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By Allison Robenstein
The Monument Board of Trustees (BOT) held a regular meeting on Oct. 1 that altered the direction of interim town manager negotiations. The board also discussed hiring a new town attorney and postponed a vote on the annexation of Willow Springs/Monument Creek Ranch after their questions were not answered.
Human Resources Director Robert Bishop, who has done the bulk of the interim town manager negotiation work, did not attend the meeting, so Acting Town Manager Pamela Smith answered questions on his behalf. The town does not currently have an attorney on staff.
Interim town manager vote negated
A discussion item labeled "Interim Town Manager" turned into a heated discussion among the board members and Smith. "Last we left this, we were going to put together a contract. Where are we in that process?" asked Trustee Ron Stephens. Smith said Bishop had been negotiating a contract with Mike Foreman, the board's selection for the position.
Trustee Jeffrey Bornstein, who said his was the swing vote to bring in Foreman when the vote was 4-2, started the divisive argument, saying additional information the board could have received before the vote was not produced. "I don’t support my vote anymore," Bornstein said. Mayor Don Wilson told the board there was no additional information, but Trustee Laurie Clark said she felt misled and that her vote was manipulated because this information wasn’t shared. Trustee Greg Coopman said there was possibly an email from HR Green that Bishop didn’t share with the board. Smith said she took offense to that for Bishop in his absence. Clark interrupted by saying, "I’m not talking to you (Smith), I’m talking to the board." The two continued in this manner until Wilson asked Smith to continue speaking.
Trustee Kelly Elliott eventually said Bishop was very thorough and provided all the information to everyone on the board. She said, "This is game playing!" Coopman objected and continued to speak over Wilson as he tried to explain there was no additional information.
This continued back and forth with Coopman demanding to know why Bishop didn’t negotiate with all three finalists. At the Sept. 4 meeting, Stephens made the motion to negotiate a contract for interim town manager with Foreman after an executive session. A 4-2 vote resulted when Coopman and Clark voted no but didn’t give reasons for their no vote. Wilson reiterated during this disagreement that no one was given direction to negotiate with all three applicants.
Halfway through the intense discussion, Smith said she had a letter from HR Green dated the same day as the email Coopman alleged was not sent. Everyone else agreed they had received this letter, which states the firm would be willing to negotiate the terms of a contract for either Mark Fleming or Jason Wells, who they represent. The letter also said HR Green would consider relinquishing Fleming’s contract but would still expect a finder’s fee of 30 percent of his base salary for six months.
At the Sept. 17 meeting, David Zelenok from HR Green gave the board an update on Fleming and Wells, making it clear neither is available. Without taking a new vote, and negating its previous Sept. 4 vote, the board directed Smith to contact HR Green about these two candidates. Clark and Stephens offered to negotiate with Fleming and Wells to reach an agreement.
Town attorney replacement
Smith sent out a request for quote (RFQ) to law offices in the area in search of a new town attorney. Through emails, the board directed Smith to extend the RFQ response deadline to increase the chance of receiving additional applicants. Coopman asked that an agenda item be added to the next regular board meeting to review the responses to make a selection.
Willow Springs annexation on hold
The board put the Willow Springs land annexations and zoning changes on hold until Oct. 15 when staff and the developer’s representative didn’t answer its questions about water, traffic, and the existing service plan and metropolitan district. Annexation discussions for this property have been ongoing since 2008 with various developers.
The application for annexation and zoning and as well as the sketch plan for Willow Springs were accepted by the Monument Planning Commission on Sept. 12. See www.ocn.me/v18n10.htm#mpc.
Morley-Howard Investments continues to own the property, but Polo Brown Co. is developing the land and brought the new annexation agreements to the board now to continue development. John Maynard of NES Inc. represented the original applicant and also represented Polo Brown at the BOT meeting on Oct. 1.
The land in question is a 219-acre parcel north of Forest Lakes Drive and south of Synthes and Mitchell Avenues. The proposed development would include residential attached and detached homes and 104 acres of open space. Maynard said, "Much of the land is constrained by floodplains, mouse habitat, and slopes." Trails would be put into the open space to follow those made by the cows who graze there now, he said. Development would start at the south end, then switch to the north end, and eventually include a new bridge connecting Forest Lakes Drive with Mitchell Avenue via Synthes Avenue.
Coopman asked whether there was sufficient water for all 396 homes to be built and if not, what is the recommendation from staff. Public Works Director Tom Tharnish said there is enough water for 335 homes, but after that, the town would have to either build a new well or create a reuse treatment plant at costs of $1.2 million and $7 million respectively. Clark confirmed with Tharnish the deficit is 95 acre-feet of water.
Maynard told the board the collector road and bridge wouldn’t be built until after the two southern phases and one of the northern phases are built. Planning Director Larry Manning said the collector road would be a two- or four-lane road depending on a traffic study. Bornstein was concerned the increased in-town traffic before the collector and bridge are built would negatively affect the town’s roads. "Unless they’re shopping or visiting friends, no one from Forest Lakes comes into town," said Maynard.
Manning said the bridge hadn’t yet been designed, but it would likely be built to pass the 10-year storm requirements, with openings in the concrete to allow floodwaters to pass over. The bridge would span the 100-year floodplain and protected Preble’s mouse habitat. During public comments, resident Chris Wilhelm asked if the collector road requires four lanes based on the traffic study, shouldn’t the bridge be the same size. Manning confirmed there is enough space for people to graduate down from a four-lane to a two-lane bridge.
Coopman confirmed the traffic impact fees paid to the town would be roughly $250,000 when all 396 homes are built. Maynard said this money would be put into escrow and paid to the developer as an incentive once the bridge is built and approved by the town. Afterward, no further traffic impact fees would be collected. The new roads would be maintained by the town.
The annexation agreement includes:
• A 5-acre parcel donated to the school district, which is less than the requirement that the developer pay a fee of $239.89 per permit in lieu of land.
• Four privately owned parks totaling only 2.8 acres with payment of $232,848 for another 2.9 acres in lieu of fees.
• Expanding Synthes Avenue to meet up with a new collector road.
a 5-acre parcel donated to the school district, which is less than the requirement that the developer pay a fee of $239.89 per permit in lieu of land.
Coopman asked if someone from the town staff had recently reviewed the Willow Springs metro district’s financial projections, but Manning said financial mechanism reviews are out of the realm of the Planning Department. The consensus of the board was to direct staff to analyze the existing service plan before the next regular meeting and explain the terms of that agreement to the trustees. See www.ocn.me/v18n4.htm#mbot0319.
The board and staff agreed to negotiate a new annexation agreement with the developer after Coopman said the board should perform its due diligence by clearly stating the financial verbiage, especially with regard to bridge costs, tap fees, and water impact fees.
Hearing there would be a delay, developer Gordon Brown was furious, saying, "I may not support coming back. Over the last three years, I’ve bent over backwards to do the right thing!"
Planning Commission appointees
Senior Planner Jennifer Jones said there are two vacancies on the Planning Commission board and current members Ed Delaney and Jim Fitzpatrick are term limited at the end of 2018.
Daniel Ours and Melanie Strop, who serve as alternates, have asked to be voted in to regular seats. Also, three people who are now serving on the Board of Adjustments—Chris Wilhelmi, Michael DeMarco, and Jeremy Lushnat—are interested in appointments to the commission.
All were unanimously appointed.
Jones requested the approval of the final plat of Sanctuary Pointe Phase 2, Filing 4, which includes 89.2 acres and 105 residential lots.
In March, the board and developer Classic Homes agreed that when Phase 2 began, the developer would extend Sanctuary Rim Drive from its current end point and connect it to Gleneagle Drive. According to the agreement, Classic Homes can pull 40 building permits for subphase C before completing the road extension. See www.ocn.me/v18n4.htm#mbot0319.
The Monument Planning Commission unanimously approved this request at its Sept. 12 meeting, and it was unanimously passed by the trustees.
The meeting adjourned at 8:29 pm.
Allison Robenstein can be reached at email@example.com.
By James Howald and Jackie Burhans
The Palmer Lake Town Council considered a number of topics—from drainage issues to questions concerning trail access—at its meeting on Oct. 10. At the 2019 budget work session held on Oct. 25, Town Treasurer Valerie Remington said since no new sewer taps can be issued by Palmer Lake Sanitation District (PLSD), the town would also have to stop selling new water taps.
2019 budget reviewed
At the work session on Oct. 25, Remington presented a draft of the town’s budget for 2019. A public hearing on the budget, along with more information, will be included at the Nov. 8 council meeting, she said.
Remington said the PLSD’s wastewater collection system had reached its volume capacity , so no more sewer taps can be sold until upgrades are made. If sewer taps are not available, accompanying new water taps cannot be sold. Green-Sinnard said developments that had begun construction by April would be able to get both water and sewer service, but other developments might not get those services.
Remington also said one of the town’s two existing wells would need to be redrilled.
Following the presentation of the budget, Trustee Mark Schuler addressed the issue of unplanned growth in Palmer Lake, noting the absence of a comprehensive plan for the town. Schuler argued for more resources to go into planning and for requiring new construction to pay for its impact on the town’s infrastructure.
Debate on lighting ordinance continues
The council continued work on updating the lighting ordinance, which seeks to reduce the amount of light pollution produced by commercial buildings. The issue under consideration at the Oct. 10 meeting was the precise definitions of shielded and unshielded lighting fixtures.
The board tabled the ordinance until the Nov. 8 meeting to provide time to review similar ordinances from other towns.
Homeowner reports damage due to mysterious culvert
A homeowner told the council that his residence had sustained damage on Aug. 17 from water draining from a culvert that deposited gravel on his property.
In response to a question from Mayor John Cressman, Town Attorney Maureen Juran told the council that the town was not liable for the damage, since the torrential rain on Aug. 17 was a 500-year event.
Town Administrator Cathy Green-Sinnard said she had researched the history of the culvert but could not determine who built it.
Council members Glant Havenar, Paul Banta, and Shuler expressed their opinion that the town had a moral obligation to assist the homeowner. Cressman said the town was working with a drainage consultant who has assessed with situation with the culvert and will make recommendations. In the short term, the town will place boulders at one end of the culvert to try to minimize the impact of future rain, Cressman said.
Depot restaurant to get cellular antennas
Lance Bleyhl, a representative of Verizon, asked the council for approval to install two cellular antennas on the roof of the Depot Restaurant and Lounge at 11 Primrose St. The antennas were specially designed to be as short as possible, Bleyhl said.
The council unanimously approved the antennas.
Trail access policies draw criticism
During public comments, several residents criticized actions recently taken by the council to limit parking at informal trailheads. Banta said that parking near the trailheads is impacting the quality of life for residents who live nearby. Green-Sinnard pointed out that in some cases the hikers’ vehicles were creating a safety issue by potentially blocking emergency vehicles. Cressman said he was seeking a clear statement from the Forest Service about the trailheads.
Liquor license transferred
In its role as the Liquor Licensing board, the council transferred a liquor license from The Happy Hour to the Palmer Lake Pub, owned by Troy and Chantel Brice. The Palmer Lake Pub has taken over the space that was previously The Happy Hour at 876 Highway 105, Troy Brice told the board. The Brices have made their pub more family-friendly, they told the board, and have added fresh food to the menu.
Checks written to advance town projects
The council authorized payments for contractors working on the town’s new water tank, the bridge over the railroad tracks connecting the lake to the town, and road repairs to Lovers Lane and Pie Corner.
The council canceled the Nov. 22 meeting.
The council will hold just one meeting in November, on Nov. 8 at 6 p.m. 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.
"See you around the campus," Jim and Paula! The Kendricks have volunteered with Our Community News since 2003, and dedicated people like them are a rare treasure. Paula has been a steadfast mailing day volunteer, helping count thousands of newspapers, stacking hundreds of mailing tubs, and keeping on the look-out for "tubbers" in need of a break or a new loading technique. And she has supported Jim as he attended and reported on many hundreds of local government meetings around the Tri-Lakes area, distilling the obtuse meeting language into digestible summaries for the benefit of residents who did not go to the meetings themselves. In addition, he has mentored all the new reporters and taught us how to record and accurately summarize "what was discussed and what was decided." He has encouraged us to read each other’s articles and give feedback before publication with one of his favorite sayings, "Pride of authorship is an unacceptable vanity in an OCN reporter." We will "endeavor to persevere," "Do good and shun evil," and "Pay it forward," now that Jim and Paula are both officially retiring from OCN after 15 years. Photo by Ron Boenig.
By Allison Robenstein
The Monument Board of Trustee’s regular meeting on Oct. 15 involved heated discussions about the annexation of Willow Springs/Monument Creek Ranch and water projects, resulting in little progress. The trustees spoke with town attorney candidates, brought back a previously eliminated applicant for town manager, and reviewed the 2019 draft budget.
At the beginning of the meeting, Trustee Greg Coopman motioned that the board postpone this meeting’s scheduled executive session until the town had an attorney. This was approved 3-2, with Mayor Don Wilson and Mayor Pro-Tem Kelly Elliott voting no.
Trustee Ron Stephens was absent.
Willow Springs annexation fails
The Willow Springs land annexations and zoning changes were voted down by the board after hearing appeals in favor of the annexation by the developer and staff. Annexation discussions for this property have been going on since 2008 with various developers.
Willow Springs Ranch is a 219-acre parcel north of Forest Lakes Drive and south of Synthes and Mitchell Avenues. The proposed development would include attached and detached homes and 104 acres of open space. The Monument Planning Commission approved the application for annexation, zoning and the sketch plan on Sept. 12. See https://www.ocn.me/v18n10.htm#mpc.
At the board’s Oct. 1 meeting, Coopman asked Acting Town Manager Pamela Smith and Planning Director Larry Manning to analyze the existing service plan and metropolitan district before the next meeting to explain the terms of each to the trustees. See www.ocn.me/v18n4.htm#mbot0319. At that meeting, the board agreed to intervene in negotiating the annexation agreement with regard to financial accountability.
Instead of a revised annexation document, the same agreement came to the board for approval with no apparent changes or newly negotiated language. Manning said the 2008 service agreement could be amended and brought to the trustees before they vote, if they so desired. Coopman expressed his discomfort with the verbiage, saying there were no safety mechanisms in place in case the town couldn’t provide water.
Public Works Director Tom Tharnish explained to the board that the town has enough water, it just doesn’t currently have the capacity to meet the demands of all 396 houses in this development. But the town could achieve the necessary capacity by building either a new well with associated treatment facility modifications or a reuse station built with partner Woodmoor Water and Sanitation, Tharnish said. "I’ve been telling you that this town needs to be investing in reuse water and renewable water, which is the future, not the wells. There are only so many more wells we can drill."
Coopman and Trustee Jeffrey Bornstein continued to argue with Tharnish that the town didn’t have enough water to provide to this new development. Town attorneys told the board the aquifers had seven to 11 years of water left, Bornstein said. He asked Manning if the town would be sued by the development if it couldn’t provide the requested water, but Manning answered, "I’m not an attorney, I can’t help you with that question."
Wilson asked the board to move forward and take accountability instead of continuing to obstruct each water project brought forward by staff. Elliott said, "We need to annex this land!"
Tharnish seemed frustrated, standing at his desk, and said the town needs to be investing in water reuse and renewal. He worried the board was saying it won’t approve any future development. Coopman responded that he is in favor of development, growth, and business as long as it is done in a responsible manner.
Before the final vote, the developer Gordon Brown of Polo Brown came to the podium and made a passionate plea. "You guys are saying no to development," Brown said.
