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Tolled express lane certain
By Jennifer Kaylor
Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and Kraemer North America LLC representatives answered questions about the I-25 South Gap Project during the Aug. 20 open house at Monument Academy.
The foremost question, "Will there be a toll?" received an affirmative nod. Installation of one tolled express lane in each direction (vehicles of three or more people are free, and the two general purpose lanes are free) will result in "a corridor that moves people and vehicles more efficiently," according to CDOT. Additional changes include new overlay of existing pavement, widened shoulders, a truck climbing lane from the Greenland interchange south, and advanced communications and power technology. Variable tolls for the express lane will begin in 2022.
The Gap, an 18-mile length of Interstate 25 that stretches from Monument, exit 161, to south of Castle Rock, mile marker 179, is a top priority for CDOT.
The project has been divided into "packages" so that construction can begin in one area while design is finalized in another. Package 1, Sky View Lane and north, is scheduled to begin in September. Package 3, which includes Upper Lake Gulch Road, Spruce Mountain Road, and Plum Creek Bridge, and package 2, Greenland Road and south, will be under active construction by summer 2019. Package 3 is the most complex because of bridge replacements and wildlife crossings. Substantial construction completion is anticipated for late 2021.
Be a smart driver
As with any construction, drivers must plan for delays due to slower speed limits (65 mph on the interstate and 45 mph on frontage roads), narrower lanes, increased traffic volume, and construction vehicles accessing the interstate. Two lanes of traffic will be maintained during daytime hours and peak travel times. Most lane closures will occur overnight. Courtesy patrol and incident management teams will quickly respond to impaired vehicles.
CDOT encourages all travelers to "know before you go" by staying informed about road conditions. Drivers also need to heed safety signs, drive the speed limit, adjust travel times to accommodate delays, and allow appropriate car-length distance for safe following. Real-time information is available by texting I25GAP to 21000 for text alerts, requesting email updates via email@example.com, or following @ColoradoDOT on Facebook or Twitter. General information is available through the project website, http://i25gap.codot.gov, or the project hotline, 720-745-5434.
A hefty price
The $350 million I-25 South Gap Project is funded by the Colorado Department of Transportation, along with El Paso and Douglas Counties, the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority, and a federal Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant.
Caption: Using a map superimposed over an aerial photo of Interstate 25, Kraemer North America LLC Project Manager Mike McNish answers residents’ questions about the I-25 South Gap Project at the CDOT open house held at Monument Academy on Aug. 20. Informational placards throughout the school’s gymnasium educated the public about upcoming construction on the 18-mile section from Monument to Castle Rock, which is slated to begin September 2018. A corps of CDOT and Kraemer employees possessing first-hand knowledge of the project was available to answer questions. Photo by Jennifer Kaylor
Jennifer Kaylor can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fierce opposition to proposed rehab facility at former Ramada Inn site
By Lisa Hatfield and Helen Walklett
Residents packed an informational neighborhood meeting Aug. 8 in Monument to voice their opposition to a planned inpatient drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility, to be known as Mountain Springs Recovery, at the former Ramada Inn on Woodmoor Drive. Because the property is zoned C-2, which allows for a rehabilitation facility, there will be no public hearing of the application at the El Paso County Planning Commission or the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC). Andrea Barlow of NES Inc., who is managing the application on behalf of Sunshine Behavioral Health (SBH), said they had submitted a site development plan to the county ahead of the purchase, and this was being reviewed by county staff.
The property is located within unincorporated El Paso County and, consequently, neither the Town of Monument nor the Woodmoor Improvement Association has jurisdiction over it. The heated meeting at the Tri-Lakes Chamber was often hostile as residents questioned the new owner, their representative, and a county official and expressed their fears about the facility’s location near local schools and homes. At one point a man asked for a show of hands to gauge opposition to the plans. The vast majority raised their hands to shouts of "100 percent!"
There was much anger at what many saw as a done deal. SBH, a California-based company with rehab facilities in California and Texas, had closed on its purchase of the former Ramada Inn the day before the meeting. One resident said, "This deal is done. It’s in the books. You didn’t give us a chance. You didn’t explain anything to us." Another asked, "Why is this being held in a tiny venue the day after you close the deal?" A group called Tri-Lakes Concerned Citizens circulated a petition during the meeting.
Attempting to address residents’ concerns about the proximity of the proposed facility to schools, Chad Daugherty, SBH’s CEO, stressed that it would not be a methadone clinic and would not have a pharmacy dispensing license. The response shouted from the floor was, "We don’t care!" Daugherty continued to try to allay fears by emphasizing his company’s stringent screening process, saying they do not take court-ordered clients, sex offenders, or criminals. He described clients as good, outstanding people and said the facility would be higher-end, providing a nice environment for clients to get clean and sober.
Daugherty’s comment that local children would not be endangered by the facility was jeered by residents. He said, "I actually think that as the Ramada Inn was, it was a bigger threat than what we are providing." He stated there was a history of trouble at the hotel, with police called out to crimes including sexual assault and domestic violence. Terri Hayes, of the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Corp., also said this would be a better option than what was there before.
Barlow too sought to reassure residents about child safety. She said that she had not yet seen the Lewis-Palmer School District 38’s review comments that could be made "through the county process." She had conversations with the school district, which had said it would not take a position but had had its chief of Safety and Security walk the property with the facility’s new owner. She quoted D38’s Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Wangeman as saying, "Our initial interactions have been very positive, and thus far we are confident we can work with the new owner towards a safer overall environment for our students than the current situation."
Barlow said she had told D38 that a lot of people had expressed concern about the proximity to schools to which she said the district’s emailed response was, "We know. I have told quite a few folks about our work with the owner. However, we do see this as a positive change for our students at this point." (Note: Wangeman said at the Aug. 20 Lewis-Palmer School Board meeting that it seemed the district was misrepresented at the meeting. See related article on page 6.)
Barlow also addressed concerns about property values and traffic. She said that while she appreciated property values were a concern, they were not one of the land use criteria and therefore not considered. She said the traffic study had shown that traffic with the proposed facility would be less than that associated with the hotel.
The audience showed much sympathy for Dhiraj Acharya, one of the owners of the Curry Kitchen restaurant that opened in the Ramada Inn in March with a five-year lease. He said he had been locked out Aug. 7 following the hotel’s sale, and in a tense interchange Daugherty said, "We had a different conversation than this yesterday."
Responding to questions about why Commissioner Darryl Glenn was not present, Craig Dossey, executive director of the county Planning and Community Development Department, explained that if the matter ended up being elevated to the county commissioners, Glenn would have to recuse himself from any quasi-judicial public hearing if he had heard anything elsewhere that might prejudice his view. Dossey said that his department had received a lot of concerns about the application and had assigned a second officer to the case to deal with the workload. He said he thought it "more than likely" that any decision to approve the site development plan would be appealed and he was working with the county Attorney’s Office to outline the appeals process.
Caption: Hundreds of people tried to crowd into the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce on Aug. 8 as Sunshine Behavioral Health CEO Chad Daugherty (not shown here) and other company representatives attempted to describe the Mountain Springs drug and alcohol rehabilitation center’s methodology and operations planned for the site of the old Ramada Inn on Woodmoor Drive. Photo by Jackie Burhans.
Note: The BOCC held an executive session at its Aug. 21 meeting to receive legal advice on "establishing a process for appeals under the Land Development Code." No decisions were announced after that session.
If the county approves the site plan and he receives the necessary permits and a license, Daugherty hopes to open the facility in early 2019.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at
Lewis-Palmer D38 Board of Education Special Meeting, Aug. 23:"Win-win" school district bond ballot language approved
By Lisa Hatfield
The Lewis-Palmer D38 Board of Education agreed on wording for the Nov. 6 bond ballot measure at its Aug. 23 meeting. This was the culmination of a year of public input and a furious month of last-minute negotiations with Monument Academy charter school (MA) after its board asked D38 to assist building a gym and auditorium at MA’s new school site by adding funds to the D38 bond issue. The board accomplished consensus by coming up with an idea to overcome a legal impasse related to MA’s request and instead began collaboration between D38 and MA.
For background, see related Aug. 6 and Aug. 20 Lewis-Palmer Board of Education articles on page 4 and 6, and Monument Academy article on page 6.
MA Executive Director Don Griffin did not attend the meeting.
MA hopes to build a new "high school" at the southeast corner of Highways 83 and 105. It would include grades 6 through 12, and, "This would open up 300 elementary school seats" in MA’s building at 1150 Village Ridge Pt. in Monument, said Vice President Tiffiney Upchurch.
However, negotiations on the bond wording reached an impasse on Aug. 20 due to a condition in MA’s articles of incorporation, which MA did not amend.
Secretary Mark Pfoff then suggested an alternative that persuaded all five board members to agree.
After a discussion, the board directed the superintendent to create a resolution stating the "intent of the board" to ensure that the $36.5 million bond on the November 2018 ballot would be used to construct a new elementary school and provide safety and security as previously agreed, plus up to $3.5 million for construction of a gymnasium and/or auditorium, or similar structures, built through a collaborative agreement with MA. The recreational structure, which would be built adjacent to the new school MA wants to build east of Highway 83, would be owned by D38, although MA would manage and have full use of the facility, including the ability to rent it out. If this arrangement does not come to fruition, then funds would be placed in the capital building reserves to be used for future district construction or general obligation debt.
Other board member comments included:
• President Matthew Clawson – This would show a partnership with D38 and MA and eliminate concerns about giving money to a private nonprofit. I think we found a win-win situation that benefits our community and more importantly all the kids within D38.
• Upchurch – My conscience feels like what is right for all our kids regardless of what building or curriculum they use. This is a wise decision to get ahead of growth.
• Pfoff – I want to create a community, not fragment it. Seventy percent of district residents don’t have students in school at all.
• Treasurer Chris Taylor – Don Breese District Stadium is a good example of property in-lieu-of cash, since it is used by Palmer Ridge all the time though it is not on their property. It is unfortunate there is no one here from MA to talk to us about this idea. I thought we had this worked out before, but then we reached an impasse on the articles of incorporation.
• Director Theresa Phillips – This is a way to support MA and be good stewards of taxpayer money.
The board will vote on the resolution at the Sept. 17 board meeting where they will also address the sale of district land on Highway 83 to MA.
The board also unanimously approved a motion to approve an architect agreement with CRP Architects for design of a new elementary school at the Jackson Creek site, next to current Bear Creek Elementary that would then be converted back into a middle school.
District Superintendent Karen Brofft announced that the District Accountability Advisory Committee (DAAC) would hold two public forums presenting details on both the bond and mill levy override ballot measures. The meetings are scheduled for Sept. 13 and Oct. 11 at 6:30 at "Big Red" District 38 administration building, 146 N. Jefferson St., Monument.
The Lewis-Palmer D-38 Board of Education meets at 6 p.m. on the third Monday of each month at the district’s Learning Center, 146 Jefferson St., Monument. The next regular meeting will be on Sept. 17. To see board packets, go to www.boarddocs.com/co/lewispalmer/Board.nsf/Public, click "meetings," select a meeting date, click "view the agenda," then click on a specific document at the left side to see its full text.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at email@example.com.
Lewis-Palmer D-38 Board of Education Special Meeting, Aug. 6:Monument Academy wants funds added to bond issue
By Harriet Halbig
The Lewis-Palmer D-38 Board of Education convened a special meeting on Aug. 6 to consider a request from Monument Academy (MA) that the bond issue on the November ballot include partial funding for the academy’s high school. The board met in executive session with legal counsel before the meeting convened.
Monument Academy (MA) is the charter school of Lewis-Palmer D-38. Located near the intersection of Highway 105 and Knollwood, it serves grades K through 8. As a charter school, it receives state and federal funding on the same per pupil basis as the D-38 traditional schools. However, it determines its own curriculum and has a separate five-member board elected by parents of the students in the academy. The academy is required to meet state standards in its curriculum, to do assessments according to state statutes, and to identify and serve at-risk students and gifted students.
MA is required to fund construction of its facilities. Transportation is not provided by the district to MA students.
In 2017, the D-38 board approved the construction of a high school for MA, to be located at the intersection of Highways 105 and 83.
As previously approved at the board’s June 18 meeting, the district was to ask for $33 million to build a new elementary school, convert Bear Creek Elementary into a middle school (it was originally Creekside Middle School), and improve physical security at all other campuses, including MA. See www.ocn.me/v18n7.htm#d38.
MA Executive Director Don Griffin sent an email to Superintendent Karen Brofft on July 31 requesting funding for some specific segments of the new high school, totaling up to $5 million. He requested that the funding be added to the bond ballot measure.
Griffin said that when the high school was approved, the board also approved moving the middle school (grades 6 to 8) students from the current MA campus to the new school. This move would make an additional 300 seats available for elementary-age students (K through 5).
The elements of the new school for which support was sought were:
• A competition high school gymnasium with seating for 300 spectators, $2.46 million.
• A dramatic arts auditorium with seating for 800, $2.25 million.
• High school locker rooms, $840,000
Brofft reminded Griffin that these aspects of the high school could be considered because they could revert to the district in the case of the academy’s failure.
When asked who would own the land on which the school was built, Griffin said that a building corporation would own it and lease it to the academy.
Board Secretary Mark Pfoff objected to the proposal for several reasons:
• The board would have no say in how the money was spent.
• Taxpayers may be unaware that MA is a separate entity.
• The board voted on wording for the bond at its June meeting and it is too late to make substantive changes.
• Pfoff would prefer that the academy seek a separate bond so that the public could decide whether they wished to support it separately.
Brofft said that a citizens committee is already promoting the bond as passed in June and said that she would like to seek legal counsel before voting on a change.
Treasurer Chris Taylor said he felt that a theme of this year is unification of the district and adding MA to the bond issue would ensure support of the bond by MA parents.
Vice President Tiffiney Upchurch said that MA students are also district students and deserve support.
Director Theresa Phillips, attending by phone, agreed with Pfoff that the timing of changing the wording so late was a problem.
President Matthew Clawson said that although timing may be a problem, MA’s proposal would increase the district’s seating capacity. He suggested increasing the total amount of the bonds in the revised ballot question by adding $2.5 million for MA to avoid upsetting stakeholders by such a large amount as proposed.
The board went into executive session to consult legal counsel.
Upon reconvening, the board voted to ask the superintendent to alter the wording of the bond to include $3.5 million for Monument Academy. Legal counsel said that increasing the proposal by more than 10 percent would threaten MA’s tax-exempt status.
This motion passed by a vote of 4 to 1, with Pfoff voting no.
The board also voted to increase the price of school lunches for grades 7 to 12 by 10 cents.
Harriet Halbig may be contacted at harriethalbig.ocn.me.
Monument Academy School Board, Aug. 9:Board discusses preparations for the new year, grant application for new facility
By Jackie Burhans
At the Monument Academy (MA) School Board meeting on Aug. 9, the board discussed preparations for the new year and applying for a grant for the middle/high school expansion.
The meeting began with an executive session on special security measures. No announcements were made after the closed session.
Preparing for new year
Principal Elizabeth Davis shared the staff training schedule and her approach to training, saying that MA hires professionals who have strengths and areas of growth but do not depend on one- size-fits-all training. The training is grouped by whether staff members are new to the profession, new to MA, or new to their team. MA does training based on those factors; members are also trained with their new team members. MA also offered a complete refresher on Saxon math and is continuing to roll out Cornell note-taking with fourth- through eighth-grade teachers.
Davis highlighted additional activities, including:
• Finalizing character curriculum for next year.
• Interviewing fifth-grade teacher candidates.
• Reviewed middle school meet-and-greet activities and parent communication.
• Facilitated training for middle school English teachers in the Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) curriculum.
• Planned middle school back-to-school teacher training on discipline, uniforms, character education, and houses.
Charter school grant for new facility
Executive Director Don Griffin reported on the Colorado Charter Schools Program (CCSP) grant that MA will apply for from the Colorado Department of Education. CCSP provides grants and technical assistance to new and expanding charter schools. The grant may be used for reasonable expenses associated with planning, design, and implementation of a new school or significant expansion project for up to three years. Eligible expenses include equipment, furnishings, professional development, board training, curriculum and supplies, library development, technology, and software.
Davis will attend a mandatory meeting in support of MA’s request for $190,000 per year for three years. MA’s grant request will be considered and, possibly, approved in fall 2019.
The following items were highlighted at the board meeting:
• Teacher turnover rate as of July 31 was 15 percent, the lowest in three years. Overall turnover is 18 to 19 percent, with the national average around 25 to 30 percent.
• Three general contractor finalists for the new middle/high school were selected and interviewed on Aug. 22.
• The annual operations report was submitted to D38 on time and will be presented at the January D38 Board of Education meeting. See http://bit.ly/ma-annual-2018.
The next meeting will be on Thursday, Sept. 13 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 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.
