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By Chrystie Hopkins
Students at Antelope Trails Elementary School experienced a rare treat and learning opportunity on Aug. 21 as a total solar eclipse was visible at 90 percent totality at 11:47 a.m.
The school provided eclipse-viewing glasses for all students, teachers, faculty, and parents on campus. Many family members chose to join students to experience the eclipse viewing. A few students opted to stay indoors during the event, while other parents pulled students out for the day to view the event closer to the 100 percent totality zones.
While the totality event only lasted a few minutes, many classes remained outside to continue to view the eclipse and work on classroom projects.
Teachers, faculty, and parent volunteers were on hand to make sure all students were viewing the eclipse safely and kept their eclipse viewing glasses on at all times.
Student reactions varied from wonder and excitement to subdued curiosity. But for all it was a unique opportunity and fun distraction for the morning before returning to the classroom.
Caption: Students at Antelope Trails Elementary School view the total solar eclipse through special solar eclipse glasses to protect the eyes. Photo by Chrystie Hopkins.
Chrystie Hopkins can be contacted at email@example.com.
By Lisa Hatfield
On Aug. 7, the Monument Board of Trustees heard about the Colorado Department of Transportation’s (CDOT) I25 Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) study. And though it was not on the agenda, they discussed the possibility of an independent study evaluating all long-term water options for the town’s water system west of I-25, even though town staff has not yet presented the trustees with its summary of this topic.
Trustee Kelly Elliott was absent.
I-25 PEL study
Chuck Attardo of CDOT’s Denver office presented information about the I25 PEL study on the section of highway from Highway 105 in Monument to E-470 in Lone Tree. "It has some pretty big deficiencies," he said, especially because 18 miles of this 34-mile "vital stretch of I-25" are still two lanes in both directions. "We need to have a reliable trip between Colorado Springs and Denver."
Attardo said that the PEL study is a federal process that occurs before construction, but it is trying to come up with alternatives to some of the congestion until construction could happen. Similar to what happened in the I-70 corridor into the mountains, this 18-mile gap is now seeing traffic problems multiplying, both on weekdays and weekends. He said the biggest emphasis in the study was the section from Monument to Plum Creek Parkway, due to the "bottleneck."
"If we can find the funds" of $300,000 to $600,000, CDOT would like to start construction on the 18-mile two-lane stretch in fall 2019. He said the plan still needs to become part of the long-range transportation plan of the Denver Regional Council of Governments. He does not see a problem with getting it included in the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments’ long-range plan. The PEL study long-term vision for the 34 miles would be to add a fourth lane in 20 years.
Attardo’s comments included:
• Gas taxes generate only half the per-person revenue they did in 1991, due to more total people and increased overall fuel efficiency.
• The 20-year transportation plan projects a $24.9 billion shortfall.
• The more regional support and partnerships with local governments for a specific project, the greater chance that a project will get state funding.
• High-speed rail does not solve it all for this corridor.
• Short-term alternatives include express toll lanes, high-speed rail, expanded Bustang bus service, adding one extra lane, or widening shoulders to use as traffic lanes during peak times.
• We will expand courtesy patrols as winter approaches, get tow trucks out there sooner to clear roads, and add places for emergency vehicles to turn around.
• Talk to your regional transportation legislators to show your support.
Note: The state’s transportation system is managed by CDOT under the direction of the Transportation Commission, which is made up of 11 commissioners who represent specific districts. Rocky Scott, who is the Tri-Lakes area’s District 9 commissioner, can be reached at Commissioner.Scott@state.co.us. Bob Wilson, the statewide program communication manager for CDOT who can provide more information about the I-25 project, can be reached at Bob.J.Wilson@state.co.us. See a map of the districts at https://www.codot.gov/content/aboutcdot/Commission/CommMap.html.
The I-25 Gap Coalition is separate from CDOT and is made up of entities that have bonded together to find funding sources. See www.douglas.co.us/road-work/25-gap-coalition.
Separately, Attardo advised highway drivers to:
• "Know before you go" by signing up to receive text alerts or emails before you drive.
• See http://cotrip.org for interactive maps and highway travel alerts.
• Pull over when emergency vehicles need to pass you.
• "Move Over" (change lanes) to give safe clearance to law enforcement officers on roadsides.
• Prepare emergency kits and get information for winter driving.
Overview of long-term water options needed
In the middle of the meeting, Trustee Jeff Bornstein made a motion that ended up generating an hour-long discussion. He wanted the board to order a completely independent study report, doing a cost analysis of using Colorado Springs Utilities’ (CSU) Southern Delivery System either as an emergency water interconnection with the town’s water utility west of I-25 or as a way to purchase water supplies from CSU for that portion of the town’s residents. He wanted to know how much the town currently spends on water, how rates compare for residential and commercial customers, and how current costs compare with a proposed indirect potable water reuse system, which could cost $12 million to $18 million plus yearly operating costs. "We do not have enough information," Bornstein said.
Trustee Greg Coopman clarified that what Bornstein was asking for was a study to see if reuse is viable or not, and what the costs would be compared to what the town is doing now.
Note: Drinking water for about 1,000 customers is supplied by the town’s municipal Water Department. Monument residents and businesses also can obtain their potable water from other entities such as Triview Metropolitan District, Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District, privately-owned individual wells, or bulk potable water tank trucks.
Mayor Pro-Tem Don Wilson’s comments included:
• All the information the trustees need has already been presented at past meetings, including multiple price comparisons on the options and (Donala Water and Sanitation District’s) actual experiences dealing with CSU.
• I think (Town Manager Chris Lowe and Public Works Director Tom Tharnish) and their staff are experts. This board keeps asking for the same information again. The information we have gotten from our staff is very good.
Coopman said he did not want to hear about reuse anymore but instead about other options for long-term plans, such as the possibility of buying water from CSU or turning over the town’s whole water system to CSU. He said he had spent over 500 hours personally researching reuse and controversies surrounding it, that an independent study was an outstanding idea, and that he had been asking about other options for over a year.
Trustee Dennis Murphy said he was surprised to see "a very detailed" discussion of reuse proposals discussed in the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility Joint Use Committee (TLWWTF JUC) article in OCN again [http://www.ocn.me/v17n8.htm#tlwtjuc] when the trustees have not yet seen a design or a plan or cost estimates for reuse. But he did support the idea of an "independent third party to validate what we have been told for a year." Murphy said he had asked last year about contacting CSU directly, "and I have yet to see a report on that."
Tharnish’s comments included:
• Engineers and consultants have already presented information to the trustees.… Requesting another independent study shows total lack of trust in the staff here; that is the bottom line for me.
• The town’s Water Master Plan includes a lot of discussion on renewable water and ways to get there 10-20 years down the road. What the trustees are discussing would take the town off path from the Water Master Plan that has already been approved.
• We have not asked the town to commit any money yet; we are still trying to figure out what to ask for.
Background: The Monument Board of Trustees unanimously approved the town’s updated 20-year Water Master Plan on Sept. 2, 2014. It replaced a plan from 2003 and included a long wish list of proposed storage and distribution capital improvements to the water system in historic Monument, including water quality and treatment improvements, adding one 1.2-million-gallon tank storage, and developing the water reuse project. To read the 75-page 20-year Water Master Plan Final Report including a long list of suggested projects, see p. 72 of the Aug. 18, 2014 board packet at http://monumenttownco.minutesondemand.com. The plan was amended in 2016. See www.ocn.me/v16n11.htm#mbot1003.
Mayor Jeff Kaiser asked Will Koger of Forsgren Associates to give a rough estimate for a new independent study, and Koger "spit-balled" a cost of $20,000 to $50,000, depending on the level of detail requested.
Town Manager Lowe weighed in with many concerns about the whole line of discussion initiated by Bornstein since the usual procedures were not followed. "We were not afforded the ability of reviewing this motion ahead of time, so this is kind of contrary to how we agreed to run these meetings so there is not a ‘cold call for a vote’ without the issue being thoroughly explained and having materials in front of you." He said any action the board took on Bornstein’s motion would be premature, since Lowe "had not yet been given the opportunity to present to you the five-year capital improvement plan (CIP) for water that hits the goals you set about long-term water solutions."
Lowe said one of the high-level objectives the board had already directed him to meet this year was to identify all aspects of a sustainable, long-term water solution, of which reuse might be a small piece. He said, "Just two weeks ago we received a Tetra Tech report that we’ve all been waiting for and Tom (Tharnish) met last week with (District Manager) Jessie Shaffer of Woodmoor" Water and Sanitation District (WWSD) to discuss it.
Lowe’s additional comments included:
• We would like an opportunity to present to you an entire package of details on possible water capital projects, including all the options for reuse ideas.
• I would request you to give staff time to present options and do footwork on our own before you go leaping into an independent study.
• You have to be thinking about all three—storage, renewable, and reuse. I will be presenting you with all the options. It has been slow working the reuse piece because of our partners, and they have admitted that.
• I am very comfortable that our staff can do this without use of an outside consultant to try to give you some cost estimates without having to spend another $50,000 because you evidently don’t have trust in the numbers given by the engineers previously.
• I can present at least an update to you by Sept. 18 with initial thoughts along the spectrum and all the projects on the table.
• Cost estimates will not be ready yet by then but will be ready as the 2018 budget discussion starts.
• Our staff has not yet approached any CSU officials because it was not right for discussion yet.
With respect to reuse questions raised by the TLWWTF JUC, which includes Monument Sanitation District (MSD), Palmer Lake Sanitation District, and WWSD, Lowe said, "The wastewater folks … seem to think we are ignoring their concerns. We are not. It’s just premature to have that discussion. I didn’t want to waste their time with seven different options on reuse. I guess our correspondence with (MSD District Manager Mike) Wicklund is not getting the message across." See www.ocn.me/v17n8.htm#tlwtjuc.
Trustee Shea Medlicott’s comments included:
• It feels like we are getting the cart before the horse. We should see the whole picture on capital improvement projects first and then maybe after that do a study.
• $18 million (for a reuse plant) is an engineer’s guess, and there is a huge spectrum of options that could change that.
• We feel like we are under the gun and have to act right now, but so much testing has to go into this before deciding anything, what kind of facility we need, and approval from the Colorado Department of Health and Environment and EPA, it is a process. Let’s wait for the capital improvements workshop and we can ask some tough questions.
• I am looking forward to seeing the executive summary on the engineering report from Woodmoor (Tetra Tech).
Finally, Coopman made a new motion asking Lowe to present a variety of alternative water options on Sept. 18, and if at that time the majority of the board felt that their answers have been satisfied, there would be no further push for an independent study, but if not, the board would make a motion to do the study and would have to find the money to pay for it. Bornstein agreed with Coopman’s version and withdrew his initial motion.
Kaiser then made his own comments, including:
• In my opinion, reuse is an absolutely critical part of our plan, although not the only option.
• Experts have been presenting information to the board, so to cite other experts and facts that the whole board has not heard is not appropriate.
• The Water Master Plan has been in place and worked on for many years and should not be disregarded.
• We need to wait for the CIP.
• To throw money around like it doesn’t matter is something we need to think very hard about.
The trustees voted 5-1 to approve Coopman’s motion. Kaiser voted no.
Code enforcement officer introduced
Susie Ellis of Community Preservation Specialists Inc. is the town’s new code enforcement officer. Ellis told the trustees, "Smaller communities need the same knowledge and experience" that bigger municipalities do. In other communities where she does this work, she spends most of her time on nuisance-related issues related to health, sanitation, junk cars, weeds, and things that "irritate neighbors and cause blight."
To contact Ellis with community concerns or questions related to code enforcement, call 303-422-4473 or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
See https://library.municode.com/co/monument/codes/code_of_ordinances to see all of Monument’s ordinances. These do not include rules imposed by individual homeowners’ associations inside the town limits.
Tourism master plan
Doug Price, president and CEO of the Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB), presented information about the Tourism Master Plan for the Pikes Peak Region and how Monument’s investment of $5,000 annually would go toward the promotion of the community and will show the town’s dedication to regional tourism.
Price said tourism is the third-largest employment sector in the region including El Paso, Teller, and Fremont counties. The CVB maintains the www.visitcos.com website, which includes information about Monument/Tri-Lakes along with 10 other towns and Colorado Springs. It also prints visitor guides distributed throughout the region and creates digital and print media campaigns encouraging tourists, corporate trade shows and conventions, and sports teams from all over the U.S. to visit the area..
"We need to put a master plan together over the next 10 years to incorporate infrastructure, facilities, services, attractions, and events that will improve the visitor experience," Price said. That needs to coordinate with master plans of the communities in the Pikes Peak region. Right now, 88 percent of CVB’s funding comes from lodging taxes. The master plan will be done in 2018. The trustees’ consensus was to consider Price’s request as part of the 2018 budget approval cycle in October.
More actions taken by the trustees at this meeting included:
• The board voted 4-2 to direct Town Attorney Alicia Corley to draft an ordinance that would prohibit the sales and use of fireworks in Monument. Kaiser and Wilson voted no. The board will consider the actual ordinance at a future meeting.
• Tharnish explained how the final list of consulting engineers for the planning and public works departments was developed. The trustees will consider the resolution regarding these contracts at the Aug. 21 meeting.
• The trustees voted unanimously to set a public hearing date of Sept. 18 for the Village Center Metropolitan District’s petition for modifications to its service plan.
As part of the consent agenda, the trustees approved these checks over $5,000:
• Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce, second quarter − $5,000
• EPS Wastewater, well 4/5 WTP upgrade − $11,994
• Jacobs Engineering, engineering services per contract − $6,781
At 8:57 p.m., the meeting went into executive session to confer with the town attorney to receive legal advice on litigation. Town Clerk Laura Hogan said that no announcements were made or votes taken when the executive session was over.
Caption: On Aug. 7, the Monument Board of Trustees recognized the accomplishments of Monument’s U.S. Taekwondo Center (USTC) in the U.S. Open International Taekwondo Hamnadang held in Denver this summer. The USTC White Dragons demonstration team, shown here, took first place, and hundreds of USTC students earned competition medals. Photo by Lisa Hatfield.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at email@example.com.
By Kate Pangelinan
The Aug. 9 Monument Planning Commission meeting involved about three hours of discussion concerning the proposed Wolf Business Park and the Tri-Lakes Collision body shop planned for lot 7 of the park, and a Pilot Travel Center with amenities for truckers and other travelers.
Commissioners John Dick and Jim Fitzpatrick were absent. Commissioner David Gwisdalla was unanimously approved to become the new vice chair following Kathy Spence’s recent departure from the Planning Commission.
Wolf Business Park
First, Hammers Construction Inc. submitted its development application for approval of a zone change, sketch plan, and preliminary/final plat for Wolf Business Park. This development would comprise around 14.18 acres on Wolf Court east of Beacon Lite Road. It stands north of Highway 105 in the north end of town. There would be seven lots to the development, with the only access point coming off Wolf Court, which leads to Beacon Lite Road. The area was zoned for Planned Commercial Development, and the applicant requested to change this to Planned Development.
The Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve all three of these proposals.
Tri-Lakes Collision Final PD Site Plan
Hammers Construction Inc. has submitted a development application seeking approval of a Final PD Site Plan for Tri-Lakes Collision, an auto body repair shop to be located on lot 7 within Wolf Business Park owned by David Wolf. It would take up 2 acres of the Wolf Business Park development. There would be a paved and fenced storage yard for vehicles being repaired, as well as a customer parking lot and a front door facing Beacon Lite Road. The shop itself would be composed of a mix of materials in neutral colors. The front of the shop, visible from Beacon Lite Road, would have the customer door, windows, and five bay doors for auto repair. It would have metal wall panels, stucco finish, and a stone veneer. The side visible from Wolf Court would have metal and stucco, and the other sides would keep only the metal wall panels.
Nothing concrete has been proposed yet for the remainder of Wolf Business Park.
The auto body repair shop would remain open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on business days, and would close on Sunday. There would be a chain-link fence separating it from the mobile home park to the south, Monument Meadows. The surrounding area would be landscaped, with a couple trees being relocated.
Tri-Lakes Collision would use water-based paint on the cars, and wash two or three cars a day as they were finished up. The water would be sanitized before it was drained.
When the Planning Commission called for public comments, Patrick Shannon, owner of the Monument Meadows Mobile Home Park, presented some concerns. He said that using water-based paints was "a start," but that he was still worried about the body shop’s effects on the environment. He posited that homes are not generally situated right next to body shops in Colorado Springs, and reminded the Planning Commission that over 300 people live in his mobile home park. Shannon was concerned that these people would be adversely affected by noise and/or fumes coming from the development. He would have preferred something else like an office building.
Also, Shannon thought that a wooden fence would be better than the proposed chain-link fence. The applicant stated earlier that a wooden fence wasn’t expected to stand easily against Colorado’s winds, but Shannon said chain-link fences are not allowed on his property, and he believes in fixing other, nicer-looking fences. Another of Shannon’s concerns was truck traffic running through Monument and the potential for increased danger along an already dangerous road.
Commissioner Gwisdalla asked Shannon what might help the Tri-Lakes Collision auto repair shop become a better proposal for his community, and Shannon suggested something like a traffic light to prevent unnecessary traffic dangers and complications.
Three residents of the Monument Meadows Mobile Home Park also spoke, expressing concerns about the noise and increased traffic. Questions were also asked about what measures would be taken to prevent fumes from going into the mobile homes, potentially causing or exacerbating health problems.
The applicant assured these citizens that no homes should be receiving fumes from the paint, because it would contain no toxic chemicals and is strictly water based. Also, on the topic of noise control, the garage doors would be kept closed as often as possible. Commissioner Gwisdalla recommended lowering the speed limit along relevant roads, as well as enlisting the Monument police force to patrol those specific areas to prevent traffic danger.
The proposal was approved 4-3, with Commissioners Michelle Glover, Kenneth Kimple, and Daniel Ours voting against. Further conditions were added, focusing on the fence and its surrounding landscaping.
Pilot Travel Center
Drexel Barrell & Co. has submitted a development application seeking approval of a zone change, preliminary/final plat, and preliminary/final PD Site Plan for a Pilot Travel Center.
Commissioner Gwisdalla opted not to participate in discussion and voting on proposal, because he had an opportunity to view the project beforehand. He did, however, state that he likes the project and appreciated the care that was put into its design.
The proposed Pilot Travel Center would be adjacent to the southbound I-25 onramp on the west side of I-25, south of Baptist Road. It would be across from a Diamond Shamrock gas station on the other side of Baptist Road. The property is 11 acres, and currently zoned for Planned Industrial Development. The applicant requested that it be rezoned to Planned Development.
The site would be separated so automobiles and semi-trailer trucks wouldn’t end up going the same way. The building would be built of stucco, stacked stone, and tile that looks like wood. It would all be in earth tones, aside from red accents for Pilot branding. The site would include a 13,595-square-foot building containing many services for passing travelers. This would include a restaurant—likely an Arby’s or Wendy’s—a drive-through, a PJ Fresh convenience store, Dunkin Donuts, showers, overnight facilities, and a "drivers’ lounge" with seating and TVs. There would be a free-standing 60-foot sign with digital prices and focused light shining on to the sign itself. This project would create about 80 jobs, half full time and half part time, that pay more than minimum wage, according to Drexel Barrell.
Water and wastewater service would be provided by Forest Lakes Metropolitan District.
The Pilot Travel Center was recommended unanimously for approval by the Monument Board of Trustees, with the condition that two of the three wall advertisement designs are changed to murals.
Caption: Pilot Travel Center Vicinity map. Provided by the Town of Monument.
The next Monument Planning Commission meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 13, at 645 Beacon Lite Rd. Meetings are normally held on the second Wednesday of the month. Information: 884-8017 or http://www.townofmonument.org/meetings/.
Kate Pangelinan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Lisa Hatfield
In a short Aug. 21 meeting, the Monument Board of Trustees talked about a proposed standards of conduct document and a possible prohibition of certain fireworks sales in the town but postponed making decisions on these topics.
Trustee Jeffery Bornstein was absent.
Standards of conduct proposed
Town Attorney Alicia Corley presented a draft standards of conduct resolution for elected officials of the town. It had been submitted by Trustee Shea Medlicott and was based on a resolution used by the town of Meade, Colo. The trustees had considered a different, more detailed code of ethics resolution in June 2016, but it was never voted on, she said.
Medlicott said he had consulted with Tami Tanoue, lead counsel for the Colorado Intergovernmental Risk Sharing Agency (CIRSA), and that "toxic environments" were not uncommon in the realm of small-town politics.
The trustees made several suggestions for changes to the draft Medlicott had submitted and then voted 4-2 to consider a revised draft at a future meeting. Mayor Jeff Kaiser and Mayor Pro-Tem Don Wilson voted no.
Fireworks sales discussed
Corley presented a draft ordinance, which had been suggested by Bornstein, that would prohibit the sale of certain fireworks within the town. Wilson said the ordinance would not solve the real problem, which was the use of illegal fireworks. Resident Cassie Olgren spoke during the public hearing asking for less confusing wording on what fireworks were allowed.
After more discussion and some suggestions to modify the ordinance, the trustees voted 4-2 to consider a new version of it at the next meeting. Kaiser and Wilson voted no.
Agreement to support Tri-Lakes Views
Betty Konarski of Tri-Lakes Views thanked the trustees for the intergovernmental agreement promising a $3,000 one-time donation plus $5,000 a year for next four years. Tri-Lakes Views has brought 10 new sculptures into the area this year, Konarski said.
The trustees voted 5-0 to approve the agreement. Wilson recused himself from the vote since he has joined the Tri-Lakes Views committee.
Town manager’s report
Town Manager Chris Lowe’s comments and written report included:
• We have been getting a lot of comments about how beautiful it looks now in historic downtown, at the new Third Street trailhead we got from county, and at Monument Lake.
• A new Town of Monument Information and Map Brochure highlighting shopping, dining, and recreation has been distributed up and down the Front Range.
• The town has created a Block Party application and process.
Principal Planner Larry Manning’s report said the Planning Department is meeting with the applicant for NEXUS office/warehouse and with the new owners of Homeplace Ranch about their plans and the possible extension of Gleneagle Drive to the north. Also, these development requests, which were considered by the Planning Commission, were headed for the Tuesday, Sept. 5 board meeting:
• Pilot Travel Center, southwest of I-25 and West Baptist Road
• Wolf Business Park on Beacon Lite Road at Wolf Court
For details, see related Aug. 9 Monument Planning Commission article on page 1 and https://monumenttownco.documents-on-demand.com.
Colorado Municipal League
The trustees unanimously approved a motion appointing Lowe as Monument’s representative to the Colorado Municipal League. Its purpose to is to lobby the state Legislature on behalf of the interests of municipalities, Lowe said.
Second-quarter financial report
The consent agenda was approved unanimously without any trustees asking that any part of it be moved to a regular agenda item for discussion or questions. It included the month’s checks over $5,000 and the second-quarter financial reports.
Checks over $5,000:
• Triview Metro District, sales, motor vehicle sales, and Regional Building use taxes − $192,365
• Green Electric, Well 8 transfer switch − $34,233
• A-1 Chip Seal, Asphalt repairs − $95,223
• AmeriScan Imaging Services Inc., BoardSync Agenda management annual payment − $5,988
• Select Energy Services, mapping Monument Lake water volume − $7,000
• Velocity Plant Services, Well 9 treatment modifications − $8,435
Town Treasurer Pamela Smith’s 44-page report on the second-quarter financial statement as of June 30 included these comments:
• General fund revenues were over budget by $292,000 or 5 percent.
• General fund expenditures were under budget by $765,000 or 12 percent, mainly due to not expending money for capital line items yet.
• Water fund revenues were under budget by $358,000 or 14 percent due to $226,000 of loans not being financed and due to low residential water sales.
• Water fund expenses were under budget by $544,000 or 23 percent mainly due to not expending money for capital line items yet.
As of June 30, the town had collected $3.80 million in gross sales tax, which is 12 percent higher than 2016 collections. A percentage of that is paid to Triview Metropolitan District, following an intergovernmental agreement.
To see the whole report, see https://monumenttownco.documents-on-demand.com/ and view pages 16-60 of the Aug. 21 Board of Trustees packet.
On-call consulting engineers approved
The consent agenda also included a resolution approving on-call service agreements for consulting engineering services. Public Works Director Tom Tharnish and Manning’s memo said the firms that they selected were evaluated across multiple areas of expertise and that they would negotiate with the firms represented for specific project agreements on an as-needed basis. If this system were not in place, the town would have to bid out every engineering project, adding months to each project schedule.
The nine engineering firms approved were Jacobs Engineering Group Inc.; NV5; Matrix Design Group Inc.; Bohannan Huston Inc.; AECOM Technical Services Inc.; Souder, Miller & Associates (SMA); Forsgren Associates Inc.; J3 Engineering Consultants Inc. (J3); and JR Engineering.
Trustee Dennis Murphy quoted several points from an Aug. 13 article in The Gazette titled "County urges water planning; providers pushed to think of future." It mentioned Colorado Springs Utilities’ (CSU) $2 million water resources plan, which explores options for how CSU might help smaller providers fill a supply gap. He said he looked forward to the town staff’s presentation on water options for the future this fall. See related Aug. 7 Board of Trustees article on page 1.
Trustee Kelly Elliott said she also looked forward to additional water presentation information and concurred with Mayor Jeff Kaiser’s Aug. 7 comment that the town already has experts working on water solutions, so spending $50,000 on an independent study was something she did not want to think about.
Wilson said he had attended a meeting with downtown Monument businesses who appreciated recent beautification efforts and the grant program.
At 7:09 p.m. the board went into executive session to discuss personnel matters, specifically the town manager’s contract. The board took no votes nor made any announcements after the executive session, said Town Clerk Laura Hogan.
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 Tuesday, Sept. 5. Call 884-8014 or see www.townofmonument.org for information about live video streaming of meetings. To see upcoming agendas and complete board packets for the Board of Trustees or to download audio recordings of past meetings, see http://monumenttownco.minutesondemand.com and click on Board of Trustees. This link will help you see whether or not you live within the boundaries of the Town of Monument: https://arcg.is/0TTjib.
Lisa Hatfield can be contacted at email@example.com.
By James Howald
The Palmer Lake Town Council met only once in August, on Aug. 24. At that meeting, the trustees took a final vote on the ordinance governing the cultivation and sale of marijuana, heard a report on the 2016 audit, continued work on an ordinance restricting certain types of fires, and began discussing a moratorium on new building permits.
Council approves marijuana ordinance
Before the vote on the proposed marijuana ordinance, Town Administrator Kathy Green-Sinnard summarized the previous discussion of the ordinance. The town initially had several ordinances relating to marijuana businesses within the town’s boundaries, she said, and the first goal was to consolidate them into a single ordinance and resolve any contradictions. Some new issues were addressed, such as a ban on clubs where marijuana could be consumed. Throughout the drafting of the new ordinance, the town sought to hold the two existing marijuana businesses harmless, but also to prevent any new marijuana businesses from opening, Green-Sinnard said.
Because the language of the ordinance defined a business as having a single address, an issue arose with the plans one of the existing businesses had to expand operations to a second building, with its own address, on the same property. According to Green-Sinnard, the latest draft of the ordinance addressed this issue by using lots in place of addresses.
Trustees Bob Mutu and Paul Banta expressed some reservations about the change from addresses to lots, arguing that addresses were more clearly defined than lots.
The council voted unanimously to approve the rewritten ordinance.
Audit report shows progress
David Green, of David Green & Associates, the company that performs the town’s financial audits, reported to the council on the audit for 2016, which was recently completed. The town is "doing a pretty good job of managing your funds," Green said, pointing out that the town improved its finances in 2016, ending the year with a net position of $1.8 million.
Green mentioned that the 2016 audit went more smoothly than the 2015 audit because of improvements the town has made to its processes and the addition of outside assistance. Some of the process deficiencies noted in previous audits have been addressed in calendar year 2017, Green said, but these improvements were not included in the 2016 audit.
Green said the town is in "pretty good shape," and that he would submit the audit report to the state on Aug. 25.
The council voted unanimously to accept the audit report.
Recreational and cooking fires still a concern
The Town Council continued its discussion of an updated ordinance restricting outdoor fires. Fire Chief Adam Colvin explained there are two types of fires that need to be addressed: "open burning," used to manage vegetation, and "recreational fires," which are outdoor fires used for cooking, warmth, or religious ceremonies.
The main issue to be addressed in the ordinance is how frequently inspections must be done to certify that recreational fires are safe, Colvin said. He recommended that an inspection be done for each recreational fire not used for cooking.
The council voted unanimously to table a vote on the ordinance until the language can be made more precise.
Town administrator suggests moratorium on new building permits
Green-Sinnard asked the council if they wanted to consider a moratorium on new building permits. The town needs to improve its requirements for granting a building permit, Green-Sinnard argued, mentioning that the town currently does not consider drainage and traffic considerations when reviewing new permits.
The council agreed to consider the issue. Mayor John Cressman pointed out that many of the remaining lots were steep and needed better engineering to build on. He added that the town would need to act quickly to put the moratorium in place.
The two meetings for September will be at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 14 and 28 at Town Hall, 42 Valley Crescent. Meetings are normally held on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month. Information: 481-2953.