He told the board he felt conned by the town after being told if he built a collector road through the development and a bridge, the annexation would be approved. The road would have given the town right of way to water tank storage space it owns at Forest Lakes that it currently cannot access.
Both annexation requests failed in 3-2 votes with Bornstein, Coopman and Trustee Laurie Clark voting no on both. When Wilson asked for a motion on the zoning request, Elliott said, "We know what the outcome will be," so no motion was made.
Temporary water tank fix approved; lingering litigation lifted
Tharnish requested temporary coating repairs for the deteriorating 50-year-old roof of the town’s only water tank. The request was approved 4-1 with Clark voting no but giving no reason for the no vote.
During the discussion, Clark asked if a new, secondary tank could sit next to the old one located on Beacon Lite Road. She referenced Board of Trustees minutes from a 1999 meeting at which there was agreement the current location would be satisfactory for a second tank. Tharnish explained the one-acre parcel of land where the existing tank sits would be too small for a second tank, and the town would have to use the same supply and return lines that have been there for years. The elevation of the current tank is at roughly 7,300 feet, creating the need for pressure-reducing valves to be used.
Tharnish said one possible location for the new, secondary tank would be on land the town purchased in Forest View Estates. Tharnish explained the elevation of this property would provide the right water pressure for a new 1.2 million-gallon tank, as well as providing redundant supply and return lines. But due to homeowners’ association covenants that allow only single-family homes, it wasn’t possible to put the tank or any other water project on this parcel.
In December 2016, the town initiated eminent domain proceedings to remove covenants barring the water tank by the Forest View Neighborhood Association. The homeowners’ association filed a lawsuit against the town. See https://www.ocn.me/v17n5.htm#mbot0417.
At the July 16 meeting, with the lawsuit results still pending, Tharnish asked the board to approve geologic testing, surveying, and engineering design at another parcel at Synthes and Mitchell Avenues in order to put one of three possible water projects on it—a secondary 1.2 million-gallon water tank, a new water reclamation facility, or a new stormwater detention facility—when and if the outcome of ongoing litigation was favorable. The request failed.
During tonight’s meeting, attorney Joseph Rivera of Murray, Dahl, Beery and Renaud LLP, who represented the town on this lawsuit, said it has been settled in favor of the town in the Colorado court of appeals, allowing it to move forward with installing the water tank.
Interim town manager
At the Oct. 1 meeting, without a new vote, the board reversed its previous intention to hire Mike Foreman as the interim town manager. Bornstein, Clark, and Coopman accused Human Resources Director Robert Bishop of withholding information pertaining to two of the three finalists for the position. Coopman said during that discussion that a letter had been sent from HR Green—which all trustees said they had received—letting the board know their clients, Mark Fleming and Jason Wells, both of whom were eliminated as finalists in the manager discussions, would be willing to negotiate the terms of a contract. Because Bishop was directed by the board to negotiate only with Foreman, the other two candidates did not receive the same considerations. Smith was directed to speak with HR Green to determine whether either candidate could be re-interviewed by the board.
Fleming was not at the meeting, but Wells, the interim town manager for Green Mountain Falls, was present.
Coopman said the town needs an interim manager to help search for a permanent manager, maintain day-to-day operations, and help with budgeting. Wells said his availability would be very limited and suggested the needs of Monument might require a full-time manager. He could only be here two days per week, which wouldn’t be appropriate for handling day-to-day needs and would only represent a "smidgeon of what your true needs are," he said. The board made no votes or decisions.
Town attorney replacement
At the Sept. 4 meeting, the board directed Bishop to create a request for quotes (RFQ) for contractual legal representation. Four candidates came to the meeting to present themselves and their firms to the board. The town has been without legal counsel since Sept. 4 when then Town Attorney Alicia Corley resigned.
There didn’t seem to be a set list of questions each trustee asked of all four candidates, but they did ask about their experience with home rule versus statutory municipal governments, the location of their main office, and which attorney would be attending board meetings. None of the four legal offices is near Monument. Candidate Joseph Rivera suggested he would have office hours in town on meeting days.
The board agreed to mull over the candidates and send their top two choices to Smith. Wilson said the board’s top selection should send them their contract for review.
2019 preliminary budget presented to the board
As per statute, Smith presented the 2019 draft budget to the board for review. No vote was taken.
Bornstein was concerned that the budget numbers presented didn’t match the numbers the board was provided during a Sept. 24 workshop with Public Works and the Police Department. "I’m very bothered by that," he said.
When Smith replied that she moved a few numbers from one department to another, Bornstein said, "It’s not your responsibility to say who gets what money." Smith asserted she has a fiscal responsibility to make sure more money doesn’t go out than comes in and said if the trustees had different ideas on where to find the money and where it should be sent, they should bring these ideas to the next workshop.
They continued in this manner back and forth with Smith noting there are more requests than revenue, possibly requiring the town to borrow money. The board set a Nov. 5 date to hold a budget workshop at 6 p.m. in the Monument police conference room.
The meeting adjourned at 8:09 p.m.
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 will be held on Nov 5 and consist of a special meeting and then a budget workshop at the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce, 166 Second St., Monument, 6:00 pm. Call 884-8014 or see www.townofmonument.org for information. To see upcoming agendas and complete board packets for the 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 Allison Robenstein
At its regular meeting on Oct. 16, the Donald Wescott Fire Protection District (DWFPD) board reviewed the 2019 draft budget and heard updates on the Gallagher amendment and on the committee meetings with Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD.)
DWFPD Fire Chief Vinny Burns presented the 2019 draft budget for board review as required by law. He and Assistant Fire Chief Scott Ridings are asking for salary increases and more fitness testing for all firefighters. Sixty-three percent of the budget is firefighter compensation and 36 percent is other operational costs.
As a result of a possible merger with TLMFPD, as well as to keep compensation competitive, Burns is asking to increase salaries to be comparable to that of TLMFPD. Ridings said all employees will see increases, but the basic entry-level firefighter position will see the most change, with an increase of 52 percent from $37,900 to $57,700 annually. Although the chief and assistant chief jobs will not receive full dollar-for-dollar increases, all other job descriptions will.
Directors Gary Rusnak and Mark Gunderman asked about TLMFPD employee’s overall compensation package, including insurance and the Health Reimbursement Account. TLMFPD employees pay a percentage of their salary into their health insurance. Rusnak said he didn’t want to see DWFPD employees get a raise only for them to have to pay into their insurance and lose that increase.
Rusnak and Gunderman also asked if this type of raise is sustainable going forward. Ridings said in the past, Wescott salaries were increased stepwise based on seniority. He didn’t say whether the wage package would change going forward after this one-year increase.
The budget also includes a $10,000 request for more fitness testing for all firefighters to include annual chest X-rays.
Attorney Matt Court suggested the public hearing for budget review be set for the Dec. 4 meeting, with the draft budget being available to the public the week prior.
Gallagher amendment update
Court gave the board an update on the Gallagher Amendment, a voter-approved measure that requires 45 percent of the state’s total property tax burden to be paid by residences and the other 55 percent paid by nonresidential (commercial) property. A Colorado General Assembly committee reviewed the amendment and made recommendations to a legislative council that will decide the fate of the amendment. The committee made three recommendations:
• Repeal the amendment altogether.
• Break the state into eight regions, all of which would have an initial residential property tax rate. El Paso County would have a beginning rate of 5.88 percent.
• Backfill property tax losses due to Gallagher for fire and library districts only and for only one year.
Prospects for formation of a fire authority
Directors Larry Schwarz and Joyce Hartung, as well as Burns, attended a committee meeting with members of TLMFPD in ongoing discussions about a possible merger. Schwarz said they reviewed a 16-question list covering topics ranging from the number of firefighters per district to salary and pensions, volunteers, and mill levies. The outcome of these meetings will likely be a fire authority, which would allow each district to maintain its own board and mill levies while combining operational budgets and workers. See related TLMFPD article below.
Court added the fire authority would be a fourth special district and could be dissolved if in the future both districts agreed it wasn’t working.
Gunderman asked what the benefit would be to the community in creating a fire authority. Schwarz said although both districts have mutual aid agreements, this would improve response times because the closest unit would respond.
Both districts would purchase new uniforms, patches, and vehicle logos.
One obstacle to the discussion came with the way DWFPD identified its rollover money for the last two years, said Ridings, but the Wescott auditor fixed the issue.
Burns said he met with Black Forest and Falcon fire departments, both of whom are working on local issues including elections and are not interested in being a part of a merger or the fire authority at this time. However, they might consider coordinated policies in the future, depending on the election outcome.
Station 2 land decisions
Burns said the developer working on the property near Station 2 would like to create an easement with the district to use a portion of their land for signage. The station, which sits at Stagecoach Road and Highway 83, has land at the intersection of these two roads where a large sign would be built. Court said there would be several easements to sign between the district and the county or with the developer if the board agrees to move forward.
The Flying Horse North developer agreed to give the district a portion of land along Stagecoach that could be used for bringing equipment into and out of the station.
The board decided to table the decision until one of Court’s associates, who is skilled in real estate law, could talk with the board. Several members of the board intended to walk the property to understand what is being asked for by the developer.
Rusnak asked if the northern subdistrict could be dissolved to have just one underlying/standing district with combined budgets and/or mill levies. The current overall mill levy in Wescott’s underlying district is 7.00 mills. The northern subdistrict pays an additional mill levy of 14.90 mills approved by voters in November 2017. See www.ocn.me/v17n10.htm#dwfpd.
Court explained the Title 32 special district law requires an election to dissolve a subdistrict, and one for increasing mill levies. The board can create a subdistrict anytime, but it cannot include a mill levy, he said.
The meeting adjourned at 9:13 pm.
The next DWFPD Board of Directors meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 13. 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.
Allison Robenstein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Natalie Barszcz
On Oct. 24, the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD) board moved to postpone the continuing discussion on the collective bargaining resolution update due to the need to seek further legal advice relating to the labor agreement that had first been requested in March. The board agreed to remove the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) topic from the agenda in a 5-0-1 vote with board Secretary Mike Smaldino abstaining, with no reason stated.
Director Lance Buckingham arrived late, excused.
Wage report proposal for 2019 budget
Chief Chris Truty proposed changes to the base wage and formulas used in the wage schedule to bring wages in line with the cost of living increase of 3 percent, in addition to increases for certain certifications using a statewide analysis from the Employers Council. Truty said, "The focus would be on the differentials between different ranks ensuring that those with additional training receive a percentage and not a dollar amount."
"It is about time that other organizations are looking at our wage scale and not the other way around," Truty said.
Truty also said, "It is becoming increasingly harder to find senior EMS/Paramedics, and we need to be offering comparable wages to attract qualified personnel." Truty also proposed money be set aside for the extra responsibilities that some staff take on, such as EMS coordinator, and proposed $26,500 for that purpose. For details of the previous wage increase see www.ocn.me/v18n1.htm#tlmfpd. District voters approved a 6.9 mill levy increase in 2018 to allow the district to increase wages, improve buildings and communications, purchase three vehicles, and create a savings fund for future vehicles. See www.ocn.me/v17n12.htm#tlmfpd.
Vice President Roger Lance asked Truty if the union had seen the proposed changes to the wage schedule. 4319 Union President Lt. Franz Hankins responded that he had seen it, however:
• We would like the opportunity to have a deeper discussion on wages in general and nothing has been negotiated yet.
• Our position is not real friendly regarding conversation on wages and the process of the CBA has reached the end of our patience.
• Everything gets pulled out from underneath us when we are trying to get things accomplished with no explanation, like the CBA, which we’re kicking down the road again.
Treasurer John Hildebrandt said, "You asked to memorialize the working agreement and you (the union) got exactly what you wanted with the meet and confer plus." See www.ocn.me/v18n10.htm#tlmfpd. He said that the union needed to make its recommendation in time for the Nov. 14 public hearing on the 2019 budget before the board votes on Dec. 5.
President Jake Shirk ended the discussion, saying, "There are things going on right now that need to be handled separately…. A motion was made tonight to postpone the discussion until some legal issues are resolved."
At the end of the meeting during future agenda items, Shirk mentioned that the potential executive session needed to discuss the CBA, which may happen Nov. 14, must have a vote of the board before entering the executive session.
Truty proposed adding $40,000 to the 2019 budget to equip each staff member with a second set of turnout gear. It is now a requirement to decontaminate after each hazardous incident to eliminate firefighters’ exposure to carcinogenic substances. Lt. Mo Ayala said that fabric cost is going up in January and with annual cost increases it would be most beneficial to equip 36 "front line" staff immediately. His estimate to equip all 42 staff members would be about $85,000, noting the suits have a 10-year life span. Director Tom Tharnish added that additional funding should be found right away to fund a complete new second set of gear for all. The board was in full support of obtaining a second set of gear as soon as possible.
Trost proposed adding $32,000 to the budget to outfit ambulances with power load systems, which would reduce the amount of back injuries suffered by staff. Hankins said, "Injuries to backs have already cost TLMFPD three good people so far."
Hildebrandt said, "The money tree is getting bigger and the money need greater, too."
Wescott merger update
Truty said at this point TLMFPD would refrain from requesting approval from the board to proceed with the Donald Wescott Fire Protection District (DWFPD) merger discussion until they had discussed the legal issues in executive session.
The board members went on to discuss their biggest concern—finances and in particular the financial impact to train new volunteers to the same certification standards of TLMFPD staff on fire, EMS, and wildland fires. Hildebrandt noted the variables in certification among the Wescott volunteer staff, and Smaldino commented that "It could become a sticking point in moving the organization forward."
Director Terri Hayes stated that some staff already have full-time careers and may not want to go through further training. Hildebrandt voiced concern over liability issues with unqualified volunteers.
Smaldino said, "Wescott typically conducted a 12-week internal training for 192 hours and TLMFPD staff currently spend 17 weeks at an external academy, completing 750 hours of training." Hayes said, "Wescott should be getting their own certification." Smaldino commented, "At the end of the day it all needs to add up right."
Health insurance changes
Truty announced that health insurance expenses would not increase next year. Administrative Assistant Jen Martin explained that Kaiser Permanente is now offering TLMFPD two plans even though they have fewer than 50 personnel. This provides options to upgrade to a plan with a greater number of providers. TLMFPD currently pays 96 percent of the insurance costs, with personnel paying the difference depending on which level of plan they choose. Martin said, "Having the second option for expanded providers is absolutely a benefit to those with health issues and children."
Truty thanked Random Acts of Kindness for the First Responder Barbecue event held on Oct. 13.
Martin and Hankins thanked Dana Goodfellow of Mutual Security Mortgage and former firefighter Ryan Graham of The Platinum Group Realtors for purchasing 600 pumpkins and Tractor Supply for hosting a Pumpkin Patch event in collaboration with TLMFPD and the 4319 Monument Firefighter’s Association. Hankins said, "This was the second annual community event that will continue." "It is great for the community," said Hildebrandt.
The regular meeting adjourned at 7:50 p.m. and the board moved to go into two executive sessions: 1) Pursuant to CRS 24-6-402(4)(b) to receive legal advice and 2) Pursuant to CRS 24-6-402(4)(e) to instruct negotiations on possible future arrangement with DWFPD.
Truty informed OCN that no votes or announcements were made after the executive session.
Meetings are usually held the fourth Wednesday of each month. The next meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Nov. 14 at TLMFPD Station 1, 18650 Highway 105. For information, contact Jennifer Martin at (719) 484-9011. For upcoming agendas, see http://tlmfire.org/board.
