Correction: The Black Forest Fire Rescue Protection District article incorrectly reports that Captain Larry Bell “... left this month.” Captain Bell is still with the District. We apologize for the error.
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By Jackie Burhans
The Monument Academy (MA) School Board met on May 9 and heard a statement from board President Patrick Hall about rumors, heard a citizen’s comment, and provided an update on the new school. The audience of about 25 people was larger than normal.
Hall started the May 9 meeting with the following statement: "Before we get started, I do want to say a few comments on behalf of the Monument Academy Board. Your board is aware of rumors and allegations that have been circulating around in the public sphere in regards to our executive director. I’d like to just take a moment; I want to specifically address these for everyone here and for the board. Your board, along with legal counsel, we’ve investigated the validity of all of these claims. We have found that within our entire administration, a demonstration of character traits that define our school as we have looked throughout these allegations. We found these rumors and these allegations not to be based on fact and that they have no merit whatsoever. There is nothing based on the actual situation that has impacted or is currently impacting our school’s operations."
Hall went on to say, "If you have a specific grievance, we have a process to file this within our school and within our administration. This is not the forum, neither procedurally or ethically, to levy rumors or accusations of any kind. This will not be allowed. If you have anything that you would like to submit, you can do that through Sherry Buzzell, our director of Human Resources. Sherry is of the highest character quality and will handle anything that you bring to her with the utmost professionalism and confidence."
He concluded, "I’d also like to say as the board president—I’ve been a part of the board for three years—that over the last six months there has been a concerted and coordinated effort to assault our charter school and the values that we as parents, the values that this administration and this board hold so dear. And I want everyone to know that we will continue to work to protect our school, to protect its excellence and the character qualities that we hold so dear. It is incredibly important to this board, to this administration, that we maintain the highest level of character, of honesty and we will not at any moment or at any time sacrifice any of those things."
During the citizens’ comments portion of the meeting, Holly Longenbach, a local resident, said she would email the board a copy of her statement and all supporting documents to ensure her statement would not be "disposed of" as was done with a letter submitted by an MA parent at the last meeting. She noted that she was not a parent of an MA student but was a taxpaying member of the community who had witnessed and experienced questionable behaviors and decisions by MA leadership.
Longenbach said she submitted several Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) requests and learned the hard way that it is very difficult to obtain information from MA. She said she was appalled to learn that the board was planning to make it more difficult to get information that MA has a legal responsibility to provide and taxpaying citizens have a right to access.
She noted that she was often quoted exorbitant amounts to fulfill requests for the most basic records that are usually posted publicly on other charters’ websites or provided quickly without high fees. She gave an example of a request to MA for invoices, payments, and receipts to TAGG Education LLC wherein MA quoted seven days, six hours and payment of $150 to comply. In contrast, Rocky Mountain Classical Academy provided the records in less than three days with no charge. She noted that TAGG Education LLC is owned by the son of MA’s legal counsel and there is no conflict of interest waiver on file.
She asked when the MA board would see that a certain administrator isn’t abiding by the board policy 1500-B that states "The executive director shall not cause or allow any practice, activity, decision, or organizational condition which is unlawful, imprudent, or in violation of the highest standards of professional ethics." She finished by referencing the hiring of the executive director’s future daughter-in-law without valid transcripts, and an alleged affair.
Longenbach was interrupted several times by board members who confirmed she was not a parent of an MA student but confirmed her right to speak and incorrectly stated she had two minutes to speak, which they immediately corrected to three minutes. After her comments, Hall said she was "welcome to leave" and reiterated that she was not a parent but, along with board member Mark McWilliams, confirmed she had every right to speak.
Update on new school
Griffin reported that construction meetings continue and noted that the El Paso Planning Commission had approved MA’s site plan. The next steps include approvals from the Colorado Department of Transportation regarding the intersection, the storm water management plan, and environmental impact reports. He felt that everything was on schedule to begin construction in June. Board member Melanie Strop asked if the YMCA was part of the approval and Griffin stated that the approval was for the site plan that included the 5,000 square feet for the Y. See related El Paso County Planning Commission article on page 1.
The following items were highlighted at the board meeting:
• The board voted unanimously to change Open Records policy 1512 from the statute-allowed one free hour of resource per request to calculating that hour on a cumulative basis per month on the advice of their legal counsel and approval of the Governance Committee. After the first hour per month, MA will charge the $30 per hour allowed by statute. MA has responded to 35 CORA requests in the last 12 months from nine individuals who are not parents of MA students.
• Griffin met with D38 Superintendent Karen Brofft and Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Wangeman to discuss implementation of the 2017 law that requires districts to share mill levy override (MLO) proceeds with their charter schools. MA will receive the legally required 95 percent of the MLO money on a per pupil basis to be offset against fees MA pays the district effective July 1, 2019.
• The board recognized teacher representatives Tom Herndon and Kelli Beers for their service during the 2018-19 year.
• Principal Elizabeth Davis noted teacher retention rate was stable with 11 teachers not returning next year. MA’s retention rate is higher than the national rate for charter schools. Davis said that the intent to return form asks why they are leaving, and that MA is a somewhat transient neighborhood.
• Board member Dwayne Cooke reported on the board’s annual support assessment noting general agreement on 12 of 13 questions. However, 33 percent of respondents disagreed that they had good information to monitor school performance especially at the middle school. Additional comments said the board should review its role in relating to the executive director, principals, and parents; proper onboarding of new board members is needed for the board to fully understand policies; and work sessions would further goals of working together as one board.
The next meeting will be on Thursday, June 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 except for July and December. Information on the MA School Board, including schedule, minutes, committee and finances can be found at http://www.monumentacademy.net/school-board.
Jackie Burhans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Helen Walklett
The El Paso County Planning Commission approved a location approval request for the new Monument Academy school site at the southeast corner of the Highway 83 and Walker Road intersection at its May 7 meeting. It also recommended for approval two special use applications—one to legalize a contractor’s yard in Black Forest and the other to allow a guesthouse, which exceeds the square footage limit, to proceed in the Outlook Estates subdivision.
Monument Academy school site approved
At its May 7 meeting, the Planning Commission approved 3-2 a request by landowner 83 Walker LLC and Monument Academy for a location application approval for a combined middle and high school at the southeast corner of the Highway 83 and Walker Road intersection in Black Forest. Commissioners Kevin Curry and Sharon Friedman voted no. The Planning Commission is the final decision-making body for site location applications. Therefore, there will be no El Paso Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) hearing.
The parcel of land totals 69.8 acres and is zoned RR-5 (residential rural). The proposed school would be constructed on about 21 acres of the site. The land was originally owned by the Lewis-Palmer D38 School District and had been earmarked as a possible school site for more than 25 years. As the school district’s expansion plans changed, it sold the site to the developers of the adjoining Walden development who agreed to donate a portion to Monument Academy for construction of a new charter school.
Nina Ruiz, project manager/planner II, Planning and Community Development, explained that the Planning Commission’s task was to decide if the school was an appropriate use on the site after review against the county master plan. She stressed that it was not to consider any of the potential future uses for the rest of the land that had been spoken about ahead of the hearing.
Access to the site is proposed from Highway 83 and from Walker Road via an extension of Pinehurst Circle from the Walden development to the east. The Highway 83 access would be right-in/right-out only and would require a Colorado Department of Transportation access permit, which has not yet been granted. The Walker Road intersection is anticipated as a one-lane roundabout and requires county approval.
The application received a lot of opposition, with the county receiving 63 communications against and three in favor. Eighteen people spoke in opposition at the hearing while six spoke in favor. An online petition opposing the application had attracted more than 700 signatures ahead of the hearing.
While neighbors stressed that they were not opposed to a school in principal, they had major concerns about the safety of the location, particularly regarding access from two already busy roads and within such close proximity to the Highway 105/Highway 83/Walker Road intersection. Neighbors noted that because it will be a charter school, students would not be bused to the site and warned that safety would be of even greater concern during bad weather.
Commenting ahead of the vote, Commissioner Curry explained that he would be voting to deny because of the site’s proximity to two major transportation corridors, which he felt was inconsistent with the county’s master plan. Commissioner Friedman also voiced safety concerns.
Duncan Bremer, attorney for the applicants, said, "It’s a pretty simple, basic decision here. Is this a good location for a school? ... I think Monument Academy’s done its homework. I think they’ve put a lot of time and effort into deciding this is the best place for their particular next school."
During the hearing, there was some discussion of plans for a possible site share with the YMCA and of potential future uses for the remainder of the land. David Jones, Land Resources Associates, on behalf of the applicant, said he expected a successful outcome to the YMCA negotiations, which would see about 12,000 square feet of the facility utilized as shared athletic and community space. Ruiz told the hearing that this would require a special use application to the county, which could be handled administratively but which would likely be elevated to the public hearing process due to the amount of concern. The Black Forest Land Use Committee supported the location application for the school because the Black Forest Preservation Plan permits commercial activities at this location and it felt that a school would also be an acceptable use under these circumstances. However, its submission states that the addition of a YMCA and future commercial would triple the impact at this location and not conform to the Preservation Plan.
Ruiz also said that any further development of the land, such as for residential or commercial use, would require subdivision or rezoning action that would go through the full public hearing process.
The next step in the process for the applicants’ site development plan for the school, which was filed in February, is to be approved by county. It is currently being reviewed.
Monument Academy’s intention is to open the new school in the fall of 2020 with about 600 students and it anticipates growing its enrolment to 1,000 students at full build-out.
Special use permit to allow a contractor’s equipment yard
Also at the May 7 meeting, the commissioners recommended for approval a request by Randy and Elizabeth Reimers for a special use permit to allow a contractor’s equipment yard as a rural home occupation at their property at the northeast corner of the Herring Road and Swan Road intersection in Black Forest. The property is zoned RR-5 (rural residential).
Gabe Sevigny, planner II, Planning and Community Development, told the hearing that the application had come about through a code enforcement action after complaints were made about a large berm and an illegal contractor’s equipment yard at the property. Sevigny said that the berm was not a violation of county regulations but that the yard was illegal as it required a special use approval to operate in an RR-5 zoning district. The Reimers were unaware of the violation until it was brought to their attention and met with county staff to begin the process of legalizing the yard. They made a formal application for the special use in July 2018.
Elizabeth Reimers told the commissioners that the family’s masonry business has been operating in Black Forest for over 25 years and was relocated to their property after the Black Forest Fire when their parents lost their home and shop. The family’s goal is to continue to improve the property and they plan to build a store for the equipment and materials.
Sevigny explained that special use applications are routinely processed administratively. However, as a neighbor’s objection was filed, this application was elevated to a public hearing. The county received 76 letters in favor and 12 in opposition. The Black Forest Land Use Committee had initially opposed the application but its chairman, Terry Stokka, spoke at the hearing to say he felt he had only heard half the story prior to the commission meeting. After hearing the applicants’ story and talking with the applicant, he was now in support of the application. This was subsequently confirmed in writing following further consultation with the committee.
The application is now expected to be heard at the BOCC on May 28. If approved, the next step would be for the Reimers to submit a site development plan to county for approval.
Petrick special use request for a guesthouse
A special use request from Randall and Gwendena Petrick to allow a guesthouse which exceeds the size limits allowed under the county’s Land Development Code returned to the Planning Commission on May 7 after having previously been recommended for approval at the April 2 meeting. The property is slightly north of Pleier Drive and Silverton Road in the Overlook Estates subdivision. (See https://www.ocn.me/v19n5.htm?zoom_highlight=petrick)
At the April hearing, the commissioners heard that a guesthouse is an allowed use in the RR-5 (residential rural) zoning district provided it does not exceed 1,500 square feet. The existing family home in this case, which is proposed to become the guesthouse after a new, main home is built, totalled 1,648 square feet and so required a special use permit. At the time, there was opposition to the application with objectors arguing that the home’s basement, which was excluded from the square foot calculation, should be included.
At the May 7 meeting, Len Kendall, planner I, Planning and Community Development, told the commissioners that the application was back before them because, following closer examination of the county code, it was found that the basement should be included. This meant the guesthouse totalled 2,682 square feet and therefore the applicants were reapplying for special use approval for this larger size, although their representative still maintained that the basement should not be included as it was uninhabitable space.
Curry commented that, aside from the technical aspect of the square footage, he did not see any changes from last time. The Planning Commission voted 4-2 to recommend the application for approval. Commissioners Jim Egbert and Sharon Friedman voted no.
The application is now expected to be heard by BOCC on May 28.
Caption: Monument Academy plans to build a combined middle and high school at the southeast corner of the Highway 83 and Walker Road intersection with the goal of opening in the fall of 2020 with about 600 students, growing enrolment to 1,000 students at full build-out. The Planning Commission approved the site location request at its May 7 meeting and is the final decision-making body for this type of request, so there will be no BOCC hearing. Maps courtesy of the El Paso County Planning and Community Development Department.
Helen Walklett can be reached at email@example.com.
By Helen Walklett
The El Paso Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) approved the award of a construction contract for the roundabout that will be built at the Struthers Road/ Gleneagle Drive intersection and approved a vacation and replat request for a lot at the Flying Horse North subdivision during May.
Struthers Road/Gleneagle Drive roundabout plans progress
At the May 7 BOCC meeting, the commissioners approved the award of a construction contract and purchase order to Olgoonik Enterprises LLC for the construction of the Struthers Road/Gleneagle Drive intersection at a cost not to exceed $2.73 million. A roundabout will be constructed with associated approaches and an underground drainage system. It will include pedestrian improvements at the intersection and along the northeast side of Struthers Road. Construction is slated for 2019-20.
Flying Horse North lot 35
The commissioners approved a request for a vacation and replat of lot 35 at the Flying Horse North Filing 1 into two residential lots at their May 14 meeting. The replat does not increase the total number of lots in the development, because lot 35 had originally been two lots and had been combined at the final plat stage for a potential buyer. The BOCC’s decision allows the owner to separate the lots again because the purchase did not go through.
Contract awarded for Black Forest Regional Park trail project
At the May 21 BOCC meeting, the commissioners approved the award of a construction contract and purchase order to Meridiam Partners LLC for the construction of four miles of new trail and the decommissioning of an old trail within the park at a cost not to exceed $204,072.
Update on Monument Hill Road closure
To enable work to be carried out for the Monument Hill Road Safety Improvements Project, the road has been closed from the intersection of Woodmoor Drive to the south entrance of the Monument Hill Church since mid-October. This phase of the work was expected to be completed by early February, but this section will now remain closed into June due to weather delays and a shortage of materials.
Upon completion of this first phase, work will move to the northern section of the road sometime in June. This second phase will see Monument Hill Road closed from the south entrance of Monument Hill Church to the south entrance of Palmer Ridge High School, eliminating access from the road to Deer Creek Road. Woodmoor Drive, Furrow Drive, and County Line Road will serve as the detour.
The BOCC has approved several easements to allow the project to go ahead, most recently at its Sept. 11, 2018 meeting. (See https://www.ocn.me/v18n10.htm#epbocc.)
Appointments to the county Planning Commission
At the May 7 BOCC meeting, the commissioners reappointed Commissioners Grace Blea-Nunez, Tom Bailey, and Peter Aurich as associate members of the Planning Commission. Associate members are renewed annually. Associate members can become regular members of the commission when an opening arises. Commissioner Bailey was approved to go from associate to regular member at the May 21 BOCC meeting. His term as a regular member runs until May 1, 2022.
