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By Harriet Halbig
Board Secretary Sarah Sampayo resigned her position and Superintendent Karen Brofft’s contract was extended during the April 19 meeting of the Lewis-Palmer D-38 Board of Education. The board also voted to confirm CRP Architects as the designer of the proposed new school.
Sampayo did not attend this meeting.
Board Treasurer Chris Taylor stated during board members’ comments that, although he has enjoyed his tenure on the board, there is a partisan split that is divisive and inappropriate.
Later in the meeting, Taylor said that he and board Vice President Tiffiney Upchurch were invited by Sampayo to attend a meeting at the office of Paul Lundeen, a Republican state representative, where they were approached by attorneys and others of the Republican Party and asked to support that party’s preferences in their capacity as board members and essentially "take over" the board. Lundeen left the room before the discussion began. The meeting was held after the election but before the swearing in of the new members.
Board President Matthew Clawson and Director Mark Pfoff were not invited to the meeting.
Taylor said that the meeting made him very uncomfortable, because he understood the board of education to be a nonpartisan body and that, once elected, members would serve independently, basing their actions on facts only. He decided at that point not to support Sampayo as the new board president. Upchurch agreed that the gathering was inappropriate.
When Sampayo later asked Taylor why he had a change of heart, he said that he was elected to serve the entire community and felt that Sampayo had surrendered her independent judgment to a special interest group
Although not yet sworn members of the board, if three elected members were present in such a meeting, the meeting should be announced and open to the public, Taylor said.
At a second meeting a week later, Taylor said that he intended to serve independently according to the code of ethics in board policy BCA-E1.
Taylor also cited a number of other policies such as BAA, under which the board and superintendent would share a positive approach in discussions and have an open and cooperative atmosphere in their interactions, not publically criticize one another.
Further, the code of ethics requires that the board function as a board only in public sessions and no single member may take action that would compromise the board. Board members are also required to attend all meetings.
Taylor said that Sampayo, in an executive session, accused the board of noncompliance with state sunshine laws by not disclosing all subjects of discussion in executive session. Subsequently, aspects of discussions in executive session appeared in social media. Taylor said that trust within the board and those few individuals invited to attend these sessions (usually Superintendent Karen Brofft and Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Wangeman) is critical.
Upchurch agreed that she and Taylor did not violate any laws by attending the meeting, and that they speak and think for themselves. She said she has also met with Democrats and other groups.
There has since been a Colorado Open Records Act request for recordings of the pertinent executive session. Clawson said that he did not favor providing such recordings without advice of counsel not present at the session.
Pfoff said that there are two concerns to be addressed, one that the board was accused of violating sunshine laws and the other concerning leaking of executive session discussions.
Taylor cited the policy regarding policy violations (BAA-R), which instructs the board to discuss the violation with the individual. If that doesn’t prove satisfactory, the board president will have a discussion with the individual. If that still does not produce results, there can be a public censure of the individual, which occurred at this board meeting.
Pfoff said that in his 10 years on the board, he has not encountered a similar situation.
To view the quoted policies, please see www.lewispalmer.org/domain/545. Board policies are in section B.
At the end of the meeting, Clawson said that he received an email from Sampayo stating that she resigned her position.
Extension of Brofft contract
Brofft recently applied for the position of superintendent of schools in Douglas County. She had worked in that county for many years prior to coming to D-38.
Pfoff commented that District 38 "dodged a bullet" when she was not chosen for the position.
In response, the board voted to have a new contract with Brofft from July 2018 to June 2021. If Brofft remains in her position until June 2021, she will receive s $60,000 bonus.
If she were to leave before that date, the board would provide a severance payment at the end of the term or 12 months’ salary, whichever is less.
The contract may be viewed on the district website under Board of Education, meetings, http://boarddocs.com.
Safety and Security update
Wangeman said the board has received a compilation of the votes cast at D-38 Deliberates regarding priorities among those attending. The priorities were the hiring of counselors, then installation of security vestibules, followed by security dogs and cameras.
Brofft stressed that the counselors referred to are social work counselors rather than academic counselors.
Among the safety features requested are 12 counselors (no funds available), additional armed security personnel (one in each elementary, middle and high school), and gun-sniffing dogs. Because these items are recurring costs rather than capital investments, a mill levy override (MLO) would be required to fund them. The total cost would be $1.119 million.
Other safety-related items discussed during the meeting included the Safe 2 Tell program, which allows individuals to anonymously report concerns. In this program, each call is answered by an individual and immediately reported to the Sheriff’s Office. In its most current form, the program also allows texts and photos to be transmitted. Susan Payne, founder of the program, said that there was a large spike in reporting following the Florida school shooting as people realized how important it is to report suspicions.
Assistant Principal Bridget O’Connor of Lewis-Palmer High School gave a demonstration of student interactions as part of the Sources of Strength program, encouraging mutual support among students and urging them to reach out to all segments of the student body. For further details on the program, please see the District Accountability Advisory Committee article in the March issue at http://www.ocn.me/v18n3.htm#daac.
Designer for new school approved
Taylor, as board liaison to the facilities planning process, reported on the number of additional student seats needed. The middle school is at capacity. When Monument Academy expands in 2020, that would free some capacity.
The board voted to confirm CRP Architects as the designer for a new school in Jackson Creek. The firm, one of seven considered, thinks it may be possible to have such a school ready for occupancy in fall 2019. Taylor said the district must consider costs and timelines for the school, recognizing that the longer the district waits to build it, the more expensive it will be.
A cost summary for the new school totals $30.54 million. The design advisory leadership for the new school would be Bear Creek Elementary Principal Peggy Parsley and Lewis-Palmer Middle School Principal Seann O’Connor. Taylor said that he hoped to see a preliminary design at the May board meeting.
When combining this estimate with safety and security costs and maintenance at other locations, additional resources for STEM and STEAM, and the construction of a central preschool facility, a total of $45.09 million would be requested for a bond.
Pfoff expressed concern at the amount requested, as did Taylor and Upchurch. They wished to see more specific information and were concerned that the process is proceeding more slowly than anticipated.
Brofft said that this estimate would be used for polling purposes to get the public’s opinion on what is acceptable and what priorities should be determined.
Taylor said that he was concerned that this proposal does not include a second school, meaning that the district may have to put forth another bond in a few years.
Brofft said that the board voted a few months earlier to let the superintendent and administration proceed with preparing to have a bond issue on the November ballot, and polling was a part of this process. She offered to show members what such a poll would look like.
Cash in lieu of land discussion
Wangeman reported that the district receives a specific dollar amount from developers for each home completed. In Palmer Lake and Monument, this amount is $1,350 per unit. In the county it is $308. She anticipates a total of $1 million in this account at the end of this year. The funds are in the Building Reserves Fund, which is used for land and capital needs.
Wangeman said that during the recession some funds from this account were used for capital improvements, but no withdrawals have been made since the 2015-16 school year.
The board had a brief discussion about policies regarding students in foster care, public participation in board meetings not requiring the individual provide an address, and recommended changes from the Colorado Association of School Boards.
School and student recognitions
Brofft presented the Inez Lewis Award to representatives of Lewis-Palmer Elementary and Palmer Lake Elementary Schools. This award recognizes an improvement of 10 percentage points in math or English language arts over the period of a year.
Palmer Ridge High School Athletic Director Lance McCorkle introduced Gatorade Football Player of the Year Ty Evans and said that Evans had won a Spotlight Grant Essay of the Year contest and awarded the $10,000 prize to the Tri-Lakes Y.
The Lewis-Palmer D-38 Board of Education meets at 6 pm. on the third Thursday of each month at the district’s Learning Center, 146 Jefferson St., Monument. The next meeting will be on May 17.
Harriet Halbig may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By James Howald
On April 12, the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD) developed plans for a new well to serve district customers, discussed transitioning the district to a four-day work week, accepted an application from a resident interested in filing the open board seat, considered a request from two customers to waive fees related to ponds on their properties, and heard operational reports from district staff.
Well 21 to be drilled in Misty Acres
After a presentation from consultant Dan Niemela of Bishop Brogden Associates Inc., the WWSD board voted to proceed with the drilling of a new well at Alexandria Drive and Hammock Oaks Court in the Misty Acres subdivision.
District Manager Jessie Shaffer told the board that it had been 10 years since the district last drilled a well.
Niemela said the new well, Well 21, would be drilled into the Arapahoe aquifer, since it is the most productive water source, and that his calculations showed that the district could expect the well to provide 250 to 300 gallons per minute when completed, if all goes well. He said the well would be drilled to a depth of 2,300 feet.
Niemela told the board that overall, water levels are declining while demand continues to increase, and that with the district’s current wells, demand will likely exceed supply in 2019. Wells 11 and 12 have been in operation for almost 30 years and are less productive than when they were first drilled, according to Niemela.
Two drilling companies had provided cost estimates for the drilling work to WWSD, Niemela said: Hydro Resources estimated the well would cost $884,715, or $385 per foot to drill, and Layne Christensen estimated a cost of $1.02 million, or $443 per foot. The new tariffs on imported steel imposed by the Trump administration raised the cost of the well casings required for the project by about 40 percent, and these new costs had been factored into the estimates, Niemela said.
The location chosen for the well is sloped, treed, and near residences, according to Niemela, and those factors added to the cost of the project.
Niemela told the board he expected the drilling to take about 12 weeks in all, with three weeks to be spent in permitting issues, two weeks on site preparation, three to four weeks on drilling and construction, one week on testing, and one week on site remediation. The well should be complete by mid-July, Niemela said.
The drilling must be done around the clock until complete, Niemela said, to prevent the well shaft from collapsing. Disturbances from generators and other machinery, from lighting, from heavy vehicle traffic at the site and from well discharge are inevitable, he said. To mitigate these impacts, 16-foot sound barriers would be built, and materials would be staged during daylight hours as much as possible.
Shaffer said that in addition to the construction at the well site, a pipeline would have to be installed to transport the water from the new well to a processing facility, and residents in the pipeline corridor would be notified. In response to a question from board member Brian Bush, Shaffer said meetings with nearby residents were planned, and that there were funds in the project’s budget to provide hotel accommodations to those most severely affected.
Shaffer added that the total budget for the project was $2 million, and that he recommended that the board award the drilling contract to Hydro Resources.
The board voted unanimously to proceed with the project as recommended by Shaffer.
Four-day workweek debated
Shaffer told the board that he had been requested by district staff to investigate the possibility of going to a four-day workweek, which would mean the district would be closed on Friday through Sunday, and that staff would work 10-hour days from Monday through Thursday. Shaffer said he was also considering a schedule based on nine-hour days, with Fridays off on a staggered schedule.
Bush brought up concerns with the impact a four-day work week would have on the quality of customer service and asked if the longer work days would reduce efficiency. He said once the schedule change was made, it would be difficult to rescind if it did not work out.
Board member Tommy Schwab said a longer work day could reduce the safety of operations.
The board authorized Shaffer to continue investigating the schedule issue.
Resident applies for open seat on board
During public comments, Tom Roddam gave the board his resume and told them he was interested in filling the vacant seat on the board.
Pond owners request fees to be waived
Larry Howard and Marcus Cary, two district customers who have ponds on their properties, asked the board to waive fees related to receiving augmented water for their ponds. The additional water service is required to offset evaporation from the ponds, Shaffer said. Both Howard and Cary said they were willing to pay the cost of the additional water if the fees could be waived.
The fees amounted to about $9,000, Howard and Cary said. The yearly costs for the augmented water are about $500 per property, according to Shaffer.
Bush said he was willing to waive the fee, which is designed to discourage excessive, unplanned water use.
After a discussion of the issue in executive session, the board voted unanimously to waive the augmentation fee, but to require the two homeowners to pay the cost of the additional water.
Operational report highlights
• In the report on the Joint Use Committee, which manages the water processing facility shared by WWSD, the Monument Sanitation District, and Palmer Lake Sanitation District, board member Rich Strom said the committee was going to increase the frequency of testing for phosphorus levels in the effluent from the facility, and that long-term allocation of costs was still being discussed.
• In the Chilcott Ditch report, Shaffer said that the ditch shareholders held a meeting to address the issue of erosion, which is threatening the ditch’s augmentation station, and had voted to proceed with the plan from Matrix Design, which is engineered to keep the station secure in the event of a 100-year flood event. The shareholders and WWSD had considered designs engineered for lesser flood events but had concluded those plans were too risky, according to Shaffer. The Chilcott Ditch transports water owned by WWSD from Fountain Creek to the Calhan Reservoir on Woodmoor Ranch (previously called JV Ranch). http://fountainmutual.com/map-of-chilcott-ditch.html
• In the manager’s report, Assistant District Manager Randy Gillette addressed the issue of unbilled water—that is, water that is going through the system but is not appearing on customer bills. Gillette said he is testing to determine if the cause is faulty water meters or if there are leaks in the system. His team has searched for but has not found significant leaks, so he is moving ahead with testing water meters, many of which are at the end of their duty cycle.
The next meeting is scheduled for May 10 at 1 p.m. Meetings are usually held at the district office at 1845 Woodmoor Drive on the second Thursday of each month at 1 p.m. See www.woodmoorwater.com or call 488-2525 to verify meeting times.
James Howald can be reached at email@example.com.
To identify your fire district, see fire protection district maps at www.ocn.me/fireprotectiondistricts.pdf.
Donald Wescott Fire Protection district residents who wish to vote must personally visit the Wescott polling place at Station 1, 15415 Gleneagle Drive, Colorado Springs. See DWFPD candidate statements posted at www.ocn.me/v18n4.htm#dwfpdcandidates.
Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District residents who wish to vote must personally visit the district office, 16055 Old Forest Point, Suite 103, Monument. See TLMFPD candidate statements posted at www.ocn.me/v18n4.htm#tlmfpd-candidates.
On May 8, the polling place hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. for both districts.
By Harriet Halbig
The Board of Education of Lewis-Palmer D-38 discussed growth and facilities planning, board goals, and some policies at its special meeting on April 9.
Board Secretary Sarah Sampayo was absent.
Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Wangeman explained the process whereby CRP Architects was chosen as the firm to do the design work for the district’s proposed school(s). One of eight firms examined, CRP consistently scored highest in points. The firm’s acquaintance with the district and its needs played a part in the decision. The decision was made on April 3, and the selection will be confirmed by the board at its regular meeting on April 17.
CRP representative Brian Risley said that the architect who worked on Creekside Middle School (now Bear Creek Elementary) is still with the firm. This individual is very familiar with the infrastructure on the site, where an elementary was planned from the beginning.
Risley suggested that some design work could be initiated immediately to make it possible to begin construction as soon as the proposed bond issue passes in November, and it may be possible to have the school ready for use in fall 2019.
Risley and Wangeman presented preliminary figures on the cost of the school, for safety and security improvements at all campuses and some deferred maintenance. Wangeman pointed out that CRP worked with RTA during the long-term facilities planning process, developing a prioritized list of needs for each campus. Among the concerns in prioritizing the deferred maintenance projects was a consideration of the lifetime of the project.
Risley commented that among the considerations in this process was determining which improvements are necessary to meet building codes and which were niceties. In each case, principals were consulted as part of the discussions.
Treasurer Chris Taylor and Director Mark Pfoff commented that previous discussions mentioned two new elementary schools. Taylor commented that there is no question that there is a capacity problem at the middle school level.
Risley agreed and said that, due to the data available, it should not be difficult to convince the public of the need for the school at Jackson Creek.
Pfoff expressed confidence that such a bond would pass if the public was made aware of the data.
Superintendent Karen Brofft said that previous discussions included the options of building one school now and seeking a second bond later, building both schools at once, and seeking a bond that would fund both schools, but building them one after the other.
Risley said that construction costs are rising at the rate of 6 to 8 percent a year.
The board further discussed how to present the information to the public and whether to seek a separate mill levy override (MLO) to cover the cost of such safety and security investments as additional armed personnel, gun-sniffing dogs, and other recurring expenses.
Pfoff said that at the April 17 board meeting, the board should have the data necessary to vote on the deferred maintenance costs and a new school at Jackson Creek.
Risley said that, at present, he estimates the cost of the new school would be $28.6 million. With the additional cost of deferred maintenance and safety and security capital improvements, the amount of the bond would approach $45 million. Wangeman said that the planning committee also recommended updating STEM and STEAM resources as part of the bond.
Pfoff recommended a conservative 10-year MLO to cover only security.
Taylor said that he would like to determine how strongly the community supports an investment in security. Brofft said that the upcoming D-38 Deliberates session the following week should give an idea of public interest.
There was discussion on whether to separate the MLO and bond. Pfoff said that if the bond passes and not the MLO, the district may be able to absorb the difference.
Taylor said it may be a mistake to spend on security in the bond while not funding the personnel. Brofft responded that money spent on capital improvements would not be wasted.
Pfoff said that his interest in security is strong enough that he would recommend funding the gun-sniffing dogs prior to the bond.
Board of Education goals
Taylor led a discussion on goals for the board to include engagement in long-range planning, a commitment to policy development, engagement of the community, and other suggestions.
He recommended that the board continuously evaluate its success in moving forward. He would like to finalize the list of goals and place them on the district website.
There followed a discussion of board goals versus superintendent goals. It was agreed that the superintendent goals should be compatible with those of the board. Brofft said that sometimes during board comments it seems as though the board wants to delve into the details of district administration. Although she agrees that the board and superintendent should hold one another accountable, it need not appear on the agenda.
Pfoff said that he felt board members were using their comments for the wrong reasons and suggested that they be limited in time.
Taylor agreed but asked for an exception at the April 19 meeting so that he could talk about Sampayo’s leaking of confidential matters and sunshine laws. He said that the discussion could not be held at this special meeting because it was not being recorded.
Wangeman said that a primary consideration in the budgeting process is compensation.
Taylor asked about the site-based budgeting model.
Wangeman said that each campus is allotted a certain amount of money. This is not based on a per pupil amount, as the compensation for teachers varies according to their experience.
The board briefly discussed the policy requiring individuals to state their addresses during public comments. They considered asking people to put their email on the signup sheet so there could be feedback, but it was decided that they did not want to be obligated to respond.
The board went into executive session to discuss the lease and sale of real property.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jackie Burhans
The Monument Academy (MA) School Board met on April 12 to revise board policies and approve the 2018-19 budget. Board member Julie Galusky was absent.
