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the PDF file. This is a 33 Mbyte high-resolution file with color photos.
By Jackie Burhans
The Monument Academy (MA) School Board met on Sept. 13 to pass resolutions supporting the D38 bond and mill levy override (MLO) measures, discuss progress on the new school, and discuss collaboration with the Office of Civil Rights.
D38 bond and MLO support
Executive Director Don Griffin noted that on Sept. 10, the Lewis-Palmer Board of Education passed two resolutions. The first one covered expenditure of $36.5 million in bond funds that will be on the November ballot (issue 4B). The bond includes $3.5 million for MA to construct a gym or auditorium at its new school site. It also includes a number of high-priority security items for all schools, including $125,000 for MA. The second resolution concerned the MLO that would generate $1 million of revenue for seven years (issue 4A). The MLO would pay for security and safety enhancements and represents about $170,000 annually to MA for those same needs.
Later in the meeting, the MA board unanimously approved its own resolutions supporting the D38 bond and MLO.
New school update
Griffin updated the board on progress toward the new middle/high school that MA plans to open in fall 2020. The building committee has chosen JHL Constructors to construct the new facility. All seven applicants had charter school experience, but the committee felt that JHL had the best presentation and liked that they brought their "A" team to the presentation.
Collaboration with Office of Civil Rights
Nurse Janice Latendresse and Karen Michael from MA’s 504 team reached out last spring to the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) for guidance on effective 504 processes. Section 504 of the U.S. Rehabilitation Act of 1973 helps parents of students with physical or mental impairments work with public school educators to design customized educational plans to ensure students are treated fairly; it is related to the Americans with Disabilities Act. The OCR sent a staff attorney make a presentation to the MA 504 team, deans, and mental health professionals. They confirmed that MA’s procedures are solid and align with OCR’s expectations. They suggested that MA tighten up its accommodations language so parents do not have unmet expectations. OCR has a technical assistance line the school can use any time to consult with OCR attorneys before making decisions.
The following items were highlighted at the board meeting:
• Benchmark testing is complete for all students. MA uses the data to ensure the needs of students are met.
• Dean Julie Seymour and Dr. Elizabeth Davis have been selected by the Colorado Council of the International Reading Association to make a presentation at one of the largest literary conferences in the United States. They will be presenting "Putting the Spark in Upper Grades Literacy Engagement" in February 2019.
The next meeting will be on Thursday, Oct. 11 at the Monument Academy library at 1150 Village Ridge Point. The MA School Board usually meets at 6 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month. Information on the MA School Board, including schedule, minutes, committee and finances can be found at http://www.monumentacademy.net/school-board.
Jackie Burhans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Below are statements by the three Monument Board of Trustees candidates for one open trustee seat
Ballots will be mailed Oct. 15 and need to be received by the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder by Nov. 6.
Note: Some "Monument" addresses are actually in unincorporated El Paso County and not in the town limits. If you are not sure, see www.townofmonument.org and the link at the bottom of page "Do I Live In Monument?"
The Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce will host a forum for the candidates for the vacant trustee position from 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 8 at Big Red, the Lewis-Palmer District 38 administration building, 146 N. Jefferson St., Monument. Use the north entrance to the lower level.
Our Community News asked each candidate for the Monument town election to answer two questions, using no more than 250 words. The questions were:
• What in your background would help you as a Town of Monument board member?
• What do you think are the two greatest issues facing the town, and what would you propose the Board of Trustees do to deal with them?
The three candidates for the one open trustee position, in alphabetical order:
• Ann Howe—email@example.com
• Kenneth W. Kimple—firstname.lastname@example.org
• Jim Romanello—email@example.com
As a Monument Trustee candidate, I pledge to make Monument government as honest, transparent, and hard working as those that they serve. I ask for your vote Nov. 6. www.ElectAnnHowe.com
Like many of you, I have a desire to see the Town of Monument prosper. We are a small community with a huge heart, filled with people who want only the best for our families and neighbors. Elected officials must balance the desire to remain a small-town community with the need for revenue and growth, all the while maintaining our public safety and infrastructure so we can feel secure.
My family considers Colorado home. I moved to Colorado in 1970. My husband of 29 years is a Colorado native, as are our two children.
I have professional experience working with large budgets, auditing, and working with large numbers of staff, all of which can be applied as trustee. I have also been elected as a state representative and town budget committee (vice chair) in New Hampshire, so I know how government works, and how to effectively get things done. As a risk and opportunity manager, I look into the future, identify potential risks, assess the probability and severity, and then create plans to eliminate the impact of those risks. Opportunity management identifies ways to take advantage of an opportunity before it passes and offset any risks that couldn’t be mitigated. This is especially helpful with budgets and can prevent tax increases.
Please visit my webpage to find out more.
Since moving to Monument, I’ve immersed myself giving back to community and people. Currently, I serve on the Planning Commission and Board of Adjustment. Additionally, I had served as the Promontory Pointe HOA president the past two years. I attribute building work relationships, open communication, having an "outside the box" approach to solutions and forward thinking after having served 30 years as a master chief petty officer in the U.S. Navy. My philosophy is "work the solution, not the problem."
The first issue is two-fold: Update the town Code of Ordinances. Specifically, Title 16 (Subdivision) and Title 17 (Zoning.) Detailed governing laws and building codes will ensure a better end product when reviewing developers’ final application plans and safeguard smarter growth in Monument. Updating the town code will allow a written comprehensive sustainability plan and transportation plan to be developed, complementing the El Paso County 2018 Master Development Plan and 2016 Major Transportation Corridor Plan. All plans including the town’s Integrated Water Resource Plan should be posted online for public viewing.
Second issue: public safety. Protecting life and property, preventing crime and reducing the fear of crime as our community grows, additional police staff and emergency service personnel will be needed. Greater distances between developments and response times validates this necessity. Recruiting and retaining future police and emergency staff personnel through competitive salaries, competitive benefits, non-monetary incentives, and enacting programs to promote a healthy work-life balance will ensure our continued enjoyment of our community.
The Town of Monument deserves leaders who conduct themselves with professionalism and who seek solutions that are good for all residents. During more than 20 years as a financial services professional and four years as the Village Center Metro District president in Monument, I have built relationships with clients and our community that demonstrate my trustworthiness and reliability. I will bring the same traits to citizens and their tax dollars that I bring to my financial clients and their investments.
I hope to continue to serve as an approachable leader, as I did while negotiating the IGA with the town, which resulted in fiscal stability and steadied home values in Village Center Metro District. This was a contentious issue and I helped lead all parties, including the town, to a sustainable outcome for everyone. It is that same spirit of cooperation that is necessary for Monument—with its friendly, small-town feel—to prosper.
We must make sure our town is properly staffed and foster trust between staff, the board, and residents. We must also have a plan for sustainable growth that includes properly maintained infrastructure, provisions for essential public safety functions, and a water plan that safeguards our investments in our homes and the future of our town.
I love our town! I have lived here for 11 years, and I know with proven, trusted leadership, it will continue to be a wonderful place to live for years to come.
By Harriet Halbig
The Committee for Political Action, a subcommittee of the D38 District Accountability Advisory Committee, hosted a public Ballot Information Forum Sept. 13 on initiatives on the November ballot.
Panel members included Superintendent Karen Brofft, Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Wangeman, Monument Academy Executive Director Don Griffin, school board members Tiffiney Upchurch and Mark Pfoff, Chief of Security Dennis Coates, and project Manager Mike Hester of G. H. Phipps Construction.
The panel discussed details of a proposed bond initiative and a mill levy override. Questions were submitted online and via notecard.
Although sparsely attended, much valuable information was shared.
To view a video of the event, go to http://tiny.cc/lpsdcommunity. Look for "Sept. 13."
A second forum will be held on Thursday, Oct. 11 at 6:30 p.m. at the district’s Learning Center, 146 Jefferson St.
If you cannot attend, you can watch a livestream on the district YouTube Channel, http://tiny.cc/lpsdcommunity.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Harriet Halbig
The Lewis-Palmer D-38 Board of Education held a special meeting Sept. 10 to pass resolutions on the proposed expenditure of funds that would be received if voters approve a proposed bond issue and mill levy override (MLO) on the November ballot.
Briefly, the bond funds ($36.5 million) would be used for:
• Construction of a new elementary school on the Bear Creek Campus and conversion of Bear Creek Elementary into a middle school ($30.5 million).
• $2.5 million for capital safety and security enhancements to all district buildings, including Monument Academy (MA).
• $3.5 million to construct a competition gymnasium and locker room or an auditorium for MA under a contract stipulating that such facilities would be owned by the district but available for the full use of MA, which would be responsible for all operating and maintenance costs.
• Formation of a citizens’ bond oversight committee to monitor the construction and expenditure of bond funds and make reports to the board and the public.
• If MA determines it will not pursue construction of the facilities, the $3.5 million would be deposited in the district’s capital improvement fund.
• If MA dissolves or chooses not to renew its contract with the district, this facility will revert to district ownership.
The MLO funds would direct the expenditure of $1 million per year until the end of 2025 for:
• Armed security and wellness intervention support.
• Acquisition and training of gun-sniffing dogs to detect weapons and socialize with students and staff.
• Staff safety and security training.
• Formation of a Citizens Safety and Security Oversight Committee to monitor expenditure of revenue and report to board.
To access the entire wording of these resolutions and associated ballot wording, please consult boarddocs. From http://Lewispalmer.org, go to Board of Education, to meetings, to meeting agendas. Click on boarddocs. Go to meetings at upper-right of the screen, choose date of meeting, choose view agenda, and then click on the appropriate agenda item at the left. This can be used for any meeting.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at email@example.com.
By Harriet Halbig
The Lewis-Palmer D-38 Board of Education received a report from the contractor for a potential new elementary school in Jackson Creek, discussed Amendment 73, recognized district and community individuals, and enjoyed a ukulele performance at its Sept. 17 meeting.
Plans in place for proposed new elementary school
Mike Hester, senior projects manager for G. H. Phipps Construction Co., spoke to the board of plans for a new elementary school on the campus of the current Bear Creek Elementary.
Current plans, assuming passage of a bond issue on the November ballot, call for the construction of a new elementary and conversion of Bear Creek Elementary back into a middle school, as was its original use (then Creekside Middle School).
This plan is supported by the fact that Jackson Creek houses many younger children, the original plan for the site included two schools, and the infrastructure for the elementary is already in place.
Hester said that, to complete the new school in time for it to open in August 2019, teamwork is critical. Architectural and engineering planning is complete and subcontractors are being sought.
If the bond issue passes in November, work can start in December, and planning is underway to deal with winter weather.
Hester assured the board that construction would be separated from the existing school with fencing and separate construction entrances. Deliveries would be scheduled during off-hours. He said that his company has worked in the past to build facilities near others.
Subcontractors will all have background checks and work will continue into the night. The plan is to have six 10-hour shifts per week.
Amendment 73 discussion
Amendment 73 is a statewide school funding initiative designed to stabilize and increase funding for preschool through 12th grade by creating a fund that could be used only for public education, is exempt from the Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TABOR) revenue limit, and must be used to supplement General Fund funding for public education. It would be adjusted each year for inflation up to 5 percent.
Passage of the amendment would result in an additional $9.4 million in annual funds for D-38. How the funds are spent would be determined by the district.
Amendment 73 would stabilize tax revenues by permanently setting property tax assessment rates at 7 percent (currently 7.2 percent) for residential property and 24 percent (currently 29 percent) for business property owners, farmers, and ranchers.
Income tax for those individuals whose taxable income exceeds $150,000 per year will rise, as will taxes on such "C" corporations as Walmart.
The Colorado Legislative Council estimated that 90 percent of individuals in the district will not see an increase, and in fact may see tax savings. It is also estimated that very few businesses in the district are large enough to see a big change.
Tax assessment rates are only valid for property taxes levied by school districts.
The primary advantage of this amendment would be to allow districts to have a more stable source of funding to counteract the effects of the economic downturn in 2008. The Colorado Association of School Boards encouraged all boards in the state to support passage of the amendment.
The board discussed the ramifications of the amendment’s presence on the ballot and its passage.
Treasurer Chris Taylor said that in many cases the property tax decrease would offset the increased income tax. He also said that Amendment 73 contradicts the mill levy override (MLO) to support hiring for safety and security, because the MLO will sunset in seven years, while the amendment will continue. He therefore encouraged support of the bond.
Director Theresa Phillips said that support of the amendment could jeopardize passage of the bond or MLO initiatives, but she supported the motion.
President Matthew Clawson said that teachers deserve better compensation and encouraged individuals to go to the district website for more detailed information.
Secretary Mark Pfoff agreed with Phillips that it could hurt the bond or MLO and suggested that were a voter to choose, he would encourage voting for the bond.
See boarddocs at http://bit.ly/lp-boarddocs for further information.
The board recognized the service of sound and film technician Jacob Godino, who has been overseeing the live streaming of the board meetings for years.
The board also heard a report from Kim Adams, JustServe public affairs officer, about the website that advocates and enables volunteerism in the community. The JustServe site enables an individual to choose a ZIP code and distance they are willing to travel, and they can access a list of opportunities.
Adams requested that the district list itself as an organization seeking volunteers and offered to meet with parent groups to explain the possibilities.
The board passed a resolution to change policy DJ/DJA regarding purchasing authority to permit the superintendent to approve expenditures of $50,000 rather than $25,000 without board approval. See boarddocs for details.
Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Wangeman said that it is too early in the year to comment on such elements as utility use, but it appears the district will see an increase of 90 students over the predicted number of 81.
Superintendent Karen Brofft said there also appears to be an influx of new students with significant special needs.
There are currently 130 students in the Home School Enrichment Program.
Brofft reminded the board that student count is official only on Oct. 1.
Teacher Nichole Murphy and several of her seventh-grade students from Lewis-Palmer Middle School demonstrated their knowledge of the ukulele and encouraged board members to give it a try.
Murphy said that there are now 25 students in the class that meets on Tuesdays after school.
She said that music is a good hobby, the instruments are inexpensive, and participation has been shown to improve mood and uses both sides of the brain.
Sale of district property completed
At a special meeting of the Lewis-Palmer D-38 Board of Education on Sept. 27, two resolutions were passed.
The first declared that a district-owned property at the southeast corner of Highways 83 and 105 would not be needed in the foreseeable future.