May 14—The commissioners approved a request to establish the survey area and set June 18 as the hearing date for the application by Black Forest Diversified Services LLC, doing business as Firehouse on the Run 2 at 12480 Black Forest Road, for a fermented beverage off-premise liquor license.
Helen Walklett can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jackie Burhans
At a special board meeting on May 28 attended by 35 people including teachers and parents, the Monument Academy school board voted unanimously not to renew the contract of Executive Director Don Griffin for the 2019-20 school year, giving no reason.
Board President Patrick Hall said this decision was made in accordance with the school’s commitment to the value of integrity and transparency. He expressed gratitude for Griffin’s commitment to the school and efforts on the high school project. He indicated MA would consider using Griffin in a consulting capacity on the project, and the board expected to break ground soon and open in 2020.
Jackie Burhans can be reached at email@example.com.
By Harriet Halbig
At its special meeting on May 6, the Lewis-Palmer D-38 Board of Education approved contracts for Bridget O’Connor as principal of Lewis-Palmer High School and David Crews as executive director of Financial Services.
During the following work session, the board continued to refine a presentation to reflect projected growth in the district, including the possible impact of the opening of the new Monument Academy middle and high school.
Some suggestions included making the two middle school areas coincide with the two high schools (assuming that Bear Creek Elementary will become Creekside Middle School with the passage of this year’s bond). Another consideration is the impact of moving sixth-graders from the elementaries into the middle schools.
Further discussion included the difference between program and design capacity of each facility. The distinction involves such requirements as a limit to the number of students in a preschool classroom and a limit to the number of students in special education rooms, both of which are much smaller in number than a regular class.
At present, some spaces that were not intended to be classrooms are serving as such, especially at the middle school.
Director Mark Pfoff commented that if a new elementary is built on the campus with Bear Creek (to become Creekside Middle School), the district could move fifth-graders into the middle school without disrupting bus service. This decision cannot be made before the proposed bond election.
Board Vice President Tiffiney Upchurch said that the board should have a plan ahead of time.
The board discussed the financing of the proposed bond, bond language, and the 2019-20 budget.
Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Wangeman said that full-day kindergarten will be offered beginning this fall. This is in response to state law. The district can no longer charge tuition for full-day kindergarten.
Superintendent Karen Brofft commented that parents will no longer have the choice of half-day morning or afternoon kindergarten. They may choose to pick up their children at noon and the class day will be designed to cover core subjects in the morning. She said that all schools have the capacity to support full-day kindergarten.
Wangeman commented that the district may need to increase the transportation fee charged to students for the use of school buses. Bus drivers are hard to find, and it may be necessary to reconsider routes and increase walking distances.
The board discussed opportunities for promoting the proposed bond, including the Fourth of July Parade and community meetings.
Regular meeting, May 20
The board recognized the achievements of two student teams at its regular meeting. See photos on page 9.
The Prairie Winds Chess Team, under coach Peter Wise, won first place in the K-6 division of the U.S. Chess Federation’s National Championship in Nashville, Tenn. on May 9. Wise and several team members, many of whom also won individual titles, were at the meeting.
The Palmer Ridge Bearbotics robotics team with coach Craig Johnson were recognized for their participation in state, regional, and world competitions. The FIRST Robotics World Competition was held in Houston in mid-April. FIRST represents For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.
Students from both Palmer Ridge and Lewis-Palmer High Schools participate in the robotics team, with a total of 35 members.
Students designed and built the robot, named "Matt Damon" for the character in The Martian, over more than 3,600 hours.
The team came in first among 52 teams competing in the regional competition in Utah.
Jeanette Breton, a sponsor of the robotics team, praised their achievements and dedication and requested that the district find a way to provide more space in which the team may work and store their equipment, as they now need to bring everything out of a storage space and return it.
Cynthia Fong-Smith and Renee Gargasz spoke about school start times and that research has shown that sleep deprivation can reduce the ability to learn. Gargasz said that several districts in Colorado have altered their start times and requested the creation of an ad hoc committee to study the issue.
Jackie Burhans, parent of a 2017 graduate, said she had attended retirement events for several of her son’s teachers and was sad to hear that others planned to leave the district because they did not feel supported. She said that the district needs to provide good working conditions for teachers.
Nichole Murphy, Jenni Simpson, and Molley Ketchell of the Meet and Confer Team said they value the opportunity to meet with district representatives but requested that the superintendent and a board member also attend their meetings.
Board members’ comments
Pfoff congratulated this year’s graduating class and said how he enjoys attending graduation. His son was a member of the robotics team in the past and he praised the value of that experience.
Board Secretary Theresa Phillips urged all members of the community to get involved with the schools by volunteering and following the actions of the board. She said that teachers, drivers, and other district employees take a personal interest in students, knowing their names and families, and many put in extra hours grading papers and planning. She stressed that the district should maintain a competitive compensation scale and read a letter from a teacher who is supporting three children as a single parent.
Upchurch said that she also is a robotics parent and thanked sponsors of the team. She also encourages the community to recognize and support teachers and to compensate them well.
Board Treasurer Chris Taylor congratulated Monument Academy for having its plan for a new facility passed by the Planning Commission and looked forward to seeing it open in the fall of 2020. He stressed, however, that although the school would provide additional seats at the elementary level, it will not improve the overcrowding at the middle school.
Board President Matthew Clawson welcomed new Superintendent K.C. Somers to the meeting. Clawson said that he attended the dinner for retiring teachers and shared the concern about losing teachers.
In her superintendent update, Brofft reported that each high school has received $5,500 for support of the Sources of Strength program from the Kiwanis. The Kiwanis also donated $7,000 to scholarships.
Responding to board comments about compensation, Brofft said that the proposed 3 percent increase in the coming year was made possible by deferring maintenance to some district facilities. To continue offering raises at this rate, she said, would require an additional revenue source.
Brofft also mentioned a new Youth Mental Health Coalition to coordinate services in that area.
Wangeman reported that district grant writers were successful in getting support for BEST (Building Excellent Schools Today) grants for a new roof at Prairie Winds and a boiler for Kilmer Elementary. The district is on the short list for both proposals. The district’s matching contribution (45 percent of the cost) for the Prairie Winds roof is in the 2019-20 budget.
Addressing middle school crowding
Taylor showed the board the 2019 Bond Information section of the district website which provides information on a number of subjects including the design of the proposed elementary, financial information, Grace Best information, and information on the state school funding process. See www.lewispalmer.org/domain/1470.
Clawson suggested that information on the ballot initiatives which funded the construction of Palmer Ridge also be included. That year, the initiative to fund the construction passed, while the initiative to staff the building was not. He said that people still talk about it.
Phillips also said that we need to distinguish the difference between bonds and mill levy overrides.
Taylor reminded the board that they agreed to be 100 percent behind the passage of the bond. He asked that all members read the information on the website and report any questions or comment to Brofft.
The meeting was adjourned early due to deteriorating road conditions.
Caption: Coach Peter Wise, right, and his K-6 National Champion Prairie Winds Chess Team. Photo by Harriet Halbig.
Caption: The Bearbotics robotics team from Palmer Ridge poses with robot "Matt Damon," center, coach Craig Johnson, left, and Superintendent Karen Brofft and board President Matthew Clawson, right. The team competed at the state, regional, and world levels. Photo by Harriet Halbig.
The Lewis-Palmer D-38 Board of Education will have a special meeting at 6 p.m. on Monday, June 3 and a regular meeting on June 10 in its Learning Center, 146 Jefferson St., Monument.
Harriet Halbig can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Natalie Barszcz
On May 15, Vice Chairman Rick McMorran told the public about "what has been happening during the last month," since the last official meeting of the Black Forest Fire/Rescue Protection District (BFFRPD) board: PJ Langmaid resigned as board chairman on April 25, and since he had already started an in-depth evaluation of the district and had made himself available, on May 1, "We hired PJ to be interim fire chief."
This all occurred after the sudden retirement of former Fire Chief Bryan Jack, announced April 5 and effective May 1. See www.ocn.me/v19n5.htm#bffrpd.
Board positions rearranged
On May 15, the board voted unanimously to install McMorran as board chairman to fill the position vacated by Langmaid, and Director Rick Nearhoof was voted into the vice chairman position. The board approved Nate Dowden to fill the remaining board position.
McMorran said the board had received four equally worthy applications from Black Forest residents for the board director vacancy. Treasurer Jack Hinton thanked all the candidates, expressing gratitude that the community is willing to step up and commit their time to the department.
Langmaid’s first chief’s report
McMorran said that a search for a replacement chief would be postponed as Langmaid serves two months as interim chief and continues with his inspection of the department.
Langmaid noted that he had changed James Rebitski’s title from assistant chief to deputy chief. This will avoid confusion about responsibilities in communication with local fire district partnerships, since a "deputy chief" can assume command in the absence of the chief. He introduced further rank restructuring plans that, over the next 10 years, will fill in some additional command and control gaps between deputy chief and lieutenant as the department grows.
Langmaid said that Station 2 is fully staffed 24/7 as of May 1, "per the wishes of the board and the needs of the community." Residents should always dial 9-1-1 in an emergency so county dispatch is notified.
Six firefighters worked extremely hard to save the life of a woman who later died (gave her the best opportunity to survive) during a tragic accident at Hodgen and Black Forest Roads on May 14. Flight For Life was able to evacuate the injured. Had Station 2 not been manned, the extended response time would have made the victims’ odds of survival much worse.
Langmaid thanked the community for passing the mill levy increase in 2018. "If it weren’t for that, we would be heading in a very bad direction." As he looks "into every nook and cranny— shining a bright light everywhere—the extra funds [from the increase] will allow for the much-needed improvements to BFFRPD," he said, commending the dedication of the district’s employees to make-do. "We need to catch up. It’s been a shoestring budget around here."
In his first two weeks, Langmaid continued a thorough inspection of the department and found many inadequate practices that require immediate attention. Station 1 needs to spend $109,000 to improve an inefficient removal system for diesel exhaust fumes. Part-time staff need to be replaced with full-time staff, because a crisis situation occurred during three days in April when there was no Advanced Life Support on shift to provide ambulance service in the district. He has also initiated a reorganization of supply storage and basic building maintenance projects.
Langmaid made the following suggestions to the board after his initial inspection:
• Need to hire one full-time training officer in the rank of captain—with additional paramedic and Heavy Wildland Fire credentials—to replace Capt. Larry Bell, who left this month.
• Need to hire six to seven full-time firefighters for 2020 to man Station 2 without part-timers and volunteers.
• Replacement of 11 sets of expired turnout gear, in addition to the five budgeted.
• Replacement of the chief’s car—the current vehicle is not designed for area terrain.
• Bay door replacement at Station 1—the doors currently take over 30 seconds to open.
• Exhaust removal system—staff have been exposed to fumes for 15 years.
• Develop the wildland fire program so staff can do deployments and generate revenue.
• Decades of medical records retained at Station 2—correct disposal/retention using national standards will begin once a HIPPA approved shredder and scanner/copier have been put in place.
• IT upgrade—currently transitioning to Outlook and Office 365 during the next 30 days to bring the department up to date for less money.
• Century Link will upgrade the Wi-Fi capability from 12 megabits to 1GB. This will allow both Station 1 and Station 2 to access data at a professional speed.
• Mobile Data Computers (MDC) for all vehicles—to assist staff communications with updates from El Paso County dispatch and first responders. Currently BFFRPD MDCs are not compatible with county dispatch.
The board voted 5-0 to authorize the chief to hire one full-time training officer/paramedic in the rank of captain.
The board approved 5-0 a motion to adopt a resolution for the 2008 Colorado State retention schedule for the correct destruction and retention of medical records.
Results for the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant money and EMS state grant hearings are expected in June.
Hinton asked Langmaid about the current status of obtaining a flashing stop sign for the intersection of Shoup and Milam Roads. Langmaid said Rebitski is representing the department at the countywide chiefs’ group in an effort to resolve this type of problem.
Nearhoof thanked all the firefighters and paramedics for their outstanding performance during the March blizzard.
Insurance change proposal
Firefighter/Paramedic Jess Manzo, speaking as secretary of the International Association of Fire Fighters, Local 4502, gave a presentation to the board on the current health insurance benefits offered at BFFRPD. Manzo provided a comparison of local fire district insurance plans, emphasizing the need to find a comparable cost-saving solution to the current benefits offered, since they don’t compare well with those offered at Wescott, Tri-Lakes Monument, and Falcon Fire Protection Districts, and this financial hit may be luring employees away from BFFRPD.
Ideally, building a bigger group plan including TLMFPD – Falcon – Cimarron Hills would be best for all employees, said Langmaid. Manzo said that she could provide data by August in an effort to find a cost-effective plan for the proposed 2020 budget.
Hinton said that BFFRPD currently has $1.766 million in reserve, which will go quickly due to expenses previously neglected. Holding a million in reserve would make him feel comfortable, however, "everything will be used," despite the passing of the mill levy and the recent property tax increases.
The biggest proposed change for 2020 would be the hiring of six new full-time firefighters, in addition to one being hired in 2019, so that the district could staff Station 2 full time without spending extra money on overtime or depending on part-timers, which has not been a reliable system, he said.
Langmaid said the budget he will propose for next year will be a lot different than past ones, and he hopes to get it to the board before his interim position is up in July.
Hinton suggested a work session be held in July to discuss the 2020 budget. Langmaid said all employees will be required to submit a budget and prioritize how money should be spent before any decisions are made. "Even new folks can see where and why every penny counts!"
The meeting adjourned at 8:21 p.m.
Meetings are usually held at 7 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month at BFFRPD Station 1, 11445 Teachout Road, Colorado Springs. The next meeting is scheduled for June 19. See www.bffire.org.
Natalie Barszcz can be reached at email@example.com.
By Allison Robenstein
Donald Wescott Fire Protection District (DWFPD) board members disagreed about whether the board needs to approve the chief’s spending of the committed funds section of the budget May 21. The board also heard from the chiefs regarding their previous request to inquire whether the Colorado Springs Fire Department (CSFD) would annex the southern outskirts of the district. The board voted to approve three new medical leave policies, and the directors got a surprise regarding the Station 2 property adjustments.
Director disagrees on spending authority
Director Gary Rusnak asked DWFPD Chairman William "Bo" McAllister to discuss Chief Vinny Burns’ purchase of a new command vehicle after Rusnak declined to approve the April financials.
At the April meeting, Burns told the board, "as they had approved, he had purchased a 2019 Chevrolet Tahoe" as the new command vehicle. It cost $45,710 out of the $70,000 line in the 2019 budget. See line 620.5 in http://wescottfire.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/2019_budget.pdf.
At every meeting since the 2019 budget was passed, Rusnak has been verbally confirming the chiefs must ask for board approval for items within the "committed funds" section of the budget, which includes the command vehicle line item. Rusnak has also repeatedly said the board does not control line items. In May, McAllister said he had heard Rusnak’s frequent confirmations but thought he meant only one line item, the $61,000 "promotions" line item the board put into reserves at its December meeting. See www.ocn.me/v19n1.htm#dwfpd.