Natalie Barszcz can be reached at email@example.com.
By James Howald
At its Oct. 8 meeting, the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD) board heard a request from Mountain Springs Recovery (MSR) for the district to provide additional water to its proposed facility, and evaluated the four-day work week schedule the district has been using for the last four months. Also, district staff presented operational reports.
Board approves supplemental water request
Jared Raymond and Tom Kearns of MSR gave the board an overview of the proposed drug and alcohol recovery center their company is putting in place at 1865 Woodmoor Drive, in the buildings that previously were a Ramada Inn Hotel. Raymond said the facility would be for inpatients only, and the license was currently under review by the state of Colorado.
When its license is in place, patients will begin to be treated in March or April of 2019, Raymond said, initially in two of the facility’s five buildings. Raymond expects to start with 54 patients, on opening, and to add patients to the other three buildings in a phased approach. There will be additional inspections of the facility as the three other buildings are deployed. Raymond said he anticipated El Paso County’s review of the project would be completed in November.
District Manager Jessie Shaffer told the board the site has been in use as a hotel since 1974, its water use was grandfathered in, and the standard water service for the site’s five-acre lot was 2.5 acre-feet per year, established in 1974. When the use of the property changed from hotel to treatment center, WWSD wrote a letter to the county indicating WWSD was not committed to supplying water to MSR, Shaffer said.
MSR was requesting to purchase from WWSD up to 14.056 acre-feet of supplemental water, with the first 1.162 acre-feet to be purchased initially and the remaining 12.894 acre-feet to be under option for future purchase when required by the expansion of the treatment center, Shaffer told the board.
The supplemental water service would be phased in as the center grows, Shaffer said, with 3.8 acre-feet reserved for the second phase, and 9.056 acre-feet reserved for the third phase.
Shaffer said district policy allowed customers to contract with the district for supplemental water if the customer could provide data justifying the increased use. The data provided by MSR was based on their facility in Bastrop, Texas, Shaffer told the board.
MSR was also requesting a "pay as you go" agreement that would allow WWSD to charge it a fee to reserve water for future needs, Shaffer said.
In response to a question from board member Brian Bush, Shaffer told the board that MSR could cancel the reserved supplemental water if they chose to do so in the future.
The board voted unanimously to provide the supplemental water service as requested.
Question about Walters property
During public comments, resident Bill Kennedy asked the board if water is available if houses are built on the Walters property, which is in south Woodmoor just northeast of Lewis-Palmer High School. Shaffer said there is no commitment from WWSD to supply water to any residential development on the property, but water service could be requested if the property is developed. WWSD already owns the property’s water rights, Shaffer said, adding potential use for the property is included in the district’s Long Range Plan.
Four-day work schedule pilot to continue
Shaffer gave the board some preliminary results from the pilot of the four-day work schedule that has been in place since June. Overtime is down, Shaffer said. There have been no customer complaints about the schedule, according to Shaffer. Staff reported scheduling personal issues, such as doctor visits, was easier under the new schedule, and Shaffer said he believed the staff wanted to continue the new schedule.
Shaffer recommended that the pilot continue through January so that its impact during the winter months could be assessed.
Highlights of operational reports
• Unaccounted water is steady at 7 percent.
• Aeration of Woodmoor Lake has improved the taste and odor of the district’s water.
• Improvements to the water augmentation station on the Chilcott Ditch should be complete this year at a price of $500,000.
• Drilling for Well 21 is complete, and the drilling rig and sound walls have been removed.
• Work on the district’s infrastructure on Monument Hill Road was scheduled to begin in late October.
• WWSD will hold a public hearing on its budget on Nov. 12 at 1 p.m. at their next monthly meeting.
The next meeting is scheduled for Nov. 12 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Lisa Hatfield
The Joint Use Committee (JUC) of the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility (TLWWTF) reviewed the first drafts of its 2019 budget and heard about the operation of the facility and the regional stakeholder report on Sept. 11 and Oct. 9.
TLWWTF operates as a separate joint venture public utility and is owned in equal one-third shares by Monument Sanitation District (MSD), Palmer Lake Sanitation District (PLSD), and Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD).
The three-member JUC acts as the board of the facility and consists of one director from each of the three owner districts’ boards. In the absence of all three primary JUC members on Sept. 11, the owner districts were represented by WWSD board President Jim Taylor, MSD Director John Howe, and PLSD Chairman Mark Bruce. On Oct. 9, MSD board Chairman Ed DeLaney, JUC president; PLSD Vice Chairman Patricia Smith, JUC vice president, and WWSD board Director Lee Hanson, JUC secretary/treasurer were back.
Other board and staff members of the three owner districts also attended, including MSD Manager Mike Wicklund, PLSD Manager Becky Orcutt, and WWSD Assistant Manager Randy Gillette.
2019 budget reviewed, questioned
At both meetings, Facility Manager Bill Burks presented drafts of the 2019 budget, and his answers to questions included:
• TLWWTF pays $13,920 to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) each year for permission to discharge treated effluent into Monument Creek.
• Timing on $197,000 for rebuilding the clarifier drive will be determined later.
• Recommended personnel cost increases include 3 percent cost-of-living increases as well as pay scale progressions for increases in certifications.
• Biosolids ought to be removed from the lagoons every year now, instead of every other year, for a cost of about $150,000 a year. "We are producing more sludge. We are growing."
• The new chemical total phosphorus (TP) removal tertiary clarifier expansion will operate again starting in October, and the chemicals to operate it will cost $200,000 a year.
Note: The $3.6 million total phosphorus (TP) removal tertiary clarifier expansion was built to comply with the state’s Nutrient Monitoring Control Regulation 85 TP discharge effluent limit of a rolling annual median of 1 milligram per liter (mg/l) in accordance with the compliance schedule in the facility’s May 1, 2015 five-year discharge permit. See www.ocn.me/v17n2.htm#tlwtf.
After a long discussion including weighing potential future regulatory ramifications and when it made the most sense to spend large sums of money, the consensus of the JUC was to not include either the purchase of a fourth blower or a site application to get the facility’s biological oxygen demand (BOD) capacity re-rated, in the 2019 budget.
They also discussed but did not decide whether the new blower would eventually be paid for by one-third shares or by percentage of flow/BOD capacity when the time comes to spend that huge amount of money. It seemed that the definitions of terms used in the TLWWTF Joint Use Agreement (JUA) were open to multiple interpretations as has occurred before, most recently when the total phosphorus (TP) removal tertiary clarifier expansion was built. See www.ocn.me/v17n10.htm#wwsd, www.ocn.me/v17n10.htm#msd.
A related discussion concerned how to divide the cost of cleaning and doing TV inspections of the collection lines above TLWWTF’s headworks. Hanson said the $12,000 should be divided by thirds, and Taylor read part of Paragraph 7 of the JUA to support this. However, Wicklund said it was an operational/maintenance expense and not a capital expense and so should be divided by flow/BOD percentages instead. Although the dollar figure here was not high, it was a precedence issue, they agreed. The consensus was that this cost would be divided by thirds for the 2019 budget so each district could plan its own budget, and any changes to the JUA could be made at the JUC’s annual meeting in December.
The public hearing on the 2019 budget will occur at the Nov. 13 meeting.
Plant manager’s report
Burks said he has submitted the required letter to CDPHE reporting that TLWWTF exceeded 80 percent of the 30-day average BOD capacity due to a loading spike in July. He said the facility was able to maintain its usual high effluent quality and treat the spike in organic load using only one of the three blowers it could put into service.
A similar larger load occurred in June. Gillette, Orcutt, and Wicklund said as of September all three districts were done with line cleaning, and the consensus was that this might reduce the BOD spikes for now. The samples for September were back to expected numbers. See www.ocn.me/v18n9.htm#tlwtfjuc.
Burks said he was working with two labs and talking to CDPHE about the recent failed second-quarter Whole Effluent Toxicity (WET) Test, because results of the second test were mixed. He was about to conduct a third test in October.
Stakeholder update includes TENORM concerns
Wicklund reported on meetings of stakeholder groups, in the absence of MSD Regulatory and Environmental Compliance Coordinator Jim Kendrick.
Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (TENORM) was the big topic of concern at the Colorado Wastewater Utility Council (CWWUC) in September, now that Colorado SB 18-245 has been approved. It still includes wastewater treatment plants in legislation that was originally intended to control waste produced by the gas, oil, and mining industries, he said. See http://leg.colorado.gov/bills/sb18-245.
Since naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM), such as small amounts of radium in well water that is treated and removed from Town of Monument and WWSD drinking water treatment ends up in the sludge at TLWWTF, those biosolids might be labeled as containing "technically enhanced" TENORM. Then these biosolids might be required to be disposed of in a hazardous waste landfill instead of being used as safe agricultural fertilizer as they are now. See www.ocn.me/v18n4.htm#tlwtfjuc.
Currently, there are no federal standards set for amounts of TENORM that can be discharged into a wastewater collection system by water purveyors, what levels are acceptable in the biosolids, or even what unit of measure is appropriate, Wicklund said.
In September, he said four or five CDPHE stakeholder workgroup meetings to discuss proposed approaches would be "crammed in" by Dec. 31. Stakeholders were very concerned that this was not enough time to collect data and expert consultant advice to inform the scientifically-sound development of a new regulatory framework for TENORM, Wicklund said. However, in October, he reported that CWWUC was successful in getting the deadline for setting limits delayed so that there would be time for the report to come out before decisions were made by the state.
Burks’ and Wicklund’s comments also included:
• The Arkansas River/Fountain Creek Coalition for Urban/Rural River Evaluation (AF CURE) continues to do comprehensive sampling and analyze actual stream conditions regarding temperatures, metals, nutrients, flora, fauna, and oxygen.
• The reason we have AF CURE is to know more about that stream from here to the Arkansas River than the CDPHE or the EPA knows, because they are basing big decisions on just one sample.
• TLWWTF will pay $18,012 for its share of AF CURE membership in 2019.
District managers’ reports include mention of regionalization idea
Wicklund explained that MSD is one of a group of wastewater entities in northern El Paso County interested in pursuing the idea that Colorado Springs Utilities might sell some of its 20 million gallons of excess wastewater capacity to smaller stakeholders. Other possible interested entities include the U.S. Air Force Academy and the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility that serves Triview, Donala, and Forest Lakes.
Wastewater regionalization would cost a lot of money upfront for new long pipelines but would help smaller entities deal with long-term implications of state and federal regulations more efficiently and would follow Section 208 of the federal Clean Water Act of 1972, Wicklund said.
Gillette said this was just a high-level discussion at the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority at this time and that it would be difficult to deal with the complications of water rights and water reuse. Orcutt was not invited to the first meeting but planned to attend the next one Oct. 26.
The next meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. Nov. 13 at the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility, 16510 Mitchell Ave. Meetings are normally held on the second Tuesday of the month and are open to the public. For information, call Bill Burks at 719-481-4053.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at email@example.com.
By Jennifer Kaylor
The Triview Metropolitan District Board of Directors approved a bond resolution that will refinance two bank loans and fund the purchase of 32 water shares approved at the same Oct. 9 meeting. The directors evaluated a master landscape plan presented by Visual Environments Inc. President Mark Button.
Director James Barnhart was absent.
Triview is a Title 32 special district inside Monument that provides road, landscaping, and open space maintenance, and water and wastewater 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. Triview Metropolitan District is not to be confused with Triview II, Triview III, or Triview IV, which were created solely to pay for road bonds in Promontory Pointe, Home Place Ranch, and Sanctuary Pointe, respectively. The Oct. 9 board packet and agenda are available at https://triviewmetro.com/boardDocuments.
Mid-November refinance conclusion expected
Triview has been working with investment specialist D.A. Davidson and Co. to create bond Resolution 2018-03. The new bond will refinance two loans—an October 2014 $5.9 million Northstar Bank of Colorado loan and a December 2016 $6.5 million Key Equipment Finance Inc. loan—and a new renewable water shares purchase of $416,000 that was approved following the resolution discussion. The 15-year loans financed wastewater treatment plant improvements and a December 2015 renewable water shares purchase but also restricted the district’s future borrowing and attached a balloon payment of $3.4 million at the end of the term in 2031.
In response to a question posed a few days after the board meeting, District Manager Jim McGrady offered this explanation: "If we had to make that payment we would have had to raise rates substantially. Thus, this refinancing is designed to reduce rate increases … [and] eliminate loan covenants that prevented the District from borrowing money for renewable water purchases, regional water and wastewater projects that will certainly be cheaper than a go-it-alone project. We wanted to be in as good of a position as possible to take advantage of opportunities that will present themselves over the next few years." The longer term "shifts a portion of the burden for renewable water to citizens who move into the District down the road!" he added.
D. A. Davidson Associate Vice President, Public Finance Banker Michael Sullivan summarized the refunding bond resolution as a "30-year, long-term, investment grade rated, insured, fixed-rate bond" with generous parameters to allow for flexibility. Detailed D. A. Davidson documents and the resolution may be accessed via https://triviewmetro.com/boardDocuments, Board Packet, Regular Meeting, 10/9/2018, Part 1, pp. 23-37 and Board Packet, Regular Meeting, 10/9/2018, Part 2, pp. 38 (1)-99 (62), respectively.
Sullivan reviewed the bond completion process through the expected sale date of Nov. 13; once Butler Snow LLP finalizes the offering document, the rating agency—in this case Moody’s—will review and analyze the offering document with input from D. A. Davidson and assign an indicative rating. Bond insurance bids will be sought concurrently. If Triview accepts the rating, next steps include posting, marketing, and closing the sale of the bond.
Due to Triview’s liquid and capital assets, Sullivan deemed the district’s credit as strong. He conservatively estimated an A3 rating and a borrowing cost of about 4.2 percent. Insurance can positively influence the borrowing cost but must also be assessed against the long-term interest savings. Sullivan loosely calculated annual interest savings of $200,000 to $240,000 until year 2031. The district will pay new debt from 2031 to the expected maturity date of Dec. 1, 2048.
The board unanimously approved Resolution 2018-03 and in a separate motion authorized McGrady to approve and execute the bond agreement.
Additional FMIC shares purchased
In a recent and unexpected turn of events, the district pounced on the opportunity to purchase 32 additional water shares of the Fountain Mutual Irrigation Co. (FMIC). With a per share cost of $13,000, the purchase totaled $416,000. District water attorney Chris Cummins explained that as a special district, Triview is statutorily prohibited from paying greater than market value for any real property unless it can be demonstrated that the market value of real property has risen. Bond Resolution 2018-03 was amended to include this sum so that cash reserves would not be depleted beyond the district’s ability to pay for anticipated 2019 expenses. Cummins expected a closing no later than Jan. 31, 2019 and confirmed that upon completion of the transaction Triview will own 547 FMIC shares and have assignment of an additional 15 shares.
The board authorized McGrady to sign the Water Shares Purchase and Sale Agreement.
Big landscaping ideas too big for directors
Button presented renderings and recommendations for Triview to restore shoulder areas along Lyons Tail Road and Kitchener Way and enhance the main entry at Leather Chaps and Baptist Road. The directors skeptically received the estimated price tag of about $300,000 to plant trees, shrubs, and annual flowers throughout the district and build decorative walls to support new grading for beautifying vegetation and "green screen" trees at the entrance of Baptist Road and Leather Chaps.
The directors voiced concerns about the initial cost of installing walls and adding greenery, annual expenses of manual labor to plant and maintain flowers, the intensive watering needs of flowers and the proposed bluegrass for sodded areas, and whether the costs were conducive to the 2019 and future budget plans. Expressing a desire to be fiscally conservative and water responsible, the board committed to exploring landscape options further and balancing the costs with budget priorities.