The resolution passed 3 to 2 with Secretary Mark Pfoff and Director Theresa Phillips opposed. Pfoff said the property will be needed in the foreseeable future due to the rate of growth in the area.
President Matthew Clawson recommended that proceeds from the sale be held in reserve for future purchase of real property as needed.
The second resolution said that the district had received an appraisal for the property of $1.25 million. Matthew Dunston offered to purchase the property for the appraised price and agreed to donate a portion of it to Monument Academy should it determine that it wants to build a school for grades 6-12.
The board passed the resolution to sell the property, and a contract was signed between Dunston and Clawson.
The vote to sell the property was 4 to 1 with Mark Pfoff opposed. Pfoff said that, although he supports Monument Academy’s desire to build a school, he feels that the district will need such property in the future.
The Lewis-Palmer D-38 Board of Education meets at 6 p.m. on the third Monday of each month in the district’s Learning Center, 146 Jefferson St., Monument. The next regular meeting will be on Oct. 15.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Allison Robenstein
The Monument Board of Trustees (BOT) held a regular meeting on Sept. 4 to select an interim town manager. The board also asked for new contracted town legal representation and discussed, but didn’t pass, an ordinance for a water projects loan.
Interim town manager
The board voted to hire Mike Foreman as interim manager. Treasurer Pamela Smith has been acting town manager since Chris Lowe, the town’s previous manager, was put on administrative leave and then fired in May. After a long executive session, the board voted 4-2 to hire Foreman. Trustees Greg Coopman and Laurie Clark voted no with no reason given.
Town attorney replacement
The board also requested that Town Human Resources Director Robert Bishop create a request for proposal to hire a contractual attorney because current Town Attorney Alicia Corley will be leaving. No timeline was given for the directive. Corley’s position had been precarious since the May 7 meeting when the BOT did not reappoint her position. Smith’s job as treasurer was not reappointed either, but there has been no word on her position. See https://www.ocn.me/v18n6.htm.
Loan fails with water project near completion
A loan that has been plaguing the board at several of its previous meetings was discussed. At the Aug. 6 meeting, Smith asked the board to approve Key Bank as the lender for a $1.8 million loan to be used for two water-related projects. When the board was asked to approve the loan to pay for the projects—$924,500 for a well 4 and 5 upgrade and a booster upgrade project at $625,000—it was tabled until tonight. During the board’s Aug. 20 meeting, Coopman and Clark brought up unresolved issues including:
• A covenant in the Key Bank loan paperwork requires the town to have 125 percent of the loan payment in their Water Fund revenue stream at all times.
• If this amount cannot be maintained, the board is required in the paperwork to increase water rates. This removes the board’s authority to create its own increases.
• Finally, if the loan is not repaid on time, the rate can go from 3.4 percent up to 8 percent.
If the loan is not approved, the Water Fund’s cash will be depleted and will need to be supplemented by the General Fund until revenues come in. See www.ocn.me/v18n9.htm#mbot and www.ocn.me/v18n9.htm#mbot0820.
The ordinance failed as no one made a motion to vote.
Triview Metro District No. 3 appointments fail
Triview Metropolitan District No. 3 requested board approval of five appointees to its board in order to continue work on the Home Place Ranch development. The appointments, all employees of Challenger Homes, the developer taking over the property, would last for six months. Afterward, a special election would be required.
Background: In March 2006, the Home Place Ranch property, a 431-acre development on the south side of Higby Road, was annexed into the town. In July 2006, the board approved the Title 32 Triview Metropolitan District No. 3, which included a $5 million loan for road improvements. Triview Metro District will provide all water and sewer services to the development. The state, which monitors Title 32 special districts, almost dissolved this district because neither the budget nor the board was maintained. Challenger Homes intends to reinstate the special district to pay for road construction.
Trustee Jeffrey Bornstein had a number of questions before voting, including:
• He didn’t feel this was correct protocol for voting for the board members without the Planning Commission approving anything. He would abstain from voting.
• He also wondered if there are consequences to not approving the resolution. Corley said they would come back to the board and ask for a special district to be created.
• He asked if the board has an obligation to approve, to which Corley responded that it depends on the service plan and statutes.
No motion was made, so the resolution failed.
Code enforcement becomes police responsibility
At its Aug. 6 meeting, the BOT decided not to renew Community Preservation Specialists’ part-time code enforcement contract that was signed in 2017 when the town eliminated a seasonal/part-time employee to save money. See www.ocn.me/v17n8.htm#mbot. There hasn’t been code enforcement in the town since Aug. 1, so Smith has been collecting emails from residents’ enforcement requests. Only four new code enforcement issues have been reported, mostly pertaining to parking and weed control issues, said Smith.
At its Aug 20 meeting, the board decided to post a full-time code enforcement position.
In the meantime, Mayor Don Wilson suggested the Monument Police Department take care of code enforcement issues until someone is hired. Town Clerk Laura Hogan verified the Police Department can enforce all municipal codes.
The idea of using reserve police officers was proposed, but Police Chief Jake Shirk said they can’t handle calls like this but confirmed his officers will comply with the board’s request.
Coopman suggested they put this full-time position into the 2019 budget. Smith said there is only $19,000 in the budget currently, because it was assumed the contract with Community Preservation Specialists would be renewed.
The board heard a presentation by Terri Hayes, president and CEO of the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development and Visitors Center. She said:
• The Tri-Lakes Chamber has over 500 business members.
• Economic development helps to maintain primary businesses such as Synthes Johnson and Johnson, as well as secondary businesses, as both are vital for a healthy economy.
• The chamber hosts four big events annually, including the Fourth of July Street Fair, Concerts in the Park, Bines and Brews, and the community business expo.
Police Explorer Troop 2010, affiliated with Monument police, was recognized for placing second in the national Law Enforcement Explorer Post Advisors Conference competition for incident command. The Explorer program allows young people to work in and learn about police-based programs and gain a sense of community service.
The week of Sept. 10-16 was proclaimed as Cities and Towns Week.
Hailey Chapin, executive director of Tri-Lakes Cares, invited the board to its Getting Ahead student graduation. The program teaches self-sufficiency to young people, and is the only one currently in El Paso County.
Checks over $5,000
The following checks were approved in consent agenda:
• Velocity Constructors Inc., payment application 6 for Wells 4 and 5, $122,366
• A-One Chip Seal, town chip seal projects, $90,215
• Law Fence Inc., chain link fence on Public Works property, $10,489
• AA Accurate & Affordable Striping, striping on chip sealed streets, $10,062
Allison Robenstein can be reached at email@example.com.
By Kate Pangelinan
The Sept. 12 Monument Planning Commission meeting was the last meeting to be attended by Commissioner David Gwisdalla. Gwisdalla served on the Planning Commission for 10 years and is moving to Ohio in October. Planner Jennifer Jones presented Gwisdalla with a certificate to honor his time on the commission.
It was noted that there were now multiple openings on the Planning Commission for both permanent and alternate positions. A number of people had applied to fill all the open slots, and appointments were scheduled to be made at the Oct. 1 Board of Trustees meeting. Some of these appointments will be effective immediately, while others will become effective in January 2019.
Also, Drew Anderson has transferred to the Public Works Department from the Planning Department and Theresa Rust has joined the Planning Department as a planning administrative assistant.
Commissioners Ed Delaney, Jim Fitzpatrick, Michelle Glover and Kenneth Kimple were absent from the Sept. 12 meeting. The meeting is available to watch on YouTube, at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OG3cG0qSV2s. The packet discussed during the meeting is available on the Town of Monument website at https://monumenttownco.documents-on-demand.com.
This discussion about the Sanctuary Pointe development focused on a final plat for about 89.2 acres within Phase 2 of the project. Phase 2 was previously approved with a Final PD Site Plan. This portion of the phase will feature 105 residential lots, 15 tracts (which the official MPC packet notes are for "open space, parks, trails, buffers, utilities, landscaping, drainage, etc.") and Sanctuary Rim Drive. Sanctuary Rim Drive has to be included in this first plat for Phase 2 to facilitate the connection to Gleneagle Drive. The conditions of approval for this project state that no more than 40 land use permits may be issued before this Gleneagle connection is complete, but that has no relation to platting the project.
Representatives of Classic Homes were present at the meeting to answer questions. One citizen asked whether the gate would remain as previously discussed in regard to Kingswood Drive. See www.ocn.me/v18n4.htm#mbot0319.
Jones confirmed that everything already agreed to in relation to this project would remain consistent.
This final plat was approved unanimously, 4-0, and was scheduled for discussion by the Board of Trustees at the Oct. 1 meeting.
Willow Springs/Monument Creek Ranch
Polo Brown Co. submitted an application asking the Town of Monument to annex a property of about 219 acres north of Forest Lakes Drive and west of the Denver and Rio Grande railroad, known as Willow Springs No. 1 and No. 2. As defined in the MPC packet, "The Annexation request is accompanied by an Agreement that defines the terms of the annexation, zoning of Planned Development (PD) and a PD Sketch Plan for single-family residential development of approximately 400 homes with residential densities from 3 to 10 dwelling units per acre." This PD Sketch Plan/proposed housing development plan is known as Monument Creek Ranch, which in past plans has been called "the future Willow Springs residential development. The homes included in this plan could be duplexes, town homes, single family, etc. Other site plans will have to be approved separately in the future.
Other notable points about this annexation plan include:
• 5 acres in the southwest corner of the project will be dedicated to Lewis-Palmer School District 38. This will help in preparing enough school space to accommodate for population growth in the area. District 38 Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Wangeman spoke to the Planning Commission about the district’s possible future development.
• There will be four privately owned and maintained neighborhood parks within the Monument Creek plan, as well as a stretch of open space. The parks will be maintained by an already-existent metropolitan district.
• Water rights on the property will be deeded to the town, and a water development fee will be assessed. When Commissioner Melanie Strop asked about the status of water use problems in Monument—and specifically whether this annexation has enough water currently in store—Planning Director Larry Manning noted both that Monument does have a plan for water use going forward and that this property has well sites that could be tapped. Each single-family home will also come with a water fee, providing the town with a new revenue stream. Since the town’s water plan does require some additional funding, this will prove useful. Currently, 335 new homes could be provided for.
• The PD Sketch Plan indicated a density cap of 396 units.
• A lot of things aren’t set in stone yet and will not be until a PD Site Plan is developed. The current expected number of dwelling units may be significantly lowered when plans become more finalized.
• A residential collector-type road will run from the current southern end of Synthes Avenue to Forest Lakes Drive, the western extension of Baptist Road. This will require a bridge to be built over Monument Creek and will provide an alternate route for current Monument drivers along with serving its new community. As for the timing of bridge construction, the MPC packet states, "Essentially, when the traffic at the intersection of Mitchell and Second Street reaches a defined level, the Collector road and bridge will need to be constructed. This is likely to be prior to, or shortly after, initiation of construction of homes on the north end of this project."
The applicant’s representative addressed questions from Monument citizens concerning such issues as traffic studies and the future lighting/animal/noise covenants that are expected to be in place.
During the final public comments period, a citizen asked about surveying stakes located near his property and a pile of gravel that has been causing problems for one of his neighbors. He was told that the Town of Monument purchased the property where the surveying sticks are located, and that lot it is likely to be converted into a freshwater treatment plant. His concerns will be directed to Public Works.
Note: At the Oct. 1 Monument Board of Trustees meeting, after a long discussion, the trustees voted 6-0 to postpone their vote on the Monument Creek Ranch annexation. Some trustees had additional questions about the associated Willow Springs metropolitan district service plan and directed that town staff review the service plan with an attorney before the Oct. 15 meeting. See the upcoming Nov. 3 issue of OCN for many more details.
Caption: Monument Creek Ranch, formerly known as Willow Springs, is applying for annexation into the Town of Monument so it can proceed with residential development. Map courtesy of the Town of Monument.
The next Monument Planning Commission meeting will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 10 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 Allison Robenstein
The Monument Board of Trustees (BOT) held a regular meeting on Sept. 17 and voted down a water enterprise fund loan. The board also approved a service plan for Jackson Creek North Metropolitan District and heard public comments from panhandler Willy Watson.
Loan fails with project near completion
A loan intended to finance two town water system improvements failed. The $1.8 million loan has been on several meeting agendas, and each time the board has had questions for Acting Town Manager and Town Treasurer Pamela Smith. The well 4 and 5 upgrade project was approved by the board in January, with the expectation that funding would come from this loan. Smith said approving the project before having funding in place is backward from the way projects should progress. Public Works Director Tom Tharnish said the intention of approving the project before the money was available was to increase the town’s water capacity and make the plant operational before summer. There was no time to ask for a loan, he said.
Trustee Greg Coopman has had concerns that the loan requires the Water Enterprise fund to maintain 125 percent of the annual loan payment, or $268,000. If that minimum is not maintained, the loan covenants require the board to increase water rates to compensate for the lack of funds.
The ordinance failed 3-2-1 with Trustee Jeffrey Bornstein abstaining, and Trustees Laurie Clark and Coopman voting no with no reasons given. Ordinances involving finances require approval from the majority of the board.
Interim town manager
During the meeting, the board met with its selection for interim town manager, Mike Foreman. Originally, the board was going to meet with Foreman in executive session, but this was voted to be unnecessary. During the discussion, it became apparent there was confusion with regard to contract negotiations between Foreman and Town Human Resources Director Robert Bishop.
Bishop left the meeting early, but Foreman said the negotiations were going well.
Note: However, at the Oct. 1 BOT meeting, the trustees argued at length about how the board should move forward, and several said they were going to file complaints about the procedure used for negotiating with three final town interim town manager candidates chosen in August. See www.ocn.me/v18n9.htm#mbot0813 and www.ocn.me/v18n9.htm#mbot0827 and watch for the Nov. 3, 2018 issue of OCN for the detailed story.
Jackson Creek North Metro District service plan approved
Planning Director Larry Manning announced the request for approval of a Jackson Creek North Metropolitan District service plan. Mike Taylor, who represented the applicant, Creekside Developers Inc., explained the plan will finance the cost to design, construct, and install local roads and safety controls in the Home Place Ranch development.
The development is located on the east side of Jackson Creek Parkway and along Higby Road behind the new senior center and storage facility. According to the service plan, the development will include 315 residential units.