Board policy revisions
The following policies were reviewed, discussed and unanimously approved by the board:
• 1501ES and 1501 MS Uniform Policy—Executive Director Don Griffin noted that the school deans looked to simplify the policy and get to a uniform enforcement of the policy, so they pulled together a representative parents group. The result is much simpler, with fewer choices in elementary school and incorporation of house colors for middle school. This replaces the previous, single policy 1501. They also incorporated Spirit Wear into the policy to drive business to the PTO website. MA plans to roll out a communication plan before beginning enforcement.
• 1516 Personal & Property Search Policy—Minor changes have been made to include the deans. Griffin noted that MA has a very tested procedure that is very cautious. No one searches purses, backpacks, or lockers by themselves; most of the times it does not involve teachers. He noted that, under state statute, there is no expectation of privacy for lockers, etc., which is made clear in the handbook. Griffin noted that extensive revision will be needed when the high school is opened due the different nature of car searches and dealing with students over age18.
• 1522 Donations to MA Policy—When MA started, the board originally published a detailed list of clubs and activities that could take donations in order to encourage parents to donate. As a 501(c)(3) organization, MA can receive donations, so the recommendation is to rescind this policy and simply follow operational policies.
Board polices can be read at http://bit.ly/ma-bd-policies.
Director of Finance Nancy Tive noted that per pupil revenue (PPR) might rise, but MA doesn’t have a final number. MA is using the current student count and the PPR on the Colorado Department of Education website for the current budget. The current PPR is about $360 higher for the coming year, but rumors are that it may increase again. The final numbers will be available in November. The budget was due to the district on April 15.
Tive noted there is an across-the-board 3 percent salary increase in the budget; the contribution percentage to the Public Employees’ Retirement Association (PERA) hasn’t been changed. There are rumors that PERA would like to have employers pay more, but the state might be bailing it out. MA increased insurance 3 percent for property insurance, but workers compensation is down by a couple of thousand dollars, she said. MA doesn’t yet have the health insurance numbers, so it is guessing on the numbers. Griffin noted that MA is looking at another insurance product that may cap its exposure.
The board unanimously approved the 2018-19 budget.
The following items were highlighted at the board meeting:
• The second annual Grandparents’ Day had over 500 attendees and raised over $4,000. Kids used their iPads to record what grandkids call their grandparents and played the video at the event.
• The Eighth Grade graduation ceremony will be held on May 18 at the Springs Church (formerly the Phil Long Expo Center).
• LED lights are replacing existing lights both indoors and outdoors, with outdoor lights expected to be 12 times brighter. The LED lights have an 11-year guarantee and are expected to pay for themselves in 18 months.
• Principal Elizabeth Davis highlighted non-academic extracurricular activities as an integral part of the student’s experience at MA. Beyond athletics, MA has a chess club and participates in Odyssey of the Mind, Match Wits, and Battle of the Books. Board President Scott Saunders noted how much better extracurriculars are than they were in past years.
The next meeting will be on Thursday, May 10 at the Monument Academy library at 1150 Village Ridge Point. The MA School Board usually meets at 6 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month. Information on the MA School Board, including schedule, minutes, committee and finances can be found at www.monumentacademy.net/school-board.
Jackie Burhans can be reached at email@example.com.
By Harriet Halbig
Local residents and School District 38 staff and students came together on April 16 to discuss school safety and security in the wake of the February school shooting in Florida. Also on hand to answer questions and concerns were the district’s school resource officers and the chief of safety and security. The meeting was held in the commons of Lewis-Palmer High School.
The format for the discussion, as for previous discussions on the subjects of long-term facilities planning and the use of Grace Best Education Center, was to arrange tables for eight individuals and a trained facilitator, with the overall discussion led by Carrie Bennett, who noted comments from attendees and timed the discussions. Bennett encouraged all to speak and listen with respect.
The discussion was divided into two segments, the first dealing with mental health resources and school climate, and the second dealing with safety training and physical safeguards.
Bennett explained at the outset that security is a "wicked" problem, meaning that there are no simple solutions and priorities and trade-offs must be considered. The stakes are very high, she said, but even schools that do all the right things have to deal with risk.
District Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Wangeman explained what the district is now doing to ensure safety and what they wish to add, including cameras at the high schools and the addition of several armed individuals and gun-sniffing dogs.
For details on this issue, see the April DAAC article at www.ocn.me/v18n4.htm#daac.
Following the group discussion on mental health resources, attendees offered the following comments:
• There is an increasing need for mental health resources.
• There is a concern about liability for being understaffed in this area.
• Mental health problems may be a result of family relationships.
• Be cautious not to fund something you may have to defund later.
• If counselors are added to staff, be sure they are supported by staff.
• Counseling at the elementary level should be preventive.
• Need to address the stigma of mental health.
The group then discussed crisis and safety training and physical safeguards. Attendees offered the following comments:
• We need to understand the cost benefit vs. the potential threat of violence.
• Has there been research regarding the effectiveness of drills and training?
• We want proper training and positive interactions between individuals.
• Do physical changes such as mantrap entries make people feel safer or increase the feeling of threat? We must not encourage an erosion of trust.
• The realism of drills is critical. They should not be announced.
• One individual suggested a video of an active shooter situation with age-appropriate dialogue.
Bennett made a list of priorities on poster-size sheets and gave each attendee two stickers to use to express their priorities. One such poster was near the stage and the other near the exit. Attendees also were encouraged to fill out a sheet explaining what their priorities are and why. These sheets would later be provided to the Board of Education for its consideration.
Harriet Halbig can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Harriet Halbig
The District Accountability Advisory Committee (DAAC) of Lewis-Palmer D-38 held its final meeting of the 2017-18 school year on April 17. Among the items covered were the election of a new co-chair for next year, a budget report, an update on district communications, and brief reports from each school on this year’s activities
Board liaison Tiffiney Upchurch was absent due to a family emergency.
Committee Co-chair Anne-Marie Hasstedt explained the requirements for a co-chair according to state bylaws. DAAC is a state-chartered body. State statute requires that a co-chair must be a parent of a district student and may not be an employee of the district (including substitutes). Hasstedt said that current Co-chair Deb Goth was appointed last year because the elected co-chair had to move from the district unexpectedly and Goth’s children attended district schools but have now graduated. She was approached for the office due to her many years of activity in various capacities in the district.
Susan Hunter-Smith was elected as the new co-chair.
Hasstedt thanked all individuals who volunteered for consideration and encouraged them to remain active in the group.
Annual budget review
Administration liaison Cheryl Wangeman presented a budget review for the committee.
School funding forecasts estimate an increase in per pupil revenue for the coming year due to a one-time infusion of funds from the state. As always, K-12 education, roads, and the Public Employee Retirement Association (PERA) are vying for limited funds.
Wangeman explained the various sources of estimates for future enrollment. Three estimates are currently under consideration, from site-based estimates based on current populations and number of students at each grade level, district-level estimates that involved retaining a reserve fund for hiring teachers if needed, and a new source called Metrostudy, which confers directly with developers to learn of plans for building new homes, their price range, and the likelihood of the homes being purchased by families with children. This information will also help the district to determine the best site for new schools.
Considering these three sources of information, estimated growth in enrollment varies from 59 students at the middle and high school levels to a total of 170 students based on three-year growth trends.
In terms of administrative goals, Wangeman said that teachers’ salaries are being adjusted to compensate for those whose salaries were "frozen" during the economic downturn, offering additional stipends for hard-to-fill teacher and medical field positions, and increased cost-of-living adjustments for staff.
Wangeman said the district is seeing a significant teacher shortage because fewer individuals are choosing teaching as a career and that some neighboring states (such as Wyoming) offer much higher compensation.
The district hopes to add teachers, a half-time counselor, a paralegal to do contract reviews and respond to Colorado Open Record Act requests, and a bus mechanic due to the age of the district’s fleet.
Among the goals of the school board are to review the placement of pre-school resources (centralized or at various schools), to work on long-term facilities planning, to continue to consider the use of Grace Best, and to add three "gun sniffing" dogs and handlers.
Wangeman also mentioned a significant increase in property insurance costs due to hailstorms and national weather issues. After considering bids from several sources, the district decided to stay with a pool including other districts.
Wangeman then asked for feedback from committee members.
One committee member expressed concern about PERA and the fact that, with a potential bond issue on the November ballot, the district needs specific information on costs to know what to ask for.
Another member expressed concern about liability for employees who are carrying firearms. Wangeman said that such insurance is already provided.
Wangeman said that at the D-38 Deliberates meeting on April 16, many attendees wished to stress mental health resources by hiring counselors over physical security measures.
A member asked whether the teacher shortage could be addressed by offering an incentive program for those who would teach here. Wangeman responded that the federal program that offers such incentives is valid only in schools with a high at-risk population, and only Palmer Lake Elementary School qualifies in this district.
Regarding plans for future ballot initiatives, Wangeman said that CRP Architects has been chosen to build a new school near Bear Creek Elementary. Seven firms were considered. Representatives from schools met with principals of CRP and talked about what they want and need, deferred maintenance, and ensuring that the funding requested would last for the long term. Maintenance needs of existing schools would be addressed as part of the bond in addition to new construction. See Board of Education article on page 1.
The design committee for the new school would include Principal Peggy Parsley of Bear Creek Elementary, as she best knows the area.
Wangeman said that the primary concern is to come up with a proposal that voters would support.
Hasstedt asked how DAAC could help in support of the bond issue. She suggested a DAAC subcommittee and said that there was a signup sheet in the room for those who wished to volunteer.
Public Information Officer Julie Stephen reported on activities in her department, explaining the various avenues for disseminating information within the district through the website, Infinite Campus, and social media.
She explained that the department also gets the word out through television (district students perform the Pledge of Allegiance on Fox 21) and newspapers such as the Tribune, Our Community News, and the Gazette, and also produces printed materials for military families relocating to the area and sends postcards to those who have purchased a house in the district.
To emphasize the district brand, there are banners, brochures, calendars, and other means of keeping the district in view of the public.
Stephen also mentioned a new resource called peachjar.com that shows e-flyers to district residents through the district website. The flyers can be printed or forwarded and include those from the district and offerings from outside sources that may be of interest to the district.
Stephen stressed that the most reliable source of information about closures and other matters is the district website, http://lewispalmer.org, and that it is critical for parents to update their contact information so that they may be contacted in an emergency.
Representatives from each school gave a brief report on activities and challenges during the past year.
High schools said that parking and security were concerns.
The middle school reported on the partnership with the Tri-Lakes Y, which allows seventh-graders free transportation to and from the facility after school.
Michelle Glover, the representative from Bear Creek Elementary, expressed concern that parents do not know what to expect as a result of the facilities planning process. She said that building only one school to address increased enrollment is a "band-aid" that will not solve the problem in the long term. She was disappointed that no members of the board were present to hear concerns.
Other elementaries reported on character education and successful strategies for growth resulting in the awarding of the Inez Lewis Award (recognizing 10 percentage points of improvement) to Palmer Lake Elementary and Lewis-Palmer Elementary, and the introduction of a trauma-based curriculum at Prairie Winds Elementary.
A representative from Monument Academy reported that its main focus this year is the building of a new high school.
The District Accountability Advisory Committee of Lewis-Palmer D-38 meets five times a year. Locations vary. This was the final meeting of the 2017-18 school year.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at email@example.com.
By Jennifer Kaylor
The board convened for two meetings of the Donald Wescott Fire Protection District on April 17. The Board of Directors Pension meeting was followed by the regular monthly Board of Directors meeting. Lt. Bryan Ackerman provided updates on the status of the pension fund. Chief Vinny Burns and Assistant Chief Scott Ridings discussed plans to increase personnel and strategize with equipment to best support the community in what is expected to be a busy fire season.
Pension meeting attendees included Directors Rachel Dunn, Joyce Hartung, Bo McAllister, and Lt. Ackerman. Hartung chaired the pension meeting.
Directors who attended the pension meeting also attended the regular board meeting. Director Harland Baker did not attend the pension meeting but chaired the regular board meeting due to Chair Greg Gent’s expected late arrival. Gent arrived midway through the regular board meeting.
Legal Counsel Matt Court attended both meetings.
Designated election official ready for election
Administrative Assistant Stacey Popovich reported that all of her designated election official responsibilities for the May 8 district election had been completed on time, and final preparation of the polling place is underway.
District residents who wish to vote must visit the Wescott polling place at Station 1, 15415 Gleneagle Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80921. The election is scheduled for May 8 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Two judges will oversee the election.
Election candidates for the four-year terms are: Gary Rusnak, Duane Garrett, Greg Gent, Mark Gunderman, and Joyce Hartung. Candidates for the two-year term are: Rachel Dunn and write-in candidate Larry Schwarz.
Court advised that board members who are terming out attend the May meeting to ensure that a quorum exists to officially swear in new board members.
Board approves chiefs’ preparations for hot, dry summer
Ridings emphasized that current fire conditions are very similar to those that sparked the Hayman fire of 2002. Burns concurred later in the meeting stating that Mt. Herman’s burn scar, the result of the 1988 Barry fire, started from similar circumstances. Considering the area’s rapid growth and the anticipated needs of the crews who fought the Hayman fire using criteria established by a structure protection assessment, Ridings provided a breakdown of the types of equipment needed for combatting a wind-driven fire in the Tri-Lakes/Monument area. He explained that a strike team comprises five engines of the same type. Type 1 engines, also known as "pavement queens," are large and carry extensive lengths of hose and large amounts of water. Type 3 engines, cross-overs of types 1 and 6, are used at wildland fires for structure protection. Type 6 engines are smaller, pickup-style trucks that are designed to go off-road. Ridings calculated equipment needs of 80 different engines totaling 10 strike teams of type 1 engines, five strike teams of type 3 engines, five strike teams of water tenders, five 20-person type 1 hand crews (such as the Granite Mountain Hot Shots), helicopter and air support, and six bulldozers.
He estimated that a pooling of resources among Wescott and other local fire districts would not muster the full slate of staffed engines but acknowledged that Wescott must meet wildland fires with a strong first response and plan for a worst-case scenario. For this reason, the district plans to curtail firefighter vacations, capitalize on volunteer and part-time firefighters, and hire additional personnel in the coming months. The chiefs expect incident management teams to move out regularly during the summer. The district has responded to every El Paso County fire thus far in 2018. Currently, one crew member is serving in Oklahoma to command a five-person task force, but the district is able to staff both stations and have two engines available to serve district residents, he added.
Savings from loan payoff directed to new personnel and overtime
Burns explained that the district’s Station 2 construction loan payoff would free about $150,000 per year, which would support three additional full-time firefighter personnel and additional overtime hours. Court recommended that the board approve the revised budget. A revised budget only moves funds between line items. An amended budget moves money between funds and requires public notice prior to approval. The board approved the revised budget unanimously.
At the beginning of the regular board meeting, Court proposed, and the board approved, adding an executive session to receive legal counsel regarding the Gallagher Amendment and potential legislation that is under consideration by the Colorado Legislature. Resident and Gleneagle North Homeowners’ Association Treasurer Rusnak questioned why, since the Gallagher Amendment is a public issue and had been discussed openly in meetings leading up to the mill levy increase, was this discussion to be held in executive session for which minutes would not be published? Court responded that it would be to receive advice of legal counsel regarding potential actions that the board may take in response to potential legislation or the lack thereof.
Safety fair and bike rodeo a combined effort
Announcements included Wescott’s annual safety fair, which is held in conjunction with the Antelope Trails Elementary School bike rodeo. It is scheduled for Saturday, May 12, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Station 1, 15415 Gleneagle Drive. Some of the featured displays and activities will include a Black Hawk helicopter, blood drive, an extrication demonstration, Penrose Trauma, Flight for Life, Life Line 1, Smokey the Bear, 9-1-1 mobile classroom, pet safety, Bikers Against Child Abuse, Alpine Autism Center, a wildland display, food trucks, volunteer recruitment, and representatives of the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office.
Burns acknowledged receipt of thank you letters, one from Colorado Springs Fire Chief Ted Collas, for providing backfill and coverage for a March 26 fire, another in response to the district’s Oklahoma deployment of spring 2017, and a color-page thank you from a local youngster.
Ridings reported that the district responded to 68 total calls in March; 33 EMS and 35 fire-related. Wescott provided mutual aid for 15 calls and received mutual aid for one call. Twenty calls overlapped, meaning that two units responded to separate calls within the same time period. The average time-on-scene was 45 minutes and 48 seconds which, Ridings explained, fits with the national average.
No surprises with pension fund
Ackerman reported that there were no anomalies with respect to the pension fund’s performance. Two active volunteers are currently vested in the fund and one inactive member becomes eligible for benefits in May 2018. The current class of three volunteers will be added to the fund upon an early 2019 graduation.
Administrative reports approved
Popovich reviewed the March bank balances and reminded the board that Peoples National Bank is now owned by Community Banks of Colorado. March balances for the three funds include: Community Banks of Colorado, $3,951, Community Banks of Colorado Fund, $488,494, and Wells Fargo Public Trust, $852,599, totaling $1.3 million.
During public comments OCN reporter Jennifer Kaylor asked if the board’s practice of reviewing the profit and loss statement during board meetings would be reinstated. Baker noted that members of the public may request copies of the profit and loss statement. After the meeting, Popovich confirmed that the board receives the profit and loss statement about two weeks in advance and, therefore, does not deem it necessary to review the statement line-by-line during board meetings.
The meeting went into executive session after the regular board meeting adjourned at 7:44 p.m. Popovich confirmed with OCN that no additional discussion resulting in decisions or actions followed the executive session.
The next DWFPD Board of Directors meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, May 15 at 7 p.m. Both meetings will be held at Station 1, 15415 Gleneagle Drive. Please call (719) 488-8680, a non-emergency number, for more information, or visit www.wescottfire.org. Wescott is also on Facebook and Twitter.
Jennifer Kaylor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Natalie Barszcz
At the April 25 Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD) board meeting, board members approved the purchase of a new engine, donated a brush truck, discussed upcoming events, and revisited the possibility of a collective bargaining discussion.
President Jake Shirk, Secretary Mike Smaldino, and Director Terri Hayes were excused.
New engine purchase approved
At the March 28 (TLMFPD) board meeting, Battalion Chief/Fire Marshal Jamey Bumgarner presented the proposed Pierce Arrow XT Engine design. Pierce Engine Manufacturing consulted with committee members Maurice Ayala, Micah Coyle, Chris Keough, Mike Rauenzahn, Mike Smith, and Tony Tafoya to design an engine using Pierce Ultimate Configuration. The new engine is anticipated to provide over 15 years of service and is designed to handle the steep terrain and tight turns in the local area.
