district was also required to hold this public hearing four weeks prior to requesting the waiver and posting a notice in three public places. The final step is to provide a signed board resolution, which they hope to get at the August school board meeting. It is up to the state Board of Education as to when they would put it on their agenda and whether they would like LPSD to do a presentation.
The meeting included the opportunity for public comments, but no members of the public spoke. Wangeman answered some audience questions, explaining that this would not impact the formal timing for the upcoming MA high school application but noted that the district was already informally reviewing the application. The MA high school application is expected to be formally presented by October of this year. The waiver, which several districts including D49 have previously obtained, would affect any future charter school applications.
In addition to regular Board of Education meetings, the Lewis-Palmer School District holds special meetings, work sessions, and public hearings as noted on the district calendar at www.lewispalmer.org.
Jackie Burhans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Helen Walklett
At its July 18 meeting, the El Paso Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) unanimously approved the expenditure of $1.328 million from the Road and Bridge 2017 budget for the construction of a final phase of improvements along Baptist Road. This cash was transferred to the county from the Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority (BRRTA) under the terms of an Intergovernmental Agreement drawn up between the two ahead of the BRRTA’s dissolution in December 2016.
July also saw the BOCC issue a call for volunteers to serve on the El Paso County Planning Commission.
Baptist Road improvements
This final project will see the installation of sidewalk along the north side of Baptist Road between Jackson Creek Parkway/Struthers Road and Kingswood Drive, and median cover improvements east to Desiree Drive. The total cost of the project is $1.383 million and will use up all of the transferred $1.328 million in BRRTA funds. The remaining $55,486 will come from the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority.
The BOCC also approved the contract for the work which will be undertaken by AA Construction Company Inc. The AA contract has been extended each year since being initially awarded in 2014.
Moving to approve the final expenditure of funds, Commissioner Peggy Littleton said, "BRRTA was … a success story." Between 1997 and 2016, BRRTA completed multiple projects to improve the Baptist Road corridor. See www.ocn.me/v16n12.htm#epbcc1103, www.ocn.me/v16n12.htm#brrta.Volunteers needed for Planning Commission
In a July 24 news release, the BOCC put out a call for citizen volunteers to serve on the El Paso County Planning Commission. It is seeking to appoint two individuals. Applications are due by Aug. 8.
The Planning Commission reviews planning petitions and makes recommendations to the BOCC on land use requests, and prepares a master plan for unincorporated areas of the county. It consists of nine members appointed by the BOCC for three-year terms and meets on the first and third Tuesdays of the month. The volunteer program application form can be found at www.elpasoco.com (click on the "Volunteer Opportunities" link). Applicants are asked to reference the board and position they wish to represent and to send completed applications and a letter of interest and/or a resume to: Board of County Commissioners, Attn: Linda Berg, 200 S. Cascade Avenue
Colorado Springs, CO 80903. Applications can also be faxed to 719-520-6397 or emailed to email@example.com.
Helen Walklett can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Caption: Crew members from El Paso County Department of Transportation took measurements on July 6 for installation of sidewalk improvements along Baptist Road between Kingswood Drive and Jackson Creek Parkway and median gravel cover improvements east to Desiree Drive. This is the final project for the remaining available Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority (BRRTA) funding that County Engineer Jennifer Irvine and Elaine Johnsen, county funding optimization manager, are administering now that BRRTA has voted itself out of existence. The Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) concurred with BRRTA’s dissolution on Dec. 9, and the Monument Board of Trustees concurred on Jan. 3. www.ocn.me/v17n2.htm#mbot. For more information see www.ocn.me/v16n10.htm#brrta, www.ocn.me/v16n11.htm#brrta, www.ocn.me/v16n12.htm#brrta. Photo by Lisa Hatfield. Caption by Jim Kendrick.
The following sampling was compiled from the monthly El Paso County Sheriff’s Office (EPSO) Neighborhood News. This report covers only EPSO District 1, does not list every crime reported to EPSO, and does not include criminal activity from the Town of Monument, the Town of Palmer Lake, City of Colorado Springs addresses, or other agencies:
Burglary: 1400 block Becky Dr., 14200 and 14300 blocks White Peak Dr., 17200 block Colonial Park Dr., 19000 block Shadowood Dr.
Criminal Trespass Auto: 13600 block Ashbrook Heights Nursery Rd./Mt Herman Rd., 20000 block Chisholm Trail, 2100 block Stella Dr.
Menacing: 2100 block Stella Dr. MM 162/ I25. I25/ W. Baptist Rd. 1200 block Scottswood Dr.
Theft: MM 162/ I-25. MM 156 I-25.
Criminal Mischief: 3000 block Lakefront Dr.
FOR EMERGENCIES: DIAL 9-1-1 and state your address.
El Paso County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch (non-emergency crime reporting): 390-5555
EPSO Telephone Reporting System (for minor crimes without suspect information: 520-7111
EPSO Traffic Hotline (for reporting problem areas or traffic violations): 390-5555 option 5
EPSO Tip Line (for reporting suspicious activity or the location of wanted persons): 520-7777 Always remember to promptly report criminal activity or suspicious behavior.
For more information, contact the Crime Prevention Coordinator: Merody Broom 719-520-7151 or MerodyBroom@elpasoco.com. ■
By Jackie Burhans
The Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA) board met on June 28 and again on July 27 to hear residents’ concerns on speeding, rules on signage, an upcoming development on Lake Woodmoor Drive, and feedback on short-term rentals such as Airbnb and Vacation Rentals by Owner (VRBO).
Speeding and signage
Resident Tammie Oatney came to the June meeting to raise concerns about speeding cars on the residential streets of Woodmoor. She expressed concern for the safety of pets and children playing or riding their bikes. She asked for clarification about signage allowed to encourage safe driving, noting that she understood that the covenants require 66 percent of homeowners to vote for changes but that the rules and regulations also cover signage.
Oatney attended Coffee with a Cop in May and spoke with an officer who told her this has been a longstanding issue. She noted that Woodmoor Public Safety (WPS) cannot write tickets. She appreciated that traffic control devices began appearing but felt they were only a temporary fix as people will speed up after they pass such a device. In July, WPS reported on statistics for eastbound and westbound Shadowood Drive showing respectively 7 percent and 10 percent exceeding the speed limit by five to 12 miles per hour. Southbound White Fawn Drive statistics showed 26 percent of vehicles going up to 10 mph over the limit and 8 percent going 11 to 20 mph over the limit.
Oatney said she spoke with WPS in March when they delivered a welcome packet. She had a "Drive Like Your Kids Live Here" sign from Home Depot and asked the WPS officer if she could have the sign and was told it was OK so long as it was taken in at the end of the day. However, in early June a runner objected to her sign. Oatney called WPS and confirmed that the sign was allowed, but in June she received an email violation notice from WIA. On June 6, her husband submitted a request for approval of temporary signage from Home Depot. She indicated concern with the one-square-foot size limit for signs per the rules and regulations. She noted the different rules for construction signs and political signs and requested approval of the signs, email blasts reminding residents of speed limits, and that WIA speak to the El Paso County sheriff to ask for more patrols.
Board President Peter Bille noted that WIA handles violations that are reported rather than seeking them out. When they receive a report, the WPS or WIA staff attempts to verify the violation. Staff indicated that the email was a courtesy notice that someone had reported an issue.