District counsel Matt Court said he believes the chiefs have control of the entire budget and can spend as needed once the budget has been approved by the board, as long as they stay within the line item parameters. Lacking any historical practice of asking the chiefs to request board approval, there were no errant actions.
"Because we don’t have a written process," can this be overlooked?" asked Rusnak. Director Larry Schwarz wondered aloud why there was a reserves section of the budget if the chiefs had full sanction to spend any budget funds.
McAllister said, "we want to be transparent to the people we represent" but said historically, this is how the district spends the annual budget. Schwarz said at the very least, as a courtesy, the chiefs should notify the board of their spending. Regarding large capital and fleet purchases, Schwarz said he wants a presentation ahead of the purchase to make good financial decisions.
CSFD not annexing isolated territory
Rusnak has been asking for district consolidation to create equal property taxation throughout Wescott for some time. The entire district including a small island of land south of Old Ranch Road has an overall levy of 7.00 mills. The vestigial territory sits seven miles south of Station 1 and is surrounded by the city of Colorado Springs, which has avoided annexing it as it acquired land moving northwards. Wescott’s northern subdistrict including Gleneagle and Pleasant View Estates has an additional mill levy of 14.90 mills approved in November 2017 by northern subdistrict voters. See www.ocn.me/v17n12.htm#dwfpd, http://wescottfire.org/about-wescott-fire/.
At the April meeting, the board directed the chiefs to ask CSFD if it would consider annexing that small southern portion of Wescott’s district.
Chief Vinny Burns said the small bit of land does not include any retail, and it would be costly for CSFD to make the necessary road and water infrastructure improvements required. Assistant Chief Scott Ridings said the cost estimate was $5,000 per acre split between fire and police improvement needs.
Ridings reported the discussion with CSFD did not go as hoped because it wasn’t interested in annexation and thought the current mutual agreements between the two districts are sufficient.
Medical leave policies
Although Wescott has historically offered its employees maternity/paternity leave, there hadn’t been any formalized, written policy. Court asked the board to discuss and accept two official medical leave policies and introduced a new pregnancy and childbirth accommodation to employees for the board’s approval.
DWFPD has less than 50 employees, so it does not need to follow strict Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) procedures, but Burns said it’s important to offer similar medical leave options to employees. After receiving input from the staff, Court made the following policy suggestions that were all unanimously approved by the board:
• Maternity/Paternity leave, which includes adoption and foster care, provides all employees with two weeks of paid leave to bond with the child(ren). Female employees can receive an additional four weeks paid leave to recover from the physical effects of childbirth.
• Medical leave policy provides 12 weeks of unpaid leave to employees whose physician has recommended the need for a work absence.
• A new pregnancy and childbirth policy states that all pregnant employees or those who have returned from work after recent childbirth are considered the same as a disabled employee and will be provided reasonable accommodations.
Station 2 conflict of interest endorsed
During the Nov. 14 meeting, the board directed Court to finalize easement agreements with Forest Lakes North developer Classic Homes, enabling it to place a sign onto district-owned property. See https://ocn.me/v18n12.htm#dwfpd. At this meeting, Court said there is an additional easement issue between the district and Mountain View Electric. He surprised the board by saying his firm represents both the district and Mountain View, but assured members of the board he would be negotiating on behalf of Wescott.
Chief’s chili cookoff for charity
The Wescott district will be represented at Fan Fest on June 28 in downtown Colorado Springs to compete in the chili cookoff. The competition raises funds for Muscular Dystrophy. Assistant Chief Ridings will try to best his second-place finish in the challenge. For more information, see https://ppihc.org/fan-fest-fans/.
The meeting adjourned at 8:58 pm.
There will be no June meeting, so the next Donald Wescott fire district meeting is scheduled for July 16 at Station 1, 15415 Gleneagle Dr. Meetings are usually on the third Tuesday of each month. For information, call Executive Administrator Stacey Popovich at 488-8680 or see www.wescottfire.org.
Allison Robenstein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Natalie Barszcz
At the TLMFPD board meeting May 22, standards of coverage were discussed at length, and the board brainstormed short- and long-term solutions to the accelerated population growth of the district.
Standards of coverage
As a result of the Master Plan recommendations, the board brainstormed future fire station placement based on standards of coverage. The district must decide what percentage of its territory it should be able to reach within four minutes, and whether it should use National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standard 1710 or 1720 (career or volunteer). Right now, TLMFPD can reach 22 percent of properties in the district in four minutes, but Chief Chris Truty asked the board to consider what that goal should be for the future.
Truty said that after discussing the possibility of a more comprehensive detailed "station location study" with Dan Qualman of Emergency Services Consulting International (ESCI), he was advised that it would not be as useful as an "architectural detailed study on the components of a station" since the study conducted by ESCI had already gone above and beyond what clients normally receive. The Master Plan document is now available for viewing or download at http://tlmfire.org/news.
Truty and the board agreed that the biggest hurdle will be finding the correct locations for all the district’s stations to increase the standard of coverage for residents, taking into account that additional roads and bridges will likely be added in the future, changing traffic patterns. A fourth station would provide an increase in the number of residents receiving a four-minute standard of coverage, however a percentage of rural and sub-urban residents will never receive "urban" response times. Existing stations may also need to move in the future to better meet the four-minute standard for the increase in development. See www.ocn.me/v19n5.htm#tlmfpd.
Treasurer John Hildebrandt reminded the board that only 3 percent of their calls are fire related, while the majority of calls are in response to medical situations. The board also discussed how to create a temporary ambulance-only facility on the south side of TLMFPD to supplement EMS responses before the fourth station "campus" including fire, EMS, and administration offices, is built.
Truty said some of TLMFPD’s decisions will also depend on the Master Plan results received by the Town of Palmer Lake about its separate fire department study at its May 23 meeting. See related Palmer Lake article on page 21.
The board unanimously (7-0) agreed that the fire chief can explore options and review availability of property for a future fourth station.
Surplus of 2018 funds—budget allocation
In April, the board agreed to add $350,000 of the surplus 2018 funds to the Station 1 remodeling project. The project cannot proceed until the El Paso County Board of Adjustment reviews the setback requirements. Truty requested the board consider allocating some of the remaining $175,000 in surplus funds, pending the audit results, with particular priority to the following items:
• Station 2 new septic field—$50,000.
• Equipping remaining ambulances with Stryker Power-LOAD systems to help prevent EMT back injuries—$47,000.
• Station air compressors—$10,000.
• Two thermal imaging cameras—$13,000
• Dress uniforms for the entire staff—$32,860.
• Replacement trailer for the Sno-Cat and an enclosed trailer for the Utility Task Vehicle (UTV) and snowmobiles—$9,000.
The board unanimously approved 7-0, for the allocation of surplus funds as recommended. The annual audit is expected to be presented to the board in June.
De-Gallagher vote considered
Truty informed the board that state had approved the Residential Assessment Rate (RAR) at 7.15 percent, resulting in an estimated annual loss of $41,000 for TLMFPD. The board consensus was to direct Truty to find a consultant to do a small study on residents’ feelings about a ballot measure in the 2019 election to permanently stabilize the current RAR. The biggest concern was whether the voting community could be adequately educated before the election. Freezing the RAR at 7.15 percent would not add a tax or raise the mill levy but keep income steady.
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 de-Gallagher would allow TLMFPD to maintain the current RAR of 7.15 percent and not be subject to the amendment’s potential future rate decreases.
Treasurer John Hildebrandt gave a brief overview of the April financial report, noting that TLMFPD is one-third through the 2019 financial year:
• Property tax revenues received were $3.647 million and are at 46 percent year to date ahead of normal for a total projected $7.935 million.
• Specific Ownership Tax revenues received were $309,440.
• Ambulance revenue was $258,453, down by 1.44 percent.
• Impact fees were at $24,633 and lagging at 16.42 percent for the year to date—half of previous years.
• Vehicle expenses were higher due to damages incurred during the blizzard.
Hildebrandt noted that 22 checks had been reviewed totaling $764,562. Of note were the following:
• Two grant-reimbursed expenses for $41,285.
• Blizzard repair expenses, $6,052.
• Lease payments, $95,209.
• Turnout gear, $82,470
• Medical insurance, $50,057
All categories were under budget except administrative expenses, which are higher due to one-time yearly expenses and should normalize as the year progresses.
The Financial Report was accepted unanimously 7-0 by the TLMFPD board.
El Paso County—mutual aid request
Truty said the El Paso County Wildland Fire Crew (EPSOWF) has requested mutual aid from TLMFPD for future fire events 1 mile west of Monument in the National Forest and Mt. Herman Road area. Even though this is not in TLMFPD’s area, it is the closest fire district. In the event of a fire, TLMFPD would be the first to respond and start the initial assessment of/or attack on a fire before other agencies such as the EPSOWF arrive.
I-25 Gap update
Truty said the Larkspur Fire Protection District has recently voiced concerns to various Colorado Springs media outlets over response times and access points along the construction zone of the I-25 Gap project. However, at this time TLMFPD has no concerns with its accessibility to this area. TLMFPD has an agreement with the Larkspur Fire Department to cover calls in the Larkspur, Douglas County area, Deputy Chief Randy Trost said in January. See www.ocn.me/v19n2.htm#tlmfpd.
Trost said the new Engine 4 and ambulance are in house. Battalion Chief of Training Jonathan Bradley said the staff now has completed extensive familiarization training. Both vehicles will be put into service by the end of May.
Trost thanked Bob and Carol Simpson, the property owners of Station 2, for graciously allowing TLMFPD to install another septic field on their property. An easement for the property will be required and the old septic field will stay in place to help reduce costs. The Simpsons have been phenomenal to work with, said Trost.
Police ask public to report crimes officially
During public comments, Monument Chief of Police/TLMFPD Board President Jake Shirk expressed deep concern over criminal behavior and public safety issues such as road rage and gas station fraud being openly discussed on the social media sites NextDoor.com and Facebook.com but not reported to officials. "Public safety in Tri-Lakes area will be hanging in the balance if a lack of reporting continues," said Shirk. He investigated and said that many incidents discussed on social media had gone unreported to law enforcement even though witnesses claim they had reported the incidents. Shirk reminds the community that it is a civic duty to report criminal activity and public safety issues immediately to El Paso County Dispatch at 719-390-555.
Truty welcomed new Interim Chief PJ Langmaid from the Black Forest Fire Rescue Protection District as an observer and offered assistance during his tenure. Langmaid thanked Truty and his staff and said he looks forward to building a relationship with TLMFPD "doing amazing things with a tremendous amount of discipline is exactly what I would expect to see from a professional Fire Department," said Langmaid, who is also a full-time firefighter with the Colorado Springs Fire Department. See related Black Forest Fire Rescue Protection District article on page 11 and www.ocn.me/v19n5.htm#bffrpd.
The regular meeting adjourned at 8:12 p.m. and the board moved into an executive session: Pursuant to CRS 24-6-402(4)(b) to receive legal advice regarding a possible labor agreement or collective bargaining.
Truty informed OCN that no votes or announcements were made after the executive session.
The regular TLMFPD board meeting adjourned at 9:56 p.m.
Meetings are usually held the fourth Wednesday of each month. The next meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. June 26 at TLMFPD Station 1, 18650 Highway 105. For information, contact Office Administrator/HR Jennifer Martin at 719-484-9011. For upcoming agendas, see http://tlmfire.org/board.
Natalie Barszcz can be reached at email@example.com.
By James Howald
At a brief meeting on May 13, the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD) board voted to add an additional IRA choice to its retirement plan. The board also heard operational reports from staff.
Roth IRA added to retirement planning choices
District Manager Jessie Shaffer updated the board on his efforts to add a Roth IRA, provided by Lincoln Financial, to the options available to district employees. The district has been updating its retirement plan for several months.
Shaffer told the board that the Roth IRA would vest as soon as an employee goes to work for the district. Retirement savings an employee had accumulated at another job could be moved to the district’s Roth IRA. The maximum annual contribution an employee can make to their retirement is $19,000. The choices available to employees also include a traditional IRA. An employee can choose to contribute to both a traditional IRA and the newly-added Roth IRA, Shaffer said.
The board voted unanimously in favor of adding a Roth IRA as presented by Shaffer.
Highlights of operational reports
• Field Superintendent Gary Potter told the board that Well 18 should be back in operation by May 17.
• Well 20, the district’s best producing well, is out of operation due to electrical problems.
• Equipment has been ordered for Well 9r.
• The district is working with Mountain View Electrical Association (MVEA) to have electrical power in place at Well 21, the district’s newest well in the Misty Acres neighborhood.
• The district is increasing the amount of water held in Lake Woodmoor in preparation for the higher demand during the summer months.
• The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is beginning work on the Gap Project at County Line Road.
• The Gap Project will require a sewer line to be rerouted adjacent to the campground, and CDOT will fund this work.
• Development is proceeding at The Beach at Woodmoor, a 48-lot development.
The next meeting is scheduled for June 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.
By Lisa Hatfield
On May 8, the Palmer Lake Sanitation District (PLSD) board voted to proceed with design work on Phase I of the sewer outfall line project to increase the flow capacity of certain collection lines that are nearing their limit. This will allow as many as 77 new sewer taps to be connected to PLSD’s collection system before the suspension would be renewed. The board also discussed a follow-on Phase II project, which the engineers recommend would start soon to allow further sewer taps to be issued in the next 30 years.
PLSD put a suspension on issuing new sewer taps in October after District Manager Becky Orcutt had concerns that the district was growing so much. GMS Engineering investigated collection capacity in a study that was completed in April. See www.ocn.me/v18n12.htm#plsd.
At its April 10 meeting, Dave Frisch and Dannah Koeniger from GMS Engineering presented the draft PLSD sanitary sewer line infrastructure capacity study, and in May, Frisch answered more questions about Phase I, which is a stopgap measure that will allow PLSD to issue sewer taps, briefly, at least. This work will allow an estimated 77 single-family equivalent (SFE) taps to be issued before another suspension would have to happen.
The system-wide engineering study indicated that for Phase I, three segments of the sewer outfall line need improvements: two sections near Mount Herman Road and one west of Cloven Hoof Drive, for a total cost of about $349,900. PLSD has the capital to pay for this project already. Since the repairs needed are in protected Preble’s meadow jumping mouse habitat, work cannot begin until U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and El Paso County grant permission. Work could be completed this summer "if that all goes well," Frisch summarized.
Frisch emphasized that PLSD is "not at the point of overflowing the sewer, even with Lake of Rockies" construction going on. "What you are doing is being proactive and taking care of the problems," he said. He said it is time to take action though, and doing Phase I is vital, since those three sections of pipe are approaching 92 percent capacity otherwise.
"Those 77 taps will go fairly quickly. In two years, you will be in a tight spot again unless the Phase II process is started," including getting government permission to work in additional mouse habitat. If PLSD moves forward with Phase II soon, it could conceivably be completed by the end of 2021.
Phase II would accommodate anticipated growth in PLSD for the next 30 years, or an estimated 600 SFE taps. It would cost about $2.2 million to upgrade 7,600 feet of outfall line to 18-inch PVC pipe, add 28 new 5-foot manholes, modify 14 manholes, and do wetlands mitigation. Frisch suggested the board decide soon about moving ahead with Phase II, since it takes time to get affordable loans approved. Customers would see a service fee increase to pay for that project whenever it is approved by the board.