Cheap, easy arsenic disposal?
The Upper Monument Creek Wastewater Treatment Facility (UMCRWWTF)—collectively owned by Triview, Donala Water and Sanitation District (DWSD), and Forest Lakes Metro District (FLMD)—must comply with new arsenic regulations on effluent discharged into streams beginning in October 2019. All three districts already remove the naturally occurring arsenic from surface and well water and dispose of it via wastewater at UMCRWWTF. Although currently compliant, the tighter 2019 wastewater standards have the potential to tip the facility into non-compliance, especially during the summer months. Landscape irrigation significantly adds to water needs and leads to higher volumes being pumped from wells, which are the more concentrated source of arsenic.
Water Superintendent Shawn Sexton pitched an idea that’s been developing among the staff—continue to remove the arsenic at the well source, but then dispose of it before it is sent to the wastewater treatment facility. By decreasing Triview’s contribution of arsenic to UMCRWWTF’s levels by essentially one-third, the facility can fall more easily into compliance. This out-of-the-box thinking would need to pass muster with state regulations but has the potential to temporarily or permanently avert multi-million-dollar treatment facility construction costs for upgrades at the wastewater plant. See related Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility Joint Use Committee article on page 13.
Project and Public Works updates
• The joint meter installation project between Triview and DWSD faced a setback. The original installation location changed, which led to meter design adjustments. The previously planned start date of mid-October was postponed. McGrady speculated that the meter and its associated pressure regulator will be installed and functional by January 2019.
• Triview crews corrected installation errors in the joint meter between Triview and FLMD.
• Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) scheduled two meetings pertaining to water and wastewater regionalization. The meeting scheduled for Oct. 11 addressed water regionalization, and the meeting scheduled for Oct. 26 addressed wastewater pipeline routing and a recent feasibility study. See related Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility Joint Use Committee article on page 13.
• Crews halted upgrades on the irrigation system and prepared above-ground components for the winter.
• McGrady commented that he plans to begin addressing customer payments that are in arrears. As of the board meeting, payments older than 30 days totaled more than $20,000.
The meeting adjourned at 7:16 p.m. after which the board met for an executive session for §24-6-402(4)(b)(e) legal advice, negotiations. McGrady confirmed that no decisions were made following the executive session.
Caption: Visual Environments Inc. President Mark Button presented graphics and recommendations for beautifying the Triview Metropolitan District landscape at the Oct. 9 Board of Directors meeting. The board chose not to act on any of Button’s recommendations currently but to continue researching options that better fit within the district’s budget and water conservation concerns. Photo by Jennifer Kaylor.
The next Triview meeting will be held Nov. 13 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.
Jennifer Kaylor may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jennifer Kaylor
In a shorter-than-expected meeting, the Donala Water and Sanitation District’s Board of Directors received the district’s detailed 2019 budget draft and a similarly detailed draft of the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility (UMCRWWTF). District General Manager Kip Petersen presented for consideration an amendment to the current Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) between Donala and Academy Water and Sanitation District (AWSD). All directors participated; Directors Ken Judd and Bob Denny connected via teleconference.
Petersen thoroughly reviewed the 2019 drafts and their respective narratives for the general Donala and the UMCRWWTF budgets. Donala, Triview Metropolitan District, and Forest Lakes Metropolitan District jointly own the UMCRWWTF and Donala manages the facility. The narratives explained Petersen’s reasons for raising or lowering anticipated revenue and expenses for both entities.
Costs of providing services rise, revenues dip
Due to languid residential and commercial construction, intractable precipitation, and the clash of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) with the Gallagher Amendment, Petersen expressed a desire to forecast the budgets conservatively. He stated that the 2018 district budget reflected an expectation of 12 additional homes, mainly around the former golf course, which would have provided subsequent tap fee revenue; only two homes materialized in the district, thus drastically decreasing this revenue. Petersen estimated only 10 new homes for 2019.
The district relied much more heavily on wells instead of its Willow Creek Ranch surface water during the 2018 summer months. The cost of pumping the wells brought utility expenses over budget. Petersen expressed a lack of confidence in any substantial drought relief for 2019 and assumed a drier-than-normal water demand season. The draft budget reflects a 25 percent utilities expense increase to account for rate increases as well as greater demand on the pumps.
State officials have also advised special districts such as Donala that the combined restrictions of TABOR and Gallagher have the potential to cause a 16 percent loss of property tax revenue in 2020. With these significant events in mind, Petersen estimated an operating revenue for the district of about $8.5 million and expenses of slightly more than $8 million.
Petersen explained that results of an Oct. 10 Operations Committee meeting significantly changed capital expense estimations for the 2019 UMCRWWTF draft budget. He anticipated having more precise estimates in November.
Customer rates likely to increase
Noting the confluence of increased expenses and lost revenue, Petersen presented potential rate and fee increases. In preparation for wastewater treatment upgrades, he proposed a $2 per month increase for sewer service. Citing the previously mentioned TABOR-Gallagher loss of property tax revenue, a bond fund that will likely be depleted in 2019, and the finite number of remaining lots on which the district can assess tap fees, he also proposed a 4 percent water rate increase. Petersen explained that the bond fund pays for annual upgrades—when the bond fund disappears, the need for an estimated $2 million-per-year upgrades won’t disappear. The one-time tap fees generated by new home construction will also dry up once the 56 platted lots have been developed. The 2017 Cost of Service Analysis also supports a 4 percent water rate increase.
The board discussed the proposed increases and confirmed the need for the increases to build reserves and minimize future rate increases. In lieu of a regular board meeting, the directors will conduct a work session to scrutinize the 2019 budget and discuss short-, mid-, and long-term goals and objectives on Nov. 15. Petersen encouraged the directors to submit questions, ideas, and requests for information prior to the workshop. Petersen commented that the challenge is keeping water affordable and posed the challenge as a focus for the workshop.
AWSD wastewater fully engaged
Petersen confirmed that all wastewater from AWSD now is pumped via the new lift station to Donala’s collection system for treatment at UMCRWWTF. The IGA was established to provide AWSD a more efficient and economical means of treating its wastewater.
Petersen also proposed amending the IGA to more simply and equitably charge AWSD and prevent Donala from having to conduct a Cost of Service Analysis annually. Petersen stated that AWSD favored the change. The directors approved the IGA amendment.
New plan for arsenic disposal
Petersen announced his support of an Operations Committee decision to dispose of arsenic in an alternate way than through the wastewater treatment facility. The decision is expected to fulfill more restrictive arsenic regulations effective in October 2019. Petersen confirmed that Triview, a contributor to the wastewater volume and, therefore, arsenic levels has similar plans.
Director says goodbye
During the meeting Director Bob Denny announced that he will be moving out of state in mid-November and verbally acknowledged his need to resign from the board. OCN later confirmed that Donala will begin the process to fill the vacant position for which the term ends in May 2020. Those interested in being considered for appointment should provide a letter that outlines his or her experience and qualifications to the district office by 5 p.m. Dec. 3. See the vacancy posting on the district’s website for residency requirements and other information.
• Mark Yoder represented the Western Museum of Mining and Industry in thanking Donala for approving the inclusion agreement that will allow the museum to connect to the district’s services.
• Well 3A, which has been nonfunctional for several months, was assessed and deemed irreparable. Although this was Donala’s top producing well, the other wells can be pumped harder over the next few years to make up the loss, and they hope to supplement with surface water from Willow Creek Ranch. Petersen determined that the board must examine replacement options for the long term, however.
• Petersen provided Colorado’s most recent U.S. Drought Monitor report that can be accessed via http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/CurrentMap/StateDroughtMonitor.aspx?CO. Western El Paso County rated a designation of D0—Abnormally Dry—and most of the county’s eastern side ranked as D1 or Moderate Drought. Colorado’s southwestern corner remained in the D3 and D4 categories, Extreme Drought and Exceptional Drought, respectively. Drought will affect surface water supplied from Willow Creek Ranch.
• Petersen confirmed that the Donala and Triview Metropolitan District boards of directors met for a Sept. 26 joint workshop intended to introduce the directors to one another and discuss their respective goals. The two boards plan to schedule a similar workshop in about six months.
• Directors Ed Houle and Dennis Snyder plan to join Petersen in attending the Arkansas Basin Roundtable meeting scheduled for Nov. 14.
The meeting adjourned at 3:11 p.m.
The Nov. 15 work session will begin at 9 a.m. and is expected to last until 1 p.m. The directors will hold a public hearing on the 2019 budget prior to its adoption at the Dec. 6 board meeting, which will begin at 1:30 p.m. Copies of the budget are available at the district office at 15850 Holbein Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80921. The directors meet in the district office conference room. Board meetings are normally held on the third Thursday of the month. More information is available by calling (719)488-3603 or accessing www.donalawater.org.
Jennifer Kaylor can be reached at email@example.com.
By Harriet Halbig
The District Accountability Advisory Committee of Lewis-Palmer D-38 heard the annual report of the district superintendent, discussed election topics, and learned of changes in the district evaluation process at its Oct. 9 meeting.
Superintendent Karen Brofft spoke of the achievements and goals of the district. Last year’s theme was Through Their Eyes and In Their Shoes, encouraging staff and the community to view the world through the eyes of a student. This year’s theme is On a Great Path, focusing on a connection between the district and its students. She enumerated the many awards received by athletics, music, drama, journalism, and academics as a demonstration of the broad scope of the district’s achievements.
Brofft also mentioned a connection with the Pikes Peak Business Education Partnership in offering options for students who wish to pursue a career in a certified occupation or who wish to serve an internship in a local business.
District partnerships with such entities as Monument Hill Kiwanis, local first responders, the Tri-Lakes Chamber, and others were also mentioned.
Regarding enrollment, Brofft said the district has hired six additional teachers and has experienced an increase in enrollment of students with exceptional needs. The numbers for that demographic will be determined on Dec. 1 (the count for the general population was made on Oct. 3).
Brofft said that Lewis-Palmer Middle School and Monument Academy are both at capacity at the middle school level. Some spaces at the middle school have been converted to classrooms.
If this year’s bond fails, there will be repercussions next year to accommodate the enlarged population.
Brofft stressed that the district is required by law to offer preschool services for at-risk and special needs students but can restrict the number of students paying tuition. For this reason, classrooms currently used for preschool cannot be repurposed.
Regarding the election, Brofft said that the results would be certified two weeks after Election Day, Nov. 6. If the bond passes, construction of a new elementary school could begin in early December, with a planned opening in August 2019.
Asked about potential boundary changes, Brofft said that such decisions depend upon the extent and location of new construction in the district.
Board of Education liaison Tiffiney Upchurch reported that passage of Amendment 73, which would yield the district an additional $9 million annually through tax increases on corporations and citizens paying taxes on $150,000 or more (see related Board of Education article at https://www.ocn.me/v18n10.htm#d38board), could allow increases in teacher salaries, keep class sizes down, and allow completion of deferred maintenance.
Upchurch said that this year’s new hires are from all over the country, demonstrating the attraction of the district.
Upchurch will serve as the district’s delegate to the Colorado Association of School Boards conference.
Chief of Safety and Security Dennis Coates said funding for security in the bond involves physical upgrades such as entrance changes, cameras, and similar improvements. Funding in the mill levy override (MLO) would be applied to salaries for such personnel as counselors and resource officers. He said the Sheriff’s Office no longer funds a position for a resource officer.
Coates also acknowledged the importance of keeping parents notified of security breaches in the district on a timely basis, stressing that the priority would always be to bring order before notifying parents.
Director of Personnel and Student Services Bob Foster explained changes in the staff evaluation process, saying that the number of standards to be considered has been decreased, simplifying the process.
He also discussed the calendar for the 2019-20 school year, explaining that the process of building a new school could cause changes in the calendar if the school is not completed in time for the opening of the year.
Co-chair Deborah Goth explained the DAAC meeting schedule for this year, saying the November meeting is being postponed to occur after certification of the election results.
The District Accountability Advisory Committee meets six times a year. Locations vary. The next meeting will be at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 27 in the library of Palmer Lake Elementary School, 115 Upper Glenway in Palmer Lake.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jackie Burhans
The Monument Academy (MA) School Board met on Oct. 10 to hear about increased use of counseling services, a preliminary agreement with School District 38 (D38) on use of bond funds to build a gym or auditorium, the 2018 audit, and to discuss a board policy of notifying parents of criminal conduct by a school employee.
Increased use of counseling
Principal Elizabeth Davis noted that since the beginning of the school year, MA has seen a significant increase in the counseling services that are being provided. They have been able to increase capacity by hiring one additional counselor and leveraging an almost full-time intern student from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs counseling department.
Davis said that MA has been able to do positive things with counseling and socio-emotional learning by reaching into the elementary level. Administrative staff visit classrooms to guide and work with kids around the character traits each month. The counseling is not one-to-one therapy but is triage, managing school behavior, and teaching kids how to be good friends, to handle conflict in healthy ways, and to advocate for themselves with teachers and with others. Davis said these are "skills that, frankly, are not being modeled very well on the national stage these days for our kiddos." She also indicated that parents are always included as a follow-up to counseling.
Agreement with D38 on bond use
Executive director Don Griffin indicated that MA lawyers have crafted an agreement with D38 on the 8,000-square-foot competition gym and 4,000-square-foot locker room that would be funded by the $3.5 million portion of the district bond (ballot issue 4B) if it passes. The money would build the district-owned facility whose use and maintenance would be delegated to MA contingent on a land and facilities lease. MA legal counsel Tim Farmer has drafted a mutual 99-year lease agreement between the district and MA for the land and facility at a cost of $100 to each entity. D38 district lawyers are reviewing the agreement, which MA believes meets the parameters of the bond language and hopes to complete the agreement within 60 days.
June 2018 audit report approved
Paul Niedermuller of CliftonLarsonAllen presented the June 2018 audit to the board for its review and approval. The report, which can be seen with the previous two years’ audits at http://bit.ly/ma-audit, was issued with an unmodified opinion. The audit includes accounting for MA’s portion of the Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA) pension liability at $27 million. In the Legislature, Senate Bill 18-200 made some changes to Colorado PERA that required a higher contribution from employers and employees, but MA should see this liability decreased starting next year. The board unanimously approved the audit report.
The following items were highlighted at the board meeting:
• Wendy and Josh Bethauer reported on the fundraising efforts of their group, Monument Academy Safety Solutions, and their partnership with the Parent Teacher Organization to provide funds for a prioritized list of security items.
• Griffin reported participating in a site visit to Lincoln, Neb., to see how Philip Scho Middle School partnered with the Fallbrook YMCA on facilities. Also attending were Boyd Williams and Jeff Peterson of Pikes Peak YMCA, Brian Risely of CRP Architects, along with Matt and Bill Duston, residential developers.
• The board unanimously approved board policy 1530—Parent Notification of Alleged Criminal Conduct by School Employee, which came out of a new law, House Bill 18-1269, and was codified under The Colorado Revised Statute 22-1-130. See http://bit.ly/ma-bd-policies for more details.
The next meeting will be on Thursday, Nov. 8 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, committees, and finances can be found at https://www.monumentacademy.net/school-board.
Jackie Burhans can be reached at email@example.com.
By Harriet Halbig
The Lewis-Palmer D-38 Board of Education received a detailed report on preschool services in the district, enjoyed performances by elementary students, and recognized achievements of students and Lewis-Palmer Hall of Fame honorees at its Oct. 15 meeting.