Chief Chris Truty submitted a proposal to the board for approval of the new engine purchase. Engine 2213 will be auctioned on receipt of the new engine in 2019. The board voted 4-0 to approve the $703,513 cost of the new engine.
Brush truck donation
Pikes Peak Regional Emergency Incident Support (EIS—popularly called Pikes Peak Firefighters Association, Fire Rehab) is an all-volunteer group which began in April 2002. Since then it has been an operational service of the nonprofit Pikes Peak Firefighters Association. The EIS mission is to provide hot meals, a sheltered rest area and emotional support to emergency personnel deployed in the field. Supported personnel may include firefighters, law enforcement, search and rescue, medical and wildland, Hazmat, and others. For more information, visit https://www.pikespeakfire.org/home. Anyone interested in becoming an EIS volunteer is invited to contact Roger Lance at email@example.com.
Ted Sayer, director of the Pikes Peak Firefighters Association board, thanked TLMFPD for the donation of a brush truck, which will significantly enhance the capability of EIS when supporting firefighters on the line. Chief Truty expressed "gratitude for the huge void that members of the all-volunteer Emergency Incident Support group fill when they are supporting first responders in the field."
Wildfire Education Day
Bumgarner confirmed that TLMFPD will host a Wildfire Education Day with emphasis on fire awareness on May 12 at Station 1, 18650 Highway 105. For more details see the OCN calendar and visit: http://tlmfire.org for more details.
New fire danger signs are on order to replace existing signs that are in disrepair and difficult to read. Temporary signs will be in place until the new signs arrive.
Truty said that the recent 117 fire in southern El Paso County was the eighth largest fire in the history of the county, at 43,000 acres. "We are anticipating a tough fire season. I have never seen a fire behave like that," he said.
Residents urged to sign up to receive reverse 911 notifications
Bumgarner stated that it is critically important to register for reverse 911 calls if you are not already registered. El Paso County uses the Everbridge app for reverse 911 calls, and the app also works nationwide to alert users while travelling from home. Please go to: www.elpasoteller911.org for more details and sign up immediately, since notifications only go out to phones that are registered by the owner.
Bumgarner attended two neighborhood events:
• Pine Hills Firewise meeting on April 21. "It was a fantastic event." See related photo on page 27.
• Red Rock Ranch homeowners’ association has planned several wood chipping days to begin reducing the wildfire fuel load in that area. See related photo on page 1.
Planning for future emergencies
Chief Truty’s comments on emergency planning included:
• TLMFPD now has permission for helicopter dips with a Bambi Bucket in the district lakes to support aerial wildland firefighting without prior authorization. Four out of five lakes in the area to include Monument and Woodmoor have given advance permission.
• He is working on expanding coordination of emergency response plans with Castle Rock and Douglas County.
• The long-awaited new radios are now in use by the district. See www.ocn.me/v17n11.htm#tlmfpd.
Collective bargaining agreement discussion continues
Chief Truty discussed the definition of a "collective bargaining agreement" versus a collective "meet and confer" option, which was passed at the March board meeting. Truty explained the difference and the legalities. He understood that the board would meet and confer, but the union was under the impression that it was voted as a collective bargaining agreement. Three of the board members who voted in March for the discussion to begin were absent at the April board meeting, and since the board may not have the same members next month post-election, the consensus was that this discussion, explanation, and clarification of what was actually approved in March will continue at the May meeting.
However, please see www.ocn.me/v18n4.htm#tlmfpd. The words "collective bargaining agreement" were not part of the motion that was unanimously approved.
Members of the EIS group commented on firefighting in the Monument region. George Steinfeld spoke of his time serving the Monument community 45 years ago and reminisced about the original Monument volunteer fire department on Second Street. At that time the department relied heavily on donations. Steinfeld stated that he was struck by lightning in the line of duty and recalled the 1956 Cadillac ambulance, pumper, brush truck and an Army tanker in service at that time.
Bill Eckert commented on the Northern El Paso Coalition of Community Associations Inc. (NEPCO) stating that development plans may impact TLMFPD. Volunteer boards such as the El Paso County Planning Commission vote unanimously against development, and the two northern district county commissioners consider impacts on communities first, but the three county commissioners from southern parts of the county repeatedly vote in favor of development in the north, he said.
Chief Truty informed the board that TLMFPD was close to a rebranding decision and the next step would be to figure out the cost of transitioning to a new name, away from "Tri-Lakes Monument." Fifteen potential names are in consideration. Battalion Chief Kris Mola stated that the public will be presented with all the information for full transparency and that it will not be an easy decision. TLMFPD says it has outgrown the "Tri-Lakes" name because the region actually has more than three lakes and "Monument" is only 15 percent of the district.
TLMFPD board member election
On May 8, TLMFPD will hold a polling place election, and votes can be cast at the district office, 16055 Old Forest Point, Suite 103, Monument 80132. The hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. You must go to the polling place in person. This is not a mail-in ballot election. For candidate information, visit: http://tlmfire.org and http://www.ocn.me/v18n4.htm#tlmfpd-candidates.
Treasurer John Hildebrandt read the current financial report and reported that the TLMFPD budget is 1.77 percent under budget overall year to date. The overtime budget is 10 percent above normal, and Truty projected that it may continue for the foreseeable future due to the expected dangerous fire season.
Correction: Chief Chris Truty told OCN that the outcome of the executive session held at the TLMFPD board meeting on March 28, 2018 was to approve a motion "to approve the release and settlement agreement with Max Mabrey as discussed with counsel in executive session." (6-0 with roll call vote, Hayes, Smaldino, Hildebrandt, Buckingham, Lance, Shirk)
Meetings are usually held the fourth Wednesday of each month. The next meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. May 23 at TLMFPD Station 1, 18650 Highway 105. For information, contact Jennifer Martin at 484-9011. For upcoming agendas, see http://tlmfire.org/board.
Natalie Barszcz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Lisa Hatfield
The role of Beaver Creek and Bristlecone Lake as "renewable surface water" for the Forest Lakes Metropolitan District (FLMD) water portfolio was a main topic of questions from residents on April 2. The combined boards of FLMD and Pinon Pines Metropolitan Districts 1, 2, and 3 (PPMD 1, 2, 3) also voted that the May 7 meeting will include a public wastewater rates and fees hearing and discussed the May 8 board election.
Forest Lakes, at the western end of West Baptist Road, is a Title 32 service district in El Paso County established in 1985. Residents have been living in PPMD 1 only for the last 18 months, and this is the only inhabited part of FLMD so far.
FLMD is the half-acre operating district that collects property taxes and is responsible for the public infrastructure, water, wastewater, drainage, parks and trails, landscaping, and street light services for the residents of PPMD 1 and PPMD 2, the residential districts, which are in unincorporated El Paso County, and PPMD 3, the commercial section, which lies mostly within the southwest town limits of Monument. The Falcon Commerce Center portion of PPMD 3 will pay sales taxes to the Town of Monument and a separate public infrastructure fee (PIF) to PPMD 3.
Board members for all four of these five-member metro district boards are President George Lenz, executive vice president of finance of Classic Homes; Secretary James Boulton, vice president/project manager of Classic Homes; Assistant Secretary and Treasurer Doug Stimple, CEO of Classic Homes; and Assistant Secretary Joe Loidolt, president of Classic Homes. One board member vacancy exists now in each of these four boards, and elections will be held May 8.
Ann Nichols is the manager for all four districts. Attorney Russell Dykstra is district counsel for each of these four boards, and Tom Blunk of CP Real Estate Capital represented Forest Lakes LLC and Forest Lakes Residential Development at the April 2 meeting.
The last joint meeting of the four boards was in December. See www.ocn.me/v18n1.htm#flmd.
Public comments about water, rates
The board added a public comment section to the agenda at the beginning of the meeting. Four residents of PPMD 1 attended and asked questions that were answered during the course of the meeting.
• Buck Lansford wondered why the water level in Bristlecone Lake had dropped so much. He and his neighbors on Waterfront Drive had paid a high premium for lots with a beautiful lake views, and he did not want the lake to turn into bare dirt. He asked about construction on the north side of the lake and the proposed increase in density in housing built in Phase 2.
• Theresa Lansford asked about the upcoming water rates hearing.
• Don Burgens asked about the water supply for the district overall and if it could support all the new planned and proposed development.
The only question the board could not answer regarded the development and land use issues, since that is controlled by the El Paso Board of County Commissioners.
Answers to the residents’ other questions are explained in the sections below. See also https://forestlakesmetrodistrict.com/faqs/.
Bristlecone Lake is "renewable surface water"
Bristlecone Lake and Pinon Lake are both fed by Beaver Creek, which has a fairly small water basin, Nichols said. Usually at this time of year with spring runoff, the creek should flow at 20 cubic feet per second (CFS), but recently it is flowing at only 2 CFS, she said. "The conditions are incredibly dry," and this explains why the reservoir (Bristlecone Lake) is about three feet low.
Nichols said that FLMD is not drawing any water from the lake and that the loss was due to lack of inflow and evaporation. However, in the future, FLMD definitely plans to use its renewable water rights to take water from the lake, treat it with the new $8 million surface water treatment plant currently under construction, and supply drinking water to residents and commercial customers in PPMD 1, 2, and 3. The plant should be operational in October, she said.
FLMD will also still pump water from its Dillon well, and it would eventually finish outfitting another Arapahoe well. "We will have both surface water (from the stream) and ground water—a good arrangement for a water provider," Nichols said, since they are not relying solely on ground water from aquifers as most other local entities are.
Nichols said if needed, outdoor watering restrictions might be implemented, the same way other local water providers do. This would limit the number of days per week that residents could do outside irrigation.
FLMD also has the potential to use non-potable water from Bristlecone Lake to irrigate the open spaces maintained by the metropolitan district, but it is not yet in place, she said. See "lake water for irrigation" section in www.ocn.me/v17n6.htm#flmd.
Nichols said that FLMD’s water portfolio is "a very adequate supply for the anticipated buildout of the entire development." FLMD has 660 acre-feet (AF) it can exchange into Bristlecone from flow into Beaver Creek, the Dillon well is decreed 400 AF, and the Arapahoe well, which is not yet complete, is decreed at 318 AF. Also, the developer (which is the family that owns the development) still holds another 1,000 AF of decreed groundwater. Attorney Dykstra said that the county has also reviewed this portfolio.
Stimple said, "We have enough water to handle anything being proposed within Forest Lakes and beyond that." This would more than cover the proposed increase in houses in Phase 2 from 131 to 231, which has not yet been heard by the county Planning Commission. Classic Homes has hosted at least one neighborhood meeting on this issue, with another scheduled on April 26. See www.ocn.me/pdf/v18n3%2027.pdf.
"We are where all the other districts are trying to be. We are in really good shape," Loidolt said.
"What we have here is the model everyone is trying to get to—some renewable water and some groundwater." Boulton added that FLMD also has an emergency-only water interconnection with Triview Metropolitan District.
Wastewater rates hearing May 7
Nichols said that the public hearing on a wastewater rate increase for residential customers from $30 to $35 a month would be held at the May 7 meeting, and it would also address adjustments needed to its commercial rate structure, which will include the new Pilot/Flying J Travel Center under construction in PPMD 3 on the southwest corner of I-25 and Baptist Road. She said the increase would likely be the first of a series of increases to actually cover operational costs.
Nichols said fats, oils, and grease from residences are clogging the lift stations and requiring extra chemical treatment in the new wastewater system.
Note: The Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility (UMCRWWTF) is owned jointly by Donala Water and Sanitation District, Triview Metropolitan District, and FLMD. FLMD has contracted with Donala to operate the water and sewer systems. Donala operators and staff personnel will also provide meter reading and billing services, respectively, to Forest Lakes customers. See www.ocn.me/v17n1.htm#flmd.
The board unanimously approved posting a public notice about this hearing. The increase would take effect July 1 if the board approves it in May.
Citizens Advisory Council will be the homeowners’ association
Dykstra reported that Raimere Fitzpatrick, planner with the county Planning and Community Development Department, said FLMD would comply with the 2002 service plan requirement to have a citizens advisory council (CAC) by naming the homeowners’ association (HOA), called the Forest Lakes Residential Owners Association, as the CAC. See www.forestlakescolorado.com.
Loidolt clarified that the HOA would function as an advisory council but not have a seat on the board. Boulton said that there are residents in the HOA who are Classic employees, and one resident who is not affiliated with Classic.
May 8 election has four nominees for two positions
The PPMD 1 election will be completed May 8. Four people are running for two open positions on the board. See www.ocn.me/v18n4.htm#ppmd.
The meeting adjourned at 10:43 a.m.
The next joint meeting of FLMD and PPMD 1, 2, and 3 is scheduled for 10 a.m. May 7 in the Classic Homes office at 6385 Corporate Drive, Suite 200, Colorado Springs. Meetings are usually held the first Monday of each month. Official meeting notices are posted on the district website http://forestlakesmetrodistrict.com, at 3625 Mesa Top Drive, Monument (an open space tract owned by all four districts), and at the Forest Lakes mailbox kiosk. For general questions, contact Ann Nichols at 719-327-5810 or at email@example.com.
Lisa Hatfield can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Lisa Hatfield
On April 10, the Joint Use Committee (JUC) of the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility (TLWWTF) received a clean 2017 audit, an update on the resolution of a biennial state inspection minor discrepancy, and more information about state and federal regulatory changes on the horizon.
TLWWTF operates as a separate joint venture public utility and is owned in equal one-third shares by Monument Sanitation District (MSD), Palmer Lake Sanitation District (PLSD), and Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD).
The three-member JUC acts as the board of the facility and consists of one director from each of the three owner districts’ boards: WWSD board Director at Large Rich Strom, president; MSD board Chairman Ed DeLaney, vice president; and PLSD board Director Pat Smith, treasurer/secretary. Other board and staff members of the three owner districts also attended, including MSD District Manager Mike Wicklund, PLSD District Manager Becky Orcutt, and WWSD Assistant District Manager Randy Gillette.
This was Strom’s last meeting. The new WWSD representative will be introduced to the JUC in May.
2017 audit complete
John Cutler of John Cutler and Associates presented the 2017 audit required by the state. He gave the facility a clean, unmodified opinion, and had no control issues to mention. Cutler and JUC accountant Jackie Spegele of Numeric Strategies LLC answered questions from the JUC members, including asking about the Public Employee Retirement Administration (PERA) liability now listed on the annual TLWWTF budget reports. The JUC would be required to budget, appropriate, and pay all PERA pension obligations to retired TLWWTF employees if PERA defaults on its statewide unfunded retirement obligations. "Let’s hope you are never asked to pay it," Spegele said.
Facility manager’s report
Facility Manager Bill Burks presented the discharge monitoring report (DMR) for February, and he said all test sample results were well within required state TLWWTF discharge permit limits.
Burks said he had doubled the TLWWTF plant’s total influent biological oxygen demand (BOD), or waste solids loading sampling, to four times per month starting in March, as the JUC had directed last month. TLWWTF was operating at 21 percent of if its hydraulic capacity and 61 percent of its organic/BOD capacity in March. See www.ocn.me/v18n4.htm#tlwtfjuc.
Next came a technical discussion about the potential need to add another blower in the future, how that would affect the facility’s organic capacity and regulatory categorization, and how the cost might be split among the three member districts. Wicklund emphasized that MSD has hundreds of new homes coming into its service district in the foreseeable future, adding to MSD’s total influent BOD loading into TLWWTF. The consensus of the JUC was that for now, it was important for TLWWTF to continue sampling total plant influent BOD at the higher rate of four times per month in case any future total BOD spikes occur.
The members also discussed the importance of retaining TLWWTF’s ability to remove biosolids from the facility by hauling treated sludge away in 18-wheel tractor trailers to be land-applied as fertilizer, which is the most affordable and ecologically sound solution. One risk here is the possibility of the TLWWTF sludge lagoon being affected by technologically enhanced naturally occurring radioactive material (TENORM) in the wastewater as the byproduct of the removal of naturally occurring radium from drinking water.
Burks said the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) had no major or other findings from its inspection of TLWWTF. He re-confirmed that the procedures that Paul Hanson, senior field engineer with Division 2 of the Water Quality Control Division (WQCD) in Pueblo, told Burks to update after his biennial WQCD inspection have now all been corrected. See www.ocn.me/v18n3.htm#tlwtf. Burks said he had just received a state letter that confirmed that the state has closed this matter.
On the horizon for regulations
Burks and MSD Regulatory and Environmental Compliance Coordinator Jim Kendrick reviewed the April 3 Arkansas River/Fountain Creek Coalition for Urban/Rural River Evaluation (AF CURE) meeting and the April 9 Water Quality Control Commission (WQCC) meetings. Kendrick is also vice chairman of the AF CURE, and is the MSD and TLWWTF Colorado Wastewater Utility Council representative.
AF CURE’s Environmental Attorney Gabe Racz is preparing for the June Water Quality Control Division triennial rulemaking hearing on state Regulation 32 for the Arkansas River Basin. Kendrick said the Division is formally proposing a reduction of the state standard arsenic water quality stream standard by a factor of 100, from the current 2.0 μg/l down to 0.02 μg/l, despite the fact that the practical quantitation/measurement limit is 2.0 μg/l and the practical detection limit is only 1.0 μg/l. If the Division’s proposed arsenic water quality standard stream limit of 0.02 μg/l were to be approved in June, it would be scientifically impossible for the foreseeable future for any WWTF to prove it is meeting the lower arsenic limit. There is also no existing technology that can treat water down to 0.02 μg/l of arsenic.
Kendrick said if facilities do not prove they are meeting the "unattainable" 0.02 μg/l arsenic level, current regulations would guarantee that every state wastewater facility would have to perform a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) study that currently costs $200,000 to $300,000 for each state discharge permit renewal, plus a use attainability analysis that also costs $200,000 to $300,000 for each state discharge permit renewal.