Once built, the roads will be dedicated to the town, with Triview Metropolitan District taking responsibility for road maintenance. The service plan authorizes the district to issue $4 million in bonds. Home Place Ranch home buyers will pay back the bonds via a 15-mill levy on their property. The 15-mill levy will be broken down into 12 mills for debt service and 3 mills for operations and maintenance expenses.
Creekside Developers is asking for approval of the service plan prior to creation of the special district, which will be a subset of Triview Metropolitan District.
The service plan was unanimously approved.
During the meeting, Taylor said Triview is no longer providing funding for local road improvements. He also stated the cost of road maintenance could be taken out of Triview’s existing 35-mill levy.
Note: After the meeting, Triview board President Mark Melville contacted OCN to clarify that Triview Metropolitan District is allowed to use the 35-mill property tax revenue only for debt service currently totaling about $56 million.
Town attorney replacement
At the Sept. 4 meeting, the board asked Bishop to create a request for a contract attorney when then-Town Attorney Alicia Corley resigned. The request for quotes had gone out to 12 legal firms, Smith told the board.
Panhandler shares his point of view
During public comments, Willy Watson spoke to the board. Watson is a 72-year old Vietnam War veteran who panhandles primarily in the Monument Marketplace intersection on private property. He told the board about vigilantism happening to him. His automobile has been egged and his tires slashed, and he has found dead animals and feces in the spot where he panhandles.
He said he has spoken with the police and feels he is within his rights to panhandle on this site. The board made no comment.
Checks over $5,000
A check for Forsgren Associates was pulled from the consent agenda and discussed during the meeting. Forsgren was identified by the town auditor Kyle Logan at the July 30 meeting to have tried circumventing the town’s process of having checks over $5,000 approved by the board. Instead, the vendor was sending multiple invoices pertaining to the same project for under the financial limit. During several subsequent meetings, Clark has asked to review these invoices, but Smith has not yet had the chance to deliver these to her.
Clark said she will not approve any more of Forsgren’s checks until she sees the offending invoices. There was a heated discussion between Clark and Smith in which Clark was speaking and Smith spoke over her, saying, "I don’t care." Later, Smith stated, "I’m not withholding information." She explained that she has invited Clark to her office to review the invoices online rather than taking the time to get the paper copies, but Clark has refused.
The Forsgren check for $9,308 was approved 5-1 with Clark voting no.
The following checks were approved in the consent agenda:
• Triview Metro District, sales tax due for July 2018, motor vehicle sales tax due for August 2018, Regional Building use tax for August, $203,399.
• Pikes Peak Polaris, ATV for sidewalk plowing and park work, $9,533.
• Treatment Technology, chemicals for water treatment, $5,951.
• All Water Supply Inc., chemicals for water treatment, $5,995.
• Schmidt Construction Co., asphalt repairs, $7,485.
• Schmidt Construction Co., asphalt repairs, $119,323.
• Forsgren Associates Inc., engineering wells 4 and 5, $9,308.
• EPS Wastewater LLC, plate settler and clarifier for wells 4 and 5, $5,173.
• Solitude Lake Management, Procellacor herbicide treatment for Monument Lake, $5,996.
• NORAA Concrete, street repairs, $16,724.
• NORAA Concrete, street repairs, $289,316.
• O’Meara Ford Center Inc., 2018 Ford F150, $38,120.
• Jacobs Engineering, planning retainers reimbursement, $14,415.
• Kubota Steel Tractor Inc., planning retainers reimbursement, $20,176.
Officer Fiocchi sworn in
Monument Police Chief Jake Shirk seemed delighted to swear in the newest member of the police force. Officer Joey Fiocchi is a 24-year veteran of the Drug Enforcement Administration and will make a fine officer, said Shirk.
October is Arts Month
Andy Vick, executive director of the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region, read a proclamation citing October as national arts month. Bliss Studio in downtown Monument held an October Arts Month kickoff on Sept. 29 with its iron pour. Other Arts Month events can be found at www.peakradar.com/categories/artsmonth.
The meeting adjourned at 9:13 pm.
The Monument Board of Trustees usually meets at 6:30 p.m. on the first and third Monday of each month at Monument Town Hall, 645 Beacon Lite Road. The next meeting is scheduled for Nov. 19 due to election processing. Call 884-8014 or see www.townofmonument.org for information. To see upcoming agendas and complete board packets for BOT or to download audio recordings of past meetings, see http://monumenttownco.minutesondemand.com and click on Board of Trustees.
Allison Robenstein can be reached at email@example.com.
By James Howald
Topics related to water—how to manage the town’s water supply and how to make the town more resistant to flooding during torrential rains—took up much of the council’s attention in September. These issues were addressed at the council’s regular meeting on Sept. 13 and at the working session on Sept. 27.
The council also passed its long-debated ordinance addressing outdoor burning at the Sept. 13 meeting.
Council votes to restrict expansion of water system
At the Sept. 13 meeting, the council voted unanimously to approve Ordinance 16 of 2018, which specifies that the town’s water supply system will not be expanded to serve properties outside the current service area. The ordinance includes a map that defines the town’s service area, which is bordered by Red Rock Ranch Drive to the south and properties just north of Gillia Street to the north. The map also shows the locations of potable water mains of all sizes and specifies that the main lines can’t be expanded.
The ordinance expresses the council’s concerns that the water system will not be able to support new residential developments. The council acknowledged the fact that this ordinance may prevent some property owners from developing their land.
Water rate analysis to be done
At the Sept. 13 meeting, the council discussed the need for a water rate analysis. The analysis was required to obtain the loan funding the construction of the town’s second water storage tank, Town Administrator Cathy Green-Sinnard told the council. Concerns about the amount of money in the town’s water fund also made the rate analysis desirable, she added.
The council reviewed a rate analysis proposal from GettingGreatRates, a Missouri-based company. The proposal specified a cost of $5,887 for the analysis itself, and an additional cost of $1,945 for an on-site visit from GettingGreatRates staff.
At the Sept. 27 meeting, the council voted unanimously to approve funding for the analysis without the on-site visit.
500-year rainstorm damages roads
On Aug.17, Palmer Lake experienced a torrential downpour, estimated to be a once-in-500-years event, which damaged the towns’ roads and a number of residential properties.
At the Sept. 13 meeting, the council reviewed a proposal from Martin Marietta to repair damage to Lovers Lane, Pie Corner, the Town Hall book-drop driveway and the Town Hall parking lot. The council delayed acting on this proposal until the Sept. 27 work session meeting.
At the Sept. 27 meeting, the council heard an in-depth analysis of the needed paving work from Jason Dosch, the town’s roads supervisor. Dosch told the council that some repairs needed to be done immediately, but that the town also needed a comprehensive plan for drainage to be developed to address the issue over the long term. "I could spend a million dollars tomorrow" to really address all the issues, Dosch told the council.
The council voted at the Sept. 27 meeting to move ahead with the proposed repairs to Lovers Lane and Pic Corner, and to wait on other repairs until a more comprehensive study of the town’s drainage could be done.
No dogs allowed on reservoir trail
The council voted to keep the reservoir trail open to hikers despite damage to the trail caused by recent rains. Dogs are still prohibited on the trail.
Council moves forward on comprehensive drainage study
At the Sept. 27 meeting, the board heard from David Frisch of GMS Engineering and Dosch concerning how to develop a comprehensive drainage plan for the town. Frisch told the council that even with a hundred-year drainage plan in place, the town would have experienced flooding during the Aug. 17 downpour.
Dosch told the council that Pie Corner, High Street, Dixie Street, and Milton Street have the most pressing drainage issues. Dosch also said that, as houses were built there was no drainage plan in place, and that now rainwater is funneled and concentrated, leading to flooding.
Frisch told the council that his company could build up a comprehensive plan for the town by focusing on individual problem areas. He discussed some of the drainage issues facing the town, including the requirement to include drainage ponds where rainwater could settle before final discharge, and the fact that Palmer Lake could not be the final destination for rainwater because the lake has no natural outlet.
The consensus of the council was that the drainage study was needed, and that Dosch and GMS should work together to begin a plan.
Long-debated fire ordinance passes at last
At the Sept. 13 meeting, the council voted unanimously to approve the town’s updated ordinance concerning outdoor fires. The ordinance provides precise definitions of fire-related terms, and specifies what types of fires are permitted during Stage 2 fire restrictions. See https://www.townofpalmerlake.com/sites/default/files/fileattachments/board_of_trustees/meeting/packets/1371/boardpacket9.13.18.pdf/
The two meetings for October will be at 6 p.m. on Oct. 11 and 25 at Town Hall, 42 Valley Crescent. Meetings are normally held on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month, with the second meeting organized as a working session. Information: 481-2953.
James Howald can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Allison Robenstein
During the Donald Wescott Fire Protection District (DWFPD) board meeting on Sept. 18, Director Gary Rusnak presented some budget concerns. The board also discussed the 2019 budget and ongoing talks with Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD.)
Director disputes 2018 budget carryover
Rusnak showed the other board members a financial analysis he performed on the 2018 budget, suggesting the previous board approved a deficit budget. Much less tax revenue was carried over than previously assumed, he said. The board thought it was carrying over $1.4 million but the real total, according to Rusnak, was $633,276. The Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) requires the board to hold back a portion of the spendable amount, causing the true carryover to be $243,276, said Rusnak.
Rusnak and district resident Steve Simpson suggested the budget be presented differently so that it follows standard accounting practices. Specifically, the DWFPD budget uses words such as reserve, carryover, and committed versus uncommitted funds, causing the lines to be blurred between what can be spent and which funds need to be held back. Simpson suggested calling the carryover an escrow fund since it is used to save over several years for big purchases, such as new fire trucks.
Note: Special districts like DWFPD can carry revenue over from year to year rather than follow TABOR because the district has been "de-Bruced," according to legal counsel Matt Court. The term refers to Douglas Bruce, who authored TABOR.
Rusnak cautioned the board and firefighters to consider this disputed total when creating the 2019 budget, suggesting there may be less carryover into the new year.
After the presentation, Director William "Bo" McAllister asked rhetorically how their auditor didn’t find these mistakes.
Chief Vinny Burns was appointed to prepare the 2019 budget with Rusnak assisting him. The appointment was approved 4-1 with Director Joyce Hartung dissenting.
By statute, the preliminary budget must be presented to the board by Oct. 15, at which point a budget hearing is scheduled and the draft is made available for public review. The budget must be adopted by Dec. 15.
Joint DWFPD and TLMFPD meetings continue
Burns told the board the meetings with TLMFPD are going well and personnel on each side are meeting with one another. The two districts are in discussions for a possible merger. Director Larry Schwarz said these face-to-face meetings allow both departments to see the pride they all take in their jobs. Schwarz said there is excitement on both sides because it’s a positive step forward for both agencies.
Burns said the committee should wrap up their report next week and present it at the next committee meeting scheduled for Oct. 9.
Burns noted Station 1 will have an open house on Oct. 13 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for Fire Prevention Week. Officers will be available to take visitors on station and truck tours. The event is free and open to the public.
The meeting adjourned at 8:52 pm.
Caption: DWFPD board member Gary Rusnak presents his analysis of the 2018 budget. Photo by Allison Robenstein.
The next DWFPD Board of Directors meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 16. The regular meeting will begin at 7 p.m. Meetings are held at Station 1, 15415 Gleneagle Drive. Please call (719) 488-8680, a non-emergency number, for more information, or visit www.wescottfire.org. Wescott is also on Facebook and Twitter.
Allison Robenstein can be reached at email@example.com.
By Natalie Barszcz
At the Sept. 26 Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD) board meeting, directors received advice from lawyers Cindy Coleman of Range Law, representing TLMFPD, and Naomi Perera of The Kelman Buescher Firm, representing members of the Monument Professional Firefighters Association. Chief Chris Truty presented the first draft of the 2019 budget to the directors.
Director Jason Buckingham was excused.
Collective bargaining discussion continues
The directors had their concerns addressed by attorneys representing TLMFPD and Monument Professional Firefighters Association. A lengthy technical discussion explored the many elements to decide whether implementation of a Meet and Confer process or a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) should be pursued by the board.
Background: This spring, the members of the Local 4319 of the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) requested a collaborative working agreement to officially document the status quo within TLMFPD. See www.ocn.me/v18n4.htm#tlmfpd.
Coleman’s comments included:
• There is no other statute within the private sector like Meet and Confer or CBA in Colorado.
• The Colorado Firefighters Safety Act is unique in Colorado, and every district must have at least two employees who can meet and confer with their employer to discuss pretty much everything except compensation.
• Collective bargaining, if the employer voluntarily recognizes the need, requires 75 percent of the prospective bargaining unit vote to proceed, followed by 5 percent of the last electoral vote.
Perera interjected, agreeing with Coleman’s summary, but with the caveat that Senate Bill (SB 13-025) or the Colorado Firefighters Act, which prohibits firefighters from striking, does not in any way pre-empt or force the board to stay within the framework of the act. "Special fire protection districts can always voluntarily recognize an agreement and implement a board resolution outside the framework of SB 13-025," Perera said.
Lt. Franz Hankins, president of Monument Professional Firefighters Association, said he could guarantee a petition of 100 percent support for a Meet and Confer resolution from the union members.
Coleman stated that "ultimately the board decides what will be contained in the resolution …. If they are not comfortable with any content, it can be rejected." Truty said, "This process will take a considerable amount of time." See www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdle/LaborRelations.
The board consensus was that Perera would deliver a draft Meet and Confer resolution for Truty and Coleman to review before presenting it to the board. Perera said, "This would give the firefighters a seat at the table and serve both parties well."
Wescott merger update
Truty reported that talks are still moving forward in a positive way for a possible merger with Donald Wescott Fire Protection District and that a report would be generated for review at the next TLMFPD/DWFPD merger committee meeting on Oct. 9.
2019 budget presentation
Truty presented a draft 2019 budget proposal, noting concern over the loss of revenue due to the Gallagher Amendment. The current mill levy plan does not take into account the effect of Gallagher, which over time decreases the residential assessment rate (RAR) from the current 7.2 percent to 6.1 percent by 2020.