Lewis-Palmer D-38 Board of Education, Aug. 20:Discussion of bond issue continues
By Harriet Halbig
The Lewis-Palmer D-38 Board of Education continued its discussion of a proposed bond issue for the November ballot at its Aug. 20 meeting after a one-hour executive session at the beginning of the meeting.
At its special meeting on Aug. 6, the board had voted to include $3.5 million on the bond to support the construction of the new Monument Academy high school, proposed to open in 2019, but it did not finalize the bond ballot wording at that meeting. On Aug. 20, due to an inability to resolve a last-minute recognition of a legal issue related to Monument Academy’s articles of incorporation, the board did not finalize the wording either, but added another special meeting for Aug. 23.
The board discussed the wording of both the mill levy override (MLO) and the bond issue for the November ballot.
The board voted to approve the wording of the MLO as presented. This initiative supports safety and security by funding the hiring of additional security personnel and counselors.
Turning to the bond issue, board Secretary Mark Pfoff proposed that the addition of $3.5 million for Monument Academy (MA) be deleted.
Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Wangeman said that the administration had recently been informed that the Monument Academy Building Corp., which would own the property and lease it to the academy, was not required to refund money to the district or MA in the event that the corporation failed. She said that investing such a large sum in the corporation without guarantee of return would be irresponsible. Rather than reverting to the district or MA, the assets would go to a tax-exempt entity that supports education.
Superintendent Karen Brofft commented that, should MA fail, its assets revert to the district. This is not the case with the building corporation.
President Matthew Clawson said that he sees this as a hurdle to the bond. He suggested having an additional meeting on Aug. 23.
Director Theresa Phillips said that the community had no input in adding MA to the bond due to the late date of the proposal. She felt that, had a traditional school made such a request, the board would have rejected it.Pfoff confirmed that the MA proposal was late and that the original bond was created following many months of deliberation. He said he hoped that the board could approve some type of wording on a 5-0 vote. He withdrew the motion to delete the MA portion of the bond and agreed to an additional meeting.
Resolution on sale of district property
A motion was made to sell the district’s property at the intersection of Highways 105 and 83 because it would not be needed in the foreseeable future.
Pfoff said that the public has insufficient information on this issue. He said that the district has owned the property for a long time and growth continues in that part of the district, perhaps requiring a new school at that location. In his opinion, the land may be needed by the district.
Treasurer Chris Taylor said that he thought the main growth area was in another part of the district.
Pfoff said the board cannot state that it has no use in the foreseeable future, and it would cost the district nothing to retain it.
Vice President Tiffiney Upchurch said that she recalled seeing a "for sale" sign on the property and asked Wangeman for some history.
Wangeman said that the property was seen as a potential high school site when purchased 14 years ago. The school was not built due to water problems.
In 2007-08, as part of a planning study, it was determined that an elementary would not be built there due to the proximity of Kilmer Elementary.
Brofft said that the sale sign was put up in December 2017. Wangeman compiled a list of interested parties.
In October 2017, MA Executive Director Don Griffin expressed interest in the property.
In March of this year, the board considered leasing the property to MA. A third party then considered purchasing it and donating it to MA.
Clawson said that he felt it was better to monetize the property if the district were not to use it. There are a number of problems, including water and ingress and egress. The standards for building a charter school are different from those of a traditional school. If the board were to sell the property, Clawson said, it should specify the use of the funds. Perhaps the board should give the public a chance to comment before a decision is made in September, he said.
Taylor said MA wishes to build there, and the board should not delay a decision when they have met all of the district’s conditions.
The motion in favor of selling this property was defeated by a vote of 2-3, with Pfoff, Clawson, and Phillips voting no. The issue will be discussed again at the Sept. 17 meeting, so there is more time for public input.
Amendment 73 discussion
Upchurch made a presentation about proposed Amendment 73 on the November ballot.
The Colorado Association of School Boards supports the amendment and requested that all districts pass a motion in support of it.
In essence, the amendment would seek to alter the state tax structure so that the tax on residential property will not drop below 7 percent and the tax on commercial property will be taxed at 24 percent (without the amendment, residential property is expected to be 6.2 percent in 2019).
Individuals with an income below $150,000 a year (over 90 percent of the population) would see no difference in their taxes. Those with higher incomes would see varying increases.
Upchurch demonstrated that District 38 would see an additional $9.4 million per year, and the district would determine how it would be spent, thus protecting local control of funding. This amount could support such things as free full-day kindergarten and enhanced spending on special education, gifted-talented, and English language learners as well as reducing the amount of deferred maintenance in the district.
The total additional revenue statewide would be $1.6 billion per year. This funding would be exempt from TABOR restrictions (the Taxpayers Bill of Rights requires that any new tax must be approved by the voters).
Several community members expressed concern over the planned alcohol and drug rehabilitation center to occupy the former Ramada Inn on Woodmoor Drive. The major concerns were proximity to the middle school and the new trail to be built between the middle school, Palmer Ridge High School, and Lewis-Palmer Elementary school.
Wangeman said in her update that the district "had not taken a position on the facility," but that Chief of Security Dennis Coates had walked through the facility with the new owner to determine any safety concerns.
Coates said that the owner proposed to build a 7-foot privacy fence around the property, but that the trail will go around the back of the property and would be seen from the building. See related Mountain Springs/Ramada Community Meeting article on page 1.
Other comments included support for adding MA to the bond, a suggestion that the district address the problem of teen suicide rather than adding armed security to the schools, and concern that the requests from MA continue to vary from building a high school to building a grade 6-12 school, then support for a gymnasium and an auditorium without any updates or specific details shown in the official application plans available to the public on the district website.
Harriet Halbig can be reached at email@example.com.
Monument Board of Trustees, Aug. 6:Town still lacks code enforcement officer
By Allison Robenstein
The Monument Board of Trustees (BOT) did not solve the town’s code enforcement problem at its regular meeting Aug. 6, so the town was without an enforcement officer as of Aug 1. The BOT also did not yet approve the 2017 financial audit but did approve the second-quarter financial report. The board also made several land use resolutions.
Trustee Jeffrey Bornstein arrived late to the meeting.
Town has no code enforcement officer
In an effort to reduce costs, the BOT voted last year to bring in an outside firm for town code enforcement on a part-time basis. Community Preservation Specialists was selected, and Susie Ellis has provided enforcement with no negative feedback, said Town Treasurer and Acting Town Manager Pamela Smith. The contract ended on July 31 and was not renewed during the July 16 BOT meeting, so as of Aug. 1, the town does not have a code enforcement officer. The BOT agreed to continue the discussion to this meeting.
Bornstein asked if the community had been polled to determine their approval of the code enforcement process for this past year. Unhappy residents would have called to complain, but no such criticism has been received, said Smith. Mayor Don Wilson said downtown business owners have spoken favorably of enforcement for the past year.
The motion to authorize the town manager to sign a contract for code enforcement services failed in a 3-3 vote, with Greg Coopman, Jeffrey Bornstein, and Laurie Clark voting no with no reason given. Smith reiterated this meant the town now has no code enforcement.
In public comments later in the meeting, town resident Cheri Hysell said she is trying to understand why the board couldn’t pass this motion.
During board authorization items at the end of the meeting, Coopman said his objective is to find better code enforcement coverage at a cost of less than $83 per hour. Mayor Pro-Tem Kelly Elliott asked Smith to look into having Community Preservation Specialists do a month-to-month contract so that there is someone doing code enforcement until the board makes a final decision. Wilson suggested this be a discussion item at a future meeting, with the possibility of posting the part-time job position.
2017 financial audit still in limbo
Smith asked the board to approve the 2017 financial audit that had previously been postponed. Kyle Logan, the town’s auditor, presented his audit during the July 30 special meeting, but the BOT voted to request a 60-day extension. By state law, the town had until July 31 to accept the audit. If not accepted within the new time limit, the town risks having sales and property taxes withheld by the state until the audit is registered. See www.ocn.me/v18n8.htm#mbot-special.
Three trustees voted in favor of accepting the audit, but Clark voted no with no reason given, and Coopman and Bornstein abstained. When Smith asked for an explanation on voting, Bornstein said he was behind in reading all the financial documents and emails.
Smith said she would bring the audit back to every meeting until it was resolved and made clear the audit won’t change. See related Aug. 20 Monument Board of Trustees article on page 12.
Hysell later asked the board why it couldn’t pass this audit and why it didn’t give explanations for its no votes, and wondered how the town will pay staff and police officers without taxes. "Come on guys. If you legitimately have questions, fine.… But if you are going to be a trustee, find time to look at the board packet before the meeting."
Financial report and checks over $5,000
Smith presented the 2018 second-quarter financial report to the board. Previously, when Chris Lowe was town manager, he included it in the consent agenda. Smith said:
• General Fund revenue through June was $3.04 million.
• 2A Water Fund ASD revenue through June 2018 was $285,426.
• Water Enterprise Fund revenue through June was $1.28 million.
She said both the General Fund and Water Enterprise Fund were ahead on revenues, and expenses were less than budgeted, since many specific 2018 capital funds project have not yet started.
Trustee Ron Stephens asked if there would be a shortfall in the budget later in the year once all the capital projects were complete. Smith said likely not.
Clark asked detailed questions about checks over $5,000 that were approved by the board earlier as part of the consent agenda.
Clark and Coopman asked Smith to include more specifics on invoices in future board packets. Coopman asked for a list of the various accounts and to which department they belong so that they can associate these to the invoices as well.
The motion to approve the second-quarter financial report passed 4-1. Clark voted no with no reason stated.
The following checks were approved in the consent agenda:
• Westar Masonry—repair of Monument entry sign, $8,500.
• Logan and Associates—2017 financial audit preparation, $6,800.
• Civic Plus—website annual renewal, $5,988.
• Common Knowledge Technology—server and hardware, $14,264.
• Velocity Constructors—Wells 4 and 5 (should be reimbursed by capital financing), $261,599.
• Applied Ingenuity—Well 7 rebuild, $86,129.
Key Bank approved as lender
Smith asked the board to ratify a lender to finance two capital improvement projects—Wells 4 and 5 water treatment plan upgrade and the booster pump station upgrade. Specifically, she asked the board to designate Key Bank as the town’s lender for a planned $1.8 million loan.
The Well 4 and 5 upgrade project was unanimously approved in the board’s Jan. 2 consent agenda. The contract was awarded to Velocity Constructors Inc. in the amount of $924,436, with money coming from the Water Enterprise Fund. See www.ocn.me/v18n2.htm#mbot.
Coopman asked how these projects were budgeted. Smith said both were in the 2018 Capital Improvement Project Fund (CIP), which was funded by sales tax and CIP other financing for $1.549 million.
Smith said if the town does not approve the loan (when she brings the board that resolution at the Aug. 20 meeting), they do not have the cash to pay for the Velocity contract signed in January.
Coopman asked about other capital projects and whether they would be included here, but Smith clarified the $1.8 million loan only covers the Well 4 and 5 upgrade project for $924,436 and the booster upgrade project at a cost of $625,000 and no other projects.
Because it’s the end of summer, most of the other projects will not get done, said Smith.
According to the 2018 second-quarter document, there are four other projects in the 2018 Capital Projects Fund totaling $345,000 that likely won’t get completed. To review the 2018 budget and quarterly documents, see https://townofmonument.org/367/Town-Financials.
The motion to approve Key Bank as the lender for 2018 Water Enterprise Fund debt passed 5-1 with Clark voting no with no reason stated.
Conexus Business Park
Town Planner II Jennifer Jones requested an amendment to the Conexus preliminary PD (Planned Development) site plan to include Religious Facilities and Institutions as a permitted use. At their July 11 meeting, the Monument Planning Commission approved this amendment request by a 4-1 vote with the stipulation that the religious entity not have a school or children’s day care associated with it. See www.ocn.me/v18n8.htm#mpc.
The Conexus site is about 23 acres between Old Denver Road and Interstate 25, between Teachout and No Name Creeks. It will be part of a 170-acre business park, Andrea Barlow of NES said.
In the original PD site plan, a specific list of 11 allowed uses was requested by applicant Classic Homes. See www.ocn.me/v18n2.htm#mpc.
Jones explained that any use not included in the approved list is prohibited. Historically, the property had been zoned as Planned Industrial Development, which would have included industrial parks.
Tri-Lakes Economic Development Corp. CEO Terri Hayes spoke in favor of the resolution and explained the reason for prohibiting schools. Restaurants that build in this park and intend to serve alcohol cannot be in a 500-foot proximity to a school or day care.
Coopman suggested the terms church and religious facility are overly broad and asked for a definition. Barlow said the BOT is responsible for defining the town’s zoning codes. Until that is done, the town will have to address these questions on a case-by-case basis using PD site plan conditions, she said.
Later in the meeting, Coopman asked if the town’s Planning Department could write up land use definitions in the zoning code for the board to review. Larry Manning, director of planning for the town, said they requested a grant for a third party to write the definitions for them and will not know if they have received the matching fund grant until later in 2018.
The motion passed unanimously.
Wagons West Final PD Site Plan and Final Plat
Jones and applicant Pat Smith, CEO of ProTerra Properties, presented the Wagons West development’s final PD site plan and final plat. This property is on Old Denver Road, north of the Monument ice rink and south of Trails End. The property was annexed into the town by the board on Dec. 4, 2017. See www.ocn.me/v18n1.htm#mbot1204.
The project consists of 54 duplex-style homes and 77 townhomes on 34 acres. The northern 14 acres of the property will remain natural as open space, and there will be a 2.5-acre park. Visual representations of maps of the property are available at https://monumenttownco.documents-on-demand.com/Document/cd956052-42bf-e711-80bf-001fbc00ed85/Packet110817.pdf.
Initially, the homes will be priced in the mid- to high $200,000 range, providing a more affordable housing option in Monument, Barlow said. Pat Smith said home prices will follow market changes and could increase or decrease over time.
Three residents spoke in favor of the project during public comments. Hayes said this will help young professionals and recent retirees purchase a home in the Monument area. Haley Chapin, executive director of Tri-Lakes Cares, said this would provide "a nice price bracket for people in situational poverty" to reside in Monument. Resident Cassie Olgren asked who would be responsible for maintaining the open space/mouse habitat so that it did not fill up with noxious weeds, and Smith said it would be the responsibility of the Wagons West Metropolitan District.
The plan passed 5-1. Coopman voted no with no reason given.
Service plan for Wagons West Metropolitan District
Town Attorney Alicia Corley presented the Wagons West Metropolitan District service plan to the board. This plan puts the Title 32 special district into statutory compliance with the state and provides initial improvements to the land including roadways, stormwater infrastructure, and construction of a sewer system lift station. The service plan also included maintenance of the open space, detention pond and the park, she said.
The special district borrowed through long-term financing to pay for these public improvements rather than increase home prices by up to $16,500. Property owners in Wagons West pay back the $5 million in bonds through their property taxes, Corley said. Their taxes will include a 50-mill levy, the maximum allowed by law, and will extend until 2048.
Once the metro district builds the assets, all will be gifted to existing service providers, as this plan does not provide any of the services associated with the improvements.
The Wagons West Service Plan was approved unanimously and can now move on to district court to call for an election on Nov. 6.
Centurion Masonic Lodge 195 presented Community Resource Officer Andrew Romano with the officer of the year award. Romano, a six-year veteran of the Monument police force, is a dedicated school resource officer. He also received a check for $200.
Stephens read a proclamation naming the new Monument Park space, an apple orchard beside the Santa Fe Trail near Third Street, as the DeLos T. Barnhart Orchard. Barnhart moved to Monument in 1898 as a railroad section foreman and lived here for over 40 years. He was instrumental in building the town’s first dependable well and water distribution system after two daughters nearly died from typhoid fever. Town Gardener Cassie Olgren said the apple trees were paid for by a grant from Colorado Tree Coalition.
Median panhandling safety discussion
During its July 16 meeting, the BOT heard public comments from residents Barb and David Betzler, who asked the board to consider the issue of panhandling in the town. Specifically, they were concerned over the safety of panhandlers in town medians, as well as the safety of motorists driving next to them. At tonight’s meeting, the board directed Corley to draft an ordinance, and Coopman suggested using a recent similar ordinance enacted by the City of Colorado Springs as a guide. The board consensus was to put the draft ordinance work in Corley’s hands for presentation at a future meeting.
The board went into executive session to discuss the purchase or acquisition of any real property. When they returned to regular session, Coopman instructed Corley to draft an ordinance for the sale of right-of-way property in accordance with El Paso County’s appraisal. Trustee Bornstein was absent, so the motion was approved 4-1.
Caption: Three new Monument police officers took the oath of office Aug. 6 to join the force. Their wives joined them for the pinning-on ceremony. From left, Officers Jared Barker, Josh Busa, and Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District Battalion Chief Mike Keough were sworn in by Town of Monument Police Chief Jake Shirk. Photo by John Howe.