The PLSD board authorized Frisch to deliver the final version of the $60,000 system-wide study to DOLA (Department of Local Affairs), which gave a partial grant toward the cost of the study. And they authorized GMS to begin the design for Phase I so that repair work can begin as soon as they get the authorized construction timeline based on the environmental report.
Several local builders who have been losing business due to the suspension of tap issuance attended the meeting. Kurt Ehrhardt said he had bought lots to build on, but when he could not get sewer taps issued, he could not build those homes to sell.
Meetings are held on the second Wednesday of each month at 9 a.m. at PLSD’s offices at 120 Middle Glenway, Palmer Lake. The next meeting is scheduled for June 12. Contact PLSD at 481-2732 or Becky.email@example.com with questions.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jennifer Kaylor
In a regularly scheduled annual review May 16, District Manager Kip Petersen recommended changes to the district’s rules and regulations and reported on factors leading to an ammonia exceedance in the wastewater treatment process.
President Ken Judd was excused. Vice President Ed Houle chaired the meeting.
Changes add clarity, establish responsibility
Petersen reviewed recommended changes to the Rules and Regulations of the Donala Water and Sanitation District, El Paso County, Colorado. With minor modifications, the board unanimously approved the amendments. The revised document may be viewed at https://www.donalawater.org/images/docs/Rules_and_Regulations_Revised_Adopted_May_2019.pdf.
Under the standard fees section, the availability of service fee due date was changed to April 20 of each year. This annual fee is paid by owners of undeveloped, or vacant, platted lots that have either water or wastewater service within 100 feet of the property. Another clarification stipulated that payment agreements—agreements between Donala and customers with delinquent water and/or wastewater payments—may not exceed 90 days and are limited to once per year. Reproduction fees were specified as $25 per hour for staff time and 25 cents per page of copied material.
As part of the "Unauthorized Hydrant Use Penalty," the words, "Criminal charges may be considered" were added to reinforce that district-owned fire hydrants are to be used only by Donala and fire department personnel.
With respect to privacy information, the district may provide customer financial information only to "persons of interest" who are identified by the customer at initiation of service or later in writing. The policy was amended to include landlords and property managers as persons of interest.
Expanding on the district’s right to potentially require a grease trap or interceptor on a commercial or industrial property, the policy included language to clarify that the property owner is responsible for maintaining the device.
Policies pertaining to customer responsibilities drew a comment about property owners possibly being responsible for infrastructure that was in public domain. Under the section "Ownership of Infrastructure and Devices," the amended policy stipulates "Sanitary sewer service lines from the sewer main to the sewer stub out at the home, are owned by and are the maintenance responsibility of the property owner." Petersen explained that this language changes Donala’s standard to meet the standards of other water and wastewater districts and that Donala is willing to work with homeowners on a case-by-case basis.
Similarly, the first three sentences of the "Water/Sewer Service Line Maintenance Procedure" section were amended to clarify responsibility: "The District is responsible for water and sewer mains. Sewer service lines, from the sewer main to the structure are the responsibility of the property owner. The maintenance for the water service lines from inside the home to the curb stop is the responsibility of the homeowner or builder." A final correction to the same section clarified that, "If a TV inspection by a ‘rooter’ service determines the clog or break is beyond the sewer tap or in the sewer main, the District will assist in confirming the actual location and cause and assume responsibility for repairs where appropriate."
The final revision to the rules and regulations simply updated the date and signatories.
Wastewater treatment plant in upset condition
Petersen reported that the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility (UMCRWWTF) has been in an "upset condition" for the past 60 days. He had reported on the situation at the May board meeting at which time the excessive growth of M. Parvacella bacteria—a result of fats, oils, and grease being present in the wastewater flows—was named as the culprit causing the loss of a different but vital bacteria in the wastewater treatment process. Through careful monitoring, Chief Waste Plant Operator Terri Ladouceur eventually corrected the bacterial imbalance, but the problem caused the facility to exceed its 30-day average for ammonia. The district reported the exceedance to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and outlined its corrective actions.
It was also discovered that Triview Metropolitan District—one-third owner of the UMCRWWTF—had cleaned a holding tank and the backwash from the cleaning process delayed the recovery of the appropriate bacteria at the treatment facility. Petersen confirmed that Triview established a plan to prevent additional setbacks in the future.
Drought report best in years
The drought report, provided by the United States Drought Monitor, designated a small sliver along Colorado’s southern border as Moderate Drought and remaining areas as drought free or abnormally dry. "The winter snows and the continuing patterns of cooler temperatures and more moisture are helping keep us out of drought. The 90-day forecast is still projecting cooler and wetter [weather] as we enter July," Petersen added.
In a related matter, Petersen reported on the status of the district’s renewable water resource at Willow Creek Ranch. Donala staff visited the ranch in late April and reported positively on the snowpack in the area. The renewable water supply allows the district to rely less on non-renewable water pumped from its wells. The water that Donala produced in April balanced out at 59.8 percent from Willow Creek Ranch and 40.2 percent from the well system.
Other reports and updates
Petersen reviewed financial reports and provided updates that included:
• Petersen expressed satisfaction with current revenue and expenditures in comparison to remaining budgeted amounts.
• At the May 1 Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority meeting, participants proposed ideas to supplant revenue lost due to a reduction from $30 million to $10 million in state funding intended to support Colorado’s State Water Plan. Ideas included a beverage container tax, a surcharge on individual water bills (this solution was low on possibilities), a sports-betting tax, and other potential sources of tax revenue.
• Design plans for the groundwater contaminate mitigation removal facility continued to progress. Requests for bids had been sent to multiple contractors, and a selection was expected to be made by the end of the week.
The meeting adjourned at 2:27 p.m.
The next board meeting will be held June 20, 1:30 p.m. at the district office located at 15850 Holbein Drive, Colorado Springs. The directors meet in the district office conference room. Board meetings are normally held on the third Thursday of the month. More information is available by calling (719)488-3603 or accessing www.donalawater.org.
Jennifer Kaylor can be reached at email@example.com.
By Jennifer Kaylor
The Triview Metropolitan District board met May 21 and voted on action items pertaining to a proposal with Buxton—a retail site and market analysis company that helps communities leverage desired retail expansion; the construction manager/general contractor contract award for the widening of Jackson Creek Parkway; and district policies regarding replacement of curbs, gutters, and sidewalks. Actions taken after an executive session also expanded water rights and positioned the district to construct part of a new water line if circumstances deem it necessary.
Monument Town Manager Mike Foreman attended the Triview meeting because the Monument Board of Trustees voted to approve the Buxton proposal at its May 20 meeting. If signed by Triview, the proposal creates a partnership between Monument and the district in seeking to develop the area’s economy. See Monument Board of Trustees, May 20 article on page 20.
All directors, District Water Attorney Chris Cummins and District General Counsel Gary Shupp were present. The two-part board meeting packet is available at https://triviewmetro.com/assets/documents/board/agenda/2019/BoardPacket_2015-05-21_1.pdf and https://triviewmetro.com/assets/documents/board/agenda/2019/BoardPacket_2015-05-21_2.pdf. The Buxton proposal begins on pdf page 45 in part 1 of the packet.
Resident registers dissent, district and town managers encourage retail expansion tool
During public comments, Jackson Creek resident Ann Howe expressed dissent in the use of the district’s tax revenue to purchase Buxton’s services and said she was concerned that her taxes would increase.
District Manager Jim McGrady outlined the reasons for seeking Buxton’s services. Foremost was the attraction of new businesses to generate additional sources of sales tax revenue and to "put Monument on the map." Triview’s general fund projects—roads, parks, and open space—are funded solely by sales tax revenue. The current wave of residential growth will progressively spread that revenue thinner if the number of the area’s businesses does not grow in tandem. McGrady emphasized the need to create a plan for business closures and to "jumpstart" the economic development process.
Foreman discussed Buxton’s network of 4,000-plus business relationships. Triview and Monument can benefit from that network as well as Buxton’s data analytics to match and attract retail and other commercial entities that fit the Monument community and visitor profile. Referring to almost 10 years of working with Buxton, Foreman confirmed that Buxton representatives advocate for their customers throughout the recruitment process to maximize the data and tools provided. He explained that staff and board members from both Monument and Triview would attend conferences such as the International Conference of Shopping Centers to market Monument’s unique story and sell its highlights.
Director James Otis voiced many concerns. He cited Monument’s history of rejecting medium to large businesses; its potential unwillingness to pay incentives or provide initial tax breaks that attract the larger, anchor-style businesses; the Monument Board of Trustees’ lackluster reputation over the past few years; and—a repeated complaint—the absence of a written agreement that guides how Triview and Monument will collaborate in using the Buxton tools and information as well as some assurance of common goals. Otis moved to table the Buxton proposal discussion until the June board meeting. His motion was not seconded.
Vice President Marco Fiorito spoke in support of the proposal. He forecast a need for hotels, recreation opportunities, and other services once the U.S. Air Force Academy visitors center is open. He added that the Monument Board of Trustees shows signs of improved cooperation, noting its full approval of the Monument portion of the Buxton proposal.
McGrady lamented the lost opportunities of numerous businesses that chose to establish roots just a few miles south of Monument. He emphasized that Triview and Monument are in competition with many other communities and asked, "Can we afford to wait?"
Fiorito moved to "approve the agreement between Triview Metro and Buxton for the development of retail recruitment and mobile visitor insights solution." Four directors—Secretary/Treasurer James Barnhart, Fiorito, President Mark Melville and Director Anthony Sexton—voted in favor of the motion. Otis abstained.
Buxton’s services will be divided in a 70/30 split. Triview will pay $35,000 and Monument will pay $15,000. The extra cost to Triview compensates Monument for the staff time and other expense the town will incur. Monument’s Community Relations Specialist Madeline VanDenHoek will organize and administer the recruitment process for both entities.
Kiewit to widen Jackson Creek Parkway
McGrady explained that Jackson Creek Parkway’s (JCP) widening design was about 60 percent complete but had met delays due to drainage concerns from a large detention pond north of Jackson Creek Senior Living. He added that two Construction Manager/General Contractor (CM/GC) proposals had been received. According to McGrady and the proposal evaluation, Kiewit Infrastructure Co. was deemed superior due to its thorough knowledge of the CM/GC process. Kiewit’s proposal included credit to Triview for the use of dirt and millings from prior projects, a goal to bring the design plan to 90 percent complete and a guaranteed maximum price by July 3, and a construction start date of July 15 and completion by mid-October.
Triview is responsible for maintaining and repairing the section of JCP from Baptist Road to Higby Road. Triview’s widening project will extend from the Leather Chaps Drive/JCP intersection to the JCP/Higby Road intersection.
Fiorito moved to award the contract to Kiewit for construction management services and for the district manager to sign the contract. The motion was approved unanimously.
Sidewalk repairs, past and future
McGrady and the directors discussed sidewalk repair policies in neighboring communities to help define the district’s formative policy. Considerations for the potential policy included a 50 percent cost-share for the homeowner and an annual cap on the district’s sidewalk repair costs. The directors approved a motion that McGrady develop the curb, gutter, and sidewalk policies for further resolutions.
In reference to a reimbursement request made by resident Don Smith at the April board meeting, directors discussed Smith’s refusal of the district’s offer to reimburse only the cost of the sidewalk section deemed in need of repair. Current district policy stipulates that the district will replace sidewalks only when curb and gutter damage exists or if the district caused the sidewalk damage. Smith confirmed that no curb and gutter damage existed. The directors voted to deny Smith’s request for partial and full payment.
The meeting ended at 7:44 p.m. The board entered executive session §24-6-402(4)(b)(e) Legal Advice, Negotiations.
McGrady confirmed later that the board voted on two decisions following the executive session. Directors approved the purchase of an additional 100 Fountain Mutual Irrigation Co. (FMIC) shares, which brings the district’s total number of FMIC shares to 1,057. In anticipation of the northern El Paso County water delivery pipeline route, the board authorized McGrady to contract with Kempton Construction to lay a 1,700-foot, 24-inch water pipeline for $260,000 before the final construction of Sanctuary Rim Drive.
The next Triview board meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. June 18. Board meetings are generally scheduled on the third Tuesday of the month at the district office, 16055 Old Forest Point, Suite 300, Monument. Information: 488-6868 or visit www.triviewmetro.com. See also "Triview Metropolitan District" on Facebook, or Twitter.com/@TriviewMetro.
Jennifer Kaylor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Allison Robenstein
During its May 6 meeting, the Monument Board of Trustees (BOT) approved the annexation of 219-acre Willow Springs/Monument Creek Ranch, a new development in southwest Monument. Town Manager Mike Foreman was officially sworn into office, while a new finance director was introduced. The board also heard presentations concerning park bench replacements and the current state of Tri-Lakes Cares. It approved a change amending the qualifications for board members that had been requested at a previous meeting by Trustee Laurie Clark.
Willow Springs/Monument Creek Ranch annexation finalized
Willow Springs sits north of Forest Lakes Drive and south of Synthes and Mitchell Avenues on the west side of the railroad tracks. After an hour-long executive session to discuss the town’s water portfolio and Forest Lakes’ water-related lawsuit against the town, the board approved the Willow Springs land annexation by a vote of 6-1, with Trustee Greg Coopman voting no with no reason given. The two-part annexation took into account both parcels that will make up the development. A third proposal approved in a 6-1 vote allowed the zoning in the parcels as Planned Development (PD) for a single-family residential development of about 400 homes and a PD Sketch Plan known as Monument Creek Ranch showing residential densities from 3 to 10 dwelling units per acre.
The development will include attached and detached homes, five acres for a school, five acres for a park, a well site, a road connection between Synthes Avenue and Forest Lakes Drive, and 104 acres of open space that would contain a flood plain and protected mouse habitat. The Monument Planning Commission unanimously approved the application for annexation, zoning, and the sketch plan on Sept. 12. See www.ocn.me/v18n10.htm#mpc.
At the Oct. 15 BOT meeting, the board nixed the annexation of the same parcels because of concerns that the town could not guarantee enough water would be available. At that time, Coopman and Trustee Jeffrey Bornstein were against the annexation because the town could produce only enough water for 335 homes. During that meeting, Public Works Director Tom Tharnish explained to the board that the town has enough water rights, it just doesn’t currently have the capacity to meet the demands of all 396 houses expected to be built. He recommended that the town increase the necessary capacity by building either a new well with associated treatment facility modifications or a reuse station built in partnership with Woodmoor Water and Sanitation. "I’ve been telling you that this town needs to be investing in reuse water and renewable water, which is the future, not the wells. There are only so many more wells we can drill." See www.ocn.me/v18n11.htm#mbot1015.
Tonight’s annexation agreement identified these water inequities but included verbiage requiring a solution to the issue at or around the fourth of the eight phases of development planned.
John Maynard of NES, representing developer Polo Brown, spoke in favor of the annexation. The five-acre parcel being donated to Lewis-Palmer School District 38 will not be part of the annexation but will remain part of unincorporated El Paso County at the request of the school district, adjacent to a 10-acre school site provided by the Forest Lakes development, so Forest Lakes Metropolitan District will be responsible for water and sewage there.
Traffic impact fees will be collected from the developer to extend Synthes Avenue to Forest Lakes Drive when the traffic at the intersection of Mitchell Avenue and Second Street warrants it. Manning said the town will contribute about $250,000 to this cost.
