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Triview Metropolitan District, July 10:Water and wastewater rate increases approved
By Lisa Hatfield
On July 10, the Triview Metropolitan District board approved increases in both water and wastewater rates, talked about "regionalization" efforts that would increase the shared use of utility infrastructure and the first phase of a rates and capital improvement plan study, and accepted the 2017 financial audit.
Director Jim Otis was absent.
Triview is a Title 32 special district inside Monument that provides roads, landscaping, and open space maintenance, and water and sanitation services to Jackson Creek, Promontory Pointe, Sanctuary Pointe, and several commercial areas. The Town of Monument (organized under Colorado Revised Statutes Title 30) provides land use planning, police, and general governance for Triview’s property owners.
Water, wastewater rate hikes approved
Andrew Rheem, manager, and Brian Kirsch, senior consultant with Raftelis of Greenwood Village, a registered municipal advisor that primarily focuses on the areas of finance, organization, and technology, briefed the board on recommended changes in water, wastewater (WW), and tap fees. This Phase 1 preliminary water and WW financial plan outlined currently-planned Triview capital needs, proposed a 10-year series of annual water and WW rate increases, and showed potential typical monthly bills and projected financial results. Rheem and Kirsch also noted that Raftelis had conducted a recent study for Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District as well as other Front Range special districts and municipalities. See www.raftelis.com.
Background: Triview and Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) are discussing how CSU might pipe Triview’s renewable surface water to the district so it can transition away from using groundwater from non-replenishing aquifers. Also, in the last few months, CSU announced its WW plants have excess treatment capacity and would consider treating wastewater from smaller districts outside its service area, which would help these smaller districts and municipalities deal with new regulations. District Manager Jim McGrady said he hopes to capitalize on these new opportunities to secure future resources to benefit Triview’s residents, but whichever of the future contingencies occur, all will require spending money, so the district needs to begin building capital reserves. See www.ocn.me/v18n1.htm#tvmd, www.ocn.me/v18n4.htm#tvmd, www.ocn.me/v18n5.htm#tvmd.
The consultants noted future challenges and capital needs for Triview:
• Sixty percent of Triview is not yet developed.
• Triview currently owes about $56.3 million in debt on infrastructure construction, interest payments, and renewable water purchases.
• Stricter WW effluent restrictions in Colorado’s Basic Standards and Methodologies for Surface Water Regulation 31 are coming, so Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility (UMCRWWTF) must be upgraded—$10.75 million for Triview’s share of new treatment technologies construction costs will be required (assuming no Triview sharing of CSU’s JD Phillips WWTF).
• Triview’s shares of UMCRWWTF flow and organic treatment capacity need to be expanded to meet future Triview growth—$12.7 million for construction of expanded plant treatment capacity (assuming no Triview wastewater being diverted to the CSU JD Phillips WWTF).
• Water rights acquisitions and pipelines from water rights to water treatment facilities are needed for a renewable water supply.
Some of the wastewater financial plan projection assumptions in the Raftelis study were:
• Borrow $1 million from the water fund in 2018 to minimize 2018 WW rate revenue increase, repaying this inter-fund loan from 2019 through 2022 with 2 percent interest to the water fund.
• Triview’s existing NorthStar Bank loan of about $4.3 million refunded with issuance of new Triview bonds in fall 2018 that will be fully repaid by 2048.
• Assumes no WW connection will be made with CSU.
• All Triview WW continues to be treated by UMCRWWTF.
• Includes UMCRWWTF plant expansion projects beginning in 2023, but no longer includes plans for increased arsenic treatment capital improvements in 2018 and 2019.
• Planning for no CSU WW connection is a conservative assumption for capital planning as CSU evaluates a regional option.
Some of the water financial plan projection assumptions were:
• Recommend the elimination of the water reuse fee.
• Recommend that the Renewable Water Fee be increased to $7,000 per three-fourths-inch meter.
• Loan $1 million to WW Fund in 2018, repaid by 2022.
• Triview’s existing Key Bank $6.3 million loan is refunded with issuance of a new Triview bond issue in fall 2018 and fully paid in 2048.
• Includes capital costs of a pipeline to CSU.
• Does not include potential operating costs adjustments that may occur from a water connection to CSU.
Some of the renewable water costs in Triview’s capital improvements plan were:
• Water rights - $1.75 million in 2019.
• Water rights - $1.86 million in 2021.
• Water rights - $1.91 million in 2022.
• Water rights - $1.97 million in 2023.
• Water rights - $2.03 million in 2024.
• Water rights - $2.09 million in 2025.
• Water pipeline from CSU - $10.13 million in 2023.
Construction of a vital new Triview Arapahoe aquifer well in 2019 will cost $1.55 million.
Discussions about possible WW regionalization with CSU will include workshops and approval by UMCRWWTF, the U.S. Air Force Academy, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and the Environmental Protection Agency.
Raftelis also made some suggestions about changes to various types of tap fees for new construction, but the board did not take action on those yet.
McGrady said that a next phase of analysis Raftelis consultants could do would be a "cost of service" study and future analysis of tap fees to make sure they are adequate for building out the remaining 60 percent of Triview. The consensus of the board was to make sure that costs are shared equitably among current and future residents.
Resident Steve Remington, who is a past Triview board member, expressed his fury with the district over its whole line of thinking about debt, lack of wastewater facility planning, decisions about and how to use savings in the general fund and enterprise funds, the assumptions Raftelis had made regarding possible water vs. wastewater regionalization, and how tap fees ought to be used. McGrady responded, in part, that TABOR (Taxpayers Bill of Rights Amendment) restricts the use of general fund revenue for enterprise fund expenses.
The Triview board unanimously approved a resolution establishing a new rate schedule, including a 10 percent increase in wastewater rates and a 5 percent increase in water rates that become effective on Sept. 1.
Besides these initial increases that the board approved, Raftelis recommended a series of increases in both water and wastewater rates every year for the next 10 years. If wastewater regionalization with CSU at the JD Phillips WWTF does not occur, all 10 years of Raftelis’ suggested rate increases could be enacted in the future, doubling the average water and WW monthly rates by 2028. Over the next few years, the board will determine the size of future rate increases depending on the final decisions made by CSU, which will affect Triview’s capital plans so dramatically.
2017 audit accepted
Steve Hochstetter, partner, and accountant Courtney Vance of Stockman Kast Ryan & Company presented a summary of Triview’s 2017 audit and gave it a clean, unmodified opinion. Hochstetter said no adjustments were necessary, which spoke to the quality of the accounting process throughout 2017.
District manager’s report
McGrady said discussions with Donala Water and Sanitation District were moving ahead regarding the possibility of a more permanent "wheeling agreement" for non-emergency interconnections for water. Note: Currently, there is water interconnection between the two districts, but the intergovernmental agreement is only for emergencies such as the 20- to 30-million-gallon leak Triview experienced in 2016. See www.ocn.me/v16n8.htm#tvmd0712.
The consensus was that Triview’s board should meet soon with Donala’s board for a feasibility workshop. Other discussions might occur with Woodmoor Water and Sanitation and the Town of Monument, President Mark Melville said.
McGrady said the loan refunding plan would make borrowing additional money easier should opportunities present themselves to the district and would also eliminate a $3.4 million balloon payment on the Key Bank loan. The district is working with investment firm D.A. Davidson to get a good interest rate on the bonds issued, and the refinancing is tentatively scheduled for an Oct. 4 closing. McGrady and the board agree this is necessary.
During public comments, Remington voiced his opposition to the district refinancing debt to increase its debt capacity. He was opposed to spending more money long-term on interest and refinancing fees.
McGrady and Water Superintendent Shawn Sexton presented monthly updates regarding progress on the west interceptor line construction this year and plans for 2019 road rehabilitation, mowing and weed control, upgrades to district irrigation systems, water production, and leak detection.
Town of Monument Planning Director Larry Manning said the town wouldn’t team up with Triview on the cost of engineering design work on the widening of Jackson Creek Parkway from The Vistas at Jackson Creek apartments to just north of Higby Road, McGrady said. The town owns JCP north of Higby Road and would be responsible for widening that short section.
McGrady and Sexton introduced Gary Harrison, who will now be directly supervising Triview’s parks, open space and streets crews. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
McGrady said that TABOR requires all the revenue from Triview’s 35 property tax mill levy to go toward general fund district debt payments, but "it would really help" if residents would vote to allow excess revenues to go toward capital projects, he said. The board voted unanimously to approve a letter of engagement with attorney Kim Crawford of Butler Snow LLP to advise Triview about this potential ballot issue.
Remington asked if a ballot measure were agreed upon if the ballot question could also ask voters about moving some of the $16 million savings from the general fund to the enterprise fund.
The board went into executive session at 8:21 p.m. to receive legal advice relating to negotiations. McGrady told OCN that no announcements or votes were made when the meeting returned to public session.
The next Triview meeting will be held Aug. 14 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. The board meeting packet is now posted each month on the district’s website at https://triviewmetro.com/boardDocuments. See also "Triview Metropolitan District" on Facebook, or Twitter.com/@TriviewMetro.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at email@example.com.
Donald Wescott Fire Protection District, July 17:Directors explore "de-Gallagherizing," combining districts
By Jennifer Kaylor
The full Board of Directors attended the Donald Wescott Fire Protection District’s July 17 meeting. Legal Counsel Matt Court guided the board regarding the potential impact of the Gallagher Amendment on future revenue if the residential assessment rate is lowered. The directors considered options for consolidating with Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD) and possibly the Black Forest Fire and Rescue Protection District (BFFRPD). Chief Vinny Burns reflected on the budget work session held on July 9.
State laws threaten revenue for some special districts
The board discussed the fiscal challenges presented by the juxtaposition of Colorado’s Gallagher Amendment and the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, or TABOR.
Background: The Gallagher Amendment dictates that Colorado’s total property tax collected must maintain a balance of 45 percent residential and 55 percent nonresidential. The assessment rate for nonresidential properties is fixed at 29 percent, but the residential assessment rate is adjusted to maintain the 45/55 balance. TABOR limits Colorado’s annual revenue growth and mandates that state and local governments cannot raise tax rates without voter approval. See www.colorado.gov/pacific/treasury/constitutional-provisions-0 and www.sdaco.org/2015-legislative-information, for in-depth explanations.
Rusnak explained that as the assessed values on residential properties—as determined by the El Paso County Assessor—increase, the residential assessment rate must ratchet down (to remain within the 45 percent boundary). He estimated that the residential assessment rate from two years ago was 7.9 percent, the current residential assessment rate is 7.2 percent, and the next adjusted residential assessment rate to be as low as 6.1 percent.
Over the long term, if assessed values on residential properties level off or decrease, the residential assessment rate can’t simply be raised for districts to maintain baseline revenue. "That now gets forced into a TABOR vote," stated Rusnak.
Court informed the directors that the Special District Association created an interim committee to brainstorm legislation proposals. He added that other fire districts have communicated the potential funding dilemma to their respective communities via website posts and educational materials.
Directors discussed the option of placing a "de-Gallagherizing" issue on the November 2018 ballot. No specific wording was discussed, but the intent of the issue, if pursued, would provide voters the opportunity to approve a mill levy adjustment to account for lost revenue due to a residential assessment rate decrease. Court confirmed July 30 and Aug. 28 as the deadlines for submitting a letter of intent to participate in the general election and establishing an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with Office of the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder, respectively. He also reminded the board that once an IGA is in place, campaign laws restrict the district’s ability to advocate its position on a ballot issue and that the window of time to educate the community is rapidly closing.
The board authorized Burns to send a letter of intent pertaining to a "de-Gallagherizing ballot issue" to the county on a 3-2 vote. Board Chair Bo McAllister and Director Larry Schwarz opposed the motion. Court confirmed that if the board decided not to participate in the November election, the letter of intent did not obligate them to do so.
Ridings committed to gathering up-to-date information regarding the district’s property tax outlook from the Office of the El Paso County Assessor for the next board meeting when a final election decision would be made.
Talks of combining fire districts continue
Burns reported that he and Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD) Chief Chris Truty met to identify Wescott’s and TLMFPD’s compatibility in training, apparatus, personnel, union representation, and other areas. Directors affirmed the chiefs’ efforts to continue exploring options to combine, but also recognized that the process is complex and lengthy.
The board also discussed making similar overtures to the Black Forest Fire Rescue Protection District (BFFRPD). Although past efforts stalled, some directors indicated that BFFRPD may be receptive. Schwarz acknowledged that the board must consider the differences between Wescott and BFFRPD; Wescott serves dense residential and commercial areas and BFFRPD’s service area includes more wildland-urban interface areas. Mill levy differences may also affect a decision to combine. "There’s no harm in asking," was the consensus.
The board unanimously appointed Burns, Schwarz, and Director Joyce Hartung to a non-decision-making committee to discuss district-combining options with other fire districts.
Budget work session deemed very successful
Burns stated that the July 9 budget work session educated directors, line-by-line, about how the budget is developed, the meaning of line items, what is included in each line item, and where funds are located. Two members of the public attended and interacted with the board and staff throughout the 2 1/2-hour work session. When asked if they had learned what they needed to learn, the new directors’ response was an emphatic, "Yes." Burns noted that a summary of the work session is forthcoming.
Call statistics reported, enhancements planned
District calls totaled 77 in July, reported Ridings. There were 39 fire calls and 38 Emergency Medical Services (EMS) calls. Station 1 responded to 63 of the calls and Station 2 responded to 14. Ridings explained that changes in the district’s territory and emergency communication system preclude comparison to last year’s call statistics; but call activity seems to be trending about the same for the area.
Ridings added that information captured by the new communication system may allow for even more details such as EMS success rates and response times, and provide more accurate comparisons. Training remains a top priority. The district recently completed a basic wildland firefighter class, plans to conduct a drivers’ academy soon and intends to send staff to the country’s top training facility, the Nassau County Fire Service Academy, in the fall.
Fire risk unchanged
Burns stated that the district remains in Stage 2 fire restriction status.
Burns added that Administrative Assistant Stacey Popovich had been deployed to the Spring Fire in Colorado, and has returned. A four-firefighter crew and an engine had been deployed to a California fire and would most likely return the week of July 23.
Financial information postponed
Due to Popovich’s absence, the June financial report was unavailable. Note: Because corrections to the May financial report were to be presented, Wescott’s August board meeting is expected to include financial reports for May, June, and July.