Preschool service options discussed
Board Vice President Tiffiney Upchurch and pre-school coordinator Julie Jadomski offered a detailed presentation on the value of preschool education and possible locations for future preschool services.
Jadomski stressed that kindergarten students of today are learning skills formerly taught in first grade. As a consequence, it is important to realize that preschool is not just a play environment, she said. Students learn such skills as counting, sorting, and classifying. Science teaches curiosity, observation, and discovery. Social studies teaches how to make friends and respect others, and students learn to listen and talk in turn.
The population of a preschool can be divided into a number of categories, including those in the Colorado Preschool Program (CPP) who are found to be at risk due to family or economic factors, special needs students who have been identified through the Childfind program to require extra services, English learners, and tuition-paying individuals.
Upchurch and Superintendent Karen Brofft stressed that state and federal laws require that preschool services be offered free of charge to CPP students and special needs students. It is required that a certain percentage of typical peers also be enrolled so that the population is balanced.
Upchurch explained the number of classrooms currently in use for preschool. There is one teacher for each eight students. Currently the districtwide enrollment is 193 students. Some schools utilize several rooms for this purpose, while some have none. Preschoolers from Palmer Lake and Prairie Winds elementaries are served in a building on the campus of the administration building. Cost of the services was also explained.
At one time, the Grace Best Education Center was considered as a potential location for a centralized preschool. After evaluations by architectural and engineering firms, however, the idea was rejected due to the condition of the building. Preschools can’t be located on the second floor of a building by law. Instead, it was decided that the current uses of the building, including the Homeschool Academy, the Transitions Program, the robotics program, and storage of materials are more appropriate. The gym and other parts of the newer section of the building are rented out to the community.
Upchurch said that, after much research and consideration, the centralization of preschool services would prove to aid in consistency, space efficiency, and increased services by allowing specialized staff (such as occupational therapists and counselors) to remain at one site throughout their workweek.
The downside of centralization includes the fact that transportation is not provided for preschool students and there would not be older students as role models on site.
Board Secretary Mark Pfoff commented that the convenience of the parents should also be considered. He said that many parents of preschoolers in the Jackson Creek area chose to send their children to Antelope Trails Elementary in District 20 when the current Bear Creek Elementary was a middle school.
When the middle school closed and was converted to an elementary, he said, many of these families came back to the district. He does not wish to risk having families opt to leave the district due to the inconvenience of transporting the youngsters some distance. Also, having preschools in several locations allows the preschoolers to identify with a school at an early age. He said that preschool is a business and the district wants to encourage the students to stay.
Jadomski agreed that it would be ideal to keep students in one location throughout their elementary career, but space does not allow it. She said that if the district convinces people that preschool is important they will overlook the inconvenience.
Upchurch said that the district must decide by February how to deal with the situation. One option would be to build an eight-plex modular building near Big Red.Board Treasurer Chris Taylor expressed concern about security in such a structure.
Board President Matthew Clawson suggested that further discussion take place in a work session.
Pfoff suggested a community deliberation on the subject.
Teacher and staff adviser of journalism Tom Patrick from Palmer Ridge High School introduced several of his students who had attended the Colorado Student Media Association Journalism Day conference at Colorado State University in September. The Palmer Ridge Yearbook won first place and the Bear Truth newspaper won a commendation. Other awards, including a scholarship, were also received.
Student journalists from Lewis-Palmer High School also attended but were unable to be at this meeting.
The board also recognized Becky Hassler and Susan Weese of the Tri-Lakes Women’s Club for their many grants and other contributions to the district over the years.
This year’s Lewis-Palmer Hall of Fame honorees were also recognized. They are Benny Nasser as a community member and Kiwanis volunteer, former teacher and coach Tony Ramunno, and former counselor and coach Reid Wiecks.
Fifth- and sixth-grade students from Kilmer Elementary performed patriotic music under the direction of Sam Blevins, and gifted/talented teacher Katie Coomes and instructional coach Maggie Mechtly demonstrated a challenge to build a tower of notecards and a limited amount of tape strong enough to support a Wonder Woman figure. The board was divided into two teams and later assisted by students to demonstrate teamwork and how repetition increases creativity.
Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Wangeman said that preliminary numbers indicate an increase in enrollment of 111 students, not including Monument Academy and the homeschool academy. She cautioned that the number of individuals does not equal the number of full-time individuals, as kindergarten and preschool students count as half-time. Numbers will be finalized by the next board meeting.
Demographers had estimated an increase of 200, and the district budget is based on an increase of 90.
Above (L to R): The board recognized the 2018 honorees of the Lewis-Palmer Hall of Fame. From left are Superintendent Karen Brofft, Benny Nasser, Reid Weicks, Tony Ramunno, and board President Matthew Clawson. Photo by Harriet Halbig.
Above (L to R): Representatives of the Tri-Lakes Women’s Club were recognized for their many contributions to the district. From left are Superintendent Karen Brofft, Becky Hassler, Susan Weese, and board President Matthew Clawson. Photo by Harriet Halbig.
The Lewis-Palmer D-38 Board of Education meets at 6 p.m. on the third Monday of the month at the district’s Learning Center, 146 Jefferson St., Monument. Due to a conflict with Thanksgiving break, the November meeting will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 13.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Helen Walklett
During October, the El Paso Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) approved revocable licenses to allow the installation of two sewer lines to proceed, one being the western interceptor line that will provide utility service to Triview Metropolitan District’s customers on both sides of I-25. The commissioners also approved an interim formal appeal procedure in relation to the county’s Land Development Code.
Triview’s western interceptor
At their Oct. 9 meeting, the commissioners approved a revocable license agreement between the county’s Community Services Department and Triview relating to the installation of the western interceptor sewer line. The line will be installed parallel to the New Santa Fe Regional Trail from an existing sewer line on Baptist Road, through the Baptist Trailhead, and along Old Denver Road, to service areas on both sides of I-25. A small section of the interceptor will travel beneath the Santa Fe Trail, which is county property and for which the license is necessary. In exchange for the license, Triview has agreed to install a sewer line extension to the trailhead restroom building, which currently operates on an outdated compost toilet system, and to waive all associated sewer connection fees.
Triview awarded the contract for the construction of the western interceptor at its Sept. 11 board meeting. Speaking at that meeting, Chris Cummins, the district’s water attorney, described the county’s intention to grant a revocable license as "less favourable" to an easement but acknowledged that it is the county’s policy not to grant an easement in circumstances such as this. (see https://www.ocn.me/v18n10.htm#tvmd)
New sewer line at Palmer Lake
At its Oct. 2 meeting, the BOCC approved a revocable license between the county’s Community Services Department and Black Hills Corp. to allow the installation of a new sewer line to proceed.
Black Hills recently purchased a parcel of land for an operation center from the Town of Palmer Lake, directly adjacent to the Palmer Lake Recreation Area. It is abandoning a failing septic system there and plans to connect to an existing sewer line operated by the Palmer Lake Sanitation District and located within the recreation area, which is owned by the county. Black Hills is paying a fee of $1,510 to offset any impacts at the recreation area.
Monument Hill Road closed as safety improvement project moves forward
As part of the Monument Hill Road Safety Improvements Project, the county has closed Monument Hill Road from the intersection of Woodmoor Drive to the south entrance of the Monument Hill Church from mid-October until early February 2019. The project’s exact schedule is dependent on weather conditions and resources. During the closure, Woodmoor Drive and Deer Creek Road are serving as the detour route for access to the northern portion of Monument Hill Road and Palmer Ridge High School.
The BOCC has approved several easements to allow the project to go ahead, most recently at its Sept. 11 meeting. (see https://www.ocn.me/v18n10.htm#epbocc)
Approval of appeal procedure under county Land Development Code
At their Oct. 11 meeting, the commissioners unanimously approved an interim procedure for appeals under the county’s Land Development Code.
Lori Seago, senior assistant county attorney, explained that a formal appeal procedure had been included in the Land Development Code until 2006. When the new code was adopted in 2007 procedural provisions, including the appeal procedure, were taken out because a separate procedural manual was to be produced. She said this manual had not yet been completed and the county had been applying the pre-2007 appeal procedure in the interim. However, the county had now identified a need to formally adopt an interim appeal procedure until a final procedure can be fully developed by staff. This will apply to both appeals arising from specific land use decisions made under the code and from the denial of site development plans.
Under the interim measures, a specific land use decision can be appealed within 30 days to the Planning and Community Development Department, which then must refer it to the relevant departments and agencies for comment. The appeal must be scheduled to be heard before the BOCC within 35 days of it being filed with the appellant given no less than 10 days’ notice of the hearing.
An applicant also has 30 days to appeal a denied site plan or site development plan. In this instance, due to the technicality of such plans, the appeal will be heard by the Board of Adjustment. The burden is on the applicant to demonstrate that the plan was denied in error. No party can appeal an approved site or site development plan.
• Oct. 9—The commissioners approved the issuing of an ambulance permit to the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District. It is effective from Oct. 1 for a one-year period.
• Oct. 9—Approved a memorandum of agreement, a special warranty deed, and two temporary construction easement agreements for the Highway 105 project. The easement is coming from property owned by Ken and Karen Hofmockel at a cost of $80,100.
Helen Walklett can be reached at email@example.com.
By Jennifer Kaylor
The Northern El Paso County Coalition of Homeowners Associations’ (NEPCO) Sept. 8 meeting featured a presentation by El Paso County Sheriff’s Office Crime Prevention Coordinator Brent Ambuehl, who provided a condensed version of the county’s Rapidly Evolving Active Crisis Training (REACT) Program. Because of time constraints, Ambuehl’s training excluded practice scenarios.
Ambuehl defined an active shooter, also known in the past as an active gunman or a spree killer, as any person who wants to kill and has access to multiple victims. Basically, a shooter is looking for a big impact in a short amount of time. Ambuehl explained that lessons learned from the 1999 Columbine High School shooting have reduced police response times from an average of 12 minutes to eight minutes. Shooters are typically mentally and physically prepared.
Run, hide, fight
Although civilians generally don’t have the benefit of regular crisis trainings, they can practice locational awareness. He suggested noticing exits and escape routes, including windows, and knowing where the routes lead. The primary goal in an active shooting is to get as far away from the incident as quickly as possible.
When running is not an option, finding a place to shelter is the next step. Ambuehl encouraged out-of-the-box thinking and for people to look for any place where they can fit. He reminded the audience that cover—materials that stop or deflect bullets such as garbage dumpsters and engine blocks—is different from concealment, which is simply not being seen. Turn off phone sounds to prevent revealing one’s hiding location, he added.
Fighting is the least favorable option, but once the situation arises an anything-goes offensive is the best reaction. Ambuehl suggested doing whatever is necessary including: targeting the shooters’ breathing, vision, and balance; using keys as weapons; and throwing things as distractions. The main message is to act quickly and commit fully.
Law enforcement on the scene
Ambuehl stressed the importance of not interfering with law enforcement officers (LEOs) once they arrive. People who are injured must help themselves and not expect LEOs to attend to them. Law enforcement’s role is to stop the shooter. Do not get into your car, Ambuehl added; cars are part of the crime scene.
Representatives briefed on growth
Vice President Tom Vierzba summarized the area’s development and projected population growth. Sterling Ranch raises shared water source concerns with numerous neighboring communities. Other developments such as High Plains Ranch and Redtail Ranch foreshadow heavier traffic on Hodgen. Vierzba stated that the area is expected to reach over 32,000 people by the year 2020.
The meeting adjourned at noon.
Caption: El Paso County Sheriff’s Office Crime Prevention Coordinator Brent Ambuehl instructs representatives of the Northern El Paso County Coalition of Homeowners’ Associations on Sept. 8 about "Run, Hide, Fight" responses to an active shooter situation. Photo by Jennifer Kaylor.
The next meeting is Nov. 17. Meetings are held from 10 a.m. to noon at the Monument Town Hall conference room, 645 Beacon Lite Rd. off Highway 105. See www.nepco.org for additional information.
Jennifer Kaylor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jackie Burhans
The Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA) board met on Oct. 25 to approve an addition to The Barn to provide additional space for Woodmoor Public Safety (WPS). It also reported on the Monument Hill Road closure and provided an update on legal advice regarding the Walters property.
Barn addition for WPS
The board unanimously approved a motion to construct an addition to The Barn to provide more space for Woodmoor Public Safety. Director Rich Wretschko noted that a lot of research had gone into this decision, and the addition will be done in as cost-effective manner as possible. The board approved no more than $190,000 including contingencies for this construction and authorized Public Safety Director Brad Gleason and Architectural Control Committee and Commons Area Administrator Bob Pearsall to oversee the project. The addition will be 900 square feet and create an L-shape on the southwest corner of The Barn extending toward the parking lot.
Monument Hill Road closure
The board noted that Monument Hill Road is closed between Woodmoor and Deer Creek Drive through January. WPS is assisting at the intersection of Deer Creek and Woodmoor to help avoid gridlock. The board encourages drivers to take an alternate route if possible during morning school drop-off hours (7 to 7:40 a.m.) and pick-up hours (2:30 to 3 p.m.). They advise that drivers consider using White Fawn, Lake Woodmoor, or Furrow Road as alternate routes. See BOCC article on page 20.
Walters property legal advice
President Brian Bush reported that he was aware of two independent offers on the Walters property and that a group of South Woodmoor residents had formed to try to preserve the open space. He passed on to the group advice by WIA counsel that it would not be legal to hold a meeting regarding a special assessment to acquire the property because that is not allowed by the covenants. The property is in South Woodmoor just northeast of Lewis-Palmer High School.
Board report highlights
• The board is beginning to work on the budget for 2019, including review of the HOA fees.
• There will be three open board positions. Nominations should be submitted by Nov. 16 at http://bit.ly/wia-bd-nom.
• Matthew Nelson, the new Covenants and Forestry administrator, has started and brings a customer service background and a degree in forestry.
• Residents are encouraged to remove hoses from spigots to avoid burst pipes.
• Residents are strongly encouraged to be courteous to their neighbors by bringing trashcans in after pickup and controlling barking and loose dogs.
Caption: A WIA warning sticker asks residents to stow trashcans in a timely manner after trash pickup. Photo by Jackie Burhans.
The WIA Board of Directors usually meets at 7 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of each month in the Barn at 1691 Woodmoor Drive, Monument. The next regular meeting will be on Nov. 28.
Jackie Burhans can be reached at email@example.com.
By Bill Kappel
October was cooler than normal, with high temperatures averaging nearly 6 degrees below normal and a record cold spell during the second week of the month. A final storm during the last two days of the month brought moisture levels to right about normal for the month. Outside of these two cool and wet periods, most of the month was quiet and mild.
Scattered showers greeted us during the first few days of the months, with light rainfall each day from the 1st through the 3rd, but mild temperatures. Highs reached the low 70s on the 1st and 2nd, then jumped to the low 80s on the 3rd as gusty winds kicked up ahead of an approaching change in the overall weather pattern. Initially, conditions were quiet and dry on the 4th and 5th before dropping sharply from the low 70s on the 5th to the upper 40s on the 6th.
Behind this cold front, winds turned upslope over the region. This produced several days in a row of fog and low clouds. On the 7th, temperatures were just warm enough that only drizzle and rain occurred, but cooler air continued to filter in. This allowed the liquid precipitation to turn into freezing drizzle, flurries, and light snow at times on the 8th. This continued off and on through the 11th, before the fog and low clouds finally lifted around 6 p.m. that evening. This is an extended period of being stuck in the clouds as weather patterns usually shift every couple of days. During the extended cold and cloudy period, just under an inch of precipitation accumulated, with 2 to 4 inches of snow accumulating as well.