The developer will build a "collector" road connecting Mitchell Avenue via Synthes Avenue and Forest Lakes Drive, including a bridge over Monument Creek designed for a 10-year stormwater event. Once the town approves of the bridge, all collected traffic impact fees will be given back to the developer.
The existing Willow Springs Ranch Metropolitan District was created in 2008 to finance road building, landscaping, lighting, drainage, water, and sanitary sewer building and to maintain private park spaces within the development. The currently approved 40 mill levy is necessary to repay the $10 million loan the special district received, 5 mills of which will be used for operations. The maximum possible mill levy is 50 mills, according to the service plan.
Town manager takes oath; new finance director introduced
Mike Foreman took the oath of office, making him the official town manager. He was originally brought on in September as an interim town manager after town manager Chris Lowe was fired last June. See www.ocn.me/v18n7.htm#mbot, www.ocn.me/v18n10.htm#mbot.
Foreman introduced Bill Wengert, a CPA who worked for 10 years in Winter Park, as the new finance director for the town.
Trustee Clark’s requests reviewed by attorney
At the March 4 meeting, Trustee Laurie Clark asked the board to approve several surprise motions she brought forth during board member comments. At the March 18 meeting, the board directed Town Attorney Joseph Rivera to review the legal implications for these requests. Tonight, Rivera told the board he reviewed two of her requests as follows:
• Removal of board members by trustees: Rivera was asked whether board members could vote to remove other sitting trustees. He said because Monument is a statutory town, Colorado statute 31-4-307 could be used with a majority vote to oust someone from their elected seat, however the more common way to remove a trustee has been through a voter recall. Rivera said the cause for removal would have to be "akin to a trial."
After a discussion about the meaning of valid cause for removal, the board asked Rivera to continue his research and write a draft code of conduct resolution for the board to vote on in the future.
•Can candidates and members of BOT litigate against town? Clark and the board directed Rivera to research whether an existing town ordinance that prohibits board candidates or members from litigating against the town is legal. Rivera said the ordinance is not supported by statute.
Trustee Ron Stephens said a board member involved in litigation against the town would be party to both the plaintiff and the defendant, and so their privilege of taking part in an executive session should not be allowed. Rivera said his initial reaction, albeit without case law substantiating this claim, would be to disallow the trustee’s participation in the session.
Clark’s initial motion to remove or strike language from this ordinance, as well as any other Monument ordinance that doesn’t follow state law, was reworded by Mayor Don Wilson to only approve the request in front of them. This was unanimously approved, allowing trustees to initiate legal action against the town for which they govern.
Tri-Lakes Cares annual presentation
Tri-Lakes Cares (TLC) Executive Director Haley Chapin told the board 13 percent of El Paso County residents live in poverty. Chapin said the nonprofit provided emergency, relief, and self-sufficiency services to hundreds of families in the northern parts of the county—Monument, Palmer Lake, the U.S. Air Force Academy and some of Black Forest—in 2018.
She noted medical services provided at their 235 Jefferson St. location by partner Penrose-St. Francis Neighborhood Nurse Center are available by appointment to anyone in the community, not just to those who are their clients.
Checks over $5,000
The board approved the following checks over $5,000:
• Triview Metropolitan District – February sales tax, March motor vehicle sales tax, March regional building tax, $133,933
• CIRSA Insurance – Q2 2019 worker’s compensation insurance, $24,914
• CIRSA Insurance – Q2 2019 liability insurance, $30,295
• Murray, Dahl, Beery and Renaud LLP – legal work, $13,696
• Tri-Lakes Collision Autobody ¬¬ hail damage repair, police car repairs, $14,042
• AECOM – Beacon Lite Road sidewalk repairs, $13,851
• O’Meara Ford Center – new Water Department vehicle, $34,684
• Blue Earth Products – Wells 7 and 8 filter rehabilitation, $14,186
• Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce – Q2 2019 support, $5,000
• Tri-Lakes Views – annual support, $5,000
• Bliss Studio and Gallery – deposit for bench replacements, $7,500
The board heard a presentation by community relations specialist Madeline VanDenHoek showing them new metal benches to be created by local artist Jodie Bliss. The town budgeted for replacement benches in local parks and the town cemetery, and these represent a significant savings to the town compared to the previous out-of-state vendor. The benches will add artistic appeal to the parks in which they are installed, said VanDenHoek.
Allison Robenstein can be reached at email@example.com.
By Kate Pangelinan
The May 8 Monument Planning Commission meeting was scheduled to focus on the standard language to begin Planning Commission meetings, guidelines for those meetings, and a review of planning acronyms and agency abbreviations.
A draft version of these procedures, as well as a list of these acronyms, is available on the Town of Monument’s website: https://monumenttownco.documents-on-demand.com. It is inside the May 8 packet.
MPC meetings are generally held at 6:30 p.m. on the second Wednesday of the month. MPC meetings are live streamed and are supposed to be available for viewing at http://bit.ly/2uZxjfa, but the May 8 meeting was not posted online. For more information, call 884-8017 or access http://www.townofmonument.org/meetings.
Kate Pangelinan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Allison Robenstein
On May 20, the Monument Board of Trustees (BOT) agreed to discuss a water rates increase that could become an ordinance at the next meeting June 3. The trustees looked forward to a joint workshop with Triview Metropolitan District, renewed the lease for the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Center at its current location in old town hall, and approved a temporary moratorium on acceptance of businesses selling Kratom. They also recognized four town employees including police Corporal Rob Stewart who was recognized for saving a life..
Trustee Greg Coopman was noted absent by Town Clerk Laura Hogan.
Public hearing for water rate increases coming
Public Works director Tom Tharnish discussed increasing water rates for the over 900 Monument water customers on the west side of I-25. Tharnish said water rates had not been increased since March 2016, but even with those increases, current rates still cover only a portion of operations, maintenance, debt, and other costs. See www.ocn.me/v16n4.htm#mbot0307.
The cost of providing water to customers is increasing with added regulations and energy, infrastructure, and operations expenses. Tharnish said the Water Enterprise Fund was created to fund future water operations, provide a reserve fund for unforeseen expenditures, and to maintain revenue to support future debt service. Over the next five years, Public Works will need to make $4.1 million in improvements.
Currently, Monument Water sells water for as little as $6 per 1,000 gallons, but it costs $10.67 per 1,000 gallons to produce the water. The town uses a tiered rate structure that charges more per 1,000 gallons as customers use more water. Tharnish is asking to increase the cost for one gallon from $0.006 to $.011 in 2019 and increase use rates about 6 percent a year through 2024. He also would like to start billing "per gallon" rather than the current "per 1,000 gallons" to give customers tools to make informed decisions about their water use. He said residents may work to conserve more water if they know exactly how much they’re using rather than seeing a percentage of 1,000 gallons on their bill.
Tharnish said 60 percent of residents use a ¾-inch pipe and will see a 30 percent drop in their water "base rate," which is the minimum bill each month. Mayor Don Wilson was concerned the new rates were planned to take effect Aug. 1 during a time of high water use. The board directed Tharnish to bring an ordinance to the next meeting for their review and to hear public comments. If it passes, the ordinance won’t take effect until sometime after the summer.
BOT and Triview hold workshop
The BOT and the Triview Metropolitan District board planned to hold a collaborative workshop on Wednesday, May 22 at the Club at Flying Horse. The meeting’s agenda included topics relevant to both governmental agencies and that cover a majority of the town of Monument, including:
• North Monument Creek Interceptor and the associated northern El Paso county water delivery pipeline.
• Strategies to attract commercial business to the two areas.
• The ongoing Jackson Creek Parkway widening project.
• Discussion of a traffic master plan.
• Higby Road annexation.
Note: Triview is a Colorado Title 32 special district, completely within Monument’s town boundaries and mostly on the east side of I-25. Triview provides roads, parks, and drainage maintenance, and water and sanitation utility services, to the residents and businesses in the district roughly bordered by Old Denver Road, Higby Road, and Baptist Road. Triview’s water system is wholly independent of Monument’s Public Works water system located on the west side of I-25.
The Town of Monument (organized under Colorado Revised Statutes Title 30) provides land use planning, police, and general governance for property owners in the whole town, which includes Triview.
Chamber of Commerce extends lease of old town hall
The BOT unanimously approved a lease renewal for the chamber and visitor’s center to remain in the old town hall. The chamber acts as a localized business advocacy association helping existing businesses as well as working to bring new business to the town.
Background: In January 2015 the chamber and the town entered into a five-year lease agreement to house the chamber at its current location of 166 Second St. In the original lease, the rent charged is $1 annually, with the chamber being responsible for all maintenance, upkeep of the property, and any renovations.
Town Manager Mike Foreman told the board his previous experience with chambers of commerce was symbiotic with the town and is a better option financially than housing a town employee at the visitor’s center. Foreman said Community Specialist Madeline VanDenHoek had been working on improving and increasing wayfinding signs to attract visitors.
After some discussion, the resolution passed with all agreeing utilities would continue to be paid by the town.
180-day moratorium on Kratom sales in town
Monument Police Chief Jake Shirk was asked to approve a business selling Kratom. Shirk said he wasn’t sure what Kratom does and wanted to research the drug before approving the business. He asked for a 90-day moratorium on approving any businesses selling the product. Mayor Pro tem Kelly Elliott suggested he take 180 days to develop a plan.
Resident Josh Miller spoke in favor of the ordinance, saying that after drinking Kratom tea for seven years, he has been able to beat an opioid addiction.
The board unanimously approved the temporary moratorium.
Buxton will create economic development strategy
VanDenHoek asked the board to approve a resolution awarding a marketing analysis project to the Buxton company. The town will partner with Triview Metropolitan District to create a joint economic development plan.
Foreman said in addition to the marketing strategy and associated data analytics, Buxton is like a matchmaker with access to over 4,000 retailers. Its approach will be fourfold:
• Developing a profile of residents and visitors.
• Understanding current retail and restaurant economic conditions.
• Recruiting new retailers and restaurants.
• Retaining existing shops and restaurants.
Trustee Laurie Clark asked what would happen if Triview doesn’t approve its portion of the $50,000 contract. Marco Fiorito, vice president of Triview, attended the BOT meeting and said there was very little chance of this not passing at Triview’s monthly meeting on May 21. See related Triview article on page 17.
Fiorito said Buxton will work to bring an eclectic mix of local, regional, and national businesses to the town.
The board passed the resolution for a $15,000 one-year contract with annual renewal to be determined at the end of 2019.
Above: At the board meeting May 20, Police Chief Jake Shirk recognized Cpl. Rob Stewart for his work in saving a suicidal person’s life. On Dec 12, 2018, Stewart was called to a home where a man was threatening his own life. The person convinced Stewart he was not going harm himself, but as the corporal was leaving he saw the individual run into a busy street with a revolver. Stewart was able to disarm the man, who came to the station later and thanked him for saving him from taking his life. From left are Stewart, Shirk, and Town Manager Mike Foreman. Photo by Allison Robenstein.
The Monument Board of Trustees usually meets at 6:30 p.m. on the first and third Mondays of each month at Monument Town Hall, 645 Beacon Lite Road. The next meeting is scheduled for June 3. Call 884-8014 or see www.townofmonument.org for information. To see upcoming agendas and complete board packets for BOT or to download audio recordings of past meetings, see http://monumenttownco.minutesondemand.com and click on Board of Trustees.
Allison Robenstein can be reached at email@example.com.
By James Howald and Jackie Burhans
The Palmer Lake Town Council held its monthly council meeting May 9 and a work session May 23.
At the May 9 meeting, interim Town Manager Valerie Remington gave the council the results of her investigation of the town’s finances. Remington also reported on the town’s project to build a second water tank. The council continued its discussion of how to properly set tap fees. The council also heard a request to transfer a liquor license to a new owner and granted special event permits for a wine festival and two running events.
At the May 23 meeting, the council took steps to address problems with finance that Remington documented in the previous meeting, appointed a new member to the council, heard a presentation from a consultant concerning the future of the town’s Fire Department, and gave permission for a local group to move forward with plans for fireworks on the Fourth of July.
Remington uncovers problems with town finances
Remington began her remarks with a summary of the General Fund and the Water Enterprise Fund. The General Fund pays for everything except water, and had a balance of $2.4 million at the end of March. Remington found that $223,000 from the town’s sale of some land needed to be transferred from the General Fund to an account specific to that sale. She pointed out the budget for the General Fund is $3.1 million, but that the town is still collecting tax revenue into the General Fund.
The town’s Enterprise Water Fund, which pays all water bills, has only $41,900, a very low balance, Remington said. She added that even though the town had recently increased water rates, those increases would take some time to have an effect.
The town also has a money market account that held funds to purchase three vehicles. The three vehicles have been purchased and the fund is empty, Remington said.
Remington told the council that the General Fund has $215,000 in a reserve account required by the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR). The Enterprise Water Fund also has funds in reserve, she said, which is a requirement of loans that the town has taken out through the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority (CWDPDA).
Remington told the council the Enterprise Water Fund owed the General Fund $113,000 at the end of 2018, because some bills had been paid out of the wrong account. This debt will be resolved when the town’s audit is completed, she said. Remington emphasized that the Enterprise Water Fund is "extremely low," that the two funds must be kept separate, and that TABOR prevents transfers of more than 10 percent of the budget from the General Fund to the Enterprise Water Fund. The town must have an Enterprise Fund to qualify for loans, Remington said.
Remington also addressed revenues in her remarks. Both the Police and Fire Departments are on budget, she said. The Roads Department is under budget, but has large projects on the schedule that will require more spending.
Remington concluded her report by mentioning that the Water Enterprise Fund is at 24 percent of its budget, and that she expects the rate increases to increase the money in that account.
The council voted unanimously to approve Remington’s report on the town’s finances.
Water tank project faces problems; contract requires amendment
Remington told the council that the project to secure the town’s water supply by adding a second water tank was five months behind schedule, and the tank leaks. She told the council they would need to extend their contract with Tetra Tech, the consulting and engineering firm that is managing the project for the town. The continuation would cost the town an additional $14,400, she said.
Remington said the continuation was necessary to keep Tetra Tech’s engineer in place so that the tank can be finished as soon as possible. "At the end of the project there is going to be some reconciliation," she said.
Remington proposed that the town lend money from its General Fund to its Enterprise Water Fund to cover the completion of the water tank project. The loan would have to have proper documents, fees, and a repayment schedule to maintain the integrity of the Water Enterprise Fund, she said, because a simple transfer of funds between the accounts would compromise the water fund.
Remington assured the council that Tetra Tech would address the leaks with the company building the tank and the project would deliver a functioning water tank.
The council voted unanimously to amend the contract with Tetra Tech. At the May 23 work session, the council voted to approve the loan from the General Fund to the Water Enterprise Fund.
Water tap fees to double
Remington compared the tap fee Palmer Lake charges for a new connection to the water system to the fees charged by other nearby water districts. Palmer Lake charges $10,650, whereas the town of Monument charges $19,420, and Triview Metropolitan District charges between $35,000 and $45,000 for a new water tap.
Remington recommended that Palmer Lake increase its tap fee to $20,650 but pointed out that not much revenue would be produced because there are few undeveloped lots in the town. Council member Glant Havenar reminded the council that no new water taps could be issued because the sewer system is at capacity, preventing any new sewer taps from being issued.