The board adjourned at 8:30 p.m.
The next DWFPD Board of Directors meeting is scheduled for Aug. 21, 7 p.m. at Station 1, 15415 Gleneagle Drive. Please call (719) 488-8680, a nonemergency number, for more information, or visit www.wescottfire.org. The district is also on Facebook and Twitter.
Grateful thanks to Lisa Hatfield for recording this meeting and taking notes.
Jennifer Kaylor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District, July 25:Board forms committee to keep in touch with Wescott
By Allison Robenstein
At its July 25 meeting, the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD) board formed a committee to discuss possible consolidation with Donald Wescott Fire Protection District (DWFPD) and heard an update on ways to support the area served by the Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire District (PLVFD).
Vice President Roger Lance and President Jake Shirk were excused.
On July 10, DWFPD’s board voted to form a committee of two board members and a chief to explore consolidation possibilities and keep the lines of communication open with TLMFPD. See DWFPD article on page 1.
On July 25, the TLMFPD board voted unanimously to form a similar committee to examine possibilities with DWFPD and bring information back to the full board. Treasurer John Hildebrandt and Secretary Mike Smaldino will represent TLMFPD with Director Terri Hayes as the alternate. See www.ocn.me/v18n7.htm#tlmfpd.
Chief Chris Truty and DWFPD Chief Vinny Burns will be working together to create a comprehensive report intended to identify differences and similarities in the organizations.
Smaldino said the creation of a committee doesn’t commit TLMFPD to joining up with Wescott at all. Truty agreed and said there are discussions happening and that this board should continue to be involved.
Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department update
Truty said the Palmer Lake Town Council (PLTC) is hiring a consultant to research the effects of the PLVFD remaining as is, with its one fire station in need of major renovations, or asking for some form of assistance coverage from TLMFPD. PLTC has also discussed having a community vote related to the possible changes, he said. See PLTC article on page 10, and www.ocn.me/v18n7.htm#pltc.
Background: In 2015, PLVFD signed a mutual response agreement with TLMFPD for fire calls. PLVFD staff manually call TLMFPD for aid on medical calls if needed for advanced life support, but otherwise Palmer Lake receives ambulance service through the AMR ambulance stationed at DWFPD’s Station 1 on Gleneagle Drive. See www.ocn.me/v15n2.htm#pltc0122.
There haven’t been any operational changes since July, although both entities may create an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) to deal with short-term arrangements before any more permanent arrangements, Truty said.
Both TLMFPD and the Town of Palmer Lake are represented by the same law firm—Widner, Juran LLP. Truty asked the board to vote to execute a conflict of interest waiver for Widner Juran LLP that would make use of Maureen Juran’s experience with both entities and allow the firm to write the first draft of an IGA based on both districts’ needs. This document would then be negotiated and finalized by two separate lawyers to relieve any conflict of interest.
Director Jason Buckingham asked if the Black Forest Fire Rescue Protection District is interested in discussing some kind of consolidation with TLMFPD as well. Truty said they have expressed interest in the past, but they are not included in talks currently.
Truty’s report included a description of how TLMFPD crews participated in the initial response to the July 20 Rampart Fire northeast of Woodland Park, helping to stabilize it in the early stages.
He also said El Paso County has moved to a Stage 1 burn ban after recent rains.
Meetings are usually held the fourth Wednesday of each month. The next meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Aug. 22 at TLMFPD Station 1, 18650 Highway 105. For information, contact Jennifer Martin at (719) 484-9011. For upcoming agendas, see http://tlmfire.org/board.
Allison Robenstein can be reached at email@example.com.
Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility Joint Use meeting, July 10:Love and Skrdlant earn certifications
Caption: Kevin Love, left, Facility Manager William Burks, and Brian Skrdlant are part of the operations team at the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility (TLWWTF) that serves Monument, Palmer Lake, and Woodmoor. On July 10, Burks told the TLWWTF Joint Use Committee that Skrdlant had just achieved his Class B certification, Love had achieved his Class C, and they have already begun working on their A and B licenses, respectively. The JUC cheered for the accomplishments of this new generation of workers. Nationwide, the wastewater industry is experiencing a shortage of new applicants; skills that are required in new trainees include good record keeping and documentation, data collection, understanding of state regulations, and mechanical/equipment maintenance interest and abilities, Burks says. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Photo by Jim Kendrick.
Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District, July 9:Strategy for ponds considered; Woodmoor Ranch trip planned
By James Howald
On July 9, the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD) board worked on how to meet the state’s requirements for augmenting the water retained in ponds in the district. They also planned a field trip for the board members to visit the Woodmoor Ranch, and district staff presented operational reports.
Ponds added to district’s augmentation plan
District Manager Jessie Shaffer told the board that five years previously, the district had filed a plan with the state board to augment water in ponds in the district. When water is held in a pond, the pond owner must augment water flow downstream from the pond to replace water that evaporates from the pond, so that owners of downstream water rights receive all the water for which they have paid.
The plan, or decree, that WWSD filed gave the district the right to add more ponds in the future, Shaffer said. In December, Doug Hollister, District 10 Water Commissioner, told the pond owners in WWSD they would have to choose between draining their ponds or meeting the requirement to augment the downstream flows, Shaffer told the board. The pond owners approached WWSD with requests to address this issue, Shaffer said.
Ronnie Sperling, the district’s water attorney, filed the necessary papers to add the ponds in question to the district’s augmentation plan, Shaffer said. To complete the process, the WWSD board would need to vote on a resolution to add the ponds to the district’s water decree.
Shaffer asked the board to vote to add seven ponds to the district’s augmentation plan: Williams pond, Wild Duck pond, Twin ponds, Maguire pond, Doewood pond, Duck pond and the Augusta pond. Two of these ponds, Wild Duck pond and Twin ponds, are on Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA) property, Shaffer said, adding that a third WIA pond, Hidden pond, would be addressed separately.
The board voted unanimously to approve the resolution adding the seven ponds.
Board plans trip to Woodmoor Ranch
WWSD owns Woodmoor Ranch, previously known as JV Ranch, near Fountain, which it acquired for its water rights. To convert the water from agricultural to municipal use, the district must complete revegetation projects that protect the topsoil. Shaffer proposed that the board tour the property to better understand the progress the district is making in its revegetation efforts. Paul Flack, the district’s revegetation consultant, would accompany the board on its tour, Shaffer said.
In addition to the Woodmoor Ranch, the district is also a shareholder in the Chilcott Ditch, which transports water from Fountain Creek to Calhan Reservoir on the Woodmoor Ranch and which includes an augmentation pumping station that is currently undergoing improvements to protect it from erosion. The augmentation station would be included on the tour as well, Shaffer said.
Highlights from operational reports
• In the financial report, it was noted that requests for new taps have slowed in the last two months.
• Matrix Design is moving forward with its work to address erosion at the Chilcott Ditch augmentation station, and funding for the project has been obtained.
• Warm, dry weather has required the district to do more irrigation on the Woodmoor Ranch to help with the establishment of native grasses.
• Only 1 percent of the district’s water is unaccounted for, indicating the system is operating very efficiently.
• The quality of the water in Woodmoor Lake has improved due to efforts to reduce algae and better aerate the water in the lake.
The next meeting is scheduled for Aug. 13 at 1 p.m. Meetings are usually held at the district office at 1845 Woodmoor Drive on the second Monday of each month at 1 p.m. See www.woodmoorwater.com or call 488-2525 to verify meeting times.
James Howald can be reached at email@example.com.
Donala Water and Sanitation District, July 19:New rates proposed for large commercial customers
By Jim Kendrick
On July 19, the Donala Water and Sanitation District (DWSD) board unanimously approved an interim multi-user rate change for commercial customers like hotels that use significantly higher amounts of potable water than any previous Donala commercial customers have used until a "large commercial businesses" rate table can be created and approved. An inclusion hearing for the Western Museum of Mining and Industry was tentatively scheduled for the Sept. 20 regular Donala board meeting. Donala has been advised that El Paso County’s 100-day construction of the roundabout at Struthers and Gleneagle Drive will now begin in October.
Director Bob Denny announced that he would be moving out of the Donala service area and resigning from the Donala board a few months from now. The board will have 60 days to appoint a replacement director after the date of Denny’s formal resignation.
Commercial rates needed
District General Manager Kip Petersen stated that Donala has historically served residential units and small commercial operations that do not consume a great deal of water on a sustained basis and had never needed a commercial water rate in the past. Hotels use more water than other Donala businesses like 7-Eleven have previously required, and a large-business tap rate structure that also considers summer irrigation peaks needs to be created, he said. The staff will research a rational basis for setting appropriate commercial rates for the larger demands of 1½-inch and greater tap sizes.
Museum update inclusion hearing scheduled
The Western Museum of Mining and Industry was conditionally included into Donala in 2006 and lies within Donala’s service area but remains on well and septic. The museum has been listed as part of Donala’s previous 1041 reports and Bureau of Reclamation requests. The board concurred with Petersen that an updated formal inclusion hearing was appropriate and tentatively scheduled it for Sept. 20. Donala’s Northgate lift station was designed to service the museum, and no additional wastewater construction will be required. The museum’s Dawson well water right would be transferred to Donala.
First-half district financial results on track
Petersen reported, "Overall I’m happy with where we’re at [financially]," though anticipated development has not begun yet at the end of the first half of the year. "Everything else is pretty much where it should be, all things considered." Water sales during the past months of drought have increased substantially, but the demand is being met.
Wastewater biosolids hauling costs for the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility (UMCRWWTF) are rising, and these higher costs will have to be factored into the 2019 budget. Contract services expenses are front loaded and will be less for the rest of 2018, in line with the total amount budgeted. Bids for the new facility headworks screen and catwalk construction projects will be opened in August. (See www.ocn.me/v18n6.htm#dwsd, www.ocn.me/v18n7.htm#dwsd)
Planned district capital construction projects totaling $2.6 million are starting now. The 2018 budget included tap fee revenues for 12 new golf course residential lots, but none has been built yet. Engineering expenses for the Capital Gateway project at Struthers Road and Gleneagle Drive as well as staff training expenses have been a little higher than expected, but not a matter of concern, Petersen said.
The district purchased a new additional Chevrolet Colorado pickup truck, with no trade-in, for $28,200.
Average Donala capital-preserving investment bond interest rates have substantially increased from historic long-term recession lows of less than 1 percent. Reinvestments have resulted in General Fund investment bond interest now averaging 2.31 percent, and Debt Fund bonds are now averaging 2.37 percent. The Bond Project Fund, which is used for more liquid redemptions to make capital project invoice payments, is earning 1.74 percent currently.
Willow Creek Ranch in severe drought
Petersen has been presenting monthly U.S. Drought Monitor Report updates. The percentage of Southern Colorado that is in extreme and exceptional drought status continues to grow northward, with much of El Paso County in extreme drought status. U.S. Drought Monitor maps are available to all OCN readers for their download in JPG and PDF format at:
Donala owns a renewable surface water right for a rolling average use of 280 acre-feet per year from Willow Creek Ranch, which is adjacent to Leadville. This renewable water is stored in Pueblo Reservoir, then conveyed to a Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) water treatment plant by the Southern Delivery System for treatment. Treated CSU potable water is then delivered to the CSU-Donala interconnection at Northgate Boulevard and Struthers Road for direct distribution to Donala customers.
Petersen reported, "The ranch is the driest we’ve seen it." Flows from the ranch are reduced from previous years. Most of the nearby snow on Mount Elbert and Mount Massive has melted. The ranch was under extreme Stage 2 wildfire risk at the time of this meeting, and Petersen has banned campfires on the ranch. Fire mitigation and normal summer maintenance are well underway. The board cancelled the annual Donala staff campout at the ranch due to the fire risk and drought conditions.
Additional arsenic treatment required
New tighter arsenic restrictions will be imposed on UMCRWWTF in October 2019—8.7 micrograms per liter. (https://www.ocn.me/v18n6.htm#dwsd)
Designs for the new construction to provide the additional treatment are underway by engineering consultant GMS Inc. On May 17, consulting engineer Mark Morton of GMS briefed the board on improvements that have been designed for the UMCRWWTF arsenic pilot plant. He discussed progress to date on determining treatment options, potential costs, and timelines. He reviewed new state arsenic regulation requirements and the facility’s new compliance schedule for meeting the new UMCRWWTF arsenic effluent discharge limit of 8.7 micrograms per liter by Sept. 30, 2019.
The arsenic comes from Denver basin groundwater wells. Donala is now using more renewable surface water, which has no detectable arsenic, to dilute arsenic. Triview Metropolitan District is planning to use renewable surface water in the future to dilute arsenic. Forest Lakes Metropolitan District is planning to dilute arsenic as well. There will be a risk of an arsenic violation at UMCRWWTF if surface water flows are interrupted and any of these three UMCRWWTF co-owner districts have to revert to dependence on groundwater wells.
Meeting with Triview board proposed
The board agreed to propose a long-term planning discussion about water and wastewater during a special board-to-board meeting between the Donala and Triview boards on Sept. 26. If that date turns out to be acceptable to Triview’s directors, Petersen and Triview District Manager Jim McGrady will determine a time and agenda for this special meeting.
Capital construction update
Beers Construction Co. was to begin construction by July 23 for the replacement of service lines and saddle taps near Gleneagle Drive from the Donala main to the curb stop where the corrosive soil has compromised the integrity of the existing equipment. This construction was scheduled to last about three weeks.
Global Underground has started to mobilize its equipment near the R. Hull water treatment plant for its large 120-day boring project to connect this plant to the Jessie Drive booster station.
A preconstruction meeting will be set with Pate Construction for the 120-day water main replacement project along Gleneagle Drive from Westchester Drive to Sun Hills Drive. The tentative start date for this project is Aug. 6.
For more information on these three projects, see www.ocn.me/v18n7.htm#dwsd
The meeting adjourned at 3:15 p.m.
The next board meeting will be held at 1:30 p.m. Aug. 16 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Palmer Lake Town Council, July 12 and 26:Well fails; council declares water emergency
By James Howald and Jackie Burhans
The Palmer Lake Town Council ordered sweeping water restrictions on July 26 because of a well failure. The first meeting of the month, on July 12, was a regular council meeting and the second, on July 26, was a working session, but Mayor John Cressman welcomed comments from the public at both meetings, and several votes were taken at the second meeting. The council plans to hold two meetings—one regular council meeting and one "voting work session"—going forward, with public comments at the working session allowed at the discretion of the mayor.