In Pueblo, the Division is going to compel the city to remove all the selenium that is technologically feasible to remove from its treated wastewater effluent, even though the overall effect would be a drop in the bucket in both Fountain Creek and the Arkansas River. Selenium, an ingredient in most multi-vitamins, is a naturally-occurring element that leaches from the surrounding Pierre Shale soil, naturally causing irreversible Fountain Creek stream concentrations roughly 1,000 times state stream water quality standards. Even if it was possible to remove all selenium from City of Pueblo treated wastewater, the Fountain Creek selenium concentration would drop less than 0.1 percent and have no measurable effect on Arkansas River selenium concentration. The added complication with this requirement is that there is no recognized treatment that will remove significant amounts of selenium from large volumes of water, Kendrick explained.
Environmental engineers and scientists from consultant firm Brown & Caldwell are helping AF CURE research whether there is any water quality relationship between Fountain Creek and nearby alluvial wells. They found that only 20 of 800 additional newly documented alluvial wells near Fountain Creek, which were just identified by the Division last month for further study, might possibly become affected by Fountain Creek in the future. This required an AF CURE change order and an additional AF CURE cost that was funded from other 2018 AF CURE budget line items with remaining funds that were not yet spent.
In the AF CURE 2017 budget report, after Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority’s (PPRWA) Elise Bergsten of Balance Management Services Co. did more complete research on this fund, she listed "beginning balances" for the first time and found $52,000 in unspent AF CURE reserves at the beginning of 2017 that AF CURE did not realize it had. As a sub-group of the PPRWA, AF CURE is exempt from audits.
Strom and Wicklund said it would be better not to have too much of the 11 AF CURE members’ money tied up in this way.
Kendrick’s observations on the March 14 Colorado Wastewater Utility meeting included:
• Johanna Miller, the new director of the EPA Region 8 Clean Water Program Office of Water Protection, is a former Washington, D.C., expert in air quality, not wastewater or drinking water.
• The EPA has a strategic plan for 2018-22, including the Clean & Safe Water Program, lead and copper rules, treatment of nutrients including phosphorus and nitrogen, and "community affordability" financing.
• Water Quality Control Division Director Patrick Pfaltzgraff said that water districts and municipalities will be required to add "ortho phosphorus" to their potable water to prevent leaching from lead and copper pipes into drinking water, even if a drinking water entity has no lead pipes. Additional wastewater nutrient treatment capacity would have to be built to remove that extra phosphorus to meet their effluent discharge total phosphorus discharge permit levels. See www.ocn.me/v18n4.htm#tlwtfjuc.
• Colleen Rathbone, Wastewater Unit manager of the EPA Region 8 Program Office of Water Protection said, "Communities would have to do revenue enhancement to cover your pollution."
Wicklund said that the EPA regulations do not consider it a hardship for a community if wastewater user fees are less that 2 percent of annual household income. "That would be about $100 a month for MSD, and $200 for WWSD." Strom said that was "completely devoid of a systems approach to looking at how much people are paying for all goods and services. This is why Jim Kendrick and AF CURE folks have to be on the ball."
At 11:36 a.m., the meeting went into executive session to discuss personnel issues and receive legal advice on a specific legal question. Burks referred OCN’s question about the results to recording secretary Susanne Wielgopolan, who told OCN that when the April 10 JUC meeting returned to open session, the JUC directed Burks to update its personnel policies by replacing all wording in WWSD’s policies, which the TLWWTF has been using since its construction, with TLWWTF references. The JUC also instructed Burks to add to Section 8, which lists circumstances that will result in disciplinary actions at the JUC’s discretion and possibly including immediate dismissal, the following: "Conviction of, or a plea of guilty to any domestic violence or sexual misconduct offense." The sentence was approved by TLWWTF attorney Mike Cucullu.
The next meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. May 8 at the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility, 16510 Mitchell Ave. Meetings are normally held on the second Tuesday of the month and are open to the public. For information, call Bill Burks at 719-481-4053.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at email@example.com.
By Jennifer Kaylor
Several residents attended the April 10 Triview Metropolitan District board meeting to express appreciation, concerns, and ideas about construction traffic and other agenda items. After responding to public comments, the board continued the discussion of potential problems and solutions pertaining to the developments being built, evaluated costs and benefits of regionalizing water and wastewater with Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU), received operational reports, and ratified contractual agreements. The April 10 full board meeting packet is posted on the district’s website at https://triviewmetro.com/boardDocuments.
Director James Otis participated via conference call.
Triview is a Colorado Title 32 special district, completely within Monument’s town boundaries, mostly on the east side of I-25. Triview provides roads, parks, and drainage maintenance, and water and sanitation utility services, to the residents and businesses in the district roughly bordered by Old Denver Road, Higby Road, and Baptist Road. Triview’s water system is wholly independent of Monument’s Public Works water system located on the west side of I-25. Residents of Triview should call the district directly when they have questions about these items. For a map, see www.townofmonument.org/230/Triview-Metropolitan-District-Map.
The Town of Monument (organized under Colorado Revised Statutes Title 30) provides land use planning, police, and general governance for property owners in the whole town, which includes Triview. Residents of Triview should call the town with questions on those topics.
Employment agreement changes interim status
The meeting agenda included three action items requiring board approval. The first included review and consideration of the employment agreement between Triview and District Manager James McGrady which removed McGrady’s interim status and officially appointed him as district manager. During public comments, resident and former Director Steve Remington requested and received a copy of the employment agreement between Triview and McGrady.
The second was to review and consider the agreement between Triview and attorney Gary Shupp to provide general counsel services to the district. Shupp has served in this role for the past several years.
The third action was to ratify the agreement between Schmidt Construction Co. and the district for the 2018 road maintenance project in the amount of $1.7 million. Also during public comments, Remington challenged the employment agreement between Triview and Schmidt Construction Co., by asking what contractual controls guaranteed that the district would receive the full value of the $1.7 million road rehabilitation project. McGrady stated that Town of Monument Engineering Assistant Tom Martinez would be available to provide day-to-day inspection services; Schmidt conducts all lab tests in which results are provided to McGrady, Martinez, and consultant H.R. Green; and risk is minimized because Schmidt owns the asphalt plants and trucking firm and guarantees the price.
The board approved all three actions unanimously.
Operations report generates discussion and ideas
McGrady reported that negotiations about the west interceptor financing have slowed. Home Place Ranch is disinclined to pay its full share of $1 million because it hasn’t received approval from the Town of Monument. Another developer, CSI, is willing to advance additional funds on behalf of Home Place Ranch during its approval process to spur progress on the west interceptor; however, CSI expressed concerns about the possible Jackson Creek Parkway expansion and potential interference with continued building.
The Raftelis rate study also experienced delays because of the unexpected proposal from CSU to regionalize utility services (see related Donala article on page 18 and www.ocn.me/v18n4.htm#dwsd for more detailed information regarding regional collaboration). The rate study, initiated to provide accurate information for the board to establish long-term water rates and infrastructure plans, will require different calculations if regionalization occurs. The district’s renewable water shares and current distribution system bring significant assets to the negotiating table.
The opportunity for Triview to connect to CSU’s wastewater facilities may alter the current plan to expand the Upper Monument Creek Waste Water Treatment Facility (to increase hydraulic capacity, enhance nutrient removal, and meet changing regulations) and potentially save the district millions of dollars. McGrady, the directors, and District Water Attorney Chris Cummins discussed various strategies, benefits, and possible pitfalls in regionalizing wastewater and/or water.
Residents raise construction traffic concerns; potential solutions discussed
Promontory Pointe residents Erik Demkowicz, Adrian Limon, and Paul Gibbons expressed appreciation for the board’s work and presented separate but similar arguments that the development of Home Place Ranch and Sanctuary Pointe will generate excessive construction traffic through Promontory Pointe. Gleneagle Drive from Baptist Road is or may become the major ingress/egress for the three areas. The residents stated that the potential onslaught of construction traffic threatened the neighborhood’s safety, quality of life, and to burden taxpayers with wear-and-tear-related costs.
Their proposed solution is for Triview to require Classic Homes and/or Challenger Homes to extend Gleneagle Drive to Higby Road and stipulate that construction traffic use the Higby-Gleneagle junction to access the developments. Limon stated that he is circulating an online petition regarding this issue. Gibbons suggested that, for future planning, the district examine the process of transferring road ownership from developers to the district and consider higher impact fees or delay road ownership transfers until all construction is complete.
McGrady confirmed that representatives from Classic and Challenger recognize the concerns and are working with the Town of Monument to find solutions. A connector road from Gleneagle Drive to Higby Road is fraught with complications. The right-of-way from the northern tip of Gleneagle Drive to Higby Road has not been established, plus a road must contend with Preble’s mouse habitat restrictions and a potential reservoir in Home Place Ranch. McGrady spoke of possibly directing construction traffic onto a ranch road temporarily. Millings from the district’s road rehabilitation project could be used as a temporary road base and potentially save the district money. Shupp planned to research Triview’s authority in posting "No Construction Traffic" signs.
Additional comments noted
Director Marco Fiorito, speaking for the Promontory Pointe homeowners’ association, stated that the former problem with Kansas Pacific Court’s "undulating" has returned; the same spots in the pavement from about a year ago are sinking again. He also requested the district’s help with creating a landscape barrier to block headlight intrusion into a home adjacent to the train park.
Promontory Pointe resident King Parsons inquired about the cleanup schedule for dog stations. McGrady confirmed that dog stations are emptied on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Other activities in the district
Water Superintendent Shawn Sexton reported on several utilities issues that included:
• Programming corrections continue to result in significantly decreased wash water use and, consequently, a very small difference between water sold and water pumped.
• Modifications to A-Plant continue in preparation for the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition system installation, which is expected to be completed by the end of May.
• Well A-4 failed March 19 due to deteriorated capacitors in the pump motor’s variable frequency drive.
• Regulators called pressure reducing valves in the water distribution system need to be replaced immediately. Crews are currently working to contain a risk of outages and establish a maintenance schedule to extend the life of the regulators.
McGrady provided additional updates that included:
• A map of the road rehabilitation project is posted on the website. Progress on the project will be updated weekly. See https://triviewmetro.com/assets/documents/pavingRepairMap2018.pdf
• The district’s new website is up and running, but as of the board meeting, the old website managed by Colorado.gov had not been decommissioned.
• The Town of Monument accepted Triview’s "no use tax" condition on the A-yard wall. The wall is being built jointly by the district and Mountain View Electric Association to provide security and aesthetics around the facility.
• Crews have been painting and inspecting fire hydrants and expected to be finished by the end of April.
• The central irrigation system, depending on weather, was expected to be activated April 16.
Finances and disbursements reviewed
The directors reviewed the financial report and expressed no concerns. Finances and disbursements over $5,000, which are listed below, were approved unanimously.
• JDS Hydro, $8,526
• Walker Schooler, $13,170
• Fountain Mutual Irrigation Co., $5,000
• Alpine Street Sweeping Inc., $5,704
• Monson, Cummins & Shohet LLC, $6,134
• Donala Water and Sanitation District, $139,951
• Golder Associates Inc., $6,858
• Vogel Sales Inc., $27,000
• Redline Pipeline, $9,757
The meeting adjourned at 6:55 p.m. and the board went into executive session citing CRS §24-6-402(4)(b)(e)(f) Legal Advice, Negotiations.
No additional decisions or actions were announced following the executive session.
The next Triview meeting will be held May 15 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 Jim Kendrick
On April 19, General Manager Kip Petersen briefed the Donala Water and Sanitation District (DWSD) board on updated projections for this active infrastructure upgrade construction year during a drought. He said that soaring asphalt costs will require restructuring of the Gleneagle Drive water main replacement project schedule.
Petersen reviewed the early April weekly U.S. Drought Monitor reports that still forecast lower moisture and higher temperatures than average for Colorado this spring and summer, despite several recent rain events. This drought will increase the amount of irrigation water Donala will have to provide this year. Although this year’s drought may cause a loss of some of Donala’s remaining stored surface water in the Pueblo Reservoir later this year, no effect on Donala’s water supply to customers is expected.
This was board President Dave Powell’s last meeting, due to term limits. He will be replaced at the May 17 regular meeting by new Director Wayne Vanderschuere, retired general manager of Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) Water Services. Donala Secretary/Treasurer Bob Denny will be sworn in for his second elected term. Director Dennis Snyder will be sworn in for his first elected term since his appointment on Aug. 19, 2016. The board will elect its officers on May 17, after the swearing in process is completed.
Denny attended the April 19 meeting by phone.
Status of operations/projects
Petersen said asphalt replacement costs for this year’s portion of the district’s Gleneagle Drive 12-inch water main replacement project have soared to $380,000, which is more than the district can afford to pay this year, and this year’s construction plan will have to be adjusted. He will investigate the possibility of installing the district’s replacement water main under Gleneagle Drive at the same time the county rebuilds this residential collector road in the near future to determine if any near-term asphalt replacement cost-sharing savings can be negotiated.
Director Ed Houle said the only county road resurfacing that is planned in the near future in the Tri-Lakes area is for the two-lane portion of Baptist Road from Desiree Drive to Roller Coaster Road, with no widening. Petersen added that all other planned county residential road repairs will be chip and seal only, with no milling or new asphalt.
Petersen reported that both the groundwater and surface water district treatment plants are producing water to supplement Willow Creek Ranch surface water to meet higher spring and summer demands. A new pump and new motor should arrive by the end of April to be installed in district Well 2-D. Petersen added that the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility (UMCRWWTF) is working well and operating within established discharge permit limits.
Petersen said he will continue discussions with CSU staff on signing a long-term agreement with CSU for transporting Donala’s renewable Willow Creek Ranch surface water from Pueblo Reservoir through the Southern Delivery System, treatment by a CSU surface water treatment plant, and piping this now-potable surface water to the CSU-Donala interconnection at Northgate Boulevard and Struthers Road for direct distribution to Donala customers.
Engineering consultant GMS Inc. is continuing with the design phase of the UMCRWWTF pilot plant for the removal of arsenic from the facility’s influent wastewater. The treatment plant’s ultraviolet disinfection control interface has been upgraded. Petersen said the made-to-order replacement plant influent wastewater screen unit and custom-made walkway are still in design. The walkway is scheduled to be installed later this year so that construction that will be performed on scaffolding that is 25 feet in the air will be completed for staff safety before fall and winter inclement weather begin. The influent screen may not be installed until early 2019.
About 40,000 gallons per day of Academy Water and Sanitation District wastewater flows will start flowing into UMCRWWTF in September, when Academy’s new lift station and force main are completed.
Petersen noted that he had taken several of the new Triview Metropolitan District board members and the now-permanent new Triview District Manager Jim McGrady on a tour of UMCRWWTF with him. Petersen stated that this is the first time he had ever taken a Triview board member on a tour of UMCRWWTF.
Annual Donala water main flushing is removing the small amounts of unfiltered iron sediment that collects in the low spots of sagged distribution pipes during the winter, when potable water flows are the lowest due to low irrigation flows.
Willow Creek Ranch
Donala’s annual five-month water right for taking Willow Creek renewable surface flows out of the Arkansas River starts on May 1 each year and lasts until Sept. 30. Donala is allowed to take out a variable amount of Willow Creek snowmelt water, as long as a rolling 38-year Donala withdrawal average of 280 acre-feet is not exceeded. Petersen estimated that the current snowpack will only yield about 63 percent of the state’s average snowmelt in 2018. However, the resultant lower-than-average 2018 Willow Creek Ranch snowmelt yield will not result in an overall Donala water shortage because all of Donala’s wells are operational.
Even though the snowmelt will be reduced in 2018, 2017 was a comparatively wet year, and a higher-than-average amount of carryover agricultural surface water remains in Pueblo Reservoir storage this spring. While there will be below-average 2018 snowmelt flows into the reservoir, these estimated spring flows still may be sufficient enough to overfill the reservoir this year due to the high rate of carryover of 2017 stored water.
Donala’s contracted maximum amount of space available storage in Pueblo Reservoir is 499 acre-feet. If the reservoir approaches an overflow this spring or summer, the amount of storage space available to Donala in 2018 may be reduced by the Bureau of Reclamation to zero. To help prevent a spill of any remaining Donala reservoir water in this circumstance, Donala has been using up as much of its remaining reservoir water as possible.
One other option Petersen noted was to ask CSU to store some of Donala’s water in CSU’s unused higher-priority long-term-lease storage capacity in Pueblo Reservoir.
Donala has also inspected all the new Pilot truck stop water and wastewater infrastructure for Forest Lakes Metropolitan District. Donala is also working with Forest Lakes engineers and the county on the design of the new Forest Lakes surface water treatment facility, which is expected to be operational by this fall. Forest Lakes is currently supplying groundwater to its residents from a separate Arapahoe aquifer well. The Donala staff is very busy providing Forest Lakes Metro District an average of three inspections for each new house and a minimum of six inspections for each new commercial building, using overtime to cover this short-term surge of contracted Forest Lakes activity that will go away when all the new homes have been constructed.
Petersen reiterated that Donala’s only concerns in Forest Lakes are the water and sanitary sewer systems. Donala has no land use authority regarding any of these projects that have become controversial.
The stormwater upgrade project at Northgate and Struthers has been delayed until 2019 due to Preble’s mouse issues with the planned detention ponds on the Air Force Academy.
Petersen reported that the Gleneagle golf course redevelopment had begun, with contractors moving dirt for the required drainage improvement. The district staff has been meeting with the developer and his engineer to review the plans for the installation of water and sewer lines in district easements. The developer and district staff are coordinating their separate home construction and 12-inch water main replacement projects along Gleneagle Drive so each can save money and no newly repaired pavement has to be dug up and "repaired" a second time.
New sewer lines in the Academy Gateway hotel construction area along Struthers Road have been redesigned to ease future district sewer line cleaning. The new hotel and Starbucks will be completed within 30 days of this meeting, Petersen said.
The Struthers Road-Gleneagle Drive roundabout is still scheduled to be completed during this construction season.
Petersen, who is also the president of the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority, said the authority had taken a position against proposed state Senate Bill 18-167, which would require Donala to hand over all the "locates" it now performs for its own underground utilities prior to underground construction to the state’s Colorado 811 System and pay the 811 system a new and substantial fee. Petersen said Donala will always do a better job than the state in locating its own underground infrastructure. (See http://leg.colorado.gov/bills/sb18-167)
Petersen said the fact that the loss of statewide funding from the state oil and gas tax severance fund may not apply to state invasive species inspection program funding of boats for zebra mussels was discussed at the Arkansas River Basin Roundtable meeting during the annual Arkansas River Forum in La Junta. State House Bill 18-1008 proposes a permanent funding source for Colorado’s state zebra mussel inspections. See www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov/aquatics/zebramussel.shtml, http://leg.colorado.gov/bills/hb18-1008, and www.arbwf.org
Petersen noted that he is a member of the steering committee for the advisory El Paso County Water Master Plan development process. He said this committee has met twice and is currently focusing on data collection. Several engineering firms have been retained to conduct the preliminary stage of water and land use policy development of this advisory plan.