James Howald can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jason Gross
The Triview Metropolitan District board meeting on Aug. 8 was a continuation of many topics from the special meeting held Aug. 1. The board received a presentation by Monument Planning Director Larry Manning on areas of mutual interest to the town and Triview. The board accepted a bid for repairs to district streets, answered questions from residents on road repair, mosquito control, and landscaping, instituted a new policy on private sewage pump lifts, and made decisions improving landscaping and maintenance facilities. The board also discussed rates and fees, a gate policy for district-maintained fences, and objectives to guide district water efforts. Superintendent of Public Works Gerry Shisler gave a presentation on his team’s work over the last month to improve irrigation and weed control.
District Manager Valerie Remington, Shisler, District Attorney Gary Shupp, Water Attorney Chris Cummins, President Reid Bolander, Vice President Mark Melville, Secretary/Treasurer Marco Fiorito, and Directors Jim Otis and James Barnhart were present. Monument Town Manager Chris Lowe and Manning attended part of the meeting. So did Monument Trustees Jeff Bornstein and Dennis Murphy, who are also Triview residents.
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.
Improving Jackson Creek Parkway and extending Gleneagle Drive
Manning gave a presentation on two areas of possible cooperation between the town and Triview. First, he discussed the Triview well site and Mountain View Electric Association (MVEA) sites along Jackson Creek Parkway. He indicated the area is starting to build up with residences and businesses, and it would be more aesthetic to have an attractive solid fence instead of the chain link currently in place. He said MVEA already has a plan in place for a solid wall but if MVEA could cooperate with Triview, they could save money and time.
The board consensus was that this was worth pursuing.
Then Manning explained the need to extend Gleneagle Drive north through Homeplace Ranch to Higby Road to provide Promontory Pointe an alternate exit from the neighborhood and to disperse the flow of traffic onto more roads as the volume continues to build up. Director Otis and Secretary/Treasurer Fiorito expressed concerns over increased traffic and high rates of speed possible in the residential area. Manning explained this road extension has been in planning documents since the 2006 timeframe, and as the residential areas build out it becomes increasingly necessary. Remington said that due to the way the road is planned to curve and the changes in elevation, the road speed limits would likely not be very high.
The Triview board also agreed to work with the town on the Gleneagle Drive extension.
Bid by Avery Asphalt accepted
Remington presented the board with the results of their road repair bid request. There were two bidders, one with a bid of $1.3 million and the other $968,783. The board voted 5-0 to accept the low bid from Avery Asphalt, even though that bid was higher than the engineer’s estimate of about $715,000. Remington said this was primarily due to higher than expected costs for the cape seal on the asphalt. The board discussed whether some of the road maintenance could be put off due to the higher expense but ultimately decided that further delay would only result in even higher total costs.
Melville requested that Remington inform residents in advance on which roads will receive maintenance so residents could plan their travels with the potential road work delay in mind. She said information will be posted on https://colorado.gov/triviewmetro and on NextDoor.com.
Bornstein asked about the status of mosquito control, because he has seen unusual number of mosquitos on his property. Bolander stated that mosquito control treatment was late this year due to personnel turnover, and that may have led to higher than normal number of mosquitos.
Resident Andrew McPherson requested grass be put in the Oxbow Drive "eyebrow" open space before winter snow arrives and also informed the board that the amount of woodchips was still low below the slides at the Burke Hollow park. Remington said she intends to purchase woodchips for Burke Hollow and other parks when she has the opportunity. During July’s board meeting, multiple residents had complained about the irrigation not working and the grass being dead in the "eyebrow" open space area by Oxbow Drive. Remington estimated the costs for hydro seeding the area at about $2,200, while sod would cost from $7,000 to $8,000.
Bolander said that due to the lateness of the season, hydro seeding has a good chance of not getting established, resulting in the effort being wasted. The board decided 4-0 to purchase fescue sod for the area; Otis abstained from the vote.
Murphy thanked the board for Triview’s landscaping efforts, noting that while there is still a lot to be done, he has seen improvement.
Public works team focused on landscape and irrigation repairs
Shisler gave a slideshow presentation on the efforts his team has made to repair irrigation systems in the district and remove weeds along Jackson Creek Parkway. The team had cleaned up dozens of bags of trash and weeds over the past month in a manpower- and time-intensive effort to improve the open space appearance around the district.
Bolander raised the possibility of hiring landscape companies to do some of the cleanup work. He said that the current cost of landscaping maintenance is about $7,000 an acre, and to do it correctly the district needed to spend about $10,000 to $12,000 an acre. He had informal discussions with landscape companies that indicated the $10,000 to $12,000 estimate was high, and private landscaping companies may be able to do it cheaper. The board brainstormed possible approaches and directed Remington to discuss maintenance options with landscape companies to get a better idea of how to develop proposals to bid out the work.
Resolution on sewage lift stations approved
The board unanimously approved resolution 06-2017 establishing a policy that requires homeowners to maintain any sewage lift stations that are installed in homes. This policy was instituted because some homes in Sanctuary Pointe are being built slightly lower than Triview’s main sewer line. The policy also lays out quality standards for the pumps, modeled on a similar policy used in Colorado Springs.
Checks over $5,000
• $14,008 to Stockman Kast Ryan and Co. for auditing services
• $293,045 to Independent Bank for debt service
• $6,850 to Monson, Cummins & Shohet for legal fees
The board unanimously approved the checks over $5,000.
Other areas of discussion
• Remington announced that the water superintendent job has been posted and she expected to do interviews soon. Note: Previous Water Superintendent Josh Cichocki vacated the position in July. The board didn’t provide more information about the cause of his departure.
• Remington reviewed the budget status with the board, and no significant deviations were noted.
• Remington reminded the board they will have more extensive rate and fee discussions in September, with voting on any changes planned for October.
• Fiorito presented a pie-chart analysis of the 2017 budget that highlighted how much of the district’s revenue went to paying off debt. 60 percent of the General Fund and 47 percent of the Enterprise Fund’s income go to debt payments. See the charts and tables on this page.
• The board decided that further review of a policy on homeowners putting gates in district-maintained fences is necessary.
• The board approved buying a Conex container to store landscaping equipment and supplies, using the landscape improvements budget.
• Melville presented ideas on a long-term district water plan to guide the board’s decision-making efforts.
The next Triview meeting will be held on Sept. 12 at 5 p.m. at the Fairfield Inn, Mt. Herman Conference Room, 15275 Struthers Road, Colorado Springs. Meetings are normally held on the second Tuesday of the month. Information: 488-6868 or see www.colorado.gov/triviewmetro. Triview also is on Facebook.
Jason Gross can be reached at email@example.com.
By Lisa Hatfield
On Aug. 8, the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility (TLWWTF) Joint Use Committee (JUC) discussed the recent Tetra Tech potable water reuse study it did for the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD) and heard updates about several facility maintenance issues and some more potential changes to state regulations for permitted dischargers.
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 WWSD.
The three-member JUC acts as the board of the facility and consists of one director from each of the three owner districts’ boards: WWSD board Director at Large Rich Strom, president; MSD board Chairman Ed DeLaney, vice president; and PLSD board Director Pat Smith, treasurer/secretary. Other board and staff members of the three owner districts also attended, including MSD District Manager Mike Wicklund, PLSD District Manager Becky Orcutt, and WWSD Assistant District Manager Randy Gillette.
Tetra Tech reuse study discussed
Wicklund said that at the Aug. 7 Monument Board of Trustees meeting, a potable water reuse study by the Tetra Tech engineering firm was mentioned by Town Manager Chris Lowe. Wicklund asked Gillette to tell the JUC about the status of this water reuse engineering study that Woodmoor had commissioned.
Gillette said that the Tetra Tech study completed in late July presented different indirect potable water reuse concepts and related cost analyses to see if they were worth pursuing. "It’s pretty expensive; the numbers are pretty outrageous," he said. "It’s not a question of if you can do it, but if you can afford to do it." Estimates are in the $20 million-plus range. "I think that will be a (WWSD) board discussion," he said. "The numbers were jaw-dropping," Strom said, "and you would need a huge public relations plan."
Gillette said that WWSD and the Town of Monument did not make any decisions and have not talked about any specific plant locations or water sources yet, but only discussed the different technologies and levels of processes available to make water safe. He said it was all just conceptual ideas, and so far, WWSD did not have any specific plans determined.
Strom said a representative from the town was at the meeting with Tetra Tech but asked only a few questions about the study.
Gillette said even though the technology is "out there" and in use at the Town of Parker, "right now there are no regulations, so that’s part of the problem."
However, MSD Environmental Compliance Coordinator Jim Kendrick reported that at the Colorado Wastewater Utility Council (WWUC) meeting on July 12, PE John Rehring of Carollo Engineers presented an update on the long-term WateReuse Colorado Direct Potable Reuse. Rehring said he does not expect any type of potable water reuse project, either direct or indirect, to happen in Colorado for at least 10 years, because there is no path for approval through the Colorado Water Quality Control Division or Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 8 yet.
Gillette said the Water Reuse Council is trying to push for legislation in Washington, D.C., and get lawmakers to reconsider water reuse because of issues with water scarcity.
WET testing protocols changing
Burks reviewed all the results for the monthly discharge monitoring report. The only aberration was that in the second-quarter Whole Effluent Toxicity (WET) compliance test, there was one area of failure with respect to the proper percentage of larval survival and growth of Pimephales promelas (fathead minnows), but as long as that result did not happen again in the third quarter, it would be OK, he said.
Kendrick said that during his recent A-level water operator continuing education training school session in Leadville, he learned more about proposed changes by the EPA for WET tests. He said Shannon Phelps and Kira Grissom of Seacrest Group said that the EPA is considering a nationwide procedural revision to require a facility that fails one quarterly WET test, to conduct three WET tests per month for a year or more. It is not clearly defined how long the intensive testing would be required then. Burks commented that TLWWTF had gone 18 years without one WET test failure, but that the test has already been changed, making it more likely that the facility would fail a WET test.
Kendrick said he requested that the Wastewater Utility Council (WWUC) include an agenda item for Seacrest to make the same presentation so that Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) Clean Water Program Manager Nicole Rowan could then hear how facility operators would respond to the proposed new system, since she attends those stakeholder meetings.
Hazardous material incident
Wicklund said the EPA will be setting up a meeting with the managers of Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy Synthes surgical orthopedic appliances manufacturing plant on Synthes Avenue. In June, one of Synthes’ subcontractors apparently dumped a tanker full of used gearbox oil into a Synthes private sampling manhole. This toxic flammable hazardous material then flowed through Synthes’ private service line into the MSD sanitary sewer collection system and downstream to TLWWTF.
Burks said the TLWWTF aeration basins and clarifiers were covered in oil that day, but the plant did not end up having an aerobic treatment upset or a permit violation. Wicklund said he took photos showing the truck draining into the Synthes manhole and a dark stain inside the manhole that showed how high the oil had filled the area before it drained down to TLWWTF. "This is a flammable substance, and it put our employees at risk," Burks said.
Secondary clarifier replacements
Burks asked the JUC about options related to rebuilding or replacing secondary Clarifier B’s entire set of three gear boxes, which are now 25 years old. The consensus was instead of rebuilding one section of it this year, he would order a whole new set of three gear boxes for about $62,800, and wait until next year for installation and factory training of TLWWTF operators at a cost of about $27,000 per clarifier. Burks said the facility would then rebuild Clarifier B’s original three sets of gears to be installed as the replacements for Secondary Clarifier A, since they are identical.
Clarifier A’s three gear boxes are also eligible for rebuilding and would cost about $35,600 each.
Burks’ other comments in the facility manager’s report included:
• Aslan Construction is close to sending the final payout paperwork for the total phosphorus (TP) chemical removal clarifier expansion.
• The TP chemical removal clarifier has passed all Fire Department inspections.
• Veris Environmental LLC is performing removal and dewatering of about 300 dry tons of accumulated sludge from the facility’s sludge lagoon, which is done every two years at TLWWTF; Veris tractor-trailers haul away this Class B sludge cake fertilizer for recycling via agricultural land application.
• The state’s Discharge Monitoring Report Quality Assurance Study tested all of our TLWWTF in-house and contractor labs, and every one passed.
Dog waste contributes E. coli bacteria to the watershed
Burks’ comments on a July 24 AF CURE stakeholder "E. coli field trip" included:
• The Town of Palmer Lake will begin E. coli sampling of its drinking water reservoir in October.
• The daily hiking traffic up to the reservoir is unbelievable.
• Dog waste left on the ground causes E. coli bacteria to go into the watershed.
• Some people collect the dog waste in plastic bags but then leave dog poop bags everywhere.
Some other non-point sources of E. coli include cattle pastures, birds, and large stormwater retaining ponds, which become large bird habitats that worsen E. coli concentrations, Burks said.
AF CURE basin nutrient model study defined
Burks said that the 2018 budget for the Arkansas Fountain Coalition for Urban River Evaluation (AF CURE) will remain about the same as this year and will be divided among the 10 wastewater members proportionally by rated flow capacity. TLWWTF’s share for 2018 will be about $19,845. See www.afcure.org. The final draft of the revised AF CURE organizational structure was unanimously approved on Aug. 1.
Burks and Kendrick said that on Aug. 1, Clifton Bell of Brown and Caldwell presented AF CURE members with an overview of an estimated $360,000, 10-year project to do nutrient modeling for the Arkansas-Fountain watershed from Palmer Lake down past Pueblo to the John Martin Reservoir. Wicklund said the goal of all the data collected from Monument Creek, Fountain Creek, and part of the Arkansas River is to show regulatory agencies the results already being achieved by discharging facilities, but if that data could also be utilized to make a predictive model, it would be even more powerful.
Water Quality Control Commission hearing results reported
Kendrick said that at the Aug. 7 Water Quality Control Commission (WQCC) meeting, with no discussion, temperature criteria methodology policy 06-1 was approved unanimously, and they also approved the final results of the triennial San Juan/Gunnison Water Quality Standards Regulations 34 and 35 rulemaking hearing, held in Durango in June.
Also, to the astonishment of the WQCC stakeholders in attendance, Chris Theel of the CDPHE Water Quality Control Division Standards Unit explained Aquatic Life Use Attainment Policy 10-1, which included a fourth-generation version of multi-metric indexing (MMI) methodology, although it was not common knowledge that there had been three previous generations of that methodology, Kendrick said. MMI has been used for over a decade to assess the biological response of fish and macro invertebrates to nutrients in different stream segments. See www.ocn.me/v17n1.htm#tlwtfjuc.
The new methodology will be applied retroactively, according to Theel, Kendrick said. "We expect all the (measured) MMI numbers to be lower.… It has been ratcheted down sequentially…. Everything that was used in the past to decide what was in a discharge permit or be part of a compliance schedule is all gone. Control, alt, delete," Kendrick said.