A second resident, a teacher, suggested clarifying the wording on such emails. She stressed the growth she is seeing in the community, and noted the changing demographics with families that are "choicing" into the district or staying at a relative’s house so they can bus to the schools. She is thrilled about the plans to have a Safe Route to School trail built. WIA is working with Lewis-Palmer School District on a grant called Safe Routes to School (SRTS) to fund a trail from Lewis-Palmer Elementary School, Lewis-Palmer Middle School, and Palmer Ridge High School. The grant decision is slated for April 2018.
Kevin Nielsen, WPS chief, said WIA does have speed trailers (the mobile signs that display drivers’ speeds) and noted that as a pedestrian the speed may seem higher than it is, but if the trailer does see an issue it can send the data to the Sheriff’s Office. Deputy Ryan Myers of the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office spoke briefly to confirm that a small part of his responsibility is on the traffic unit. He noted that only two people are responsible for traffic enforcement in all of the county, which is 2,130 square miles in size. Citizen traffic complaints can be reported at (719) 520-7192.
After a discussion with WIA staff on the challenges of changing covenants and interpreting rules and regulations, Bille agreed that the board would add some wording to the rules and regulations, clarifying the rules on temporary signs. At the July meeting, the board approved a motion that one sign be permitted to be displayed temporarily, while children are playing outside on the lot, with prior approval from the ACC. The board reiterated the rules on size and placement, next to and not in the roadway.
Short-term rental discussion
At the July meeting, several residents spoke about the issue of short-term rentals such as Airbnb or VRBOs. Several residents spoke in favor and one spoke against short-term rentals. One resident suggested a number of rules to govern short-term rentals that might address some of the concerns and offered to be part of a committee drafting such rules.
Points made in favor of short-term rentals include:
• It is safer for the community and property than leaving a home vacant
• Airbnb can validate the occupants and has lots of checks and balances
• Encourages better upkeep of the property
• Provides income to people providing cleaning and lawn service as well as handymen
• Any issues with short-term vs. long-term renters or homeowners are resolved quickly
Issues and concerns raised included:
• Use of marijuana by short-term renters
• Number of occupants
• Compatibility with covenants
• Loud parties
• Ability to contact homeowner
Board members asked a number of questions about number of days rented, number of guests, communication with neighbors, any additional concerns or problems, and ability to track WPS calls for short-term rentals. Nielsen indicated that calls do not track the type of occupant. One resident was asked to recommend some guidelines the homeowners’ association (HOA) could give to short-term rental property owners to address concerns, including minimum and maximum nights and a secondary contact in case the homeowner was away. Another speaker suggested a year or two trial where data can be collected.
President Bille noted that WIA has received a lot of input from a survey on the website, which closed on Aug. 1. He said that people are passionate on both sides of the issue, but the board will notify the community publicly of the results and will reach out to those who volunteered to help.
New development on Lake Woodmoor Drive
At the June meeting, another resident asked about WIA’s involvement in a new subdivision, The Beach at Woodmoor, planned on Lake Woodmoor Drive. Local residents who attended a meeting were shocked to hear about plans to build 35 homes. The resident asked why so few residents were notified by postcard about the meeting. She expressed concerns about the density and two new roadways causing traffic issues that may impact drop-offs at Lewis-Palmer Elementary School.
Bille noted that the new subdivision will fall under WIA covenants and the Project Design Standards Manual. At the meeting, the developer, La Plata, showed the plan that was submitted to the El Paso Board of County Commissioners, which has approved the plan. HOA administrator Denise Cagliaro noted that it was originally zoned for 150 townhomes. The resident expressed concern about the fact that most people in the community don’t know this development is happening. Bille noted that information about upcoming developments is available on the website at https://www.woodmoor.org/woodmoor-developments/. The site notes that anticipated construction for The Beach will begin sometime in 2018 or 2019.
Board report highlights
• A large pilot truck center is planned for the southeast corner of I-25 and Baptist Road, with construction to start in late fall.
• Highway 105 construction will start in 2018 and will include widening and site distance work.
• Monument Hill Road construction will start mid-2018, hopefully in the summer.
• Residents have reported sightings of bears and a bobcat.
• The board approved a motion to authorize Bob Pearsall to begin planning a possible facility next to the garage for WPS.
• The board approved a motion to authorize the WIA attorney to move to foreclosure on a property whose resident is substantially in debt to the association; they also approved a motion for more time for another resident to get assistance or develop a payment plan.
The WIA Board of Directors usually meets at 7 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of each month in the Barn at 1691 Woodmoor Drive, Monument. The next meeting be on Aug. 23.
Jackie Burhans can be reached at email@example.com.
Caption: The area in red shows the location of the proposed development called The Beach at Woodmoor.
By Bill Kappel
Overall, July was about normal for temperatures. There was quite a variety of precipitation accumulation, however. Most areas were right around normal, but other areas were well above normal—it was all dependent on whether you were hit by one or more of the heavy rainfall events associated with the thunderstorms that formed most days starting after the Fourth of July. This is typical for July once the North American monsoon season kicks in. This supplies the fuel (supplying high levels of moisture and plenty of energy from the hot July sun).
July started off dry and mild, not good news after a very dry June. Fortunately, the more typical monsoon pattern kicked in starting around the end of the first week of July and brought much-needed moisture to the area. Temperatures reached into the mid- and upper 80s from the 1st through the 5th, with just a couple weak thunderstorms at times, producing a few sprinkles. A higher moisture level finally began to work into the region starting on the 6th. This produced more widespread areas of thunderstorm activity.
Moisture continued to increase the next couple of days, with everyone recording some measurable precipitation from the 6th to the 8th. A drier and warmer westerly flow moved in briefly on the 9th and 10th, allowing high temperatures to touch the upper 80s and low 90s and shutting off our widespread thunderstorm activity. But this didn’t last long, as another surge of monsoonal moisture worked into the region starting on the 11th. Thunderstorms, some containing brief heavy rainfall, became a daily occurrence from the 11th through the 16th. The consistent clouds and upslope wind flow also held temperatures to below-normal levels, with highs only reaching the low to mid-70s from the 13th through the 15th. During the period, most areas picked up 1-2 inches of much-needed rainfall.
The third week of July was pretty uneventful in the region. We did see an uptick in monsoonal activity, with afternoon and evening thunderstorms an almost daily occurrence. Some of the storms did produce brief heavy rainfall at times, especially on the evening of the 17th, when a few locations picked up 1-2 inches of rain in about an hour. Precipitation totals were right about normal for mid-July, with temperatures just a few degrees warmer than normal overall.
The month ended with several more surges of monsoonal moisture moving through the region. This resulted in afternoon and evening thunderstorms almost every day from the from the 18th through the 31st. The most active periods produced downpours that resulted in 1-2 inches of rainfall in only an hour or two. Several mornings also started off cloudy because of leftover moisture from the day before.
A look ahead
August is the last true "summer" month for the region. We are often greeted with sunny, pleasant mornings that turn into afternoon and early evening thunderstorms. Highs during the month ranged from the mid-80s at the beginning of the month to mid-70s at the end. Temperatures at night get more comfortable as well, often dipping into the 40s.