In the financial report, Petersen noted that the majority of consulting engineer fees from GMS Inc. for the Donala inspections of the new off-site work for the commercial construction between Struthers Road and I-25 at the Gleneagle Drive intersection were occurring at the start of 2018. To help offset this GMS expense, the Donala staff will perform the inspections for the Gleneagle Drive water main replacement construction. All other district water and wastewater expenses and revenues are on track as planned for the first quarter, he said.
The quarterly Chandler Asset Management district investment report showed investment returns of over 2 percent for the district’s general fund capital preserving investments.
The meeting adjourned at 2:50 p.m.
The next board meeting will be held at 1:30 p.m. on May 17 in the district conference room at 15850 Holbein Drive. Information: 488-3603 or www.donalawater.org. Meetings are normally held on the third Thursday of the month.
Jim Kendrick can be reached at email@example.com.
By Allison Robenstein
During the April 16 Monument Board of Trustees (BOT) meeting, the newly elected members—Trustees Laurie Clark and Ron Stephens and Mayor Don Wilson—were sworn in, and Kelly Elliott was voted mayor pro tem. The board also heard a presentation about downtown revitalization and approved a zoning change. The April 2 meeting was cancelled due to elections.
Trustee Shea Medlicott was excused.
Swearing in board members, mayor, and police officer
Outgoing Mayor Jeff Kaiser thanked the citizens for letting him serve the community, and he congratulated the newly elected trustees. He said he was confident in new Mayor Don Wilson’s leadership, and he recognized the town staff and employees as the best in Colorado. He singled out Town Treasurer and acting Town Manager Pamela Smith for her level of commitment to her work in the town. Finally, Kaiser thanked his family and wife.
New trustees Stephens and Clark were sworn in at the beginning of the meeting, as was Trustee Elliott, who was re-elected to her board position. Town Clerk Laura Hogan then read the oath of office to new Mayor Wilson. Wilson’s first order of business was to encourage trustees to be more involved in the community.
Without discussion, the new board voted 4-2 by a paper ballot to elect Elliott as mayor pro tem. She said she would be delighted to fulfill this position to perform the duties of mayor when necessary.
Town Attorney Alicia Corley explained that because Wilson was elected mayor, his trustee seat was vacant. State statute grants the board the power to fill the vacancy by appointment or by ordering an election.
The board discussed possible options to fill the position, including holding a special election. But after a discussion with Corley and Smith, the consensus was that the BOT would solicit letters of intent and hold interviews at the May 7 meeting.
The trustees then voted unanimously to delay a resolution to swear in the town attorney, treasurer, and clerk until the May 7 meeting so that new BOT members could come up to speed on the process. Note: CRS § 31-4-304 imposes a 30-day deadline after the April 3 election for appointed officers of the town, including the clerk, treasurer, and town attorney, to be re-appointed.
The newest Monument police officer, Zachery Burns, was sworn into office by Chief Jacob Shirk, who said Burns was a good fit because he has the personality and skills to be a police officer. Officer Burns’ wife, Andrea, stood by him as he took the oath of office, and other family members sat in the audience.
Election judge recognition
Town Clerk Hogan and the BOT acknowledged election judges Jackie Burhans, Viola Hale, John Howe, Donald C. Nichols, and Sharon Tymes. Hogan thanked them for the 25 hours spent verifying signatures and counting ballots. Howe, the only election judge present, also thanked Hogan for her assistance with the election, saying it ran very well.
Trustee Greg Coopman remarked that he wished voter turnout had been higher than the 22 percent of voters who mailed in ballots, but praised the town clerk, attorney, and treasurer for a job well done.
Downtown Monument revitalization
Katherine Correll, executive director of Downtown Colorado Inc., presented an update on a downtown Monument revitalization project started in November 2017. The project is a continuing collaboration with local representatives from the town, chamber, small and large businesses and other participants to build a stronger community and economic development program. The revitalization strategy has four parts:
• Branding, or developing Monument’s uniqueness through community engagement to tell the town’s history and story. Correll said based on surveys, some people don’t know there is a downtown.
• Organizational development to retain and expand local business and develop marketing campaigns to bring more people to downtown.
• Placemaking recalls ways to capitalize on community assets, inspiration, and potential to create spaces that promote health, happiness, and wellbeing.
• Wayfinding will focus on ways to attract people to downtown and recreational amenities using clear signage to help visitors find local trailheads, for example.
Correll suggested the downtown is "the living room of our community" and should be made to feel as such. Other comments included:
• Haley Chapin, executive director of Tri-Lakes Cares (TLC), is working on a community-wide scavenger hunt to promote TLC and make more young people aware of TLC’s purpose and mission.
• Several pop up events are planned to bring more people downtown. Jennifer Cunningham told the board that eight Monument-based businesses were selected by the public as The Best of the Springs, including Horseshoe Donuts, Gallery 132, Bella Art and Frame, Wirewood Station, Pikes Peak Brewing Co., U.S. Taekwondo Center, Bob’s Discount Mattresses, and Back East Bar and Grill.
Zone change to former Little Sprouts Learning Center property
Principal Planner Larry Manning presented a resolution to rezone the former Little Sprouts Learning Center property at 77 Third St. from R-1, Single Family Low Density, to B, General Business District, to make downtown business uses allowable, which would make the property easier to sell. The building has been used as a church and a child care building, and it was never used as a residence, Manning said.
The Monument Planning Commission unanimously approved the change at its March 14 meeting. Terri Hayes, president and CEO of the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Corp., and Visitor Center spoke in favor of the resolution, stating the existing building is obviously for commercial use versus a residential building. Hayes felt a business at this location could be the critical anchor to other existing shops and could encourage in-fill in a vacant lot across Third Street on Washington Avenue.
Checks over $5,000
• Triview Metro District not to exceed $148,216. Included are the February 2018 sales tax, Motor Vehicle Sales Tax for March 2018, and March Regional Building Use Tax
• AECOM Technical Services, $5,728 for Beacon Lite Road walk improvements
• CIRSA Insurance for $24,985 for worker’s comp insurance for the second quarter of 2018
• CIRSA Insurance for $29,951 for liability insurance for the second quarter of 2018
• Lexipol LLC for $5,108 for Police Department annual bill
• Tri-Lakes Views for $5,000 annual MOU payment
• Velocity Constructors for $128,267 for contractor’s application payment 2 for Wells 4 and 5
• Rocky Mountain Climate Heating and Cooling for $6,403 to replace existing heating and cooling system at Town Hall.
During public comments:
• Chapin invited the community to the Taste of Tri-Lakes Benefit on Wednesday, May 9 at Flying Horse Ranch, Larkspur. The night will be set up like an episode of Food Network’s Chopped series in which chefs from local restaurants receive a basket of items with which to make a meal. In this case, the baskets will be filled with items from the TLC pantry that are available to their clients on a regular basis. TLC is a community-based, volunteer-supported resource center. For ticket and sponsorship information, see https://tri-lakescares.org/taste-of-tri-lakes-cares. See Our Community Calendar Special Events on page 30.
• Betty Konarski of Tri-Lakes Views, the organization responsible for the local art installations around the area, announced there were over 180 applicants to display new art for 2018 on ## of pedestals. The new installations will be at the end of May which includes a celebration. See www.trilakesviews.org.
Also, this reporter asked the BOT if any announcements concerning the town manager’s placement on administrative leave would be made at the May 7 meeting when the town clerk, treasurer, and attorney were reappointed, but neither Corley nor any of the trustees responded.
Three proclamations were made during the meeting:
• April 27 is Arbor Day, started in 1872 as a special day for the planting of trees. Trees in the town increase property values, enhance the economic vitality of business areas, and beautify the community. This year’s event will be held at 10 a.m. on the north side of the Third Street trailhead. Heritage series apple trees were purchased through a grant from a grower in Montezuma and picked up by Town Gardener Cassie Olgren.
• April 22 marks Earth Day. This is the day we recognize challenges such as environmental degradation, climate change, food and water shortages, and global health issues.
• April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Children have a right to thrive, learn, and grow to their full potential and are key to our state’s future success, prosperity, and quality of life. The long-term effects of child abuse and neglect are felt by our whole community. Julie Crow, executive director of the El Paso County Department of Human Services, encouraged the BOT to continue to make downtown Monument a safe, and welcoming place for children and families. Child abuse and neglect is a nationwide problem that is preventable when parents, families, communities, and government work together to advocate for caring and safe environments for all children. In 2017, there were 15,800 reports of child abuse in the county. Just this year, there have been 400 reports.
The meeting adjourned at 8:03 pm.
Caption: Chief Jacob Shirk administered the oath of office to the Town of Monument’s newest police officer, Zachery Burns. His wife, Andrea, stood with him, and others in his family watched from the gallery. Photo by Allison Robenstein.
The Monument Board of Trustees usually meets at 6:30 p.m. on the first and third Monday of each month at Monument Town Hall, 645 Beacon Lite Road. The next meeting is scheduled for May 7. Call 884-8014 or see www.townofmonument.org for information. To see upcoming agendas and complete board packets for BOT or to download audio recordings of past meetings, see http://monumenttownco.minutesondemand.com and click on Board of Trustees.
Allison Robenstein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By James Howald and Jackie Burhans
The Palmer Lake Town Council met once in April, on April 12. The main order of business was the swearing in of newly-elected officials and appointed officials, as well as an acknowledgement of departing Trustee and Mayor Pro Tem Rich Kuehster. The council also reviewed the financial statements for March and heard a financial report from the finance officer. The council heard two presentations from residents and continued with its review and revision of town ordinances. As the Palmer Lake Liquor and Marijuana Licensing Authority, the council granted a special event liquor license. Finally, the council returned to its previous schedule for its regular meetings, changing the start time to 6 p.m.
Officials take oath
Town Attorney Maureen Juran administered the oath of office to three appointed officials: Town Administrator Catherine Green-Sinnard, Finance Officer and HR Director Valerie Remington, and Town Clerk Verla Bruner.
Juran also swore in five elected officials: Mayor John Cressman and Trustees Mitch Davis, Gary Faust, Glant Havenar, and Robert Mutu. Cressman, Davis, Havenar and Mutu were all re-elected in April, while Faust was elected for the first time.
Following the swearing-in, Cressman said he was excited to get to work with the new board. He said danger of fire was a challenge facing the town, especially the neighborhood known as the Glen, and developing an evacuation plan was a high priority for his upcoming term. Cressman said he also wanted to close the road that approaches Palmer Lake Reservoir from the west to reduce the risk of fire adjacent to the town’s water supply. He said he hoped to hire a zoning officer, to continue to update the town’s ordinances, and to complete the bridge over the railroad tracks that would connect the town to the recreational areas surrounding the lake.
After Cressman’s remarks, a vote was taken and Trustee Mark Schuler was elected as the new Mayor Pro Tem.
Cressman presented departing Trustee Kuehster with a certificate of appreciation for his service on the Town Council from 2013 to 2018. Kuehster served as mayor pro tem as well during his time on the council.
The meeting temporarily adjourned, and a reception for the appointed and elected officials was held.
March financials show Fire Department spending over its budget
During the discussion of the March financials, Schuler pointed out that the town’s Fire Department had spent 56 percent of its budget in the first three months of the year. Remington said that Fire Department salaries changed during that period as a result of regulatory changes. Green-Sinnard added that spending on the Fire Department was also affected by schedule changes that put three full-time people on 72-hour shifts, and by the need to pay for some overtime hours. Green-Sinnard said she would meet with the fire chief to address this issue.
Schuler also asked about $35,000 spent on dam maintenance, and Green-Sinnard said the money was spent to reface the dam. Davis said the dam was designed to last 100 years and has reached the end of its lifespan.
Finance officer gives council quarterly financial report
Remington reviewed the cash accounts with the council and said that as of March 31, the town had just under $2 million in its deposit accounts. The town has two outstanding loans, she said, both with the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority. The town owes $1.1 million on the first loan, which was taken out in 2009, and owes an additional $1.1 million on a loan taken out in 2018 to fund the construction of a second water tank.
Remington told the council she had established new banking relationships and processes intended to protect the town from fraud. Under the new process, she notifies the bank of checks she has written, and the bank pays or rejects checks based on that information. The town will return to the use of direct deposit for employee paychecks, Remington said.
The town’s vendors are being reviewed to see if any consolidation is possible and to check for possible fraud, Remington said.
Remington also said the town finances would be audited in May.
From the perspective of human resources, for which she is also responsible, Remington said she is cleaning up personnel files and reviewing how the town provides worker’s comp insurance with an eye toward saving money. Payroll processing is also being outsourced, she said.
Finally, Remington said she is investigating how to offer health insurance to town employees going forward, because that is a requirement for the town to hire good people.
Residents speak about fire preparedness, Fourth of July fireworks
Resident Reid Wiecks told the council that a committee had been formed to address fire preparedness, especially in The Glen. The committee focuses on building fire awareness in the community, Wiecks said, and focuses on properties that need to be mitigated. Working with the Coalition for the Upper South Platte, the committee has developed a map of Palmer Lake properties that need mitigation. The committee has also organized a slash drop-off event on May 5 on County Line Road.
Speaking on behalf of the July 4 Fireworks Committee, Jennifer Coopman told the board about a Palmer Lake Glow Run event scheduled for May 12. Students at Palmer Lake Elementary School will design shirts for the event, Coopman said. She also gave the council a report on the planning for the town’s Fourth of July fireworks celebration.
Work on ordinances continues
Ordinance Number 6 of 2018, to approve a minor subdivision of block 18 of Glen Park, consisting of five lots, was tabled pending further review.
Ordinance Number 7 of 2018, to add a new chapter to the town’s code governing backflow prevention and cross-connections in the town’s water system, was approved unanimously.
Ordinance Number 8 of 2018, to regulate open burning restrictions within the town, was tabled until the May 10 meeting.
Special event liquor license granted
Acting as the Palmer Lake Liquor and Marijuana Licensing Authority, the council granted a special event liquor license to an event put on by the Awake the Lake Committee, which was held on April 14 at the Pinecrest Event Center.
Future council meetings to begin at 6 p.m.
Electing to return to their previous meeting time, the council voted to begin future meetings at 6 p.m.
Caption: At the April 12 Palmer Lake Town Council meeting, re-elected Mayor John Cressman presents outgoing board member Richard Kuehster with a certificate of appreciation for his years of service on the board and with the Fire Department. From left are Bob Mutu, Rich Kuehster, John Cressman, and Glant Havenar. Photo by James Howald
The two meetings for May will be at 6 p.m. on May 10 and 24 at Town Hall, 42 Valley Crescent. Meetings are normally held on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month. Information: 481-2953.
By Helen Walklett
At its April 17 meeting, the El Paso County Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend approval of a rezoning and subdivision request made by Matthew and Jenna Arvidson relating to a 5.45-acre parcel of land located west of Beacon Lite Road and north of Wakonda Way north of Monument.
The rezoning was from RR-5 (Residential Rural) to RR-2.5 (Residential Rural). A minor subdivision to split the 5.45-acre parcel into a 2.14-acre lot and a 2.33-acre lot and to dedicate right-of-way along Beacon Lite Road and Wakonda Way was approved at the same time. As the two lots would not meet the minimum lot size requirement of 2.5 acres due to the right-of-way dedication, administrative relief of the lot size requirement was granted in March. The county notified eight adjoining properties and received one response, which was in favor of the action.
The application is now scheduled to be heard at the Board of County Commissioners’ meeting on May 8.
Helen Walklett can be reached at email@example.com.
By Helen Walklett
The El Paso Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) continued to highlight the danger of wildfires throughout their meetings in April. At the April 12 meeting, Commissioner Stan VanderWerf gave an update on the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) director’s current thinking on the widening of the I-25 between Castle Rock and Monument.
At the April 19 meeting of the BOCC, two days after the Sheriff’s Office imposed Stage 2 fire restrictions, the commissioners received an update on the 117 wildfire burning south of Colorado Springs in El Paso and Pueblo counties and thanked firefighters, staff and volunteers for their efforts in fighting the fire.
Commissioner Longinos Gonzalez urged citizens to take the fire restrictions seriously. He said, "This is going to be a very dangerous fire season I believe. I and others have been talking about this for several months because of the dry winter that we have had, and I see too many people not taking it seriously."
Commissioner VanderWerf again urged citizens to be prepared, saying, "It looks like, unless we have a wet June … we are on our way to maybe the worst fire season in history in El Paso County. If you have fire risk at your property, deal with it now. Do it now before it’s too late. It’s very, very important."
The Sheriff’s Office ordered Stage 2 fire restrictions on April 17 for the unincorporated areas of the county due to the 117 wildfire and the high fire danger. The restrictions were returned to Stage 1 on April 23. Stage 1 restrictions prohibit:
• Open burning, except for fires and campfires within permanently constructed fire grates, charcoal grills, and wood burning stoves in developed campgrounds and picnic grounds and at private residences in areas cleared of all flammable materials. Outdoor cooking on private property is permitted where contained within fireplaces, fire pits, or barbecues less than 3 feet in diameter and 2 feet high.
• The sale or use of fireworks.
• Public prescribed burning/burn permits.
• Outdoor smoking except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials.
Bill Elder, county sheriff, attended the April 10 BOCC meeting to introduce Jim Schanel, the county’s newly-appointed deputy fire warden, who has assumed overall responsibility for the fight against wildfires. Elder said, "He brings an immense amount of knowledge and expertise to fighting fires." Elder also told the commissioners that a contract had been signed with the Global SuperTanker for this fire season, saying, "Let’s keep our fingers crossed that we never get to the point that we need [it] but at least the contract is in place should we need it."