District voters passed an 18.4 mill levy in November 2017, but only 18.1 mills of that is currently being used, and this may need to be adjusted/re-certified to offset the losses incurred by Gallagher. A gross projected loss from the RAR of $964,385 is expected due to Gallagher in 2019. Truty said, "Approving the assessment rate would provide competitive wages and increase monies for benefits and training." Director Tom Tharnish said "The board should not lose track of this."
Treasurer John Hildebrandt read the year-to-date financial report ending in August, 58 percent through the year, noting:
• Property taxes received to date were $7.468 million (98.81 percent of the budgeted amount).
• Specific Ownership Taxes received were $572,182 (112.19 percent of budget).
• Ambulance revenues were $575,712 (71.96 percent).
• Fire equipment and vehicle expenses are high and over the budgeted amount.
• Training expenses are 120 percent above normal.
• Wages overall are 2.72 percent under the budget.
• Overall expenses are 1.88 percent under budget.
Hildebrandt said, "Training is good, and it is what we are supposed to do."
Truty requested the board approve a non-budgeted expense of $26,199 to add to the budgeted expense of $37,080 after receiving a matching grant from the state for four LifePak monitors. A motion to approve the additional funding was carried 6-0.
The board accepted the latest financial report 6-0. For full TLMFPD monthly financial reports, visit http://www.tlmf.org/board.
Peer Support Program
Administrative Assistant Jen Martin announced the newly selected coordinator for the Peer Support Program is Stephanie Soll. Dr. Judith Long of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs will begin staff training in November with four non-consecutive sessions. Martin said, "This is a gift to the staff." "It is excellent—and greatly needed," Truty said.
Fire Prevention Month
Martin reminded everyone that October is Fire Prevention Month. Fire Marshal/Administrative Battalion Chief Jamey Bumgarner reported that School District 38 elementary students would be receiving door tags reminding everyone to "Close before you doze" in response to a recent incident that would most likely have resulted in loss of life if the bedroom door of a blazing home had been left open.
Martin also thanked D38 students for their kindness and generosity in the recent First Responder Appreciation campaign, when lunch, snacks, and cards of appreciation were delivered to TLMFPD stations.
Caption: On Sept. 6, the TLMFPD board heard advice from attorneys specializing in Colorado labor law. Naomi Perera of The Kelman Buescher Firm spoke on behalf of the Monument Professional Firefighters Association, and Cindy Coleman of Range Law represented TLMFPD. Photo by Natalie Barszcz.
Meetings are usually held the fourth Wednesday of each month. The next meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Oct. 24 at TLMFPD Station 1, 18650 Highway 105. For information, contact Jennifer Martin at 484-9011. For upcoming agendas, see http://tlmfire.org/board.
Natalie Barszcz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Natalie Barszcz
Russel Dykstra, district counsel, explained to the residents of the "Forest Lakes development" who attended the meetings on Sept. 6 that PPMD 1 has a different purpose and board composition than PPMD 2 (currently undeveloped) and PPMD 3 (commercial) and the all-encompassing FLMD:
• FLMD is a half-acre operating district with no residential buildings that is responsible for the public infrastructure, water, wastewater, storm drainage, parks and trails, landscaping, and streetlight services for the residents of PPMD1 and PPMD 2, the residential districts.
• PPMD 1 and 2 are financing districts and provide no services except to collect property taxes for FLMD.
• PPMD 3 provides no services except to collect commercial property taxes. The commercial property lies mostly within the southwest town limits of Monument, south of Baptist Road and adjacent to I-25.
For a more detailed explanation of this layered metropolitan district structure, see www.ocn.me/v18n7.htm#flmd.
The PPMD 1 board is made up of President George Lenz, executive vice president of finance of Classic Homes, Treasurer Doug Stimple, CEO of Classic Homes, Secretary Joe Loidolt, president of Classic Homes, and Directors Mike Hitchcock and Mike Slavik.
Board members for FLMD, PPMD 2, and PPMD 3 are Lenz, Stimple, Loidolt and James Boulton, vice president/project manager of Classic Homes. One board member vacancy exists in each of these three districts.
Ann Nichols is the manager for all four districts.
The Consumer Data Privacy Act was signed into law May 29 after winning unanimous approval during Colorado’s 2018 legislative session and took effect Sept. 1. If a data breach is detected, entities must alert consumers that their data has been compromised within 30 days. Nichols stated that "the district does not have any computers to monitor and all billing is carried out by a third party, Donala Water and Sanitation District."
Besides several residents asking for clarification on the difference between PPMD 1 and FLMD, residents Michael Olsen, Irene and Rick Stanton, and Fred Frueh asked specific questions of the board during public comments.
Tom Blunk of CP Real Estate Capital said via phone that Dec. 4 is the projected contractual completion date for the FLMD Water Treatment Plant on Bristlecone Lake for operational running, with final completion in mid-January. The contractor is currently behind, however, and they can face an economic penalty if they don’t meet contracted dates.
Blunk said, "Typically pump houses look very industrial, but Classic Homes have gone to great lengths to make the surface water intake building look more residential, since it is situated on a prominent corner."
Nichols explained that Pinon Lake is fed by Bristlecone Lake, and the water from Beaver Creek feeding into Bristlecone has been abnormally low. "It will always fluctuate," Stimple said, adding that "next summer when there are higher-level water demands again, water from the lake will give FLMD an ability to have an incremental renewable system that does not exist today; currently all drinking and irrigation water is provided from a non-renewable deep well which has a 100-300 year life, depending on whose hydrology numbers you believe in."
Stimple said, "For a small district, this (combination of surface and groundwater) is a really good system to have." See details at www.ocn.me/v18n5.htm#flmd.
Stimple addressed concerns regarding the new development north of Forest Lakes Drive and west of the railroad tracks. "FLMD will not be a water source for the Monument Creek Ranch development," he said.
The annexation of the proposed development of Willow Springs/Monument Creek Ranch has yet to be reviewed by the Monument Board of Trustees, but the Monument Planning Commission heard the proposal Sept. 12.
Stimple also said, "Currently Classic Homes and the family who owns the Forest Lakes LLC have no plans for any future annexation into the Town of Monument." But Pinon Pines 3, the commercial portion of the district, has been annexed into the Town of Monument. See related Monument Planning Commission article on page 10.
PPMD 1 meetings, followed by the joint meeting of FLMD and PPMD 2 and 3, are usually scheduled for 10 a.m. the first Monday of each month in the Classic Homes office at 6385 Corporate Drive, Suite 200, Colorado Springs. Official meeting notices are posted on the district website http://forestlakesmetrodistrict.com, and at the Forest Lakes mailbox notice board. For general questions, contact Ann Nichols at 719-327-5810 or at email@example.com.
Natalie Barszcz can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By James Howald
At its Sept. 10 meeting, the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD) board updated its retirement plan and awarded a contract to move forward with improvements to Monument Hill Road. In addition, district staff presented operational reports.
Board brings retirement plan up to date
Chad Alevras of Gregory and Associates reported to the board on his efforts to move the district’s 457(b) retirement plan to a new platform provided by his company. At a previous board meeting in July, Alevras told the board that moving to the new platform would give district employees new choices for managing their retirement savings and would reduce the fees paid by the district.
At the September meeting, Alevras told the board that when he began work on revising the district’s plan documentation, he discovered that a key document did not exist. Alevras took steps, with the assistance of a lawyer, to create the document, he told the board.
The district has $1 million in its retirement plan, Alevras said, adding that amount qualified the district for lower rates.
According to the resolution defining the new retirement plan, the plan will take effect on Jan. 1, 2019.
The board voted unanimously to adopt the 457(b) retirement plan as updated by Alevras.
Board approves contract to improve Monument Hill Road
Ariel Hacker, a new employee of WWSD, filled the board in on her research on Double R Excavating Inc., one of the companies being considered to improve the water and sewer infrastructure on Monument Hill Road. The district’s work will be done in parallel with widening of the road and other improvements that are being done by El Paso County.
Double R Excavating put in a bid of $227,000 for the work, Hacker said. The company provided the district with good references.
District Manager Jessie Shaffer said the El Paso Board of County Commissioners would likely vote to move forward with its project at its next meeting. See related Board of County Commissioners article on page 22.
The board voted unanimously to approve the contract with Double R Excavating.
Operational reports detail progress on Well 21
Highlights from the operational reports included:
• Three weeks of drilling had been completed on Well 21 at the time of the meeting. The drilling had reached 2,100 feet, with a goal of 2,340 feet. Shaffer expected the well to be operational one week from this meeting, he said. Site landscaping improvements and the well house were scheduled for October. Shaffer said he expected the well to deliver 300 gallons per minute when operational.
• Work on making the augmentation station on the Chilcott Ditch more flood-resistant has been proceeding, Assistant Manager Randy Gillette said, adding construction on this project should begin by November.
• The measurements for the previous month showed only 2 percent of water unaccounted for, Gillette said.
• In his report on Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA) matters, board Secretary Brian Bush told the WWSD board that WIA had offered to let nearby residents pay for the augmentation required to address evaporation from Hidden Pond so that the water level in the pond could be improved, but the residents had declined the offer.
The next meeting is scheduled for Oct. 8 at 1 p.m. Meetings are usually held at the district office at 1845 Woodmoor Drive on the second Monday of each month at 1 p.m. See www.woodmoorwater.com or call 488-2525 to verify meeting times.
James Howald can be reached at email@example.com.
By Jennifer Kaylor
At the Sept. 11 Triview Metropolitan District board meeting, JDS Hydro Consultants Inc. President John McGinn revealed the construction bids received for the western interceptor and recommended follow-up actions. District water attorney Chris Cummins discussed wording of a revocable license that will be submitted to the El Paso Board of County Commissioners (BOCC). All directors were present.
Triview is a Title 32 special district inside Monument that provides road, landscaping, and open space maintenance, and water and sanitation services to Jackson Creek, Promontory Pointe, Sanctuary Pointe, and several commercial areas. The Town of Monument provides land use planning, police, and general governance for Triview’s property owners.
Western interceptor to break ground in October
McGinn informed the board that seven contractors responded with construction bids for the western interceptor, a pipeline system west of I-25. The five lowest bids fell within 15 percent of one another, with the lowest being submitted by Global Underground Corp. at $1.127 million. McGinn described Global as a premier boring company and recommended that the contract be awarded to Global. Once the contract is awarded, McGinn explained, the contractor must prepare project documents, which generally requires about two weeks. If all goes according to plan, the board can expect construction to mobilize in mid-October.
McGinn confirmed that the interceptor construction would be coordinated with the district’s Jackson Creek Parkway expansion and the 2018 joint Donala-Triview water meter installation. He addressed concerns about the pipeline being laid under I-25 by responding that Global is "golden" with the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). All drawings have been approved and have been vetted by the CDOT process.
McGinn added that municipal contracts are delivery-based, meaning that checks are not written for something that hasn’t been delivered. The contract also stipulates a 5 percent payment retainer until "substantial completion" is achieved—that is, 5 percent of the total construction cost is withheld until the project can be used for its intended purpose. He summarized the project on a prescient note: Because of the digging depth, be prepared for the unexpected.
Cummins added that all participating developers are aware that funds must be on deposit and fully committed before the project begins.
The board voted unanimously to award the construction bid for the western interceptor to Global Underground Corp.
County disallows easement
Cummins explained that a small portion of the western interceptor’s path lies beneath the Santa Fe Trail, which is county property. The county’s policy in this situation is not to grant an easement for Triview to install the multimillion-dollar wastewater infrastructure but to establish a revocable license with the district. Cummins described his reaction to the revocable license as "less than favorable" and wrote conditions for the license that obligate the county to provide a 365-day written notice and pay all expenses for the pipeline’s relocation should license termination be enacted.
Roads. Bikes. People.
Robert Fink of HR Green, the construction company tasked with designing improvements for and expansion of the two-lane or northern section of Jackson Creek Parkway, presented a draft plan that included adding bike lanes and safety measures. Striving to have a continuous bike lane from Baptist Road to Higby Road, he assessed the probability of incorporating bike lanes into the four-lane section or the southern portion of the parkway. Fink stated that the four-lane section’s dimensions currently exceed the Town of Monument’s minimum traffic lane, sidewalk, and median standards. This exceedance, he explained, should allow the district to add bike lanes to the section by simply restriping the area once the northern section’s expansion is complete. The solution translates into significant savings for the district.
Fink also discussed structural ideas for reducing road noise, improving snowplow operations, and designing traffic lanes to better protect pedestrians.
The directors weighed the long-term pros and cons of installing landscaping, xeriscaping, or nothing in the median or along the sides of all or parts of the parkway.
Public comment and other activities acknowledged
• Allison Catalano, who is not a Triview resident, enumerated concerns regarding the plan to build out a dirt road that bisects Higby for construction vehicle access. Because the district only has authority over road maintenance and not building new roads, the board recommended that she speak with the Town of Monument Board of Trustees and the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners.
• Plans to complete the Donala-Triview water meter installation in 2018 remain active.
• Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) plans to conduct a routing study to identify feasible wastewater routes for potential wastewater regionalization and will present a participation agreement to the Triview board by year’s end. Director Marco Fiorito and Water Superintendent Shawn Sexton recently toured the CSU wastewater treatment system.
• District Manager Jim McGrady announced that he would present a 2019 budget draft at the October board meeting and would include detailed budget worksheets that explain line items and how budget figures are determined.
• The recent repair of Jackson Creek Parkway between Baptist Road and Lyons Tail was completed in three days and about $6,000 under budget.
• The district’s bond issuance will be modified to include language that defines the parameters under which the district will buy bonds. The district seeks to refinance about $10.6 million in loans and expects to present more information about the bond offering in October. See https://www.ocn.me/v18n9.htm#tvmd and https://www.ocn.me/v18n8.htm#tvmd for background information.
• The district plans to supply some areas around the A-yard wall with irrigation for xeriscaping to further improve aesthetics along Jackson Creek Parkway.
• Water Superintendent Sexton reported that Public Works crews were practicing mock drills for responding to water emergencies such as water main breaks. He confirmed that the district’s plants were running smoothly, and August’s water volume pumped decreased due to extra rainfall.
The meeting adjourned at 6:50 p.m., after which the board met for an executive session for §24-6-402(4)(b)(e) legal advice, negotiations.
No additional decisions or actions were made following the executive session.