July 2017 Weather Statistics
Average High 83.6° (+1.1°)
100-year return frequency value max 87.6° min 75.3°
Average Low 52.8° (+1.8°)
100-year return frequency value max 56.2° min 46.9°
Highest Temperature 91°F on the 19th
Lowest Temperature 45°F on the 16th
Monthly Precipitation 2.47" (-0.90" 27% below normal)
100-year return frequency value max 6.03" min 0.98"
Monthly Snowfall 0.0"
Season to Date Snow 0.0"
(the snow season is from July 1 to June 30)
Season to Date Precip 2.47" (-0.90" 27% below normal) (the precip season is from July 1 to June 30)
Heating Degree Days 11 (-21)
Cooling Degree Days 102 (+22)
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.
School Board elections affect the future
D38 School Board elections are just around the corner. There are already political signs appearing around Monument, even though the election is not until November. Many people regard this election as unimportant, especially if they do not have children in D38 schools. I am writing to urge residents of D38 to take the time to research and vote in this election. It is the future of our public schools, and the future of our continued reputation as one of the best school districts.
We are lucky to have excellent public schools and fortunate to have an incredible charter school as an option for those who are able to arrange for their children to attend. Our schools are excellent because of the balance of choice this community is offered.
Public schools must provide bus transportation so that all children can attend. Charter schools do not need to provide transportation, which limits who can attend. Monument Academy also has a total of 29 waivers from state law. Both systems work—but only because the public schools in D38 provide an excellent education for those who are unable to attend the charter school.
D38 has a 95 percent graduation rate, with a dropout rate of only 2.5 percent. Palmer Ridge High School and Lewis-Palmer High School placed 21st and 22nd in the state by U.S. News and World Report. Both high schools boast championship athletic teams. Palmer Lake Elementary was named a Title 1 Distinguished School by the Colorado Department of Education. Our schools excel due to the dedication of the teachers and the leadership of the administration.
Please keep our school district one of the best in the state. Research the accomplishments of our schools, and make time to vote. With the growth in our community, we all need to do our part.
Understanding the D38 numbers
Ever wonder why school district officials complicate the topic of public school funding? I have. As a 26-year financial expert, small-business owner, and Monument Academy finance committee volunteer, I’ve learned the public welcomes simplicity.
District 38 has some information under the "knowables" tab on its website that references the Negative Factor and Colorado School funding and how Colorado compares with the nation. This is great knowledge to have, but both have no real effect on D38. They describe the "have not’s" of school funding. My goal: Focus on what we do have, by trying to understand the dollars coming in and how this affects our budgets at home, and our children attending district schools.
In 1994, Colorado established a standard formula to fund all public schools (including charter schools). This formula applies to all 178 school districts. It’s not rocket science, or Common Core math. For this school year, D38 will receive $7,225.25 per enrolled student. The state refers to this as PPR (per pupil revenue) funding. Each school district’s funding may be found at http://www.cde.state.co.us/cdefinance.
Let’s consider last year’s enrollment of 6,324 students multiplied by $7,225.25 per student (the state refers to students as FTEs, meaning full-time equivalent), which will generate about $45,692,481. The "about" statement is because half-day kindergarten students are not full-time FTEs.
The district also receives supplemental funding from district property owners such as the $4 million annually from the 1999 mill levy override, in perpetuity. Thank you, taxpayers!
I appreciate district officials educating me on the big picture, but understanding the finer details is a desired "knowable" for me. I make it a point to understand the numbers, which enables me to be an effective community servant.
D38 public schools prepare students well for advanced education
My family specifically chose the D38 public school system for its exceptional ability to prepare students for admission to the top universities in the nation. We can say with certainty that D38 has not disappointed us. After speaking with professors and admissions officers at Stanford, MIT, and Yale, we found D38 has an outstanding reputation of rigorous preparation for advanced studies. D38 schools also provide all of the opportunities necessary for students to stand out against the stiff competition for admission at these prestigious institutions. Most importantly, we have witnessed many D38 children being admitted to these top-tier schools.
That said, we are concerned about a movement in our community with a mission to change the way our public schools operate. There are suggestions of adding creationism to the curriculum, reducing salaries of administrators, and building charter schools that take away funding from our exceptional public schools. These ideals, while they may be the wish of certain parents, are clearly not in the best interest of our children when it comes to the reputation of D38 among the top universities. Citizens should be concerned about preparing children for the demands of universities and future job markets, not with personal beliefs of curriculum, or poorly-informed notions as to how a school district should be run soundly.
In the upcoming school board election, vote for someone who will ensure that D38 will continue to prepare students for the universities and job markets, not for someone who may care about kids but who is putting personal agendas ahead of the demands of universities and employers. The system that is in place is working, as clearly evidenced by the high number of D38 public-school students admitted to top universities. Let’s think twice before messing up that system for future generations of D38 children.
Speak up about nuclear danger
Those who keep abreast of national and international news might reasonably be excused for their exhaustion from all the cruel and depressing events that we hear or see on a daily basis. Still, whether corruption, abuse, savagery, or anything else in the same or similar categories are the cause, nothing could surpass the outbreak of a nuclear war. Obviously, I’m referring to North Korea and what our country—as well as other sane nations—should or should not do to address the nuclear weapon’s capability of that rogue regime.
For those of us old enough to remember, 13 days in October 1962 were likely the most terrifying time of our lives; the world teetered on the brink of a nuclear holocaust. As then Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara said, "… I thought I might never live to see another Saturday night." Had it not been for the cool and measured response of President John Kennedy, in which he ignored the advice of most of his advisors and generals, we would have invaded Cuba—a nation that harbored Russian intermediate and short-range nuclear weapons whose Russian military commanders had been authorized to use. Additionally, some number of Russian submarines were in the vicinity, at least three of them armed with a nuclear torpedo.
Why this letter? Currently, there exists a sufficient number of nuclear weapons worldwide to destroy all life on earth many times over. We average citizens must speak up and ensure that those we elected to Congress and (especially) the presidency understand that our nation’s use of nuclear weapons can only be justified in retaliation for a nuclear strike on our homeland. Remaining silent is an option, but certainly an unwise one.
Protest dense new subdivisions in Woodmoor
I’d like to make an appeal to citizens of Woodmoor to get involved in protesting all the new dense subdivisions being proposed for our neighborhoods. See this website: https://www.woodmoor.org/woodmoor-developments/.
If you make your voice heard, there’s a chance that some of the density, noise, unsightliness, and safety issues of these projects could be reduced for the benefit of existing homeowners.
Many arguments should be raised with the El Paso County Planning Commission and County Commissioners before these projects get rubber-stamped. Below are two.
1. Why allow all these new densely-populated communities to be built within Woodmoor boundaries when this entire area is already facing water shortages and aquifer depletion in the near future? Where is the foresight in allowing new unsuspecting families to build homes in an area where their water rates may become exorbitant as new water sources become scarce and expensive to procure?
2. Safety and welfare will be compromised in many ways. The heavy construction machinery that will occupy The Beach at Woodmoor corner, possibly for years until project completion, poses hazards to drivers, walkers, schoolchildren, joggers, and cyclists accustomed to the safety and tranquility of the rural-like roads and open space in that area.
A single private developer should not be allowed to bring upheaval to an established community and leave a negative aesthetic imprint on it for years to come without making some concessions to the current residents.
For those who are concerned: Review the El Paso County Planning Commission’s Land Development Code at http://adm.elpasoco.com/Development%20Services/Pages/LandDevelopmentCode2016.aspx.