Allison Robenstein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monument Planning Commission, Aug. 8:Drive-through restaurant, addition to body shop approved
By Kate Pangelinan
Commissioners Melanie Strop, Kenneth Kimple, Ed Delaney, and Jim Fitzpatrick were all present at the Aug. 8 Monument Planning Commission meeting, which primarily saw the discussion of two major items. Both the Site Plan for a proposed drive-through restaurant off Baptist Road and a major amendment to the PD Site Plan for Tri-Lakes Collision were approved.
Also, a concerned citizen registered some comments about the direction of the town during the meeting’s final public comment period. The meeting lasted a little over an hour.
A current commissioner who wasn’t identified intends to leave the Planning Commission for personal reasons. There are plans to approach the Monument Board of Trustees for new Planning Commission appointments soon, although any new appointments would not be active until January. Strop expressed interest in applying to become a regular member of the Planning Commission, stating that she has been pursuing that role for six months. She now is an alternate planning commissioner.
The drive-through restaurant discussed at this meeting would be located on the north side of Baptist Road, just east of King Soopers. The lot is 0.6 acres, and the building would be 2,086 square feet with 25 parking stalls. This facility would be accessible via internal drives only, which means there would be no direct connection to Baptist Road from the immediate area by the restaurant. The building is expected to be built with stucco and a brick façade. The project’s representatives noted that while they do have a client, and are anticipating this facility to be a drive-through coffee shop, they were not currently able to state their client’s identity.
Many of the Planning Commission’s concerns about this development centered on traffic. The state of the egresses from the King Soopers parking lot was discussed, along with questions about the number of traffic accidents occurring in that area per month. This property’s owner and developer already received a traffic letter on June 5 approving the project. Other concerns included a brief discussion about water supplies in the area and a conversation about what the project’s signs would be like. Planner Jennifer Jones noted that the project would have to file for separate sign permits.
The project passed 3-1, with Commissioner Strop voting against. It will now be considered by the Board of Trustees.
Tri-Lakes Collision PD Site Plan Amendment
The Tri-Lakes Collision project, originally approved in September 2017, is an auto-body shop located west of I-25. An additional 10,000 square-foot building was depicted on the plans at that time, with the understanding that a Major PD Site Plan Amendment would be required to go through with the construction. See www.ocn.me/v17n10.htm#mbot.
This addition was on the table for discussion at the Aug. 8 meeting. The further construction would result in a total of 20,000 square feet of auto-body shop space. The impact of this addition to the existing landscaping was described as "minimal." The addition would be intended to provide more workspace for the employees, not to introduce additional services.
Strop wondered if Tri-Lakes Collision had plans to paint its garage doors anything other than the existent white. A representative of the project said there were no such plans. Other topics of concern included whether residents of the nearby Monument Meadows Trailer Park were alerted to this project. Jones stated that they were alerted only in the ways required by the Town of Monument.
This motion was approved unanimously, 4-0.
Natalie Wilson, a resident of the area for over 25 years, expressed concern and frustration regarding recent planning decisions. She was opposed to the idea of the Conexus business park being built nearby, saying she believes the town would be better served building up its downtown areas and noted that she does not want Monument to lose its "small-town flavor." Wilson also expressed a desire for more affordable housing and socioeconomic diversity in the area.
Fitzpatrick advised Wilson to read the town’s recently implemented Comprehensive Plan, and Planning Director Larry Manning mentioned projects currently in the works to improve Monument’s downtown. The Planning Commission thanked Wilson for her interest and enthusiasm regarding Monument’s development.
The next Monument Planning Commission meeting will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 12 at 645 Beacon Lite Rd. Meetings are normally held on the second Wednesday of the month. Information: 884-8017 or http://www.townofmonument.org/meetings/.
Kate Pangelinan can be reached at email@example.com.
Monument Board of Trustees Special Meeting, Aug. 13: Board conducts interviews for interim town manager
By Allison Robenstein
At a special meeting Aug. 13, the Monument Board of Trustees (BOT) went into executive session before and after interviewing six candidates for interim town manager. They selected four of those interviewed to be finalists for the position. The trustees also discussed the selection process for filling the town treasurer and attorney positions.
The BOT immediately entered an executive session at the start of the meeting to receive legal advice from Marni Kloster of the Colorado Intergovernmental Risk Sharing Agency. Upon board members’ return to the public meeting at 7:10 p.m., Trustee Greg Coopman offered a motion to ensure that any official message on behalf of the town and BOT come from their designated representative, the town attorney, at the direction of the board. No reason was given for making the motion, which passed unanimously.
Town Human Resources Director Robert Bishop instructed the board on procedures to keep the process "standard, fair, and equal" by having each trustee use the same questions for each candidate interviewed. Bishop prepared a list of questions from which to choose. After board discussion, it was decided that each trustee would pick two questions. Mayor Don Wilson stated, "I’m going to sit out" asking candidates questions, so the same 10 questions were to be asked of each candidate. Each candidate’s interview was intended to last 20 minutes.
Some of the questions asked of the interviewees included:
• What would you do if a town employee made an urgent request for an emergerncy personal loan from the town’s general fund?
• What would they do if they discovered a fake or invalid invoice that was presented to the treasurer from a department head?
• How would you handle two board members making specific demands that weren’t shared by the board as a whole?
• Define the role of the Board of Trustees versus the role of the town manager.
After the interviews concluded, the board entered a second executive session to discuss a personnel matter with Bishop.
When the board returned to open session, the board unanimously approved a motion to announce the four interim town manager finalists: Malcolm Fleming, Mike Foreman, Jason Wells, and Mark Woulf. Bishop was directed by the board to conduct final background checks and screenings.
Attorney and treasurer positions discussion
Trustee Laurie Clark offered a motion to begin the selection process for the positions of town attorney and town treasurer. At the May 7 meeting, appointments to both positions failed, leaving each to work as carryover positions until replacements are hired. See https://ocn.me/v18n6.htm#mbot, https://ocn.me/v18n7.htm#mbot.
This motion failed 3-3, with Trustee Ron Stephens voting no, saying, "We have too much upheaval right now." Elliott and Wilson also voted no without giving a reason.
Bornstein said, "This will be a 3-3 tie for a hundred years," and asked when the board could discuss this.
"I think we should get our (new) interim manager in to review those town staff positions," Wilson said. They should review the work by Town Treasurer Pamela Smith and Town Attorney Alicia Corley for 30 days and then come to the board with a recommendation, he said. Stephens hoped the interim town manager could facilitate development of expectations from the two positions.
Coopman noted that Town Finance Director Bob Rummans has taken on the duties of the town treasurer while Smith works to fulfill the acting town manager functions.
The board argued about to whom the treasurer and attorney positions should report. Coopman said the organizational chart shows appointed positions report to the board with direct daily operations reporting to the town manager.
No decision was made by the board.
The meeting adjourned at 10 p.m.
Allison Robenstein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monument Board of Trustees, Aug. 20:Board questions water projects
By Allison Robenstein
At its Aug. 20 meeting, the Monument Board of Trustees (BOT) took a lot of time in questioning a $1.8 million loan for water projects. Board members agreed on several key issues that were previously holding them up, including the 2017 financial audit issue, and moved closer to hiring a code enforcement officer.
2017 financial audit accepted
The board couldn’t get enough votes to approve the audit at its Aug. 6 meeting. See related Aug. 6 Monument Board of Trustees article on page 7. At this meeting, Trustee Jeffrey Bornstein said, "The energy we are spending on it might be better well put on resolving things we heard and discussed" so the board doesn’t have the same problem next year. Bornstein revealed that he didn’t agree with the audit but felt it should be sent to the state.
Trustee Laurie Clark pushed to see the invoices to which Monument Auditor Kyle Logan referred that had been devalued by the vendor to fall below the $5,000 BOT approval requirements. Town Treasurer and Acting Town Manager Pamela Smith said she was very busy but would try to find them. Mayor Don Wilson reiterated the audit will not change.
Trustee Ron Stephens said they should just change the resolution to read the board authorizes sending it to the state. Trustee Greg Coopman abstained from voting, and Trustee Laurie Clark voted no without an expressed reason. The motion passed 4-1-1.
Loan for water enterprise projects on hold
At the Aug. 6 meeting, Smith asked the board to approve Key Bank as the lender for a $1.8 million loan to be used for two water-related projects.
The next step is to pass a resolution for approval of the loan to pay for the projects. Smith said these two projects were approved at the Jan. 2 meeting. However, only the $924,500 Well 4 and 5 project was awarded to contractor Velocity Constructors Inc. The booster upgrade project, at $625,000, was not approved.
Clark said the ordinance is misleading, and the situation doesn’t rise to an emergency. Coopman brought up several other issues, including:
• The request is missing a list of projects represented by this loan.
• The two projects originally discussed total $1.549 million, which was approved by the BOT in the budget, so he wondered where the other $248,000 would be used. Smith said the loan also includes a $150,000 well 4 and 5 building rehabilitation. We are borrowing more money than we budgeted, Coopman said. Additional funds would reduce the amount of sales tax that has to be used for capital projects, Smith said.
• Because water rate revenue is the only money that can be used to pay back the loan, Coopman calculated this will require a mandatory 125 percent rate increase to raise enough cash to pay it back.
Clark was concerned that they were being asked to approve loan covenants they not yet seen. Smith initially said the resolution verbiage equates to the covenants; later she said she would try to get the loan paperwork for them to review.
Smith said they wouldn’t start the booster station project if the loan isn’t approved, because it would deplete their cash. She also said the board shouldn’t have gone forward with well 4 and 5 without funding.
The board unanimously tabled this discussion until they get answers to their questions.
Safety of median access and camping discussed
In a previous meeting, the BOT directed Town Attorney Alicia Corley to draft an ordinance concerning median safety. Specifically, the board was concerned for the safety of a man panhandling in the Jackson Creek shopping center. Corley reviewed the situation along with the town Planning Department and the police. The portion of the median where the man sits is private property, and it is up to the landlord there to determine if panhandling is allowed.
The board also discussed camping and abandoned vehicles without making a decision. Wilson noted the town has a camping code, and all other issues regarding property would be the job of code enforcement. Chief of Police Jake Shirk said people can have any types of vehicles on their property. Bornstein asked if private property owners could be forced to register all vehicles on their property.
Code enforcement full-time job description
The board discussed posting a full-time code enforcement job description at this meeting. Wilson reached out to Community Preservation Specialists, the company previously responsible for the town’s code enforcement, which said a full-time position was justified and there was more than enough work for this person. Coopman asked that the job description be expanded so that it included enough work for a full-time employee. Research will be done to determine average salary.
Sale of town property along Village Center at Woodmoor
El Paso County is moving forward with the Highway 105 NB I-25 ramp to Lake Woodmoor Drive and needs to acquire additional right of way and easements. This includes 0.373 acres of Tract B in the Village Center at Woodmoor, which sits on the south side of Highway 105.
The county offered $4,300 for the property, which was unanimously approved. If the town didn’t sell the property to the county, the county would have started eminent domain proceedings.
Site plan for drive-through restaurant approved
The board unanimously approved a site plan for a drive-through restaurant in Jackson Creek Market Village.
The property is 0.6 acres along Baptist Road east of the 7-Eleven and Monument Dentists. The Planning Commission approved the request on Aug 8. The applicant, Ridgetop Engineering and Consulting, will build a 2,086-square-foot restaurant with 25 parking stalls and drive-through lane.
Tri-Lakes Collision addition approved
An amendment to the PD (Planned Development) site plan was approved to allow for a 10,000- square-foot addition to Tri-Lakes Collision’s building on Beacon Lite Road. The Planning Commission approved the amendment Aug. 8. This request was approved 5-1 with Clark voting no, without any reason given.
Checks over $5,000
At the Aug. 20 meeting, the following checks were approved in the consent agenda:
• Triview Metro District – sales tax due for June 2018, motor vehicle sale tax for July 2018 and regional building use tax for July 2018, $198,772.
• Solitude Lake Management – Phoslock treatment, $10,160.
• City Glass Co. – Americans with Disabilities Act door replacement at Old Town Hall, $5,013.
• Green Electric – three invoices for temporary feed to booster station, and electric improvements shop, $7,743.
• Caliber Collision – repair police car after collision with deer, $5,000.
• Common Knowledge Technology – four invoices for server/hardware/software upgrade $11,052.73
The board went into executive session at 8:11 pm. When members returned to the public meeting, they immediately adjourned.
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 Sept. 4 due to the Labor Day holiday. Call 884-8014 or see www.townofmonument.org for information. To see upcoming agendas and complete board packets for the BOT or to download audio recordings of past meetings see, http://monumenttownco.minutesondemand.com and click on Board of Trustees.
Allison Robenstein can be reached at email@example.com.
Monument Board of Trustees Special Meeting, Aug. 27:Board whittles interim town manager finalists to three
By Allison Robenstein
The Monument Board of Trustees (BOT) pared the list of interim town manager finalists from four to three at a special meeting Aug. 27. The three are Malcolm Fleming, Mike Foreman, and Jason Wells.
Also at the meeting, Mayor Pro-tem Kelly Elliott was appointed Monument’s representative on the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department’s Advisory Committee.
The board entered executive session at 6:02 p.m. to discuss a personnel matter with town Human Resources Director Robert Bishop. Upon returning to the public meeting at 6:40 p.m., Trustee Greg Coopman directed Bishop to compile contractual requirements for Fleming, Foreman, and Wells.
The meeting adjourned at 6:41 pm.
Allison Robenstein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Palmer Lake Town Council, Aug. 9 and 23:Recreational marijuana headed for the ballot again
By James Howald and Jackie Burhans
The Palmer Lake Town Council met twice in August, on Aug. 9 and 23. The first meeting was a regular council meeting and the second was a working session, but Mayor John Cressman allowed comments from the public, and votes were taken, at the second meeting.
At the Aug. 9 meeting, the council returned to an issue it has discussed and debated many times in the past: the future of recreational marijuana sales in the town. At this meeting the board also heard an update on the budget from Town Clerk Verla Bruner and voted to authorize Mayor John Cressman to sell town property. The council also heard comments from residents who were unhappy with the council’s decision to ban dogs from the trail adjacent to the reservoirs that hold the town’s drinking water.
At the Aug. 23 working session, the council approved resolution 10 of 2018, authorizing a conditional use permit and allowing a business to relocate to 80 Spruce Mountain Road, and approved Ordinance 13 of 2018, allowing Cressman to complete the sale of town property. The council approved a replat of property in the Glen from five lots to three lots. The council also met as the Local Liquor and Marijuana Licensing Authority to consider an application for a liquor license.
Signatures collected put recreational marijuana sales on the ballot
At the Aug. 9 meeting, the council took up Ordinance 14 of 2018, which addresses the question of recreational marijuana sales in the town and was drafted not by the council but by the Woodward family. Town Attorney Maureen Juran explained to the council that since enough verified signatures had been collected to place the question on the ballot, the council had only two choices: Adopt the ordinance in full at the Aug. 9 meeting, which would approve recreational marijuana sales in the town that night, or put the question to the voters. If the council chose to put the question before the voters, Juran said, a special election would be held on Nov. 6 in coordination with El Paso County.
The proposed ordinance would allow sales at the same locations in the town where marijuana is currently being cultivated: Premier Organics LLC, owned by the Woodward family, and Palmer Lake Wellness, owned by Dino Salvatori.
Council member Paul Banta appeared to speak for the entire council when he said he wanted to see the issue put before the voters. "This needs to be voted on by the people," Banta said. Council member Glant Havenar pointed out similar ordinances had been voted down three times.
The council voted unanimously against the ordinance, which in effect declined to approve recreational sales that night and ensured the question would be on the ballot in November. The vote was applauded by most in the audience.
Second-quarter update shows town finances in order
Town Clerk Verla Bruner gave the Town Council an overview of where the budget stands in the second quarter of the fiscal year. The town has increased its cash position to just over $2.8 million. The conservation trust is running somewhat behind forecasts. The town on the whole is adhering to its spending goals, Bruner told the council.
The Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department (PLVFD) is running over budget. The Parks Department has only 28.34 percent of its annual budget left, Bruner said, but this is typical because most of its expenditures occur in the summer months. The Palmer Lake Police Department is "right on," with 52.75 percent of its budget remaining, Bruner said. The Roads Department is also doing well, according to Bruner. There have been few extraordinary expenditures so far this year, Bruner said.
In terms of the revenues from the sale of water, only one new water tap has been sold this year, Bruner said. 74.82 percent of water revenues are left to be collected, according to Bruner, adding water revenues are going to be low due to water restrictions, among other things. "The good news is that you’re conserving water, the bad news is it’s your revenue line," Bruner said.