The next Triview meeting will be held Oct. 9 at 5 p.m. at the Fairfield Inn, Mt. Herman Conference Room, 15275 Struthers Road, Colorado Springs. Meetings are normally held on the second Tuesday of the month. Information: 488-6868 or see www.triviewmetro.com. See also "Triview Metropolitan District" on Facebook, or Twitter.com/@TriviewMetro. Triview board documents are available at https://triviewmetro.com/boardDocuments.
Jennifer Kaylor may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jennifer Kaylor
The Donala Water and Sanitation District Board of Directors approved two distinctly different actions when it met Sept. 20. An inclusion agreement and a request to fund unbudgeted project expenses received affirmative responses. Directors and staff proposed ideas to resolve stumbling blocks in establishing a long-term excess capacity contract with the Bureau of Reclamation and remaining within wastewater regulatory standards.
WMMI welcomed aboard
District General Manager Kip Petersen opened the official hearing to consider inclusion of the Western Museum of Mining and Industry into Donala’s services. The property already lies within the district’s boundaries but currently relies on well and septic. Petersen summarized the language of the inclusion agreement stipulating that installed utilities would abide by the district’s specifications and the subject property’s water rights would be deeded to the district. Revenue from the museum’s anticipated land sale will enable the long-awaited connection to the Northgate lift station.
Having received no written or verbal arguments against the inclusion, the board unanimously ratified the inclusion proposal.
Reserve funds preempt inflated future expenses
Reporting on the operations status, Petersen detailed additional funding needs that were not supported by the budget. He explained that current funds would not extend the district’s 2018 portion of the 12-inch water main project to the designated Mission Hill Way endpoint but would only complete the project to Sun Hills Drive. Continuing to Mission Hill Way, the more logistically and financially effective terminus, would cost an extra $375,000, Petersen estimated.
In addition to the Mission Hill Way pipe replacement, he reported that a short section of water main that directs flow from the Gleneagle-Struthers intersection narrows from 12 inches to 8 inches and has the potential to cause significant problems if water volume increases and the pipe is not replaced. Because the El Paso County Department of Public Works plans to construct a roundabout at the Gleneagle-Struthers intersection, Petersen advised fixing the "neck down" before the county begins its construction. He estimated $85,000 as a pre-roundabout cost and hundreds of thousands of dollars if postponed beyond roundabout completion.
Acknowledging that the expenses had the potential to increase exponentially if the projects were delayed, the directors approved the use of $300,000 from the reserve fund. For updates on the water main replacement project, see the Donala homepage, http://donalawater.org, or call 488-3603.
Working with other governance entities
Petersen announced that he submitted an "excess capacity" contract with the Bureau of Reclamation as a backup plan for Willow Creek Ranch water storage in 2019 if the district’s long-term application is not approved. Donala’s 40-year, long-term contract application has remained elusive over the past eight years. According to the bureau, flow models of how Willow Creek Ranch may impact the Arkansas River have taken longer than anticipated. Directors discussed how Donala might collectively work with other districts to find a solution to the costly and time-consuming delays.
Petersen reported that Donala’s Operations Committee will determine at its Oct. 10 meeting a course of action for implementing new wastewater arsenic compliance measures that take effect at the end of October 2019. Users of the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility (UMCRWWTF) include Donala, Triview Metropolitan District, and Forest Lakes Metropolitan District. The problem does not lie in filtering the arsenic from the Denver Basin’s groundwater wells, which are the source of the arsenic, but in disposing of the arsenic in concentrations that don’t negatively impact the environment. Donala and the other districts use surface water—which does not have detectable arsenic—as much as possible, but increased water demand during the summer requires greater reliance on groundwater, which increases wastewater arsenic concentrations.
In May 2018, the board received designs for an UMCRWWTF pilot plant, treatment options, potential costs, and timelines. The committee must consider whether to initiate construction on treatment facility upgrades, manage groundwater differently, or trust other innovations that may or may not be tested and available by the deadline. The board resolved to prioritize and coordinate action with Triview and Forest Lakes. See also www.ocn.me/v18n6.htm#dwsd.
Directors received the short-term water service agreement between Donala and Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU). The agreement allows the district to continue transporting its purchased renewable water from Willow Creek Ranch via CSU’s infrastructure and expires Dec. 31. As an out-of-service-area customer, Donala currently pays the same rate as full-service out-of-service-area customers to convey its own water. Seeking to negotiate a better rate, the board brainstormed ideas.
Petersen announced other meetings and points of interest that included:
• The Donala board scheduled a joint work session with the Triview Metropolitan District for Sept. 26 at the Villa in Palmer Lake.
• Petersen declared the CSU fall water tour a success. Showcasing the water delivery process from Willow Creek Ranch to customers, the tour communicated that regional services can result in positive outcomes for all involved.
• The recent drought report rated western El Paso County abnormally dry and eastern El Paso County at moderate drought status.
• The UMCRWWTF Operations Committee opened the screen installation and catwalk construction bids and awarded the projects to Stanek Constructors and Glacier Construction, respectively. The combined bids were $217,000 below the budgeted expense.
• Superintendent of Water Operations Mark Parker confirmed that construction at the Jessie Drive booster station and R. Hull water treatment plant were ahead of schedule and expected the connection to be completed soon. Director Wayne Vanderschuere commended Parker for effectively and efficiently troubleshooting to minimize service disruption to customers.
• August water demand decreased slightly due to rain. Donala’s wells provided 69 percent of the supply and Willow Creek Ranch filled the remaining 31 percent. The Holbein plant was kept on standby, which saved some costs.
The meeting adjourned at 3:08 p.m.
The next board meeting, which will include the 2019 draft budget, will be held at 1:30 p.m. Oct. 18 in the district conference room at 15850 Holbein Drive. Information: (719)488-3603 or www.donalawater.org. Meetings are normally held on the third Thursday of the month.
Jennifer Kaylor can be reached at email@example.com.
By Helen Walklett
At its Sept. 4 meeting, the El Paso Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) approved a preliminary plan and a final plat for the Flying Horse North subdivision. It also made decisions which advance the Monument Hill Safety Improvements Project, the Highway 105 project, and the planned roundabout at the Struthers Road/Gleneagle Drive intersection.
Flying Horse North moves forward
At their Sept. 4 meeting, the commissioners approved an application by PR 2 LLC for a preliminary plan and a first final plat at the Flying Horse North subdivision between Highway 83 and Black Forest Road, to the south of Hodgen Road. The El Paso County Planning Commission heard the applications in July and recommended both for approval. See www.ocn.me/v18n8.htm#epcpc.
The preliminary plan is for 283 single-family residential lots and 324.1 acres of open space, which will include a golf course. The first final plat is for 80 single-family homes, the golf course, and open space.
Senior Assistant County Attorney Cole Emmons stressed that the application was a subdivision matter, not a zoning one. This meant that the hearing could not consider matters decided at the PUD (Planned Unit Development) stage such as density, uses, or the road layout. The BOCC approved the PUD in December 2016 despite opposition. See www.ocn.me/v17n1.htm#bocc.
The main access to the development will be via the intersection of Highway 83 and Stagecoach Road. The developer must improve this intersection by adding turning lanes. Although 40 lots can be built before any of the improvements are required, the developer plans to complete all the highway work prior to any of the lots being occupied.
The water supply to the subdivision will come from multiple aquifers and must meet the county’s 300-year rule. As at the Planning Commission hearing, Emmons advised a finding of conditional sufficiency for water dependability and quantity due to three outstanding issues: the uncertainty created by the annual payments due on the portion of the water supply leased from the state; the fact that the balance of the water supply for the golf course, which must also meet the 300-year rule, cannot be used until the pending plan for augmentation is approved by the water court; and, additional reporting requirements mandated by the state’s Engineer’s Office prior to subdivision approval. An escrow agreement is being put in place to address the uncertainty associated with the leased water payments, and work is ongoing to resolve the other two matters. Once this happens, the conditional finding can be converted to one of full sufficiency.
Nina Ruiz, project manager/planner II, Planning and Community Development, said the county had received 121 letters in opposition and two letters in favor and "an overflow of emails" with many residents concerned about road safety, particularly on Holmes Road, which provides access at the development’s southern boundary. Several residents spoke in opposition at the hearing.
The preliminary plan was approved by 4-1. Commissioner Longinos Gonzalez voted against as he had concerns about the water supply. The final plat, for 80 single-family homes, the golf course and open space, was approved unanimously.
Monument Hill Road Safety Improvements Project
At its Sept. 11 meeting, the BOCC made three approvals relating to the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority’s Monument Hill Road Safety Improvements Project. It approved the award of a purchase order to Yeh and Associates Inc. for construction management services at a cost not to exceed $330,110. It also approved the award of a construction contract and purchase order to Schmidt Construction Co. for construction of drainage and roadway improvements between Woodmoor Drive and the south entrance of Palmer Ridge High School at a cost not to exceed $3.590 million.
The project, which has a total budget of $3.965 million, will correct deficiencies in the roadway. Enhancements are expected to include improvements to sight distance, horizontal and vertical alignments, drainage and water quality, as well as the addition of shoulders and intersection improvements.
• Aug. 28—The commissioners approved the final release of a subdivision bond for $29,793 following completion of the public improvements to Baptist Road at the entrance to the Sanctuary Pointe subdivision.
• Aug. 28—Approved an amendment to the contract between Wilson & Co. and the Department of Public Works Engineering Division for work at the Struthers Road and Gleneagle Drive intersection. Wilson will provide professional services to complete property acquisition and final design work for the roundabout at a cost not to exceed $50,000.
• Sept. 4—Approved two memorandums of agreement and temporary construction easement agreements for the Highway 105 project. One easement is coming from property owned by Integrity Bank & Trust on behalf of clients at a cost of $15,8000. The second is owned by the bank itself and is costing $262,900.
Helen Walklett can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jackie Burhans
The Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA) board met on Sept. 26 to hear from the Strong D38 Community on the upcoming bond and mill levy override (MLO) election and to receive an update on South Woodmoor residents’ efforts on the Walters property. Director Bert Jean was absent.
D38 bond and MLO presentation
This reporter, a member of the Strong D38 Community volunteer campaign committee, talked to the board and residents about the upcoming bond (issue 4B) and MLO (issue 4A) the district placed on the November ballot. Due to area growth and overcrowding, particularly at Lewis-Palmer Middle School, and community concerns and legal requirements, the district must meet capacity and security needs. The bond and MLO together are projected to cost $9 and $5 per month respectively for the average $400,000 residence, for a total of $14 per month. For details on how the money would be allocated and monitored for building, physical improvements, personnel, and programs see the Sept. 10 D38 article on page 2.
South Woodmoor residents on Walters "Open Space"
Tish Norman is co-chair with Chris Williams of a group South Woodmoor residents seeking to acquire the undeveloped Walters property that is currently platted for residential use and is now up for sale. It also is sometimes referred to as the South Woodmoor Golf Course, although it has never been used for that purpose. See www.woodmoor.org/woodmoor-developments/.
Norman reported to the WIA board and local residents on efforts that have been undertaken so far. The group has begun working with Bill Peterson, president of the Woodmoor Park Homeowners’ Association, who also have interest and easement rights and setback requirements they wish to preserve concerning the Walters property. The group has also assigned block captains to pass out flyers and deliver proxies for a potential vote. It has members working with banks to explore purchasing the land and have been put in touch with the Palmer Land Trust to explore possible grants. The group is exploring numerous options including a GoFundMe campaign, grant writing, and other fundraising avenues.
If the residents of South Woodmoor were to vote to pay a special assessment, the land would belong to WIA and would not incur property taxes. WIA President Brian Bush noted that the covenants for South Woodmoor are unclear on whether an assessment is allowed to purchase private property. WIA has asked its lawyer to review and expects to hear back soon. WIA will keep the group and the Woodmoor Park HOA informed of the response.
WIA also explained the requirements for a vote of the 889 South Woodmoor residents. A quorum would be achieved by a showing of 60 percent of lot owners (or their proxies) at a meeting; then two-thirds of the voters who show would have to vote yes.
Board report highlights
• The board unanimously voted to spend up to $3,000 on Surface Pro tablets for Woodmoor Public Safety (WPS) so that officers have access to current information while in their patrol vehicles.
• WPS is working with the Sheriff’s Office and the Pikes Peak Regional Communications Network on a plan to enhance their radio functionality and replace their antiquated system to better communicate with local agencies.
The WIA Board of Directors usually meets at 7 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of each month in the Barn at 1691 Woodmoor Drive, Monument. The next regular meeting will be on Oct. 24.
Jackie Burhans can be reached at email@example.com.
By Bill Kappel
September was dry and mild, with precipitation only about half of normal and temperatures well above normal. Unfortunately, we were not able to keep up the trend of relatively wet weather that occurred from June through August. Let’s hope we get a return to cool and wet weather moving through the rest of fall and into winter.
The first week of September was cool and unsettled but unfortunately was an anomaly compared to most of the rest of the month. Temperatures were at or below normal each day from the 1st through the 7th. Each day except the 4th received some rainfall. The heaviest rain occurred on the 5th, when just over a half-inch accumulated in some areas.
However, the pattern changed quickly over the next few days as a strong ridge of high pressure moved over the region. Temperatures responded by warming into the 70s on the 8th and 9th, then mid- to upper 80s from the 10th through the 19th. During this period, several daily record high temperatures were set across the region. Highs peaked on the 18th, reaching the upper 80s. With the high pressure firmly in control of the weather, the air mass dried out significantly. This resulted in clear skies through the region and just a few afternoon clouds.
A weak system affected the region starting on the evening of the 19th and brought a brief cool down and some rain showers to the area on the 20th and 21st. This also allowed overnight lows to fall into the upper 30s and low 40s. Temperatures jumped back into the low 80s on the 22nd and 23rd before returning to below-normal levels for the next week. After some rain showers on the 24th, cooler conditions stuck around through the 28th. High temperatures were in the 60s from the 24th through the 26th, then touched the low 70s on the 27th before holding in the 50s on the 28th. Overnight lows were consistently in the 30s during this period, just touching the freezing mark on a couple of mornings in the colder low-lying spots. The cooler temperatures and easterly winds also allowed areas of low clouds and fog to form on several days, making things feel a lot more like fall.
Strong high pressure again returned to end the month, with sunny days returning on the 29th and 30th and temperatures jumping back to well above normal levels in the mid- to upper 70s each afternoon.