Review the applicant’s Letter of Intent (e.g., The Beach at Woodmoor) at https://epcdevplanreview.com/Public/ProjectDetails/100101.
Make your arguments as to how the proposed development does not meet the criteria set forth in the Code, (e.g., For PUDs - 4.2.6 (D), "will be in harmony and responsive with the character of the surrounding area.…").
Think about what happens if there is an economic downturn and all these projects stall out, leaving their incomplete shells throughout the Woodmoor area, too late to restore it back to its original beauty.
By the staff at Covered Treasures
August is a great time to get outside and enjoy this wonderful state. Here are a few books about the great outdoors to delve into.
"Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better."—Albert Einstein
"Nature gives to every time and season some beauties of its own."—Charles Dickens
By David Baron (Liveright Publishing Corp.) $27.95
In 1878, the rare event of a total solar eclipse offered a priceless opportunity to solve some of the solar system’s enduring riddles, and it prompted a clutch of enterprising scientists to brave the wild frontier in a grueling race to the Rocky Mountains. In vibrant historical detail, acclaimed science journalist David Baron re-creates this epic tale that reveals as much about the historical trajectory of a striving young nation as it does about the solar eclipse.
Sun Moon Earth: The History of Solar Eclipses from Omens of Doom to Einstein and Exoplanets
By Tyler Nordgren (Basic Books) $26.99
Aug. 21, 2017 will mark the first total eclipse of the sun in America in almost 40 years. Astronomer Tyler Nordgren illustrates how this phenomenon was transformed from a fearsome omen to a tourist attraction. Sun Moon Earth takes us around the world to show how different cultures interpreted these dramatic events. Greek philosophers discovered eclipses’ cause and used them to measure their world and the cosmos beyond. Victorian-era scientists mounted eclipse expeditions. And modern-day physicists continue to use eclipses to confirm Einstein’s theory of relativity.
The Push: A Climber’s Journey of Endurance, Risk, and Going Beyond Limits
By Tommy Caldwell (Viking) $27
On Jan. 14, 2015, Tommy Caldwell, and his partner, Kevin Jorgeson, summited what is widely regarded as the hardest climb in history—Yosemite’s nearly vertical 3,000-foot Dawn Wall. Caldwell’s odds-defying feat was the culmination of an entire lifetime of pushing himself to his limits as an athlete. This engrossing memoir is an arresting story of focus, drive, motivation, endurance, and transformation, a book that will appeal to anyone seeking to overcome fear and doubt, cultivate perseverance, turn failure into growth, and find connection with family and with the natural world.
Found: A Life in Mountain Rescue
By Bree Loewen (Mountaineers Books) $17.95
Bree Loewen has become a wife, a mother, and a leader of Seattle Mountain Rescue (SMR), a volunteer-based search-and-rescue operation. SMR is involved in incidents including high-profile accidents and rescues that never even make the local news. And since the climbing and outdoor community in Seattle is so close-knit, Loewen often finds herself involved in efforts to rescue friends and acquaintances. Loewen conveys the intensity of rescue and recovery situations as well as the beauty of wilderness landscapes.
How to Die in the Outdoors: 150 Wild Ways to Perish
By Buck Tilton (Falcon) $16.95
Simply by living a normal life, you have an excellent chance of becoming yet another statistic on the list of leading causes of death. But Buck Tilton prefers to ponder the alternatives as he presents 150 more interesting and unique ways to perish, from snake bite, elephant foot, rhino horn, and more. With witty prose, Tilton describes not only the details of how you can die, but also ways to avoid death should a life-threatening situation arise before you’re ready to leave this world.
Wolf Nation: The Life, Death, and Return of Wild American Wolves
By Brenda Peterson (Da Capo Press) $27
Brenda Peterson tells the history of wild wolves in America. The earliest Americans revered them. Settlers zealously exterminated them. Now, scientists, writers, and ordinary citizens are fighting to bring them back to the wild. Peterson makes the powerful case that without wolves, not only will our whole ecology unravel, but we’ll lose much of our national soul.
Coyote America: A Natural & Supernatural History
By Dan Flores (Basic) $27.50
The coyote is the stuff of legend that has become the wolf in our backyards. This book is an illuminating biography and deeply American tale of this extraordinary animal that has faced challenges and overcome them.
"I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day’s work."—Frank Lloyd Wright
Find a spot outside that inspires you and open up the adventure of a great book. Until next month, happy reading.
The staff at Covered Treasures can be reached at email@example.com.
By Harriet Halbig
As the Summer Adventure reading program comes to an end, the library staff would like to thank all the dedicated teen volunteers who helped to make it such a success by sharing their enthusiasm and aiding young readers in registering, monitoring their progress, and awarding badges as they progressed. Volunteers were also a major part of the staff at the summer reading party in Palmer Lake. Also, many thanks to the Tri-Lakes Friends of the Library for their help and support.
Looking forward, the Tuesday Story Time at Monument will be back at its usual 10:30 and 11:15 schedule. AfterMath free tutoring and the weekly yoga class will resume in September.
Please bring the whole family and join us for our annual Ice Cream Social on Saturday, Aug. 12 from 1 to 2:30 on the Village Green in Palmer Lake. Families are encouraged to bring their elders and step back in time with entertainment by the Velcro Barbershop Quartet, and remember when ice cream was all you needed for a pleasant summer afternoon. Ice cream is provided by the Rock House in Palmer Lake. This event is co-sponsored by the Tri-Lakes Friends of the Library and the Palmer Lake Historical Society as part of its Rocky Mountain Chautauqua Assembly.
Children’s and family programs
The Family Fun program for August is KCME Classics for Kids on Saturday, Aug. 12 from 2:30 to 3:30. We will explore how music is often used to tell a story. We will provide the music and need your help to create a story. Through this process, students gain a greater understanding of how to create and tell a story. The presentation will end with a retelling of the stories they created, set to music.
The Lego Build Club will meet on Saturday, Aug. 19 from 10 to 11:30.
The Monument Teen Creative Writing Group meets on the first Tuesday of each month from 6 to 7:30 in the study room. This group is for ages 12 to 18.
An intergenerational knitting group will meet on Wednesdays, Aug. 9 and 16, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Practice materials are provided but attendees are encouraged to bring their own materials and projects. Some instruction will be provided for those new at the craft.
The Teen Arts and Crafts Open Studio will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 30 from 4 to 5:30. Hey teens! Come to the community room on the last Wednesday of each month and use it as a space to create. This month, we will be learning how to sew plushies by hand. Supplies will be provided, but feel free to bring whatever materials you are currently using and work on your own projects.
See the teen section for a description of intergenerational knitting on Aug. 9 and 16.
The Second Thursday Craft for August is terrariums. Come on Thursday, Aug. 10 from 2 to 4 and create your own miniature terrarium. Supplies will be provided, but feel free to bring your own container. Registration is required and opens a week before the class.
The Monumental Readers will meet from 10 to noon on Friday, Aug. 18 to discuss The Light Between the Oceans by N.L. Stedman. All patrons are welcome to attend this monthly book group.
Spinners are welcome on Thursday, Aug. 24 from 1:30 to 3:45 to explore this traditional skill.
Adults are also welcome to explore such discussion groups as Socrates Café on Tuesdays from 1 to 3, Senior Chats on Wednesdays from 10 to noon, History Buffs on the fourth Wednesday of the month from 2 to 4, and Life Circles on the first and third Mondays from 9:30 to 11.