The council authorized Remington to write a resolution doubling water tap fees and put it on the agenda for a vote at the May 23 work session.
New member appointed to council
The council voted to appoint Patty Mettler to replace Mitchell Davis, whose retirement from the council was announced at the meeting in April. Five other residents expressed interest in the seat on the council.
Consultant addresses proposals for the future of the Fire Department
Dan Qualman, senior consultant at Emergency Service Consulting International, reported to the council the results of his study of the town’s Fire Department, and proposed four possible paths the Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department (PLVFD) could take going forward.
Qualman said he met with members of the PLVFD and was impressed with their dedication and with what they were able to do with the resources they have. Qualman compared PLVFD’s current conditions with industry standards and best practices, and considered the pros and cons of keeping the service in-house or contracting it out.
His staffing analysis showed a shortage of staff at PLVFD. Industry standards specify a need for 15 firefighters at a typical residential fire. PLVFD has two to three firefighters on duty at any one time, Qualman said. He pointed out that two to five other stations could have firefighters at a fire within 10 minutes.
Qualman presented arguments for and against four different strategies:
• Make no changes and maintain the status quo. This approach is the easiest from a political standpoint and does not require additional funds. It does not provide for necessary changes and introduces potential liabilities for health and safety of the town’s firefighters. This would maintain the current rate of 10 mills.
• Build a new station, fund equipment replacement, and improve staffing. This approach would retain local control but its costs would be high, and the town would still be responsible for the department’s operations. This would require 36.8 mills.
• Create a Public Safety Department, which would combine the fire and police services, with the same staff providing both services. This approach would improve staffing for both services, but might encounter difficulties when fire and police services were needed simultaneously. Recruitment would be more challenging and training costs would be high. This would require 44.9 mills.
• Use Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD) for services. Qualman said he had not discussed this option with TLMFPD. This approach would improve depth of response capability due to TLMFD’s larger and better equipped staff and would avoid the need to build a new fire station. It would increase costs and sacrifice local control, Qualman said. This would require a rate between 18.4 and 19.5 mills. See www.ocn.me/v18n8.htm#tlmfpd and www.ocn.me/v14n9.htm#tlmfpd-0827.
In response to a question from council member Mark Schuler, Qualman said his recommendation was option 4, inclusion with TLMFPD, because of costs and because the Palmer Lake firefighters would always be dependent on surrounding departments.
Mayor John Cressman said the town was facing a large increase in spending for its Fire Department, and the issue for him was the best way to provide the service.
After a lengthy discussion and public input, the council decided the issue would need to be put to the voters. Town Attorney Maureen Juran advised that only one option could be put on the ballot, and Remington said the resolution would need to be drafted in early July to get the issue on the ballot in November.
Liquor license transferred to 105 Social House; special events approved
In its role as the Palmer Lake Liquor Licensing Authority, the council approved the transfer of the liquor license previously used by The Villa restaurant to Justin Kaye, who has opened the 105 Social House in the building that previously housed The Villa. Kaye said his new restaurant would be eclectic and family oriented. He said there would be live music, but he would be careful to manage it so that it would not disturb the community.
The council also approved two running events, both organized by resident Lindsey Leiker and both fundraisers. The first is a Fun Run on the Fourth of July, which will benefit Palmer Lake Elementary School; the second is a YMCA Creepy Crawl 5K to be held on Oct. 26.
Finally, the town approved a wine festival proposed by Michael Hexter, owner of a winery in Palmer Lake. The wine festival is scheduled for Sept. 14 at the lake. Tickets will be $35, with $10 going to Tri-Lakes Cares.
Fourth of July fireworks on track
Speaking on behalf of the Palmer Lake Fireworks Committee, Jennifer Coopman updated the council on the planning being done for a fireworks display on the Fourth of July. Coopman asked if the town’s insurance would cover the event but was told the committee would have to provide its own insurance.
The council voted to approve the permit for Fourth of July fireworks, with the condition that Coopman meet with the fire and police departments to get their input.
The council is scheduled to hold two meetings in June, on June 13 and on June 27 at 6 p.m. at Town Hall, 42 Valley Crescent. Meetings are normally held on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month, with the second meeting organized as a working session. Information: 481-2953.
By Jackie Burhans
The Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA) board met on May 22 to discuss the next steps on unpaid dues and actions being taken on wildfire prevention. Board member Per Suhr was absent.
Action on unpaid dues
WIA Treasurer Lee Hanson noted there are still 66 residents with unpaid association dues and that WIA has provided sufficient notification to those residents about late payments. Residents were sent a letter reminding them of the May 15 due date. WIA plans to file liens on June 1 for any properties with unpaid dues from 2019 or earlier. President Brian Bush stated that WIA feels it owes it to residents who have paid on time.
The board discussed several initiatives to help prevent wildfires, including a Wildfire Preparation Day, increased covenant enforcement around fire prevention, and a series of chipping days available at no cost to residents.
Board member and Forestry Director Ed Miller and WIA covenants and Forestry Administrator Matthew Nelson are organizing a Wildfire Preparation Day for Wednesday, June 5 from 2 to 6 p.m. at The Barn. They will send an email blast out to residents and provide information in the upcoming June newsletter. To sign up for emails and newsletters, submit your address at the bottom of the page at http://www.woodmoor.org.
Due to potential wildfire, Woodmoor Public Safety (WPS) will take a more active approach to covenant violations related to vehicles. They have been proactive on open fire concerns but will add focus on vehicles parked off driveway where engines can ignite tall dry weeds or vehicles parked on the street causing traffic hazards for fire vehicles. They will also focus on excess vehicles and recreational vehicles parked for too long.
Chipping days were announced for three Saturdays: June 15, July 13, and Aug. 3. All chipping days will be held at the southeast corner of the Lewis-Palmer High School parking lot near the baseball field. All are encouraged to attend and drop off slash on these days. The service is free to Woodmoor residents; non-residents are asked for a donation of $5 to $10. With the recent storms, WIA expects more slash than usual from trees that were downed from the recent storms. There has been good progress to date on removing downed trees, but a reminder may be sent out ahead of the chipping days.
• WIA is working with The Ascent Church to ensure that its Run for Hope event on July 20 provides proper notification to residents, maintains access for residents, and pulls county permits properly.
• WPS completed its road survey in Woodmoor and rated roads from 1 (no issue) to 5 (immediate attention required) as well as five gravel roads in South Woodmoor which require a grader rather than a snowplow for snow removal. Thirteen roads are scheduled for chip seal or paving in 2019. The county determines this based on traffic use as well as condition.
• The building plans for the Barn extension for WPS is awaiting final review and is looking good to break ground this summer.
• Bob Pearsall, WIA commons area administrator, determined the source of excess water use was an additional program that was set to water daily. This has been reset, a security box for the sprinkler controller has been ordered, and the system will be checked weekly going forward.
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 June 26.
Jackie Burhans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Bill Kappel
May continued the trend of wet, cold, and snowy conditions that we have experienced since October. The overall monthly temperatures were near a record for at least the last 100 years in the region, averaging 6 degrees below normal. As is so common along the Palmer Divide, we really only had a few days of spring, as winter didn’t want to let go. Of course, we are still waiting for summer-like conditions, but they are sure to arrive quickly in June.
Temperatures for the month were well below average, and precipitation was above average. This included total snowfall, which was bolstered by the heavy snowstorm May 20-21. The fact that temperatures never reached higher than the mid-70s and more than half of the mornings saw temperatures dip below freezing was an example of how cool the month was overall.
Not surprisingly, the month started on the cool side with highs reaching only the upper 40s and low 50s on the 1st and 2nd with scattered drizzle and flurries. This was a continuation of the cool and unsettled conditions that ended April. However, mild and dry conditions moved in over the next few days, with temperatures reaching the 60s to low 70s from the 3rd through the 6th.
This was quickly followed by a return to cool and unsettled conditions from the 7th through the 11th. This was signified by a line of thunderstorms that developed over Elbert and Douglas Counties along the initial cold front. During this period, temperatures averaged 10-20 degrees below normal, with highs in the 30s and 40s from the 7th through the 10th. High temperatures did not break above freezing for most of us on the 9th. During this period, about a half-inch of liquid equivalent precipitation accumulated, with 1-4 inches of snowfall helping to remind us that winter wasn’t quite ready to give up yet.
The warmest temperatures of the month returned after this period, with highs reaching the low to mid-70s from the 13th through the 17th. During the period no precipitation occurred, providing our one period of nice spring weather. However, as is common, these dry and mild conditions were ahead of an approaching storm system moving through the western U.S.
The first signs of the changes to come were associated with an initial frontal passage during the evening of the 17th. Temperatures were about 10-15 degrees colder the next afternoon, with highs reaching only the mid-50s. Mostly cloudy skies prevailed as well, with a few rain showers that afternoon and evening. Cool conditions stuck around the next day as the atmosphere recharged ahead of a stronger storm moving through the southwestern U.S. This storm strengthened over the Four Corners region and began to pull in colder air from the north. This combination set the stage for a historic snowfall event around the region.
The first signs of the cold and snow that was to come was in the form of some graupel showers during the mid- to late-morning hours of the 20th. These showers quickly changed to heavy wet snow, with periods of accumulating snowfall occurring late that morning and again early afternoon, mainly above 7,000 feet. Then, as the storm became more organized, precipitation was pulled in from the south and east and combined with the cold air that was forced against the Front Range and Palmer Divide. This resulted in heavy snowfall starting right around 6 p.m. and lasting through the night.
Snowfall rates were extreme, 2-3 inches per hour at times, and this resulted in hazardous driving conditions. Many roads were not treated or plowed that evening because the amount of snowfall and the rate of accumulation was far beyond what was forecast. After a brief break just after midnight, another round of heavy snow developed that morning. In all, 10-20 inches of snow accumulated, enough to break branches and close schools.
Of course, the storm wasn’t all bad, as most of us picked up around 2 inches of moisture which is very beneficial to all the plants just starting to grow and of course helps to lower our chances for fire later this spring and summer.
Once this storm departed, more normal conditions returned, with highs reaching the 60s to low 70s from the 24th through the 27th. A summer-like line of thunderstorms developed on the 26th, dropping our first significant hailstorm of the season.
But the cool and unsettled conditions weren’t done with us yet as another area of low pressure was moving through the Southwest, bringing more moisture and cool temperatures over the last few days of the month.
A look ahead
By June we can usually say goodbye to our chance of snowfall but hello to frequent afternoon and evening thunderstorms. The majority of the time we can expect warm, sunny days with afternoon and evening thunderstorms.
May 2019 Weather Statistics
Average High 56.7° (-10.4°)
100-year return frequency value max 75.7° min 57.9°
Average Low 33.1° (-5.1°)
100-year return frequency value max 43.2° min 32.5°
Highest Temperature 76° on the 15th
Lowest Temperature 26° on the 3rd, 9th, 19th, 21st
Monthly Precipitation 3.27" (+0.63" 25% above normal)
100-year return frequency value max 6.94" min 0.15"
Monthly Snowfall 23.2" (+17.5" 20% above normal)
Season to Date Snow 163.1" (+40.7" 25% above normal)
(the snow season is from July 1 to June 30)
Season to Date Precip 9.23" (+0.16" 2% above normal)
(the precip season is from July 1 to June 30)
Heating Degree Days 623 (+197)
Cooling Degree Days 0
Above: .On the morning of May 21, a lone car makes its way along Gleneagle Drive as the Tri-Lakes area woke to a foot of snow. The late spring snowstorm caused school closures and slick driving conditions while trees and other plants bent over from the weight of the wet snow. This contrasted with the weather from only a week earlier when temperatures were in the 70s. Photo by David Futey.
Bill Kappel is a meteorologist and Tri-Lakes resident. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Disclaimer: The information and opinions expressed in Letters to Our Community are the responsibility of the letter writers and should not be interpreted as the views of OCN even if the letter writer is an OCN volunteer.
D38—apparently the truth hurts
I have been getting attacked personally and professionally on social media and in the newspaper. Why? Because while the naysayers don’t like my message about D38 and education, they are unable to prove me wrong. So, their alternative is character assassination. The naysayers won’t speak to the increase in the past 20-plus years of federal requirements regarding special education that requires the utilization of classroom and office space that wasn’t required in the past (such as OT, PT, Speech/Language, and other services). Currently, seven different classrooms at LPMS are being utilized for special education students. Another classroom is utilized by English Second Language students, and another classroom for GT students. That’s nine learning spaces! The naysayers simply divide the number of kids as if all students are the same.
I have encouraged the naysayers to investigate brain-based research on how kids learn best; what middle schools have to offer sixth-grade students; and what public schools must provide in order to meet the needs of special education students. Special education students can be someone who needs help processing information; someone who suffers from the many forms of autism; someone who is easily overwhelmed by stimulus (and cannot be in large classrooms or in large groups during lunch or assemblies); or someone who requires all of the basic life needs be provided at the school (feeding, toileting, medicines). When people don’t know something, it is usually due to one of three reasons: they don’t know, they don’t understand, or they don’t care. The naysayers don’t know (though I have encouraged them to learn), they don’t understand, and they don’t care. I encourage you to care enough to take the time to know and understand. I am not afraid of the truth. The naysayers are afraid of me, and people like me, who are informed.
A school bond developed with community feedback
Many did not support last year’s school bond. As a school board we asked our community to tell us why. Here’s some of what they said: Non-specific bond language with phrase "to include but not limited to.;" "blank check"; not clear how the money would be spent; Bond-funded items other than just a new school; Unclear financing; Tax increase; No "Pro" statements in blue book.
Growth is not going away. Our middle school is full and many of our elementary schools are nearing capacity. No one is debating growth; we need a second middle school and additional elementary capacity. What if your school board came up with a bond for a single school that addressed the community’s concerns without raising taxes? Could you support it?
Your school board is working on a bond for this fall which will build a new school without increasing residential property taxes. The bond wording will be specific with "solely for" replacing "to include but not limited to." Voters will know where every penny is going! The school board listened to your feedback and we are putting together a bond based on what you told us. We continue to work on the details. However, what has been decided is that this bond will be for one school only, nothing else; the district will pay for any additional costs not covered in the bond.
There will be meetings leading up to the election to provide facts and answer questions. Visit www.lewispalmer.org and click "2019 Bond Info" to get information concerning the bond and our school district. Feel free to contact a school board member if you have feedback or questions.
LPHS After Prom thanks
Thanks to our great community of parents, LP staff, and students, After Prom was a huge success! We had over 400 students attend the event.
Many school districts do not offer an After Prom, as the planning and coordination involved take a substantial amount of time and money. Both District 38 high schools have such a dedicated group of staff, parents and community patrons, that we have been able to make After Prom a yearly tradition.