Burks said that the MMI problem for TLWWTF is already made worse when WWSD withdraws all the flows in Monument Creek, at the Arnold Avenue bridge upstream of the TLWWTF discharge pipe, and pipes this renewable surface water up to Lake Woodmoor for storage. This withdrawal eliminates all previously normal dilution of TLWWTF effluent in the facility’s Monument Creek mixing zone downstream to Baptist Road, which is the new Reg. 85 nutrient sampling location for the facility.
Kendrick said this MMI problem will be worse when MMI 4.0 creates an even higher MMI standard than the current unattainable state standard in upper Monument Creek. TLWWTF will never be able to meet the new higher MMI standard due to the solid rock stream bottom next to TLWWTF that prevents aquatic life from existing, much less flourishing up to an even higher state standard, he said.
The meeting adjourned at 11:58 a.m.
Caption: Hikers with dogs, please be considerate! Photo by Deb Geolat.
The next meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. Sept. 12 at the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility, 16510 Mitchell Ave. Meetings are normally held on the second Tuesday of the month and are open to the public. For information, call Bill Burks at 719-481-4053.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donala Water and Sanitation District, Aug. 17: Southeastern Conservancy District director gives membership briefing
By Jim Kendrick
On Aug. 17, the Donala Water and Sanitation District board heard guest presentations on the procedures for Donala becoming a member of the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District and Donala’s cash investments that are managed by Chandler Asset Management. Donala General Manager Kip Petersen reiterated long-held district positions on aquifer recharging and property taxes. Several Donala residents attended this meeting.
The absences of the board President Dave Powell and Director Bob Denny for travel and medical reasons were unanimously excused. Vice President Ken Judd presided with a quorum that also included Directors Ed Houle and Dennis Snyder.
Southeastern Conservancy District membership benefits
Petersen said that "during the last several board meetings we have discussed the possibility of joining the conservancy district. These discussions arose from the potential spill of our water in Pueblo Reservoir and how we can minimize any potential loss of water, as well as reduce our costs of storage." He asked General Manager Jim Broderick to present the advantages and costs for Donala to join the Southeastern Water Conservancy District, which manages the Pueblo Reservoir for the federal Bureau of Reclamation. See www.ocn.me/v17n8.htm#dwsd, www.secwcd.org.
Broderick said he would give an overview of the Southeastern district and the process of becoming a member of this district, what it means for Donala’s contract storage by not being a member, and the long-term impacts of aging Southeastern district assets. If after the overview Donala is interested in moving this further, it should send a letter of interest requesting a preview of requirements for a Southeastern district membership, he said.
Conservancy districts are normally created to pay off large projects. The Southeastern district was created in 1958 to develop and administer the Fryingpan-Arkansas, or "Fry-Ark," Project. In 1965, the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation and the Southeastern district entered into a contract providing "construction of the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project works for the purpose of supplying water for irrigation, municipal, domestic, and industrial uses." Funding to fulfill this obligation to the federal government is derived from a tax on all property within the Southeastern district boundaries. Southeastern’s total payments to Reclamation are over $4.5 million per year. See www.secwcd.org/content/history-southeastern-colorado-water-conservancy-district.
Pueblo Reservoir is part of the Long-Term Excess Capacity Master Contract. The term for this Southeastern district contract is 50 years, but federal law limits the length to 40 years, so a second 10-year contract is necessary. Excess storage capacity allows non-district-member participants, like Donala, to store non-Fry-Ark Project water like that from Donala’s Willow Creek Ranch in the Pueblo Reservoir. See www.secwcd.org/content/long-term-excess-capacity-master-contract.
Broderick said Donala would use an inclusion by election process, which has never happened before, in accordance with Colorado Revised Statute 37-45-136 (3.5). This requires a petition to the district court signed by not less than 25 percent of the owners of land in Donala and not less than 10 percent of Donala electors who each seek inclusion by the Southeastern district. The Southeastern district board would file this petition with its district court since Southeastern would be including Donala after a subsequent election by all of Donala’ voters. If the inclusion were to be approved by the Donala voters, the federal Secretary of the Interior would then have to approve the inclusion.
The other two types of inclusion are inclusion by municipal annexation and inclusion by landowner petition. There have been 20 inclusions by the Southeastern district in 59 years by these other methods. See www.secwcd.org/content/inclusion-southeastern-colorado-water-conservancy-district and http://codes.findlaw.com/co/title-37-water-and-irrigation/co-rev-st-sect-37-45-136.html.
New Southeastern district members are usually asked to make an inclusion payment that would reflect what they would have paid since 1958 had they been founding members. For Donala, this would be based on Donala’s overall annual assessed property value each year since 1958, in accordance with audited Donala records through the previous year (2016 at this moment).
The Southeastern district mill levy on individual properties has varied from 0.4 mills in 1958 to 0.935 mills currently, Broderick said. This mill levy pays for operations and maintenance, interest, and debt (principal.) Annual Southeastern district total revenue from this mill levy is about $7.1 million. Broderick estimated that Donala’s main Area A assessed value is $76.5 million and that Donala’s Area B is $268,000. His rough first estimation of Donala’s back taxes was $1.6 million. His rough first estimation of Donala’s first annual Southeastern district tax would be about $71,500. The Policy Board of the Southeastern district will decide what the actual negotiated back tax payment will be after discussions with Donala.
If Donala were to be included, it would still be required to provide its own water for storage in Pueblo Reservoir, as it does now. The Southeastern district cannot sell Fry-Ark Project water to Donala from its members’ 163,400 acre-feet of municipal storage space. Pueblo Reservoir’s total storage capacity is 250,000 acre-feet. An acre-foot is 325,851 gallons.
Every five years, Donala has to provide an updated water conservation plan to the Southeastern district for review by the Bureau of Reclamation. See www.secwcd.org/content/conservation-plans.
Upcoming expenses for Pueblo Reservoir capital asset management and replacement in the next six years will be about $39 million. As a result, annual reservoir operations and maintenance rates will be more than seven times higher at the end of this six-year period. These rapidly rising O&M costs for Donala would only be about 57 percent of what they are now once Donala becomes included. Storage fees are separate from and in addition to O&M fees.
Petersen said the current rate for Donala’s non-member "if and when" storage is $42.04 per acre-foot for 499 acre-feet of storage. Donala has requested a long-term contract from the bureau for 499 acre-feet of storage in Pueblo Reservoir to avoid annual negotiations and new annual "if and when" contract paperwork. Broderick said the Southeastern district "stays out of" non-member long term storage contracts as a board policy.
Broderick said there are currently four of these non-member short-term storage contracts in place for the Pueblo Reservoir. These four water entities have to worry about the Southeastern district having to temporarily limit or eliminate the "if and when" storage for these four contracts during high spring snow melt flows. The simpler name used for this problem is "spilling" and it is only a serious threat for about two weeks a year. "Spilling" has not actually occurred recently due to closely coordinated pro-active measures taken by all the interested parties during each of the recent annual warnings.
The board thanked Broderick for his overview. There was board consensus to schedule an agenda item to discuss Broderick’s overview at the next regular board meeting where all five directors will be in attendance, as well as scheduling an in-depth discussion of Broderick’s overview at the board’s Nov. 16 9 a.m. strategic planning workshop.
Chandler reports safe investment environment will likely remain unchanged
Donala’s investment advisors from Chandler Asset Management––portfolio strategist and Executive Vice President Scott Prickett and Client Service Manager Stacey Alderson––presented a technical review of the current Donala investments and investment policies in a "benign" inflation environment coupled with a weak rate of increases for both wages and core personal consumption expenditures, and then answered questions from the directors regarding the board’s investment objectives. The duration of Donala’s investments have been increased to provide higher rates of return. Two-year instruments may yield 1.4 to 1.6 percent as well as higher total returns.
Colorado state law sets high investment safety requirements to ensure preservation of capital in the overall portfolio, and sets diversification limits that preclude investments in long-term corporate bonds, certificates of deposit, or equities to get a higher yield due to the risk of principal loss in the event of subsequent failure of this type of security issuer or backer. The Donala portfolio will remain sufficiently liquid to meet all operating requirements that may be reasonably anticipated. There was consensus to continue the district’s current investment policies with no changes. The directors thanked Pricket and Alderson for the higher yields that Chandler’s recently recommended policy changes have garnered for the district.
Donala positions explained again during public comment
Petersen stated, as he has recently done at previous board meetings, that the El Paso County assessor will release information to Donala later this year on how Colorado’s statewide annual property tax rate changes will affect Donala, in exactly the same way as every other Colorado special district, along with the most recent county tax assessments on individual properties, will determine whether the total Donala property taxes collected by the state for 2017 will be "up, down, or neutral."
Petersen noted that Donala had experimented with aquifer recharging, storage, and recovery in 2011 by injecting about 40 acre-feet of water into Donala’s well 2A successfully in a feasibility study. However, there are still challenges to this day with aquifer storage in Donala district wells.
He said that it "makes no sense" to pump Donala’s non-renewable Denver Basin Aquifer groundwater from one of its wells and then reinject it into a Donala groundwater well.
Note: It also makes no sense to pump out non-renewable ground water from the aquifer, where there is no evaporation, to store it in a possible new Tri-Lakes regional reservoir, because there will be significant evaporation of some groundwater stored in the reservoir in this alpine desert climate.
Petersen said that Donala receives its Leadville Willow Creek Ranch renewable surface water at its Northgate Boulevard interconnect with Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) after it has been transported from Donala’s temporary "if and when" annual raw water storage lease in Pueblo Reservoir to a CSU surface water treatment plant where it is treated and chlorinated by CSU for direct distribution as potable water to Donala’s customers. To inject this treated and chlorinated potable water into a Donala groundwater well, it would have to be de-chlorinated and then re-treated and re-chlorinated when it is re-pumped from the aquifer, a total of three treatment cycles in all.
Petersen stated that even if Donala could find an appropriate source for treated injection water in the future, some of Donala’s injected water that would be stored underground in the Denver Basin aquifers through a future Donala injection well would inevitably migrate a short distance through the underground rock layers into the adjacent Triview Metropolitan District service area and would be lost to Donala and its customers. Currently, the adjacent Triview wells could then pump Donala’s injected groundwater and sell it to their customers with no compensation to Donala.
Petersen also said that at this time there are no Colorado Groundwater Commission administrative rules and procedures for aquifer storage in, for example, the Upper Black Squirrel designated basin. Likewise, there are no administrative rules or procedures in Colorado to protect ownership of the water that a special district like Donala might inject into storage in a basin like Upper Black Squirrel. At this time, the board that manages Upper Black Squirrel storage takes ownership of any water injected into its aquifer, and it would be lost to Donala.
Since the Upper Black Squirrel Basin storage area is 15 to 18 miles east of Donala’s service area, Donala would have to build pipelines to the storage basin, injection wells and extraction wells in the storage basin, and return pipelines back to Donala’s service area. This construction challenge is more than Donala can currently finance by itself as a stand-alone district, with no regional partners to help share in these costs at this time.
Note: For accurate, peer-reviewed, science-based information on aquifer injection, see https://water.usgs.gov/edu/earthgwaquifer.html, https://water.usgs.gov/ogw/artificial_recharge.html, and https://pubs.usgs.gov/sir/2005/5013/. For federal regulatory and in-state public information see www.epa.gov/uic/aquifer-recharge-and-aquifer-storage-and-recovery, www.douglas.co.us/water/water-supply/aquifer-storage-and-recovery-asr/, and http://water.state.co.us/groundwater/GWAdmin/DenverBasin/Pages/DenverBasin.aspx.
Petersen and the directors each said more than once at this board meeting that no decisions have been made by the Donala board to raise any Donala mill levy because a special district board cannot raise a mill levy. Nor has the Donala board even had any discussions or made any decision about initiating a mill levy increase ballot issue for Donala constituents to vote on, since only the voters can increase a property tax on themselves.
Note: Donala’s voters approved, on May 4, 2010, an increase in the district’s existing voter-approved mill levies: a 5 mill increase to 21.296 mills for Area A (those customers receiving water and sewer services, which includes all of Gleneagle) and a 2.5 mill increase to 10.648 mills for Area B (those receiving water service only, which includes a small section of Chaparral Hills). Area B residents are taxed at half the rate of residents in Area A. See www.ocn.me/v5n1.htm#donala, www.ocn.me/v10n5.htm#dwsd, and www.ocn.me/v10n6.htm#dwsd.
Petersen noted that budget numbers for operations and capital projects were tracking normally. However, tap fee revenue will most likely be less than forecast due to slower than expected county approvals of development projects within Donala. Some budgeted 2017 capital projects that were to be financed by these delayed tap fees will now have to be postponed until 2018. See www.ocn.me/v17n8.htm#dwsd for a comprehensive list of links that describe these previously reported capital project issues in detail.
The financial reports were unanimously accepted as presented.
Willow Creek Ranch
Peterson said there were two warnings of potential spilling of Donala’s renewable Willow Creek Ranch surface water that was stored in Pueblo Reservoir earlier this year. As a result, Donala chose to stop storing water in June, and then used up nearly all of the stored Donala water that was left in the reservoir to minimize the loss of any remaining district ranch water if a "spill" actually occurred. However, there were no spills due to the close coordination between the Pueblo Reservoir stakeholders. Since the spill threat ended, Donala has been able to re-accumulate about 250 acre-feet of Willow Creek Ranch surface water in its annual lease Pueblo Reservoir storage. Donala’s Willow Creek Ranch water right allows Donala to store an average of 280 acre-feet of ranch surface water per year.
Petersen said the ranch is in very good physical condition after a week of recent district staff maintenance and wildfire mitigation.
The R. Hull water treatment plant was scheduled to be taken off line at the end of August to start a major control system upgrade. If capital funds become available, a low flow shallow potable groundwater well pump (well 2D) with sand ingestion damage will be repaired later this year.
The Doral Way pipeline replacement project (3,200 feet of 8-inch potable water lines) has begun and should be finished by the end of October.
The Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility’s effluent flume will be replaced during the last week in August. The facility’s access road has been graded and treated for dust control.
The facility has submitted a request to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to schedule the installation of necessary arsenic removal upgrades during 2019 and 2020 rather than in 2018 and 2019 as scheduled. The department has published a notice of the facility’s schedule amendment request with a 45-day of public comment period.
The current engineer’s estimate for this arsenic removal upgrade replacement is $2.2 million, which will be divided between the facility’s three owner districts: Donala ($1.1 million), Triview Metropolitan District ($1.0 million), and Forest Lakes Metropolitan District ($100,000 to $200,000.)
Petersen will present a proposed 2018 budget to these three owner districts by Sept. 15.
There had been no new communications from the respective developers of the county-approved Academy Gateway and golf course residential projects.
Petersen stated that Donala’s contract with Forest Lakes Metro for having Donala’s staff operate the Forest Lakes Metro water and wastewater services is going well. No additional Donala staff members appear to be necessary at this time for providing this contract service to Forest Lakes Metro as the number of constructed homes continues to grow. The workload on Donala staff will decrease after construction is completed in a few years.