At the meetings, the council continued to work on issues that have concerned the town in some cases for years, such as how to manage the town’s water supply, how to regulate sales of marijuana within the town limits, and how to protect the town from fire and plan for the Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department. In addition to those issues, the board banned dogs from reservoir hiking trails and heard noise complaints from a number of residents about a concert at The Villa Restaurant.
Council declares emergency water use restrictions
Cressman told the council on July 26 that one of the two wells that supply water to the town had developed a problem with its pump and was operating at greatly reduced capacity. That well had been the more productive of the two prior to the pump failing, Cressman said. The reduced production from the well raised the possibility that the town would run out of water and it might take three months to fix the problem, he said.
In response to this, the council considered resolution 13, which prohibits the approval of any new taps, effectively ending any new construction in the town. The resolution also forbids landscape watering, car washing, and any other non-essential use of water such as sidewalk washing and the filling of fountains without aquatic life. It also prohibits restaurants from serving water unless it is requested by a customer.
Cressman emphasized this resolution was intended to deal with the problems created by the well pump failure and would be in effect only until the pump could be repaired.
Council member Paul Banta pointed out the town had three sources of water: the two wells and the reservoirs. One of the wells was operating at 20 percent efficiency, he said, and the other had been at 100 percent before the pump failure and now was close to producing nothing. He added that only a limited amount of water could be drawn from the reservoirs by law.
The council voted unanimously to approve the resolution, which took effect immediately.
Dogs banned from reservoir trails; fines doubled to $800
The council has worked for some time on the issue of how best to manage the town’s reservoirs which, in addition to providing the town’s drinking water, have also traditionally been used for recreational purposes, such as fishing. The trails adjacent to the reservoirs are popular with hikers, who often bring their dogs and fail to clean up after them, potentially reducing the quality of the town’s drinking water. Hikers also start illegal campfires, increasing the danger of wildfire that could lead to contamination of the water supply.
Last year, the council closed the reservoir trails to hikers altogether, but outcry from the community led the council to reverse that decision.
At the second meeting in July, the council took action on this issue by approving resolution 12, which prohibits hikers from taking their dogs on the reservoir trails and increases the fine for doing so to $800.
The council heard comments critical of this restriction from residents who wanted to continue to hike with their dogs along the reservoir trails, and from residents who suggested other ways to manage access to the trail and to parking at the trailhead. Several residents emphasized the importance of consistent enforcement of laws banning dogs and campfires.
Recreational marijuana sales heads to ballot again
At the July 12 meeting, the council heard from two local business people, Melissa Woodward of Premier Organics LLC and Dino Salvatori of Palmer Lake Wellness, who told the council they were collecting signatures with the intention of putting an initiative on the ballot in November that would reverse the town’s prohibition of the sale of recreational marijuana. Woodward asked the council to consider waiving the requirement to collect signatures to put the initiative on the ballot. Salvatori emphasized the tax revenue that recreational sales could bring to the town.
The council declined the request to waive the signature collection. Council member Glant Havenar told Woodward that she was entitled to try to put the initiative on the ballot, but that Havenar did not want to see recreational sales and did not support waiving the requirement to gather the required number of signatures to put the initiative on the ballot. Banta agreed with Havenar’s comments.
At the July 26 meeting, the council considered an initiative to the ballot that would raise the sales tax on recreational marijuana if the initiative promoted by Woodward and Salvatori should pass. Previous initiatives to legalize recreational sales had included a sales tax, but the initiative proposed by Woodward and Salvatori did not include such a tax, according to Town Administrator Cathy Green-Sinnard. Town Attorney Maureen Juran explained the town’s initiative was drafted to raise $50,000 from recreational sales if voters chose to make recreational sales legal in November.
The council voted unanimously to place the initiative to tax recreational sales on the ballot in November.
Council and residents take steps to improve fire safety
At the Town Council meeting in June, Cressman and council member Mitchell Davis announced that they had opened discussions about merging the Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department (PLVFD) with the much-larger Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD). Cressman went on to point out that PLVFD did not have a fire chief or a paramedic on staff, and its fire station was not up to code.
At the July 26 meeting, the council voted to approve a contract with Emergency Services Consulting International to do in-depth research into the town’s fire services, including what it would cost for PLVFD to remain independent and how the town might transition to service provided by TLMFPD. The cost of the analysis cannot exceed $20,321, according to the contract.
All council members present voted to approve the contract except Havenar, who felt the approach favored consolidation and wanted to go on record that she supports an independent fire department for Palmer Lake.
At the July 26 working session, the council returned to its effort to update the ordinance that defines what types of outdoor fires are permitted in the town of Palmer Lake. Progress on drafting the ordinance was slow, as council members struggled to define basic terms and to develop precise definitions of different kinds of outdoor burning. Town Councilor Gary Faust led the discussion.
Residents Judith Harrington and Reid Wiecks announced that they had organized a free "chipping day" on Sunday, Aug. 19 at Glen Park from 1 to 3 p.m. Residents can bring slash and trimmings up to 6 inches in diameter to be chipped, and the chips will be used in the playground area at Glen Park. The chipper and personnel to run it will be provided by the Coalition for the Upper South Platte, they said.
Harrington and Wiecks also said free reflective number signs, designed to help emergency vehicles locate an address, were available through a grant. PLVFD will install the reflective numbers, they said. Residents who would like the reflective numbers can request them using a link on the town’s website (www.townofpalmerlake.com/fire/webform/sign-have-reflective-numbers-your-home).
Also at the July 12 meeting, the council voted unanimously to approve a waiver of conflict of interest to the law firm of Widener Juran, which enables Town Attorney Maureen Juran to continue to work for the town of Palmer Lake on issues relating to the future of the PLVFD, even though the firm also works for TLMFPD. Cressman said having Juran involved in the discussion about PLVFD would save the town the cost of hiring another lawyer.
Concert at The Villa has neighbors up in arms
At the July 26 meeting, a number of residents complained to the board that a musical performance at The Villa was over-amplified and too loud. Several also mentioned foul language used by some of the performers. Residents called both the police and The Villa to complain and, in at least one case, went to the restaurant in person to register their complaints, but the complainants did not feel the restaurant owner or the concert promoter took appropriate action.
Mike Bailey, general manager of Tri Lakes Radio and the organizer of the concert, apologized to the council and the residents who had come to complain and said one of his goals was to use the concert to promote the town to potential visitors. Bailey’s comments prompted Banta to say that he and many others moved to Palmer Lake because it was "quiet, peaceful and tranquil," and that he did not want to see the town promoted at the expense of those values. A number of those present applauded Banta’s remarks.
Audit shows health, progress
David Green of Green and Associates presented the results of his audit for the town’s 2017 finances. The audit for 2017 was smoother than previous audits because the staff was better prepared, he said.
Some of the deficiencies mentioned in previous audit have been corrected, and he expected more progress in the 2018 audit, Green said.
Green said the audit gave the town an "unmodified opinion," a sign of good financial processes and financial health.
According to the audit report, as of Dec. 31, 2017, the town’s General Fund had a balance of $1,730,278, an increase of $441,948 from the previous year. The Water Fund had a balance of $3,370,229, a decrease of $85,676 from the previous year.
The board voted unanimously to accept the audit report presented by Green.
Caption: The Palmer Lake Town Council holds its first voting work session on July 26 with a large group of residents in attendance to hear and comment on topics ranging from water protection, trail access for dogs, fire danger to noise complaints. The council plans to hold two meetings each month. The first, on the second Thursday of the month will be the regular council meeting. The second meeting on the fourth Thursday of the month will be a voting work session where public comments will be allowed at the mayor’s discretion. Photo by Jackie Burhans.
The two meetings for August will be at 6 p.m. on Aug. 9 and Aug. 23 at Town Hall, 42 Valley Crescent. Meetings are normally held on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month, with the second meeting organized as a working session. Information: 481-2953.
James Howald can be reached at email@example.com.
Jackie Burhans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monument Planning Commission, July 11:Wagons West development, Conexus business park plan recommended for approval
By Kate Pangelinan
The Monument Planning Commission (MPC) on July 11 discussed two proposed items—the Final PD Site Plan and Final Plat for the Wagons West development, and a Major Adjustment to the Preliminary PD Site Plan for the Conexus business park. Commissioners David Gwisdalla, Michelle Glover, Kenneth Kimple, and Daniel Ours were in attendance, along with Chairman Ed DeLaney. The meeting lasted roughly two hours, and both items were approved. These proposals will now be discussed by the Board of Trustees.
The Wagons West residential project is located on the west side of Old Denver Road, north of the Monument Ice Rinks. It spans 34.7 acres and was approved for annexation, Planned Development zoning and a Preliminary PD Site Plan on Dec. 4, 2017.
The plan discussed at the July 11 meeting was consistent with the previous proposal, with only minor changes. There would still be 131 residential lots on this property, with 54 designed in an attached single-family style and 77 townhomes in triplex and fourplex formats. Fourteen acres of undisturbed land/creek would remain. It is hoped that this development will begin to provide more affordable housing options for the town. Wagons West’s developer was represented by Andrea Barlow of NES Inc.
Commissioner Glover expressed concern about how to ensure the promised duplexes and triplexes are built, given that those terms aren’t defined in Monument’s current code. Other discussions about the Wagons West development itself included concerns about the lack of sidewalks along Old Denver Road—and the possibility of extra traffic/speeding cars causing difficulties—as well as analyzing whether there would be a sufficient number of turn lanes into the property.
Glover was also strongly opposed to the idea of another government entity/special district being formed to serve the Wagons West development. The applicant intends to form one, and when asked why they would pursue a metro district instead of a homeowners association, Barlow explained that the intention would be to gather money for improvements to the development. Glover posed that increasing the number of metro districts/taxation forces operating in Monument is contrary to the ideals expressed in the town’s Comprehensive Plan. However, as the creation of metro districts is not a matter brought before the Planning Commission, Planning Director Larry Manning noted that time is being set aside for the Board of Trustees to discuss the possibility of a metro district in the Wagons West development.
In the end, the Wagons West Final PD Site Plan and Final Plat passed 4-1, with Glover voting against. She noted a special concern along with her vote, stating her opposition to any metro district with ongoing taxation authority on the property, on the basis that such an entity would be contrary to the goals of the Comprehensive Plan. See related Monument Board of Trustees article on page 13. Also see www.ocn.me/v18n1.htm#mbot1204.
The Conexus business park development is located across Old Denver Road from the Wagons West development. It is 23.34 acres and was previously approved by the Board of Trustees in February 2017. The amendment proposed at this July 11 meeting would add one use to the already approved list of uses for this property. Specifically, the applicant intends to allow the construction of religious facilities and institutions in the business park, as long as they wouldn’t occupy more than 25 percent of the development. See www.ocn.me/v18nconexus#mpc.
A revised traffic study was conducted to represent potential changes stemming from this amendment, which indicated a slight reduction in expected traffic. Any specific religious institution would still have to bring its project before the MPC and then the Board of Trustees before beginning construction. Apparently, a Christian church has expressed interest in purchasing a 5-acre lot on this development.
Points raised by the commissioners during the discussion period included Gwisdalla expressing concern that a religious facility would look out of place in the business park—so that the area wouldn’t seem to mesh together—and a commission-wide understanding that said religious facility would be a nontaxable entity. It was noted that a religious facility would provide employment opportunities and a cultural service to the surrounding area, while at the same time generating interest in the development.
Glover was troubled by the loose terminology involved in this amendment, advising that a "religious institution" could be taken to mean a lot of things—a school, for example—that might lead to confusion in the future. She opined that it would be a good idea to seek legal advice before moving forward with concrete decision-making, and that definitions should be made more explicit.
Barlow of NES Inc.—now representing Conexus’s developer—assured the commission that they could guarantee no secondary licensed school or day care would be built on the property. That would be considered a separate use category.
This proposal passed 4-1, with Glover voting against.
The next Monument Planning Commission meeting will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 8 at 645 Beacon Lite Rd. Meetings are normally held on the second Wednesday of the month. Information: 884-8017 or www.townofmonument.org/meetings/
Kate Pangelinan can be reached at email@example.com.
Monument Board of Trustees, July 16:Police chief lists needs for growing town: "We are not Mayberry"
By Allison Robenstein
On July 16, the Monument Board of Trustees (BOT) heard a presentation by Police Chief Jake Shirk about immediate actions to be taken to support the Monument Police Department (MPD). They also met with Town Attorney Alicia Corley in executive session to receive legal advice on water issues, rejected a resolution brought by Town of Monument Public Works Director Tom Tharnish for an engineering study and approved two development resolutions.
Acting Town Manager and Treasurer Pamela Smith was absent.
Action items from police chief
Shirk presented an overview of MPD to the board as it had requested earlier this year after adding a last-minute raise in police salaries, but not other town staff salaries, to the 2018 budget in November. See www.ocn.me/v17n12.htm#mbot, www.ocn.me/v18n1.htm#mbot.
Shirk said there has been an increase in crimes in the community being committed by career criminals including crimes related to guns and drugs, adding, "We are not Mayberry." The town’s 2018 budget includes approval for 15 sworn officers, including himself. However, hiring a new officer can take six months to a year, he said. Once hired, an officer receives 12 weeks of field training to acquaint them with the specifics of this department. Due to staffing shortages, the department has been forced to go to 12-hour shifts, and four special assignments—Investigations, Traffic Safety, Community Resource Officer and Sergeant—were pulled back into Patrol.
"The Police Department has only increased by three officers in 13 years, yet the population will soon be double what it was then," he said.
Shirk made the following suggestions for improving the department’s safety and efficiency:
• Increase the force to 17 officers to make up for growth since 2010 and try to keep up with projected growth in Willow Springs, Home Place Ranch, Monument Ridge, another senior living facility, and other developments.
• Replace three vehicles due for replacement. No vehicles were approved in the 2018 budget.
• Replace four mobile data computers and in-car mounts. No mobile computer terminals have been approved for replacement since 2014.
• Purchase electronic ticketing and analytical software. Electronic ticketing was removed from the 2018 budget as a way to fund the salary increase received by sworn officers this year.
• Fund the ongoing changes to the town’s IT security in compliance with Criminal Justice Information Services requirements and be eligible for access to state and national arrest records that are vital for MPC officer safety.