Much of the financial support comes from local businesses and families. We would like to recognize the following: Bella Calla Flora and Botanical Studio, Al’s Formal Wear, Arapahoe Basin Ski & Snowboard Area, Back East Bar and Grille, Briargate Qdoba Mexican Grill, City Rock, Coca-Cola Refreshments, Denver Museum of Nature & Science, Dickey’s BBQ, Deuces Wild Casino Rentals, Dion’s Pizza, Hamula Orthodontics, Horseshoe Donuts, Hyland Hills Park & Rec., Loveland Ski Area, Jimmy John’s, King Soopers, Safeway, Walmart, Chick-fil-A, Papa John’s, Santa’s Workshop/North Pole, Rocky Mountain Vibes, Sports Clips, Target, Tri-Lakes Printing, and Village Inn, as well as the Barkocy, Brainard, Heins, Jackson, Jameson, Larsen, Merrell, Mobley, Oliger, Limas, Shuman, Wakefield, and Witt families.
We had over 100 volunteers who helped with everything from mailing invitations to building props, artwork for invitations, posters, and tickets, selling tickets, decorating, working on the night of the event, and cleaning up the day after.
A very special thank you goes to the After Prom committee of Laura Barkocy, Bill Cade, Julie Cook, Melanie Davis, Laurie Devine, Gretchen Donisi, Marcy Hudson, Kristin Merrell, Melanie Oliver, Nicole Pritchard, Lauralyn Purdham, and Karen Tucker.
Caption: LPHS After Prom. Photo provided by Karen Shuman.
Karen Shuman and Michelle Oliger
2019 bond initiative for LPSD 38
Critical thinking is grounded in logical thinking which presupposes evaluation of facts before any judgment is expressed on such facts. Before joining the LPSD 38 Board of Education ("board"), I promised myself to be open minded while using critical thinking before making any judgement as one member of the board. I’ve done significant research about the historical and current state of capacity and enrollment within LPSD 38.
What I have learned is that the board’s request for your support of its 2019 bond is a sound request. There is ample evidence to support the claim that "D38 has a real middle school overcrowding problem."
There are diverse perspectives in our community. Thankfully! However, we will see opposition expressed in social media blogs by "experts" who have confirmation biases (the idea that people seek out only data that confirms their pre-existing ideas). There are no conspiracy theories.
My perspective is that we can use an honest approach to critical thinking. At times, we let our emotions make judgments when we should stop, take a breath, and use our critical thinking skills. Fear mongering is not OK, and it’s not going to disappear just because we want it to. How do we protect ourselves from it? Research. Critical thinking. Time. We need to take the time necessary to form our own opinions and judgments. It is easier to read a social media blog than to read actual research. However, we will not adequately shield ourselves from misinformation if we do not put in the effort.
There is significant evidence to support the decision the board made to pursue the 2019 bond.
The board is providing capacity and enrollment facts on the LPSD 38 website. Please view it from a critical thinking perspective as you determine your support for the 2019 bond.
Public and their dogs need to stay away from moose
No one was more frustrated and upset with the events surrounding the moose in Monument than the staff at Colorado Parks and Wildlife, whose job is to protect human health and safety as well as that of the wildlife.
On Friday morning May 3, we responded to calls from the Monument Police Department about a moose running in and out of traffic on Highway 105 near the Santa Fe Trail.
A team of six wildlife officers and staff responded in multiple trucks and with a livestock trailer. We needed to get the moose on dry ground, away from traffic, where we could tranquilize it, carry it to the trailer and relocate it to a less-populated area. To carry a 700-pound moose, it takes six to eight people. It’s not a project undertaken in wetlands.
Unfortunately, social media had whipped some people into a frenzy and they were out trying to find and follow the moose.
Our officers even became victims of the frenzy. People began following our trucks as we moved up and down the waterways tracking the moose. Several times we were blocked by the vehicles of people chasing us off-road.
The moose stayed on the run from all the pressure. Eventually one of our officers herded it into some willows where it bedded down for several hours, where many people approached it, with dogs, putting all in jeopardy. Moose view dogs as a predator and a threat. Often when moose see a threat they will attack, rather than run away. This poses a real danger to dogs and their humans.
CPW stayed with the moose until dark and planned to reassess the situation in the morning. Clearly it decided it was facing too much pressure in Monument and decided to move on.
The next day, there was a tragic wreck between a moose and a vehicle on Interstate 25 near Monument. We can not verify if this was the same moose.
By the staff at Covered Treasures
"Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way."—Dr. Seuss
June is a great time to get outside and enjoy this wonderful state. Here are a few books to delve into about our great outdoors.
Best Tent Camping Colorado; 5th Edition
By Kim Lipker and Johnny Molloy (Menasha Ridge Press) $15.95
This resource guide provides detailed maps of 50 campgrounds in five distinct Colorado regions; key information such as fees, restrictions, dates of operation, and facilities; selections based on location, diverse topography and size, overall appeal, and reliable management; driving directions and GPS coordinates; and ratings for beauty, privacy, spaciousness, quiet, safety and security, and cleanliness. Everything you need to plan your camping trip.
Colorado Flyfishing: Where to Eat, Sleep, Fish
By Mark D. Williams and W. Chad McPhail (Trails Books) $20
Fly fishing in Colorado is huge. As one would expect, there are no shortage of fly fishing guides. But whereas other guides focus on particular waters, Colorado Flyfishing is organized by region, centering on locations where fly fishers can home base. It includes fishing places near home base; fishing spots for the adventurer; blue ribbon fisheries not far from home base; favorite places to eat; favorite places to stay; fly shops, guides, and tackle stores.
437 Edible Wild Plants of the Rocky Mountain West: Berries, Roots, Nuts, Greens, Flowers, and Seeds
By Caleb Warnock (Familius) $27.99
From self-sufficiency expert Caleb Warnock comes the ultimate guidebook to living off the land. Packed with more than 1,450 photographs of 437 edible wild berries, roots, nuts, greens, and flowers, this essential field guide will provide you with information on plant identification, flavor, seasonality, history, eating and preparation instructions, and more. At the back of the book you’ll find useful lists, including plants high in protein and easily available, poisons, and questions and answers. It’s the most exhaustive reference book of its kind.
The Colorado Mountain Companion: A potpourri of useful miscellany from the highest parts of the highest state
By M. John Fayhee (West Winds Press) $23.99
This is a treasure trove of useful (and just plain fun) information about Colorado’s mountain country. We’re not just talking about population figures, elevation stats, or lists of fourteeners and rivers, although these are included. You will learn far more, including mountain lexicons (so that you’ll know what a gutter bunny, potato chip, and prune really mean); Colorado as a movie set; Colorado songs, skiing, fishing, avalanches, geology, historic districts, hiking and biking, snakes, Superfund sites, strange festivals, weather miserability index, and much more.
Outdoor Medicine: Management of Wilderness Medical Emergencies (Adventure Skills Guide)
By Patrick Brighton, M.D. (Adventure Publications) $9.95
This handy, portable, easy-to-understand guide helps you to follow the correct course of action whether it’s an illness, an injury, or a life-or-death condition. Brighton is a board-certified trauma surgeon and a mountaineer, climber, kayaker, and member of a mountain rescue team. This tabbed booklet is organized by type of injury, so you can quickly reference the information you need to evaluate and treat the condition. This is just one book in a series of new Adventure Skills Guides, including Outdoor Survival, Essential Knots, and Insects & Bugs North America.
Tales from the Trails
By T. Duren Jones (WordFire Press) $14.99
Includes 26 outdoor stories from trails and climbs around the American West. Jones has hiked hundreds of trails, completed the nearly 500 miles of the Colorado Trail, and has summited all 54 of Colorado’s fourteeners.
Dear Bob and Sue: Season 2
By Matt and Karen Smith (Matt Smith) $15.99
In their second book of the series, follow Matt and Karen as they work their way around the western United States discovering some of our most beautiful public lands, hidden gems, and revisiting a few of their favorite national parks. Through a series of emails written to their friends, Bob and Sue, the couple brings the reader along on their adventures, sharing their experiences as they hike the lesser known parks and national monuments.
"In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks."—John Muir
Find a spot outside that inspires you and open the adventure of a great book. Until next month, happy reading.
The staff at Covered Treasures can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Harriet Halbig
The Summer Adventure program for infants through high school students will kick off on June 1. The program will feature many special events for all ages and prizes to reward reading and attendance at library events.
We will have 65 teen volunteers on hand to help with registration and award prizes to participants. You can also register online at ppld.org. See below for scheduling details.
Book Break will continue on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10:30 to 11, Toddler Time will be on Thursdays at 9:30 and 10:30, and Paws to Read will be on Monday and Wednesday from 4 to 5. Regular Tuesday Story Time at 11:15 is suspended until August.
Art programs for ages 7 and up will be available Mondays, June 10, 17, and 24 from 2:30 to 3:30.
Tuesdays June 4, 11, 18, and 25 at 10:30 there will be Summer Fun programs with animals and performers for ages 5 to 12.
Tuesdays from 4 to 5 will be Idea Lab programs on June 11, 18, and 25 involving ice, optical illusions, and glow paintings. No registration is required.
A Kids’ Chess Workshop will be held on Saturday, June 8 from 2:30 to 4 for children in grades K through 8. Colorado state champion Lior Lapid will teach a short introductory lesson followed by open game play.
Lego Build will meet on Saturday, June 15 from 10 to 11:30.
Stop by the library to pick up a detailed schedule of Summer Adventure programs throughout the district.
See above for a description of Lego Build.
Coloring for Everyone will meet on Friday, June 14 from 4 to 5:30. We will color themed coloring sheets. All materials are provided.
On Wednesday, June 19 at 6:30 there will be a program on Preparing to Hike the Summer Front Range. Hosted by Longmont hiker Pete KJ, this will be an introduction to this low-cost recreation.
All Ages Knitting meets from 3 to 5 each Wednesday in the study room.
Monday, June 3 from 2:30 to 3:30 there will be a Star Wars Breakout Room program for tweens.
Tuesday, June 4 from 4 to 5 there will be a program to make candy sushi, using Rice Krispies treats instead of rice and Swedish fish instead of sashimi.
See above for descriptions of Lego Build, Coloring for Everyone, and All Ages Knitting.
On Thursdays, June 6, 13, and 20 there will be Teen Summer Adventure programs from 2 to 4. These include an escape room, an inflatable planetarium, and a spray paint program.
The Teen Creative Writing Group will meet in the study room from 6 to 7:30 on Tuesday, June 4.
There will be a program on edible plants on Wednesday, June 26 from 4 to 5:30. This program, for ages 12 to 18, requires a waiver from parents, and reservations are required.
The Monument Library Anime Club will meet from 5 to 6:30 on Thursday, June 27.
Regularly occurring adult programs include Senior Chats each Wednesday from 10 to noon and the two book groups described below.
Life Circles, a group that writes about life experiences, will meet on Monday, June 3 and 17 from 9:30 to 11:30. No registration required.
Build your own DIY hummingbird feeder on Wednesday, June 12 from 2 to 4. Registration required.
The Monumental Bookworms will meet from 7 to 8:30 on Tuesday, June 11 to discuss Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris. All are welcome to attend and no registration is required.
The Monumental Readers will meet from 10 to noon on Friday, June 21 to discuss Gold by Ian Neligh. All are welcome.
There will be a program on Arlington and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from 5:30 to 7 on Monday, June 24 from 5:30 to 7. This program is part of a series of classes offered by the PILLAR Institute for Lifelong Learning. Registration is required.
The History Buffs will meet from 1:30 to 3:30 on Wednesday, June 26. No registration required.
The Monument Spinning Group will meet from 1:30 to 3:45 on Thursday, June 27.
Palmer Lake Library events
The Palmer Lake Book Group meets at 9 a.m. on the first Friday of each month. Please call 481-2587 for the latest selection.
Art programs for ages 7 and up will be on Thursdays from 10:30 to 11:30.
Summer Fun programs for ages 5 to 12 will be on Wednesdays from 10:30 to 11:30 instead of family story time.
Toddler Time is on Fridays from 10:30 to 11.
There will be a special program, Snakes Alive!, on Saturday, June 15 from 10:30 to 11:30. Learn the difference between a rattlesnake and a bull snake and see a live bull snake. Learn about where they live and what they like to eat.
Stop by the library for a detailed brochure on Summer Adventure programming.
Please note that all Pikes Peak Library District facilities will be closed on Thursday, July 4.
Harriet Halbig can be reached at email@example.com.
By Sigi Walker
The May 16 monthly program of the Palmer Lake Historical Society featured Donna Guthrie, noted Colorado Springs author, presenting Troubadours on Horseback: The History of the Singing Cowboy. Guthrie told the story of the creation of the singing cowboy, how their simple melodies, harmonies, and instrumentation have endured, and the actors who gained fame as singing cowboys, such as Jimmie Rodgers, Gene Autry, and Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. Even their horses were famous: Autry rode Champion the Wonder Horse and Roy Rogers rode Trigger. She noted that they were all very "clean cut"—kissing their horses, not the girls!
Guthrie used slides, vintage video clips, and short musical recordings to illustrate her presentation. She began with the early performers who started on radio, then graduated to motion pictures, most of which were "B" movies that movie theaters used for matinee shows. The photos of a very young John Wayne and his early movie performances (his singing was dubbed) drew giggles. Some of these early "B" movies were later shown on television.
Autry’s recordings are still played today, particularly at Christmastime: Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, and Here Comes Santa Claus. Here Comes Peter Cottontail is an Easter favorite. Autry appeared in 93 films, and from 1950 to 1956 hosted The Gene Autry Show on television.
Rogers began with the Sons of the Pioneers and was closely associated with them throughout his career. Like Autry, he did many "B" movies and had his own short-lived TV show, for which his wife Evans wrote the theme song, Happy Trails. Among his recordings are Don’t Fence Me In, Cool Water, and Tumbling Tumbleweeds. While Autry never had any children, Rogers and Evans had nine children jointly.
Guthrie concluded her program by playing the theme music from popular TV Western shows, asking the audience to identify the show associated with the music.
Caption: Author Donna Guthrie (L) and PLHS President Michele Lawrie-Munro. Photo by Mike Walker.
Mark your calendars for two upcoming PLHS events. On Sunday, June 16, the annual Father’s Day Ice Cream Social will be held from 2 to 4 p.m., featuring free pie and ice cream, an antique car show, and singer Nick Davey. On Thursday, June 20, the Palmer Lake Historical Society Monthly History Series will host career diplomat Mary Ann Casey, former U.S. ambassador to Algeria and Tunisia. Her presentation will include pertinent observations and personal experiences. The venue is the Palmer Lake Town Hall, 28 Valley Crescent. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the program begins at 7 p.m. Palmer Lake Historical Society events and programs are free and open to all. ■
By Janet Sellers
"Like Western science, Indigenous science relies upon direct observation for forecasting and generating predictions; its power lies in its ability to make connections and perceive patterns across vast cycles of space and time. Indigenous scientists are trained in various specializations such as herbalism, weather observations, mental health, and time keeping, and there are tests to ensure its validity."—
Worldwide Indigenous Science Network
Indian Science for wildcrafting can help us thrive if we access it. With that as inspiration, I make ongoing discoveries about our native ponderosa. Our forests are prone to lightning, but that isn’t enough to finish off a ponderosa. According to U.S. Forest Service guide Steve Hirst, when lightning hits one, "It flash-boils the sap, and it just blows the bark off. It doesn’t burn the tree ... the bark carries away the heat of the fire, leaving the ponderosas in charge of the forest. They remain standing while the competition burns." Tragically, the last 100 years of unnatural foresting created undergrowth fuels that get hot enough to ladder up to ponderosa crowns and destroy stands of trees. The Forest Service is working to ameliorate that with the help of environmental groups and timber company cooperation.