The meeting adjourned at 3:55 p.m.
Caption: During the regular Donala Water and Sanitation District board meeting on Aug. 17, Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District General Manager Jim Broderick (wearing sport coat) gave an overview of the Southeastern district, the process for Donala to become a member the district, what it means for Donala’s contract storage by not being a member, and the long-term impacts of aging Southeastern district assets. He answered the directors’ questions about the advantages and costs for Donala to be included by the Southeastern district, which manages the Pueblo Reservoir for the federal Bureau of Reclamation. Photo by Jim Kendrick.
The next board meeting will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Sept. 21 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.
Jim Kendrick can be reached at email@example.com.
By James Howald
The Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD) board heard a presentation from a representative of Forsgren & Associates concerning a proposed regional plan for managing water resources. The board also updated its budget and heard comments from the public.
To accommodate the schedules of the board members, the meeting was held on Aug. 17, one week after the usual date for the board’s monthly meetings, which are typically on the second Thursday of each month.
Study shows water is growing scarcer as population increases
Will Koger, of Forsgren & Associates, an engineering company developing a water master plan for the region on behalf of the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority (PPRWA), spoke to the board, focusing on Area 3, which includes Monument and Black Forest. One of the challenges facing the region, according to Koger, is the fact that while most of the people are on the east slope of the Rockies, most of the water is on the Western Slope, and it is difficult to move that water to the population.
Research done to develop the regional plan shows that the state’s population will double by 2050, that the South Platte and Arkansas Rivers are already over-appropriated, and that there likely will be a 500,000 acre/foot water gap each year by 2050, if current trends continue. Koger explained that an acre/foot of water was usually adequate for between two and three families for a year.
About 350,000 residents depend on the Denver Basin for water, but it is a non-renewable resource, Koger said. The life of this aquifer can be extended by pumping water back into it, he argued, but a long-range plan should acknowledge that this resource may be completely depleted by 2050. Denver Basin water should be conserved for use during droughts, according to Koger.
Koger commended WWSD for diversifying its water portfolio with renewable water and said that a regional approach to water management was the most cost-effective over the long run.
The PPRWA proposes pumping water from Area 1, which is near the Arkansas River, north to Area 3. Building the infrastructure to do this would take 15 to 20 years and cost about $280 million, according to Koger.
Key to this strategy is the construction of a reservoir to hold 2,750 acre/feet of water at Home Place Ranch, which is just east of I-25 and south of Higby Road. The reservoir is projected to cost $20.5 million and would store water for about $7,500 per acre/foot. The land needed for the reservoir is currently owned by Challenger Homes, which plans to build houses there, according to Koger.
Water re-use and acquisition of rights to renewable water, such as the water from the JV Ranch, are also desirable strategies, Koger said.
Budget updated to reflect high tap fee revenues
The board reviewed their budget and made adjustments to reflect that tap fee revenues are $1 million higher than expected, due to the rapid pace of residential construction, and construction costs were $300,000 lower than expected. The district has total reserves of $25 million, according to the updated budget.
The board voted to approve the updated budget as presented.
Resident requests well 20 site be more completely mowed
During public comments, resident Larry Johnson asked the district to mow a larger portion of the well 20 site, which is near the intersection of Fairplay Drive and Higby Road. Assistant District Manager Randy Gillette said he would work with staff to address this request.
The next meeting is scheduled for Sept. 14 at 1 p.m. Meetings are usually held at the district office at 1845 Woodmoor Drive on the second Thursday of each month at 1 p.m. See www.woodmoorwater.com or call 488-2525 to verify meeting times.
James Howald can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Harriet Halbig
The Lewis-Palmer Board of Education met in a special session Aug. 3 to discuss policy GBEB regarding behavior of personnel. The board’s Aug. 17 regular meeting also involved decisions on policy.
Special meeting Aug. 3
Board Secretary Mark Pfoff requested the special meeting due to his concerns about staff behavior at non-academic events. Saying that he has received many complaints from parents about staff behavior at athletic events, he expressed concern that behavioral standards were not being enforced outside the classroom environment.
Policy GBEB was recently updated to include mention of profanity and gestures, but Pfoff still thinks that athletic coaches are not being supervised sufficiently. He pointed out that new teachers are continuously evaluated during their first three years of employment and suggested that coaches should be similarly observed and evaluated by the athletic director or other administrative individual.
He acknowledged that such a procedure may already be in place, but suggested that the board somehow stress its support.
Board President Sherri Hawkins said that she didn’t feel that this was the board’s responsibility. She said that bullying or other abuse by coaches is already addressed in policy.
Superintendent Karen Brofft said that this level of observation may become burdensome.
Pfoff said that part of the problem is that, if complaints are acted upon, parents have no way of knowing. Consequently, parents feel that their comments are being brushed aside. He suggested that a survey be sent to parents of graduated students to learn of their opinions in the matter.
Or perhaps, he suggested, the district could develop a program similar to Safe2Tell to make it possible to anonymously comment on nonacademic staff. He said that all complaints should be documented by the athletic director, and that other non-academic advisers (such as the Distributive Education Clubs of America, forensics, or music) should be included in this treatment.
Director Sarah Sampayo commented that teachers undergo a probationary period, but coaches are under contract and therefore treated differently.
Brofft said that the process of recording complaints and their response is already part of the job of the athletic director.
Sampayo commented that the reason parents and others never hear of the consequences for misbehavior is that it is a personnel matter and therefore confidential.
Pfoff said that as a result, this problem is one of transparency.
Sampayo and Brofft agreed that it is critical that all parents are aware of the lines of communication in the district. They pointed out that the Board of Education has only one employee, the superintendent, who in turn supervises all others. Complaints, therefore, should not be directed to the board.
Brofft said that the district does acknowledge the obligation to follow up on complaints, but she added that it is important for the staff to feel that the district trusts them. For this reason, the policy is explicit about acceptable and unacceptable behavior, obviating the need for direct oversight. She said that mentoring is a large part of the job of the athletic director.
Pfoff observed that it is also important to defend coaches if they are abused by parents or other audience members.
Pfoff suggested that the District Accountability Advisory Committee or another similar group should review the policy sections of the student handbook to see whether it requires further clarification.
Sampayo commented regarding the policy regarding student use of district technology. The policy says that digital storage is the property of the district. She said that she acknowledges that this protects the district from liability and the student must sign a statement of agreement in order to use the technology.
Brofft said that the physical system is the property of the district, but not the information contained thereon. She acknowledged, for example, that there is a concern about the confidentiality of medical information.
Pfoff commented that by signing an agreement, the student acknowledges no reasonable right to privacy during the use of the technology.
Brofft commented that, if a parent refuses to allow a student to use the technology, there are often hard copies of instructional materials available.
Regular meeting Aug. 17
Most of the time spent in the regular board meeting on Aug. 17 also involved policy. Several policies had their first reading at the June meeting (there was no meeting in July) and were up for a vote in August without need for discussion.
This included a list of policies that were repealed at the request of the Colorado Association of School Boards and revisions on several policies including such topics as school safety, closings and cancellations, security access to buildings, fees and fines, instruction time, and discipline. See http://www.ocn.me/v17n7.htm#d38 for further details.
Director of Personnel and Student Services Bob Foster moderated the discussion of additional policies. These included policy JICJ regarding use of personal technological devices such as phones, tablets, and cameras, and GBEB-R, the regulation associated with policy GBEB on staff conduct. A regulation, also called a procedure, deals with enforcing a policy. Both policies were approved.
To view the policies, please go to the district home page, http://lewispalmer.org, Board of Directors, Meetings, and Agendas. By activating Board Docs you can see all supporting materials for each meeting.
The board approved a motion to present an Intergovernmental Agreement for the Nov. 7 election. This document designates Vicki Wood as the district’s representative to follow all procedures involved with participation in the election.
Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Wangeman updated information on the district’s request for a waiver on deadlines for approval of a new charter school. In the past, the deadline was in October. The request is to move it back to April, giving the district a longer time to research the application. Wangeman reported that all required procedures had been followed, including advertised public meetings and discussions with the District Accountability Advisory Committee and others. She said that this waiver would not affect the application by Monument Academy to create a new high school. The board approved Wangeman’s submission of the request to the Colorado Department of Education.
Wangeman said it is too early to submit a "dashboard"—an update—for July, but that, as of this date, there were fewer new enrollments than anticipated, which could later result in an adjustment to the budget. She did stress that there are more state funds available than anticipated.
Wangeman also said that the recent rains caused delays in such improvements as the replacement of the turf in the stadium and a new roof at Palmer Lake Elementary School. It is hoped that these projects can be completed during Thanksgiving break.
Superintendent Brofft presented an update of other district subjects, including attendance at all schools by members of the administration during the first day, a successful five-day new teacher orientation, elementary meet-and-greet events, back to school night scheduling, and plans to view the solar eclipse on Aug. 21.
Brofft also said that professional development is ongoing, and work continues on two studies involving teacher pay, one of which involves employees in place during a pay freeze, and the other concerns developing new pay scales.
Brofft also said that an online course on data privacy has been developed by Director of Instructional Technology Integration and Professional Development Liz Walhof and is now available to staff. State assessment data only became available on the day of the meeting and will be sent to the board.
Brofft said that the Long Term Facilities Planning team continues to meet and that members of the contractor, RTA, will attend the next few board meetings to give updates. Upcoming subjects for examination are availability of space and use of the Grace Best complex, which includes the buildings now used for the Transitions program. Also under consideration is the possibility of moving sixth grade back into the middle school and whether the needs of exceptional students are being met.
Lewis-Palmer High School Principal Tony Karr introduced volleyball coach Susan Odenbaugh, who received the Dave Sanders Colorado Coach Award last spring. During her tenure as coach of girls volleyball, Coach Odenbaugh’s team has won four Class 4A state championships.
Public comments addressed the excellence of education provided by the district, a request to reinstate board coffees, and acknowledgement of Vicki Wood’s 10 years as secretary to the superintendent.
The board went into executive session to discuss matters of leasing or selling real property. No further business was conducted after the executive session.
Caption: Lewis-Palmer High School Principal Tony Karr, right, introduces Girls Volleyball Coach Susan Odenbaugh, winner of the Dave Sanders Colorado Coach Award. Photo by Harriet Halbig.
The Board of Education of Lewis-Palmer D-38 usually meets at 6 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month in the district’s Learning Center, 146 Jefferson St., Monument. The next meeting will be on Sept. 14 because of Brofft’s absence.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at email@example.com.
By Jennifer Kaylor
The Donald Wescott Fire Protection District (DWFPD) board meeting on Aug. 15 was shorter than usual. The resolution adopted by the board at its July meeting activated a series of election obligations that Chief Vinny Burns enumerated. Regular business items consumed little time and no meeting attendees spoke during the opening and closing public comment sessions.
All board members were present except Rachel Dunn, who was excused.
Election update provided
In July, the board approved a resolution to put a Wescott mill levy increase proposal on the November ballot, which would increase DWFPD property taxes. If approved by the voters, this mill levy would become effective 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 for a total of 21.9 mills levied. http://www.ocn.me/v17n8.htm#dwfpd.
Pinnacle Consulting Group Inc., the financial organization recommending the increase, had concluded that the increase "provides the necessary funds to maintain services, without allowing for extraordinary or unnecessary purchases." See the full Pinnacle report at http://wescottfire.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Wescott-Fire-Financial-pdf.
Background: The City of Colorado Springs annexed 22 square miles of DWFPD’s tax-paying county service area. Although the annexation was initiated in 2003, DWFPD has been servicing the annexed city area to support residents until Colorado Springs Fire Department Station 22 was completed 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. As of Jan. 1, 2017, the district excluded the city’s Phase One Property, from Interquest Parkway north to the proposed location of the Powers Boulevard extension with I-25 (north of The Classical Academy). As of Jan. 1, 2018, the city’s Phase Two Property, extending the rest of the way up to Northgate Boulevard, will be excluded. When phase 2 of the exclusion is complete, the district’s annual revenue from its remaining county property owners will have been effectively reduced by 65 percent.
Burns delineated the technical work that has been done or needs to be done before the election:
• DWFPD submitted a Notice of Intent to the El Paso County elections department prior to the July 20 deadline.
• The DWFPD board, on July 19, adopted the resolution calling for the election.
• DWFPD provided a boundary map and resolution for the election to the El Paso County elections department.
• DWFPD reviewed an address locator and provided noted revisions and confirmations to the El Paso County elections department prior to Aug. 15.
• The DWFPD board unanimously approved a motion for the district to enter into an Intergovernmental Agreement with the El Paso Board of County Commissioners and the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder.
• DWFPD must work with the county Clerk and Recorder and the county Assessor to review and verify property owner eligibility between Sept. 5 and Sept. 29. A final eligible elector list must be submitted to the county elections department by Oct. 2.
• DWFPD must complete a certification of ballot by Sept. 8.
• Deadline to file comments is Sept. 22.
Assistant Chief Scott Ridings added that the group called Citizens for a Safer Wescott plans to educate the public about the mill levy issue through social media as well as door-to-door visits. Burns noted that the district expected to receive a preliminary budget figure from the county in August. He will prepare estimated budgets for each of the mill scenarios (7 mills versus 21.9 mills) to compare the difference in services if the mill levy fails. The budget comparison is expected to be available for the September board meeting.
Administrative business detailed
Administrative Assistant Stacey Popovich reported that the district’s three funds—Peoples National Bank (PNB), PNB Colorado Peak Fund, and Wells Fargo Public Trust—totaled $1.644 million in June and $1.991 million in July; an increase of $346,583.
Popovich noted that the estimated reserve fund amount for the 2017 Profit and Loss Budget was higher than the actual reserve amount (the budget is determined before the actual reserve amount is available). She requested the reduction of line item 620.1 from $600,000 to $573,351, a decrease of $26,649, to accurately reflect the final audited amount. The board unanimously voted to accept the adjustment.
Chiefs report on recent activity
Ridings said that in June 2016, the district responded to 223 calls, and in June 2017, the district responded to 225 calls, an increase of 1 percent. The current June calls included one mutual-aid fire with the Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department and one small in-district grass fire. The July 2016 and 2017 calls were 241 and 177, respectively; a 27 percent decrease. July fire calls also included one small brush fire in-district and one mutual-aid structure fire out-of-district with Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District. Ridings said that the Northern Sub-district, the portion of Wescott that remains upon completion of the city’s annexation, is on track with an estimated 700 calls per year.
Burns reported that the district supported back-to-back deployments. The first crew supported a federal deployment in Wyoming, which was completed. Soon after, a second crew was deployed to Oregon on a brush truck to conduct initial attack work. Burns speculated that the Oregon crew would be deployed for a minimum of two weeks. Ridings added that, depending on the deployment location’s cell service, people can follow the crew’s progress on Facebook.