Administration costs for water are on budget, with 59 percent spent, Bruner said. Water line repair and water tank construction costs are skewing the numbers in this quarter, according to Bruner.
Loan payments are on target, Bruner said.
Town property to be sold
At the Aug. 9 meeting, the council voted unanimously to give Cressman the authority to sell town-owned property on County Line Road adjacent to the railroad tracks to Timberwood Investment LLC. This sale was completed at the Aug. 23 working session, through the passage of Ordinance 13 of 2018, again by a unanimous vote of the council. The council plans to use the proceeds from this sale to finance the construction of a pedestrian bridge over the railroad tracks to connect the town to the park and lake on the east side of the tracks.
Ban on dogs at reservoir still a topic of discussion
In the public comment portion of the meeting, several residents expressed their disapproval of the council’s decision to ban dogs from the trail near the reservoirs. One speaker said she was unwilling to hike without her dog for safety reasons. Another speaker suggested the creation of a committee to study the issue.
Two residents said that clean water was the priority for them and applauded the council for the steps taken to keep the town’s water supply free of pet waste.
Conditional use permit granted
The council voted unanimously to grant a conditional use permit to allow light manufacturing on a 27-acre property at 80 Spruce Mountain Road. The vote enabled International Stone Works, which manufactures granite slabs, to relocate from its facility on County Line Road east of the railroad tracks to the property on Spruce Mountain Road. Maria Turenne, owner of International Stone Works, told the council that Black Hills Energy would take over the property on County Line Road. Turenne said she might request that the 27-acre lot be subdivided at some time in the future.
Replat approved on Mulford Circle
Dona Stuart, through her representative Duncan Bremer, asked the council to replat her property on Mulford Circle from five lots to three lots. The council voted unanimously to approve this request.
Liquor license granted
Acting in its capacity as the Local Liquor and Marijuana Licensing Authority, the council voted to approve a license for Duncan LLC, operating as Dex’s Diner on Highway 105, to sell 3.2 percent beer. Duncan LLC is owned by Greg Duncan.
The two meetings for September will be at 6 p.m. on Sept. 13 and 27 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.
Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District, Aug. 13:Mid-year review of budget detailed; water service request approved
By James Howald
At its Aug. 13 meeting, the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD) board heard a mid-year review of the district’s budget and approved a request to provide water service to the I-25 South Express Lanes project. Also, district staff presented operational reports.
Revenues and expenses both below expectations
District Manager Jessie Shaffer told the board that both revenues and expenses were revised downward in the district budget at mid-year. The budget originally planned for 100 new taps during 2018, but to date only 35 new taps had been requested, Shaffer said, partially due to the fact that two developments, The Beach and The North Bay, were moving at a slower pace than anticipated. This brought revenues down from an anticipated $3.177 million to an actual $1.304 million.
El Paso County’s plan to widen Highway 105 east of Knollwood Drive was not moving forward, reducing the district’s expected costs to support this work from $133,100 to zero.
Expenses at Woodmoor Ranch (formerly known as JV Ranch) also needed some adjustments at mid-year, Shaffer said. $25,000 was added for an additional tractor, while the costs for irrigation sprinkler reels and pumps were reduced by $28,000. This equipment is needed for the district’s revegetation work at the ranch, according to Shaffer.
Legal services cost $30,000 more than anticipated, Shaffer said, in large part due to expenses related to leasing land at the ranch to JUWI Solar, a company planning to install a solar array that will be used to generate electricity.
Shaffer told the board that to date, $700,000 had been spent drilling Well 21 on Doewood Drive in the Misty Acres development.
The board approved the changes to the budget as presented by Shaffer.
Board agrees to provide water to support widening of I-25
Shaffer told the board that Kraemer North America, a contractor working for the Colorado Department of Transportation, had requested that WWSD provide it with 10,000 gallons of water per month, to be used to support its work on the I-25 South Express Lanes project. The water would be supplied from a hydrant on County Line Road. The construction company was making similar requests to the towns of Castle Rock and Larkspur, Shaffer added.
Shaffer pointed out that in the past, the district has declined to provide water to construction projects not entirely within the district’s service area. The consensus of the board was that this project should be supported, however, due to the importance of the work to the community, and that the district would charge Kraemer a minimum amount of $250 a month for 10,000 gallons of water, and would also charge 1.5 times the standard rate for any water over that amount.
Operational report highlights
• WWSD is still seeing intermittent spikes in its biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) measurements. High BOD measurements are an indication of pollution. Assistant District Manager Randy Gillette described a plan to take samples to determine the source of the pollutants, saying it would be time consuming to pin down the source. Shaffer pointed out that the 30-day average for BOD was not increasing.
• The augmentation station on the Chilcott Ditch, which diverts water to agricultural customers in the Fountain area, survived the recent flash flooding. The financing for the upgrades to the augmentation station is in place, but the start of construction work will need to wait until the monsoon rains are over for the year.
• Due to the resignation of the current ditch rider, the district has an open position to fill. Ditch riders make sure the ditch is free of obstructions and erosion and is operating properly.
• Drilling for Well 21 began on Aug. 20 and will continue around the clock until completion in two to three weeks. Landscaping will be done at the well site when drilling is complete.
• Monument Sanitation District has completed its payments to WWSD as required by the Tri-Lakes Wastewater judgment.
The next meeting is scheduled for September 10 at 1 p.m. Meetings are usually held at the district office at 1845 Woodmoor Drive on the second Monday of each month at 1 p.m. See www.woodmoorwater.com or call 488-2525 to verify meeting times.
James Howald can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility Joint Use Committee, Aug. 14:Source of higher biosolids levels still not identified
By Lisa Hatfield
The Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility (TLWWTF) Joint Use Committee (JUC) on Aug. 14 continued discussions from previous months about possible sources of heavier-than-expected biosolids loading.
TLWWTF operates as a separate joint venture public utility and is owned in equal one-third shares by Monument Sanitation District (MSD), Palmer Lake Sanitation District (PLSD), and Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD).
Facility manager’s report includes biosolids update
Bill Burks, TLWWTF facility manager, said he was proud to announce that the facility passed its annual quantitative analysis test on its discharge monitoring report (DMR) figures, and he showed how accurate their sampling analysis work was, compared to known test samples, for total suspended solids, pH, ammonia, nitrate/nitrite, biological oxygen demand (BOD), and E. coli.
After a discussion about the pros and cons of keeping Tetra Tech as TLWWTF’s engineering consultants, the JUC approved a letter of engagement with them for the remainder of 2018.
Burks presented the monthly DMR to the JUC for June. He said the amount of biosolids again exceeded 80 percent of its 5,600 pounds per day of BOD capacity, so he would send the required notification letter to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) as he had in February. See www.ocn.me/v18n3.htm#tlwtf.
The JUC members and plant managers discussed whether Burks should adjust the number of TLWWTF composite influent BOD samples tested each month for reporting to CDPHE. The consensus was to continue influent testing at four samples per month. The JUC had directed Burks to start testing four samples per month in March when occasional individual BOD test result surges were first discovered. Only two composite influent BOD samples are required to be tested each month by CDPHE. See www.ocn.me/v18n4.htm#tlwtfjuc.
Burks said TLWWTF’s effluent discharge is monitored every day, the plant’s activated sludge treatment process is not being adversely affected by BOD surges, and he is not concerned about its ability to continue to handle occasional higher BOD loads without bacterial treatment upsets. The group’s concern is that the CDPHE might require TLWWTF to spend money on costly biosolids treatment process capital improvements that are premature.
The consensus was that since individual influent samples of each district’s separate BOD loading are already being collected much more frequently than the composite plant influent samples, those separate owner district influent sample test results will continue to help pinpoint sources of unexpectedly high BOD loads. The biggest volume contribution to TLWWTF is from the North Woodmoor collection system, and when that system also contributes heavier-than-normal BOD loading, it affects TLWWTF far more than MSD’s or PLSD’s lower volumes do if MSD or PLSD have BOD influent surges. It’s necessary to determine if this is a consistent upward BOD level trend or if these surges are coming from isolated individual BOD sources that could be more tightly regulated and controlled if identified. This has been discussed at several meetings this year. See www.ocn.me/v18n7.htm#tlwtf.
WWSD Assistant District Manager Randy Gillette said that in addition to regular line cleaning of accessible lines, WWSD has also been doing separate "backlot cleaning" in harder to access areas. This requires bringing in a contractor with special equipment working in a more concentrated time frame, and that could send additional heavy concentrations of solids to TLWWTF that would also greatly escalate BOT test sample concentration results.
Burks asked Gillette to look at his activity records and let him know when WWSD had been cleaning so that Burks could compare that to the times WWSD has had very high surges in WWSD BOD test sample concentrations.
Burks said that when he started doing more BOD sampling this spring, he wondered if the source might be the brewery, but he said the BOD spikes do not always correlate with days that the TLWWTF headworks have a strong beer-like smell.
Gillette asked PLSD District Manager Becky Orcutt if she were concerned about PLSD’s BOD approaching 79 percent of PLSD’s share of capacity. She said she was watching to see if it were also related to PLSD annual collection line cleaning that is currently happening over several months or if it were a trend due to population growth within the PLSD service area.
The next meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. Sept. 11 at the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility, 16510 Mitchell Ave. Meetings are normally held on the second Tuesday of the month and are open to the public. For information, call Bill Burks at 719-481-4053.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at email@example.com.
Triview Metropolitan District, Aug. 14:District continues to prepare for water, wastewater needs
By Jennifer Kaylor
In a move intended to bolster funds for significant future expenses, the Triview Metropolitan District board, on Aug. 14, reviewed and approved resolution 2018-02 for the Nov. 6 election. The directors continued discussion about the west interceptor, possible regionalization with Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU), and development of an Integrated Water Resources Plan.
Director Marco Fiorito 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.
Steps taken to prepare for future expenses
Kimberley Crawford of Butler Snow LLC, hired by the district to ensure TABOR compliance, presented Resolution 2018-02 to finalize wording of Triview’s ballot question for the Nov. 6 election. The directors suggested minor revisions to emphasize that the resolution does not increase taxes but requests permission to reallocate potential revenue generated from the district’s current mill levy—and in excess of its debt service payment—to general operations, maintenance, and/or capital acquisition purposes. At this time, all property taxes assessed by the levy are applied to debt service only.
Crawford reminded the board that the district cannot use public funds to advocate for the ballot question once the resolution is adopted. Approval of the resolution is the formal action to call the election.
Crawford is also serving as the district’s bond and disclosure counsel for issuing revenue bonds by the district’s utility enterprise. The board approved the Engagement Letter for Revenue Bonds as presented. Background: the district is re-funding its $4.3 million North Star Bank loan and $6.3 million Key Bank loan through issuing new bonds that will most likely be finalized in October. Working with investment firm D.A. Davidson, the district seeks to receive lower interest rates on the bonds issued, ease restrictive borrowing parameters, and eliminate a $3.4 million Key Bank loan balloon payment.
Progress in wastewater and water plans
Triview District Manager Jim McGrady provided a brief update regarding the west interceptor, a pipeline system west of Interstate 25. Triview currently serves as the administrator of the pipeline, which is a collaboration of several developers. He reported that the cost-sharing meetings have been productive, and a final agreement is near. Bids, to be solicited from several contractors, will be opened Sep. 6 and awarded Sep. 11. Juxtaposed with the pipeline construction are plans to expand Jackson Creek Parkway. Because the west interceptor will stretch to the intersection of Jackson Creek Parkway and Higby Road, the district is working to collaborate and plan extensively to capitalize on construction opportunities and prevent unwarranted expense.
McGrady added that he submitted, on behalf of Triview, a CSU questionnaire designed to outline area districts’ current and future water and wastewater needs and quantify their interest in possible regionalization. As the district grows, water needs increase and wastewater treatment nears capacity. "This whole regionalization notion makes sense … we save the cost of design, we save the cost of expansion, we save the cost of water quality improvements which are millions upon millions of dollars," he added.
Background: Triview and other local water and sanitation districts face stricter state wastewater treatment regulations that will, within the next 10 years, require costly upgrades to Triview’s current treatment facility, the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility (UMCRWWTF). Triview’s share of the upgrades are estimated at $10.75 million. See www.ocn.me/v18n7.htm#tvmd. If Triview becomes a regional wastewater participant with CSU, it will have to pay for the cost of connection with the CSU system but will ultimately save money by avoiding the more costly upgrades.
Similar to the CSU regionalization, the district has been working with JDS Hydro to develop an integrated water resource plan. McGrady posed the question, "What would a regional water delivery system look like?" Taking into consideration roads that are scheduled to be built, McGrady suggested that the time to brainstorm a regional project with neighboring districts is now.
The directors also briefly discussed the district’s current wells, their condition, how they will recover from depletion, and how to incorporate them as backup into a surface water system.
Public works, present and future
Water Superintendent Shawn Sexton and McGrady updated the board about operational activities that included:
• Schmidt Construction Co. submitted a bid for resurfacing the northbound lanes of Jackson Creek Parkway from Baptist Road to Lyons Tail with a start time of mid-September.
• The district’s routine of mowing and maintaining parks and open space is working very well. McGrady praised the district’s regular and seasonal crews for working diligently to prepare the soil for new sod installation at Burke Hollow Park and Old Creek Park.
• T.W. Summit Corp. conducted a sonic leak detection survey and found no leaks in the water mains and only minor, easily fixed leaks in other lines.
• The controllers for the irrigation central control system are completely installed and all zones function. McGrady praised Conservative Waters LLC President Evan Miles whose work now focuses on fine tuning flow meters, adjusting moisture calculations, planning for winterization, and training district crews about the system. The board agreed to retain Miles’ invaluable services in the future.
• Sexton and District Administrator Joyce Levad continue to narrow discrepancies between water pumped and water sold.
• District crews have been cleaning valve containers in the streets and have installed foam plugs to prevent winter road debris from degrading the valves.
• The wall under construction around the A-yard pump station, next to Jackson Creek Parkway, is coming together nicely.
• Sanctuary Pointe’s C-plant has been running very well.
• A-plant has been running continuously with only minor issues since installation of the supervisory control and data acquisition system was completed.
• McGrady recommended that preparatory curb and gutter work be completed in the fall, in preparation of the 2019 road rehabilitation project, because fall weather tends to be better than winter weather. The directors agreed to review budget estimates for 2018 curb and gutter repairs.
New meeting time proposed
McGrady noted that financial statements are two months out instead of one because of the timing of board meetings. He suggested that the directors consider moving the meetings to the third Tuesday of the month to accommodate account closing procedures and provide more comprehensive financial information.
The meeting adjourned at 7 p.m., after which the board met for an executive session for §24-6-402(4)(b)(e) legal advice, negotiations.
No additional decisions or actions were made following the executive session.
The next Triview meeting will be held Sep. 11 at 5 p.m. at the Fairfield Inn, Mt. Herman Conference Room, 15275 Struthers Road, Colorado Springs. Meetings are normally held on the second Tuesday of the month. Information: 488-6868 or see www.triviewmetro.com. See also "Triview Metropolitan District" on Facebook, or Twitter.com/@TriviewMetro. Triview board documents are available at https://triviewmetro.com/boardDocuments.
Jennifer Kaylor may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donala Water and Sanitation District, Aug. 18:Construction projects moving forward; water demand down
By Jim Kendrick
On Aug. 18, the Donala Water and Sanitation District (DWSD) board reviewed ongoing district capital construction projects, noting that the work is on schedule and on cost so far. After two months of very high demand on Donala’s ground water production and treatment systems, recent rainfall has lightened the heaviest irrigation loads placed on the district’s groundwater wells. The season for taking renewable surface water from Donala’s Willow Creek Ranch near Leadville ends on Aug. 31.
District General Manager Kip Petersen’s absence was unanimously excused from this meeting. Superintendent of Water Operations Mark Parker filled in for Petersen.
Vice President Dan Farmer of the Upper Black Squirrel Creek Ground Water Management District board and President Mark Yoder of the Western Museum of Mining & Industry board (WMMI) attended the meeting. See www.wmmi.org/board-of-trustees and www.upperblacksquirrelcreekwater.com/board.php.
Parker reported that Donala’s 12-inch water main replacement and corroded drinking water saddle tap replacement construction projects are moving forward on schedule despite the recent rains. Construction work for a new headworks screen project and a new catwalk project at the Upper Monument Creek Wastewater Treatment Facility (UMCRWWTF) will be starting on schedule as well. Parker and Office Manager Tanja Smith gave several examples regarding recent scheduling changes and how many phone calls and emails have been sent to district residents about construction near or adjacent to their properties to keep everyone informed of changes as soon as possible. Current information on these projects is available on the home page for Donala, http://donalawater.org or at 488-3603.
During the two driest months of the summer, Donala delivered 45.3 million gallons in June and 39.7 million gallons in July. Recent rainfall patterns have reduced the need for water production. Director Wayne Vanderschuere praised Parker and his operators for the "incredibly small, world championship minimized losses, an amazingly good number, almost zero losses" of potable water during production and distribution.