At the April 12 BOCC meeting, Commissioner VanderWerf reported that he had attended a Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments meeting where he had a conversation with Mike Lewis, director of CDOT, concerning the I-25 expansion. Commissioner VanderWerf said that Lewis was still convinced that the way forward was to toll the third lane. Lewis also said there was no requirement for a fourth lane at this time but that the highway would be designed so that one could be added later. VanderWerf stated he disagreed with Lewis’ view, saying, "There are several of us that have been pushing for four lanes considering the growth that we expect to have in our community. There is absolutely a requirement for four lanes and maybe it’s about time we start planning for the future instead of just catching up from the past." He encouraged citizens to contact CDOT to make their views known.
Flying Horse North
At their March 29 meeting, the commissioners went into executive session at the request of the County Attorney’s Office to receive legal advice concerning a possible waiver or subdivision exemption in the Flying Horse North subdivision. When the commissioners reconvened, it was stated that direction had been given but that no official action had been taken.
The Flying Horse North rezoning from 5-acre lots to Planned Unit Development was approved by the BOCC at its Dec. 13, 2016 meeting. The planned golf course development will encompass 1,417 acres, bordered by State Highway 83 on the west and Black Forest Road on the east. (see http://www.ocn.me/v17n1.htm?#bocc)
• April 10—approval of a variance of use request by John Hotchkiss to allow the operation of a professional office on a 2.28-acre property zoned RR-2.5 (Residential Rural) and located north of Old Ranch Road and about half a mile east of Voyager Parkway.
• April 17—approval of an application for preliminary acceptance of certain streets within the Forest Lakes Filing No. 2A subdivision into the county road maintenance system following completion and inspection of public improvements. The streets are Blue Pearl Court, Pelican Bay Drive, and Lake Mist Drive.
• April 17—approval of the award of a construction contract and purchase order to RMC Consultants Inc. for drainage improvements at the Black Forest Regional Park for the Community Service Department/ Parks Division at a cost not to exceed $147,190.
Helen Walklett can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jennifer Kaylor
Amber Shanklin, Pikes Peak Region conservation director of the Palmer Land Trust, and Susan Davies, executive director of the Trails and Open Space Coalition, discussed the virtues of preserving trails and open space at the March 10 meeting of the Northern El Paso County Coalition of Community Associations (NEPCO). Vice President Tom Vierzba, Treasurer Greg Lynd, and Secretary Bob Swedenburg provided reports.
Trails rise as high priority
"Trails are key…. People love trails, people want trails … and they want more connected trails," Davies emphasized. Many residents of Colorado are considered "ultra-users" and families surviving on tight budgets can access the low-to-no-cost health and recreation benefits of parks and trails. Well-maintained parks and trails also add to the property value of surrounding homes. Serving as the public’s eyes, ears, and voice, the coalition advocates for and promotes stewardship of area parks and trails.
Conservation, good for the present and future
Shanklin explained that the Palmer Land Trust uses conservation easements to protect private and public land in perpetuity. The easements are voluntary legal documents that place restrictions on property and give the land trust authority to enforce the restrictions. Palmer Land Trust focuses on protecting land that fits into three categories: outdoor recreation areas, scenic views, and robust working farms and ranches.
Entities beset by funding woes
Shanklin and Davies iterated the need to generate greater funding support since the current Trails and Open Space tax gets funneled almost entirely to the City of Colorado Springs. Shanklin added that private philanthropy is the next wave of conservation. Depending on the circumstances, donations of land for public benefit may qualify donors for tax credits or deductions.
Bylaws amended and reports presented
The membership approved a bylaws amendment to change the fiscal year and support transitions in director positions. Current membership consists of 40 active associations comprising 8,633 homes, lots, or units.
Lynd provided a breakdown of January-through-March income and expenses. The collection of membership dues of slightly more than $2,000 offsets the significant payments of over $800 for insurance and website fees.
Transportation and Land Use Committee project updates, presented by Vierzba, focused primarily on traffic and water source concerns. He commented on the status of Colorado Springs Utilities’ potential for becoming a regional water and wastewater provider for the Tri-Lakes area. Vierzba also expounded on the area’s formation of a possible Tri-Lakes Rural Transportation Authority. Government entities and revenue sources must be contacted, and planning data and mapping information must be collected.
At the start of the meeting, President Larry Oliver honored two of NEPCO’s founding members in attendance: Ken Judd and Swedenburg.
Caption: Pikes Peak Region Conservation Director of the Palmer Land Trust Amber Shanklin explains the role of the Palmer Land Trust in conserving land and how it relates to Coloradans who live in the Pikes Peak region to members of the Northern El Paso County Association of Community Associations. Photo by Jennifer Kaylor.
The remaining 2018 meeting dates are May 12, July 14, Sept. 15, and Nov. 10. The May meeting will feature Lenard Rioth, from Anderson, Dude & Lebel, who will provide updates to Colorado HOA law and management. Meetings are held from 10 a.m. to noon at the Monument Town Hall conference room, 645 Beacon Lite Rd. off Highway 105.
Jennifer Kaylor can be reached at email@example.com.
By Jackie Burhans
The Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA) board met on Feb. 28, March 28, and April 25 for president’s updates, community comments, and directors’ reports.
Board President Brian Bush said at the February meeting that the board was able to present the Vincent Elorie award to former Forestry Director Eric Gross in person.
He also congratulated Woodmoor Public Safety Chief Kevin Nielsen and Common Area board Director Rich Wretschko for their work on the Safe Routes to Schools $200,000 grant, which has been approved. WIA participated by doing the planning and providing $50,000 for the project. Bob Pearsall, Architectural Control Committee and Common Areas administrator, was also involved.
In March, Bush highlighted the requirement for residents to retrieve trash containers promptly. Article V, Section 11 of the Covenants says, "No trash, litter, or junk shall be permitted to remain exposed upon the premises and visible from public roads or adjoining or nearby premises." Bush noted that we are moving into bear season and want to be careful not to attract wildlife by taking trash out too early or leaving cans out after trash has been picked up.
Resident promotes composting
Mattie, a 15-year-old resident, spoke before the board at the April meeting to promote the idea of community composting. She noted that composting enhances soil and keeps 30 percent of trash out of the landfill. She suggested building bins in an open space for compost drop-off. After three months, the resulting soil could be donated to local schools for their gardens or a community garden could be started. Board members responded positively and commended Mattie but raised concerns about starting fires and attracting bears. Mattie agreed to do further research on bin designs and organizing volunteers.
Board report highlights
• In the March meeting, the board unanimously approved The Beach at Woodmoor development. The developers will construct part of the Safe Routes to School trail. Construction is expected next year.
• WIA is moving forward with its information technology upgrades and new system.
• Director of Community Outreach Kayla Dixon reported on upcoming events, including a Memorial Day ceremony on May 28 and the Fishing Derby on June 2 at Palmer Lake.
• Vice President Peter Bille reported for Treasurer Lee Hanson that past due accounts are slightly higher this year than last and urged residents to pay their association dues.
• Covenants Director Per Suhr noted that a $2,500 fine had been levied for an open fire without spark arrestors.
• The board unanimously approved spending a total of $9,000 to replace the valve and do culvert work at both Hidden Pond and Twin Pond to stay aligned with the augmentation plan required by the Colorado Division of Water Resources.
Caption: The $200,000 Safe Routes to School grant awarded to Lewis-Palmer District 38 along with a matching grant of approximately $50,000 from Woodmoor Improvement Association will fund a trail connecting Lewis-Palmer Elementary School, Lewis-Palmer Middle School, and Palmer-Ridge High School. The trail which follows the route shown in red in the map above, will allow Woodmoor residents to walk and ride bikes safely to those schools from nearby homes. Part of the trail will go through the recently-approved Beach at Woodmoor development on Woodmoor Drive. Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District is also facilitating the construction of the trail by allowing the use of its property at the southern end of Lake Woodmoor. Image provided by Woodmoor Improvement Association
The WIA Board of Directors usually meets at 7 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of each month in the Barn at 1691 Woodmoor Drive, Monument. The next meeting has been moved to Thursday, May 24.
Jackie Burhans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Bill Kappel
Finally, some active weather affected the region on a more consistent basis during April, but even with all the fun, precipitation (both rain and snow) was below average again. This was the seventh month in a row with below-normal precipitation, so we could definitely use a wet May. Temperatures for the month ended up right around normal, but as usual we experienced several large swings between mild and cool.
The first week of the month saw several of these swings in temperatures, rolling between the 40s and 60s every other day from the 1st through the 6th. From the morning of the 6th through the 9th, unsettled weather affected the region. This brought around a quarter of an inch of precipitation, with a trace to an inch for most of us.
Quiet and mild conditions returned for the next few days, with temperatures quickly rising to the mid-60s and low 70s from the 10th through the 12th. A more vigorous storm system moved over the region starting just after midnight on the 12th. This produced a few thunderstorms just after midnight to our north in Elbert and Douglas Counties. As colder air continued to filter in and moisture increased, snow began to fall. Light accumulations occurred by sunrise, then we had a short break between the next round of snow and wind later that afternoon and evening. This next round brought heavier snow and stronger winds. The storm quickly moved out during the morning of the 14th, with plenty of sunshine returning but not before it deposited 6-8 inches of much needed snow.
Sunshine and seasonal temperatures over the next few days quickly melted all the snow. Once the snow was gone, energy from the sun was more efficient at heating the atmosphere and allowed highs to reach the mid- to upper 60s. Conditions were quiet for the next few days with generally clear skies on the 18th and 19th. The next storm began to affect the region by the early morning of the 20th. A few snow showers developed that morning, but the real action held off until the afternoon and evening. Snow, heavy at times, developed around 2:30 p.m. and continued for a couple of hours, with another round of snow developing during the evening and continuing through the early hours of the 21st. This storm totaled 3 to 6 inches in most locations.
This time we only had a brief break between unsettled conditions, with sunshine returning on the 22nd and highs reaching the upper 50s, about 20 degrees warmer than the day before. Mild conditions stuck around the next few days ahead of the final round of storminess for the month. Thunderstorms and rain showers developed during the 23rd—the first time this season with organized thunderstorms developing in the area and a sign of things to come as we head into May and the summer season. However, temperatures were able to cool enough that the precipitation changed over to snow showers by next morning. Cooler air continued to filter in over the next few days, with 1-2 inches of snow accumulating on the 24th. Cool and unsettled conditions contributed to bring light snow and snow showers at times on the 26th and 27th.
Quiet conditions returned to end the month with mild and dry conditions from the afternoon of the 27th through the 30th. Highs reached into the low 70s each afternoon with breezy conditions at times.
A look ahead
May often experiences a wide variety of weather conditions in the region from warm, sunny days to severe thunderstorms and hail, and even some snowfall. May 2007 was a snowy May, with over 20 inches accumulating for the month, while at other times very little snow fell during the month. In general, we can usually expect warmer conditions to finally settle in, with temperatures reaching above 80°F likely to occur on several afternoons.
April 2018 Weather Statistics
Average High 57.0.° (+0.5°)
Average Low 27.6° (+0.2°)
Highest Temperature 74° on the 29th
Lowest Temperature 15° on the 7th
Monthly Precipitation 1.59" (-1.37", 53% below normal)
Monthly Snowfall 14.9" (-11.8", 56% below normal)
Season to Date Snow 59.2" (-57.5", 49% below normal) (the snow season is from July 1 to June 30)
Season to Date Precip. 4.90" (-1.52", 24% below normal) (the precip season is from July 1 to June 30)
Heating Degree Days 681 (-7)
Cooling Degree Days 0
Bill Kappel is a meteorologist and Tri-Lakes resident. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Letters to Our Community should not be interpreted as the views of OCN even if the letter writer is an OCN volunteer.
What is the real scandal?
During a time of so much upheaval in D38, the part that is receiving no attention is that in the middle of a year when the school district is planning an MLO and a bond offering, we are having a school board member quit due to ingrained establishment corruption of the board and administration, and a superintendent trying to quit to go to Douglas County because of "the positive direction that Douglas County is now headed in given their new board."
Well, when the superintendent was rejected for that job, and after trying to leave D38 in the lurch with pending ballot issues, the board decided to give her a new three-year contract with a $60,000 bonus to stay, when her old contract still had one year remaining on it! Why? What has she done for us? Trying to leave in a pivotal year when the district is about to ask for more money? Exposing our kids’ personal data multiple times? Purchasing more Common Core-laden textbooks for our schools?
Please keep these antics in mind next fall when they ask taxpayers for more money. Was our school board really thinking, or were they simply being led, duped, and bullied once again by the liberal CEA union, their minions in D38’s six-figure administration club, and their board puppeteer, Mark Pfoff? Our kids, our teachers, and the taxpayers deserve better than this.
To Paul Lundeen
I just read your proposal to jail teachers who exercise their First Amendment rights regarding their employment.
I have one word: Seriously?
The fact that you even have thoughts like this show that you are absolutely not qualified to legislate or hold any position of leadership in our free, democratic society. Hitler, Stalin, and Pol-Pot called and want their ideas back.
Here’s an idea: How about introducing legislation that would make our Colorado teachers the highest paid in the nation instead of ranking 47th? You’re a "free market" guy, right? Oh, that’s right—you are only free market when it doesn’t conflict with your stingy, corrupt ideologies and personal interest.
Colorado is not a poor state and in fact is probably one of the richest and growing. However, with jackasses like yourself making policy—especially education policy—it’s no wonder state politics and government are a train wreck.
You will not be re-elected. Being emboldened by Trump, you have decided to show your true colors and they aren’t pretty.
I’m going to check and see how your pay as a state representative compares to the other 49 states in the U.S. If it ranks higher than 47th like the teachers, I’m going to start a petition to set it in-line with teacher pay ranking.
While you’re ruminating over the political suicide you just committed, how about going back to high school and taking a civics refresher—you have obviously forgotten everything you’ve ever learned regarding the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights.
Good riddance to you and your ilk. You are all indeed bigger dirt bags than I ever imagined.
No more division, distraction, or delay! Deal with growth now!
During the last school board election, the candidates all signed affidavits promising to be nonpartisan. Board policy BCA-E-1 (Code of Ethics for School Board Members) says, "Avoid being placed in a position of conflict of interest and refrain from using my Board position for personal or partisan gain." Some in the community, including candidates who were elected, did not follow those principles. Yet, Rep. Paul Lundeen questions whether School Board elections should be nonpartisan. Yes, they should. Because partisanship is divisive and prevents boards from taking the best interest of every student and every stakeholder to heart.
Now we find ourselves in a position where the board had to censure director Sarah Sampayo and request her resignation due to her partisanship. Sampayo has resigned and accused remaining members of bullying her. We need to move past this distraction and quickly appoint someone to fill the vacancy who can hit the ground running and doesn’t need a lot of time to learn how to be a board member.
We are at a critical time where the community can clearly see the explosive growth in development where houses are popping up and being bought at a ferocious pace. We have researched, we have met, we have deliberated, and we have designed. We have had second opinions and data-driven review. The conclusions are the same. We need two elementary schools and we need to revert Bear Creek to a middle school.
Delay is not an option. The time to act is now!
Evacuation in the event of a local wildfire
If the roads in the Tri-Lakes WUI (Wildland Urban Interface) have been mitigated enough to see our way out, and providing there’s not so much smoke that we cannot see (or breathe) while driving—get ready for bumper to bumper traffic all the way—especially along 105, County Line Road, Spruce Mountain, and including I-25. Prevailing winds during wildfire season (and thus the wildfires) tend to be from the south, so fire authorities would most likely direct us north along those sure-to-be congested routes. We’d need full tanks of gas for idling delays as well as stop-and-go traffic. (Google "Waldo Canyon wildfire traffic" & "Portugal—hundreds die in their cars evacuating wildfires.")
In my updated opinion, four years into concerted efforts of fire fuels mitigation in Palmer Lake, at this point I’m afraid the most important reason to mitigate my own property is probably to get enough volume out to buy enough time to get out.
Nobody’s responsible for fire mitigation on private land except the property owner and his/her designees. There are municipal ordinances pertaining to clearing potential wildfire fuels (e.g. brush and junk), but there is little will to file complaints or to enforce. Or even to take advantage of cost-share grant money to offset costs.
See www.townofpalmerlake.com and search "wildfire risk" for an official map showing all the Palmer Lake lots that are at "extreme risk" of wildfire.
Best bet: Vote in the Colorado June 26 Primary Election and again in November for a new Colorado governor who’s been endorsed by Colorado professional firefighters—trust me: He’s not just another pretty face; his U.S. House voting record and years of successful action prove his will to do something! Plus, he lives in the WUI (Boulder) and understands what we face.
Students, not politics, are priority
On Thursday, April 19, D38 school board member Sarah Sampayo abruptly resigned her position via email after facts were brought to light about a meeting she organized in November at State Rep. Paul Lundeen’s house which included prominent figures in the Republican Party, and was attended by the two new members of the D38 School Board who had not yet been sworn in. Chris Taylor confirmed that only the two board members, himself and Tiffiney Upchurch, were invited. He felt he needed to attend the meeting as these were the people who got him elected. This information can all be seen and heard on the video of the D38 board meeting which is available on Facebook.
In addition, while acting as a political operative, Sampayo attempted to have the district’s attorney removed on false accusations for which she had to apologize. Thankfully, she was not successful in getting the new board members to go along with corrupt and unethical behavior regarding allowing outside political special interest groups to determine her vote on school board. I hope that with this resignation, the community can come together as one voice for D38 students, teachers, staff, and administration. I am thankful that the remaining board members accepted her resignation, acknowledged that her actions violated board policies, and agreed to separate their political ties from their school board votes on decisions that affect the entire community.
In addition, I am very concerned that State Rep. Paul Lundeen is putting forth a bill which would result in prison time for teachers who protest. Any school board candidate who supports a bill to imprison our teachers can no longer campaign on their commitment to our teachers.
Please support our schools based on what ultimately benefits the students, not based on political affiliation.
It appears the lack of civility and hatred that grips our entire nation has reached the Tri-Lakes area of El Paso County! This unfortunate trend has been demonstrated by our local school board during the last several meetings. Personal agendas have taken precedence over doing what is right for students and the community.
This agenda-driven ideology was thrust into the limelight this past week with the resignation of one member of the D38 school board. This resignation resulted from alleged personal attacks, exclusion, spreading of disinformation, bullying and emotional abuse! Sounds serious! It is!