The board adjourned at 7:23 p.m.
The next DWFPD Board of Directors meeting is scheduled for Sept. 19 at Station 1, 15415 Gleneagle Drive. A biannual pension meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. and the regular monthly board meeting will follow at 7 p.m. Please call (719) 488-8680, a nonemergency number, for more information, or visit www.wescottfire.org. The district is also on Facebook and Twitter.
Jennifer Kaylor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The photo from the July 15 NEPCO meeting shows the presentation of a certificate of membership to Wescott Fire Protection Chief Vinny Burns . It ran on the front page of our August 5 issue. Unfortunately, the caption misidentified the man on the left. He is Larry Oliver, president of NEPCO. OCN regrets the error. Photo by Jim Kendrick.
By Lisa Hatfield
The Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD) board celebrated several promotions and new hires, along with a grant award, on Aug. 23.
Secretary Mike Smaldino and Directors Terri Hayes and Tom Tharnish were absent, as was Fire Chief Chris Truty.
Grant money awarded
Battalion Chief of Administration/Fire Marshal Jamey Bumgarner said that Lt. Mo Ayala had applied for and earned a $25,596 grant for TLMFPD from Firehouse Subs’ Public Safety Foundation quarterly grant program. The money will be used to purchase 10 full sets of personal protective equipment.
Promotions and new hires
Deputy Chief Randy Trost swore in three staff members who were promoted to driver/operator engineer: firefighter Adam Wakefield, firefighter/paramedic Aaron Wood, and firefighter Morgan Cudney. Battalion Chief Mike Keough thanked Capt. Larry Bell of Black Forest Fire Rescue Protection District and Driver/Operator Wayne Krzemien of Donald Wescott Fire Protection District who volunteered to sit on the oral board for the promotional interviews.
The district also welcomed two new paramedics: Jay Bruchis and Stephanie Solls.
Trost said that security door installation was complete at all three stations, including Station 3 on Woodmoor Drive. Due to security concerns, the Monument Police Department (MPD) is also responding to any emergency calls to the Ramada Inn on Woodmoor Drive unless TLMFPD notifies them otherwise, Trost said.
President Jake Shirk, who is also the Monument police chief, said that MPD has been talking with the Ramada Inn general manager about the high number of calls for service there, and a community resource officer from MPD will also be involved even though that address is in unincorporated El Paso County, not technically within MPD’s territory.
Trost’s other comments included:
• TLMFPD and MPD will create a memorandum outlining use of two snowmobiles that were donated by the county.
• Firefighters will be collecting donations for the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s Fill the Boot campaign over the Labor Day weekend.
• Four new hires have begun training at the academy in Denver.
• Two new paramedics are doing well in their field internships.
• Jonathan Bradley, TLMFPD’s new training officer, will officially start after Labor Day, but he has already done meet-and-greets with all three shifts to open the dialogue with the staff.
Open house dates announced
Bumgarner said that TLMFPD planned to conduct two Community Open Houses where residents could visit a local fire station and meet the crews. Free car seat checks, hotdogs, and lemonade will be provided from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on two dates: Sept. 9 at Station 1, 18650 Highway 105, and Sept. 16 at Station 3, 1855 Woodmoor Drive.
Bumgarner said that TLMFPD would be experimenting more with social media notifications including Facebook and NextDoor.com and that Fire Chief Truty would be hosting more "coffee with the community" events.
Note: Residents are also always invited to attend TLMFPD’s board meetings, which usually are held on the fourth Wednesday of the month. Public comments are welcomed at the beginning of each meeting.
Treasurer John Hildebrandt said as of July 31, district revenue was on track, although ambulance revenue was about 3 percent behind projections for that point in the year. Overall expenses were exactly where they should be despite overages in emergency services contracts and supplies, medical equipment, uniforms, and training. Overtime pay was also over budget, but it was offset by overall wages being under budget.
The meeting adjourned at 7:17 p.m.
Caption: Tri-Lakes Monument firefighter Morgan Cudney, left, firefighter/paramedic Aaron Wood, and firefighter Adam Wakefield were sworn in by Deputy Chief Randy Trost as part of their promotions to engineer on Aug. 23. Photo by Lisa Hatfield.
Caption: Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District welcomed new paramedics Jay Bruchis, left, and Stephanie Solls on Aug. 23. Deputy Chief Randy Trost swore them in. Photo by Lisa Hatfield.
Caption: Lt. Mo Ayala, left, with Battalion Chief of Administration/Fire Marshal Jamey Bumgarner, announced on Aug. 23 that Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District had earned a $20,596 grant from Firehouse Subs’ Public Safety Foundation quarterly grant program. Photo by Lisa Hatfield.
Meetings are usually held the fourth Wednesday of each month. The next meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Sept. 27 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 email@example.com.
By Helen Walklett
At its Aug. 22 meeting, the El Paso Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) unanimously approved an application by Martin Ventures LLC for the Rockwood Minor Subdivision to create three single-family residential lots on a 39.5-acre property south of Palmer Lake and west of Monument. At the Aug. 1 BOCC meeting, Commissioner Peggy Littleton honored five members of the Wescott Fire Protection District team for helping a disabled veteran.
Rockwood Minor Subdivision
The request by Martin Ventures, unanimously approved at the Aug. 22 BOCC meeting, will see a 39.5-acre parcel of land, zoned as Residential Rural (RR-5), subdivided to create three single-family lots. The property is located north of the terminus of Redstone Ridge Road, about one mile south of the Highway 105 and Red Rock Ranch Drive intersection, to the south of Palmer Lake and west of Monument. The El Paso County Planning Commission unanimously recommended the application for approval at its Aug. 1 hearing.
The resulting three lots will be 29.25 acres, 5.04 acres, and 4.88 acres in size. Administrative approval had been granted earlier for one lot to be less than the 5 acres normally required within an RR-5 zoning district. This was necessary to allow for the dedication of 60 feet of right-of-way for the future extension of Redstone Ridge Road.
Wescott Fire Protection District Team members honored
At the BOCC’s Aug. 1 meeting, Commissioner Littleton presented five members of the Wescott Fire Protection District with Letters of Commendation for going above and beyond the call of duty and helping to make life easier for a local disabled veteran.
The letters were presented to Lt. Curt Leonhardt, driver Roger Lance, and paramedics Eric Bogenrief, Doug McIntyre, and Dennis Wesselink. The five Wescott fire responders had recently built a ramp in the garage of 84-year-old Joe Kozloski, who served in the Korean and Vietnam Wars, earning two Purple Hearts and a Bronze star during his service.
Mr. Kozloski attended the meeting to thank the responders and to help Littleton honor them. Due to his physical condition, Kozlowski can sometimes experience up to three falls a week at home and needs to call 911 regularly. The group has grown close to Kozloski and his wife Nancy. Following a recent fall by Kozloski, the five decided to purchase materials to build the ramp to create a gradual slope in his garage.
Commissioner Littleton said, "We should honor the people who go above and beyond the call of duty. They have enabled Mr. Kozloski the ability to live as full a life as possible. It’s not often that we hear of hometown heroes who are selfless enough to give of their time, talent, and treasure to make someone else’s life better."
Caption: Retired veteran Joe Kozloski is pictured with the ramp that Wescott Fire Protection District members built for him, transforming the steps leading into his garage into a gradual slope that the U.S. Army veteran can easily manage. Photo courtesy of the BOCC.
Helen Walklett can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Ann-Marie Jojola
Each August, National Night Out (NNO) is celebrated around the country (October in Texas and Florida due to heat). Its purpose is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live. NNO enhances the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement while bringing back a true sense of community.
Promontory Pointe is a young neighborhood of about 240 homes. A strong, active Neighborhood Watch was soon started after half the homes were built. It has been growing and provides extra eyes and ears for law enforcement when suspicious activity and/or persons are observed. Other benefits of an active Neighborhood Watch are close friendships and neighborly help, which also continue to grow.
On Aug. 5, Promontory Pointe held its second annual NNO and celebrated with neighbors, the Monument Police Department, the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD), and the El Paso Sheriff’s Office (EPSO) Crime Prevention Unit. Each year the Promontory Pointe Neighborhood Watch and homeowners association team up to host a social event and encourage Promontory Pointe neighbors to come out to mix, mingle, and partake in NNO. An estimated 180-plus neighbors attended the NNO.
Ann-Marie Jojola can be reached by writing to email@example.com.
By Bill Kappel
After a warm and dry July, the general weather pattern changed for most of August. High levels of atmospheric moisture were common over the region as the Southwest monsoon season really began to affect the area. Overall, temperatures for the month were right at average, but the good news was that moisture was well above normal.
Temperatures started out in the 80s the first couple days of the month, with dry conditions on the 1st. The warmth on the 2nd allowed atmospheric instability to increase and as more moisture moved into the area, heavy rainfall and thunderstorms developed. This was also accompanied by hail in some areas. Nearly an inch accumulated in a short time in some spots with these storms. This pattern of active weather continued almost uninterrupted over the next two weeks, with daily occurrences of thunderstorms and at times heavy rainfall.
High temperatures bounced around quite a bit during the period, depending on whether the wind directions were upslope (from the east) or more northwesterly. Highs ranged from the low 80s on the 4th, 5th, 12th, 14th, and 15th to the low 60s on the 7th. Most of us accumulated 3-4 inches of rainfall during this period, putting us over the total monthly normal in just two weeks.
But, just as quickly as the spigots opened to allow all the wet weather, they were turned off for most of the remainder of the month. Drier and warmer air worked in starting on the 18th. High temperatures consistently reached into the 80s through the end of the month, putting us at above-normal temperature levels on most afternoons from the 18th through the 31st. Atmospheric moisture levels decreased significantly. There were still scattered thunderstorms around on some afternoons, but they were few and far between, producing no widespread rainfall except on the 23rd and 24th. After a very wet first half of the month, I think the dry and warm weather was a welcome pattern change, especially as we get ready to head into fall.
A look ahead
September is a transition month for the region, with the last tastes of summer mixed in with our first morning freezes. Leaves begin to change by the end of the month as well, and in some years a little snow can happen. The overall weather pattern is generally one of tranquility, with our chances for thunderstorms dwindling and blizzard conditions not quite ready for prime time. We are often greeted with sunny, pleasant afternoons, with highs from the mid-70s early in the month to the mid-60s later in the month. Our first subfreezing temperatures usually occur during the third week of the month, so prepare those tender plants.
August 2017 Weather Statistics
Average High 78.3° (-1.0)
100-year return frequency value max 83.9° min 72.9°
Average Low 49.0 ° (-0.3)
100-year return frequency value max 55.2° min 46.8°
Monthly Precipitation 3.34" (+0.44", 13% above normal)
100-year return frequency value max 6.07" min 0.94"
Monthly Snowfall 0.0"
Highest Temperature 87° on the 19th
Lowest Temperature 43° on the 25th
Season to Date Snow 0.0" (the snow season is from July 1 to June 30)
Season to Date Precip. 5.63" (-0.23", 5% below normal) (the precip season is from July 1 to June 30)
Heating Degree Days 86 (+24)
Cooling Degree Days 18 (-25)
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.
Safety is more important than speed
As a concerned resident who has three students attending three different schools in D38, I’m asking you to respect the law by slowing down, be respectful of others on the road, and stop for the school buses. The posted speed limit in a residential neighborhood is 25mph. This is not to be confused with the prima facie speed law enforcement may recite based on speed control device data.
Temporary solutions such as speed trailers and patrolling are helpful but isn’t a permanent solution to our growing community. Bottom line is we need more patrol cars on the road. An El Paso County Sheriff’s (EPSO) officer stated: "Please understand EPSO does patrol over 2,100 square miles of land mass and you may not always see a deputy there exactly when you want them, but we will take additional steps to help out." If we don’t address our concerns, EPSO thinks it’s a non-issue. We need your assistance in getting law enforcement out to protect our communities. The more complaints received, the better the data they have to support more patrol cars.
Please report your concerns. If you live or drive within the El Paso County area and witness a traffic incident, report it immediately. ESPO non-emergency number is 719-390-5555. If you reside in Monument, call 719-481-3253. Both departments need the plate number and a description of car and driver.
Also, contact your county engineer’s, commissioner’s office, and/or representative’s office. Change needs to come from the highest levels of leadership and down the chain. Policymakers and elected officials need to make it crystal clear that safety is more important than speed. Change needs to come from an educated public. Five minutes of your time to report incidents can be a matter of life or death.
Unite to continue the excellence
I’m Sherri Hawkins and I’m running for re-election to the D-38 school board. I have been on the board for four years and currently serve as board president.
I’m a native of Colorado and attended Manitou Springs High School. I graduated from Ohio State, where I played D1 volleyball. I have taught high school in Colorado Springs. I have lived in Palmer Lake for 12 years and love the feeling of community that makes the town of Palmer Lake so special. When not working on school board business, I’m at Colorado Juniors Volleyball Club, where I have coached since 1999. I’m the parent of two kids who have the good fortune of attending Palmer Lake Elementary where they thrive in the caring environment.
D-38’s excellence is tied to its great teachers and staff. As a former teacher, I understand the value of great teachers and the importance of retaining and compensating them. I also know how important class size is to student learning. Through my kids, I have experienced how challenging large classes are to learning. Growth in the Monument area is impacting class size and other crowding at our schools. As the district works to address the growth, I am looking to the community for input and support of the best solution.
I know the value and importance of parent involvement. Excellence in D-38 is driven and enhanced by the parent volunteers who give their time and energy. I appreciate the dialog and advocacy parents bring.
We have motivated students, dedicated teachers, involved parents, and a supportive community. I hope to continue the excellence by uniting these groups so we achieve even greater successes.
Misunderstanding the D38 Numbers
I read the letter to the editor regarding "Understanding D38 Numbers" in the Aug. 5 issue of OCN with great interest as I believe it is important for members of our community to understand the importance of the "have not’s" to our local district.
While never considering myself an "expert" in school finance I do have over 35 years of that experience in public school finance in Colorado. I have witnessed numerous changes to the school finance act over the years, but none was more significant than the failure of the state legislature to continue the funding of local districts as mandated by Amendment 23. The state did not have sufficient funds to fund all of their budget requests, so they instituted a "negative factor" that was applied to each district’s funding calculated by the school finance act. As a result, local school districts have been shorted $100’s of millions that were basically promised under Amendment 23.
We all understand that if the state does not have adequate funding to meet all its obligations, all areas of state government are going to feel the effect. This "have not" calculation is important to the local district as it means that their long range financial projections became meaningless as they were going to lose millions of dollars in annual funding. The loss of these funds affects everything from being able to hire and retain outstanding teachers to adequate maintenance of facilities.