Sunshine quickly returned as high pressure moved into the region from the west. This allowed temperatures to briefly jump into the 50s on the 12th, then the low 60s on the 13th. But this quiet period didn’t last long as a strong cold front moved in around 9:45 p.m. on the 13th. Strong winds out of the north ushered in cold air, and light snow developed just before midnight. Light snow and wind continued until the next afternoon with 1 to 4 inches accumulating. However, the bigger story with this storm was the record cold air. High temperatures during the day on the 14th only managed to reach the upper teens. The high temperature was actually reached at midnight (upper 20s), then temperatures fell as cold air continued to filter in. As skies cleared and with some fresh snow on the ground, temperatures quickly dropped, reaching records lows in the single digits by the morning of the 15th.
Once this storm departed, generally quiet conditions took hold from the 16th through the 29th. High temperatures rebounded from the 40s on the 16th and 17th to the 50s on the 18th and 19th, then mid-50s to mid-60s from the 20th through the 23rd. The stretch of nice weather was interrupted by rain showers during the morning of the 24th. Then dry and mild conditions returned from the 25th through the 29th.
One final storm affected the region just in time for Halloween. This isn’t too unusual, as we often get snowfall right around Halloween. This storm pushed an initial cold front through the region late on the 29th, with cool and cloudy weather around during the morning of the 30th. Flurries and snow showers developed by late morning on the 30th, but the heavier snow held off until later that afternoon. Snow continued to accumulate through the evening and overnight hours before the storm departed the region during the morning of the 31st. This storm dropped between 4-8 inches of fresh snow just in time for Halloween. Sunshine returned on Halloween, but the clear skies meant quickly falling temperatures for the trick-or-treaters, making for a bone-chilling evening.
A look ahead
November is generally dry and cool around the region. We usually get several light snowfalls interspersed with sunny skies. Gusty winds commonly develop on a couple of days as the jet stream becomes more active and more directly affects Colorado. Our first sub-zero morning low temperatures often occur during the month as well. High temperatures average in the upper 40s early in the month to low 40s by the end with overnight lows often dipping into the teens and single digits.
October 2018 Weather Statistics
Average High 53.9° (-5.6°)
100-year return frequency value max 67.7° min 50.7°
Average Low 31.0° (+1.7°)
100-year return frequency value max 36.8° min 26.4°
Monthly Precipitation 1.60" (-0.13")
100-year return frequency value max 4.63" min 0.18"
Monthly Snowfall 8.0" (-3.0")
Highest Temperature 82° on the 3rd
Lowest Temperature 6° on the 15th
Season to Date Snow 8.0" (-3.0") (the snow season, October 1 to September 30)
Season to Date Precip. 1.60" (-0.13") (the precip season, October 1 to September 30)
Heating Degree Days 699 (+171)
Cooling Degree Days 0 (0)
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.
Despite what you might have heard or read on social media, OCN is not now nor has it ever been suppressing letters because of their viewpoint; however, we do insist that letter writers follow our guidelines that are printed on page 31 of each issue.
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Among OCN’s 40+ volunteers, we have people from all across the political spectrum. Ever since the founding of OCN in 2001, the group has worked tirelessly to remove bias from every part of the process from having articles that cover "what was discussed and what was decided," which we can all generally agree on regardless of political leanings, to uniform application of our guidelines for letters to the editor.
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John Heiser, OCN Publisher, firstname.lastname@example.org
Who does Our Community News really represent?
Just to be clear to your readers, can you change the name of Our Community News to Our Community News (The Political Arm of the District 38 School Board)? Anyone that would give these people money via 4B, based on the history of their wasteful spending, is out of their mind....
Yes on 4A and 4B
The school district wants more money from me? No problem. As far as I’m concerned you could double my property taxes and I would not complain as long as I knew that the great kids in our community were going to have the tools and resources that they deserve.
The two canards I hear repeated most often are: 1) "Schools have all the money they need," and 2) "Schools waste money." Wild-eyed, unsubstantiated statements made by those too selfish to contribute to their community. My student has since graduated from LPHS, but I will never fall back on that lame excuse that I’ve heard since I was in junior high: "I don’t have any kids in the system so why should I support the schools?" Why? Because it’s your obligation.
The last time D38 put an MLO on the ballot, opponents put out professionally made signs with the laughable message, "Taxed out of our homes." However, I stopped laughing because, sadly, it was true. I saw people who were forced to live out of their Mercedes SUV’s and their BMW SUV’s and their Lincolns and Cadillacs. Pity. If you don’t want to pay for schools, there’s a simple solution. Move. Go live in a place where there are no schools. Otherwise it’s your obligation.
4A and 4B are smart, sensible solutions for our community
As a resident, a father of two kids in D38 schools and a small-business owner, I wholeheartedly support 4A and 4B. The middle school is overwhelmed—can you imagine having to eat lunch before 11 a.m.? Then maybe have PE later that day and then try to concentrate on Algebra at 2 p.m.? No – they’re exhausted, hungry and it’s not fair to them and it’s not fair to the teachers who are trying every trick in their toolbox to make it work.
Growth in our community isn’t slowing down, I see it every day as I own a real estate company that focuses on the Tri-Lake area. There are new builds going in all over the Tri-Lakes area and there are a lot more coming that you probably haven’t seen yet. Many of my clients work in Denver. They want a little piece of our paradise down here without having to shell out $700,000 for a home. That’s not going to decrease as the widening of I-25 happens; it’s going to increase the growth.
As I take clients around the area and show them homes the conversation inevitably goes to schools. While I unfortunately am not allowed to tell them about the schools, I always point them to a few websites to do their own research. Here’s the gist: Our middle school situation in this town is putting an asterix on our school district. People know about the overcrowding not just at LPMS but also at MA.
Let’s think about our property values. What happens to those if people come to tour our community and they see a bunch of trailers outside the middle school and realize that the citizens of Tri-Lakes weren’t willing to cough up $9/month (for a $400,000 home) to ensure our students’ future. What will it cost us then?
A measured "no" on 4A and 4B
Just weeks ago, ballot issues 4A and 4B were all but guaranteed to pass. Deals that had been in the works for more than 18 months, details of which were often not subject to public inspection, finally came to light. Then came the signs. Banners stating public opposition gave birth to much-needed conversation and voice to a quiet, but principled group. It’s easy to write off the opposition to 4A and 4B as the work of obstructionists, deniers of growth, individuals without intellect, or people who refuse support to the community and district. We are none of those things.
The issues with 4A and 4B are dispassionate arguments against fiscal irresponsibility, a demand for transparency, and a strong belief in educated voters. We have learned in the last weeks that the district had long assumed a specific outcome ahead of voter consent and their supporters are demonstrating that they’ll go to astounding lengths to push it through. Advocates have disguised the true cost of the measures to voters and accepted large sums from outside influences including the Colorado Teachers Union ("Strong D38 Community" PAC Tracer Report Colorado Secretary of State—"Fund for Children & Public Education," the PAC for the National Education Association).
In this era of political divisiveness, I’m disappointed that those favoring the measures would refuse civil dialogue, instead resorting to dismissal and public bullying. At a recent public panel, a school board member was asked what the board would do if 4A and 4B didn’t succeed. He stated blankly that it would reappear on the ballot next year. To him I say, "Please do." Give proper consideration to all available options, make fiscally sound decisions, and be honest and engaged with voters. If you do, sir, you’ll have my vote.
Invest in our community’s future
I’m not one to write to the papers or to the editors. However, my family and I feel so strong about 4A/4B passing that I am writing today. Like so many others, my husband and I chose to move into the area 12 years ago partly because of the school district. D38 was a major draw for us as we were deciding where we wanted to raise our family. This community is truly blessed to have such great schools, teachers, and professionals, but now they need our help.
Recently my husband and I were explaining the 4A/4B initiative to his father, who has been a farmer his whole life. As we talked about the pros and cons of the initiative, his father was surprised, as are we, that there is even a question on why you wouldn’t vote yes. His father explained to us that in his community, like most farming communities, farmers are the property owners who carry the financial burden for paying for most of the schools, programs, etc. Even during extremely tough financial times he, like all his neighbors, always did what they could for the kids as they are the future of the community and this country.
So why can’t we vote yes in Northern El Paso County? Our kids, teachers, and schools need our help now. Please vote yes on 4A and 4B on Nov. 6.
For the kids? D38’s 4B construction project is full of impropriety
How urgent does a Legitimate Need have to be to obligate us to vote for an Apparent Con? That’s what voters should be asking themselves as they think about what to do with 4B, the headache on this year’s ballot.
Last fall, a newly-elected board member pressured administrators to obtain a second opinion on construction options and price estimates. The resulting opinion stated that 1) a full renovation of Grace Best Elementary would cost $11 million; 2) building a new elementary school at Bear Creek would cost $22.2 million to $26.5 million ("total project budget"); and 3) the renovation/new-build ratio of $11 million vs. $22 million to 25 million "is very close to a tipping point where it almost makes more sense to build a new [facility]." (CRP Letter to Clawson, 1/30/18)
Considering the first consulting firm’s estimate was $32 million, district observers were overjoyed with a price that was $10 million to $6 million less, but it didn’t last. Soon after, conservative stalwart Sarah Sampayo was effectively (and viciously) ousted from the board while the district allowed the same firm who had given it consulting advice to bid on the project—a conflict of interest, as defined by federal regulations [40 CFR § 1506.5(c)].
But it gets worse. After awarding the project to the second consulting firm, the district then allowed it to adjust its cost estimate from $22 million-$26.5 million to $30.5 million ("Cost Summary – April Board of Education" p. 4). Not one administrator or remaining board member complained about the higher price. Nor did any of them point out that the firm was ignoring its own advice, since a ratio of $11 million/$30 million is too far from the "tipping point" of $11 million/$22 million-$25 million to continue to refuse to renovate Grace Best.
Unfortunately for the kids, teachers, and taxpayers, an $11 million renovation isn’t on the ballot this year. A $30 million new construction project is. Why is that?
Is the Golden Rule dead in D38?
Our family moved here in 2015. We have two special needs children, and upon seeing this community and researching D38 we knew this was the right place for us. We bought in Monument for the schools and now we are selling and moving to Lake George because of the schools here. I have two older children, so have dealt with the public school systems since 2004. Also, I have done volunteer work since 1999. Never have I had an issue with any school or community until Bear Creek Elementary. "Do unto others" and "I’m sorry" are not in their vocabulary and bullying is acceptable even to parent volunteers by staff and the PTO. If you as a parent volunteer are viewed as different, then your children may be affected by this in a derogatory manner. Here it is frowned upon to be different and unique. For a special needs parent that is not OK! Uniqueness and differences should be accepted.
At 40 I wouldn’t have thought I’d be homeschooling my children. But I am after several attempts with administration to switch schools and repeated issues with D38 since 2015. Now our children are learning at an unprecedented pace! We believed the school was doing well with our kids, they were learning and the special needs programs seemed amazing. But after a month of teaching them, I realize how little they learned and how capable they are. They were being held back from their full potential. I’m trying to take the positive on this as they are so much more advanced than when in public schools. I would like to hear if you have had issues with D38 or another school. If you would like to hear our full story, please email me at email@example.com.
Jennie Carnes Romine
Please vote no on Palmer Lake measure 2B
The historic "Pogo" comic strip had a famous line: "We have met the enemy, and he is us."
For the citizens of Palmer Lake—which don’t include the proponents of 2B, by the way—this is the issue we must face for the fourth time: Will we decide to help a couple folks who don’t live here make a lot of money selling retail marijuana and change our town forever?
Some folks believe that the town needs the tax revenue. Maybe retail marijuana could bring in some money, just as many other Faustian efforts could. But we have to ask: Is the money worth it? What else should we consider?
The National Institute for Health lists the following effects of marijuana use:
Effects of short-term use
• Impaired short-term memory, making it difficult to learn and to retain information.
• Impaired motor coordination, interfering with driving skills and increasing the risk of injuries.
• Altered judgment, increasing the risk of sexual behaviors that facilitate the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases.
• In high doses, paranoia and psychosis.
Effects of long-term or heavy use
• Addiction (in about 9 percent of users overall, 17 percent of those who begin use in adolescence, and 25 to 50 percent of those who are daily users)..
• Altered brain development.
• Poor educational outcome, with increased likelihood of dropping out of school..
• Cognitive impairment, with lower IQ among those who were frequent users during adolescence..
Is this what we want for Palmer Lake? Not the town I live in and love. Other very useful information can be found on the website www.CALMPalmerLake.org. Please take a look.
Let’s not become our own enemy. Let’s keep retail marijuana out of Palmer Lake.
Please vote no on 2B. Thank you.
Vote yes on 2B
In the coming election on Nov. 6, I hope Palmer Lake voters will take advantage of the opportunity to bring new revenue into our town and update:
• fire protection together with
• emergency medical service, as well as
• improve infrastructure—including drinking water and stormwater drainage—
• with the potential of decreasing property taxes.
Please vote yes on 2B, retail marijuana.
Do not turn Tri-Lakes into another "Rehab Riviera"
My family moved to Monument from Orange County, California in 2012. Still going back to office in Costa Mesa, Calif., few times each year. There have been dramatic changes in nice areas akin to Monument. When we lived there, I used to go jogging by myself. However, I can’t do that now. What changed? The addiction rehab industry flooded in. Nowadays, I am increasingly accosted by people asking for handouts, at parking lots, food courts and on the streets. And there was even a case of indecent exposure.
Only a few cities made their data available with respect to rehab facilities and crime. I’ll focus on Costa Mesa where my office and my experience are. The mayor of Costa Mesa stated, "We’re starting to understand it (crime) is directly related to the increase in the recovery homes in our city."
In Costa Mesa, between 2011 and 2016:
1. Drug violations rose (from 288 to 1,328), up 361 percent.
2. Auto thefts went up (from 267 to 545), up 104 percent.
3. Prostitution reports rose (from 25 to 122), a 388 percent increase.
Several addiction rehab cities have similar increases in crime.
It is absurd that Sunshine Behavioral Health claims this facility will have no effect on our community and our children. I urge everybody to google "Rehab Riviera" and learn about the effects the concentration of rehab facilities have on several Orange County cities and make an informed decision to oppose the addiction rehab facility at that location. Thank you!
Thanks to the "Saturday Ladies"
In the Oct. 3 Tribune, I was impressed with the letter from Kerry Harrigan Baerman. Our sincere sympathy in the loss of her son, Colin. We can identify, since our son Tim Watkins was killed Sept. 17, 2017. Her beautiful descriptions of our "serene" cemetery, appreciating how well it is cared for, caused me to respond.
When my husband Virgil and I and our three children moved to Palmer Lake in 1963, the cemetery was a disgraceful "Boot Hill." Some proactive elderly widows took it upon themselves to start a weekly cleanup. My mom, Mary Aschinger, Margaret Plowman, Lucille Lavelett, Dixie Woodworth, Goldie Simpson, and others. These hard workers, aged 75 through 80, pulled out wild locust bushes and weeds, restored vandalized monuments, and generally transformed and improved this sacred place—raising money to pay for "perpetual care." Thus, the Town of Monument began to plant grass, place benches, add pots of flowers, and take pride in the annual Memorial Day ceremonies honoring our loved ones and veterans. Boy Scout troops placed flags at veterans’ graves, cleaning it up, every year.