In her resignation, Director Sampayo indicated the treatment she received during the January executive sessions was abusive and traumatizing. Accusations of this magnitude must be brought forward for resolution to prevent further division within the community. This can be easily rectified by releasing the recordings of those sessions. During the last board meeting, we were reminded of the importance of the board operating within the parameters set forth by its governing policies—absolutely critical! Again, given that accusations were made regarding policy violations, releasing the recordings is essential. The board can require citizens to engage in legal action costing up to $10,000 to force the release of the recordings. However, the board can and should release them voluntarily and in good faith. Otherwise, the community will be left with the perception and "their reality" that Sampayo was emotionally abused and that policies were violated?
I implore the D38 school board members to release the January executive session recordings!
I am confused by comments made in a letter published in last month’s OCN. Speaking about Lewis-Palmer School District, the writer said, "Their budget also includes a recent explosion of Central Admin to 86 positions—not including paid volunteers ...." What is your definition of "a recent explosion?" I am aware of five positions being added over the past few years, two of those are part-time, and during this same time frame, two director positions have not been replaced. One more thing: What exactly is a paid volunteer?
Kids first, politics last
Lewis-Palmer School District leads the state in graduation rates, ACT scores, Advanced Placement (AP) test scores, and measures of Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness. The district is Accredited with Distinction, is on the College Board Advanced Placement Honor Roll, and high school graduates attending college have the some of the lowest remediation rates in the state. On the district’s 2016 Parent Climate Survey, 87 percent of respondents said they were proud to be an LPSD parent or guardian, and 82 percent have confidence in LPSD teachers.
These statistics stand in stark contrast to recent turmoil on the district’s Board of Education. Board member Sarah Sampayo resigned by email on April 19 at 5 p.m., citing a hostile work environment. Although school boards are technically nonpartisan, Sampayo’s allegiance to the Republican Party’s school reform movement was evident throughout her campaign and tenure on the board. Although Sampayo claims that as a board member she pushed for transparency, her resignation came just days after disclosure about her involvement in a meeting in November at Rep. Paul Lundeen’s home designed to direct new board members Chris Taylor and Tiffiney Upchurch to push a partisan agenda for the district. During the April 19 school board meeting, board member Taylor accused Sampayo of unethical conduct. Though Taylor attended the partisan meeting, he left when the purpose became clear. The Complete Colorado quotes Taylor as saying, "There were discussions that led me to believe that we were going to act very partisan and take over the school district."
Lundeen and the members of the District 38 Board of Education must be held accountable for their words and actions. It is time for voters and taxpayers to restate our expectation that school board members make decisions based on what is best for students and not partisan political agendas.
For more detailed information, please see these articles: www.gazette.com/monument-school-board-secretary-resigns-claims-she-was-bullied/article/1624909 and https://pagetwo.completecolorado.com/2018/04/23/citing-bullying-and-law-violations-district-38-school-board-member-sarah-sampayo-resigns/.
Wescott Fire needs better tax dollar management
I’m Gary Rusnak and I’m running for the Wescott FPD Board of Directors on May 8, 2018, because change is desperately needed for better management of your tax dollars.
Why the change? Almost every action the current board has taken since the mill levy vote was approved has been the opposite of the justification they used to defend the mill levy increase. By limiting public comment to the start and in the end of meeting, we taxpayers, who the board is supposed to represent, are unable to provide timely input to their actions. We are effectively unable to.
The 2018 budget had to be re-approved in February 2018, because the current board denied public access and open comment before approving it.
I witnessed at the March 20 and April 17 meetings the approval to expend over $1.3 million of the new-found tax revenue on a Station 2 construction loan payoff and procurement to replace an existing fire vehicle. This windfall was previously unreported or projected when defending the mill levy increase vote. There has been no thought to banking the surplus to reduce our tax burden.
In April, the board approved the chief’s request to hire three more full-time firefighters, using savings they obtained by paying off the Station 2 loan early. Wescott has operated and maintained a 15 full-time firefighter staff supporting the larger district (before annexation by Colorado Springs). Last year they supported the reduced service area with the same staff level needed for the larger area. With 66 percent less area and residents to service, why do they need a 20 percent increase in firefighter staff?
Three of the current board members are seeking election for another term, but it is time for a change. Please go vote at the polling place on May 8.
D38—just follow the rule of law
Wow—really! Now we know why D38 has secretly met over the past several months. At the April 19 board meeting, Director Chris Taylor, who was elected in November 2017, outlined several issues from those executive meetings. Among those are (1) an ongoing controversy about the D38 school lawyer’s advice that an employee lie about a meeting audiotape (2) Director Taylor’s self-admission that he violated Colorado’s Open Meeting Act. FYI: By revealing these exclusive executive session details, Director Taylor once again broke the law.
So how do we fix this royal D38 mess—training on Colorado law, a new school lawyer, a new leadership team, or all of the above? Surely we can all at least agree that our elected officials— each and every one of them—must follow the rule of law.
By the staff at Covered Treasures
"My mother ... she is beautiful, softened at the edges and tempered with a spine of steel. I want to grow old and be like her."—Jodi Picoult
"There is a fountain of youth: It is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age."—Sophia Loren
Mother’s Day is May 13. Give mom books to help her age gracefully, stay healthy, and live life to the fullest so you can have her around as long as possible.
So You’re Seventy . . . So What? How to Love the Years You Thought You’d Hate
By Maralys Wills (Lemon Lane Press) $12.95
Seventy can seem younger than middle age with changes to certain habits. This book is filled with tips including better ways to exercise, to enhance your brain, the miracles of vitamin C, and more.
I’ve Decided to Live 120 Years: The Ancient Secret to Longevity, Vitality, and Life Transformation
By Ilchi Lee (Best Life Media) $19.95
New York Times bestselling author and renowned meditation teacher Ilchi Lee challenges you to radically rethink your ideas on aging, health, personal fulfillment, and what’s possible in your lifetime. Through personal experience, compelling stories, the wisdom of an ancient Korean holistic practice, and current research on longevity and fulfillment, Lee lays out a clear path to make the necessary changes that would make a 120-year life full of vitality, passion, and purpose possible.
How to Babysit a Grandma
By Jean Reagan (Alfred A. Knopf) $16.99
Celebrate the special bond between grandmas and grandchildren in this delightful book that puts the kids in charge of taking care of grandma, if just for one day. When you babysit a grandma, if you’re lucky, you’ll have a sleepover at her house. And with the useful tips found in this book, you’re guaranteed to become an expert grandma-sitter in no time.
By Katy Bowman (Propriometrics Press) $16.95
Geared specifically for those 50-plus, Dynamic Aging details exercises that require no special equipment and includes modifications for readers of all fitness levels, as well as information on moving more in daily life. It is also filled with stories and advice from four septuagenarians who have been doing this program and have avoided surgeries, eliminated pain, and regained freedom and ease in their bodies they thought they had permanently lost to old age. The book’s message: No matter where you are starting, if you change how you move, you can change how you feel.
Sixty: My Year of Aging Semi-Gracefully
By Ian Brown (The Experiment Publishing) $15.95
As acclaimed journalist and author Ian Brown’s 60th birthday loomed, every moment seemed to present a choice: confront, or deny, the biological fact that the end was now closer than the beginning. Brown chose instead to notice every moment and capture what he was experiencing. Sixty is the result: an uncensored, seriocomic report, a slalom of day-to-day dramas (as husband, father, brother, friend, and neighbor), inquisitive reporting, and acute insights from the line between middle-aged and soon-to-be-elderly.
Younger Next Year for Women: Live Strong, Fit, and Sexy until You’re 80 and Beyond
By Chris Crowley and Henry Lodge, M.D. (Workman Publishing) $12.95
This book shows women how to become functionally younger for the next five to 10 years and continue to live thereafter with newfound vitality. It details how to avoid 70 percent of the normal problems of aging and eliminate 50 percent of illness and injury, and how to live brilliantly for the three decades or more after menopause.
You Are My Wish
By Maryann Cusimano Love (Philomel Books) $16.99
This book honors the special bond between grandparent and grandchild, the one of passing along tradition, joyful spoiling, nurturing imagination, and pure adoration. Whether it’s the sharing of stories or romping horsey rides, silly tickle fights, or lazy fishing trips, there’s truly nothing like it.
"My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her."—George Washington
Until next month, happy reading.
The Covered Treasures staff can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Harriet Halbig
May brings a variety of activities to the library, including button making, creation of miniature books, and drawing classes for adults.
The May Family Fun program on Saturday, May 12 from 2:30 to 3:30 is Cool Science Kinetic Explosions. Marc Straub from Cool Science returns to teach us about forces, motion, and energy. Then attendees will try some hands-on activities building woven craft stick chain-reaction explosions.
The Lego Build Club will meet on Saturday, May 19 from 10 to 11:30. Build to your heart’s content with fellow enthusiasts.
Enjoy a button-making session on Monday, May 21 from 2:30 to 4. Design your own button or choose from funny phrases and favorite things.
Tweens and Teens are invited to celebrate Free Comic Book Day on Saturday, May 5 from 1 to 2. Join us to make perler bead keychains of superheroes. We’ll create pixel art of characters using perler beads, then iron them together and attach them to a keychain. Use one of our templates or create your own art. Ages 9 to 18 are welcome.
Tweens and teens are invited to an origami class on Wednesday, May 9 from 3:30 to 4:30. Mother’s Day is coming up fast! Learn some origami designs to give as a gift or keep for yourself. Connie Stanton will teach us to make mint boxes, 3D hearts, and more in this class. Open to ages 9 to 18. Registration is required.
See above section for descriptions of Comic Book Day and origami programs.
Every Wednesday from 3 to 4:30, an intergenerational knitting group meets in the study room. Practice materials are provided, but attendees are encouraged to bring their own materials. Some instruction is provided for those new to the world of knitting.
Are you interested in earning volunteer hours? Do you like being able to set your own schedule? Stop by on Saturday, May 5 from 2 to 3 to learn about the Teen Advisory Board. You can meet with fellow members to talk about ways to make the Teen Zone better, ideas for book displays or events at the library, and many other topics, all while earning volunteer hours.
Come to the library any Monday from 3:30 to 7 to take advantage of AfterMath, free math tutoring for all ages and all math levels, taught by experienced adult tutors. No appointment is needed; simply drop by. The tutoring follows the D-38 schedule. The last session will be May 14.
The Teen Arts and Crafts program on May 30 from 4 to 5:30 is 3D Printing Pens. We’ll be using 3Doodlers to draw our own 3D designs. All supplies will be provided. Open to ages 9 to 18. Registration is required as supplies are limited.
The Monument Library Anime Club will meet from 5 to 6:30 on Thursday, May 31. Come watch and enjoy anime with others who love it, too. Nothing rated above 13/14+ will be viewed. This club is recommended for ages 13/14+.
Please see above section for a description of intergenerational knitting,
On Sunday, May 6 there will be a program on the use of essential oils. Instructor Sharon Simpson-Dogon will discuss "supporting your spirit with essential oils, a beginner’s journey." She will explain properties of the oils and how to use them.
The Monumental Bookworms will meet on Tuesday, May 8 from 7 to 8:30 to discuss Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani. All are welcome to this book group sponsored by the Tri-Lakes Friends of the Library.
Connie Stanton will teach an origami class on Wednesday, May 9 from 2:30 to 3:30. We will make mint boxes, 3D hearts, and other projects. Registration is required.
The Second Thursday Craft for May is Miniature Books. We will make tiny, hand-bound books. Create your own pint-size library and turn them into keychains or create your favorite books in miniature. The program will be on Thursday, May 10 from 2 to 4. Registration is required and opens one week before craft day.
On Saturday, May 12 from 10 to noon, learn some helpful techniques for meditation, taught by two experienced local teachers from LightPoint Pranic Healing. No registration required.
Thursday, May 17 from 1 to 3, members of the Palmer Lake Art Group will teach beginning and intermediate drawing. Some supplies will be provided, but bring paper, pencils, and erasers. Open to ages 18 and up. Space is limited, so registration is required.
The Monumental Readers will meet from 10 to noon on Friday, May 18 to discuss A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson. All are welcome and no registration is required.
All are welcome to join or observe a Spinning Group on Thursday, May 24 from 1:30 to 3:45.
In the display case during May will be fairy doors by Jass Bell. On the walls will be oil paintings by LeVeda Frasier.
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 Time is at 10:30 each Wednesday, and Toddler Time is at 10:30 on Fridays.
Denise Gard and her border collies will present a program at 10:30 on Saturday, May 19 with interactive tales about giants and other magical creatures. All ages are welcome.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at email@example.com.
By Sigi Walker
On April 19, the Palmer Lake Historical Society welcomed Victoria Miller, curator of the Steelworks Museum of the West in Pueblo, as host of the film Forging the West. Miller also appears in the film. The film traces the history of Colorado Fuel & Iron Co. (CF&I) in Pueblo from its founding until the present day.
CF&I was the result of the merger in 1892 of Gen. William Palmer’s Colorado Coal and Iron Co. and John Osgood’s Colorado Fuel Co. It became Colorado’s largest employer and private landowner by the turn of the 20th century. Its mines and mill provided steel products critical for the growth of key Western industries, and Pueblo was hailed as the "Pittsburgh of the West." It has continued to be the largest steel mill west of the Mississippi River and the only U.S. mill that makes hardened steel rail.
The film illustrates the complete control by the mine operators over the miners’ lives through low pay, hazardous working conditions, payment in scrip, and company control of stores, homes, schools, churches, and even local government officials. This ultimately led to "labor disturbances" (strikes) in 1894, 1901, 1903, and finally 1913 and 1914, now known as the Colorado Coalfield Wars. The miners were a melting pot of various ethnicities, which made communication difficult. The film examined John Osgood’s "welfare capitalism" and his building of the town of Redstone as well as his large English Tudor mansion, which exists today.
While the Ludlow Massacre can be attributed largely to CF&I manager L.M. Bowers, John C. Osgood of Victor-American Fuel Co., and David W. Brown of Rocky Mountain Fuel Co., the media placed the blame on John D. Rockefeller Jr., absentee owner of CF&I. Subsequently, the Rockefeller Plan was offered as an alternative to the miners’ being allowed to join the United Mine Workers Union.
Forging the West takes the audience through World War I, the Great Depression, World War II, the post-war boom, and the dumping of steel by China. Despite all its ups and downs and changes in ownership, CF&I has never stopped the production of steel. Now into its third century of operation, its product line also includes steel tubing and steel wire, such as the heavy steel wire used for the Golden Gate Bridge.
The film has been shown three times on PBS. The film is available for purchase in the gift shop of the Steelworks Museum in Pueblo.
Mark your calendars for Thursday, May 17, when Katherine Scott Sturdevant will bring to life the story of Sarah Chivington Pollock Girardin, daughter of Col. John Chivington. Compiling family recollections and the work of local women historians, she unlocks family skeletons and brings a new understanding of Colorado massacre motives. This program is free and open to all. Thursday’s venue is the Palmer Lake Town Hall, 28 Valley Crescent. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the program begins at 7. Light refreshments will be served after the presentation.
By Janet Sellers
Our ponderosa forests are relatively bug-free thanks to the variety of essential oils they send out into the air to protect themselves and their little ones from bugs and pathogens, and humans also benefit from the ponderosa air for optimal health. We know that we can sit in the ponderosa forest and eat our picnic lunch in peace—not so at other spots or even our own backyards.
For a no-sting home garden, mint deters stinging and harmful bugs and can go in pots around the garden; the effective combo of mint and marigolds deters bugs and critters. Short French marigolds save space for crops. Mint deters wasps, ants, spiders, and flea beetles, scourge of garden greens. A study published in the Journal of Pest Management Science in 2013 reported outstanding results with peppermint oil. I use it on a cute pinecone indoors or outdoors. Since ants love to farm aphids on our ponderosas and gardens, cinnamon sprinkled around doorways, windows, gardens, and trees will deter ants and more.
This year, I’ve made faux wasp nests from paper-stuffed brown paper lunch bags. Friends swear by these, and wasps can’t tell if it is real or not but stay away. Wasps hate the scent of cut cucumber—that’s a good picnic food idea.
Safe greens are also pretty at home
Avoid big-agra salad contamination by growing greens at home or office in a sunny window, alternating seedings for lengthening harvests and taking just a leaf or two from each plant 2 inches above soil level for meals all year from greens within reach. I have kale, chard, lettuce, zombie scallions, and more at the window now.
Leggy tomato cure
Leggy and wobbly tomato seedlings and purchased babies need this: cover stem very gently with soil with just 3-4 leaves peeking out (gently wind long stems). Tomatoes grow roots from soil-covered stems, an added boost promoting bigger plants and bigger yields.
Kid-friendly eggshells as mini-pots
Put a finger hole into moist soil in an eggshell, plop in three overnight-soaked seeds, and pencil the seed name on the shell. Keep moist in a sunny windowsill and transplant eggshell in a larger pot or outdoor garden bed after a second set of leaves appears (crack open the shell bottom for roots to grow). The little cotyledons—seed leaves—supply nutrients to the baby plant until true leaves appear and feed the baby plant via the greening of photosynthesis.
Janet Sellers is a writer, artist, and ethnoecologist posing as a lazy gardener, letting nature create in the gardens. She gives talks and garden workshops for successful HANG gardening in our forest ecology. Details: firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Janet Sellers
"Amateurs look for inspiration; the rest of us just get up and go to work."—Chuck Close
Summer is coming; let’s get outdoors in nature and make something! Art outdoors is fun and rejuvenating, not to mention a healing experience for the stresses of life. We are currently short on mastodons (formerly a local threat in Colorado), but we have freeways, deadlines, electronics, and health stresses these days. Our health is our life, and both nature and art help our quality of life not only in mind and heart, but in our body as well. Making art actually creates changes in our physical bodies and brains. Making art improves our quality of life and kids’ scholarly abilities, and it’s just plain fun.
Business Insider magazine reports that "viewing paintings triggered responses in brain regions associated with visual understanding and object recognition, as might be expected, but viewing artwork also was connected to activity associated with emotions, inner thoughts, and learning." Making art benefits the whole body, and study results reported in the Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine showed improvements of CD4+ lymphocyte counts in patients, impacting the cells inside the patient’s body and improving their immune system.
When we make art, we don’t take on the constant and weakening outside bombardments of electronics, freeways, and TV, and instead create something that emanates out of ourselves and into the world. This is especially true of painting and making things outdoors in nature, where we are supported by our local forests, wildlife, the songs of birds, wind, and water while we do our art activity.