Parker noted that the amount of surface water available from the district’s Willow Creek Ranch property near Leadville will be down due to low snowfall last winter, so the ranch will yield no more than about 225 acre-feet for 2018. The district’s water right allows for a rolling average of up to 288 acre-feet per year over a 38-year period. Parker said Donala’s rolling average to date is less than 288 acre-feet, so there will be years with heavier snowfalls that will allow the district to use more than 288 acre-feet. This year, due to the state’s drought conditions to the south and west, Donala has not been able to take water recently for several weeks, due to the district being out of priority. Downstream water rights owners, with older and more senior (higher priority) water decree dates, were using up all the available reduced flows, and no flows were available to Donala due to its more recent water court decree date.
Parker noted that U.S. Drought Monitor maps are available to all OCN readers for download in JPG and PDF format at:
Museum inclusion hearing confirmed
The board confirmed that the Western Museum of Mining & Industry inclusion hearing to make the museum part of DWSD will be held on Sept. 20 as an agenda item of the regular September board meeting at 1:30 p.m. in the district conference room. The museum already lies within the existing Donala district service area. 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. The museum has been listed as part of Donala’s previous 1041 reports and Bureau of Reclamation requests.
Donala-Triview joint board meeting confirmed
The first joint meeting between the directors of the Donala board and the Triview Metropolitan District has been tentatively set for Sept. 26 at 5:30 p.m. Yoder offered to host the meeting in the WMMI conference room, which holds 85 people, at 225 North Gate Blvd., Colorado Springs (719) 488-0880. Main: 719.488.0880.719) 488-0880.
There was consensus to propose using the WMMI conference room to the Triview directors as the location of their Sept. 26 meeting. This will be a public meeting and the final date, time, and location will be posted by both districts.
There was also board consensus to prepare for this joint meeting by adding a preparation discussion item to the agenda for the next regular Donala board meeting on Sept. 20 at 1:30 p.m. in the district conference room at 15850 Holbein Drive.
Director Dennis Snyder asked about projected tap fee revenue for the rest of 2018. President Ken Judd noted that lot sales for the "Gleneagle golf course" development are ahead of projections, with people only buying and holding these lots for now. Only one lot is under excavation at this time among the properties of Scott Gratrix of Westbrook Capital Holdings and G&S Development. For more information, see the article on the Aug. 7 Board of County Commissioners meeting on page 20 and www.ocn.me/v18n6.htm#dwsd.
Academy Water and Sanitation District will start delivering about 40,000 gallons per day of sanitary sewer wastewater flows to UMCRWWTF when Academy’s new lift station and force main are completed in September. Academy will pay Donala for using a small percentage of the UMCRWWTF organic treatment capacity owned by Donala under an intergovernmental agreement between these two districts. The other two co-owners of UMCRWWTF are the Triview and Forest Lakes Metropolitan Districts. Donala employees run both UCMRWWTF and all of Forest Lakes water and wastewater operations.
There was a brief discussion about how operational wastewater treatment costs and capital costs are paid by the three UMCRWWTF owner districts and documented in monthly UMCRWWTF budget reports. Triview and Forest Lakes make advance quarterly payments into separate wastewater treatment holding accounts, then actual monthly wastewater flow-based treatment costs are deducted from these holding accounts as the quarter progresses.
But a significant portion of capital costs occur later in the calendar year due to cold weather restrictions in the winter and spring. End-of-project invoices may not be received by Donala until after the end of the calendar year. Payments of these latter invoices received after Dec. 31 then must be applied back to the previous budget year by the district accountants and the district auditor. These normal delays in capital project invoicing and actual expenditures until the next year can significantly skew the total percentage expended to date in the monthly reports that the board looks at during the fourth quarter of the budget year, while preparing the budget for the next calendar year.
There was consensus to use the more complete draft report that was prepared for this meeting on a recurring basis from now on.
The interest rates of return for the first two quarters for the district’s capital preservation investments in Donala’s portfolio with Chandler Asset Management were all substantially increased from under 1 percent for the past several years:
• General fund—2.47 percent
• Debt Fund—2.41 percent
• Bond Project Fund—1.77 percent
For more information on these three projects, see www.ocn.me/v18n7.htm#dwsd.
The meeting adjourned at 2:52 p.m.
The next board meeting will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Sept. 20 in the district conference room at 15850 Holbein Drive. Information: 488-3603 or www.donalawater.org. Meetings are normally held on the third Thursday of the month.
Jim Kendrick can be reached at email@example.com.
Donald Wescott Fire Protection District, Aug. 21: "De-Gallagherization" resolution fails
By Jennifer Kaylor
The "de-Gallagherization" resolution generated discussion for the Donald Wescott Fire Protection District board at an Aug. 2 special meeting and the regular board meeting on Aug. 21. Director Larry Schwarz updated the board regarding talks of combining Wescott with the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD).
Northern sub-district muddies de-Gallagherization
Legal Counsel Matt Court explained that, because the northern sub-district was created as an "overlay" of the original district to serve legal purposes in the November 2017 mill levy election, Wescott is technically obligated to run two separate elections on Nov. 6. The board, representing two different voting bases, two different certified mill levies, and two different governmental entities, has four options concerning the resolution to de-Gallagherize:
• To hold no election at all.
• To hold an election within the district to de-Gallagherize the 7 mills.
• To hold an election within the sub-district to de-Gallagherize the 14.9 mills.
• To hold two elections, one for the district and one for the sub-district, to de-Gallagherize the full 21.9 mills.
Consequently, Wescott would incur expenses for two elections and be required to establish two intergovernmental agreements with El Paso County. Director Gary Rusnak noted that Wescott might also face passage of one ballot question and not the other, which would confuse an already very confusing situation.
Background: The Gallagher Amendment dictates that Colorado’s total property tax revenue must maintain a 45 percent residential and 55 percent nonresidential balance. Because the nonresidential assessment rate is fixed, the residential assessment rate (RAR) is lowered to maintain the 45/55 balance as property values increase. A vote to approve de-Gallagherization would allow Wescott to "float" or maintain the current RAR of 7.2 percent and not be subject to the amendment’s potential future rate decreases.
The board discussed the pros and cons of the resolution extensively. Chief Vinny Burns and Assistant Chief Scott Ridings voiced support for adopting the de-Gallagherization resolution, citing the 6.11 percent RAR predicted for 2019 as a guarantee of lost revenue. Countering the notion that a financial crisis is imminent, some directors promoted potential mill levy increases to offset future revenue losses, if they occur. Others expressed concerns that the district had insufficient time to educate the public regarding the complexities of the ballot question (the district would not be permitted to advocate its position once the resolution is certified; the deadline for certification was Aug. 28). Court added that legislative changes are being considered, but any legislative action would be slow and require statewide voter approval.
The board received additional legal counsel regarding de-Gallagherization during an executive session. Upon returning to open session, Director Joyce Hartung moved to proceed with the de-Gallagherization resolution. Her motion was not seconded. The board’s inaction combined with election deadlines preclude Wescott from participating in the Nov. 6 election, thus the de-Gallagherization resolution quietly failed.
Tri-Lakes and Wescott committees to compare research
Schwarz reported on a recent meeting between the Wescott committee, composed of himself, Burns, and Hartung, and TLMFPD representatives Chief Chris Truty and Directors John Hildebrandt and Michael Smaldino. The committees met to explore the possibilities of joining the districts in some manner. Schwarz stated that the discussion was friendly and positive. The committees plan to conduct research for comparison purposes and meet again Oct. 9 for a thorough review of the information gathered. Eventually, they will schedule a work session to present their findings to the districts.
Schwarz commented that the difference in the districts’ mill levies—Wescott’s northern sub-district’s is 21.9 mills and TLMFPD’s is 18.1 mills—may be a significant barrier to combining, but the more flexible structure of a Fire Authority may provide a solution. The committees also set a deadline of March 2019 for making a final decision as a way to garner motivation and avoid procrastination, Schwarz said. In closing the discussion, Schwarz noted that other fire professionals in the area support a long-term vision—possibly 15 years—of a northern El Paso County regional department.
Training information included with monthly statistics
Ridings reported that, year-to-date, Wescott’s 15 firefighting personnel had trained for 3,708 hours. He listed basic firefighting skills, Firefighter I and II Certifications, basic wildland firefighter training, and driver operator skills such as operator utility, engine pumper, and aerial, as the primary focus. Burns said a contingent from Wescott will travel to the Nassau County Fire Training Academy in September, where they will undergo a broad array of intensive training.
Later in the meeting, Ridings announced that four Wescott firefighters had competed in a combat challenge and qualified for a world competition. Considering Wescott’s size, having four firefighters meet these physical standards is "a big deal," he added.
Call volume for Wescott totaled 73 for the month of July. Station 1 responded to 46 calls and Station 2 responded to 27 calls. Thirty-six of the calls pertained to Emergency Medical Services, and the remaining 37 were categorized as fire/rescue-related. Ridings explained that the staff is still learning how to glean statistical information from the emergency reporting software.
Comings and goings of engines
Three firefighters and engine 512 were deployed, first to Durango and then Meeker, and are expected to return soon. Also, with the addition of the Type 6 Brush Engine 542 to the station’s apparatus, the board voted to donate the old truck to the San Luis fire district.
Backlog of financials addressed
Financials for May, June, and July were presented and approved. Rusnak and Schwarz expressed discomfort with the lack of detail regarding revenue. Rusnak specified that he struggles with "mixing the carryover."
The regular board meeting, after returning from executive session, adjourned at 9:30 p.m.
The next DWFPD Board of Directors meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Sep. 18. The volunteer pension board meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m., and the regular meeting will begin at 7 p.m. Meetings are held at Station 1, 15415 Gleneagle Drive. Please call (719) 488-8680, a non-emergency number, for more information, or visit www.wescottfire.org. Wescott is also on Facebook and Twitter.
Jennifer Kaylor may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District, Aug. 22:Merger talks with Wescott continue; collective bargaining agreement pursued
By Natalie Barszcz
On Aug. 22, the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD) board further discussed the possibility of a merger with Donald Wescott Fire Protection District (DWFPD) and continued to pursue a collective bargaining agreement (CBA).
Director Mike Smaldino was excused.
Merger talks move forward
Treasurer John Hildebrandt gave an update on the continuing talks between committee members Chief Chris Truty, Smaldino and DWFPD’s Chief Vinny Burns, Director Larry Schwarz, and Treasurer Joyce Hartung with regard to a possible merger between districts. Sixteen items will be discussed over the next seven months characterizing each organization’s history, governance, culture, stations, fleet conditions, and the current role of each department. Smaller committees will work on the items and create a report detailing each.
Committee members are exploring four possible governance models:
• Create a whole new entity encompassing both TLMFPD and DWFPD in a wholly new department.
• A merger between the two in which one would encompass the other. This would require mill levy changes since there are different mill levies in each district. For more information, see DWFPD article on page 17.
• Create a Fire Authority to oversee both boards, which would remain intact, and mill levies would not be changed.
• A contract in which TLMFPD takes over operations in Wescott. Mill levies wouldn’t change, but Wescott wouldn’t have input into processes.
Hildebrandt said they are all leaning toward creating a fire authority, but it will be dependent on finances.
The next committee meeting is scheduled for Oct. 9. The goal is to know by March 2019 whether to move forward, with a deadline for implementation of Jan. 1, 2020.
Collaborative working agreement discussion
Truty, TLMFPD board members, and Lt. Franz Hankins, president of the Monument Professional Firefighters Association, revisited the agreement they made at the March meeting. Previously, both groups decided to work on a collaborative agreement addressing working conditions, health and safety issues, salary, and benefits for ranks up to and including captain. Both groups felt the March vote was arbitrary and sought clarity from the board. See https://ocn.me/v18n4.htm#tlmfpd for more information.
Note: Senate Bill 13-205, the Colorado Firefighters Safety Act, provides for two types of collective employee organizations. Collective bargaining agreements are formal obligations between an employer and an employee group, including policies plus compensation. It requires a vote of the people. However, the statute also allows for the employer to choose to waive this requirement and engage in collective bargaining without a public vote. The meet and confer option is available as an informal choice in which an employer and an employee group must come to the table to talk about policies, but does not include compensation. There are no commitments on either side, so unions lack the power to mandate changes.
After much deliberation, Hankins requested that the TLMFPD board seek to implement a collective bargaining agreement going forward. Truty and several board members stated that they didn’t feel qualified to make any decision on a legally binding contract regarding either option at this time. The discussion was put on hold until both parties can have their attorneys at the next board meeting.
Hildebrandt read the year-to-date financial report ending in July, noting:
• Property taxes received were $7.382 million or 97.68 percent of the budgeted amount, with expected revenue of $7.560 million
• Specific Ownership Taxes received were $491,236 or 96.32 percent of the budgeted amount, with expected revenue of $510,000.
• Ambulance revenues were $492,631 or 61.58 percent of the budgeted amount, with expected revenue of $800,000.
Hildebrandt also said, "Vehicle expenses had exceeded budget for the whole year" and read the following year-to-date expenditures:
• Overtime is 22.4 percent over budget YTD and level from June.
• Wages overall, the biggest expense, are 1.74 percent under budget YTD.
• Overall expenses are 0.7 percent under the YTD budget.
For full TLMFPD monthly financial reports, visit http://tlmfire.org/board.
Truty said, "The 2019 budget process is underway, and the first draft would be available at the September board meeting."
He stated, "Some districts are going very public with their campaigns [to de-Gallagherize] for the November 2018 election." He also said he "received confirmation that an interim Gallagher Committee has drafted seven resolutions for the 2019 legislative session." For more information on how the Gallagher Amendment could affect future revenues, visit: https://www.ocn.me/v18n8.htm.
TLMFPD has one position available. Information can be found at http://tlmfire.org/Empl-Hiring.
Battalion Chief of Training Jonathon Bradley announced that the "Northern El Paso EMS Training Group" had been approved. This allows TLMFPD to host training classes without having to travel to Penrose-St. Francis Medical Center. Education and training will continue to be offered at Penrose. Director Roger Lance thanked Bradley "for all the hard work in getting that done."
Bradley also reported that TLMFPD hosted some external courses, and TLMFPD firefighters are undergoing or have completed certification in the following:
• National Fire Incident Reporting System Training.
• El Paso County—Incident Safety Officer Class.
• Aerial Driver Operators Course.
• El Paso County Hazmat Team—Equipment and Decontamination Refresher Courses.
The El Paso County Wildland Team in conjunction with El Paso County Parks recently offered chainsaw refresher courses in Black Forest, to include Fox Run Park in the fall for TLMFPD firefighters on a company rotation basis. Bradley explained, "We cut some trees for them, they get some mitigation done, and we get our folks refreshed on chainsaw training."
Battalion Chief/Fire Marshal Jamey Bumgarner announced that a TLMFPD Open House will be held at Station 1, 18650 Highway 105, on Sept. 29 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more details, visit http://tlmfire.org.
Meetings are usually held the fourth Wednesday of each month. The next meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Sept. 26 at TLMFPD Station 1, 18650 Highway 105. For information, contact Jennifer Martin at (719) 484-9011. For upcoming agendas, see http://tlmfire.org/board.
Natalie Barszcz can be reached at email@example.com.
El Paso Board of County Commissioners, Aug. 7, 21:Gleneagle golf course redevelopment moves forward
By Helen Walklett
The El Paso Board of County Commissioners approved two items in August relating to the infill development on the site of the old Gleneagle golf course. Other decisions made concerned The Dunes at Woodmoor development and the liquor license application for the 7-Eleven, which is being built on the corner of North Gate Boulevard and Struthers Road.
Golf course redevelopment
At their Aug. 7 meeting, the commissioners dealt with two items relating to the Gleneagle golf course redevelopment project. The first approved a resolution that releases the restriction on the sale and development of lots 23 to 44, which was used as collateral for completion of required improvements. Instead, the developer will post a letter of credit as substitute collateral for the improvements that are still to be completed.
The commissioners also approved the first partial release of a letter of credit for grading and erosion control for $207,927 relating to lots 1 to 22 at the development. This is in acknowledgment of the completion and inspection of 30 percent of the required public improvements.
• Aug. 7—The commissioners granted a 3.2 percent beer off-premises liquor license to Dhindsa3 Inc. and 7-Eleven Inc. for the store under construction at Gleneagle Gate View on the corner of North Gate Boulevard and Struthers Road. This is part of the Academy Gateway project.
• Aug. 7—Approved issuing two ambulance permits for the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District. Both permits are effective Aug. 1 for a one-year period.
• Aug. 21—Approved the final release of a letter of credit for $38,743 following the completion and inspection of all the grading and erosion control work at The Dunes at Woodmoor Filing No. 2.