A look ahead
October can be an active weather month for the Tri-Lakes region with our first snowy conditions often experienced during the month. Most years, we seem to get a good snowfall around Halloween, and after a warm and dry September, we could use a wet and cold storm this year. Snow can be heavy at times during any part of October as when over 20 inches fell October 9-10 in 2005, and 2006 saw over 24 inches of snow fall in less than 24 hours on Oct. 26. Of course, the big storm some of us remember occurred around during October 1997, when nearly 4 feet of snow and blizzard conditions shut everything down for several days. But we are just as likely to get mild and sunny conditions, so enjoy those sunny days when you can.
September 2018 Weather Statistics
Average High 75.8° (+3.9)
100-year return frequency value max 77.5° min 63.5°
Average Low 46.8° (+5.6)
100-year return frequency value max 46.7° min 36.1°
Monthly Precipitation 0.72" (-1.08")
100-year return frequency value max 4.34" min 0.40"
Monthly Snowfall 0.0" (-0.5")
Highest Temperature 88° on the 18th
Lowest Temperature 34° on the 25th, 28th
Season to Date Snow 0.0" (-0.5", 100% below normal) (the snow season is from July 1 to June 30)
Season to Date Precip. 15.48" (-6.81", 30% below normal) (the precip season is from October 1 to September 30)
Heating Degree Days 147 (-102)
Cooling Degree Days 37 (+31)
Bill Kappel is a meteorologist and Tri-Lakes resident. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclaimer: The information and opinions expressed in Letters to Our Community are the responsibility of the letter writers and should not be interpreted as the views of OCN even if the letter writer is an OCN volunteer.
Vote yes on Palmer Lake 2B
I have been attending Palmer Lake Town Council meetings, committee meetings, and fundraisers for about two years now. As a resident, I am terrified for the future of our "Almost Heaven" Palmer Lake.
In each meeting, the conclusion to our drainage issue, enforcement issue, and lack of leadership is the lack of funds to make anything better. It really all comes down to the money!
As part of the Palmer Lake Parks Committee, I know that we as a town need a lot more money. We do not have any means of bringing in the kind of revenue we need with businesses we have now!
I attended the "Calm the Fear" of Legalizing Recreational Marijuana meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 18, at Palmer Lake Wellness to get the information from the horse’s mouth.
The marijuana industry is new and booming right now! If we allow both Alpine Essentials and Palmer Lake Wellness the opportunity to sell recreational MJ, we will have the third and fourth businesses in El Paso County. I asked how much tax revenue they really thought they could bring to the town in a year, and they are estimating up to $4 million. I was stunned and I started making a mental note of all the improvements we can make to our hometown—paved roads, good drainage, new fire department, etc. etc.! And each business plans to bring in 25 new jobs within the first year!
The mayor of Manitou Springs said that legalizing recreational MJ has been great for Manitou. The tax revenue has allowed them to work on flood mitigation projects, roads, and so many other town improvements!
This industry is growing quickly, and we as a town can benefit immensely from this revenue and job creation. Vote yes on 2B!
Vote no on 4B
Lewis-Palmer School District 38 has a 20-year bond (4B) on November`s ballot for $36.5 million. Taxpayers’ annual payments will be interest-only for the first 11 years, but those payments will triple in years 12 to 20 when taxpayers have to start paying down the principle as well. The total payback amount will be $66 million. No one does interest-only loans for their personal residences. They are expensive, not fiscally responsible, and cost inordinately more than a traditional loan, which has the same payment throughout the life of the loan at a fixed interest rate.
A school bond with the credit rating D38 has should have a fixed rate of 3.5 percent for 20 years, with repayment costing only $50 million—not $66 million. Instead, we’re being forced into something on the level of a pawnshop loan. Why is D38 forcing taxpayers to hand over an extra $15 million? Taxpayers don’t want their money going to rich Wall Street firms and other bond investors. They want it to go to teachers.
Vote no and send a message that until D38 begins to enrich teachers instead of bond investors, taxpayers will not give them more money. A community of taxpayers who are as responsible with their personal finances as we are is entitled to something better than a pawnshop loan.
Editor’s Note: The D38 Board of Education has not yet decided the bond repayment terms. Interested readers should contact the school board or attend school board meetings and the DAAC forum on Oct. 11 for more information.
Supporting the D38 bond and MLO as an empty nester
When I arrived in 1992, my real estate agent proudly extolled our great school district. I noted I didn’t have kids nor any plans. She explained it was good for our property value, which I liked. Six years later, we welcomed our son to the family and remembered what we heard when it was time to enroll him. We soon learned how lucky we were to have landed in D38. We were impressed with the academics, electives, and extracurriculars he experienced with dedicated, highly qualified teachers, counselors, staff, board, and parent volunteers. His education at LPES, LPMS, and PRHS prepared him well to go to and succeed at a highly selective university.
I have always supported public education from the time I started working and paying taxes. I have voted for bonds when schools were needed and MLOs to pay for operational expenses long before I even considered having a child who would benefit and will continue to do so long after his graduation. I would have been happy to support the district had I never had any kids who went to school here.
While I do appreciate the impact on my property values, I also appreciate how having a great school district gives us pride and a sense of community. I value the importance of a top-notch education being available to all the kids in the district regardless of where they live or what their economic circumstances are. I know that they will be the future leaders in our country, our state, and even our community. I am proud to support our district by voting yes on the upcoming MLO (4A) and bond (4B) and look forward to seeing our strong community support for strong schools!
It’s all about the kids
My family and I moved to District 38 eight years ago so that our children could have the benefits of attending one of the highest-performing school districts in the state. One of our children recently graduated and I have three children currently attending D38 schools.
Monument is a wonderful community that we enjoy. It attracts new development and there are currently hundreds of homes under construction in developments that will accommodate thousands of homes. Unfortunately, the number of schools has not kept up with the growth. Our current schools are at capacity, and we need a new elementary school. 4A and 4B will allow us to expand our capacity and obtain a new elementary school.
As a parent of children attending D38 schools, I feel strongly that increasing the security of our children and staff at the schools is of paramount importance. 4A and 4B will allow us to increase the level of security the schools currently practice and ensure that our children, their teachers, and staff are safer.
I support 4A and 4B because good schools result in a good community and everyone benefits from a good community.
President, D38 Board of Education
Actions speak louder ...
My family lives within a budget and expects our elected officials to spend our tax dollars wisely. When I see the school board awarding the superintendent a $60,000 signing bonus to renew a contract that still had another year left (BOE meeting 4/19/2018), a $255,000 annual public relations budget used for advertising to attract out-of-district students (2018-19 budget), money to outsource technology services when D38 has nine employees in its technology department, various consulting fees on the check register, taxpayer money spent for lobbying groups, etc., I have to question if the district is being fiscally responsible with our current tax dollars.
Soon, they will ask us for more money because "It’s all about the kids." There’s no doubt that we all want our kids to be safe. It would be great for our district leaders and the lobbyists we are already funding to lobby local politicians for "school zone" signs for traffic control to be put in on 105 near Monument Academy or stand up against a former hotel being turned into an alcohol and drug rehab center within walking distance of four schools, a library, and a brewery. Or, maybe they could allow competitive athletes to count their training hours for the district required high school PE credits (since PE is not mandated in Colorado).
Until I see evidence of wise spending and a more genuine focus on "the kids," all I am willing to give for now is my 2 cents. It all comes down to a little thing called trust.
Support our great schools
Growth in our area is overwhelming; forecasts indicate this will continue. All of our elementary schools and middle school are at or near capacity. Public schools cannot turn away students, so the math is simple; build a new school or classroom sizes increase. The secret about our awesome community is out. Families are moving here in record numbers. There is plenty of land to develop so growth is inevitable. We can stick our heads in the sand and deny it or we can get out in front and manage it.
D38 is in desperate need of a new school to manage our growth. This bond will allow us to build a new elementary school, go back to two middle schools, and construct much-needed security upgrades at all our buildings.
Also included on the ballot is an MLO to hire additional safety and security personnel. Unfortunately, times are changing and we need to provide more security at all our schools.
If you vote yes on 4A and 4B, your taxes will go up next year; however, they will go down the following year and will continue to decline as more homes are built and bonds on other school buildings are paid off by the district. The average home in our area will pay approximately $14 more a month; a small investment to help ensure our classroom sizes stay manageable and our schools are safe.
Our school district has managed our money responsibly and have maintained a balanced budget for years. Now they need our help to address growth and safety. Continue our legacy of great schools and a great community. Vote yes on 4A and 4B.
Get the facts about the bond and MLO at www.lewispalmer.org/4a4b.
Support Ballot Issues 4A and 4B
As a current LPSD 38 Board of Education member, I can attest that developing ballot issues 4A and 4B spanned more than 18 months and included significant community deliberation and multiple work sessions and board meetings during the summer months. The bond and MLO are simply need-based; given the growth in our community (approx. 500 additional students since 2013), it is imperative that we provide for our students and families.
Bond funds will provide necessary money to build a new elementary school, re-convert the existing Bear Creek Elementary school back to a middle school (the former Creekside Middle School) and collaborate with Monument Academy to build a district-owned gymnasium or auditorium adjacent to their proposed high school. Our middle school is currently utilizing library space as a classroom, closet space for offices and converting the teacher’s lounge into classroom space. This is not an acceptable condition for our teachers or our children. These bond funds will alleviate the overcrowding at the middle school level while also providing additional capacity in the short term for elementary students.
MLO funds will provide for increased security personnel and wellness counselors. I have four teenagers and am reminded daily of the differing world they are navigating. I am in full support of providing a secure learning environment and additional counseling support. Additional personnel allows for teachers to focus on teaching and for students to feel safe in their learning environments.
As a parent in this district since 2006, I have advocated for our schools, teachers, and staff in the hope that we are providing the best for our kids and our entire community. Strong schools create strong communities … strong communities should continue to nurture strong schools! Please join me in providing what is necessary for our students, teachers, and community!
Funding lag requiring bond for new school in D38
In order to explain why D38 needs a bond to build a new school, we must understand the recession-era legislative decisions that changed how Colorado funds its schools and balances its budget.
Amendment 23 was a citizens’ ballot initiative, passed in 2000, to reverse a decade of budget cuts. The amendment requires the Legislature to annually increase K-12 per pupil funding by inflation +1% through 2011 and inflation thereafter. Because of Colorado’s budget crisis, Amendment 23 was not fully implemented through 2011. In an effort to cope with falling revenues, the Legislature reinterpreted the amendment to allow them to cut education funding, which is referred to as the "Negative Factor." School years 2008-10 saw additional unpredicted cuts made mid-year that put Colorado schools in a worsening bind. Although Colorado is experiencing increasing revenues, TABOR has not allowed the state to add to reserves enough to pay for the debt owed schools.
State underfunding of D38 has amounted to nearly $50 million. In the leanest years, D38 successfully cut administrative positions rather than teachers. Compared to surrounding districts, D38 operates with a much leaner administration budget.
State underfunding has been an issue for school districts all over Colorado. They have had to compensate by asking their taxpaying base to help. And help D20, D11 and D49 have received, among 13 other districts in 2016. If D20 passed a $230 million bond, D38 can pass a $36.5 million bond. The cost of the bond for an average $400,000 home is less than $9/month. The amount addresses our immediate capacity need. Additional schools will be necessary for the near future, but I applaud our Board of Education for being fiscally prudent with taxpayer dollars.
Bond measure 4B is a necessity!
Residential treatment center saved my life
My name is Rob Meeker, and last summer after being gone for 19 years I chose to move my family of four (soon to be five) back to Monument. It’s been a heck of a year: Seven days after returning, my high school cycling coach Tim Watkins was murdered. I began to wonder what has happened to the community I grew up in—busier people, faster drivers, fewer waves….
Needless to say, I am afraid that the loving and charming town of Monument that I left in the ‘90s has either died or is on life support and needs to be woken back up.
Sadly, the polarization of our society has reared its ugly head in a new way as of late in quaint little Monument.
Rob Meeker was the student body president of the LPHS class of 1998 (go Rangers!) and is a proud Tri-Lakes community member.
However, Rob Meeker is also a recovering alcoholic who likely would have died in his disease had he not been able to go to a residential treatment facility much like the "opposed" one here in our perfect little town.
I am frankly disgusted by our community’s reaction to this and their attitude toward addiction in general. In case you’re not aware, addiction knows no boundaries.
Addiction of many sorts has been, and always will be, part of D38 and the Tri-Lakes community. It is our job as a modern "Christian" society to try to take care of the sick and needy among us, and by among us I hope that we can agree that humanity qualifies as "us."
I hope and pray that the Tri-Lakes community will have a change of heart on this issue and embrace a business designed to not only change lives but also to save them.
It’s not a done deal
An alcohol/drug rehabilitation facility on the Ramada Inn property is not a done deal! So far, the rehab center has no licenses to operate; a protest is underway. Take Action El Paso County is the organization fighting to close this facility www.TakeActionElPasoCounty.com. It follows the San Clemente, Calif., organization that is having success in regulating the alcohol/drug rehabilitation facility there http://www.takeactionsanclemente.com/index.html. The federal government is investigating this industry for fraud and abuse. See www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/michigan/2018/06/01/congress-probes-rehab-industry-tactics/655050002/
Reasons to stop this facility:
1) Too close to Lewis-Palmer MS, Palmer Ridge HS, Lewis-Palmer ES, Monument Academy, public library (students wait for pick up), designated Safe-Route-Trails, Bright Start Pre-school & Daycare, and overlooking brewery.
2) Statistics show a rehab program itself is not effective. See "The Business of Recovery, A documentary by Greg Horvath" www.thebusinessofrecovery.com.
3) No background checks on patients, and they roam freely.
4) After 30 days, patients are released; statistics show 30 days are not enough. See documentary above.
5) Curbing practices: patients dumped into communities. If patients can afford it, they go to "Sober Houses," which are houses rented in our neighborhoods unless protected by HOA bylaws. Houses are overcrowded; it is documented many patients return to their addictions in what addicts call "party houses." See www.denverpost.com/2018/03/11/colorado-sober-living-homes-opioid-crisis-christopher-bathum/
6) Half-full rehab facility, Highway 105, Palmer Lake, is causing neighbors problems; neighbors complain of needles and empty bottles on their property.