I would encourage all of the members of the community who consider running for the local school board to fully understand the intricacies of the Colorado School Finance Act and the full consequences of the "negative factor."
I was disappointed to hear that the author of "Understanding the D38 Numbers" apparently has withdrawn her candidacy for the local school board as her "financial expertise" has allegedly led to the loss of millions of dollars by her clients.
By the staff at Covered Treasures
The Oxford Dictionary defines a classic as: "Judged over a period of time to be of the highest quality and outstanding of its kind." Although there may be extensive discussions as to which modern books will become classics, these books top the definitive classics list of books to read.
The Wind in the Willows: The Centennial Anniversary Edition
By Kenneth Grahame (Atheneum Books for Young Readers) $21.99
Enter the world of the great river and meet the marvelous riverbank animals: the poetic Rat, his friend Mole, and the boastful Toad, as they voyage down the river and into the Wild Wood to great adventures. Originally published in 1908, this enduring children’s classic and memorable characters continue its hold on the public imagination.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass 150th Anniversary Edition
By Lewis Carroll (Penguin), $16
This 150th Anniversary Edition features: illustrations by John Tenniel, who did the original illustrations that continue to this day as the quintessential representations of Carroll’s stories; an introduction by Charlie Lovett, a Carroll expert who has served as president of the Lewis Carroll Society of North America; plus three bonus writings and the introductions originally written by Carroll. Alice’s unforgettable journeys remain stories to be read and shared across generations.
By Charlotte Bronte (Bantam Classic) $5.95
The love story of Jane Eyre, a plain yet spirited governess, and her employer, the arrogant, brooding Mr. Rochester, was first published in 1847 under the pseudonym Curreri Bell. The book heralded a new kind of heroine—one whose virtuous integrity, keen intellect, and tireless perseverance broke through class barriers to win equal stature with the man she loved. Hailed by William Makepeace Thackeray as "the masterwork of a great genius," Jane Eyre is still regarded, over a century later, as one of the finest novels in English literature.
The Sun Also Rises
By Ernest Hemingway (Scribner) $16
The Sun Also Rises is one of Ernest Hemingway’s masterpieces and a classic example of his spare but powerful writing style. Capturing the angst of the post-World War I generation, known as the Lost Generation, this poignantly beautiful story is now released in an 80th anniversary edition. First published in 1926, The Sun Also Rises helped establish Hemingway as one of the greatest writers of the 20th century.
Brave New World
By Aldous Huxley (Harper Perennial) $15.99
Aldous Huxley’s profoundly important classic of world literature, Brave New World, is a vision of an unequal, technologically-advanced future where humans are genetically bred, socially indoctrinated, and pharmaceutically anesthetized to passively uphold an authoritarian ruling order—all at the cost of our freedom, full humanity, and perhaps also our souls. Today it speaks to a 21st-century world dominated by mass entertainment, technology, medicine and pharmaceuticals, the arts of persuasion, and the hidden influence of elites.
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
By Jonathan Safran Foer (Mariner Books) $14.95
Could this book be a modern-day classic? Oskar Schell is an inventor, Francophile, tambourine player, Shakespearean actor, jeweler, pacifist. He is 9 years old. And he is on an urgent, secret search through the five boroughs of New York to find the lock that fits a mysterious key belonging to his father, who died in the attacks on the World Trade Center.
Pride and Prejudice
By Jane Austen (Bantam Classic) $5.95
For over 150 years, Pride and Prejudice has remained one of the most popular novels in the English language. Jane Austen herself called this brilliant work her "own darling child." Austen’s comedy of manners features splendidly civilized sparring between the proud Mr. Darcy and the prejudiced Elizabeth Bennet as they play out their spirited courtship in a series of 18th-century drawing-room intrigues.
By Robert Louis Stevenson (Sterling) $9.95
Filled with mystery, murder, mutiny, and the daring bravado of its young hero, Jim Hawkins, Treasure Island has been thrilling readers young and old since it was first published in 1883. Originally intended by the author for the private amusement of his stepson, this gripping story of Jim’s perilous encounters with the treacherous Long John Silver and his fellow pirates has enthralled many generations.
Rediscover a classic yourself or share a beloved classic with a child in your life. Until next month, happy reading.
The staff at Covered Treasures can be reached at email@example.com.
By Harriet Halbig
We enjoyed seeing so many patrons at our Ice Cream Social in August. An estimated 15 gallons of ice cream was scooped and enjoyed to the accompaniment of the Velcro Barbershop Quartet and historical figures from the Rocky Mountain Chautauqua. We extend our thanks to the Tri-Lakes Friends of the Library and the Palmer Lake Historical Society for making this event possible. See the photos on page 25.
Saturday, Sept. 9 from 2:30 to 3:30, come to the library to build a solid wood catapult and then use it to fling marshmallows!
The Lego Build Club will meet on Saturday, Sept. 16 from 10 to 11:30. All ages are welcome to come and build with our Lego collection.
This year’s All Pikes Peak Reads (APPR) program will kick off in September. Come to the library for Friendship Fun, where we will play icebreaker games, make a friendship craft, and read some parts of this year’s children’s book Save Me a Seat—and eat blue M&Ms.
The Monument Teen Creative Writing Group will meet from 6 to 7:30 in the study room on Tuesday, Sept. 6. All writers in sixth to 12th grade are invited to attend.
AfterMath free math tutoring will resume on Monday, Sept. 11 and will be available each Monday thereafter from 3:30 to 7, except when school is not in session. Free tutoring is available for all ages. No appointment necessary to consult these adult volunteers.
On Wednesdays, Sept. 6, 13, and 20 from 3 to 4:30, teens and adults are invited to join an intergenerational knitting group. Practice materials are available and some instruction is provided for those new to the craft, but feel free to bring your own project and enjoy the fellowship of other knitters.
Beginning on Sunday, Sept. 17 from 2 to 4, and every first and third Sunday thereafter, attend Inside/Out, creating a safe space for LGBTIQ support, conversation, and fun. This program is a collaboration between Inside/Out and the Pikes Peak Library District to benefit those ages 13 to 22.
Come to the Teen Escape Room from 3 to 5 on Friday, Sept. 22 to test your skills. The teen APPR book this year is Under a Painted Sky, about two teens on the run from the law. You will solve puzzles, find the code for locks, and try to escape from the room before the time limit.
The Teen Arts and Crafts Open Studio on Wednesday, Sept. 27 from 4 to 5:30 will also reflect the theme of the APPR selection, by teaching the art of tying knots, from simple survival knots to decorative Chinese knots. Please register to participate in this program.
Please see the teen section above for a description of the intergenerational knitting program.
On Saturday, Sept. 9 from 10 to 1, join us for the Repair Café. Join our volunteers to disassemble, troubleshoot, and possibly repair your broken items. Save money, save the environment, and learn repair skills. Acceptable items to bring include bikes, clothing, small appliances, small electronics, and jewelry. Check with the library to confirm that a specific repair station will be available. Please bring only one item per person and carry-in items only. Please be aware that you bring your items in at your own risk and the facilitators are not liable for loss or damage.
The Second Thursday Craft for September, on Thursday, Sept. 14 from 2 to 4, is Handmade Cards. Roxanne Lingle will teach us how to make harvest-themed cards. All materials are provided. Registration is required and begins two weeks before the class.
The Monumental Readers will meet from 10 to noon on Friday, Sept. 15 to discuss Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel. No registration is required and all patrons are welcome to attend this monthly book group.
As part of the Outside the Lines program, we will be at the Monument Hill Farmers Market on Saturday, Sept. 16 from 9 to 1. You can register for a card, pay your fines, or just enjoy crafts and activities at this program for all ages. The location is 66 Jefferson St. in Monument.
Hand spinners are welcome to join their fellow spinners at the library on Thursday, Sept. 28 from 1:30 to 3:45.
As part of the All Pikes Peak Reads program, come to the library to view the film Like Water for Chocolate. After the movie, we will discuss the book, the movie, and the differences between them. The showing will begin at 5:30 on Thursday, Sept. 28, with the discussion to follow at 7:15.
Learn about coffee brewing, tools, techniques and more on Saturday, Sept. 30 from 10 to 11. There will be coffee samples and assorted snacks to enjoy during the program.
On the walls of the library during September will be "watermedia" by Pattie Bowler. In the display case will be bowls from the Empty Bowl Dinner.
Palmer Lake Library Events
The Palmer Lake Book Group meets at 9 a.m. on the first Friday of each month. The next meeting will be on Oct. 6. Please call 481-2587 for the current selection. All patrons are welcome to attend this group.
Come to the library at 10:30 on Saturday, Sept. 16 for Family Fun: Fundipulous Fun with Beth Epley. We will enjoy an action-packed adventure with improvisational games, silly songs, and crazy characters while we party with literature.
Story Times at Palmer Lake are on Wednesdays at 10:30 and Toddler Time on Fridays at 10:30.
Please note that all Pikes Peak Library District facilities will be closed on Monday, Sept. 4, in observance of Labor Day.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Sigi Walker
The Palmer Lake Historical Society’s annual Return of the Rocky Mountain Chautauqua was held on Aug. 12. Many of the activities took place on the Village Green, including demonstrations of vintage arts and crafts such as spinning, bobbin and tatting lace making, quilting, tole painting, and weaving. There were "hands-on" exhibitions: gold panning from the Western Museum of Mining & Industry and fur pelts from Colorado Parks & Wildlife. Jonathan Ehresman happily performed card tricks to the delight of the youngsters.
This year’s Chautauqua portrayers drew enthusiastic audiences. Ron West appeared as James "Jimmie" Burns, owner of the Portland Mine; Catherine McGuire portrayed Alice Bemis Taylor; and Richard Marold was an extremely believable Nikola Tesla.
During the morning and later in the afternoon, the Frontier Army Band played vintage brass instruments in the Gazebo on the Village Green. Near the gazebo, the original 1891 Palmer Lake town jail, newly restored and furnished by Palmer Lake Historical Society volunteers, was open for inspection while the Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department displayed its fire engine in front of the firehouse.
This year, food was available from the Smokey the Pig BBQ food truck. Then, at 1 p.m., the Friends of the Tri-Lakes Library began to serve free ice cream to a long queue that had formed. During this time, the Velcro barbershop quartet sang traditional barbershop melodies and popular songs. Along the path to the ice cream, the library had placed their book cart holding free books.
For those who liked getting a bit of exercise, Jim Sawatzki led a walking tour of Glen Park in the morning and a tour of the historic area of Palmer Lake in the afternoon. Jim’s film, Summer Sojourn, was shown in the Town Hall in both the morning and afternoon.
Throughout the day, emcee Chuck Loeffler called the names of winners of numerous door prizes donated by local businesses.
Caption: The newly restored and furnished 1891 Palmer Lake Jail (shown in inset photo by Mike Walker) was briefly occupied by Bethany Bonser and Renna Lage. Photo by Tommy Olson.
Caption: Jonathan Ehresman, entertained with sleight-of-hand. Photo by Tommy Olson.
Caption: Sandy Smith demonstrated weaving. Photo by Tommy Olson.
Caption: Presenters Ron West as Jimmie Burns and Catherine McGuire as Alice Bemis Taylor. Photo by Tommy Olson.
Caption; From left, Oliver, Naomi, and Zachariah Rosebush enjoyed some cool treats at the Ice Cream Social. Photo by Harriet Halbig.
Caption: The Colorado Frontier Army Band, led by Norman Hughes, helped entertain visitors. Photo by Tommy Olson.
Mark your calendars for Thursday, Sept. 21, for the next monthly history series program. Gordon Anderson, a nationally-published photographer, will present "Historic Homes of Colorado Springs & Vicinity" based on the book by the same name. It was written by his mother, Helen M. Anderson, and the photographs were provided by Gordon Anderson. The presentation will provide details of Helen Anderson’s life, give details on several of the homes, and highlight the partnerships of Gen. William Palmer and Dr. W. A. Bell, and Spencer Penrose and Charles Tutt. Venue is the Palmer Lake Town Hall located at 28 Valley Crescent St. This event is free and open to all.
By Janet Sellers
"I cannot tell you how readable the book of nature is becoming for me; my long efforts at deciphering, letter by letter, have helped me; now all of a sudden it is having its effect, and my quiet joy is inexpressible."—Goethe to Charlotte von Stein, 1786
I am a lazy gardener, and I let nature work hard while I watch. Being a successful lazy gardener requires good preparation but offers lasting, prolific results. Many of us feel that as we garden, we learn nature’s secrets of soil as a living, complex organism. Reading the book of nature is simple, repetitive and fun, but only when using organic and natural processes, as pharma chemical compounds stress the natural health of plants, undermining soil microbiology instead of improving it.
As cool nights appear growth slows, but crops for the next 50 days include: bush beans, beet greens in 30 days or roots in 50 days, scallion, chive and garlic leaves, baby kale, bok choy, mustard greens and lettuces, snow peas, radishes, and spinach. My favorite growing medium this time of year is inside a compost-inoculated straw bale as a raised garden bed.
The National Center for Biotechnology Information published, "Unifying model of shoot gravitropism reveals proprioception as a central feature of posture control in plants.…" Simply put, the life drive of plants relates most to growth and sunlight/photosynthesis and is affected by gravity as revealed in the plants’ posture. I would add that plant posture is also affected by weather, as that can greatly add to plant health or peril, informed by the microbiology of the soil and its ability to thrive in its stages of soil change coinciding with the plant as it grows and changes.
Sun, soil, and water are the basis for our gardens—or are they? I have seen nature be able to grow plants in the cracks of sidewalks, a hunk of wood, and in decaying pine needles; the key here is decay. The microbiology that we cannot see is at work for the basis of our gardens. We can offer protection from the crazy warm and cool weather with a blanket of mulch such as straw, or if the plant is large enough already, it will self-mulch and protect itself with its leaves. Gardeners know plants have a proprioception response to growing conditions and gravity as related to the shoots of plants, and we find this in the posture of growing plants.
Janet Sellers is an avid nature lover and prolific lazy gardener. Send in easy gardening tips to: JanetSellers@ocn.me.
By Janet Sellers
"Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age, and dreams are forever."—Walt Disney
Our Tri-Lakes area annual Empty Bowl fundraiser, held since 1992, was recently renamed in honor of the late Anne Shimek, beloved local potter and friend, who "walked on," as the Ute Indians say, earlier this year. The event is now named the Anne Shimek Memorial Empty Bowl fundraiser. Many of us have fond memories of collecting Anne’s cups, bowls, plates and more and chatting with Anne at arts events or just the local library. I still treasure my coffee cup glazed in her unique series of mauves and blues that I bought from her decades ago.
In August, Clay N Colors’ potter Dusty Severn told me about a project at her group’s space that is a call for experienced potters to help make bowls for this annual Empty Bowl fundraiser in October. Local pottery venue Clay N Colors recognizes that many local potters do not have a home studio, and would like to invite experienced potters to join them, at no cost, for a series of throwing and glazing Open Studios to support the Empty Bowl supper with handmade clay bowls.