On the walls during August will be block prints by Doug Haug, and in the display case will be a collection of Coca-Cola items from Sofi de la Mora.
Palmer Lake Library Events
Please see the introductory paragraph above for a description of the Ice Cream Social on Saturday, Aug. 12.
The Palmer Lake Book Group meets at 9 a.m. on the first Friday of each month. Please call 481-2587 for the current selection.
Story times are on Wednesdays at 10:30 and Toddler Times are Fridays at 10:30.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Caption: From left, Jenelle Osborne, Anna Faye, and Leah Fenimore staffed the Bookmobile, one of the attractions at the summer reading party July 14. Photos by Harriet Halbig.
By Sigi Walker
At the July 20 meeting of the Palmer Lake Historical Society, an audience of over 70 people sang along with presenter Dan Blegen, author, poet, playwright, and retired teacher, as he performed some of the songs that the late folksinger/songwriter Pete Seeger was known for: Turn, Turn, Turn, If I Had a Hammer, Where Have All the Flowers Gone?, and Kisses Sweeter than Wine. The program, "Pete Seeger: A Musical Portrait," was a departure from the usual programs presented by the Society. A "docu-concert," it combined American history and amply illustrated biographical vignettes with music, music, music. There was much history to cover since Seeger’s career spanned six decades. As Blegen has stated: "Seeger both united and empowered his audiences. And he got them singing." Blegen did the same!
Pete Seeger was born in New York City on May 3, 1919, into a musically gifted family. His father was the influential musicologist Charles Seeger, and his mother, Constance, was a violin instructor at Juilliard. The introspective poems of his uncle, Alan Seeger, most likely influenced his lyrics. A precocious child, Seeger was well-read and began developing political and social ideas at an early age.
Today, Seeger is perhaps better known for his contributions to American folk music than for his political activism. But he believed that music could make a difference. In the late 1930s, he developed a remarkable virtuosity on the five-string banjo. In 1940, he organized the Almanac Singers, a quartet that included Seeger and his friend, singer/composer Woody Guthrie. The group appeared at union halls, farm meetings, and wherever its populist politics were welcome.
Seeger received three musical Grammy Awards and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, a National Medal of Arts, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame during his lifetime. Even in his later years, Seeger actively supported such causes as international disarmament, workers’ rights, labor unions, civil rights, world peace, and environmental awareness.
Seeger’s wife, Toshi, passed away at the age of 91 on July 9, 2013, just days before the couple’s 70th wedding anniversary. Seeger died six months later at age 94 on Jan, 27, 2014, in New York City.
Mark your calendars for Saturday, Aug. 12, for the Historical Society’s annual Return of the Rocky Mountain Chautauqua. The event begins at 10 a.m. and ends at 5 p.m. Demonstrations and exhibits throughout the day will include tole painting, quilting, spinning, knitting/crocheting, beekeeping, butter churning, and the Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Activities will include history walks at 11:15 and 3:30, the film Summer Sojourn at 10 and 3:15, portrayals at noon (Jimmy Burns), 12:30 (Alice Bemis Taylor), and 2 (Nikola Tesla), music by a barber shop quartet at 1, performances by a brass band, and from 1 to 2:30 the annual free Community Ice Cream Social sponsored by the Tri-Lakes Friends of the Library. Special children’s activities include gold panning. Venue is the Palmer Lake Town Hall and Village Green located at 28 Valley Crescent St. This event is free and open to all.
Caption: Dan Blegen during his July 20 presentation to the Historical Society. Photo by Mike Walker.
By Elizabeth Hacker
In the United States, the tyrant flycatcher (Tyrannidae) family includes 37 species and 10 genera.
Flycatchers vary in size and color, but the variation is often so subtle that identification can be difficult. Most have drab gray or brown feathers on their upperparts and buff or lemon yellow on their underparts. A few exceptions to drab flycatchers include the black phoebe, the bright red and black vermilion flycatcher, and the graceful scissor-tailed flycatcher. Birders get excited when these birds make rare appearances in southern Colorado!
This past spring while birding with friends, we observed flocks of small migrating flycatchers darting in and out of grasses and shrubs. Identifying these little birds was a challenge. When we simply couldn’t be sure, we listed them as empids, short for the Empidonax species, or birds specific to the smallest flycatcher genera. The least flycatcher is a member of this group that nests in southern Colorado.
Flycatcher migration patterns and nesting locations vary among species. Flycatchers winter in South Texas, Mexico, and Central and South America. Migration routes are north-south, and distances can be within a small region or intercontinental from South America to the Arctic. Many species nest in the East, others in the West, and some are specific to the coastal regions of North America. Typically, they arrive here in early to mid-May and begin to leave in late August to mid-September.
Flycatchers migrate at night when the air is calm and the threat from predators is reduced. In the spring, if lucky, I will happen upon flocks of flycatchers not commonly found here, that have been grounded due to weather. When resting, they stay hidden and are difficult to see but if they are feeding, they scurry in and out of shrubs and trees, eating vegetation and small insects. Large insects are not yet abundant in spring and it is thought that this type of foraging takes less time and provides the energy necessary for the bird’s migration.
Flycatchers are primarily insectivores. During migration, birds need energy for their long flight. In the spring and fall, a time when insects are not as plentiful, flycatchers must supplement their diet with vegetation. After they reach their destination, adults form pairs, establish territory, and prepare to raise a family. Large insects provide a nesting pair with protein for strength and endurance to successfully reproduce. The pair must work diligently to feed their chicks a diet rich in protein, for within 21 days after hatching, the chicks will grow to the size of an adult and leave the nest.
During the summer, flycatchers can easily be observed in the morning and late in the afternoon as they hunt for insects. They put on quite a show as they sally back and forth to nab a flying insect with stunning precision.
Flycatchers in Colorado
Each summer, typically four or five species of flycatchers nest or migrate through this region, although 10 to 12 species are known to nest in Colorado. Due to weather, drought, fire, and other conditions, this number will fluctuate. The western kingbird, western wood peewee, and the least flycatcher nest in this region. All of these birds have distinctive markings and are easily identified but because they are insectivores, it’s unlikely they will come to a feeder. They nest in different habitat zones and require large territories, so it would be unusual to see them together.
At almost 9 inches in length, a wingspan of 15. 5 inches, and weighing in at 2 ounces, the western kingbird is the largest of the flycatchers in this region. It is strikingly handsome with its lemon yellow breast and ashy gray wings. It is an aggressive bird that will chase after a hawk or crow. If a raptor is seen missing flight feathers, chances are it has been harassed by a western kingbird. They can be found in open marshy or grassy areas perched on a reed, fence, or utility line.
Western wood peewee
At 6.25 inches in length, a wing span of 10.5 inches, and weighing in at half an ounce, the western wood peewee is a medium-size flycatcher. It is a grayish-brown bird with two pale wing bars. Underparts are very light with gray on the breast and sides. It has a peaked crown at the back of its head that gives it an angular appearance. Its bill is dark except for the yellow at the base of the lower mandible. The western wood peewee is named for its song and is most often seen in the brush at the edge of a forest or in cottonwood trees near a source of water.