Helen Walklett can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Woodmoor Improvement Association Board of Directors, Aug 22:Owners speak on Walters property, Brookmoor Estates gate, and Hidden Pond
By Jackie Burhans
The Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA) board met August 22 to hear owners’ ideas on the development of the Walters property, to discuss the Brookmoor Estates request to allow residents to use the emergency gate, and to continue discussing the future of Hidden Pond.
The board announced the appointment of Bert Jean to the vacant position of Secretary and Director of Community Outreach.
South Woodmoor residents appeared before the board to suggest ideas and ask for support for preserving open space in the recently-listed Walters Property northeast of Higby and Jackson Creek. The 134-acre property is zoned for one-half-acre residential lots and has recently been listed for sale for $4.7 million. See the listing at http://bit.ly/walters-sale.
Chris Williams, who lives near the property, suggested that residents band together to buy the land to maintain the desirability of Woodmoor. He estimated that with 3,000 residents paying $300 per year, it would take five years to pay it off. He asked if the board would support a volunteer group working on this effort.
President Brian Bush noted that the board is aware of the situation and had been negotiating for an easement for a trail. He said the board has instructed its attorney to express concerns. Bush said he personally has no objections to residents working on this. He noted that the covenants limit increases in WIA fees to three percent a year and require two-thirds of all home owners to vote on changes. Another resident suggested the possibility of a special assessment. Bush noted that there are state laws and reporting requirements that apply if dues exceed a certain amount. He noted that the board would welcome information on the interest level of area residents. Director Rich Wretschko noted the importance of including any development and maintenance of the land in the total price.
Tish Norman said the Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) has $13 million that might help to fund the purchase but would require a nearby municipality, like Monument, to sponsor the grant even though this land is not in the Town of Monument. Norman also asked about incorporation, requirements for lot sizes, and water rights.
Director Ed Miller noted that Woodmoor tried twice to incorporate but the costs involved were prohibitive.
Bush noted that there are eight separate tracts, some of which are near the high school, are platted for multi-family; as you get farther away from Jackson Creek, they are platted for half-acre parcels. Anyone who bought the land would have to go to the county and satisfy county requirements.
Norman noted that water rights had been sold from this property.
Bush added that the property is covered by the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation district and there would be a tap fee of $33,000 per home which would help to pay for infrastructure.
Brookmoor Estates emergency gate
Emily Davis and Christine Morales of South Park Drive spoke about the request by Brookmoor Estates to the county to open their rear gate as an access point for residents. The gate was originally designed for emergency access only. Brookmoor Estates consists of 59 houses and would issue two remote control units per house. A recent traffic study shows approximately 562 car trips are generated daily, so this would increase the traffic on South Park Drive by 281 trips.
Davis noted that Brookmoor Estates illegally opened the gate a few years ago and residents saw what it would be like. Davis expressed concern about the road becoming a thoroughfare and noted that children walk to and from Monument Academy, Lewis Palmer Elementary, and Lewis-Palmer Middle School. She noted that it was reported in the August issue of OCN that WIA saw no benefit to residents of opening the gate. She asked the WIA to go further and come out in opposition to this change. Davis reported that residents will be contacting the county planning department and the project planner and will be going to the meeting with proxies from those who cannot attend. She asked the WIA to submit a letter opposing this change so it would be added to the file. She offered instructions and a template.
President Brian Bush stated that the board would like to keep the gate closed and indicated the board was willing to write a letter and appear at the public hearing in September or October.
More information about the request can be found at: https://epcdevplanreview.com/Public/ProjectDetails/101515.
Hidden Pond update
A resident appeared again to discuss Hidden Pond. President Brian Bush presented survey results that were evenly split on whether Hidden Pond is considered important to the health and benefit of the community. Regarding whether funds should be spent on the pond, the results were 75 against versus 24 in favor. A slightly higher number would support partial augmentation. Only ten per cent of residents filled out the survey.
Bush said the board discussed the issue and might be willing to allow some level of water to be retained and would work with Woodmoor Water and Sanitation to achieve this level of augmentation. The real question is who would pay for the augmentation. Bush noted that there is precedent in the community for individual home owners being billed a monthly cost by Woodmoor Water and Sanitation; however, home owners would have to agree to this arrangement.
The resident objected to the idea of a small number of residents paying for something all Woodmoor residents would enjoy. The board noted that the survey results showed that most people are not interested in paying for the pond.
The resident asked that the survey be re-opened. Bush said he would entertain a motion to re-open the survey. No motion was made. The resident noted that neither he nor any of his three neighbors had taken the survey as they figured the board would do the right thing.
Another resident asked about plans to restore the area around the pond. Director Rich Wretschko deferred to staff who indicated they planned to reseed once they finalize the decision.
After further discussion, the board and resident both expressed frustration.
Board report highlights
• Due to increased bear activity, the board requests that residents promptly take trash cans in after trash has been picked up. WIA will place reminder stickers on cans that have been left out for multiple days.
• The new Woodmoor Public Safety vehicle was severely damaged in a traffic accident on Highway 105. There were no injuries but the vehicle will be in the shop for a couple weeks.
• The board unanimously approved a project led by Bob Pearsall, Architectural Control Committee & Common Areas Administrator, to construct an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant bathroom on the main level of The Barn with a budget not to exceed $15,000.
• As part of fire mitigation at Twin Ponds, over 35 cubic yards of scrub oak plants were removed. That was completed July 16.
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 Sep. 26.
The WIA calendar can be found at www.woodmoor.org/wia-calendar/. WIA board meeting minutes can be found at www.woodmoor.org/meeting-minutes/ once approved and posted.
Jackie Burhans can be reached at email@example.com.
August Weather Wrap
By Bill Kappel
A wide range of weather conditions occurred during August, with several periods of increased thunderstorm activity interspersed with mild and sunny conditions. Most areas received a little less than normal precipitation, but there was a lot of variability depending on whether you were under a few of the heavy rainfall centers. Some areas were hit hard with heavy rain and hail, while others missed out on the heaviest of the rainfall. This is typical of the late summer thunderstorm pattern in the region, where there is often extreme variability over very short distances between too much rain and not enough. Temperatures ended right at normal for the month, with high temperatures seeing below normal values and low temperatures seeing above normal values.
The month started with a significant influx of monsoonal moisture. This resulted in daily thunderstorm activity during the first week. The exception was the 2nd, when storms were limited to the mountains. Unfortunately, there was plenty of smoke around that day that limited what would have otherwise been a sunny, beautiful day. The thunderstorm activity peaked on the 6th and 7th, with both days seeing areas of heavy rain and large hail. Of course, we were fortunately along the Palmer Divide as we just missed the worst of the storm activity that developed during the afternoon of the 6th.
The thunderstorm complex that developed early that afternoon over Park and Teller Counties moved to the east/southwest where it interacted with higher levels of moisture and better wind shear. This allowed the storm to grow into a supercell and produce large/damaging hail. The worst-hit regions were around the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and the Broadmoor area. Unfortunately, this led to significant hail damage to the area, and this was just two months after many of the same areas were hit with a similar storm and had just started to recover.
A period of quiet and dry weather developed over the next week, with no precipitation from the 8th through the 13th. Unfortunately, during most of this period sunshine was severally limited by a thick pale of smoke from the forest fires in the western U.S. Temperatures were below normal during that period, even with the dry conditions. High temperatures were in the mid-70s to upper 70s from the 8th through the 12th, then managed to reach the low 80s on the 13th.
Another round of active weather returned during the middle of the month, with daily thunderstorms producing rainfall from the 14th through the 17th. Most areas received about a half inch to an inch of rainfall during this period. This wet weather was associated with a fall-like storm system that also brought relatively cool northerly winds through the area. High temperatures were held down to well below normal levels over the next dew days, with highs only reaching the mid-60s to low 70s from the 18th through the 21st.
The remainder of the month was relatively quiet, with a few thunderstorms on the 21st, 22nd, and again on the 25th and 26th. Temperatures warmed up to above-normal levels during the last week of the month, with highs reaching back into the 80s from the 23rd through the 27th as a reminder that summer isn’t quite over yet.
A look ahead
September is a transition month for the region, with the last tastes of summer mixed in with our first morning freezes. Leaves begin to change by the end of the month as well, and in some years a little snow can happen. The overall weather pattern is generally one of tranquility, with our chances for thunderstorms dwindling and blizzard conditions not quite ready for prime time. We are often greeted with sunny, pleasant afternoons, with highs from the mid-70s early in the month to the mid-60s later in the month. Our first sub-freezing low temperatures usually occur during the third week of the month, so prepare those tender plants.
August 2018 Weather Statistics
Average High 77.6° (-1.7)
100-year return frequency value max 83.9° min 72.9°
Average Low 50.6 ° (+1.3)
100-year return frequency value max 55.2° min 46.8°
Monthly Precipitation 1.89" (-1.01", 35% below normal)
100-year return frequency value max 6.07" min 0.94"
Monthly Snowfall 0.0"
Highest Temperature 85° on the 4th and 25th
Lowest Temperature 42° on the 20th
Season to Date Snow 0.0" (the snow season is from July 1 to June 30)
Season to Date Precip. 14.75" (-5.74", 28% below normal) (the precip season is from October 1 to September 30)
Heating Degree Days 58 (-4)
Cooling Degree Days 26 (-17)
Bill Kappel is a meteorologist and Tri-Lakes resident. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Letters to Our Community
Guidelines for letters are on page 31.
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.
Strong schools equal strong property values
Ten years ago, after retiring from military service, we moved to Woodmoor. We knew the schools were outstanding, so with a child in high school and one in middle school we felt good about settling down here in the Tri-Lakes area. We love the peaceful setting of our home and the friends we have made. We don’t have plans to ever move again. We also like the way our home values have increased in the last 10 years. I definitely appreciate living in a place where as I grow older my property values increase.
The proposed D38 bond and mill levy override (MLO) on the November ballot is a vital component to ensuring that our property values continue to be excellent. Families moving to our area are moving here for our peaceful locations, our strong community, and primarily for our excellent schools. November’s bond and MLO will allow the district to build a new elementary school and convert Bear Creek Elementary back into a middle school, as it was originally constructed. With sales of new homes in our area tripling since 2010, and the 10-year expected growth of our school districts to increase by 1,800 students, these measures are imperative to sustaining strong property values.
Also on the ballot, the MLO will allow the district to hire necessary security and counseling personnel allowing our schools to be as secure as they are excellent. As an empty nester and small-business owner looking forward to the future, I believe strongly that well-supported schools are the key to peaceful, strong, and vital communities. Please vote yes to pass the bond measure and MLO in November.
Hail and climate change
On Aug. 13, the Colorado Springs Gazette published an editorial, "Don’t Blame Climate Change for the Hail." As I believed the editorial was misleading, actually disingenuous, I wrote a letter to the editor expressing my views. Not to my surprise, the letter was neither acknowledged nor printed. I understand completely that the paper must receive many letters and, of course, cannot print them all. Nonetheless, I hoped mine would make the cut. But as I "attacked" the veracity of the editorial, its absence from their Letters section was not unexpected.
The editorial’s main point was that our recent devastating hailstorm was not the result of global warming, but then went on to cast aspersions on the science quoting various scientists to validate their messages. They also managed to insert their political beliefs, albeit subtly.
As I said in my letter, "Reputable climate scientists have repeatedly stated that no one particular weather event can be directly attributed to climate change. Rather they, the overwhelming majority of them, have stated categorically that our climate is changing—rapidly—and that it is caused mostly by human activities. As the climate warms, the atmosphere holds more moisture and that can—and certainly seems to—favor more storms."
It seems that many citizens, actually far too many, continue to deny that our climate is changing rapidly—"rapidly" being the essential element. Clinging to "The climate has always changed," or "The sun is the culprit," these people simply will not accept the settled science.
Climate change is real, it is accelerating, and it portends challenging, if not severe, outcomes. Please, cast aside any political predispositions, and, if not already a "believer," become knowledgeable of the facts so that you can act (vote) accordingly.
Concerns regarding local eldercare facility
One year ago, I put my Mom into a memory care facility. The dementia affecting her brain and body were too much for me to provide care. I thought a sparkling new facility would be best, but I was wrong!
Mom went to Bethesda Gardens in Monument, a beautiful-looking facility with a dark secret—the memory care staff doesn’t know how to care for late-stage dementia patients. After Mom’s "care" worsened, the head nurse admitted to me that they didn’t know what to do.
Before placing your loved one in someone else’s care, tour the facility and ask:
• Will mom see the same familiar caregivers’ faces every day, get help with activities of daily life, and be kept from harm or abuse?
• How do current patients react to the caregivers—are they afraid? Confused?
• Notice whether or not residents are wearing clean clothes, look tidy, and have been getting bathed every day. Mom never received a bath from Bethesda employees.
• Look for bruising on patients. People with dementia are vulnerable to abuse because they cannot communicate an issue and have impaired memory.
• Visit resident’s rooms, not just a model. Look for stains on the furniture. Mom was routinely left in a soiled diaper staining her couch and ruining sheets.
When we realized the deplorable conditions, we notified Bethesda staff, hoping her care would improve. Instead her treatment deteriorated. So, we brought in an outside company to care for Mom while we searched for a different facility. I visited Mom daily, bringing my husband along with me because I was fearful of the staff after being threatened by their vice president.
The guilt I feel for putting her in such horrid conditions will probably never go away.
Safety and security?
This November, voters will be asked to decide on a $1 million mill levy override (MLO) for school safety and security. Unfortunately, 70 percent of the money won’t be used for safety and security. It will be used to hire 12 mental health workers.
The remaining 30 percent will be used for safety and security, to hire four armed security guards and pay for dogs to visit schools on occasion. Without question, everyone wants their kids to be safe at school. But, our district should look into other options before burdening the taxpayers yet again. Colorado lawmakers approved $35 million in March of 2018 to be used specifically for hiring police officers for schools and building upgrades to improve security. D38 can also apply for a Best Grant with the purpose of updating building security. And, the FASTER program offers free training to school districts so staff members can deal with unfortunate situations on the spot and not have to waste valuable time waiting for law enforcement to arrive on the scene. It truly can save lives. Plus, the STOP School Violence Act of 2018 recently passed the House. It will provide funding for school districts to enhance safety and security via trainings, developing safety plans, monies for improved building locks, lighting, etc.
Our district is getting a 6 percent increase in per student funding, the biggest increase in over 10 years. That’s $3 million more to work with. It is shameful to use the Parkland tragedy as a fundraiser for D38. To help rebuild trust with the community, they should utilize all of these existing resources. Vote no on the upcoming MLO this November. Vote no to mental health workers in our schools.
Sharon "Sam" Schafer
Save the character of our community
I oppose Sunshine Behavioral Health’s (SBH) (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) proposal to reconfigure the property at 1865 Woodmoor Drive (formerly Ramada Inn) into an inpatient drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility. My opposition is not to dispute the need for drug and alcohol facilities but to challenge the location.
I’m opposed because: SBH’s facility would be in close proximity to schools, establishments that serve or sell alcohol, public buildings, and convenience stores. The success of any facility is dependent on its aftercare program; SBH’s aftercare is minimal at best. Willow Springs Recovery Center (WSRC) in Texas owned by SBH would serve as the model for the Monument facility. The monthly fee at WSRC is $12,000, and it does not accept Medicaid or Tricare, only private pay and/or private insurance. WSRC is "settled on over 38 acres of beautiful Texas— just close enough to the city for convenience but far enough that you don’t have to worry about temptations triggers." Obviously the advantages of WSRC can never happen here.
SBH’s subsidiary, Elite Rehab Placement, is under investigation by a U.S. House committee to determine if patient brokering and financial kickbacks are being used to attract patients to their treatment centers. SBH provides treatment only to patients who voluntarily admit themselves. What is the effect on the community when a patient self-releases himself/herself? Eventually SBH will accept 150 patients, resulting in potential revenue of $1.8 million per month.
I suggest the land be used to construct a park/playground or build a middle school to alleviate current overcrowding. The entire community will benefit from these structures. SBH’s proposal will alter the character of and have a negative impact on the community. I have pride and passion for Tri-Lakes. SBH does not and is only focused on profit.
Cynthia Fong Smith
Stronger security needed in D38
We love our community. We love our schools and teachers and enjoy the general safety we feel for our kids. It is an unfortunate fact, though, that D38 needs to improve security. Portions of the bond and MLO will go toward safety upgrades and security and counseling staffing, necessary to keep our students and teachers secure in what has become a different world than the one we, as parents, grew up.
Safety improvements include entry vestibule improvements for more secure access to buildings and electronic door hardware for school lock down of all entrances and exits in the case of an active shooter. Our teachers are carrying more of the burden for the safety of our kids and need further support.