Kerry, I agree with your encouraging walks to the cemetery, and don’t forget to say a prayer of thanks to those amazing "elderly" ladies!
By the staff at Covered Treasures
We just had one of our favorite activities of the year: our annual bookseller’s trade show. We had the opportunity to meet authors and publishers and talk about their new releases. It’s a slice of heaven for us. We always come back with great books. Here is just a sampling—they make great gifts!
1,000 Books to Read Before You Die: A Life-Changing List
By James Mustich (Workman Publishing) $35
The Washington Post calls this book "the ultimate literary bucket list." Covering fiction, poetry, science, science fiction, memoir, travel writing, biography, children’s books, history, and more, you will find books ranging across cultures and through time. There are classics, unexpected treasures, and lists to help you pick and choose. Add it all up, and there are more than 6,000 titles by nearly 4,000 authors mentioned.
By Barbara Kingsolver (Harper) $29.99
Award-winning, bestselling author Barbara Kingsolver returns with a timely novel that interweaves past and present to explore the human capacity for resiliency and compassion in times of great upheaval. Unsheltered tells the story of two families, in two centuries, who live at the corner of Sixth and Plum in Vineland, N.J., navigating what seems to be the end of the world as they know it. Each comes to realize that though the future is uncertain, even unnerving, shelter can be found in the bonds of family, friends, and the strength of the human spirit.
By John Grisham (Doubleday Books) $29.95
Pete Banning was Clanton’s favorite son, a returning war hero, the patriarch of a prominent family, a farmer, father, neighbor, and a faithful member of the Methodist church. Then one cool October morning in 1946, he rose early, drove into town, walked into the church, and calmly shot and killed the Rev. Dexter Bell. As if the murder wasn’t shocking enough, it was even more baffling that Pete’s only statement about it was, "I have nothing to say." In a major novel unlike anything he’s written before, Grisham takes us on a journey from the Jim Crow South to the jungles of the Philippines during World War II; from an insane asylum filled with secrets to the Clanton courtroom where Pete’s defense attorney tries desperately to save him.
On Desperate Ground
By Hampton Sides (Doubleday Books) $30
Hampton Sides’ superb account of the extraordinary feats of heroism by Marines called on to do the impossible during the greatest battle of the Korean War relies on years of archival research, unpublished letters, declassified documents, and interviews with scores of Marines and Koreans who survived the siege. Faced with probable annihilation and temperatures plunging to 20 degrees below zero, the surrounded and hugely outnumbered Marines fought through the enemy forces with ferocity, ingenuity, and nearly unimaginable courage.
The Last Romantics
By Tara Conklin (William Morrow) $26.99
When renowned poet Fiona Skinner is asked about the inspiration behind her iconic work, The Love Poem, she tells her audience a story about her family and a betrayal that reverberates through time. This sweeping yet intimate epic about four siblings is an unforgettable exploration of the ties that bind us together, the responsibilities we embrace and the duties we resent, and how we can lose and sometimes rescue the ones we love. It is also about the power of stories and how they navigate us through difficult times, help us understand the past, and point the way toward our future.
Gmorning, Gnight!: Little Pep Talks for Me & You
By Lin-Manuel Miranda (Random House), $22
From the creator and star of Hamilton, with illustrations by Jonny Sun, comes a book of affirmations to inspire readers at the beginning and end of each day. Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote these original sayings, aphorisms, and poetry for himself as much as for others. Miranda has gathered the best of his daily greetings into a beautiful illustrated collection. Full of comfort and motivation, Gmorning, Gnight! is a touchstone for anyone who needs a quick lift.
Stop in and visit us in our newly reopened and completely renovated store, say hello, and browse through our new selections. Choose some to enjoy yourself during these cool fall nights and find special gifts for the readers on your list. Until next month, happy reading.
The staff at Covered Treasures can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Harriet Halbig
The Monument and Palmer Lake libraries will offer innovative programs during November.
Join us at the library from 4 to 5:30 on Friday, Nov. 9 for Coloring for Everyone. We work with themed coloring sheets each month. Colored pencils, markers, and gel pens are provided. Drop in and stay as long as you like!
Cool Science for the Family on Saturday, Nov. 10 from 2:30 to 3:45 will explore rotational motion. We will experiment with tops and other spinning things.
The Lego Build Club will meet on Saturday, Nov. 17 from 10 to 11:30. Come and build with other enthusiasts.
Regularly occurring children’s programs include Book Break on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 10:30, Story Time for preschoolers on Tuesday at 10:30 and 11:15, and Toddler Time on Thursdays at 9:30 and 10:15.
Free math tutoring is offered at the library every Monday from 3:30 to 7. Available to all ages, AfterMath is staffed by experienced adult tutors and follows the D38 calendar. AfterMath will not be offered during Thanksgiving week.
The Monument Library Anime Club will meet from 5 to 6:30 on Thursday, Nov. 29. We will watch anime (nothing rated above TV-14) and enjoy snacks. Recommended for ages 13 and up.
Learn origami with the Paper Tiger Origami Club, meeting on the third Friday of each month. This month’s meeting will be on Nov. 16 from 4:30 to 5:30. No experience necessary.
The Monument Teen Creative Writing Group will meet from 6 to 7:30 on Tuesday, Nov. 6 in the study room. Meet fellow writers, share ideas, do writing exercises, and enjoy snacks.
Celebrate International Games Week on Wednesday, Nov. 7 from 4 to 5:30 by making your own DIY checker or chess set. Alternatively, you can make a wallet out of playing cards or play board or card games with us. No registration required.
The Teen Arts and Crafts project from 4 to 5:30 on Nov. 14 will be a book craft. We’ll be making boxes out of destroyed/damaged books. Bring a book of your own or use one of ours. Open to ages 9 to 18. All materials will be provided and registration is required.
Come to the study room every Wednesday at 3 for Intergenerational Knitting. Some practice materials are provided or bring your own project. Some instruction provided for those new to the craft.
See above for descriptions of Coloring for Everyone, Intergenerational Knitting, and the Paper Tiger Origami Club.
The Life Circles writing group meets at 9:30 on the first and third Monday of the month to write memories of life experiences. This supportive group helps provide the discipline and structure to accomplish your goals.
The Monumental Bookworms book club will meet from 7 to 8:30 on Tuesday, Nov. 13 to discuss The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck. All are welcome to attend and no registration is necessary.
The Palmer Lake Art Group will offer a free drawing class from 1 to 3 on Thursday, Nov. 15. Bring your own paper and supplies, but pencils will be provided. Registration is required.
The Monumental Readers will meet from 10 to noon on Friday, Nov. 16 to discuss The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. All are welcome to attend and no registration is necessary.
Regularly occurring adult programs include Socrates Café on Tuesdays from 1 to 3, Senior Chats on Wednesdays from 10 to noon, and History Buffs on the fourth Wednesday of the month from 1:30 to 3.
Palmer Lake Library Events
The Palmer Lake Book Group meets at 9 a.m. on the first Friday of each month. Please call 481-2587 for the latest selection.
Story Times are each Wednesday at 10:30, and Toddler Time is each Friday at 10:30.
Lego Build will now be on the third Thursday of each month from 4 to 5. This month’s fun is on Thursday, Nov. 15. Duplos are provided for younger builders.
November’s Family Fun event is at 10:30 on Saturday, Nov. 17. Take a Trip to Mexico!
Come to the library to play games, make art, and try a new treat from a different culture.
Please note that all Pikes Peak Library District facilities will close at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 21 and will remain closed on Thursday, Nov. 22 in observance of Thanksgiving.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at email@example.com.
By Sigi Walker
The Palmer Lake Historical Society’s "Third Thursday Monthly History Series" program in October featured a showing of local filmmaker Jim Sawatzki’s Above and Beyond: A Hero’s Story. The film is an interview with U.S. Air Force Academy janitor and Medal of Honor winner Sgt. William J. "Bill" Crawford.
Crawford was raised in Pueblo by relatives after the death of his mother, became a Golden Gloves champion in high school, and then enlisted in World War II. In the film, he recounts his World War II experiences. 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. His actions saved the lives of his platoon. Shortly thereafter he was captured by the Germans and endured a 500-mile march to Germany from Italy. He was a POW until being liberated by American forces.
After the war, Crawford was stationed at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs. But he made his home in Palmer Lake, where on nine acres he could raise chickens, have a cow or a horse, and a garden. Active in the community, he served at various times as director of the Lucretia Vaile Museum, president of the Palmer Lake Historical Society, a Yule Log lighter, an election judge, superintendent of Sunday School at the Little Log Church, and a member of the Kiwanis Club. The municipalities of Pueblo, Colorado Springs, and Palmer Lake have all honored Crawford with memorials or by naming a veterans’ support center in his honor.
The film was followed by the opening of the special World War I Exhibit in the Society’s Lucretia Vaile Museum. WWI was known as The War to End All Wars. The exhibit commemorates the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day—the end of fighting—on Nov. 11, 1918; it showcases artwork, postcards, circa 1918 posters, photographs, and a complete uniform. Meet 2nd Lt. Rogers M. McDonough on his way to France in early 1918. Did you know? Eight million horses, burros, and donkeys were killed in WWI.
Caption: The Crawford memorial is located at the north end of the lake (Palmer Lake). It underwent extensive renovation and was rededicated on Armistice Day on Nov. 11, 2017. The American Legion Post in Palmer Lake coordinated the renovation. Photo by Su Ketchmark.
Mark your calendars for Thursday, Nov. 15, for the next monthly history series program. Continuing the WWI theme, Dr. Charles D. Dusch Jr., acting command historian of the U.S. Air Force Academy, will tell the story of WWI flying ace Jerry Cox Vasconcells of Denver and the significant contributions he made to commercial aviation in Denver. Venue is the Palmer Lake Town Hall, 28 Valley Crescent St. The event is free and open to all.
By Elizabeth Hacker
Recently, Beth Courrau sent me two photos and a video of a great horned owl she took in her back yard. She wondered if it could be the same one that was there last year, and since owls establish a territory, it very well may be.
Here are a few interesting facts about this fascinating bird. Those horns are really just feathers that help the owl to precisely locate its prey. The owl can move them in the location of the faintest sound and funnel the sound to its ears that are asymmetrically located on the side of its head.
If you were to look into an owl’s ear, you could see the back of its eyeball. Owls eyes are fixed into sockets and can’t move so they must rotate their heads, up to 180 degrees, to see in different directions.
It’s too bad that Beth’s video can’t accompany these photos because this owl was being harassed by a jay and hooting loudly in annoyance, but the expression on its face says it all.
The great horned owl is the most common owl found on the Palmer Divide, but there are other owls here including the barn owl, barred owl, Western screech owl, and occasionally a flammulated owl.
Caption: Great horned owl expressing its annoyance. Photo by Beth Courrau.
Readers are invited to send their bird stories and photos.
Elizabeth Hacker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Janet Sellers
I have a confession to make. I was such a lazy gardener, I didn’t put the garden to bed. That sounds horrible, but the good news is the garden soil is fine. I was trying to maximize seeds from the plants in the beds, aging as long as possible, but I was saddened by the freeze-dried plants left after the frosty weather. This made swift work of the bed clearing, the compost pile is the richer for it, and we did get some kale and spinach for a few more suppers.
To add fallen leaves from our yards help aerate the soil, just mow over them into the lawn or rake into garden beds and till them in. Last year the soil was not as fluffy as previous years with leaf donations to mix in. I’ve still got to go out to the alpaca farm and get the "llama beans," which are pure black gold for the garden, and free!
I harvested the last of the cherry tomatoes from their pots, and it’s already time to plant tomatoes again—they can take four to six months to begin making fruit, so November is not unreasonable to start them. I plant a slice or whole tomato of a variety that I like a half inch into the soil in a pot indoors and in a month or two, some shoots poke out their heads. The plants start easily indoors and will need a sunny window. If they get leggy, gently wind the plant in a circle at soil level and cover with soil. Tomatoes root any place they touch soil, and this will strengthen the plant foundation.
Indoor windowsill plants that overwinter well include geraniums (I need to prune mine to get them bushy and not leggy, then root cut stems for new plants), cherry tomatoes (yes, they are perennials), and greens such as chard, kale, spinach, and lettuces.
It’s also time to pop the amaryllis bulbs into pots and soil, as well as jonquil family plants such as narcissus. Orchids rebloom using windowsill tricks—a change of temperature of about 15-20 degrees at night stimulates blooms on the stems; put them near window panes for cold night air. Add a teaspoon of each of these: crushed/powdered dried banana peels and eggshells and water as usual. These provide nutrients to all the indoor plants mentioned here and support blooms.
Janet Sellers is an avid gardener and ethnoecologist, finding ways of nature for gardening the fun, lazy, natural way. Reach her at email@example.com.
By Janet Sellers
"I grew up an artist, an athlete, and a musician; studying piano, playing basketball, and pursuing art.... I wouldn’t be where I am today if not for that."—Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia
Joe Gebbia is co-founder of Airbnb. It might come as a surprise that he believes that his ability to visualize his success for his endeavors goes all the way back to making things and making things happen as a kid, and he credits his training in art and design since middle and high school days to his being prepared to be an entrepreneur. His childhood art classes also paved the way for his college scholarships.
Perhaps it is the dauntless vision, enthusiasm, and creativity that artists hold in their heart, but it’s very likely the artist’s ability to imagine, create, and see a project through that allows an entrepreneur such as Gebbia to push through the hard times and thrive. An artist must see their project through from a blank canvas or a blank business spreadsheet to the fulfilled creation. Gebbia holds fast to that ideal and has stated that his business success—often against the grain of common business advice—boils down to his artist’s mind and heart.
Gebbia may have created the first Pop-up shop or Maker shop while in college. He designed a cushion for artists for the hard metal seats of design school and was able to get the product made and in stock in record time for his class graduation date. His was a small-business Maker shop version of what can pop up and be on time, on a budget.
Even his concept of Airbnb came from that basis of small business. He started by renting out his living room with an air bed mattress for bed-and-breakfast guests, which helped him pay the rent for his apartment. The result? After a $1 billion funding round from notable venture capital firms, Airbnb is valued at roughly $24 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal. CNN Money reports the financing round was actually $1.5 billion and gives the company a valuation of $25 billion.
Art classes make great gifts for anybody, so keep that in mind via art class gift certificates. And for artists and art buyers—anyone with walls—the proverbial holiday season is here—are you ready? It is high season for the year, this fourth quarter of finances, and it is the highest art-selling season of the year. We just finished October Arts Month here in the Pikes Peak region as a jumpstart to the art-selling season for 2018. Both online and brick-and-mortar art venues cycle up with inventory and media awareness to optimize their customer engagement for the next month to six weeks.
A holiday gift buyers’ paradise? There are Small Business Saturday (Nov. 24) local venues and Pop-up and Maker shops here in our town, Historic Monument, and in the OCN readership area. Check Facebook for "Local Pop-up holiday shops" and artsy Maker shops on Facebook. Be sure to check often as pop ups list their dates at the last minute, true to their name.
Janet Sellers is an award-winning local artist, writer, and teacher living in Woodmoor and teaching in Woodmoor and Fox Run Park area studios. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Community stands together
Caption: Over a hundred people from the Tri-Lakes area attended a candlelight vigil Oct. 20 at Limbach Park in Monument to support each other after the deaths of two local students. School District 38 has offered resources for students who would like to reach out to counselors for help. One of those is the "Below the Surface Campaign" which offers a free, confidential text line to help teens. Teenagers who are struggling can text "TALK" to 38255 and get help 24/7 from trained counselors. More resources are available at www.lewispalmer.org/domain/131. Photo by Jackie Burhans.