The first open studio for this was held Wednesday, July 26, and as of this writing, repeated each Wednesday for four to six weeks. Experienced potters came and threw bowls, which will be donated to this fundraiser. It provides much-needed funds to Tri-Lakes Cares and more. There may be a few more of the clay-maker time slots, and (experienced only) potters are asked to contact Clay N Colors for this. They have received a donation from their landlord, John Dominowski, via the Kiwanis Club to underwrite the clay/glaze costs.
The artists of Clay N Colors have selected four types of clay for this project, each with its own unique properties. New Mexico Chocolate is appropriately named—it has a creamy milk chocolate color that works well with or without color glazes—and copper glazes pop out with this clay. The rest of the clays are from Laguna: Dover is porcelain-like and is more translucent, Bmix is a sturdy white clay and is good with all kinds of glazes, and Speckled Buff clay bursts speckles through the glazes when glaze fired. For details, contact Dusty Severn at Clay N Colors, 251 Front St., Suite 1, Monument CO 80132; 719-238-0069.
The summer Art Hop season is almost over, but you can still "shop for your art heart" at the last Art Hop on Sept. 21 in Historic Monument, in the Art Square between Second and Third Streets and Front Street and Jefferson Streets. While there, be sure to enjoy the wonderful acres of the Monument Sculpture Park at Jefferson and Second Street, right next to the "Big Red" School District 38 building. Actually, you can walk the green lawns with your family and friends and get up close and personal to the outdoor art sculptures every day!
Janet Sellers is an award-winning artist, writer, and speaker. Her paintings, art installations, and sculptures have been exhibited in Japan, Korea, Los Angeles, and Colorado. She also teaches art and writing locally. Contact her at email@example.com.
Branford Marsalis at TLCA, Aug. 3
Caption: On Aug. 3, the Branford Marsalis Quartet provided an awe-inspiring jazz performance at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts. Marsalis’ storied career as a saxophonist has led him in many exploratory musical directions, from performing in his brother Wynton’s quartet to becoming his own bandleader, musical director of The Tonight Show, and collaborations with others, including Sting and The Grateful Dead. Recognized as a Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts and a Grammy Award winner, Marsalis and his accompaniment played pieces from their latest album Upward Spiral plus works by Miles Davis and other jazz legends. Photo by David Futey.
Coffee with Chris Lowe, Aug. 16
Caption: Monument Town Manager Chris Lowe met with a small contingent of residents at Serrano’s Coffee on Aug. 16, as part of his listening tour, which is designed to receive citizen input. After hearing praises, concerns, and ideas regarding specific neighborhoods, Lowe shared his perspective to develop area parks to create walkability and "a sense of place" that may in turn generate more traffic for town businesses. Lowe acknowledged the need for greater connectivity and cooperation among the local governments. Despite the affluence that is common to the area, low property taxes constrain the town’s resources, so the town seeks alternative sources of revenue such as grants and developer impact fees. Stating that he works with the best staff in his career, Lowe offered high praise to "very dedicated" Tom Tharnish, Pam Smith "a phenomenal steward of the town’s funds," and Larry Manning, who "is building that [planning] position from the ground up." For more information, visit the town website http://co-monument.civicplus.com. Caption and photo by Jennifer Kaylor.
Tai Chi in the park, Aug. 14
Caption: On Aug. 14, the Silver Alliance Senior Center brought its Tai Chi class to Limbach Park. Here, the ladies hold the "Playing the Lute" pose, one of the many flowing motions of Tai Chi. Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese tradition that, today, is practiced as a graceful form of exercise. It involves a series of movements performed in a slow, focused manner and accompanied by deep breathing. The class, taught by Margaret Pasolli, meets at the Senior Center each Monday at 11 a.m. From left are Rebecca Hicks, instructor Pasolli, Marie Zombory, Reta Thieme, Donna Tanner, Orlinda Roybal, and Stephanie Graczyk. A variety of other classes are available at the center, which is on the campus of Lewis-Palmer High School. For more information and class lists, contact 719 464-6873, admin@TriLakesSeniors.org or visit www.trilakesseniors.org. Photo by Lisa Hatfield.
A message for students, Aug. 16
Caption: This man with a simple sign greeted students and staff on Aug. 16, the first day of classes at Lewis-Palmer High School and the rest of District 38. Photo taken by Dave Gustafson while waiting to turn left into the parking lot.
John Gorka at TLCA, Aug. 18
Caption: On Aug. 18, the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts hosted acclaimed folk singer John Gorka. With his opening two songs, Gorka paid homage to his present home in Minnesota and where he grew up with Prince’s When Doves Cry followed by his own I’m From New Jersey, respectively. However, his initial break occurred at Godfrey Daniels’ coffee house in Bethlehem, Penn., in the late 1970s. It was there while doing a variety of jobs when not attending class at Moravian College that he was not only able to "see hundreds if not thousands of folk acts" but he also got his first on-stage opportunity. Seeing how certain performers "transformed the room" helped him to develop his own engaging on-stage performance, which this evening was full of wit, humor, and storytelling. Gorka has 11 critically acclaimed albums, and Mary Chapin Carpenter, Nancy Griffith, and other performers have recorded his songs. Photo by David Futey.
Pickin’ on the Divide, Aug. 19
Caption: Pictured are, from left, David Prejean, Carol Reece, and Peter Pintus of the Lions Club, which sponsored the chili cookoff at Pickin’ on the Divide on Aug. 19. The Tri-Lakes Leo Club, the kids’ version of the Lions Club, also participated. Photo by John Howe.
Wildfire risk reduction, Aug. 26
Caption: Wildfire risk reduction was one of the topics explained by Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District Battalion Chief of Administration/Fire Marshal Jamey Bumgarner at the Red Rock Ranch homeowners association lunch meeting on Aug. 26, where residents could also sign up for Firewise lot evaluations.
Caption: Earlier that morning, attacking scrub oak encroaching on one neighbor’s home and street right-of-way was the objective. Residents joined volunteers from Tri-Lakes United Methodist Church Emergency Preparedness Group and Sunrise United Methodist/Colorado Rebuilds in cutting back scrub oak, dragging slash, and doing wood chipping along the road at her house. The volunteer group will return Sept. 23 to work on creating more "defensible space" closer to her home. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org to join in this community service work, open to everyone age 16 and up. Photos by Lisa Hatfield.
Art Hop, Aug. 17
Caption: Art Hop participant Purple Mountain Studios hosted artist Bridget Gallagher at her very first art show. Here, Gallagher showcases her bronze works of bison and a cougar and cubs on the table, with her variety of painting subjects and mediums (oil, watercolor, acrylic, and pastel) on the walls of the gallery space.
Caption: One of Front Range Open Studios artists, Dusty Severn, holds one of her pottery works during the group’s Aug. 17 showcase sale and artist reception at Bella Art and Frame Gallery. Front Range Open Studios will hold its annual artists’ open studio event the weekend of Sept. 9. Maps are available around town or online at http://frontrangeopenstudios.com. The last 2017 Art Hop will be held Sep. 21. See ad on page 11. Photos by Janet Sellers.
Caption: Sheri O’Hara, left, and Bella Casa owner Lindy Gerard prepare for the Art Hop visitors Aug. 17. Photo by John Howe.
Furay and Cotton at TLCA, Aug. 25
Caption: On Aug. 25, the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts audience was treated to three concerts in one. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Richie Furay and his band opened and performed songs highlighting his 50 years of influence in rock ‘n’ roll, country rock, and Christian music. The songs included the Souther-Hillman-Furay Band’s Fallin’ in Love, Furay’s favorite Stephen Stills song Go and Say Goodbye, and Furay’s Wake Up My Soul. After intermission, Paul Cotton, who Furay said provided an "edge" for the band Poco that Furay formed, opened with an inspiring version of his Please Wait for Me. The remainder of the evening had Cotton and the Furay Band performing songs by Furay, Cotton, Poco, and Buffalo Springfield. Furay said the "only plan in my musical career was to become a folk singer in New York." It was there he met Stephen Stills in 1964 and, after both moved to Los Angeles, formed Buffalo Springfield. With Poco, he and Jim Messina bridged the gap between rock and country music. Furay’s life changed after converting to Christianity. He moved to Colorado, formed the Richie Furay Band and became a pastor. From his early start through today, Furay said he wanted to "create music that people could identify with." Photo by David Futey.
Taste of Palmer Lake fundraiser
Caption: Palmer Lake restaurant owners hosted Taste of Palmer Lake on Aug. 26. About 400 guests visited 11 venues in the town to sample the food and drink. The restaurants and businesses who participated in the event were Arlene’s Beans, Bella Panini, The Depot Restaurant & Lounge, La Rosa Southwestern Dining, O’Malley’s Pub, Pikes Peak Catering, Rock House Ice Cream, Sundance, Speedtrap Bistro, The Stube, and The Wine Seller. The event, organized by the Awake Palmer Lake committee, raises money for lakeside improvements. Information about Awake Palmer Lake can be found at www.awakepalmerlake.org. Photo of the line for samples at the Speedtrap Bistro by Helen Walklett.
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.
Black Forest Slash Mulch program ending
The El Paso County Black Forest Slash-Mulch Program is a wildfire mitigation and recycling program. Slash drop-off ends Sept. 10; mulch pickup ends Sept. 23 or when mulch runs out. For the schedule and other details, visit www.bfslash.org or call Carolyn, 495-3127; Chuck, 495-8675; Jeff, 495-8024, or the County Environmental Division, 520-7878.
Apply now for Highway Advisory Commission
The El Paso Board of County Commissioners is seeking community-minded citizen volunteers to serve on its Highway Advisory Commission. Applications are due by Sept. 15. The volunteer application is located at www.elpasoco.com. Click on the "Volunteer Boards" link. For more information, call 520-6436 or visit www.elpasoco.com.
2017 Anne Shimek Memorial Empty Bowls Dinner and Silent Auction, Oct. 4
The Monument Hill Kiwanis Club will once again sponsor the annual Empty Bowls Dinner and Silent Auction to benefit Tri-Lakes Cares Oct. 4, 5-7:30 p.m. at Lewis-Palmer High School. In 1992, Linda Pankratz noticed a magazine article about high school art students in Michigan who sponsored an "Empty Bowl" dinner to raise funds to feed the needy. Pankratz called Anne Shimek, and together with Liz Elliot, Nita Gingerich, and Sharon Williams they organized the first Tri-Lakes Empty Bowl dinner at the Mennonite Church in Palmer Lake. Local artists produced 350 bowls as gifts to the participants. That evening, 250 people raised $3,000 for Tri-Lakes Cares. After that, members of the community took over the project and made it grow over the years. Four years later, Monument Hill Sertoma (now Monument Hill Kiwanis) stepped up to manage the event along with their D-38 high-school age Serteen Club.
Over the years, the number of bowls donated here has increased to 1,000 per year and attendance has grown to over 800. Patrons enjoy a meal of soup in a hand-made bowl, bread, beverage, and dessert provided by donations from local restaurants, merchants, clubs, and churches. There is musical entertainment and a silent auction of merchandise donated by local merchants. This year’s event features a special auction for the last four bowls Anne Shimek was working on before she died. Tickets for the dinner are $20, $25 at the door, with one child under the age of 12 admitted free with a paid adult. All proceeds go to Tri-Lakes Cares. You can buy tickets at local Tri-Lakes merchants or online at www.monumenthillkiwanis.org.
Host families needed for Oct. 3-4
The Kuyasa Kids Choir from South Africa is giving a concert in Black Forest Oct. 4 to raise awareness of the plight of African children orphaned by HIV/AIDS. Volunteers are needed to provide housing and meals during the two days the choir spends in Black Forest. If you can help, please contact Kay Stricklan, 495-3873, or email@example.com.
Register for Race Series and Kids Fun Runs
The three-race series includes the Creepy Crawl Oct. 28 on the Santa Fe Trail in Palmer Lake, Turkey Trot Nov. 23 at the Briargate YMCA, and the Jingle Bell Dec. 9 at Fountain Creek Regional Park. See ad on page 6. Sign up online at www.ppymca.org/programs/adult/running-races/ymca-5k-race-series.
Is your voter information up-to-date? Do you need to register? The county has an easy-to-use website, www.govotecolorado.com. You can also stop by an office to handle your issue in person. The closest office is 8830 North Union Blvd. For more information, contact 575-VOTE (8683) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monthly arts and crafts group forming
The Tri-Lakes Silver Alliance Senior Center is looking for anyone interested in various types of arts and crafts such as needlework, knitting, beading, coloring, or quilting. If you’re interested in any of these activities or have a suggestion of your own, contact Sue, 464-6873.
MVEA essay contest, enter by Nov. 20
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. Last year’s first-place winner was Gavin Hornung from Palmer Ridge High School. To enter, write a 500-word essay on the following topic: "What is the difference between energy conservation and energy efficiency? Do you feel that members should use one method over the other if they want to use less energy?" Essays must be received by Nov. 20. For entry qualifications and to complete an online entry form, visit www.mvea.coop/youth-programs.
County Planning’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 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 http://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 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.
New hours at Silver Alliance 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 newsletter—subscribe for free
Each monthly Senior Beat newsletter is full of information for local seniors, including the daily menu of the senior lunches offered Mon.-Fri. at the Mountain Community Mennonite Church, 643 Highway 105, Palmer Lake. It also contains the schedule of the classes and events for the month at the Senior Citizens Center and senior-friendly library programs. To subscribe, send an email with your name and mailing address to SeniorBeat@TriLakesSeniors.org. Senior Beat can also be viewed online at www.TriLakesSeniors.org.
By Judy Barnes, Community Calendar Editor
Although we strive for accuracy in these listings, dates or times are often changed after publication. Please double-check the time and place of any event you wish to attend by calling the info number for that event.
LOCAL LIBRARY EVENTS
The Palmer Lake Library hours are Tue.-Fri., 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and Sat., 10 a.m.-2 p.m. 66 Lower Glenway. Info: 481-2587, www.ppld.org.
The Monument Branch Library hours are Mon.-Thu., 9 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri. & Sat, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sun., 1-5 p.m. 1706 Lake Woodmoor Dr. Info: 488-2370, www.ppld.org.
WEEKLY & MONTHLY EVENTS
Our community calendar carries listings on a space-available basis for Tri-Lakes events that are sponsored by local governmental entities and not-for-profit organizations. We include events that are open to the general public and are not religious or self-promotional in nature. If space is available, complimentary calendar listings are included, when requested, for events advertised in the current issue. To have your event listed at no charge in Our Community Calendar, please call (719) 339-7831 or send the information to 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 October 31, 2019. Home page: www.ocn.me.
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