Resolution for a development plan
Public Works Director Tom Tharnish brought a resolution to the board for approval of a site development plan based on a 7-acre parcel at Mitchell and Synthes Avenues. The land was purchased by the town in December 2016 for $710,000 using 2A Water Acquisition, Storage, and Delivery (ASD) funds. The ASD Fund was established for the acquisition of water rights, storage and delivery of any newly acquired water. See www.ocn.me/v16n10.htm#mbot0906, www.ocn.me/v16n10.htm#mbot0910, and www.ocn.me/v17n6.htm#mbot0515.
Tharnish said geologic testing, surveying, and engineering design were necessary to determine the site’s viability, providing data for future large capital project decisions on this site. The proposed resolution suggested analysis of four possible uses of the plot:
• Construct a secondary 1.2 million-gallon water storage tank.
• Build a new Public Works facility.
• Create a new water reclamation facility.
• Build a new storm water detention facility.
Tharnish’s report noted the current situation with the other proposed water tank site in Forest View Estates involved in litigation is moving along much slower than anticipated. Because of this delay, the town needs to find another site for a secondary tank that is needed so that the current tank could be drained and repaired. "It’s getting urgent," he said. See www.ocn.me/v17n5.htm#mbot0417.
The water reclamation facility would be part of a possible water reuse project. See www.ocn.me/v16n11.htm#mbot1003.
Trustee Greg Coopman was concerned that "lumping together a variety of projects from various departments" didn’t fit the required use of ASD funds. He said 2A ASD funds should be used on collaborative water projects that benefit everyone in Monument, not just westside water customers.
Coopman and Trustee Laurie Clark asked why the second tank couldn’t be placed on land where the existing tank is located. Tharnish said the engineering, surveying, and geological sampling will need to be completed irrespective of the eventual land use. Public Works has made some small upgrades to the tank over the years, but a recent structural analysis shows there is further deterioration.
Trustee Jeff Bornstein asked why the board is now hearing scare tactics. Tharnish replied that he has tried to put in a new tank over the last few years, but there hasn’t been appropriate land. The 2018 budget includes funding for a new tank and transmission lines, but no specific place was identified. See www.ocn.me/v18n1.htm#mbot1204.
The resolution included a $42,601 request to award the work to J3 Engineering, one of the town’s on-call engineering firms. It failed in a 3-3 tie. Bornstein, Clark, and Coopman voted no.
Wagons West Metro District hearing set
Corley requested a motion to set an Aug. 6 hearing date to approve the creation of a service plan for Wagons West Metropolitan District (WWMD). This would be a new special district for the purpose of building infrastructure, such as new streets and wastewater sewer systems, to support the development of this new subdivision. Title 32 special districts are local governments created to fill the gaps that may exist in the services the town provides and those the homeowners might need. To learn more, see www.colorado.gov/pacific/dola/special-district-administration.
The property, which is adjacent to Old Denver Road and north of the Monument Ice Rink, covering 34.714 acres, was annexed into the town by the board at its December 2017 meeting. When approved, WWMD will be the funding mechanism for the developer, in this case Classic Homes, to develop this property. Homeowners will pay back bonds in the form of a property tax based on the assessed value of their homes to repay the debt incurred to build the public improvements. See www.ocn.me/v18n1.htm#mbot1204.
The hearing to discuss the service plan was set for Aug. 6.
Sanctuary Pointe final plat
The board approved a final plat of Sanctuary Pointe Phase 1 Filing 3A. This 12.4-acre property was previously platted as the Carriages at Sanctuary Pointe when it was approved, but Classic Homes did not get it recorded with the county.
This resolution requested a change from the previously approved 48 single-family attached homes with a shared common area to 46 single-family detached homes, removing the common area and absorbing that space into the individual lots. Andrea Barlow of NES, representing Classic Homes, said the change will allow for all the homes to have three-car garages instead of some having a three-car garage and others having a two-car garage.
Daren Palmer, whose 12-acre property is adjacent to The Carriages, had spoken against the new proposal at the Planning Commission, complaining the lot density was too high and expressing concern about the height of the homes. Classic Homes agreed to remove two lots and make the homes single-story, and Palmer supported the changes on July 16.
The resolution was unanimously approved.
Invoices over $5,000
Typically, the board approves checks over $5,000 as part of the consent agenda without discussion. However, Coopman asked to have the Common Knowledge Technology (CKT) invoices pulled for re-evaluation, because the invoice totals were incorrectly calculated.
Coopman pointed out that of the six CKT invoices, four had totals that were significantly different than the itemizations.
Other checks for $5,000 and over that were approved included:
• Triview Metropolitan District including sales tax due for May, Motor Vehicle Sales tax due for June, and Regional Building Use tax for June—$201,191
• Velocity Constructors Inc. for the fourth payment for wells 4 and 5—$170,952
• Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce for third payment of support—$5,000
• CIRSA Insurance for third quarter Workers’ Compensation—$24, 985
• CIRSA Insurance for third-quarter Liability Insurance—$29,951
• Civic Plus for annual website maintenance—$7,900
• Portable Storage Consultants LLC for two storage containers for public works—$7,000
• Game Time Playcore Co. for new merry-go-round for Limbach Park—$6,934
• Schmidt Construction Co. for Monument overlay—$74,237
Town manager’s report
Items that were included in Smith’s written report:
• The Finance Department is working on the 2019 budget.
• The Police Department hired two new officers with a third coming onboard soon.
• The Water Department held a "Water 101" workshop for the BOT on June 25 to discuss the future of the town’s water.
Barb and David Betzler asked the board to consider the panhandling issue in the town. Specifically, they are concerned over the safety of panhandlers in town medians, as well as the safety of motorists driving next to them. Later, the board agreed to discuss the panhandling issue at the Aug. 6 meeting, and camping and abandoned vehicles possibly at the Aug. 20 meeting.
Jeff Lampman, a candidate in the recent BOT election, expressed concern over possible building industry influence on seated trustees and the election. He accused Mayor Don Wilson, Mayor Pro-Tem Kelly Elliott and Trustee Ron Stephens of "failing to denounce slimy campaign tactics" used by "dirty special interests" against Lampman and Bornstein in the campaign. He called on the three trustees to recuse themselves from any votes related to the building industry.
Code enforcement contract discussed
In July 2017, the board approved a code enforcement contract with Susie Ellis of Community Preservation Specialists. Since last August, she has provided biweekly inspections April through October and monthly inspections November through March, and she fields phone calls from residents. See www.ocn.me/v17n9.htm#mbot.
Ellis reported to the BOT on July 16. To date she has:
• Opened 196 cases based on citizen complaints.
• Conducted 448 inspections, including re-inspections.
• Issued 205 notices.
• Assisted with 36 field inspections.
Most code violations are weed-related, she said.
Corley presented a resolution to extend the contract though next year, adding another day of inspections in winter months so Ellis would visit the town two days a month year-round. Bornstein suggested there might be a better way to integrate code enforcement back into town staff duties. "I don’t think this is a win," he said. When the decision to approve this new contract came to a vote, Coopman said he needed more time to review Ellis’ report in depth. The BOT voted unanimously to postpone the decision to extend the contract until Aug. 6.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:47 pm.
Capton: Monument Police Chief Jake Shirk presented Chaplain Angela Robbins a plaque in recognition of her 16 years of work with the department helping grieving community members and officers. In 2002, Robbins created a chaplain’s program out of concern for the officers and citizens. She received the chief’s commendation for her involvement in a particularly difficult situation. Photo by Allison Robenstein.
The Monument Board of Trustees usually meets at 6:30 pm on the first and third Monday of each month at Monument Town Hall, 645 Beacon Lite Road. The next meeting is scheduled for Aug. 6. 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.
Monument Board of Trustees special meeting, July 30:Board asks for extension in approving 2017 audit
By Allison Robenstein
At a special Monument Board of Trustees meeting July 30, Kyle Logan, independent auditor for the Town of Monument, presented the 2017 audit findings to the trustees. He gave an unmodified opinion of the town’s finances.
In the management letter, his comments included:
• Sales and use taxes revenue increased by 11.3 percent in 2017, due largely to an increase in commercial and residential development.
• Staff should communicate with vendors who attempt to split invoices over $5,000 into smaller charges to circumvent the BOT’s policy of approving checks over $5,000.
Trustee Jeffrey Bornstein asked who was at fault with regard to vendors sending invoices piecemeal instead of the one invoice over the $5,000 threshold. Acting Town Manager and Treasurer Pamela Smith began to answer, but Bornstein cut her off, saying, "Stop! Stop! I’m speaking to this gentleman", referring to Logan.
By Colorado statute, the board is required to approve the audit by July 31. Trustee Greg Coopman asked why they were receiving the audit at such a late date. We wanted to make sure everything was in order before having the audit, Smith said.
Note: The board received the 2017 annual statement of financial condition for preliminary review at their June 18 meeting. This was due to them by statute on or before June 30.
The board voted 4-2 to request an extension, with Trustees Kelly Elliott and Ron Stephens voting against.
Presentations of parties interested in interim town manager position
The board heard five presentations by firms and individuals interested in filling the interim town manager position, although no formal job posting has occurred. The firms and candidates included:
• CliftonLarsonAllen, a professional services firm that would provide an interim manager. Carrie Bartow presented information on the firm, and Josh Miller offered his services as the interim town manager.
• HR Green, which provides staff augmentation and key staff placements, was represented by Dave Zelenok.
• CPS-HR, an executive search firm, was represented by Deanna Heyn and Josh Jones.
• Frank Battistelli, a veteran who is moving into civilian life, offered his resume as interim manager.
• Gary Sears, a retired employee who worked as a city manager for three Colorado cities.
Mediated discussion on interim town manager position
Debbie Brinkman of Institute for Excellence in Governance and Kathie Novak led a discussion with the board to help them move forward in hiring an interim town manager. Both women guided the board toward consensus. All six agreed they needed someone to run the day-to-day operations of the government while they search for a permanent town manager.
Bornstein wanted an executive session to select one of the two candidates who presented at the meeting. Coopman pushed back, saying it would be irresponsible not to post the job first.
The board identified the general profile an interim candidate should fit and set a timeline to receive and review resumes. If a candidate clearly doesn’t fit the criteria, board members should email one another and cull that person from the list, Coopman said. Novak sternly warned this may violate open meeting laws.
The board set a date of Aug. 13 to hold a special meeting to interview candidates and possibly vote to make an offer.
Allison Robenstein can be reached at email@example.com.
Monument Academy School Board, July 18:New board elects officers, makes committee assignments
By Jackie Burhans
The Monument Academy (MA) School Board met on July 18 to organize the board positions, hear an update on plans for the high school, and discuss the implementation of lobby security.
Board officers and committee assignments
The newly seated board unanimously elected board officers and approved committee assignments for the 2018-19 school year as follows:
• Patrick Hall, president – Buildings/Facilities Committee
• Mark McWilliams, vice president – School Accountability Advisory Committee
• Mike Molsen, secretary – Governance Committee
• J.W. Boyles, treasurer – Finance Committee
• Melanie Strop – Resource Development Committee/Grants
• Dwayne Cook – Curriculum Committee
High school construction plans
Kurt Connelly, MA’s builder’s representative, has sent a request for proposal for construction of the high school to seven general contractors (GCs) with extensive charter school experience. Responses are due by Aug. 3, and the best three or four will come to the board for personal interviews.
MA had a second meeting with the El Paso County Planning Commission on July 18 for early assistance with the land use process. No big red flags were raised on the property under consideration. One of the next steps to get the property rezoned will be a traffic study. MA’s architectural firm, CRP Architects, is very familiar with the property and had already done soil testing for D38, though it will have to be updated.
MA will be testing and implementing LobbyGuard, a new visitor management system. The system will include a beacon. Once people are pre-checked, they will get a special fob so that when they are within a hundred feet of the beacon, it will automatically print a visitor badge.
The following items were highlighted at the board meeting:
• The Code of Conduct Annual Declaration—Policy 1514 was signed by all board members.
• The deans and Principal Dr. Elizabeth Davis have selected a "Connection" theme for the school year and will be using over 1,000 Legos to create connections throughout the building.
Caption: Monument Academy board members for the 2018-19 school year are, from left, Dwayne Cooke, J.W. Boyles, Patrick Hall, Mike Molsen, Mark McWilliams, and Melanie Strop. Photo by Jackie Burhans.
The next meeting will be on Thursday, Aug. 9 at the Monument Academy library at 1150 Village Ridge Point. The MA School Board usually meets at 6 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month. Information on the MA School Board, including schedule, minutes, committee and finances can be found at http://www.monumentacademy.net/school-board.
Jackie Burhans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
El Paso Board of County Commissioners, July 3, 10, 24, and 31:Final Forest Lakes plat approved; potential ballot question discussed
By Helen Walklett
At its July 31 meeting, the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) approved a final plat in the Forest Lakes development. Also during July, the commissioners held an executive session concerning a potential ballot question to voters on excess TABOR revenues and the I-25 gap project.
Forest Lakes Development
At their July 31 meeting, the commissioners approved a request by Forest Lakes Residential Development LLC for approval of a final plat at Forest Lakes Filing No. 4 to create 42 single-family residential lots, four tracts totalling 2.2 acres for open space, landscaping, utilities, public improvements, and drainage, and a further 2.3 acres of right-of-way. The parcel of land totals 11.56 acres, is zoned Planned Unit Development (PUD), and is situated south of Forest Lakes Drive and west of Lakes Edge Drive.
A finding for water sufficiency for water quality, quantity, and dependability was made at the time of the BOCC’s approval of the preliminary plan amendment in June 2016. The 42 lots are a portion of the 161 lots approved in the amended preliminary plan. The El Paso County Planning Commission heard the application at its meeting on July 17 and recommended it for approval. See article on page 16.
The site is currently impacted by an existing Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) floodplain. The plat cannot be recorded until the floodplain designation is removed. The Letter of Map Revision (LOMR) process by which this will be achieved is being processed by FEMA. The LOMR proposes to remove the flood hazard from the platted tracts to allow them to be replatted as buildable lots. The applicant anticipates approval.