Our neighboring school districts have made similar upgrades in recent years, and it is time that D38 does the same. In fact, districts are required under the Safe Schools Act to address building safety concerns. Furthermore, the act requires schools to have regularly updated safety plans and incident/threat assessment procedures, in addition to trained crisis response teams.
Beyond physical safety, our kids increasingly need educational environments that provide psychological and emotional safety. We are now in a time where a single bully can attack another kid while hiding behind an electronic device, often without any adult being aware that it is occurring.
Not only do we have an intrinsic responsibility to keep kids and staff safe at school, the district also has a legal obligation. The Claire-Davis Act, signed by Gov. John Hickenlooper three years ago, dissolved school districts’ immunity in cases of negligence that results in death or certain assaults.
The requested bond and mill levy override will help D38 kids grow up into the adults we all aspire them to be.
Matt and Erin Vineyard
Between the Covers at Covered Treasures Bookstore:Celebrating women authors
By the staff at Covered Treasures
"We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better."—J.K. Rowling
Dive into these novels by local and international women authors. Some are debut novels that make us look forward to more to come.
Burning Ridge: A Timber Creek K-9 Mystery
By Margaret Mizushima (Crooked Lane Books), $26.99
When a body is discovered on Colorado’s Redstone Ridge, Officer Mattie Cobb and her K-9 partner Robo are called in to spearhead the investigation. But this is no ordinary crime, and it soon becomes clear that Mattie has a close personal connection to the dead man. Joined by local veterinarian Cole Walker, the pair scours the mountaintop for evidence, and then the unthinkable happens. Could Mattie become the next victim in the murderer’s deadly game? This is the third book in the popular K-9 mystery series by Colorado author Mizushima.
Little French Bistro
By Nina George (Broadway Books), $16
Marianne is stuck in a loveless, unhappy marriage. After 41 years, she leaves her life behind and sets out for the coast of Brittany. Here she meets a cast of colorful and unforgettable locals, who surprise her with their warm welcome, and the natural ease they all seem to have, taking pleasure in life’s small moments. Marianne learns it’s never too late to begin the search for what life should have been all along.
Remind Me Again What Happened
By Joanna Luloff (Algonquin Books), $26.95
Claire wakes in a hospital room with no idea how she got there or why. Some things she can piece together by looking at old photos saved by her husband, Charlie, and her best friend, Rachel, and through boxes of letters and casual jottings. But she senses a mystery at the center of these fragments. Told from alternating points of view, the story unfolds as Claire’s memory is gradually restored until she can finally understand the why and how of her life. This is local Denver author Joanna Luloff’s debut novel.
Let Me Be Like Water
By S.K. Perry (Melville House Publishing), $16.99
Holly has moved to Brighton to escape. But now that she’s here, sitting on a bench, listening to the sea sway, how is she supposed to fill the void her boyfriend left when he died? She had thought she’d want to be on her own, but when she meets Frank, the tide begins to shift. This debut novel is about the extraordinariness hiding in everyday life; of lost and new connections; of loneliness and friendship.
Dear Mrs. Bird
By A.J. Pearce (Scribner), $26
This debut novel is a moving tale of friendship, the kindness of strangers, and ordinary people in extraordinary times, and is inspired by actual letters in women’s magazines during World War II. Emmeline Lake gets what she thinks is her dream job, but it turns out to be working as a typist for the fierce and renowned advice columnist, Henrietta Bird. Bird is very clear: Letters containing any unpleasantness must go straight in the bin. Emmy secretly begins to write back to the readers who have poured out their troubles.
By Gwen Florio (Atria Books), $26
This novel set in Afghanistan is about an American aid worker, Liv, and her local interpreter, Farida, who form an unexpected friendship. This complex portrayal of two very different but equally resilient women caught in the conflict of a war that will test them in ways they never imagined. Gwen Florio, a former Denver Post reporter, covered Afghanistan and Iraq.
The Light We Lost
By Jill Santopolo (G.P. Putnam’s Sons), $16
Lucy and Gabe meet as seniors at Columbia University on a day that changes both of their lives forever. What follows is a 13-year journey of dreams, desires, jealousies, betrayals, and ultimately, of love. Their journey takes Lucy and Gabe continents apart, but never out of each other’s hearts. It’s a debut novel about the enduring power of first love, with a shocking, unforgettable ending.
"You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select
your clothes every day. This is a power you can cultivate."—Elizabeth Gilbert,
Until next month, happy reading.
The Covered Treasures staff can be reached at email@example.com.
September Library Events:Fall brings All Pikes Peak Reads, return of some favorites
By Harriet Halbig
With the beginning of September, patrons can look forward to the annual All Pikes Peak Reads program with its varied offerings. This year’s theme is multiculturalism. The popular AfterMath free tutoring program will resume on Sept. 10 and the Coloring for Everyone program will resume Sept. 7.
Come to our first-ever Book Swap on Saturday, Sept. 1 from 2 to 4. If you have too many books or would just like something new to read, bring your unwanted books, swap them for tickets, and exchange the tickets for books brought by others. The Friends of the Library will provide some books as well to get us started. Come talk and trade books and meet some new people!
Join friends and family for Coloring for Everyone on Friday, Sept. 7 from 4 to 5:30. We will provide coloring sheets for all ages with colored pencils, markers, and gel pens also available. You are welcome to stay as long as you like.
Lego Build will meet on Saturday, Sept. 15 from 10 to 11:30.
See above for a description of the Book Swap on Sept. 1.
Every Wednesday, patrons are welcome to join an Intergenerational Knitting group in the study room from 3 to 4:30. Practice materials are provided but you are encouraged to bring your own project.
The Monument Teen Creative Writing Group will meet on Tuesday, Sept. 4 from 6 to 7:30 in the study room. This group is open to ages 12 to 18 and gathers to share ideas, do writing exercises, and share snacks.
See above for description of Coloring for Everyone.
Every Monday from 3:30 to 7, our popular AfterMath free tutoring program will be offered. Tutoring from experienced teachers is offered without charge to all ages. No appointment is necessary. This program follows the D-38 school calendar starting on Sept. 10.
Come make kites with us on Thursday, Sept. 20, in honor of our Teen All Pikes Peak Reads book, Flying Lessons. We’ll be making kites from around the world. Registration is preferred. Class is open to ages 9 to 18.
The Teen Arts and Crafts Program for September is Shrinky Dinks. Join us on Wednesday, Sept. 26 from 4 to 5:30 to make them. All materials provided. Please register.
The Monument Library Anime Club will meet from 5 to 6:30 on Thursday, Sept. 27 to share anime with others who love it. We will watch an anime film (nothing rated above ages 13-14) and enjoy exotic snacks.
See above for descriptions of Book Swap, Coloring for Everyone, and Intergenerational Knitting.
Palmer Lake Art Group will once again offer drawing lessons on Sept. 6 and 20 from 1 to 3. Bring your own paper and supplies, but pencils will be provided. Registration is required.
On Saturday, Sept. 8 from 10 until noon, learn some helpful yoga techniques to keep your brain active and healthy. The session will be taught by two experienced local teachers.
The Monumental Bookworms will meet from 7 to 8:30 on Tuesday, Sept. 11 to discuss Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate. No registration required.
The Second Thursday Craft for September is Mixed Media Pendants. This month, on Sept. 13 from 2 to 4, Roxanne Lingle will teach patrons to make mixed media pendants with collage papers, paint, and stencils. Registration is required and opens two weeks before craft day.
The Monumental Readers will meet from 10 to noon on Friday, Sept. 21 to discuss The Newcomers: Finding Refuge Friendship and Hope in an American Classroom by Helen Thorpe. 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, Sept. 27.
Join us on Friday, Sept. 28 from 1 to 3 to celebrate All Pikes Peak Reads by making your own book cover vinyl tote bag. Registration is required and all materials are provided.
In the display cabinet during September will be Empty Bowls by Monument Library staff. On the walls will be photographs by Lindsey Slattery.
Palmer Lake Library Events
The Palmer Lake Library Book Group meets at 9 a.m. on the first Friday of each month. Call 481-2587 for the latest selection. All are welcome to attend.
Story time is at 10:30 each Wednesday, and Toddler Time is at 10:30 each Friday.
The family fun program for September is Uncovering the Titanic on Saturday, Sept. 15 at 10:30. Join us for this program presented by the Molly Brown Museum and featuring reproduction artifacts from the Titanic.
Please note that all Pikes Peak Library District Facilities will be closed on Monday, Sept. 3 in observance of Labor Day.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at harriethalbig@ocn.
Palmer Lake Historical Society, July 19:Past becomes present at Chautauqua
By Sigi Walker
The Palmer Lake Historical Society’s 11th Annual "Return of the Rocky Mountain Chautauqua," held on Aug. 11, featured a range of activities celebrating the historical gatherings.
Festivities opened with the Presentation of the Colors by Boy Scout Troop 440. Volunteers in vintage clothing welcomed visitors. This year’s emcee was John Stansfield, who also portrayed the Rev. Forrest M. Priestley, the president and "moving spirit" of the early Chautauqua Assembly. Cathleen Norman portrayed Lucretia Vaile, who was instrumental in establishing the Society’s Lucretia Vaile Museum, and Lynn Hayes portrayed the tragic life of Honora Russell, who with her husband John homesteaded the Table Rock Ranch. Arlene Fisher-Olson was the committee chairman for the 2018 Chautauqua.
Throughout the day, the Chautauqua Mountain Band played from the Village Green’s gazebo. Exhibitors demonstrated quilting (Pam Hull), hand sewing-tatting and lace-making (Sandy Smith and Asha Watson), bobbin lace-making (Dawn McClung), pottery throwing (Walt Moore), leather crafts (Ron Hayes), and gold panning (Rick Sauers of the Western Museum of Mining and Industry). There were displays by High Wheel Bikes (Steve Sexton) and wildlife information/exhibits (Cindy Yeoman of Colorado Parks and Wildlife). Activities for children included "Kid Crafts" and card tricks by Jonathon Ehresman and Cindy Molzen.
Two food trucks, Smokey the Pig Wood Pit BBQ and Dex’s Dogs, served the crowd. Friends of the Tri-Lakes Library served free ice cream to a long queue, while the Velcro Barbershop Quartet sang traditional barbershop melodies, and the library provided free books on its book cart.
Chautauqua attendees were invited to visit the Lucretia Vaile Museum where Jim Sawatzki’s film, Summer Sojourn, was shown continuously throughout the day.
Above: The Velcro Barbershop Quartet entertained. Photos by Tommy Olson.
Above left: Cathleen Norman portrayed the life of Lucretia Vaile, founder of the PLHS, who was associated with Palmer Lake since the 1880s.
Above right: John Stansfield portrayed Forrest M. Priestley, "Mr. Chautauqua." He was the driving force behind the Rocky Mountain Chautauqua.
Right: Lynn Hayes portrayed Honora Russell, who settled on a homestead near Table Rock Mountain. She told of the hardships that she and her husband endured.
Mark your calendars for Thursday, Sept. 20, for the next monthly history series program. Jane Milne and Kathy DeHerrera will present the "The Harvey Girls Story"—often described as the story of the women who tamed the West. Venue is the Palmer Lake Town Hall located at 28 Valley Crescent St. This event is free and open to all.
Bird Watch on the Palmer Divide:Nuthatches help maintain a healthy forest
By Elizabeth Hacker
Fall has arrived on the Palmer Divide and many birds are migrating. If you keep your eyes to the night sky, you may see and hear them. During the day they need to rest and refuel. The best time to look for them is early morning or late afternoon before they take flight.
One species of birds that can be found year-round on the Palmer Divide is the nuthatch. I tend to notice them in greater numbers during the winter. A nuthatch is not considered a migratory bird, but it moves around a small range, up and down in elevation. In summer, they can be found at 10,000 feet but in winter, they move down in altitude to as low as 5,000 feet.
Nuthatches belong to the genus Sitta, a family of small passerine birds characterized by large heads, short tails, and powerful bills and feet. Of the five nuthatch species in North America, including the red-breasted, white-breasted, pygmy, and brown-headed nuthatches, and the brown creeper, four can be found in northern El Paso County. Only the brown-headed nuthatch, native to the Southeastern coastal forests, is not found here.
Nuthatches are agile birds that creep up and down the trunks of trees and large branches. They use their long, pointed slender beaks to probe into tree bark in search of insects like the pine beetle. The health of a forest depends on birds like the nuthatch that survive on massive numbers of insects that can be harmful to the trees.
Size and shape
Nuthatches are all small birds that may appear to have similar features, but to birders they are all are uniquely different.
The white-breasted is the largest nuthatch at 5.75 inches in length, weighing three-quarters of an ounce, with a wingspan of 11 inches. Its upper body is a light gray, its underside is white, and the top of its head is black.
In comparison, the pygmy nuthatch, the smallest species, is 4 inches in length, weighing less than a half an ounce, with a wingspan of 8 inches. It looks very similar to the white-breasted, but its head is gray and it moves faster.
The red-breasted nuthatch is a medium-size nuthatch with gray upper feathers, black on top of its head, with a rust-colored underbody and a distinctive black eyeline.
The brown creeper is the color of tree bark and unless it is moving, it can be difficult to see.
Nuthatches are little birds, but they are feisty and always very busy. They crawl up, down, and around a tree, flicking off bits of bark as they poke their beaks under the bark in search of hidden insects.
In winter, nuthatch pairs roost together. Juveniles from the previous nesting season join their parents. Sometimes as many as 150 individual birds will sleep together in a single tree. On cold winter nights, to preserve heat and protect themselves from strong wind, they huddle together in pyramid or a square-shaped bundle.
Nuthatches are cavity nesters. They often build their nest in a discarded woodpecker hole or a wren house. Clutches are large and average eight to 12 eggs. Parents take turns sitting on the eggs. The eggs hatch about 15 days after the last egg is laid. Chicks fledge the nest 15 days after they are hatched.
One summer, we had a pair of pygmy nuthatches brood 12 chicks in a wren house attached to our house. As the chicks grew, the wren house was not large enough for all 12 of them. The chicks were not yet ready to fly so with their small but strong woodpecker-like feet, they clung to the side of the house. As one chick would climb back into the nesting house, another chick would be forced out. Early one evening, with their parents in the lead, all 12 chicks flew from their tiny house. We watched them as they flew back and forth over our yard, chattering away. When it got dark, they returned to the house, and as the last chick went in another was forced out. A day later, the chicks fledged the nest and went into a nearby tree. They seemed like happy birds and it was a delight to watch them.
I often talk to people who don’t want nuthatches in their yard because they say that nuthatches destroyed their cedar siding by drilling holes into it. Several years ago, we also had this problem and felt the same. Our cedar siding was peppered with nuthatch holes. We were frustrated but learned that as siding ages, the wood attracts insects and can become infested. That made sense because we had lived there nearly 20 years without noticing any holes. We decided we couldn’t blame the birds, so we replaced the siding and eliminated the problem. Siding doesn’t last forever, no matter what the warranty might claim.
In winter, I put out suet for the woodpeckers and nuthatches, but until recently, it seemed most of the suet went to feeding the magpies, jays, and squirrels. At a Wild Birds Unlimited store, I found a suet feeder designed so that nuthatches and woodpeckers must go under the feeder to get at the suet. Because nuthatches can eat upside-down and squirrels and magpies can’t, this type of feeder works very well. Nuthatches also eat small seeds, but their slender beaks are not able to crack open a shell on a seed or nut.
While nuthatches work hard to protect the trees in our forests, they can only remove insects to help protect individual trees. They can’t maintain the forest understory.
Fire and the health of forests
In the distant past, fires acted to clean the forest of underbrush and competition from tree seeds sprouts. The thick bark of mature pines protects the trees from fire. The Forest Service conducts controlled burns in many areas but, as more houses are built in the forest, controlled fire burns are no longer a safe way to control overgrown forests.
In August, smoke from Western wildfires clouded our skies. We may have dodged a bullet this year, but wildfire is a very real and present danger for people who live in a forest. Many areas of Black Forest are thick with spindly trees too dense to walk through. Forested subdivisions from Woodmoor west to the Rampart Range are filled with mature stands of scrub oak and tall, grassy underbrush. Could it be that residents are unaware of these potentially dangerous hazards?
Recently, a friend invited me to bird with her at her home in Daniel’s Park near Parker. Unlike most of the forests I’m familiar with in northern El Paso, the forest in her backyard was open with well-spaced, tall ponderosa pines. The understory was free of scrub oak, long grasses, and brush.
When I asked my friend why her forest was so open, she explained that in 2017, her homeowners’ association hired a shepherd with a lot of goats and a few dogs to clear out the brush for fire suppression. She said the goats got the job done in a few days. Her initial thought was that all the wildlife had left and never would return. However, after a few weeks, she noticed an increase in birds and other wildlife including a Lewis woodpecker, warblers, nuthatches, owls, and bobcats. Goats might be something to consider!