The least flycatcher, at 5.5 inches in length, an 8-inch wingspan, and weighing in at a quarter of an ounce, is a member of the smallest group of confusing empids but it is one of the easier ones to identify. Adults have grayish-olive upperparts, darker brown wings with two distinctive white wing bars, very light underparts, and a distinctive white eye ring. It is found in deciduous forests. I most often see them in Fountain Creek Nature Park. Its small size doesn’t deter it from chasing off large birds such as a blue jay, more than six times its size.
Tyrant flycatchers are fascinating birds. Each spring I look forward to their return, but I miss them when they depart in the fall. This past winter I was fortunate to see many flycatchers, including the least flycatcher, wintering in Ecuador. I can’t be sure, but I think one of them may have recognized me!
Elizabeth Hacker is a writer and artist. Email her at email@example.com to share bird pictures and stories.
By Janet Sellers
Our ponderosa landscape offers nutrition and healing at home and on forest hikes. I’ve never found wild morels, or tame ones for that matter, but after a nasty wasp sting last month, I’m keeping my eye on wild broadleaf plantain (pronounced "plan-tin").
I’ve seen it around town and in our local forests, and I’m glad plantain grows here. It’s pretty as greenery along flagstone walks, and is a medicine and nutritious food raw or cooked, often favored over spinach and other dark greens. It treats digestive disorders, and crushed (on a hike, just chew the leaves) to use as a poultice to stings, bites, and open wounds to stop infection and inflammation. Young leaves are eaten raw, blanched and eaten in salads, or blanched then frozen and used later in a sauté, soup, or stew.
Edible root to flower, broadleaf plantain boasts a 4,000-year tradition in Europe. Historic records indicate various Native peoples called this plant "The footstep of the white," as it was found where the European settlers traveled.
Long before European settlers showed up here with their favorite seeds (including plantain) for familiar food and medicine, Shakespeare mentioned plantain in Romeo and Juliet. In Act I, Scene II, while Benvolio bemoans feelings of anguish, Romeo proclaims plantain benefits to relieve physical suffering: Romeo: "Your plantain-leaf is excellent for that." Benvolio: "For what, I pray thee?" Romeo: "For your broken shin."
Plantain contains seven flavonoids, beta-carotene, crude fiber, dietary fiber, fat, protein, and carbohydrates. It also contains vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C, and K, and calcium, chromium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, and zinc.
The highly nutritious Purslane also abounds in our area, albeit non-native as well. Purslane, also known as Portulaca oleracea (widely grown in India and Europe), looks like a cute succulent with rounded green leaves offering much needed omega 3 fatty acids—more than any other leafy plant—and more than many fish oils (yummier, too). Their slightly sour leaves and yellow flowers are tasty in salads, added to soups, or sauteed for a side dish.
Sorry to say, I pulled purslane out of my garden years ago, assuming it a useless weed. In reality they are a tasty, rich source of vitamin-C, and some B-complex vitamins like riboflavin, niacin, pyridoxine and carotenoids, as well as dietary minerals such as iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and manganese. Eat this plant only from a "clean" organic place in your yard; it’s also at some grocery stores.
In our cultivated garden beds, lettuces have gone to seed, tomatoes are green, zukes, beans, and squashes are ready, and it’s time to seed dark greens, beets, carrots, and brassicas. My second try at sunflowers are up, as are the seeds out of my organic cantaloupe from the market. Visit our Monument Community Garden Facebook page for the latest on what to plant now; we have endless videos, recipes, and handy hints for gardening here in our unique Tri-Lakes microclimates.
Janet Sellers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Caption: The deep green and pleasant leaf shape of the low-growing, sun-loving broad leaf plantain makes a fetching color combination amid a flagstone walkway and is an edible landscape plant. Plantain can be used in salads, sauteed as a side dish and combined with other vegetables and dishes, and is used medicinally as well. It is often found in local garden landscapes. Photos by Linda Close.
By Janet Sellers
Southwinds Art Gallery will hold its annual group art show and sale Aug. 11-13 featuring its longtime gallery artists, and it has added some new artists as well. The gallery represents nine local artists whose eclectic mix of styles ranges from traditional fine art to contemporary and conceptual art. Many of the artists have received national and international attention for their art, including J. Clark Wider, Marya Zvonkovich, and Janet Sellers. The expansive art gallery is upstairs from the main floor, which also includes the entrance level atrium area for works that span the two floors.
At the gallery’s installation for the artists’ summer shows for July and August, I spoke with new artists Thia Lynn and Stephanie Brown, and returning artist John W. Anderson. Lynn is an installation artist, with aerial works aloft in the atrium of the gallery. Lynn explained that the filtering light from above casts colors and shadows to the areas below for an important aspect of the overall experience of her work.
Brown is a glass artist, and the window light and ambient room light are vital to experiencing her art. She explained that the colors in the slumped glass works, which include bowls and other small works, are heated in a kiln so the glass will slump over the prepared forms, creating colorful glass pieces over the form, with the end result of permanent colors fused into one translucent artwork.
Anderson showed me his nocturnes of the heavens, including a nova and colorful clouds of nebula, as well as nocturnes of Colorado Springs. The term nocturne was traditionally used with music, as for an evening party, then evolved to more complex works with Mozart’s Notturno in D, and in Italian the term "notturno" simply meant it was for a performance at night.
"Nocturne painting" is a term coined by James Abbott McNeill Whistler to "describe a painting style that depicts scenes evocative of the night or subjects as they appear in a veil of light, in twilight, or in the absence of direct light." In a broader usage, the term has come to refer to any artwork of a night scene, such as Rembrandt’s The Night Watch. Anderson has taken the nocturne to a new level, in that his works are created about the light within the heavens and beyond the mere casting of shadows in the Earth dimension.
Our local art galleries take on a new light each month with art shows this summer, and our cool evenings are a visual delight as well with our wonderful outdoor public art throughout Tri-Lakes, thanks to the Tri-Lakes Views organization, which is so supportive for our public art. Also, in honor of the summery evenings, we have had pop-up art shops—like an on-the-spot art festival—dotting our calendar’s evenings, so keep an eye open for those as well.
Our summer evenings in town are traditional nocturne as well during our Art Hop season, with live evening musicians playing throughout Historic Monument, and it has been abuzz this summer with streets and venues thronging with happy locals and guests strolling along the town’s festive third Thursday evening event, art-filled bags in one hand and convivial pursuits in the other.
Bella Art and Frame Gallery will host Front Range Open Studios Aug. 1-27, reception Aug. 17, 5-8 p.m., 183 Washington St., Monument.
Monument Art Hop, Thursday, Aug. 20, 5-8 p.m. in the "art quarter" between Second and Third Streets crossed by Front and Beacon Lite Road, in Historic Monument.
Southwinds Fine Art Gallery, annual summer art series, Aug. 11-13, artist reception Aug. 11, 4-9 p.m., 16575 Roller Coaster Road at Baptist Road (just north of Fox Run Park) in north Colorado Springs.
Caption: Gallery director/artist Thia Lynn, left, and artists Stephanie Brown and John Anderson prepare to install artworks for the upcoming summer art show and sale at Southwinds Fine Art Gallery. Photo by Janet Sellers.
Janet Sellers is a local artist, writer and teacher. Her paintings, monumental murals, environmental art installations, and sculptures have been exhibited at museums in Japan, South Korea, Los Angeles, and Colorado. Contact her at email@example.com.