7) Property values will decline. Buyer cancels purchasing home when he learns of proposed rehab center.
Vera SchumakerNew nonfiction books
By the staff at Covered Treasures
"I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read."
Here are some new nonfiction reads that you might prefer over television:
The Woman Who Smashed Codes: A True Story of Love, Spies, and the Unlikely Heroine Who Outwitted America’s Enemies
By Jason Fagone (Dey Street Books) $16.99
This is the never-told, incredible true story of the greatest codebreaking duo that ever lived, Elizebeth and William Friedman. Together they invented the modern science of cryptology and used it to confront the evils of their time, solving puzzles that unmasked Nazi spies and helped win World War II. After World War I, Elizebeth accepted a covert mission to discover and expose Nazi spy rings. As World War II raged, Elizebeth fought a highly classified battle of wits against Hitler’s Reich, cracking multiple versions of the Enigma machine used by German spies. Meanwhile, William worked furiously to break Purple, the Japanese version of Enigma—and eventually succeeded, at a terrible cost to his personal life.
Fly Girls: How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History
By Keith O’Brien (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), $28
O’Brien weaves together the previously untold stories of five remarkable women: Florence Klingensmith, a high-school dropout; Ruth Elder, a divorcee; Amelia Earhart, the most famous, but not necessarily the most skilled; Ruth Nichols, who chafed at the constraints of her blue-blood family’s expectations; and Louise Thaden, the mother of two young children who got her start selling coal in Wichita. Together they would make aviation history, fighting for the chance to race against the men—and in 1936 one of them would triumph in the toughest race of all.
By David Sheff (Mariner Books) $16.99
Now a major motion picture, this is an eye-opening memoir of addiction, healing, and family, with a new Afterward by the author. Before Nic became addicted to crystal meth, he was joyous and funny, a varsity athlete and honor student adored by his siblings. After meth, he was a trembling wraith who lied, stole, and lived on the streets. David Sheff traces the journey from the first warning signs. As a journalist, he instinctively researched every treatment that might save his son. And he refused to give up on Nic.
Wild Fire: On the Front Lines with Station 8
By Heather Hansen (Mountaineers Books) $24.95
Every year wildfires ravage forests, destroy communities, and devastate human lives, with only the bravery of dedicated firefighters creating a barrier against even greater destruction. Throughout the 2016 wildfire season, journalist Heather Hansen witnessed firsthand the heroics of the Station 8 crew in Boulder. She tells that story here, layered with the added context of the history, science, landscape, and human behavior that, year-by-year, increases the severity, frequency, and costs of conflagrations in the West.
Rocket Men: The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 and the Astronauts Who Made Man’s First Journey to the Moon
By Robert Kurson (Random House) $28
In a year of historic violence and discord, the Apollo 8 mission would be the boldest, riskiest test of America’s greatness under pressure. This insider account puts the focus on the three astronauts and their families. Drawn from hundreds of hours of interviews with the astronauts, their loved ones, NASA personnel, and myriad experts, and filled with vivid detail, Kurson reveals the epic dangers involved and the singular bravery it took for mankind to leave Earth for the first time.
Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder
By Caroline Fraser (Picador USA) $22
The true saga of Laura Ingalls’ life has never been fully told. Now, drawing on unpublished manuscripts, letters, diaries, and land and financial records, Caroline Fraser fills in the gaps. Wilder’s real life was harder and grittier, a story of relentless struggle, rootlessness, and poverty. It was only in her 60s, after losing nearly everything in the Great Depression, that she turned to writing children’s books, achieving fame and fortune in the process, in one of the most astonishing rags-to-riches episodes in American letters.
"It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be
when you can’t help it."
Until next month, happy reading.
The staff at Covered Treasures can be reached at email@example.com.
By Harriet Halbig
The Monument and Palmer Lake libraries will offer many programs in October to celebrate Halloween and the arts.
Many programs at the library are open to all ages. See below for a listing.
Coloring for Everyone is a fun and relaxing Friday afternoon activity, from 4 to 5:30 on Oct. 12. We will color themed coloring sheets at all skill levels. Colored pencils, markers, and gel pens are provided. Drop in and stay as long as you like.
The October Family Fun event on Saturday, Oct. 13 from 2:30 to 3:30 is Take a Trip to China. Play games, make art, and try a new tasty treat from a different culture.
Come to the library for a different craft for kids age 5 to 10 on the third Friday of each month from 2:30 to 3:30 on Oct. 19.
Also on Friday, Oct. 19, from 4:30 to 5:30, all ages are welcome to participate in an Origami class. This will be a monthly class with two new designs each month (call the library at 488-2370 for details). All materials are provided and registration is preferred but not required. No experience necessary.
On Wednesday, Oct. 24 there will be a program on Celtic Tales and Songs for Children from 4 to 5:30. See below for more details.
See above for information on coloring, origami, and Family Fun.
The Monument Teen Creative Writing Group meets on the first Tuesday of each month from 6 to 7:30 in the study room. The group is open to ages 12 to 18.
Every Wednesday from 3 to 4:30 on the study room, join us for an Intergenerational Knitting session. Practice materials are available, but attendees are urged to bring their own projects. Some instruction is provided for those new to the craft.
Having trouble with math? Come to the library every Monday from 3:30 to 7 for AfterMath, a free math tutoring program. Adult tutors are available to help with all levels of math. No appointment is necessary, just drop in. AfterMath is available throughout the school year, following the D-38 calendar.
Celebrate Teen Read Week by making a miniature version of your favorite book as a keychain. This program on Wednesday, Oct. 19 from 4:30 to 5:30 is open to ages 9 to 18. Use the covers we’ve prepared or tell us the book you want when you register.
Come to the library on Wednesday, Oct. 24 from 6:30 to 8 for Celtic Tales and Songs for Teens and Adults. Join Willson and McKee for lively Celtic immigration tales, music, and dance.
The Monument Library Anime Club will meet on Thursday, Oct. 25 from 5 to 6:30. Share anime with others who love it. We will watch videos (nothing rated above TV-14) and enjoy snacks. This program is recommended for those 13 and older.
Hey, Teens! Join us for an after-hours Halloween party at the library on Friday, Oct. 26 from 6:30 to 8:30. There will be candy, spooky crafts, a movie, and more. Please register so that we can get a headcount for food. Open to ages 9 to 18.
The Teen Arts and Crafts project for October will be Bat Boxes on Wednesday, Oct. 31 from 4 to 5:30. We will learn about the benefits of having bats around. Enjoy Halloween candy with us while you make our craft. All supplies are provided. Registration is required.
See above for information about Coloring for Everyone, Intergenerational Knitting, Origami, and Celtic Tales and Songs.
The Palmer Lake Art Group will continue to offer free drawing classes in November. Please call the library for dates.
The Monumental Bookworms Book Club, sponsored by the Tri-Lakes Friends of the Library, will meet from 7 to 8:30 on Tuesday, Oct. 9 to discuss A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline. All are invited to attend and no registration is necessary.
The Monumental Readers will meet from 10 to noon on Friday, Oct. 19 to discuss The Girl with Seven Names by Hyeonseo Lee. All are welcome to attend this monthly book club and no registration is required.
The Monument Library Spinning Group will meet from 1:30 to 3:45 on Thursday, Oct. 25.
Join us for a program on advanced care planning on Wednesday, Oct. 31 from 2 to 3. The program will be offered by hospice professionals.
Regularly occurring adult programs include Socrates Café on Tuesdays from 1 to 3, a German Conversation group from 3:15 to 4:45 on Tuesdays, Senior Chats on Wednesdays from 10 to noon, and Life Circles on the first and third Mondays of the month from 9:30 to 11:30. All events are free and open to all.
In the display cabinet during October will be paintings and clay figures by Amy Giacomelli. On the walls will be photography, watercolor, and mixed media by Polly Wojnaroski.
Palmer Lake Library Events
Please note a new time and day for Lego Build at the Palmer Lake Library. The program will now be on the third Thursday of the month (Oct. 18) from 4 to 5 p.m. This program is open to ages 3 and up, with DUPLOs for young builders.
Make a Mask on Saturday, Oct. 20 at 10:30. Spooky, elegant, furry, or feathery? Make a mask at your library. All ages are welcome.
Come to the library to enjoy Not So Scary Stories at 4:30 on Friday, Oct. 26. This program is recommended for ages 3 to 9. Costumes are fun but not required.
The Palmer Lake Book Group meets at 9 a.m. on the first Friday of each month. Call the library at 481-2587 for the current selection.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Sigi Walker
The Palmer Lake Historical Society’s "Third Thursday Monthly History Series" program on Sept. 20 featured Jane Milne and Kathy DeHerrera’s presentation of "The Harvey Girls Story" to an enthusiastic full house. Wearing the iconic spotless black-and-white uniforms, Milne and DeHerrera described the women who personified hospitality in the 1880s West.
DeHerrera began by telling the story of Fred Harvey, from his immigration to the U.S. at age 15 to his partnership with the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad in building cafes to serve passengers at intervals along the Santa Fe route. Insisting on the highest quality food and service, Harvey was distressed to learn of drunken and brawling male servers at his Raton, N.M., cafe. It spurred Harvey’s decision to hire young women, 18-35 years of age, and earned him the title "Cupid of the West." Harvey girls lived in dormitories under supervision, with rules and curfews, and earned $17.50 per month plus room and board. They came from all over and all walks of life, drawn by good wages and the opportunity to enroll in college when not working.
Passengers had only 30 minutes at cafe stops, so they were given menus while on the train. They would circle their choices, which were telegraphed ahead so the meals would be ready when passengers arrived. The Harvey Girls even had a code to indicate coffee, tea, water, or milk by the placement of the coffee cup at each table setting.
Milne described Opal, a young woman from west Texas, who was hired because she didn’t chew gum! She stayed with the Harvey Girls for 45 years. DeHerrera told the story of Nina, a young woman from rural New Mexico who got a job at La Castaneda in Las Vegas, N.M., and attended New Mexico Highlands University. Milne and DeHerrera had a chance to meet Nina, now 96, in Raton, N.M.
Changes such as the advent of railroad dining cars, automobiles, the Great Depression, WWII, and airliners took their toll. Yet, Fred Harvey restaurants lasted for 90 years (1870-1960), employing over time more than 100,000 young women. Surprisingly, several people in the audience had family members who had been Harvey Girls. There was even one woman who had been a Harvey Girl at the Albuquerque Airport!
Caption: From left, Kathy DeHerrera and Jane Milne. Photo by Su Ketchmark.
Mark your calendars for Thursday, Oct. 18, for the next monthly history series program. Local filmmaker Jim Sawatzki’s Above and Beyond: A Hero’s Story will be followed by a short presentation by Bob McLaughlin, COO of Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Center. U.S. Air Force Academy janitor William J. "Bill" Crawford was raised in Pueblo, became a Golden Gloves champion in high school, and then enlisted in World War II. When his platoon was pinned down by intense enemy machine-gun fire, he single-handedly destroyed the machine gun and killed three of the crew. He was then captured by the Germans. Learn the rest of the story at the Palmer Lake Town Hall, 28 Valley Crescent St. The event is free and open to all.
By Janet Sellers
As I mentioned earlier this summer, Washington State University (WSU) forestry stewards reported, "... Decreasing fire danger around your homes by gathering ponderosa pine needles and turning them into compost creates a win/win situation, and it might even make for an alternative product to sell locally. Many gardeners will pay for the high quality, herbicide-free compost that many small forest landowners are ideally situated to provide."
When we let our gardens stay natural for the winter, aka lazy gardening, we create bio availability for the whole ecosystem to thrive and balance itself over the winter and create optimal conditions for garden success come spring. I am including here the ponderosa game plan: It’s simple, easy to do, and a proven landscape success. Pine straw is sold baled or loose, but most of us have plenty in our yards to use for free. A 3-inch application will help prevent weeds, retain moisture, and moderate soil temperature.
With our plethora of pine needles, we can start piling needles in a container (a trash can half-full or so) and use a weed eater just like a stick blender to chop up the needles, exposing more needle surface area for bioavailability to microbes, mycelium, and fungi to work their magic and create soil, and dump the buzzed pine needles back on their spot.
The simple version is to just shred the pine needles to overwinter as mulch that will keep moisture and the soil in place. A faster but still simple version WSU used in their pine straw (needles) soil program mixed 122 pounds of needles with 110 pounds of coffee grounds (for nitrogen), 67 pounds of freshly cut grass, and 23 pounds of dried leaves from hardwood trees, with four replicates of each treatment.
Winter gardening in our area needs a greenhouse, cold frame, a sunny windowsill—even grow lights. I bring in my potted cherry tomato plants and get tomatoes in December! Be sure to have good drainage using pebbles at the window box bottom or a catch basin for a pot’s drain hole, protecting your sills and floors. Other good indoor crops include salad greens, chard, kale, tasty garlic greens, microgreens (aka veggie sprouts) and mushrooms (use a purchased kit or a DIY laundry basket version).
Janet Sellers is an ethnoecologist and avid lazy gardener, sharing traditional and contemporary ethnoecology success methods for local ornamental and food gardening. She can be reached at email@example.com.
By Janet Sellers
This month let’s enjoy the gorgeous Colorado fall colors and blue skies, and the warm hearts of our local art venues and with our local artists. Summer is over, but the art and humanities are warming up our community with vital arts offerings and cultural events.
For October, as National Arts and Humanities Month, the biggest goals are, "... to create national to local focus on the arts and humanities through the media, provide federal, state, local business and civic leadership to declare their support for arts and humanities, and establish a highly visible vehicle for raising public awareness about the arts and humanities." Locally, it also kicks off the cultural season for our community, and we can look at it as an opportunity for all of us to get out and enjoy art, artists, and our art venues and support their enormous cultural contributions to our area by buying or donating to them.
Love of place is the term used to indicate the cultural and social value of where we live and work, and this love of place is the powerful result of many hands and hearts devoted to making a community thrive socially and economically as well.
Mark your calendars, grab your friends—let’s join the rest of the nation to "explore new facets of the arts and humanities in their lives, and to begin a lifelong habit of participation in the arts and humanities."
Jefferson Studios Owner-artist Daryl Muncey and guest artists offer paintings, photography, mixed-media, and furniture. 215 Chapala Plaza, Monument.