Above: Pygmy nuthatch. Photo by Elizabeth Hacker.
Above: A white-breasted nuthatch uses its slender bill to remove insects from under the bark of a ponderosa pine branch. Photo by Elizabeth Hacker.
Elizabeth Hacker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
High Altitude Nature and Gardening (HANG):Garden’s success shows value of "lazy" methods
By Janet Sellers
The corn is as high as an elephant’s eye—and everything is growing great at the Monument Community Garden on Beacon Lite Road. Even the cucumbers are blooming at a mere 6 inches tall. Recent rain brought such good moisture and nitrogen into the soil that the plants just bolt out of the ground. And we are getting those giant zucchinis that will be very tasty stuffed with rice and goodies.
I brought my art students of all ages to the Community Garden to visit and learn how we do things in this garden. They were fascinated with the Olla terracotta pot watering system and all the varieties of things we are growing as a demonstration garden. It’s one way we can show what can be done at our altitude.
The interesting thing is that with the right situation of homemade composted soil and care, this garden proved it could work at any altitude. Also, when I harvest lettuce or other crops, they’re so clean I hardly have to wash dirt off anything, and there are no bugs thanks to the spearmint and marigolds as bugs dislike the scents and skip the garden. And did I mention that the way we planned with the "lazy gardening method" we’ve had bumper crops but next to no weeds all season?
An important thing to remember is to be a lazy gardener this fall, which will protect our good bugs and soil and the birds and other critters that we need to keep our environment healthy, balanced, and safe to live in. Being a good lazy gardener means leaving many things in place over the fall and winter.
I will talk more about that in October, and I will again relate how to use the pine needles that fall from ponderosa this time of year in a number of environmentally friendly ways—right on your property. Using pine needles in the landscape or turning them into soil benefits our forests and pines, keeping the trees healthy. And it’s a lot easier than bagging up pine needles.
In September, we can still plant some of our favorite cool weather crops such as salad greens, beets, and dark greens. Friends rave about fried green tomatoes, so I think I will try that. Our nights have been so cool the tomatoes are staying green.
Above: Watercolor artist Vicki Kay enjoys painting amid the beautiful sunflowers at Monument Community Garden. The sunflowers created a barrier to roadside pollutants and possible lawn chemicals nearby and protected the organic garden from bugs and weeds as well. Photo by Janet Sellers.
Janet Sellers is an avid practitioner of lazy gardening aka productive yet fuss-free permaculture gardening. She can be reached at JanetSellers@ocn.me.
Art Matters:Beauty in black and white from elegant stone-age art
By Janet Sellers
Drawing as art comes to us via our ancients’ art of pictography, the creation of monochrome images through the application of carbon pigments. We have them in North American caves, preserved in our desert lands on rocks—the oldest are likely charcoal horses in art from over 35,000 years ago in the Chauvet caves of France.
Stone-age artists painted caves with charcoal paste. In the caves of Chauvet in southern France, they are beautifully created and depict lifelike, action-oriented and extraordinarily beautiful horses and animals. Our Native American peoples used a variety of pigments, charcoal included, to create pictographs on rocks and petroglyphs. Ancient masters in China used the burnt wood charcoal to create their inks for black ink painting.
In our area, I have seen ash-scarred tree images made by Native Americans in the bark of ponderosas. These are known as "cat faces" (ceremonially burned into the bark of trees as arborglyphs) even if the image is of another animal or person. In Black Forest, there is a tree with a visage of a conquistador telling of foreign visitors. In forestry, the term "catface" refers specifically to the scars or knots left on a living tree by a fallen tree or mechanical rubbing, and is considered a deep flaw for lumber use.
Our relatively recent artists such as Michelangelo and before him Leonardo Da Vinci drew with charcoal to think through creating their imagery as well as create their murals and paintings. Contemporary favorites of only a hundred years ago such as John Singer Sargent and others used charcoal for their sketches and for preparing their paintings. Modern photography masters, such as Ansel Adams and Imogen Cunningham, relied on their camera, film, and above all, dark and light via the silver in the photo papers for their tonal range.
Nowadays, we can easily create imagery with our cell phones. This doesn’t mean we’ll make masterworks mechanically—we’ll need inner mastery of the tonal range and what we desire to communicate.
Fine artists make sublime artistry in any medium, which is always the elusive part that takes conscious practice to create. It’s inspiring to know that such a simple medium as charcoal and thereby also black ink, hold a vast, expressive, stone-age history and that today we can still use it to make extraordinary, sensitive art.
September art events—everyone is welcome!
Art Hop last chance!
Bella Art and Frame Gallery, September artist: oil paintings by local favorite John de Francesco, artist reception Sept. 20. 183 Washington St., Monument.
Bliss Studio and Gallery: September Saturday mornings, create a mold for the grand iron pour on Sept. 29 (a ticketed event), mold fees vary. 243 Washington St., Monument.
Front Range open studio tour: Sept 8, 9. Meet the artists and watch them create before your eyes. Maps at local shops, online. www.frontrangeopenstudios.com
Santa Fe Trail Jewelry: Digitally enhanced fine art photography by artist Dave Marquith, Sept. 20 Art Hop. Second at Washington Streets.
Southwinds Fine Art Gallery 2018 Second Weekends Champagne Tour: September guest artist Steffany Suze Boucher, installation artist. Champagne artist reception Sept. 14, 5 to 8 p.m., artist exhibit and talk. Saturday Sept. 15, monthly art tea time 11 to 3 p.m. New! Fox Run Studios has art classes at Southwinds Downstairs Studio. 16575 Rollercoaster Rd.
Caption: The French "Chauvet cave" charcoal drawings were accidentally discovered in 1994 by local French cavers. Notice the delicately nuanced line and loving, expressive quality depicted in the horses. This art was made over 35,000 years ago by people who had great visual and physical skill. Image courtesy of creative commons/wikimedia commons.
Janet Sellers is an artist, writer, and speaker. Her public art sculptures and paintings are on exhibit in Colorado cities and museums, for sale at Colorado art galleries and online. She can be reached at JanetSellers@ocn.me.
Snapshots of Our Community
Above: Monument is getting more pedestrian-friendly sidewalks as the town installs ramps on curbs and sidewalks as required by the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. Town engineer Tom Martinez directed the project on Beacon Lite Road and Front Street on Aug. 9. The project is financed entirely by the town. Photo by John Howe.
Sertoma Golf Benefit, Aug. 13
Above: Golfers representing the Donald Wescott Fire Department posed Aug. 13 at their tee-off at the 17th annual Gleneagle Sertoma 4-Person Scramble Patriot Golf Benefit for first responders. This year, the event honored and benefited the family of Sheriff’s Deputy Micah Flick, who gave his life in service to El Paso County earlier this year. Photo by Janet Sellers.
Northern El Paso County information shared at Parks Party, Aug. 16
Left: In 2019, the new Elephant Rock Open Space at the bottom of Ben Lomond Mountain in Palmer Lake will connect to the New Santa Fe Regional Trail. At the Parks Party at the Pikes Peak Brewing Company Aug. 16, El Paso County representatives told visitors about the variety of amenities available at 27 parks, trails, open spaces, nature centers, and plans for new ones. El Paso County Recreation Coordinator Theresa Odello, left, collects input from Black Forest resident Judi Tobiason, who describes herself as a "trail activist." Contact the recreation coordinator at TheresaOdello@elpasoco.com or 520-6977 with questions or ideas or to register for mountain bike event. Please note that National Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day, for tots on strider bikes to teens, is coming to Fox Run Regional Park on Oct. 6 at 9 a.m. Photo by Lisa Hatfield.
Art Hop, Aug. 16
Above: Historic building: Monument’s first schoolroom. Owners Randy, left, and Pam Hull point out the historic building status for their shop, Sew in Tune, during the Art Hop on Aug. 16. Some of their sewing classes are held at the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce building on Second Street. Photo by Janet Sellers.
Above: The preview tent for the upcoming Front Range Studio Tour Sept. 8 and 9 Left (L to R): Barb Ziek, and Margueritte Seagraves show their art Right: Milo Scott shows a preview of his woodturning bowls Photos by Janet Sellers.
Left: Steffany Suze Boucher of Bliss Studios and Gallery shows the mold and mold process for the upcoming pour of molten iron to make art tiles. The public is invited to make tiles for a fee, and enjoy the art of the molten pour day, Sept. 29, is a ticketed event. Photos by Janet Sellers.
Palmer Lake Chipping, Aug. 19
Above: To reduce wildfire risk, Palmer Lake residents got free slash chipping help on Aug. 19. From left are Palmer Lake volunteer firefighters Damian Moore, Lt. Bill Berry, Josh James, Bailey Rathburn, Kyle Stevens, and, from CUSP (Coalition for the Upper South Platte), Adrian Knight and Cory Makris. Photo by Lisa Hatfield.
Pancakes for Purpose, Aug. 18
Above: From left, Jim Schanel and Kirk Newman choose toppings for their hot-off-the-griddle pancakes at the Bethesda Gardens Pancakes for Purpose event, a fundraiser held to support the Alzheimer’s Association. Newman is the maintenance director at Bethesda Gardens. Photo by Jennifer Kaylor.
Bethesda Gardens joined other Colorado memory care facilities in supporting the Alzheimer’s Association by hosting Pancakes for Purpose on Saturday, Aug. 18. The local fundraiser not only financially supports the Alzheimer’s Association but generates interest in the Colorado Springs Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Scheduled for 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 15 at America the Beautiful Park, the Colorado Springs walk is part of a nationwide effort—more than 600 communities—to raise awareness of the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s on those who suffer from the disease and those who care for them. Interested walkers may register online at ALZ.ORG/WALK, via text by typing ALZWALK to 51555, or by contacting email@example.com, 303.813.8773, x310. The Alzheimer’s Association funds Alzheimer’s care, support, and research, and provides a 24-hour/seven-day helpline, 1-800-272-3900.
Pickin’ on the Divide, Aug. 18
Above: Pickin’ on the Divide, held on Aug. 18 at Limbach Park in Monument as a fundraiser for a variety of local charities, featured a number of bluegrass bands. Pictured is Ashtonz, a local band. Hundreds of attendees enjoyed the warm afternoon of music, and many food and souvenir booths as well as arts and crafts were available. The annual event is sponsored by the Church at Woodmoor, the Tri-Lakes Lions Club, and other local businesses. Photo by Janet Sellers.
Boxmasters at TLCA, Aug. 21
Right: Billy Bob Thornton (pictured) and the Boxmasters heated up the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA) on an unseasonably cool and rainy Aug. 21. Though this show was nearing the end of their over two-month tour that has taken them from California to Maine and back West, the Boxmasters delivered a high energy, two-hour performance that brought the audience at this sold-out show to its feet and dancing. Throughout the evening Thornton, an acclaimed actor whose musical performances are a lifelong passion, provided anecdotes about the group’s recent tour travels and venues, life growing up Arkansas and his current life in California, and background on a number of their songs. Their playlist touched on all five of their releases, including Science Fiction, Beautiful, Kathy Won’t Share, I Got Glendale, and Summertime in L.A. Again. Information on upcoming events that the nonprofit TLCA is at www.trilakesarts.org. Photo by David Futey.
Sawyer Fredericks, Aug. 24
Above: When Sawyer Fredericks came out for his encore at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA) on Aug. 24, he said, "We’ll do one more," to which an audience member at this sold-out show shouted, "Do two!" Such was the enthusiasm for Fredericks and his band throughout the concert as the audience seemed captivated with every note he sang and played. Fredericks, the winner of The Voice in 2015, wrote and produced his latest album, Hide Your Ghost. Until this release he "was not fully able to share my artistry and music" as he became independent from his previous record label. Fredericks played songs from this and other past releases, including a song that he wrote when he was 14. Information on upcoming events at the nonprofit TLCA is at www.trilakesarts.org. Photo by David Futey
WMMI demo day, Aug. 25
Left: The Western Museum of Mining & Industry (WMMI) operated a variety of equipment and provided blacksmith demonstrations and classes on Aug. 25. The Wilfley Shake Table shown above is the final stage in ore separation, using a violent shaking motion and water to further separate minerals from other materials in the ore. The 1920 Osgood Steam Shovel, used to mine hematite in Wyoming, and the H.K. Porter trammer, which operated at the Homestake Mine in Lead, S.D., were operated along with the highlight of the day, the Yellow Jacket Stamp Mill. The stamp mill was originally used to process gold ore through a sequence that included first pulverizing the ore, then a mineral separation process using mercury on an amalgamation table, and then onto a Wilfley Shake Table. Information on upcoming events at the nonprofit WMMI is at www.wmmi.org. David Futey.
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.
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.
Santa Fe Trail section to close Sep. 4-5 for roadwork
A small section of the Santa Fe Trail on the U.S. Air Force Academy will be closed Sep. 4-5. Work will be conducted on the tri-intersection bridge, which is 0.7 miles north of mile marker 41 and 0.3 miles south of mile marker 42 on the trail. The trail will be open for the three-day Labor Day weekend. Learn more about Academy trails at https://www.usafa.edu/visitors/hiking-biking-trails/.
Volunteer needed for the Pikes Peak Library District Board, apply by Sept. 5
The Pikes Peak Library District seeks a community-minded citizen volunteer to serve on the Pikes Peak Library District Board of Trustees. Applications for the open position are due by 9:59 p.m. on Sept. 5.
Board meeting details are available at http://ppld.org/about-the-library/board-trustees. The volunteer application and information are online at https://ppld.org/jobs. For further information, call Ingrid Mobley, 520-6555.
Slash-Mulch season ends this month
The El Paso County Black Forest Slash and Mulch program will accept slash (tree and brush debris only) until Sep. 9. Mulch will be available through Sep. 8 or when mulch runs out. For the schedule and other details, visit www.bfslash.org or phone Carolyn, 495-3127; Chuck, 495-8675; Jeff, 495-8024; or the County Environmental Division, 520-7878.
D-38 needs substitute bus drivers, custodians, and more
Immediate work is available for bus drivers, food services, custodians, and paraprofessionals. For more information, visit www.lewispalmer.org/Page/1294. See ad on page 14.
Tutor a child and make a difference
Children’s Literacy Center offers free one-to-one tutoring for children reading below grade level. Our tutors are volunteers from the community,14 years of age and older. If you are interested in enrolling your child in the program or volunteering as a tutor, please visit www.childrensliteracycenter.org or call 471-8672. Tutoring is held every Tuesday and Thursday at the Monument Library. The fall session begins Thursday, Sep. 6, 5:30-6:30 p.m.
Tri-Lakes Y now hiring
The Y currently has job openings in Monument and other locations. For more information, stop in at 17250 Jackson Creek Pkwy., Monument, or visit www.ppymca.org/careers. See ad on page 6.
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 AWANA Club, register now
AWANA is a program dedicated to helping kids ages 5-13 to know, love, and serve God. Meets Wednesdays, 6-7:45 p.m. To register, go to www.trilakesawana.org. See ad on page 11.
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 to participate in 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.
Town of Monument water restrictions
For customers of Town of Monument Water, use restrictions are in place through Sep. 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.
YMCA 5K Race Series and Kids Fun Runs, register early to save
The three-race series includes the Creepy Crawl Oct. 27 on the Santa Fe Trail in Palmer Lake, Turkey Trot Nov. 22 at the Briargate YMCA, and the Jingle Bell Dec. 8 at Fountain Creek Regional Park. Sign up online at www.ppymca.org/raceseries.
MVEA essay contest, enter by Nov. 15
High school juniors, enter to win an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C., for the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour, or win a stay at the Colorado Electric Education Institute’s Youth Leadership Camp in Clark, Colo. Essays must be received by Nov. 15. Apply online at www.mvea.coop/youth-programs. Info: Erica, 494-2654, firstname.lastname@example.org. See ad on page 8.
MVEA Scholarships, enter by Jan. 15
Each year, MVEA awards $1,000 scholarships to 14 graduating high school seniors. Applications are due by Jan. 15, 2019. Apply online at www.mvea.coop/youth-programs. See ad on page 8.
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.
County assessor launches enhanced website
The newly redesigned site with the Property Record Card and Citizen Comper (value comparisons) make parcel and property searches more informative, easier to use, and accessible on mobile devices as well as desktops. Find the enhanced website at https://property.spatialest.com/co/elpaso/.
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.
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.
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.
(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.
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 23 and visit www.ppld.org.
WEEKLY & MONTHLY EVENTS
Our community calendar carries listings on a space-available basis for Tri-Lakes events that are sponsored by local governmental entities and not-for-profit organizations. We include events that are open to the general public and are not religious or self-promotional in nature. If space is available, complimentary calendar listings are included, when requested, for events advertised in the current issue.
To have your event listed at no charge in Our Community Calendar, please call (719) 339-7831 or send the information to 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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