Park Lands Agreement for Forest Lakes Development
At its July 24 meeting, the BOCC approved a Park Lands Agreement between the county, Forest Lakes Residential Development LLC, and Forest Lakes Metropolitan District (FLMD) that relates to the final plat approved on July 31. The owners would normally pay urban park fees of $11,424 in lieu of land dedication prior to the plat being recorded. However, because the owner has already completed park improvements of substantially greater value, this agreement gives them park fee credits of $11,424. The county Park Advisory Board unanimously endorsed the agreement at its meeting on June 13.
The improvements, known as Waterfront Park, include a section of regional trail, trailhead parking for the park and trail, a gazebo, a small amphitheatre, a low-profile playground, a turfed area, seating, and signage.
In January, the BOCC approved a similar agreement that refunded urban park fees of $11,565 paid at the time of the recording of another final plat in the development in 2017. This refund also related to the work being undertaken at Waterfront Park.
Excess TABOR revenues and the I-25 gap project
The BOCC went into executive session at its July 24 meeting to receive legal advice regarding a potential ballot question to voters in 2018 concerning the use of excess Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) revenues for the I-25 gap project approved by voters in 2017 and their use in the gap project as currently designed by the Colorado Department of Transportation. The legal advice included the legality and mechanics of a potential question as well as legal impacts, if any, to the project. No official action was taken.
Disbursement of the Black Forest Basin drainage and bridge fund
At its July 10 meeting, the BOCC unanimously approved a resolution to allow disbursement of the Black Forest drainage and bridge fund to GEB Investments Group LLC and Larkspur Properties LLC. As the member entities of Struthers Ranch Development LLC, which was dissolved by the BOCC in October 2007, these two companies were assigned the remaining assets of that development, including credits and/or reimbursements, equally divided between the two. In March 2006, the BOCC had established credits for Struthers Ranch Development LLC within the Black Forest drainage basin for facilities constructed.
On this occasion, each received $17,397 from the drainage fund. The remaining credit is $132,341 in the drainage fund and $377,500 in the bridge fund. The two companies remain first in line to be paid this credit when revenue funds become available.
• July 3—the final release of a check for $14,516 (plus accrued interest) for grading and erosion control at My Place Hotel at Academy Gateway Filing 1 following completion and inspection of all the public improvements.
• July 10—resolution for approval to enter into an Intergovernmental Agreement with Lewis-Palmer School District 38 for a full-time school resource officer for July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019. The primary role of the appointee will be to conduct law enforcement and to enhance public relations and educational activities for the school district.
• July 24—resolution to approve a memorandum of agreement and a temporary construction easement agreement associated with the Highway 105 project. The easement is coming from property owned by Stephen and Bridget Marasco for the sum of $1,750.
Helen Walklett can be reached at email@example.com.
El Paso County Planning Commission, July 17:Flying Horse North and Forest Lakes development plans advance
By Helen Walklett
At its July 17 meeting, the El Paso County Planning Commission recommended approval of a preliminary plan and final plat at Flying Horse North and a final plat at the Forest Lakes development.
Flying Horse North
The Planning Commission recommended for approval an application by PR 2 LLC for a preliminary plan and a first final plat at the Flying Horse North subdivision. The land, totaling 557 acres, is east of Highway 83, south of Hodgen Road, and west of Black Forest Road. The Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) approved a rezoning request from the RR-5 (rural residential) to the PUD (Planned Unit Development) zoning district in December 2016 despite opposition (see www.ocn.me/v17n1.htm#bocc).
The preliminary plan is for 283 single-family residential lots and 324.1 acres of open space, which includes a golf course. The final plat is for 80 single-family residential lots and 21 tracts to be used as the golf course, open space, and drainage.
A large part of the discussion at the meeting concerned the subdivision’s proposed water supply. Before considering the two applications, the Planning Commission went into executive session at the request of the county Attorney’s Office to discuss the water sufficiency requirements and receive legal advice relating to the proposed water supply, sufficiency requirement, and the county’s 300-year rule.
The subdivision uses multiple aquifers for its proposed water supply, and a portion of the supply is not owned by the applicant but instead is being leased from the State Board of Land Commissioners. This is unusual, and the applicant has requested a waiver of the requirement that all water be either under the applicant’s ownership or that the applicant has the right to acquire the water rights.
When considering any application, the Planning Commission and BOCC need to determine whether water quality, quantity and dependability is sufficient. In this case, Senior Assistant County Attorney Cole Emmons recommended a finding of conditional sufficiency for water dependability and quantity. This was because the annual payments required for the leased water introduce a level of uncertainty, the state’s engineer’s office had additional requirements, and because plans to supply the golf course beyond the statutory 100-year requirement are still pending approval by the water court. If the water court approves the additional plans, then the conditional finding for sufficiency will be converted to a full sufficiency finding as the golf course would then meet the county’s 300-year rule requirement.
Under the terms of the lease for the water, the applicant must make an annual payment and pay a fee for the amount of water that is pumped for a 30-year period. The water rights revert to the applicant in 2048. To provide some assurance to the county in regard to the annual payments, the applicant has undertaken an escrow agreement that requires it to provide the county with a financial assurance of $200,000. This gives county the right to withdraw funds from the escrow to make the annual payments if the applicant should fail to do so.
Access and road improvements
The primary access to the development will be from Highway 83, owned and maintained by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). Improvements to the highway are required to be installed as development moves forward. A southbound left-turn acceleration lane must be installed with this first filing, with a northbound right-turn acceleration lane required for later filings.
CDOT has issued an access permit that allows for construction of up to 40 lots without any roadway improvements being required. As this first filing includes a request for 80 lots, only the first 40 will be able to obtain building permits until CDOT has approved the construction plans for the highway improvements and granted a new access permit. This is being done to enable the final plat application to move forward. Addressing the meeting on behalf of the applicant, John Maynard of NES Inc. said that he expected approval to come within the next 30 to 60 days and the applicant would then construct all of the proposed improvements that would serve all 283 lots and the golf course. This should be completed by fall of this year. Maynard added, "So, unusual to most developments, all of the required improvements on Highway 83 would be in place prior to any occupancy."
Nina Ruiz, project manager/planner II of the Planning and Community Development Department, told the meeting that the county had notified 67 adjacent property owners and had received one letter in opposition, which stated concerns about traffic and water and questioned the need for another golf course. One letter of support was received, and the applicant had forwarded a second.
The applicant hosted several neighborhood meetings prior to the BOCC PUD hearing, and a further meeting was held in February prior to the submission of the preliminary plan and final plat filing. Concerns raised at these meetings focused on the proposed roadway connections and the adequacy of the water supply. Most of the roadway concerns had to do with the extension of Holmes Road northward, with many of the property owners living on it not wanting to see additional traffic and believing the road to be unsafe. No one spoke in favor or in opposition at the Planning Commission meeting.
The commission voted 4-1 to recommend approval of the preliminary plan and final plat. Commissioner Kevin Curry voted against. He had concerns about the safety of the transportation routes, specifically relating to emergency access and evacuation. Commissioner Jim Egbert commented that the roads and other issues were decided by the BOCC when it granted the PUD and that he felt to revisit those now would be trying to second guess the BOCC.
The two applications are now scheduled to be heard at the BOCC meeting on Aug. 14.
Also at the July 17 meeting, the commissioners recommended for approval a request by Forest Lakes Residential Development LLC for approval of a final plat at Forest Lakes Filing No. 4 to create 42 single-family residential lots, four tracts totaling 2.2 acres for open space, landscaping, utility, public improvements, and drainage, and a further 2.3 acres of right-of-way. The parcel of land totals 11.56 acres, is zoned Planned Unit Development (PUD), and is situated south of Forest Lakes Drive and west of Lakes Edge Drive.
A finding for water sufficiency for water quality, quantity, and dependability was made at the time of the BOCC’s approval of the preliminary plan amendment in June 2016. The 42 lots are a portion of the 161 lots approved in the amended preliminary plan. The application is scheduled to be heard by the BOCC at its July 31 meeting. See the related BOCC article on page 16 for the result.
The site is currently impacted by an existing Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) floodplain. The plat cannot be recorded until the floodplain designation is removed. The Letter of Map Revision (LOMR) process by which this will be achieved is being processed by FEMA.
Helen Walklett can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Woodmoor Improvement Association Board of Directors, July 25:Board discusses Hidden Pond, Brookmoor Estates, plan for rehab center at Ramada Inn
By Jackie Burhans
The Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA) board met on July 25 to continue discussing options for Hidden Pond and share updates on neighboring development requests at Brookmoor Estates and at the Ramada Inn.
Hidden Pond update
Two property owners who live near Hidden Pond spoke about the ongoing issue of allowing water to be retained and paying for augmentation required for downstream senior rights owners. They expressed concern about possible bias in the community survey and lack of information on where to send the requested pictures of the pond when it held water. Vice President Peter Bille noted that the board had suggested residents send potential questions along with pictures of the pond to Bob Pearsall, the Architectural Control Committee and Common Areas administrator, at email@example.com. The board also noted that while the survey closed as of July 31, it is not the only factor determining the outcome.
One resident noted that the Country Club at Woodmoor has proactively gotten water rights or augmentation agreements for their ponds and that the issue had been known for at least three years to WIA. Newer board members said the issue was new to them while longer-term members knew that the issue was coming, but it had not been raised with the board until the end of 2017. The board noted that the circumstances were quite different at the golf course, because it has to pump water into its ponds at a cost of $80,000. The resident noted that they are only asking for some sort of augmentation at a reduced size and cost.
Another resident stated that if the Board of Directors is contemplating spending money, there are other places to spend it that are beneficial to a greater percentage of residents than the pond. He said there will be more people and less water, and the issue for the state is that those ponds prevent water going downstream to someone who owns those water rights. The other resident said that was a fair point of view but that he wants to let the whole community make the decision. He felt the cost of $1,000 to $2,000 was not cost prohibitive.
WIA found out from residents that Brookmoor Estates, the gated community on Lake Woodmoor Drive across from the Woodmoor Center, has requested that residents be allowed to use the back gate via a remote to enter and exit where Symphony Heights turns into South Park Drive. The gate is currently used only by emergency vehicles. Residents on South Park Drive have always wanted the gate closed. Brookmoor Estates, which is not part of Woodmoor, has filed a Type B application for a Planned Use Development amendment to allow residents to use the gate.
For more information on community concerns about previous efforts to allow gate use, see www.ocn.me/v12n10.htm#brookmoor. The original justification for allowing the gate to be used was due to safety issues at the front gate caused by the construction of a wall without amending the PUD site plan, which affected the sight lines of traffic exiting Brookmoor Estates. Despite the developer and homeowner, Mike Brennan, agreeing to rectify the front gate issue and two lengthy discussions at the El Paso Board of County Commissioners meetings in December 2012 (see www.ocn.me/v13n1.htm#bocc) and February 2013 (www.ocn.me/v13n3.htm#bocc), nothing was done until September 2015 when the county shouldered over 75 percent of the $200,000 construction cost. See "Controversial intersection reworked" at www.ocn.me/v15n9%2025.pdf. This realignment was supposed to correct the sight distance issue and allow for safer access to and from the subdivision.
A hearing will be held in September or October, with notices going out to adjacent property owners. Bille reached out to the El Paso County project manager, Kari Parsons (firstname.lastname@example.org), to ask that WIA be notified as well. WIA has expressed that it sees no value to Woodmoor residents in having the gate open. More information about the request can be found at https://epcdevplanreview.com/Public/ProjectDetails/101515.
Plan for rehab center at Ramada Inn
Bille also noted that the Ramada Inn at 1865 Woodmoor Drive is being purchased by Sunshine Behavioral Health to turn into an inpatient drug and alcohol rehabilitation center. The property is not part of Woodmoor, and WIA has no jurisdiction over it but is interested as a neighbor in the community. The company filed a Type C minor site development plan to make minor changes to convert the facility from a hotel to a rehab center. The land is zoned C2, which allows for this use, so no zoning change is required.
Bille noted that the development plan is available online at https://epcdevplanreview.com/Public/ProjectDetails/103610 and includes a detailed letter of intent describing the project. He suggested that residents direct their questions or comments to El Paso County project manager Len Kendall at email@example.com and to the county commissioner for the district Darryl Glenn at firstname.lastname@example.org. WIA’s position is to advocate for what the residents want.
Bille invited the county to make a presentation at a town hall at The Barn and was considering extending the offer to Sunshine Behavioral Health. Note: Land use consultant NES Inc. announced a town hall meeting at the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce visitor center for Aug. 8 at 6 p.m. See more information in the OCN Community Calendar.
Board report highlights
• The board is still running at 4 to 5 percent under budget for expenses; there are still 86 unpaid dues for which liens are being filed, with 10 seriously past due accounts being turned over to the attorney for collection.
• The July chipping day was successful, filling the bins with 153 loads by 3 p.m.
• The board unanimously approved a new volunteer for the Forestry Committee.
• The Safe Route to School project will be finalizing the path through the common areas shortly; they hope to break ground sometime around late August.
Caption: Word of a proposed change of use for the Ramada Inn site to an inpatient drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility has sparked concerns among nearby residents. The inn, which is governed by El Paso County rather than the Woodmoor Improvement Association, is currently zoned Commercial 2 (C-2), which allows for a rehabilitation facility. In response to numerous emails to District 1 El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn (email@example.com), the county project manager, Len Kendall (firstname.lastname@example.org), and the land use consultant firm NES’ project manager Katie Whitford (email@example.com), NES has announced a neighborhood meeting to discuss the details of the site development plan. The meeting will take place on Wednesday, Aug. 8, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center at 166 Second St., in Monument. Details on the project can be found at https://epcdevplanreview.com/Public/ProjectDetails/103610. Photo by Jackie Burhans.
Caption: Brookmoor Estates has requested a Planned Use Development amendment from the county to allow residents to use this gate at the back of the development to access South Park Road. The county project manager is Kari Parsons (firstname.lastname@example.org). See www.ocn.me/v12n10.htm#brookmoor. Photo by Jackie Burhans.
The WIA Board of Directors usually meets at 7 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of each month in the Barn at 1691 Woodmoor Drive, Monument. The next regular meeting will be on Aug. 22.
The WIA calendar can be found at www.woodmoor.org/wia-calendar/. WIA board meeting minutes can be found at https://www.woodmoor.org/meeting-minutes/ once approved and posted.
Jackie Burhans can be reached at email@example.com.