The physical as well as mental benefits of making art and sharing it is satisfying, and the rewards are long term. To make art work for us, we cannot be passive bystanders but must do something, be moved, and take action via picking up pencil and paper, grabbing the camera or phone camera, splashing some watercolor, or setting the sidewalk alive with some chalk.
May art events
Bella Art and Frame Gallery—Moonlight and Magic by Teri Rowan, May 1-25, reception May 17, 5-8 p.m. 183 Washington St., Monument.
Bliss Studio and Gallery, owner Jodie Bliss, guest artists, 243 Washington St., Monument.
Gallery 132, local artisan co-op, 251 Front St., Monument
Santa Fe Trail Jewelry, art jewelry, paintings, mixed media—many artists, 106 Second St. at Washington, Monument.
Local Holiday Pop up Shops Facebook page—stay tuned for sneak-peek events, local art. https://www.facebook.com/Local-Pop-Up-Holiday-Shops-945542212140944/
Palmer Lake Art Group show: Color Splash June 9 opening reception, show June 6-30; Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts, 304 Highway 105 Palmer Lake.
Join us! As usual for Art Hop Thursdays and lots of weekend evenings, artists will be around town and at the forests and lakes painting outdoors—plein air—in watercolors and oils this year. Stop and say hello, enjoy the local scene, and see what’s on the easel for the day!
Janet Sellers is a local artist, writer and art teacher, with public art sculptures and paintings in Colorado and the West. email@example.com.
Red Rock Ranch creates Firewise USA community
Caption: Red Rock Ranch residents, spurred on by homeowners’ association President Beth Lonnquist, are taking action against wildfire hazards. The community, tucked up against Raspberry Mountain, bordered by Pike National Forest, and midway between Monument and Palmer Lake, now is an official Firewise USA community. A Firewise Committee is working with residents on wildfire preparedness. Committee member Dave Pheteplace, alias "Mr. Chipper," summed up their approach: "It’s all about saving lives and property from wildfire by creating defensible spaces around homes and mitigating dense stands of scrub oak." Residents have initiated a multi-year, community-wide wildfire risk reduction project, and on April 22, Limestone Road residents including Thom Owens, shown here wearing protective gear, slaved away trimming and cutting slash in preparation for a major Firewise chipping day on April 28. Photo by Lisa Hatfield. Caption by Dave Betzler.
Pine Forest show supports local nonprofits
Caption: The 42nd Annual Pine Forest Spring Show and Sale, sponsored by the Tri-Lakes Women’s Club, drew about 1,450 people at Lewis-Palmer High School on April 7 and 8. This year’s event, featuring antiques, garden supplies, a bakery, and an art section, included 99 booths and four food trucks. The bakery was supplied by 76 bakers from the membership of the group. About 2,139 pounds of food were donated. The Pine Forest event is one of two fundraisers sponsored by the Women’s Club. Proceeds benefit local nonprofits, including but not limited to District 38 schools, fire and police districts, and Tri-Lakes Cares. The Tri-Lakes Women’s Club was selected by the Tri-Lakes Chamber as the 2017 Non-Profit of the Year. Pictured: Rose Fortune, left, and Cindi Monahan are co-vice presidents of Charitable Events for the Tri-Lakes Women’s Club. Photo and caption by Harriet Halbig.
Boot Scootin’ Boogie, Apr. 14
Caption: Those boots were made for scootin’ … and that’s just what they did! A beautiful evening on the Colorado Front Range―at historic Pinecrest in Palmer Lake―was the setting for Boot-Scootin’ Boogie and Barbecue on April 14, organized by the nonprofit Awake Palmer Lake group and featuring a one-two musical punch from Ashtōnz and Latigo. The evening raised about $5,000 for the Awake Palmer Lake project, which includes the construction of a pedestrian/cyclist walkway over the railroad tracks between the eponymous lake and town. See http://awakepalmerlake.org for information. The crowd of 250 or so was also treated to a barbecue dinner from Rich Martin’s Smokey the Pig, Nikki McDonald, and O’Malley’s Steak Pub. For information about upcoming Ashtōnz play dates in Monument, call Charlie Searle at 719-649-0058. Pictured: Ashtōnz drummer/accordionist Steve Haderle of Monument. Photo by Todd Ryan of the Black Rose Acoustic Society. Caption by Charlie Searle.
Pine Hills Firewise, Apr. 21
Caption: Steve Roscio, left, Ken Emry, and Mark Thompson from the Mt. Herman neighborhood shared ideas about how to create a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) and work toward becoming a "fire adapted" community, which can survive wildfires better, at an April 21 meeting of Pine Hills, Green Valley, and Panorama Acres residents. Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District BC/Fire Marshal Jamey Bumgarner explained about local wildfire history and the "Ready, Set, Go!" wildland fire preparation guide. See www.wildlandfirersg.org. Other speakers included Monument Police Community Resource Officer Romano and volunteers from the El Paso Community Emergency Response Team and the Community Animal Response Team. Meeting organizers included Karen Jordan, Jodi Hill, Carol Lynch, Judy Allen, and Nora Birt. Everyone enjoyed a potluck and conversation with neighbors after the presentations. Photo by Lisa Hatfield.
Great American Clean Up, Apr. 28
Caption: TVolunteers grab litter and help beautify the town for the Tri-Lakes area Great America Clean Up campaign on Saturday, April 28. The volunteers met at the Third Street Santa Fe Trail trailhead in Monument to get supplies and needy locations earlier that day and went out for several hours to help inspire our community to keep things beautiful all season. Photo by Janet Sellers.
Random Acts of Kindness
Caption: Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) worked on brightening a home living room on April 14. Grabbing paint brushes, tarps, tape, and a little TLC, volunteer paint artists brought a sparkling new coat of color to a room with a view in Monument. A few action pictures of paint from the rollers on everyone’s face created smiles and an impromptu manicure, but the paint ending up on the walls was simply as good as the view outside the window. RAK rocks, thanks to our volunteers. Residents who either want to give RAK help or ask for help can contact Melinda Reichal at 719-313-0688 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Photo by Gordon Reichal.
Healthy Kids Day at the Y
Caption: The Tri-Lakes YMCA celebrated its 10th birthday by inviting area kids on Healthy Kids Day to learn about ways to stay healthy, be safe, be active, and engage with the community. Medical providers such as Centura Health Physician Group Tri-Lakes Primary Care, Northgate Pediatric Dentistry, and LabCorp provided information about their respective services. Penrose-St. Francis Health Services made its mobile "Blood Vessel" available for blood donations and educated families about blood. Penrose Sports Medicine Center Children’s Hospital Colorado incorporated games into its display by having children match helmets to their respective sports. Officers from the Monument Police Department were available to answer questions. Cathedral Rock Church sponsored a bounce house for kids to enjoy on-site. Representatives from U.S. Taekwondo Center, Girl Scouts of Colorado, YMCA Youth Sports, Kids’ Yoga, and the Big Dog Brag Colorado Mud Run encouraged kids to participate in after-school activities. Pictured: Madelyn Ohmer demonstrates her locust (not lotus!) position at the Kids’ Yoga station. Photo by Jennifer Kaylor
Monument History project
Caption: On the evening of April 24, a group of citizens interested in interviewing people with stories and recollections of early Monument met as a focus group. Next year is the 140-year anniversary of Monument. If you have stories to share or would like to help with the project, please contact Madeline VanDenHoek at 884-8013. Photo by John Howe.
Arbor Day, Apr. 28
Caption: On Arbor Day, April 28, local volunteers came out to help plant trees at the Third Street trailhead for the Santa Fe Trail in Monument. The town received a grant to plant heritage apple and plum trees from the Colorado Tree Coalition and a donation from the Montezuma Orchard Restoration Project. Monument Park Foreman James Schubauer explained to everyone about planting trees from pots: preparation of the soil and roots (which must be cut if rootbound in the pot so the roots will grow out horizontally or the tree will die as the roots will continue to circle around the root ball) and gentle replacement of the soil amid the irrigation system. Photo by Janet Sellers
K-Kids make Compassion Kits
Caption: St. Peter Catholic School’s Kiwanis K-Kids is making Compassion Kits for the homeless. In K-Kids, we discuss what we can do for our church, school, and community. K-Kids hand out the kits to students so they can give them to people on the streets. The Kiwanis K-Kids would appreciate your help with this community service project. Contact Monument Hill Kiwanis at https://monumenthillkiwanis.org/mhk. Caption by Kayla Newman and Sierra Van Pelt. Photo courtesy of Kiwanis K-Kids.
Awake the Lake Fundraiser
Caption: Jeff Hulsmann, owner of O’Malley’s Pub, left, and Bob Mutu, Palmer Lake Town Council member and co-chair for parks, right, stand with young slugger Holden on the field April 28 for the Major League Junior Home Run Derby, where kids up to age 14 from all over Colorado joined in the competition. The Town of Palmer Lake and area restaurants came together to sponsor the event at Centennial Field in Palmer Lake. Caption by Janet Sellers. Photo by Shannon Henry.
Acoustic Eidolon at TLCA
Caption: On April 13, Acoustic Eidolon, composed of Joe Scott and Hannah Alkire, performed for the 10th time at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA). Their distinctive and, as they describe it, "not what you would imagine" sound is derived from their instruments, a one of a kind guitjo (double-necked instrument with 14 strings in total) and custom-built cello. The guitjo allows Scott to play melodies with an almost harp-like sound on the lower "banjo" neck and pick bass notes on the upper guitar neck. Information on upcoming events at the TLCA is at www.trilakesarts.org. Photo by David Futey.
By Judy Barnes, Events Editor
Although we strive for accuracy in these listings, dates or times are often changed after publication. Please double-check the time and place of any event you wish to attend by calling the information number for that event.
Slash-Mulch season begins May 5
The El Paso County Black Forest Slash and Mulch program will accept slash (tree and brush debris only) May 5-Sept. 9. Mulch will be available May 19-Sept. 8 or when mulch runs out. Hours of operation are: Saturdays, 7 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sundays, noon-4 p.m.; Tuesday and Thursday evenings, 5-7:30 p.m. The mulch loader schedule is Saturdays only, 7 a.m.-4 p.m. The cost for slash is $2 per load. The mulch loader fee is $5 per bucket, about 2 cubic yards. The slash and mulch site is located at the southeast corner of Shoup and Herring Roads in the Black Forest area. For more information, visit www.bfslash.org or phone Carolyn, 495-3127; Chuck, 495-8675; Jeff, 495-8024; or the County Environmental Division, 520-7878.
Stage I Fire Restrictions for El Paso County
Continued dry conditions and the National Weather Service forecast for continued dry and warmer-than-normal conditions have resulted in very high to extreme fire danger ratings. Stage I Fire Restrictions are now in effect for all the unincorporated areas of El Paso County, effective immediately. The following are prohibited:
1. Open burning, excepting fires and campfires within permanently constructed fire grates in developed campgrounds and picnic grounds; charcoal grills and wood burning stoves at private residences in areas cleared of all flammable materials.
2. The sale or use of fireworks.
3. Outdoor smoking except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials.
Violations of Stage I Restrictions may result in a fine of up to $600. For more information, visit www.epcsheriffsoffice.com. The mayor of Palmer Lake has imposed Stage II fire restrictions, which appear to be the same, except that violations of Stage II fire restrictions may result in a fine up to $1,000.
Monument Hill Foundation Call for Grants, apply by May 15
The Monument Hill Foundation is the granting arm of the Monument Hill Kiwanis Club. The foundation provides funds in support of the club’s mission to support youth and the community, with a focus on the Tri-Lakes community. Grants are awarded to charities as defined by the IRS, to various qualifying youth activities, and to schools for various educational activities and scholarships. Applications will be accepted until May 15. The grant application is available at www.monumenthillkiwanis.org/forms/mhf_grants.
Volunteer needed for Citizen Outreach Group, apply by May 15
The El Paso Board of County Commissioners is seeking a community-minded citizen volunteer to serve as an at-large member on the Citizen Outreach Group. Applications are due by May 15. The volunteer application is located at www.elpasoco.com. Click on the "Volunteer Boards" link. For more information, call 520-6436 or visit www.elpasoco.com.
Art gallery show seeks entries by May 19
Palmer Lake Art Group seeks new submissions for its upcoming Color Splash show at the non-profit Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts in Palmer Lake. All artwork must be produced by exhibiting artists and not have been showcased at this gallery in the last two years. Entries must be submitted by May 19. For more information, email email@example.com or visit the website, www.palmerlakeartgroup.com.
Tri-Lakes Y Summer Sports Camps
For children ages 5 and up, weekly camps for various sports May 21-July 23. Financial assistance is available. For more information, call 481-8728 or stop by the YMCA, 17250 Jackson Creek Pkwy., Monument. See ad on page 6.
Tri-Lakes AWANA Club, register now
AWANA is a program dedicated to helping kids ages 4-18 learn scripture in a fun and exciting way. Each week is filled with engaging activities like games, verses, and story time. To register for next fall, go to http://fuelchurch.org and click on the AWANA logo. See ad on page 17.
Mountain View Electric Association board nominations now open
The board election will take place during the annual meeting June 7. If you are interested in being a candidate, find application details at www.mvea.coop. For more information, phone 719-494-2528 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. See ad on page 14.
Host families needed
Become a host family for only one month this summer. Host a student from Europe in June/July. Family will receive a stipend to support activities. For more information, phone 481-4412 or visit www.xploreUSA.org. See ad on page 4.
County seeks nominations for Veteran of the Year, nominations due Aug. 15
El Paso County is currently seeking nominations for the 2nd Annual Veteran of the Year Award. Nominees should have demonstrated exemplary military service, community service, and support for veterans in the community. Full nomination guidelines and forms can be found at www.elpasoco.com/county-seeks-nominations-veteran-year.
Tri-Lakes Meals on Wheels needs drivers
Meals on Wheels in the Tri-Lakes area needs regular and substitute drivers to deliver meals Monday, Wednesday, and Friday each week. Volunteers will have to complete an application with Silver Key and then undergo a background check. For more information, phone Sue Cliatt, 481-3175.
Meals on Wheels by Silver Key
If you’re a homebound senior age 60 or older, you might qualify to receive meals delivered to your home through Silver Key. To register or volunteer, call 884-2370. See ad on page 5.
Free Services for Black Forest Seniors
Did you know that Silver Key will provide transportation to and from medical appointments for Black Forest area residents? Call 719-884-2380 for appointments. Did you know that Silver Key will provide Meals on Wheels to Black Forest area residents over age 60? Call 884-2370. Did you know that Silver Key will provide case management guidance and other services to residents in the Black Forest area? For more information about Silver Key and their services, visit www.silverkey.org or call 719-884-2350.
St. Peter Catholic School now enrolling for the 2017-18 school year
The school offers full and half-day preschool, Core Knowledge Curriculum with small class sizes, Christ-centered education, athletics, and more for preschool-eighth grade. Call or visit: 124 First St., Monument; 481-1855; www.petertherock.org. See ad on page 2.
Yoga classes at Woodmoor Barn
Raleigh Dove is now teaching three weekly yoga classes at the Woodmoor Barn. Classes are open to everyone, and each class is a different level. For more information, visit www.yogapathwaysstudio.com. See ad on page 4.
Air Force Academy construction project at South Gate Bridge, through June 2019
The New Santa Fe Regional Trail will remain open through the construction site; all trail users must use the metal connex box tunnel. All bicycle and horseback riders must dismount before entering the tunnel. Periodic trail closures at the South Gate Bridge will be scheduled and posted in advance. When a scheduled trail closure is in place, the trail will be blocked and closed only at the South Gate Bridge. Trail users are encouraged to check the Northgate Trailhead and Ice Lake Trailhead for information regarding construction and closure information and updates. For questions regarding the project and trail closures, contact Construction Superintendent Fred Langan, 719-213-1332 or Fred.langan@Tepa.com; or El Paso County Project Manager Jason Meyer, 520-6985 or email@example.com.
Free services for seniors
Mountain Community Senior Services offers free transportation and handyman services to Tri-Lakes seniors. If you need a ride to a medical appointment, grocery shopping, or the local senior lunches, a volunteer driver will be happy to help you. Call 488-0076 to leave a message for the dispatcher. If you need grab bars in the bathroom, a ramp to your door, or repair of stairs or railings, please call Cindy Rush, 488-0076, and leave a message or visit www.coloradoseniorhelp.com.
Residence vacation check
The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office will conduct vacation checks of homes of county residents who are on vacation. This is a great way to add security to your home when you’re away for multiple days. Either a deputy or trained volunteer will visit your home while you’re away and check it periodically. To add your home to their schedule, visit www.epcsheriffsoffice.com. Info: 520-7151.
Monthly arts and crafts group forming
The Tri-Lakes Silver Alliance Senior Center is looking for anyone interested in various types of arts and crafts such as needlework, knitting, beading, coloring, or quilting. If you’re interested in any of these activities or have a suggestion of your own, contact Sue, 464-6873.
Senior Center, new expanded hours
The Tri-Lakes Silver Alliance Senior Citizens Center is next to the Lewis-Palmer High School Stadium (across from the YMCA). With the addition of 16 morning exercise classes, the new hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.; Saturday, 8:45-10 a.m.; and Sunday, 11:45 a.m.-1 p.m. The facility has a lounge, craft room, game room, and multipurpose room. Programs include bridge, pinochle, bingo, national mah-jongg, Zumba, line dancing, yoga, chair yoga, tai chi, Pilates, total body strength, better balance and strength, and many more! There’s also ping-pong, Wii video games, puzzles and board games, refreshments, a lending library, computers with internet connections, and an information table. For information about programs for seniors, visit www.TriLakesSeniors.org or call Sue Walker, 719-330-0241.
Senior Beat newsletter—subscribe for free
Each monthly Senior Beat newsletter is full of information for local seniors, including the daily menu of the senior lunches offered Mon.-Fri. at the Mountain Community Mennonite Church, 643 Highway 105, Palmer Lake. It also contains the schedule of the classes and events for the month at the Senior Citizens Center and senior-friendly library programs. To subscribe, send an email with your name and mailing address to SeniorBeat@TriLakesSeniors.org. Senior Beat can also be viewed online at www.TriLakesSeniors.org.
By Judy Barnes, Community Calendar Editor
Although we strive for accuracy in these listings, dates or times are often changed after publication. Please double-check the time and place of any event you wish to attend by calling the info number for that event.
LOCAL LIBRARY EVENTS
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.
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