Poverty simulator, June 27
Caption: Pikes Peak United Way and Tri-Lakes Cares presented a poverty simulator on June 27 at the D38 School Administration Building to help people understand what those in poverty experience daily. The event simulated the finances involved in a one-month period and presented participants with the challenge of surviving that month on a low income. Participants were put into groups representing families in a community with facilities and agencies such as a school, general employer, grocery store, utility company, mortgage company, etc. These families had to work through different scenarios and problems that arose during the month such as fitting trips to the bank and other government agencies around school and work as well as paying for school, transportation, child care, health care, utilities, and mortgages. All the families in the simulation found it was difficult to pay for all the necessities, and for most it was even an impossible task as they were not able to pay the bills for the entire month. Some were even forced into foreclosure and were evicted to a homeless shelter. This experience allowed participants to see a small part of the chaos and stress that underprivileged families go through as they had to decide which aspects of life (such as schooling, health care, food, etc.) had to be sacrificed to pay the bills. Many of the participants in the simulation were from nonprofit organizations and participated to gain insight on what life is like for their clients and how they can best assist them. For more information on similar events in the future, contact Pikes Peak United Way at firstname.lastname@example.org. Photo by Lauren Jones.
Concert in the Park, July 19
Caption: The Inman Brothers band performed to a dancing crowd on July 19 at the Limbach Park bandshell. Concert-goers danced along or sat on chairs or blankets, picnicked on the lawn, and enjoyed the classic rock songs. Photos by Janet Sellers.
Bagnall honored for service
Caption: During Gleneagle Sertoma’s July annual award banquet, Sertoma President Garret Barton honored Melissa Bagnall for her exceptional service to the Tri-Lakes community. Bagnall was selected for the award for her outstanding leadership and commitment to creating and ensuring a vibrant program of services for senior citizens while serving as president of Tri-Lakes Silver Alliance. During Bagnall’s first year with the nonprofit, she accepted the position of board president and led the nonprofit through both financial and organizational challenges. By the end of her first year as board president, the number of programs offered through the Silver Alliance Senior Center has more than tripled and the participation rate has more than doubled. Bagnall has ensured that the organization is financially strong and that it will continue to expand the range of programs offered to local seniors. The Senior Center is located at the campus of Lewis-Palmer High School at 1300 Higby Road and is open five days a week. Photo courtesy of Gleneagle Sertoma’s Gloria Milhoan.
Car break-in warning
Caption: Car break-ins are happening all over the Tri-Lakes area. Resident Julia Skelley shared this photo of her recent upsetting experience and warned everyone, "This could have easily happened anywhere in our community." In the late afternoon of June 30, she was parked for one hour near the front door of the Tri-Lakes YMCA on Jackson Creek Parkway. She found her driver’s side window smashed completely out and lying on the driver’s seat. "My purse was stolen in broad daylight." Skelley is grateful to the Y staff and Monument police officers who helped her and her children afterward. "What’s so scary to me is that this happened in a family place where I go multiple times a week.... I clearly made a mistake by leaving my purse out on the passenger seat. Please be alert about your surroundings and don’t leave anything of value visible in your car." She asked that anyone with information about this particular break-in to contact her, which you can do by writing to OCN at email@example.com. Photo by Julia Skelley.
Moe Bandy at TLCA, July 6
Above: On July 6, country music legend Moe Bandy brought a bit of Nashville and Branson to the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA). Bandy got started playing music and singing at the age of 6 as both parents had musical interests. Though Bandy’s musical career started as "a family thing," it led to a career of 10 No. 1 hits, 40 top 10 hits, over 60 albums, and other accomplishments. At the TLCA, Bandy and his five-piece accompaniment weaved together music, jokes, storytelling involving country music history and playing at honky-tonks, and audience engagement. Bandy played songs from his latest album, old favorites such as Bandy the Clown (his first No. 1 hit), and a medley containing songs he turned down that were eventually recorded. Information on upcoming events at the TLCA is at www.trilakesarts.org. Photo by David Futey.
Bruce Carroll at TLCA, July 21
Caption: On July 21, Bruce Carroll (left), two-time Grammy and seven-time Dove Award winner, performed at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA). Carroll performed his faith-based songs solo and with his son Taylor, who is co-producing his next album. Bruce Carroll started performing at the age of 12 with his siblings in Texas. This led to modest success as a folk musician during his early adult years. However, the road lifestyle also led to addiction until 1979, when he became a born-again Christian. This not only changed the course of his life, as he eventually became a pastor, but led to a Christian music career of over 30 years. Carroll said songwriting is sometimes about taking "what happens to us and those around us and relating it in song" for others to connect with. The TLCA audience clearly found a connection with Carroll and his songs this evening. Photo by David Futey.
July 4 festivities
Photos by David Futey
Caption: The Tri-Lakes area’s Fourth of July celebration started with the 35th annual Palmer Lake Fun Run, which benefits Lewis Palmer Elementary School (LPES). The run starts at the lake in Palmer Lake and ends 4 miles later in Monument. Megan Smallman, LPES Parent-Teacher Organization president, said nearly "1,100 were expected." Smallman said proceeds from the Fun Run, expected to reach $25,000, "will be used at LPES for a 3D printer, playground upgrade, teacher grant programs, field trips, and other educational needs." She also thanked "all the volunteers, parents, PLES staff, and community, along with the sponsors for making the run a great success." Timothy Howley (19:57) of Colorado Springs and Erin Storie (23:19) of Colorado Springs placed first in the male and female categories respectively. Pictured: Susan Gentry (center), with daughter Paige and son Cameron, ready themselves for Fourth of July Fun Run. This is the second time the family trio has run the race together.
Caption: In the St. Peter Catholic School walkway, the Knights of Columbus Council 11514 held its annual Fourth of July Pancake Breakfast. Pancakes, eggs, sausage, and drinks were available for the price of admission, with preparations made for 1,500 attendees. Proceeds from the breakfast go toward St. Peter school, scholarships to St. Peter and college, and local organizations such as Tri-Lakes Cares and Marion House. Past Grand Knight Bob Leise monitored the pancake making and offered these tips: "The secret is to mix the batter in a 5-gallon bucket, get 24 pancakes on the grill or you are an underachiever, and keep cooking till I say stop."
Caption: The Tri-Lakes area celebrated the country’s 241st year of independence on the Fourth of July with its annual Monument Hill Kiwanis Club parade. The parade was themed "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles – Moving America Forward" and had three grand marshals: Watt Hill (WWII and Vietnam fighter pilot), Mel McFarland (local author and train historian) and Don Begier, (founder of the Beau Begier Memorial Foundation) representing those transportation modes. After a jet flyover, over 90 entries participated in the two-hour-long parade as spectators lined the streets of Monument. Among the entries were floats from Integrity Bank, Tri-Lakes Women’s Club, various military organizations, churches, politicians, Renaissance Festival performers, elephants and camels, cheerleaders from Tri-Lakes area schools, classic cars, motorcycles, Al Kaly Shriners, horseback riders from Kit Carson Riding Club and the El Paso County Fair, and fire engines from local departments closing out the parade. Pictured: Lewis-Palmer Ranger Poms.