July Weather Wrap
By Bill Kappel
The streak is over; we finally received above-average precipitation over the entire region. July was the first month with above-average precipitation since last September. Unfortunately, as so often happens in July, a lot of the rainfall occurred in a few short bursts. This means there was flash flooding to deal with along with large hail at times. Most of the moisture occurred toward the end of the month, which helped to keep temperatures below average during that time frame. Overall precipitation was above normal for the month and temperatures right about average.
The month started with dry conditions for the first three days, with temperatures jumping from the upper 70s on the 1st to the upper 80s and low 90s on the 2nd and 3rd. Mother Nature then produced some of her own fireworks on the 4th, with thunderstorms dropping some brief heavy rainfall late on the 4th into the early hours of the 5th. Another round of thunderstorms developed during the afternoon of the 5th.
Drier conditions returned for most of the time from the 6th through 10th, only interrupted by some thunderstorms and rain showers during the mid-afternoon of the 8th. This was pretty unusual for July, when thunderstorm activity is an almost daily occurrence. Temperatures were generally above normal during this period as well, with highs in the mid- to upper 80s each afternoon.
A more typical pattern took hold from the 11th through the 18th, with scattered thunderstorms around most afternoons, providing hit-and-miss rainfall accumulations. Higher pressure moved over the region for the next few days, with temperatures peaking in the low 90s on the 21st. This just happened to coincide with the climatologically warmest week of the year.
This area of high pressure then shifted to the east over the next few days, allowing high levels of monsoonal moisture to swing into the region and allowing for a northwest flow to take hold. This resulted in lots of thunderstorm activity, where storms would form over the mountains by late morning, then move over the region. As the storms moved off the mountains into the area, they were able to tap into higher levels of atmospheric moisture and often produce intense rainfall. The heaviest rainfall occurred on the 23-24th and again on the 26th. Both episodes resulted in a rainfall total well over an inch, and in some locations several inches. Hail was common during both storm events, sometimes reaching severe levels. From July 21st through July 29th, most locations received more than 4 inches of rainfall, more than a month’s worth of precipitation in a week.
Just in time for the end of the month, dry and cooler weather moved in. This pushed out much of the low-level moisture and stabilized the atmosphere. It resulted in temperatures well below normal from the 29th through the 31st and lots of sunshine. High temperatures were in the upper 60s to low 70s on the 29th and 30th, then reached back in the upper 70s and low 80s on the 31st.
A look ahead
August is the last true "summer" month in the region. We are often greeted with sunny, pleasant mornings that turn into afternoon and early evening thunderstorms. Highs during the month range from the mid-80s at the beginning of the month to mid-70s at the end. Temperatures at night get more comfortable as well, often dipping into the 40s.
July 2018 Weather Statistics
Average High 81.0° (-1.5°)
100-year return frequency value max 87.6° min 75.3°
Average Low 52.1° (+1.1°)
100-year return frequency value max 56.2° min 46.9°
Highest Temperature 91°F on the 21st
Lowest Temperature 45°F on the 31st
Monthly Precipitation 4.45" (+1.08" 25% above normal)
100-year return frequency value max 6.03" min 0.98"
Monthly Snowfall 0.0"
Season to Date Snow 0.0" (the snow season is from July 1 to June 30)
Season to Date Precip 4.45" (+1.08" 25% below normal) (the precip season is from July 1 to June 30)
Heating Degree Days 32 (0)
Cooling Degree Days 80 (0)
Bill Kappel is a meteorologist and Tri-Lakes resident. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Letters to Our Community
Disclaimer: The information and opinions expressed in Letters to Our Community are the responsibility of the letter writer and should not be interpreted as the views of OCN even if the letter writer is an OCN volunteer. Letter writers should include sources for any facts and figures they cite.
Anonymous letter criticized
Once again, an excellent edition of OCN for July! Getting such a thorough factual update on the Town of Monument Board of Trustees was very helpful. Thank you and your reporter/writers.
We do have a concern with OCN allowing a letter to the editor to be submitted as anonymous. Following is an excerpt from a 2007 article, "Printing Anonymous Letters to the Editor Puts Public Trust in Newspapers at Risk":
"However, research shows that running an anonymous letter to the editor is an easy way to get you or the newspaper sued because they are more likely to be filled with misinformation or libel. Because an anonymous letter cannot be identified with a person or group, it has limited value.
"If a citizen has something truthful and valid to say, they should write a letter without trying to harm others and let the readers evaluate what they have to say in the light of who they are."
We believe that if someone feels strongly enough about a topic or issue, then (s)he should stand behind it with his/her name on the letter. Publishing anonymous letters and sharply worded commentaries can inflame conversations on major community issues. Additionally, letters without attribution could come from outside our local area. From our own knowledge, the anonymous July letter about D38 student population reflected bias and misinformation. It would have been helpful to know the author, allowing us to put what was written into context.
We ask for OCN to review and reconsider the existing policy of allowing anonymous letters for the following reasons: 1) It simply does not align with your overall focus and mission of providing our community with your mission of providing factual reporting; and (2) it has the potential to jeopardize the public’s trust.
Editor’s note: The OCN editorial board discussed the issues raised by this letter. OCN distinguishes between anonymous letters, which we do not publish, and "name withheld" letters where OCN has the name and contact information for the letter writer but is respecting a request by the letter writer to not publish their name. While we try to minimize the number of "name withheld" letters in the paper, we feel offering this option helps encourage whistleblowers and others who might fear retaliation to provide important information to the community.
The ball is in your court
For public record, I and several others have inquired about D38’s policies on physical education substitutions and National Signing Day for years. Since board members are busy, I have decided to offer some suggestions so D38 can have policies on the aforementioned issues.
Our district recognizes that physical education is not mandated by the state of Colorado and is a local control issue. Therefore, students participating in interscholastic sports, community sports, and other approved activities (such as dance or martial arts) may substitute their sport or activity in place of the 1.5 PE credits required for graduation.
The student must have a minimum of 15 hours per month in their sport or activity of substitution. Data must be recorded onto a district-provided activity chart, including a verification from their coach or instructor, in order to count for each .5 credit for that semester.
District 38 takes pride in our students’ accomplishments. We vow to include all D38 student athletes, regardless of where they participate in a sport, to take part in National Signing Day ceremonies if they are being recruited by a college for their sport.
I am asking again for the District 38 Board of Education to please add these items to your agenda. Implementing them costs the district nothing and they are in the best interest of our kids. Here’s your chance to do something "for the kids." I am more than happy to help create an appropriate chart for athletes to use for their PE logs.
Keep D38 strong!
My family moved back to Colorado in 2015, thankful the military stationed us in this wonderful place for a third time. We carefully selected Monument as our home, knowing we plan to be here long term. We love the community feel, and the biggest factor in choosing Monument was D38 schools for our two children. It’s been a fantastic fit for my kids, who have thrived academically, socially, and emotionally in this high-performing district. I can see why D38 has its fantastic reputation and why so many families want to live in Monument.
The only downside is that our class sizes and student populations are growing. Over winter break in 2016, Bear Creek Elementary alone enrolled 45 new students! And I have heard firsthand about the crowding at LP Middle School.
D38 has a plan to alleviate crowding now and address the continuing growth. We can have a second middle school ready for students in the fall of 2019. D38 is putting forward a bond for converting Bear Creek back to a building for sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-graders (it was originally built as a middle school) and building a new 650-seat elementary (which is far cheaper to build than a new middle school) right next to the current campus to house the K-fifth-graders currently in Bear Creek Elementary. This plan is a smart, fiscally conservative approach to address the capacity issues we’re facing—we get the middle school we desperately need now and keep a neighborhood elementary school in Jackson Creek, right where it’s needed most.
I know this community recognizes the value in having one of the top-performing school districts in the state, and I urge everyone to vote yes for a minimal investment (about $13 per month for the proposed bond/mill levy override) for our kids and our community.
Between the Covers at Covered Treasures Bookstore:25th birthday party washed away!
A letter to our customers
Dear friends of Covered Treasures,
Paula Primavera arrived to quite a surprise when she opened the store on July 6. "It was like walking into a thunderstorm," she said. Water was cascading down as a result of a burst pipe, and pieces of the ceiling were falling on the floor. The west side of the Chapala Building is temporarily closed for renovations. The Bookstore staff hopes to reopen on a limited basis in about a month, utilizing the rooms that were not damaged. Covered Treasures was 25 years old on July 17, but the party that was planned will be delayed until our grand reopening.
Tommie Plank and Leona Lacroix did a lot of research and decided the area needed a bookstore back in 1993. They then spent more than six months taking courses on operating a small business, finding a distributor, filing articles of incorporation, ordering bookcases and initial inventory, joining the American Booksellers’ Association, and, of course finding the perfect location. After considering a spot in a shopping center, space opened up in the historic Chapala Building in downtown Monument, and the history and character of the building were exactly what they were looking for.
Choosing a name proved to be a challenge. "Covered Treasures" finally evolved from a long list of names including "The Book Treasury," "Books & Company," and "Purple Mountain Bookstore." Leona retired in 1998 for family reasons, but Tommie and Paula have carried on the community feel of the store, and Pamela Sparks has been a valued addition to the bookstore family for the past two years.
In large part due to our continued commitment to specialized customer service and relationships, Covered Treasures has become more than just a bookstore to the Tri-Lakes community. People have called and stopped by to ask directions, how to spell a word, what hours other businesses were open, get details about a community event, or ask us to find books based on very little information. It became a meeting place for customers for various reasons, including book clubs and a writing group.
We have played Tooth Fairy and Secret Santa to young and old and have felt privileged to listen to stories, funny or sad, when a customer needed a sympathetic ear, a shoulder to lean on, or someone to share a laugh. We have delighted in meeting your out-of-town visitors; many of them stop in to visit each year when they are back in town. Our employees always enjoy talking about books and helping customers choose gift books for relatives and friends based on their ages and interests. And we have loved having young people we once welcomed to the cozy children’s book room come back to visit with their own little ones, telling them how they used to like to come to the store when they were kids.
As a member of the Historic Monument Merchants’ Association, the store publicizes and supports many community events, sells tickets to the Empty Bowl Dinner, and participates with Tri-Lakes Cares in its Books 4 Kids program. In addition to carrying new and used books, an extensive greeting card section offers handmade gems from local artists and photographers. Many local hiking books and maps and area histories are unique to the store. Author signings range from first-time, self-published local writers to nationally known best-selling authors, such as Sandra Dallas, Peter Heller, and Kent Haruf.
We miss being in the store and seeing all our amazing, loyal customers, and we hope you miss us. Until we reopen, we will be in the Chamber Building for Art Hop evenings. We are still taking special orders. All you have to do is email us at email@example.com; Monument Pharmacy has graciously agreed to be the pick-up location. Paula will be posting status updates on our Facebook page and in emails.
It has been our great privilege to be your bookstore, and we will be back! Until then, happy reading. And thank you for 25 Great Years in Monument!
Tommie, Paula, Pam, and Leona
The staff at Covered Treasures can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
August Library Events:Summer reading program closes with a party
By Harriet Halbig
The Summer Adventure reading program ended on July 31, celebrated with a gala party on the Village Green in Palmer Lake on July 20. Those attending enjoyed snacks, crafts, music, face painting, and such features as the Zoomobile and the Bookmobile and a gold panning program from the Western Museum of Mining and Industry.
Over 1,500 young patrons participated in the program.
The library wishes to thank our many teen volunteers for their help in the library throughout the program and at the party.
Weekly children’s programs will return to their regular schedule in August, including Story Time on Tuesdays at 10:30 and 11:15.
Lego Build will be on Saturday, Aug. 18 from 10 to 11:30.
Every Wednesday from 3 to 4:30 in the study room, teens and adults are welcome to attend an intergenerational knitting group. Practice supplies will be provided, but participants are encouraged to bring their own projects.
The Monument Teen Creative Writing Group will meet from 6 to 7:30 on Tuesday, Aug. 7 in the study room. Join us to meet fellow writers, share ideas, do writing exercises, and enjoy tasty snacks.
The Teen Arts and Crafts program for August, on Wednesday, Aug. 29, is Fidget Spinners. The program from 4 to 5:30 will offer the chance to design your own fidget spinner. All materials will be provided, and registration is required. This program is recommended for ages 9 to 18.
The Monument Library Anime Club will meet from 5 to 6:30 on Thursday, Aug. 30. Come to view anime with others who love it and enjoy snacks. This program is recommended for ages 13-14 and up.
See above for a description of the weekly intergenerational knitting group.
The Second Thursday Craft for August is Watercolor. Join us with Deb Ross from 2 to 4 on Thursday, Aug. 9 to learn watercolor painting. All materials are provided, and registration is required.
The Monumental Bookworms will meet from 7 to 8:30 on Tuesday, Aug 14 to discuss A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. All are welcome to attend this book club sponsored by the Tri-Lakes Friends of the Library,
The Monumental Readers will meet from 10 to noon on Friday, Aug. 17 to discuss The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. All are welcome to attend, and no registration is required.
The Monument Library Spinning Group will meet from 1:30 to 3:45 on Thursday, Aug. 23.
On Thursday, Aug. 24 from 3 to 4, join us for The Elephant in the Room, a hospice 101 program with professionals from Pikes Peak Hospice and Palliative Care.
The display case will feature Depression Glass from Roberta Hankins. On the walls will be an exhibit titled The First 100 Days by Bill Thomas of Special Collections.
Palmer Lake Library Events
Families are encouraged to bring their elders to the annual Ice Cream Social on the Village Green in Palmer Lake on Aug. 11 from 1 to 2:30. Featuring Rock House Ice Cream, join us to step back to a simpler time when an ice cream cone was all you needed for a perfect summer afternoon. This event is sponsored by the Tri-Lakes Friends of the Library and the Palmer Lake Historical Society. Please come, rain or shine. Check out the Palmer Lake Library District Book Trike while you’re there!
Harriet Halbig may be reached at email@example.com.
Palmer Lake Historical Society, July 19:Presentation honors Woody Guthrie
By Sigi Walker
Woody Guthrie’s life and songs took center stage as Dan Blegen presented his "docu-concert" Hard Travelin’ on July 19 as part of the Palmer Lake Historical Society’s monthly history series. Blegen is an author, poet, playwright, and retired teacher, and a great storyteller. His "docu-concerts" combine American history and amply-illustrated biographical vignettes with music we can sing along to, including Good Night, Irene, This Land Is Your Land, and So Long It’s Been Good to Know You.