Kiwanis 2018 Empty Bowls Dinner & Silent Auction, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 5-7:30 p.m., Lewis-Palmer High School, 1300 Higby Rd., Monument. This popular event is a major fundraiser for Tri-Lakes Cares (TLC). Please bring a non-perishable food item for the TLC Food Pantry. Tickets (includes dinner and a local artist’s handmade bowl) at the door, online, or at local businesses.
Southwinds Fine Art Gallery and Fox Run Studio present the 2018 Spirit Tree Tour: Friday, Oct. 12, 5-8 p.m., artists including Janet Sellers, John W. Anderson, Terri Sanchez, and Deb Bartos honor the Colorado culturally modified trees in art via artist talks and exhibits. Saturday, Oct. 13, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. cultural activities: yoga, Spirit Tree walk (Anderson), introducing NASTAP (Native American Sacred Trees and Places Association), barbecue, art, studio and studio class demos, pre-holidays gift show. 16575 Rollercoaster Rd. at Baptist Road.
Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts, through Oct. 26, Monochrome Photography Show—vision, interpretation, and use of monochromatic light. 304 Highway 105, Palmer Lake.
Janet Sellers is an artist, writer, and speaker. Her public art sculptures and paintings are exhibited in Colorado cities and museums and are for sale at Colorado art galleries and online. She can be reached at JanetSellers@ocn.me.
Digging into safer, more efficient travel
Caption: Gov. John Hickenlooper and a cadre of speakers symbolically excavate one end of the I-25 South Gap Project at the Aug. 30 groundbreaking ceremony. Many I-25 drivers showed their support for the South Gap Project ceremony by beeping their horns as they crested Monument Hill. Hickenlooper commended many leaders from various governmental entities for their collaboration to make the Gap Project possible. Among an array of speakers, Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers praised the expertise and professionalism of the Colorado Department of Transportation in securing funding and orchestrating complex elements. Colorado State Patrol Chief Col. Matthew Packard remembered troopers and residents who lost their lives along the corridor and expressed gratitude for efforts to address vital safety concerns. Photo by Jennifer Kaylor.
Monu-Palooza, Sep. 2
Caption: The Monu-Palooza Music Festival on Sept. 2 was a last hurrah of summer with five bands at Limbach Park in Monument. It was a family-friendly afternoon and evening of music and impromptu dancing. Photo by Janet Sellers.
Bill Nance Blood Drive, Sep. 4
Caption: The semi-annual Bill Nance Memorial Blood Drive was held at Antelope Trails Elementary on Sept. 4. Gleneagle Sertoma Club Vice President of Membership Vicki Wynn (left) donated blood during the event. Photo by Allison Robenstein.
Barefoot Mile, Sep. 8
Caption: Many people walked to support awareness of child trafficking at the Barefoot Mile—Fight Child Trafficking barefoot walk at Lewis-Palmer High School on Sept. 8. Benet Hill Monastery and other organizations joined hands and bare feet to raise awareness and funds to fight child sex trafficking. Photo by Janet Sellers.
Fill the Boot, Sep. 3
Above: All three shifts of the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District took part in the annual nationwide Fill the Boot campaign over the Labor Day weekend outside King Soopers on Baptist Road. The International Firefighters Association has continued the tradition of collecting monetary donations for the Muscular Dystrophy Association for more than 60 years, raising awareness of this debilitating disease and giving families confronted with muscular dystrophy hope for the future. Photo by Natalie Barszcz.
Monochrome photo show, Sep. 7
Caption: On Sept. 7, the Monochrome Photography show opened at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts. The show was judged by Michael Snively, who awarded photos based on originality, composition, artistic merit, and other categories. The show continues through Oct. 28. For more information, go to www.trilakesarts.org. Photo by Allison Robenstein.
WMMI Family Day, Sep. 8
Caption: The Gold Canyon Gunfighters perform one of their many skits, "Shoot at Will," where the sheriff mediates a gunfight between two cowboys at the Western Museum of Mining & Industry (WMMI) annual Family Day on Sept. 8. Throughout the day, historical portrayals were conducted by a variety of presenters. The portrayals included Theodore Roosevelt by Don Moon and Winfield Scott Stratton by Richard Marold. Roosevelt’s portrayal focused on aspects concerning the silver panic in 1893 and the conversion to the gold standard during William McKinley’s presidency while Stratton’s was about his time in Victor in 1893 and his interactions with the Western Federation of Miners and their demands for a $3 per day pay, an eight-hour work day, and collective bargaining. Members of the Legendary Ladies portrayed a variety of famous Western women including Capt. Ellen Jack, Augusta Tabor, and Klondike Kate. Information on upcoming events at the WMMI is at www.wmmi.org. Photo by David Futey.
Sep. 11 attacks remembered
Caption: Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District trucks at Palmer Ridge High School. Every year, members of the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District climb the steps of Palmer Ridge High School 55 times as a tribute to the brave firefighters who climbed up 110 stories of the World Trade Center in 2001. Congress designated Sept. 11 as Patriot Day to honor the memories of the almost 3,000 lives lost and of the heroes who gave their lives. Photo by Kris Mola.
Walters Open Space meeting
Caption: The 135 acres of undeveloped land that winds through South Woodmoor is up for sale by the Walters family for potential development. The Walters "Open Space" is listed for $4.75 million, and two developers have already expressed an interest. It is a space that residents have enjoyed for over 25 years, walking their dogs, running, and cycling. About 150 residents showed up for an informational and idea sharing meeting on Sept. 17. "As Woodmoor residents, we care about this open space," said Tish Norman, one of the organizers of this effort and presenter at the meeting. South Woodmoor residents are overwhelmingly in favor of keeping this land undeveloped and available for resident use, but no official vote has occurred yet. Residents are looking at a combination of loans, grants, donations, and even hope to find a benefactor to purchase this land and keep it open as a park. A committee has formed to explore all options and offer residents a way to officially commit to a possible solution. Photo by Jackie Burhans; caption by Angie Curry.
Front Range Open Studios
Caption: The annual Front Range Open Studios Tour was held Sept. 8 and 9 at various local artists’ studios. Nancy Bonig and her glass creations at the Front Range Open Studios annual event held Sept. 8 and 9. Photo by Janet Sellers.
VFW Family Freedom Festival
Caption: On Sept. 8, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary 7829 hosted the first Family Freedom Festival, a public family event at Limbach Park to display the various amenities available in the military and for veterans. Auxiliary President Kathy Carlson, director of the event, poses with cadets from the Air Force Academy. Photo by John Howe.
Rightsizing, Sep. 15
Caption: Gina Caughey, director of A Call to Order professional organizers, gave a fun, interactive presentation to over 50 guests at the Woodmoor Country Club on Sept. 15. Attendees enjoyed a brunch and learned how to start the process of downsizing through organization. Jackson Creek Senior Living hosted this free "Rightsizing" event as part of its Live Well, Age Well series. Photo by Natalie Barszcz.
Bines and Brews Hopfest, Sep. 15
Caption: The annual Bines and Brews Hopfest presented by the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce on Sept. 15 kicked off the fresh hops beers contest. Emcee and event founder Rick Squires announced the trophy winners including People’s Choice to Atrevida Beer (pictured), Top Hop best commercial beer to Cerberus Brewing Co., and Hop Ness Monster best home brew to Chris D’Addario. Proceeds of the event benefit local charities. Photo courtesy of Leah Silbernagel Squires; caption by Janet Sellers.
Art Hop, Sep. 20
Caption: Artist John De Francesco demonstrates his painting technique at Bella Art and Frame Gallery on Sept. 20 during the last Art Hop of 2018. Photo by Janet Sellers.
TLMFPD Open House, Sep. 20
Caption: The Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District held an open house at Station 1 on Sept. 29. Many children took part in demonstrations in the Mobile 911 Classroom, learned how to "stop the bleed" with paramedic Lori Morgan from UC Health, and explored the ladder truck and an ambulance. From left are paramedic Carrie Alarid, Sparky the Dog, paramedic Stephanie Soll, and Battalion Chief Kris Mola. Photo by Natalie Barszcz.
Iron Pour, Sep. 29
Caption: Kicking off National Arts Month, the Iron Pour event at Bliss Studio and Gallery drew local citizens and national and regional supporters alike to celebrate the pour of molten iron into the sculpture molds they created at this community-wide project, having carved every Saturday for months to get lots of tile molds ready for this pour. Many of the finished iron tiles may become a community artwork. Photo by Janet Sellers
WMMI Ranch House Renovation
Caption: Workers with Brian Pierce Roofing install metal roofing on the Western Museum of Mining & Industry’s (WMMI) Reynolds Ranch House. The roofing installation is part of Phase 2 of three phases to renovate the house. Phase 1 involved shoring up the foundation while Phase 2 involved exterior work including roofing, siding, windows, and painting. Richard Sauers, museum curator, said Phase 3, which will begin in 2019 if funding is secured, involves mechanical and electrical upgrades, changing the floor plan to its original 1890s layout and refinishing the hardwood. Sauers said the cost of Phase 3 "will be more than the cost of Phase 1 and 2 combined." The renovation has been partially funded through the State Historical Fund, and the museum must make up any cost difference. Sauers said the museum is "looking for community support and donations" to assist with Phase 3 and have the house usable in 2020 for museum and community functions. Photo by David Futey.
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.
Needy local families will benefit from Empty Bowls Dinner, Oct. 10
The Monument Hill Kiwanis Club will sponsor the annual Empty Bowls Dinner and Silent Auction to benefit Tri-Lakes Cares Oct. 10, 5-7:30 p.m., at Lewis-Palmer High School. The Tri-Lakes area was the first community in Colorado to hold this event. 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. Linda 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. For more than 14 years, Monument Hill Kiwanis has organized and sponsored the Empty Bowls Dinner, raising over $23,000 for Tri-Lakes Cares in 2017.
Empty Bowls has grown into a nationwide event, usually held during World Hunger Week, the second week in October. 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. 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. See ad on page 6
Is your child struggling with reading?
Children’s Literacy Center offers free one-to-one tutoring for children reading below grade level. Tutors are volunteers from the community,14 years of age and older. Tutoring is held every Tuesday and Thursday, 5:30-6:30 p.m., at the Monument Library. For more information, go to www.childrensliteracycenter.org, call 719-471-8672, or contact Liz Eden at Liz@childrensliteracycenter.org.
Handbell ringers needed
The Tri-Lakes Community Handbell Choir seeks experienced ringers, high school or adults. For more information, contact Betty Jenik, 488-3853.
Monument Academy enrolling for 2018-19 school year
Monument Academy is a free public school of choice and features academic excellence, award-winning programs, and more. For more information or to schedule a tour, call 481-1950 or visit www.monumentacademy.net. See ad on page 11.
St. Peter Catholic School enrolling for the 2018-19 school year
The school offers full- and half-day preschool, Core Knowledge Curriculum with small class sizes, Christ-centered education, athletics, and more for preschool-eighth grade. Call or visit: 124 First St., Monument; 481-1855; www.petertherock.org. See ad on page 2.
Town of Monument board openings
Want to be involved in your community? Apply for a position on the Board of Adjustment or Planning Commission. The town is now accepting applications for volunteers to serve in these important roles. Find the application online at www.townofmonument.org. Info: 481-2954.
YMCA 5K Race Series and Kids Fun Runs, register early to save
The three-race series includes the Creepy Crawl Oct. 27 on the Santa Fe Trail in Palmer Lake, Turkey Trot Nov. 22 at the Briargate YMCA, and the Jingle Bell Dec. 8 at Fountain Creek Regional Park. Sign up online at www.ppymca.org/raceseries.
MVEA essay contest, enter by Nov. 15
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. Essays must be received by Nov. 15. Apply online at www.mvea.coop/youth-programs. Info: Erica, 494-2654, firstname.lastname@example.org. See ad on page 10.
MVEA Scholarships, enter by Jan. 15
Each year, MVEA awards $1,000 scholarships to 14 graduating high school seniors. Applications are due by Jan. 15, 2019. Apply online at www.mvea.coop/youth-programs. See ad on page 10.
Free grief group forming
The Church at Woodmoor, 18125 Furrow Rd., Monument, is forming a group for people who have struggled with grief for six months or more. This group will meet for six weeks with a trained leader who will provide a safe place to process the grief resulting from the loss of a loved one, or grief due to a change in health or finances. Participation is limited to 10 individuals on a first-come, first-serve basis. For more information, contact Rick Jackson, 488-3200, Rjackson.email@example.com.
Free reflective address signs for Palmer Lake residents
Residents may obtain free metal reflective street number signs so that first responders can identify your house in an emergency evacuation. If you would like to have these assembled and placed, call the Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department (PLVFD) at 719-419-4488. If you need special assistance in case of an evacuation, please let the PLVFD know when you call them.
Perform with the Colorado Springs Youth Symphony, enter by Oct. 17
Pikes Peak Music Teachers Association (PPMTA) of Colorado Springs and Gary Nicholson, Colorado Springs Youth Symphony director, have created a new Piano Concerto Competition for students living in the Tri-Lakes, Colorado Springs, and Pueblo areas. The winner will perform with the Colorado Springs Youth Symphony in its Winter Concert in 2019 and may be eligible for a $500 summer camp scholarship to either Lamont School of Music, Denver, or the International Summer Academy of Music in Ochsenhausen, Germany. For more information, contact Barbara Taylor, competition chair, for entry forms, repertoire, and competition information at 648-3844, BarbaraTaylor.PPMTA.President@gmail.com, www.PPMTA.org.
Meals on Wheels by Silver Key
If you’re a homebound senior age 60 or older, you might qualify to receive meals delivered to your home through Silver Key. To register or volunteer, call 884-2370. See ad on page 7.
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.
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 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
WEEKLY & MONTHLY EVENTS
Our community calendar carries listings on a space-available basis for Tri-Lakes events that are sponsored by local governmental entities and not-for-profit organizations. We include events that are open to the general public and are not religious or self-promotional in nature. If space is available, complimentary calendar listings are included, when requested, for events advertised in the current issue. To have your event listed at no charge in Our Community Calendar, please call (719) 339-7831 or send the information to firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 1742, Monument, Colorado 80132.
Contact us at (719) 488-3455, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, or P.O. Box 1742, Monument, Colorado 80132-1742.
This page was last modified on January 24, 2023. Home page: www.ocn.me.
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