RMMA concert, Sep. 1
Caption: The Rocky Mountain Music Alliance created a magical evening of music for a full house at its new venue, The Church at Woodmoor, during its first-of-the-season concert on Sept. 1. The setting sun magnified the ambience and the beauty of the works of Mozart, Ibert, and Mendelssohn. The musicians, flautist Aaron Purdue, violinist Geoffrey Herd, pianist Dr. Zahari Metchkov, violist Ekaterina Dobrotvorskaia, and cellist Max Geissler animated the chamber pieces with exceptional skill. Pictured are violinist Geoffrey Herd, pianist Dr. Zahari Metchkov, violist Ekaterina Dobrotvorskaia and cellist Max Geissler while they perform Mozart’s Piano Quartet No. 1 in G minor. The next concert is scheduled for Jan. 19, 2019. For information see http://rmmaconcerts.org. Photo by Coleen Abeyta.
Mountain Biking Day, Oct. 6
Caption: Moms, dads, and children of varying ages defied dramatically lowered temperatures on Oct. 6 to learn about and experience mountain biking at the National Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day event at Fox Run Park, sponsored by Café Velo Bike Shop. Bikers first practiced trail skills by riding on rougher grass and dirt terrain and making sharp turns. They also received instruction about right-of-way, good trail etiquette, respect for animals, trail speed and "know where you go" planning before riding in new territory. Once the practice session wrapped up, a contingent of about 25 kids and adults rode off into the morning’s mist to enjoy Fox Run’s trails. Pictured, Madisson Chenevert easily maneuvers her bike through practice cones that help kids get accustomed to the challenges posed by mountain biking. Photo by Jennifer Kaylor.
Senior Center art show, Oct. 7
Caption: The Tri-Lakes Silver Alliance Senior Center hosted an art show and fair on Oct. 7 at the Senior Center. The senior citizen artists greeted the public with their art in the salon style filling the hall, and refreshments and fun prizes for games were available with purchased tickets as a fundraiser and was facilitated by Lewis-Palmer High School civics class volunteers. Photo by Janet Sellers.
TLCA honors Ward, Sep. 22
Caption: TLCA Executive Director Michael Maddox presents a plaque to Kimberley Ward to acknowledge her initial and continuing support of the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA). TLCA celebrated 20 years and the initial and continuing support of Kimberley Ward on Sept. 22. Ward and her husband, Roger, moved to the Tri-Lakes area in 1998. While becoming familiar with the area with friend Jina Brenneman, they realized the community needed an art center. Kimberley ended up purchasing the Kaiser-Frazer building and then gifting it to the Tri-Lakes Center, as it was first known. With a grand opening on Aug. 8, 1998, the center initially focused on art education and classes for young students. Over the years it has evolved to concerts and art exhibits and has become influential in the community. The Wards said the TLCA has brought a "cultural change to the area with the help of hundreds." Merrill Austin, TLCA board chair, added that "the past 20 years have built for the next 20 years." Information on the nonprofit TLCA is at www.trilakesarts.org. Photo by David Futey.
PLAG Fair, Oct. 5
Caption: Artist Ermie Knoth, left, and local art patron Betty Konarski chat it up during the Palmer Lake Art Group’s 45th Annual Arts & Crafts Fair on Oct. 5-6 at the Palmer Lake Town Hall, Palmer Lake. Photo by Janet Sellers.
Palmer Lake .5K, Oct. 7
Caption: On Sunday, Oct. 7, a Palmer Lake tradition occurred. The fastest-growing and shortest running event in all of Colorado. Their annual .5k! Yes, you read that correctly, a .5 K! A fun excuse to eat donuts, and just have fun on a nice fall day. The event was a fundraiser for Awake Palmer Lake. At the event there was a donut break about half way in to boost your blood sugar if necessary, and a nice treat at the end when you finished. There was plenty of cool merchandise like T-shirts and .5k stickers. In my opinion, this event was quite enjoyable and I highly recommend it to anyone! Caption and photos by Monument Academy student Sean Perry.
WMMI Harvest Festival, Oct. 6
Caption: In the frosty weather of Saturday, Oct. 6, the Western Museum of Mining and Industry offered a fall harvest festival for all ages including a straw bale maze for tots, a large area pumpkin patch, a tractor-pulling hay ride, panning for gold, a tiny tot corn box play area, and more. Photo by Janet Sellers.
Candidate forum, Oct. 8
Caption: Three candidates vying for the seventh seat on the Monument Board of Trustees attended a forum on Oct. 8 sponsored by the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce. Ann Howe, Kenneth Kimple, and Jim Romanello gave opening statements and then answered prepared questions from moderator Evan Pappas of KOAA. All three wanted to see responsible growth in Monument and urged the trustees to show respect for one another. Current water issues were a main topic of discussion. Romanello, who has a financial background and community leadership experience, intends to bring improved communication and cooperation to the board. Kimple, a 30-year military veteran brings teamwork and leadership skills to the position. Howe, a risk manager and budget analyst, said she could cut spending to fund water projects and fill police vacancies. To see the forum, go to https://www.facebook.com/TriLakesChamberofCommerce and search their videos. Caption by John Howe and Allison Robenstein. Photo by John Howe.
WØTLM Tech Day, Oct. 13
Caption: Amateur radio operators Joyce Witte, left, and Cameron Todd practiced using handie-talkie (HT) portable radios as part of Tri-Lakes Monument Amateur Radio Association’s (WØTLM) free Tech Day on Oct. 13 at Black Forest Fire Station 1. Portable operations are just one of the ways hams can help out during emergencies. The club also conducts a weekly "neighborhood net" to provide an opportunity to actively practice formal net operations and procedures in preparation for emergency operations. All amateur radio operators are invited to check in or take a turn as "net control." It’s fun and great practice, and it could help with communications during a crisis in Monument, Palmer Lake, Black Forest, and Briargate. Information is available at w0tlm.com. Photo courtesy of Dan Oldfield, www.danoldfieldphotography.com.
Wescott Safety Fair, Oct. 13
Caption: The Donald Wescott Fire Protection District (DWFPD) firefighters welcomed visitors to tour Station 1 at their Fire Safety Open House on Oct. 13. Tours of the ladder truck were given by staff, and many enjoyed hearing how ladder truck 531 is used in various emergency situations. Pictured are JoAnn Watson and her grandchildren Cody, Liam, and Parker Watson with volunteer firefighters Ryan Gates and Justin Myers. Photo by Natalie Barszcz.
Empty Bowl, Oct. 10
Caption: Key Club members from Lewis-Palmer and Palmer Ridge High Schools get their pre-event briefing for the Empty Bowl Dinner and Silent Auction on Oct. 10 from Max Williams of the Monument Hill Kiwanis Club. Held annually since 1990, this event is one of a host of local Monument Hill Kiwanis service projects. Kiwanis Key Clubs are student-organized and student-led, serving their District 38 schools and communities. Kiwanis Service Leadership Clubs provide opportunities to learn leadership through service. Photo by Benny Nasser.
BBQ for first responders, Oct. 13
Caption: The Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) community service group hosted a barbecue Oct. 13 at the Family of Christ Lutheran Church for Tri-Lakes first responders and their family members. Over 100 local first responders from Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District, Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department, Donald Wescott Fire Protection District, Monument and Palmer Lake Police Departments, Woodmoor Public Safety, and UCHealth’s LifeLine crew attended. Pipe Major Sam Swancutt played Amazing Grace on the bagpipes during a minute of silence in remembrance of first responders who died in the line of duty. Gordon Reichal read the 911 prayer and thanked our brave first responders and their families for the immeasurable sacrifice and dedication to our community. Residents who either want to help RAK or ask for help can contact Melinda Reichal at 719-313-0688 or email@example.com. Photo by Natalie Barszcz.
Spirit Tree Tour, Oct. 13
Caption: Yogis got to experiment with the positive health effects of deliberate breathing techniques, and topical application of peppermint oil and black pepper oil, at a free aromatherapy yoga class taught by Angelina on Oct. 13 as part of the 2018 Spirit Tree Tour. Other events included art displays by Janet Sellers, Deb Bartos, and Terri Sanchez; studio class demonstrations; and a barbecue at Southwinds Studios. People also enjoyed a Spirit Tree Walk in Fox Run Park as John Anderson explained about Colorado’s culturally modified trees and introduced the Native American Sacred Trees and Places Association. Photo by Lisa Hatfield.
MSR Center Meeting, Oct. 16
Caption: The grassroots group Take Action El Paso County (TAEPC) held a community meeting Oct. 16 at the Woodmoor Barn to discuss the Mountain Springs Recovery (MSR) center to be built at the old Ramada Inn site. Group leaders reviewed the lack of government oversight of for-profit treatment centers that has led to addiction treatment fraud in which aggregated call centers broker for patients. Referencing a letter from the U.S. Congress Committee on Energy and Commerce that discusses these exploitive tactics, TAEPC members suggested that MSR, a subsidiary of Sunshine Behavioral Health, was involved in such schemes. The group showed a documentary that details this process and how those being treated for addiction, as well as their families, have been affected by this negligence. MSR was not represented at the meeting. Photo by Allison Robenstein.
Trunk or Treat, Oct. 26
Caption: Costumed kids and adults alike enjoyed going safely car to car for candy and treats at the annual Trunk or Treat event on Oct. 26, in the parking lot of St. Peter Catholic Church in Monument. Fancy vehicles included a family and car for All Souls Day/Dia de los Muertos, a fried-egg man serving candy from a giant toaster with pop-up toast, a real dentist offering toothbrushes along with candy, and a knee scooter carrying a costumed witch complete with broom. Photo by Janet Sellers.
Creepy Crawl, Oct. 27
Caption: A record 851 people registered for the annual Creepy Crawl race, including mostly costumed athletes, for the 5K and the free 1-mile Kids’ Monster Dash on Oct. 27, beginning at the Palmer Lake trailhead and going along the Santa Fe Trail, looping to Monument and back around Palmer Lake to the finish line. Proceeds will benefit the local community. Photo by Janet Sellers.
Gleneagle Renovation Project
Caption: Gleneagle resident and Life Scout Thomas Connell completed his Eagle Scout Project by renovating two community pavilions and six picnic tables. Thomas worked on the project definition with the Gleneagle Civic Association that oversees the Ray Berg Open Space on the former Gleneagle golf course. Thomas led 21 volunteers who completed most of the refurbishment work on Oct. 6. The work consisted of removing and replacing rotted wood, scraping and sanding all wood surfaces and then staining the wood. The six picnic tables were totally rebuilt using new wood and hardware. Most volunteers were members of Boy Scout Troop 62; the balance were local residents. Over 125 volunteer hours were required to complete the project. The project was completed for $706, which was 18 percent less than the estimate. Thomas presented a project completion summary to the Gleneagle Civic Association annual meeting on Oct. 18. Caption and photo by Mark Connell.
Benet Hill Concert, Oct. 28
Caption: Parish House Baroque, a quartet specializing in the music of the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries, played for a packed crowd Sunday afternoon at the Sisters of Benet Hill Monastery. The group is composed of, from left, artistic director and violinist Elisa Wicks, Eric Wicks on harpsichord, Jennifer Carpenter on recorder, and cellist Pam Chaddon. They played music from the baroque era when musicians began to understand music is a powerful communication tool, capable of changing the mood of its listener. The selection of composers the group played for the crowd came from Poland, Mexico, Czechoslovakia, Sweden, Spain, and the Netherlands. Photo by Gina Berger.
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.
Adopt-a-Family or Adopt-a-Senior for the Holidays, register by Nov. 5
Many children and seniors in our area would not have holiday gifts without the generous support of our Tri-Lakes community. To adopt a family or a senior to provide them with gifts this holiday season, contact Paula Blair, 481-4864, ext. 112; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Safety Improvement Project temporarily closes Monument Hill Road
El Paso County Public Works is constructing safety and drainage improvements along the southern portion of Monument Hill Road, including construction of a "free right," improvements to drainage along Crystal Creek, and road reconstruction. The road will be closed from the intersection of Woodmoor Road to the south entrance of the Monument Hill Church. Work will extend into early February 2019. During the closure, Woodmoor Drive and Deer Creek Road will serve as the detour route for access to the northern portion of Monument Hill Road and Palmer Ridge High School. These are lower-speed roads, and drivers are encouraged to take alternate routes during construction. Drivers who need to use the detour routes should plan for added travel time through this area. For more information and questions, email email@example.com or visit www.elpasoco.com. See BOCC article.
MVEA Christmas Light Roundup, Nov. 1-Jan. 31
Mountain View Electric Association (MVEA) wants to help you make the energy efficiency switch this holiday season! Drop off your incandescent C7 and C9 light strands at an MVEA office and receive a $5 per strand bill credit on up to 10 strands per MVEA member. You could earn up to a $50 credit on your next electric bill. C7 bulbs measure over 2 inches, while C9 bulbs are just under 3 inches, base to tip. These are the large, traditional Christmas lights. The Monument MVEA office is at 15706 Jackson Creek Parkway, Ste. 100. For more information, phone 800- 388-9881. See ad on page 15.
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.firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Prescription drug drop box
The Monument Police Department, 645 Beacon Lite Rd., has a secure green drop box to safely dispose of medications so the drugs are not stolen, lost, or misused. The drop box is open Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Accepted items include prescription and over-the-counter drugs, opioid painkillers, tranquilizers, anti-depressants, vitamins, heart medicine, liquid medications (sealed in original container), prescription patches, medicated ointments, and veterinary prescriptions. Labels can stay on the containers since all are incinerated. No chemo drugs, marijuana, illegal drugs, or sharps can be accepted. For more information, call the Monument Police, 481-3253, or visit http://Takemedsback.org.
Help for heating billsThe Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) is a federally funded program that provides cash assistance to help families and individuals pay a portion of winter home heating costs. The eligibility period for LEAP runs Nov. 1-April 30. Application packets will automatically be mailed to residents who received LEAP assistance last year at the address where they were living at that time. To find out if you qualify for LEAP, call 1-866 HEAT-HELP (866-432-8435) or visit www.colorado.gov/cdhs/leap.
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, email@example.com.
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.
Kiwanis Holiday Bell Ringing, Nov. 23-Dec. 24
Look for Kiwanis members and volunteers ringing the holiday bell for Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign at Monument King Soopers, Safeway, and Walmart Nov. 23-Dec. 24, 11a.m.-6 p.m. All proceeds go to Salvation Army in El Paso County. For more information about Kiwanis, visit https://monumenthillkiwanis.org/mh,
By Judy Barnes, Community Calendar Editor
Although we strive for accuracy in these listings, dates or times are often changed after publication. Please double-check the time and place of any event you wish to attend by calling the info number for that event.
LOCAL LIBRARY EVENTS
All Pikes Peak Library District facilities will close at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 21 and will remain closed on Thursday, Nov. 22 in observance of Thanksgiving.
For information on library events, see the library events column on page 24 and visit www.ppld.org.
WEEKLY & MONTHLY EVENTS
Our community calendar carries listings on a space-available basis for Tri-Lakes events that are sponsored by local governmental entities and not-for-profit organizations. We include events that are open to the general public and are not religious or self-promotional in nature. If space is available, complimentary calendar listings are included, when requested, for events advertised in the current issue. To have your event listed at no charge in Our Community Calendar, please call (719) 339-7831 or send the information to 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 March 02, 2018. Home page: www.ocn.me.
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