Guthrie was born Woodrow Wilson Guthrie on July 14, 1912 in Okemah, Okla. In 1920 it became an oil boom town, only to suffer severe economic depression when the oil ran out. During his early years there, Woody experienced a series of immensely tragic personal losses: the accidental death in a fire of his older sister Clara; the family’s financial ruin; and the institutionalization and eventual loss of his mother. He left home at 17 and rambled around the county in the 1930s like a hobo, hitchhiking, riding freight trains, and even walking, connecting with Americans from all walks of life and dignifying their lives in simple but evocative songs. These experiences made a lasting impression on him, and heightened his awareness of social, political, racial and environmental issues.
In 1940, Woody Guthrie joined his friend, Pete Seeger, to form a quartet called the Almanac Singers. The group appeared at union halls, farm meetings, and wherever their populist politics were welcome. After serving in WWII, he continued to perform for farmer and worker groups. He wrote nearly 3,000 songs, enriching America’s musical landscape for generations.
In 1954, it was discovered that he suffered from Huntington’s disease, the incurable degenerative nerve disorder from which his mother had also suffered. He died on Oct. 3, 1967, in Queens, NY.
Mark your calendars
On Saturday, Aug. 11, from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m., the Historical Society will present the 2018 Return of the Rocky Mountain Chautauqua, in the Palmer Lake Town Hall, 28 Valley Crescent, and on the Village Green. Enjoy a full day of fun with demonstrations of vintage folk arts and crafts, guided walking tours of the area, portrayals of notable figures from Colorado’s past, screenings of Summer Sojourn (a movie on the history of Colorado Chautauqua), music from a brass band and a barbershop quartet, and gold panning and other activities for kids. After lunch, be sure to join the Friends of Tri-Lakes Library for its annual community ice cream social. Chautauquas began in New York state in 1874. In 1887, Palmer Lake was the site of The Rocky Mountain Assembly, the first Chautauqua in Colorado and west of the Mississippi; it ran for almost 20 years. This event is free and open to all. For more information, visit our website at www.palmerdividehistory.org.
Caption: Dan Blegen after his "docu-concert" performance. Photo by Su Ketchmark.
High Altitude Nature and Gardening (HANG):Forests and gardening: wonderful for your brain, love life, and fitness
By Janet Sellers
Local ponderosa forests offer us forest bathing as we slow down and stroll through the woods, languidly absorbing its wild goodness (it’s not destination-based). Forest bathing is the eco therapy of just being in the woods. Japanese scientists have proven its benefits to lower heart rate and blood pressure, reduce stress hormone production, boost the immune system, and improve overall feelings of wellbeing. Research shows the pines themselves release many substances that support health for their lives and ours.
Forest bathing is said to be the new yoga. Immerse yourself in the forest for just one to three hours and your body soaks in the benefits including phytoncides (essential oils), freedom from visual stressors, and feelings of wellbeing that promote human health. Our local First Nations knew the benefits to life in the forest, and they lived there, of course. Habitual forest bathing helps us decrease risks of psychosocial stress-related diseases. It is now popular likely because of a backlash against technology and office culture.
At home, we can mimic effects of forest bathing with gardening. Living in green areas shows an increase in healthy body and brain function, and a measurable decrease in disorders such as dementia, coronary disease, and colon cancer, according to studies at Michigan State University. Adding just 10 percent of green space near a home helps reduce health complaints so much that we effectively add five years to our life. Green space as a home garden reaps even more happiness.
Why does gardening make us happy? Gardening is associated with many feel-good boosts: mental clarity, physical fitness, mood elevation, hormone balancing. I suspect no gym has ever improved property values like gardening has, where we decrease our waistlines as we increase our health. With forest wisdom no-till methods using local pine needle straw and wood chips, we support environmental health, too.
Food garden harvesting triggers the release of dopamine. Researchers hypothesize that over a 200,000-year human evolution, when food was found a "harvest high" flush of the dopamine pleasure response was released in the human brain triggering bliss or mild euphoria by the sight, smell or plucking of a fruit or berry. Alas, contemporary big retailers and advertising exploit these biological process findings of dopamine triggers when we shop. The "harvest high" biological process is played on us at our expense and is found at the core of compulsive consumer disorders.
Tasks in the garden help to prevent illnesses from dementia to coronary disease to colon cancer. People who garden have the advantage of becoming limber in mind and body. Research shows contact with soil, and a specific soil bacteria, Mycobacterium vaccae, triggers the release of serotonin in our brain. Lack of serotonin in the brain causes depression.
Home gardens provide the freshest food with optimal benefits. Eating spicy food (let’s grow peppers!) sends signals to the brain via receptors in our tongue reacting to the spice, triggering production of pain relieving, feel-good endorphins. Eating greens can reduce skin damage. Brassicas (broccoli, kale, cabbage family) contain Sulforaphane, an anti-aging, antioxidant compound.
Rush University medical center reported a significant decrease in the amount of cognitive decline for those participants consuming higher amounts of dark green leafy vegetables. One serving a day may slow brain aging by 11 years! Eating greens has been associated in browning fat cells, meaning converting fat-storing white cells into fat-burning brown cells due to greens’ nitrites content. This creates extra fat burning and, ultimately, weight loss.
August gardening tips
I am ready to plant more sunflowers, maybe for a sunflower house. We can still create layered beds with timely results sowing flower plants (sunflowers from seed marigolds, pansies, mums, petunias), but most are lost at first frost, so I am learning to stem propagate flowers indoors to overwinter for next spring. For fall crops, use 60-day seed-to-harvest leafy greens: romaine, kale, spinach; beets for greens and roots; bush beans, radishes—the usual suspects. Fruiting crops need a much longer season for leafing out, then fruiting.
It is time to divide irises and daylilies. Gently lift from soil, brush off soil and divide rhizomes, each with some leaves, do no remove roots, check health. Place in garden spot, space 12 to18 inches apart, cut the foliage to 6 to 9 inches, rhizomes pointing away from each other, spread out roots, cover all with soil, water well.
Janet sellers is an avid lazy gardener, aka permaculture and Food Forest models, sharing traditional ethnoecology success methods for local ornamental and food gardening. firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Janet Sellers
Have you ever noticed that when people would like to influence a subject or product, the highest attribute they use is, "the art of" or "artisan"? While much of America disparages the artist life and art in general, Americans are likely the biggest consumers of imitation art in the world.
Precise digital replicas may be the poison killing the originality, the soul, of artworks, especially masterpieces of all eras. In a recent article from the Smithsonian Institution, author Noah Charney lamented the demise of the artist’s hand on artwork in our current period, noting the proliferation of reproductions and copies from technology sources instead of human creation.
We see this far too often on our tech screens, in greeting cards, and in advertising. Carefully rendered but without the spirit from the artist’s direct hand, the art "soul" is often lost in the process because the person duplicating the art has little or no interest in it. We are often left with no authentic thinking.
Inferior reproductions are in every case a bad idea and end up in the trash, but contemporary prints and reproductions authorized by the artist with the artist participating to some degree overseeing and signing the work, are a completely different story because they have a powerful relationship and connection with the artist.
Worldwide, artists now use giclee and other print mediums to make prints similar to works artists made with lithograph and serigraph processes in the mid-20th century. That era ushered in a new and profound understanding and appreciation for printmaking because the artist had almost full and complete involvement with the art in the process and outcomes, and signed the work, proving authenticity.
We have many artists creating all kinds of art in our area. Some artists are only about original art in works in oil, acrylic, and other hands-on materials. Many access traditional materials as well as the giclee prints and other printmaking processes.
Our summers here are filled with art and festive Art Hop events where we can easily talk with the artists in person—artists relish talking to visitors—and enjoy local art on our beautiful summer evenings. Of course, we also can enjoy art originals and prints and talk with the artists themselves at our local art shows and events throughout the rest of the year.
We have just August and September left for our Art Hop Festival. So, grab a friend and join us in taking part in the rich art opportunities this month around town!
Art venues to visit in August
Bella Art and Frame gallery
Bliss Studio and gallery, artwork by Jodie Bliss, 254 Washington St.
Gallery 132, an artist cooperative, 251 Front St.
Jefferson studios, on the Alley behind Bella Casa, which is at 155 Second St., Monument
Santa Fe Trail Jewelry, 106 A Second St., Monument
Southwinds Fine Art Gallery, 16575 Rollercoaster at Baptist Roads
Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts, 304 Highway 105, Palmer Lake
Caption: Artist Steve Weed was the featured artist at Bella Art and Frame Gallery during the Art Hop on July 19. Weed, shown here with oil paintings for the current show, exhibits largely in Colorado and New Mexico. Photo by Janet Sellers.
Janet Sellers is an artist, writer, and speaker. Her public art sculptures are on exhibit in Colorado cities and museums and available at Colorado art galleries and online. She can be reached at JanetSellers@ocn.me.
Snapshots of Our Community
Please note the following corrections regarding the Snapshots of Our Community captions that ran in our June 2 and July 7 issues:
• Palmer Lake Chipping Day, June 2 issue, page 26—the Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department volunteered to run the chipper to help the Coalition for the Upper South Platte provide this free slash chipping.
• New Palmer Lake Dock, June 2 issue, page 27—the Palmer Lake Parks Committee was a major force behind the installation of the dock.
• Cirque du Monument, July 7 issue page 26—Gallery 132 presented and organized this fun event to promote awareness of downtown Monument.
OCN regrets the errors.
2018 Forest Lakes Concert Series
Caption: On a beautiful July evening, Miguel Dakota and his band played for a packed crowd at the 2018 Forest Lakes concert series. At least 100 cars were parked along Waterfront Park as folks streamed into the venue. Many brought camp chairs or sat in the manmade amphitheater to listen as Dakota crooned. Families in houses across from the park sat on their decks with friends enjoying the evening. Two more summer concerts are scheduled for August. For more information, see https://classichomes.com/neighborhoods/forest-lakes/2018-forest-lakes-summer-concert-series/. Photo by Allison Robenstein.
Wirewood Station Concert
Caption: Once again, on July 11, local band Wirewood Station entertained a huge crowd as part of the summer series at Limbach Park. This award-winning band never fails to get the crowd clapping and singing along. Photo by John Howe.
Barn Dance, July 3
Caption: The Tri-Lakes area opened the Fourth of July festivities on July 3 with the annual Barn Dance. The dance was held at Sibell’s Barn as usual, but, for the first time, was hosted by American Legion Tri-Lakes Post 9-11. Janet Ferran, Legion member and volunteer organizer for the dance, said, "The dance acts as a fundraiser for the post as we will use proceeds to help fund a permanent home for the post." Post members presently meet at area restaurants and are seeking a building. Besides food and drinks, attendees enjoyed music from the Kenny Brent Band followed by headliner Ronnie Davis and the Rocky Mountain Outlaws, which brought dancers to floor throughout the evening. Photo by David Futey.
July 4 Festivities
Caption: In the St. Peter Catholic School plaza, the Knights of Columbus Council 11514 held its annual Fourth of July Pancake Breakfast. Pancakes, eggs, two kinds of sausages, and drinks were available for the price of admission. Knights of Columbus member Jim Rech helped to coordinate the event and expected 1,600 to 1,700 attendees. Rech said proceeds from the breakfast will go "towards St. Peter, scholarships toward St. Peter and college, Tri-Lakes Cares, and other community needs." Rech said the Knights "really appreciate the Town of Monument, the coordinators of the parade, and attendees of the breakfast as this is our major fundraiser for the year." Volunteers from K-Kids, St. Mary’s High School and the Boy Scouts also helped with the event. Photo by David Futey.
Palmer Lake Fun Run
Caption: The Tri-Lakes area Fourth of July celebration started with the 36th annual Palmer Lake Fun Run, benefiting Lewis-Palmer Elementary School (LPES). The 4-mile run starts at the lake in Palmer Lake and ends in Monument. Megan Smallman, LPES PTO president, said over 1,380 were registered, an increase of more than 300 from last year. Smallman said, "We really appreciate all the support from the community and businesses. The event is operated by 100 percent volunteers." She said proceeds from the race were expected to reach $30,000 and "will be used at LPES for field trips, grant programs, the library, technology, and playground upgrades." Jeremy Meadows (19:34) of Monument and Isabella Prosceno (24:21) of Larkspur placed first in the male and female categories, respectively.
Caption: Judy and Sam Oldfather from Colorado Springs dressed a bit festive for the Palmer Lake Fun Run. Caption by David Futey. Top photo by Janet Sellers. Inset photo by David Futey.
Children’s Parade, July 4
The Children’s Parade, sponsored by the Monument Hill Kiwanis, started off the parades for the Fourth of July. Children decorated their bikes, wagons, scooters, and themselves in festive holiday attire. Joined by their parents, the parade participants traveled the parade route through downtown Monument and the thousands of onlookers.
Caption: Sophie Yoder and Arianna Jones dressed alike and decorated their bikes.
Caption: Monument Boy Scout Troop 17 led the way in the Fourth of July Children’s Parade. Photos by David Futey.
NEPCO hears from D38, July 14
Caption: Karen Brofft, D38 superintendent of schools, right, and school board Secretary Mark Pfoff spoke to representatives of the Northern El Paso Coalition of Community Associations Inc. (NEPCO) on July 14. Their comments included explanations of D38’s long-range goals to deal with anticipated population growth, school safety, and education and program options to meet a variety of students’ needs, and how multiple, conflicting state statutes reduce the funding D38 receives. Any citizens with ideas or questions about the November $33 million bond issue and $1 mill levy (with sunset) ballot issues should see www.lewispalmer.org and write to email@example.com. Also at the meeting, Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD) Chief Chris Truty explained his concerns about the potential effects of the Gallagher Amendment on special district revenue. See related Lewis-Palmer Board of Education and TLMFPD articles over the last few months in OCN and on page 3. Photo by Lisa Hatfield.
Rosie’s Diner Car Show
Caption: On Sunday, July 29, the annual Rosie’s Diner Car Show was held in the diner’s parking lot. The event featured the music of the Royal Aces band and awarded trophies for first-, second-, and third-place winners for Best Paint, Rosie’s Choice, and People’s Choice Best of Show. Classic cars, trucks, and even a fire truck from the 1930s to 1970s were included in the display, and the vehicle owners answered questions and shared the histories of their vehicles. Proceeds will benefit the Monument Police Department.