Parkinson’s group formed
Caption: Founders Syble Krafft, standing, and John Hobson, were in attendance on July 15 at the first Tri-Lakes Parkinson’s Support Group meeting at the Tri-Lakes Senior Center. The 31 attendees included both people who have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) and their caregivers. With over 1 million men and women diagnosed in the United States, PD is actually more frequently diagnosed than is multiple sclerosis. Topics discussed and brainstormed at the first meeting included the difficulties involving socialization for both patients and their caregivers, symptoms and effects of the disease, pain treatment suggestions, and the fact that regular exercise can help. The Tri-Lakes Senior Center (www.Tri-LakesSeniors.org) offers both exercise and chair and standing yoga as does the Tri-Lakes YMCA (www.ppymca.org). Another suggestion: Try a few visits to physical therapy to learn Parkinson’s specific exercises that can be done at home. The Tri-Lakes Parkinson’s Support Group meets on the third Saturday of each month from 10 a.m. to noon at the Senior Center. The next meeting is Aug. 19. For more information, or to borrow an informational DVD recorded by members of the Colorado Parkinson’s Foundation, contact Chairman Kent Jarnig at 488-8351 or Kent@DVD-CDinc.com. The website is www.Tri-LakesPDco.org. Photo courtesy of Kent Jarnig.
Bears in the area
Caption: This bear has been seen in Pleasant View and South Woodmoor (seen here from inside Anthony Noe’s basement window) on multiple occasions this summer. A younger bear also was reported several times on social media in July. See videos and tips about how to co-exist with bears at www.cpw.state.co.us/learn/Pages/LivingwithWildlifeWildBears.aspx. Photo by Anthony Noe.
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.
Slash-Mulch season continues
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 until 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.
Baptist Road projects
This final BRRTA project includes construction of sidewalks and ADA pedestrian ramps along the north side of Baptist Road from Jackson Creek Parkway to Kingswood Drive. The contractor will also install colored patterned concrete within the existing Baptist Road median from Jackson Creek Parkway to Desiree Drive in order to reduce maintenance requirements on that portion of the roadway. Sidewalks and median work will improve access and safety east of Struthers Road. Please drive carefully in the cone zone and watch for workers in and along the roadway.
Tri-Lakes Y fall sports
Registration is now open for soccer, ages 3-14; flag football, grades 1-6; volleyball, grades 1-8. Register until Aug. 8, practices begin the week of Aug. 28, and games are Sept. 9-Oct. 14. Financial assistance is available. Register at www.ppymca.org or at the Y, 17250 Jackson Creek Parkway, Monument.
County seeks volunteers
The El Paso County Board of Commissioners is seeking community-minded citizen volunteers to serve on its Planning Commission and on its Community Services Block Grant Advisory Board. Applications are due by Aug. 8. The volunteer application is located at www.elpasoco.com. Click on the "Volunteer Boards" link. For more information, call 520-6436 or visit www.elpasoco.com.
New arts and crafts group
The Tri-Lakes Silver Alliance Senior Center is looking for anyone interested in various types of arts and crafts such as needlework, knitting, beading, coloring, or quilting. If you’re interested in any of these activities or have a suggestion of your own, contact Sue, 464-6873.
Thrift Store needs volunteers
Volunteers are needed for various tasks. The store is located at 755 Highway 105, Suite N, in the West End Center and is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. See ad on page 32. To volunteer, call 488-3495.
MVEA essay contest
High school juniors, enter to win an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C., for the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour, or win a stay at the Colorado Electric Education Institute’s Youth Leadership Camp in Clark, Colo. To enter, write a 500-word essay on the following topic: "What is the difference between energy conservation and energy efficiency? Do you feel that members should use one method over the other if they want to use less energy?" Visit www.mvea.coop for entry qualifications and to complete an online entry form. Essays must be received by Nov. 20. See ad on page 14. For more information, visit www.mvea.coop/youth-programs.
Monument Academy enrolling
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 School enrolling
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. See ad on page 2. Call or visit: 124 First St., Monument; 481-1855; www.petertherock.org.
Forest Lakes/Pinon Pines residents needed for Citizens Advisory Council
Forest Lakes Metropolitan District (FLMD) seeks five Pinon Pines residents to serve on a Citizens Advisory Council. The council will serve as a forum for Pinon Pines residents to learn about district issues and to advise FLMD on resident issues. If you are interested in serving on this advisory council to FLMD, please contact your HOA administrator, Steve Emery of Hammersmith Management, at 719-389-0700.
County Planning and
Development’s new website
The county’s new Electronic Development Application Review Program (EDARP) allows immediate access to documents, development application processing. This is part of an ongoing county-wide effort to give residents easier access to data and improve transparency. EDARP is an internet-based platform that uses Cloud storage through Microsoft Azure and allows users access to all El Paso County development applications dating back to 1947. The public, consultants, and developers can see and download electronic copies of applications for rezoning, subdivisions, and more. The program also allows electronic submittal of development-related applications, which will reduce costs to applicants and the county. For more information, visit epcdevplanreview.com.
Plant a row for Tri-Lakes Cares
Local gardeners from the Monument Community Garden encourage all gardeners in the area to plant a row in their vegetable garden for the Tri-Lakes Cares food pantry. Find out more at www.facebook.com/Monument community garden. To arrange a time to drop off your harvest when it’s ready, call 481-4864.
Free transportation and
handyman services for seniors
Mountain Community Senior Services offers free transportation and handyman services to Tri-Lakes seniors. If you need a ride to a medical appointment, grocery shopping, or the local senior lunches, a volunteer driver will be happy to help you. Call 488-0076 to leave a message for the dispatcher. If you need grab bars in the bathroom, a ramp to your door, or repair of stairs or railings, please call Cindy Rush, 488-0076, and leave a message or visit www.coloradoseniorhelp.com.
Volunteer drivers needed for seniors’ transportation service
Mountain Community Transportation for Seniors is a nonprofit, grant-funded organization that provides free transportation to Tri-Lakes seniors 60 years old and over. The program needs additional volunteer drivers. For information, email MCSS at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the MCSS dispatch hotline at 488-0076.
New hours at Senior Center
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 free newsletter
Each monthly Senior Beat newsletter is full of information for local seniors, including the daily menu of the senior lunches offered Mon.-Fri. at the Mountain Community Mennonite Church, 643 Highway 105, Palmer Lake. It also contains the schedule of the classes and events for the month at the Senior Citizens Center and senior-friendly library programs. To subscribe, send an email with your name and mailing address to SeniorBeat@TriLakesSeniors.org. Senior Beat can also be viewed online at www.TriLakesSeniors.org .
El Paso County expands services to veterans
Three El Paso County agencies providing services to veterans now have satellite offices at the Mount Carmel Center of Excellence, 530 Communications Circle, Colorado Springs. The Veterans Service office at Mount Carmel is open Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m.-4 p.m. and closes noon-1 p.m. for lunch. Call 667-3816 for an appointment. The Pikes Peak Workforce Center Mount Carmel office is open Tuesdays, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. (closed for lunch noon-1 p.m.), and is staffed with two Workforce Center employees who help veterans with their employment needs. Call 667-3729 for an appointment. The county Department of Human Services also has a Mount Carmel office open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
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.
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/.
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
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 email@example.com or P.O. Box 1742, Monument, Colorado 80132.
Contact us at (719) 488-3455, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, or P.O. Box 1742, Monument, Colorado 80132-1742.
This page was last modified on November 30, 2020. Home page: www.ocn.me.
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