Caption: Tom Feeney bought his 1939 Ford Coupe while in high school for $130. It originally was blue, and he painted it purple several years ago. The foreground shows the drive-in movie theater speakers from his high school days. Photos by Janet Sellers
Art Hop, July 19
Caption: From left, authors Jamie Raintree and Sandra Dallas each signed a copy of their book for Linda Drummond during the July Art Hop on July 19. The book signing for Covered Treasures Bookstore took place in the foyer of the Chamber of Commerce building because of the recent water damage that closed Covered Treasures. Photo by John Howe.
Caption: Manitou Springs representatives held an all-day workshop July 19, during Art Hop, for the Town of Monument and concluded with an idea for decorating crosswalks (in this case with wash-away paint). Madeline Van Den Hoek of Monument’s Community Relations Outreach coordinated the activities of the day. Van Den Hoek has invited people from other towns and cities to present ideas they have used. One of those ideas was crosswalk painting. She and Terri Hayes, president and CEO of the Monument Chamber of Commerce, have been meeting with stakeholders of downtown merchants to revitalize the downtown area. Photo by John Howe.
Santa in Monument
Caption: Santa came to town early this year! As part of the Monument revitalization project, Chris Mikulas of Hearth House hosted Christmas in July. Santa was invited downtown to shop and play. He ate breakfast, window-shopped and finally decorated cookies with kids at Limbach Park. Jennifer Cunningham of Gallery 132 assisted with marketing the event and had her store decorated for Christmas. Photo by Allison Robenstein.
Our Community Notices
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.
Handbell ringers needed
The Tri-Lakes Community Handbell Choir seeks experienced ringers, high school or adults. For more information, contact Betty Jenik, 488-3853.
Tri-Lakes Y fall youth sports, register now
Registration is now open for soccer, ages preschool-grade 6; flag football, grades 1-12; volleyball, grades 1-8. Season begins Aug. 27. Financial assistance is available. Register at www.ppymca.org or at the Y, 17250 Jackson Creek Parkway, Monument. See ad on page 6.
Monument Academy now enrolling for 2018-19 school year
Monument Academy, a free public school of choice, features academic excellence, award-winning programs, and more. For more information or to schedule a tour, call 481-1950 or visit www.monumentacademy.net. See ad on page 11.
St. Peter Catholic School now enrolling for the 2018-19 school year
The school offers full and half-day preschool, Core Knowledge Curriculum with small class sizes, Christ-centered education, athletics, and more for preschool-eighth grade. Call or visit: 124 First St., Monument; 481-1855; www.petertherock.org. See ad on page 2.
Palmer Lake Art Group seeks fine arts and crafts vendors
Makers of holiday gifts of fine arts and fine crafts are welcome for the upcoming Annual Arts and Craft Fair Oct. 5-6 at the Palmer Lake Town Hall. Entry forms can be found online. For more information, email Evelina_st@yahoo.com or visit http://palmerlakeartgroup.com.
Town of Monument Board Openings
Want to be involved in your community? Apply for a position on the Board of Adjustment or Planning Commission. The town is now accepting applications for volunteers to serve in these important roles. Find the application online at www.townofmonument.org. Info: 481-2954.
Colorado State University Extension Annual Peach Sale, order by Aug. 21
El Paso County is bringing in a limited supply of Colorado Western Slope organic freestone peaches. Order a box for your food preservation needs or share a box with your neighbor or friends. Peaches must be pre-ordered by by 5 p.m. Aug. 21. Find out more and order online at www.eventbrite.com/e/peach-sale-tickets-47519009637.
Slash-Mulch season continues
The El Paso County Black Forest Slash and Mulch program will accept slash (tree and brush debris only) until Sept. 9. Mulch will be available through 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.
Town of Monument water restrictions
For customers of Town of Monument Water, use restrictions are in place through Sept. 30. While restrictions are in place, please adhere to the following watering schedule:
• Even-numbered buildings: Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday
• Odd-numbered buildings: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
• There is no watering on Sundays.
• Watering is allowed only before 9 a.m. and after 5 p.m. Sod permits are available by calling 884-8037.
If you do not reside within Monument, check with your water district about specific restrictions.
National Night Out Aug. 7, register your neighborhood event
National Night Out (NNO) is an annual event on the first Tuesday of August that promotes crime prevention and drug prevention in communities across the country. Turn on porch lights and join neighbors outside to make a show of solidarity and strength, and send the message to criminals that we won’t tolerate crime in our neighborhoods. Plan a block party, barbecue, neighborhood walk, or other activity and let the Sheriff’s Office know about it. Sheriff’s Office employees will travel around the county to attend the neighborhood celebrations. Tips on planning your NNO event and the registration form can be found at www.natw.org. To register your event phone Brent Ambuehl, 719-208-5924, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
County seeks nominations for Veteran of the Year, nominations due Aug. 15
El Paso County is seeking nominations for the Second 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 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.
Free reflective address signs for Palmer Lake residents
Residents may obtain free metal reflective street number signs so that first responders can identify your house in an emergency evacuation. If you would like to have these assembled and placed, call the Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department (PLVFD) at 719-419-4488. If you need special assistance in case of an evacuation, please let the PLVFD know when you call them.
Black Forest fire cleanup volunteers still needed
Teens, adults, families, and volunteer groups looking for meaningful community service work? Black Forest Together is still looking for volunteers to help families restore their land after the 2013 Black Forest Fire. Also looking for chipper operators, truck driver volunteers, team leads, and administrative help. For more information, contact 495-2445 or email ResourceCenter@BlackForestTogether.org.
Tri-Lakes Silver Alliance Thrift Store needs volunteers
Volunteers are needed for various tasks. The store is located at 755 Highway 105, Suite N, in the West End Center and is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. To volunteer, call 488-3495.
Free firewood in Black Forest
Help residents clear their land of thousands of cords of free firewood, dried out from the fire, already felled, limbed, bucked, and stacked. You need to haul it away, cut it to fireplace length, and split it. For more information, contact Byron, email@example.com.
Got spare trees to share with Black Forest?
Do you have too many tree seedlings sprouting close together in your yard? Please consider donating them to www.Trees4Tomorrow.com, a new mission of Black Forest Together. Trees that would have been lost to development or mitigation can now be transplanted to devastated areas within the burn scar. For more information, contact 495-2445 or email ResourceCenter@BlackForestTogether.org.
Happy Birthday Monument
June 2, 2018 was Monument’s 139th anniversary of incorporation. In 2019, Monument will celebrate 140 years as a town. Volunteers are needed to help plan the main event on June 1, 2019 and for kids’ activities, historical walking tours, and reporters to collect stories from longtime residents. Please contact Madeline 719-884-8013 for more information and to join a committee.
Recycle old phones and tablets
Legacy Sertoma is collecting old smart phones and cell phones, and old iPads
for recycling. Collection boxes are located at the Palmer Lake Post Office,
Serrano’s Coffee Company, the Air Academy Federal Credit Union in Monument, and
the Community Banks of Colorado (formerly Peoples) branches in Gleneagle and
downtown Colorado Springs. This program is not only a fundraiser for Sertoma but
is designed to keep all those rare-earth metals out of landfills. Call Denny
Myers at 481-4189 for pick up.
Perform with the Colorado Springs Youth Symphony, enter by Oct. 17
Pikes Peak Music Teachers Association (PPMTA) of Colorado Springs and Gary Nicholson, Colorado Springs Youth Symphony director, have created a new Piano Concerto Competition for students living in the Tri-Lakes, Colorado Springs, and Pueblo areas. The winner will perform with the Colorado Springs Youth Symphony in its Winter Concert in 2019 and may be eligible for a $500 summer camp scholarship to either Lamont School of Music, Denver, or the International Summer Academy of Music in Ochsenhausen, Germany. For more information, contact Barbara Taylor, competition chair, for entry forms, repertoire, and competition information at 648-3844, BarbaraTaylor.PPMTA.President@gmail.com, www.PPMTA.org.
Resources on Living with Tri-Lakes Wildlife
In the Tri-Lakes area, we really do have rattlesnakes, bears, coyotes, mountain lions, skunks, porcupines, etc. in our very own backyards. We also have fawns that do not need rescuing; they are just waiting for their moms to return. Never feed any wildlife! See "Too Close for Comfort" at http://cpw.state.co.us/learn/Pages/LivingwithWildlife.aspx and more at http://cpw.state.co.us/learn/Pages/LivingwithWildlifeComfort2.aspx for many ways to educate ourselves. Learn how to react correctly when someone is bitten by a rattlesnake at www.wikihow.com/Treat-a-Rattlesnake-Bite.
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.
Free Services for Black Forest Seniors, FYI
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 its services, visit www.silverkey.org or call 719-884-2350.
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.
Become a CASA volunteer
Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) offers a volunteer opportunity like no other. As appointed representatives of the court, CASA volunteers are empowered to make a lifelong difference in the lives of abused and neglected children. To learn more, contact Uriko Stout, 447-9898 ext. 1060, firstname.lastname@example.org; or visit www.casappr.org.
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; the trail will be blocked and closed only at the South Gate Bridge. For more information, 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 transportation and handyman services for seniors
Mountain Community Senior Services offers free transportation and handyman services to Tri-Lakes seniors. If you need a ride to a medical appointment, grocery shopping, or the local senior lunches, a volunteer driver will be happy to help you. Call 488-0076 to leave a message for the dispatcher. If you need grab bars in the bathroom, a ramp to your door, or repair of stairs or railings, please call Cindy Rush, 488-0076, and leave a message or visit www.coloradoseniorhelp.com.
Volunteer drivers needed for seniors’ transportation service
Mountain Community Transportation for Seniors is a nonprofit, grant-funded organization that provides free transportation to Tri-Lakes seniors 60 years old and over. The program needs additional volunteer drivers. For information, email Mountain Community Senior Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the MCSS dispatch hotline at 488-0076.
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.
Monument text alerts
Text "Monument" to 41411 to receive updates and news of meetings, weather alerts, openings and closings, as well as other important town information to your phone or personal mobile device.
Volunteer weather observers needed
The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network is seeking volunteer weather observers in this area. The nationwide network is made up of volunteers who help measure and record precipitation in their areas. Learn more and sign up on the network’s web page at www.cocorahs.org.
Monthly arts and crafts group forming
The Tri-Lakes Silver Alliance Senior Center is looking for anyone interested in various types of arts and crafts such as needlework, knitting, beading, coloring, or quilting. If you’re interested in any of these
activities or have a suggestion of your own, contact Sue, 464-6873.
County Planning and Development’s new website
The county’s new Electronic Development Application Review Program (EDARP) allows immediate access to documents and development application processing. This is part of an ongoing county-wide effort to give residents easier access to data and improve transparency. EDARP is an internet-based platform that uses Cloud storage through Microsoft Azure and allows users access to all county development applications dating back to 1947. The public, consultants, and developers can see and download electronic copies of applications for rezoning, subdivisions, and more. The program also allows electronic submittal of development-related applications, which will reduce costs to applicants and the county. For more information, visit http://epcdevplanreview.com.
Tri-Lakes Silver Alliance 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.
El Paso County expands services to veterans
Three county agencies providing services to veterans now have satellite offices at the Mount Carmel Center of Excellence, 530 Communications Circle, Colorado Springs. The Veterans Service office at Mount Carmel is open Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m.-4 p.m. and closes noon-1 p.m. for lunch. Call 667-3816 for an appointment. The Pikes Peak Workforce Center Mount Carmel office is open Tuesdays, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. (closed for lunch noon-1 p.m.) and is staffed with two Workforce Center employees who help veterans with their employment needs. Call 667-3729 for an appointment. The county Department of Human Services also has a Mount Carmel office open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Help the Black Forest Animal Sanctuary (BFAS) rescue animals
Southern Colorado Animal Rescue BFAS is an animal rescue and rehab farm that has been helping animals since 1994. The all-volunteer organization has rescued thousands of horses, farm animals, dogs, cats, and various small wild animals and birds. BFAS provides rescue operations, adoption programs, foster and sponsorship programs, a student/horse education program, service dogs to veterans, and local and national rescue efforts. They also work with local schools and scouts. Donations are needed for supplies, and volunteers are needed for day-to-day operations. To find out how you can help, call 494-0158, email BFASFarm@gmail.com, or visit www.bfasfarm.org.
County launches new community website
Check out all the interesting county data available for you at http://community.spatialest.com/co/elpaso/.
CSU Extension launches "Your Energy" website and blog
The Colorado State University Extension now has a "Your Energy" website to help Coloradans make more informed energy decisions. The site includes decision tools, fact sheets, and a blog. The decision tools can help you figure out energy savings from using more efficient lighting, low-flow showerheads, heating and cooling systems, water heaters, and more. Other tools can help you understand how much you spend on heating, cooling, and baseload electricity and your bottom line if you install a wind turbine or solar array. Visit the site at http://yourenergy.extension.colostate.edu.
Free gun-lock kit
The Monument Police Department is offering free firearm safety kits to local residents through a partnership with Project ChildSafe, the nationwide firearms safety education program. Each kit contains gun safety information and a cable-style gun lock that fits most types of handguns, rifles, and shotguns. The Police Department administrative offices at 645 Beacon Lite Rd. are open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Drop by during those times to pick up a free gun-lock kit. For information, phone 481-3253.
Our Community Calendar
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
For information on library events, see the library events column on page
• The Palmer Lake Library hours are Tue.-Fri., 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and Sat., 10 a.m.-2 p.m. 66 Lower Glenway. Info: 481-2587, www.ppld.org.
• The Monument Branch Library hours are Mon.-Thu., 9 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri. & Sat, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sun., 1-5 p.m. 1706 Lake Woodmoor Dr. Info: 488-2370, www.ppld.org.
WEEKLY & MONTHLY EVENTS
Our community calendar carries listings on a space-available basis for Tri-Lakes events that are sponsored by local governmental entities and not-for-profit organizations. We include events that are open to the general public and are not religious or self-promotional in nature. If space is available, complimentary calendar listings are included, when requested, for events advertised in the current issue. To have your event listed at no charge in Our Community Calendar, please call (719) 339-7831 or send the information to email@example.com or P.O. Box 1742, Monument, Colorado 80132.
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This page was last modified on January 24, 2023. Home page: www.ocn.me.
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