Our pines will start their annual bloom very soon. Some aficionados harvest the pliant male pollen cones into a jar, shake it to release pollen, then mix the pollen into a glass of water and drink it. Since it goes rancid quickly, tinctures and syrups of pollen complete with pine sap are historical uses. Freezing pollen is also possible.
Pine pollen contains sterol brassinosteroid brassinolide, which helps the body dispose of toxic chemicals. Pine pollen is a natural anti-inflammatory substance, and pine pollen contains all the amino acids, including arginine, which can increase blood flow. Pine pollen contains two potent antivirals, brassinolide and castasterone. Tests show that these antivirals can be up to 18 times stronger than the popular antiviral drugs.
Beauty and the bees
Using beneficial flowers, organic gardeners and big scale farms have benefitted from helpful flowers since ancient times to keep our food pest-free. Besides a historic use of flowers surrounding organic farms for biodiversity, farmers worldwide are now planting flowers in sections within their fields to attract the beneficial bugs. Planting flowers is particularly important with the current widespread beehive death issues, and with the recent billion-dollar lawsuits against Monsanto for the product Roundup causing cancer, big retailers such as Costco have dumped that poison from their shelves, benefitting all with that action.
At the Monument Community Garden, we embrace beauty and the bees using flowers, mint, and basil for keeping out pests as standard practice; just adding marigolds and mint eliminates beetles overnight! We use cinnamon to deter ants, while sweet alyssum attracts flower flies that munch aphids. To protect the inside of the garden from windblown road chemicals, we surround the garden with gorgeous, giant sunflowers. Petunias, mums, and lavender repel many pests, as do fennel, parsley, oregano, and thyme.
Caption: Daisy Scouts plant their bed of lettuce, carrots and pole beans using last year’s sunflower stalks as poles. Monument Community Garden volunteer and coordinator Janet Sellers taught the Daisy Scouts and their parents about the garden’s current use of Indian Science ancient wisdom methods and natural companions in organic gardening and using local "alpaca beans" manure and leaves with a mulch of pine straw or pine needles on top to protect from weeds and keep the soil moist. They learned about the Native American plant wisdom of the Three Sisters Garden using beans corn and squash for symbiotic support: The corn relies on the beans to fix needed nitrogen in the soil, the beans need to climb up the corn stalk and stay up off the ground, while the large leaves of the squash act as a green mulch and keep moisture in the soil. Photo by Janet Sellers.
Janet Sellers is a self-appointed ethnoecologist posing as a lazy gardener, letting Mother Nature take the lead for exploring gardens and our health. Janet Sellers can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Janet Sellers
The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.—Albert Einstein
A big mystery for Colorado is the forecast! We never know what we’ll have next, but for sure our weather is warming up and coming out of the late snows of our Colorado springtime. Our trees are finally showing their blossoms and leaves, flower gardens are showing their true colors, and songbirds and hummingbirds are back in town for the summer. Yep, it is about to be summertime, and that means lots of outdoor art and fun.
Coming up for June, Monument and Palmer Lake take center stage for fine art shows indoors and outdoors, and we’ll have artful family fun events near Fox Run Park.
PLAG art show—PLAG Color Splash Exhibit June 4-28, Opening Reception: June 7, 6-8 p.m. The Color Splash show features a variety of styles and media created by local artists. Palmer Lake Art Group provides annual scholarships to District 38 high school seniors. Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts, 304 Highway 105, Palmer Lake.
Southwinds Gallery—Second weekends monthly Dad’s Day tour art show June 8—guest artists and gallery regulars. June 22—Hummingbird Festival. Free, bring the family and friends, learn about Colorado’s four native hummingbirds, make a bird feeder, and watch hummingbirds up close on the spacious grounds. Naturalists will talk about local hummingbirds each hour, hummingbird and nature-themed art, lore, books, and gifts. 16575 Rollercoaster Rd., (corner of Baptist Rd and Rollercoaster Road next to Fox Run Park North) 719-481-6957.
Art Hop—Shops and galleries have a veritable open house all over in Historic Monument on Thursday, June 20. Many places have complimentary refreshments, and musicians play at various locations, adding to the cultural ambience. Participating venues are in the art quarter between Second and Third Streets and Front and Washington Streets.
Tri-Lakes Views Outdoors—Walk around the sculptures on the lawns at Second and Washington Streets to enjoy Monument’s outdoor sculpture park, grab a map from local shops for the Tri-Lakes Art Sites, and enjoy with an artful lunch or supper on the lawn with a friend.
Janet Sellers is an artist teaching local art and photo classes and on Bucket List world travels. Join her plein air and photo Tour 2019: Bordeaux and the earliest art in the world, the caves near the village of Montignac in Southwestern France. email@example.com.
Memorial Day Tribute
Caption: About 400 people attended the May 27 Memorial Day Celebration held at Monument Cemetery. As people recited the Pledge of Allegiance, the flag was raised and, per protocol, lowered to half-staff. Guest speaker Robert Bishop, U.S. Army, gave an inspiring and heart-warming tribute. Photo by John Howe.
Black Forest Arts & Craft Guild
Caption: The Black Forest Arts and Crafts Guild, welcoming donations of non-perishable food items at the door of the Black Forest Community Center, held its 55th semi-annual sale of handmade items May 2-5, proceeds from which will help support local student scholarships and the food pantry Black Forest Cares. The event represented 90 artisans and culinary enthusiasts living in the Black Forest area. Photo by Natalie Barszcz.
Caption: On May 3, the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA) welcomed Sawyer Fredericks back to its stage. Fredericks, 2016 winner of The Voice, has appeared at the TLCA to sold-out and enthusiastic audiences for three years in row. This following is no mystery given his combination of lyrics that blend empathy and an understanding of life beyond his 20 years, a distinctive vocal range, and polished acoustic guitar playing. His set included Fredericks performing solo and with his backup band. The song selections ranged from one he wrote at the age of 12, Broken Home, to the more recently written How Beautiful. Both songs appear on his 2018 album Hide Your Ghost that he independently produced. Photo by David Futey.
Moose in Monument, May 3
Caption: Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) Public Information Officer Bill Vogrin said he was "very disappointed" at the way residents of Monument interfered with trained staff’s attempts to relocate a moose to a less-populated area on May 3. Moose are very skittish, and when people and dogs follow them, they feel extreme stress. When a group of 25 people and their dogs approached the moose, it perceived this as a threat by predator wolves and disappeared, and CPW staff could not do their job. The next morning, a moose crossed I-25 and was struck and killed. Monument Police Commander Mark Owens could not verify if it was the same moose. Call CPW at 227-5250 with questions about wildlife or to report people feeding wildlife. See related Letter to the Editor from Vogrin on page 23. Photo courtesy of Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
Seedling giveaway, May 4
Caption: With their vehicles lined up at the Black Forest Fire and Rescue site May 4, citizens were ready to receive the free Arbor Day ponderosa, lodgepole pine, chokecherry and other trees and plants to rebuild and restore their properties from the catastrophic fire of 2013. Volunteers from Black Forest Together Inc., a 501(c) 3 charitable organization, have come together to help restore the community in reforestation and water issues. Photo by Janet Sellers.
Rufus Cappadocia at TLCA, May 11
Caption: On May 11, renowned cellist Rufus Cappadocia brought his remarkable and unparalleled sound to the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA) stage. Cappadocia found his cello in the garbage in New York City 25 years ago and redesigned it by adding a fifth string and magnetic pickups. Cappadocia said his cello is a "hybrid, being able to speak both acoustic and electric." After studying classically at McGill University, he extended the cello sound through a multitude of international influences and experiences garnered from his home city of New York and in travels to the Middle East, Europe, and other areas. Cappadocia describes his sound as modal music, not quite melody, not quite scale with each piece a "living composition." Information on upcoming events at the nonprofit TLCA is at www.trilakesarts.org. Photo by David Futey.
Mother’s Day at Fox Run Park
Caption: On May 12, Mother’s Day, the Tri-Lakes community was active at Fox Run Regional Park to celebrate the day with mom. Kite flying, volleyball, playground activities, giving the dog a run at the dog park, and picnicking were some of the activities enjoyed by families. Photo by David Futey.
RRR urges preparedness, May 4
Caption: Volunteers from Red Rock Ranch (RRR), Palmer Ridge High School Key Club, Kiwanis Advisors, and the RRR Firewise Committee hand-delivered extensive wildfire and emergency preparedness materials to all 194 homeowners in RRR in less than two hours at their National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day event on May 4. The RRR Homeowners’ Association used a $500 State Farm grant to defray event costs, and the Patrick Hall State Farm office donated funds for morning refreshments. The Boy Scouts of Troop 514 supported the effort, filling the delivery bags with information on how all residents of the "Wildland-Urban Interface" need to take action. RRR’s aggressive wildfire awareness and mitigation program has earned it designation as a Firewise USA community and recent selection as the Colorado site for the National Fire Protection Association Sites of Excellence’s two-year nationwide pilot project. Caption by RRR Firewise Committee Chair Dave Betzler. Photo by Beth Lonnquist.
Taste of TLC, May 8
Caption: The Taste of Tri-Lakes, a fundraiser for Tri-Lakes Cares, was held May 8 at Flying Horse Ranch. Tri-Lakes Cares staff, board members, and volunteers pose at the kickoff of the event, which was attended by about 200 people who enjoyed food tasting at a variety of booths. Standing, from left, are TLC board member Carol Foster, TLC Development Manager Christine Bucher, and TLC board member Molly Gargle. Sitting, from left, are TLC Development Associate Julie Nicodemus-Dail and TLC volunteers Steve Fulton, Patti Hettler and Robin Snow. Photo by John Howe.
DWFPD Safety Fair, May 11
Caption: Wescott Fire Protection District held its fourth annual Safety Fair on May 11 in partnership with Antelope Trails Elementary School. The music that was played was barely audible above the voices buzzing with excitement, while kids hurriedly lined up to have their faces painted, bikes decorated or fixed, and to look at the Fire Department vehicles. Two helicopters sat in the field, and while kids took turns sitting in one of the helicopter’s seats, Jacob Ezzel, a nurse who rides in the helicopter, talked about the way the three brave men tightly fit in the helicopter. Kids also explored the equipment in the El Paso County Hazmat, blood donation, and Search and Rescue trucks. Photo by Allison Robenstein. Caption by Ella Wertz.
Action photography, May 13
Caption: Warren Roh inspired a group of interested photographers with his stunning action photography works in a Palmer Divide Photographers action photography class May 13 that covered not only Roh’s long career as an action photographer but also many aspects of the equipment, tips, and techniques he has used over the years. Those included elaborate setups to simple ones, most all using a tripod and many with a laser shutter setup. Photo by Janet Sellers.
County Master Plan, May 14
Above: Tri-Lakes residents turned out May 14 to voice their opinions on El Paso County’s master plan, which the county will be updating over the next two years. It is holding public forums in partnership with Houseal Lavigne Associates (HLA) to collect community input. The master plan update identifies land use and development issues and will be combined with recently approved water and transportation master plans. (See related article at https://www.ocn.me/v19n4.htm#ebocc.) Pictured from left are Carly Peterson (blond hair), Brandon Nolin of HLA, county Planning Department Deputy Director Mark Gebhert, and Sean Tapia of HLA. During this meeting, residents identified the following three development concerns: overdevelopment, the apparent lack of concern for the environment, and transportation. Several there said if administrative decisions were more transparent, they might not have these worries about local governments. Take the associated online survey at http://planningdevelopment.elpasoco.com. Photo by Allison Robenstein.
Hear It Here, May 17
Caption: Gleneagle Sertoma has partnered with Hearing Loss Association of America—Colorado Springs Chapter for the past three years to host HEAR It HERE during May, Better Hearing and Speech Month. This expo brings together hearing assistance device providers, audiologists, and other services for the hearing impaired at one venue for a day of sharing. On May 17, nearly 80 persons shared the opportunity to learn how the newest devices work and how to contact needed services. Attendees could receive hearing screenings, have ear wax removed and learn more during short presentations by professionals in their respective fields. Audiologist of The Hearing Clinic and a member of Gleneagle Sertoma, Chynna Frana shares the latest innovations in hearing assistive devices. Photo courtesy of Gleneagle Sertoma.
Wildfire Preparedness, May 25
Caption: Palmer Lake firefighter Kyle Stephens (left) taught attendees how to use a fire extinguisher in a fire emergency during the wildfire preparedness event May 25, which included a group of speakers representing the Palmer Lake Fire Department, the El Paso-Teller 911 Authority, the Colorado State Forest Service, the Pikes Peak Office of Emergency Management, and the Coalition for the Upper South Platte. Photo by Janet Sellers
Dawson aquifer wells, May 13
Caption: General Manager Mark Birkelo of Barnhart Pump Co. shared over 30 years of well-drilling experience with the Friends of Black Forest Preservation Plan (FOBFPP) on May 13 at the Black Forest Community Club. His professional drilling data and experience say that the Dawson aquifer used by most private wells in the Palmer Divide/Black Forest area is staying at steady levels and sometimes increasing. This disputes the Colorado Division of Water Resources statements about dropping levels in that particular aquifer in the Black Forest area. Individual Dawson wells do vary widely in water productivity based on variations in local geological formations. Birkelo said the Dawson seems to be unaffected by lowering levels in the aquifers below it—the Denver, Arapahoe, and Laramie-Fox Hills—since there’s a confining layer between them. The lower levels in the Denver aquifer may be related to heavy pumping by municipalities such as Castle Rock and Highlands Ranch. He said residents should always call in professionals if they see any change in well water or system performance. For future FOBFPP speakers and opportunities, see www.fobfpp.org. Photo by Lisa Hatfield.
Art Hop, May 16
Caption: Featured artist Joe Beavers, right, and gallery artist Mary J. Welty, left, smile as they enjoy the first monthly Art Hop of the season, a sunny May 16 afternoon in Historic Monument. Fine art and decor were on view for sale all over town with music and refreshments adding to the festive, upbeat event. Art Hop will continue every third Thursday through September. Photo by Janet Sellers.
Meadow Grass Festival, May 25
Caption: The 11th annual Meadow Grass Music Festival lineup, filled with musicians, vendors, workshops, yoga, fun for kids, and guided tours of the historic Ute culturally modified trees, entertained a lively crowd enjoying the sunny weekend May 24-26 amid the historic forested grounds of La Foret Conference and Retreat Center. Photo by Janet Sellers.
By Judy Barnes, Events Editor
Although we strive for accuracy in these listings, dates or times are often changed after publication. Please double-check the time and place of any event you wish to attend by calling the information number for that event.
Slash-Mulch season is underway
The El Paso County Black Forest Slash and Mulch program will accept slash (tree and brush debris only) through Sept. 15. Mulch will be available through Sept. 21 or until mulch runs out. Hours of operation are: Saturdays, 7 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sundays, noon-4 p.m.; Tuesday and Thursday evenings, 5-7:30 p.m. The mulch loader schedule is Saturdays only, 7 a.m.-4 p.m. The cost for slash is $2 per load. The mulch loader fee is $5 per bucket, about 2 cubic yards. The slash and mulch site is located at the southeast corner of Shoup and Herring Roads in the Black Forest area. For more information, visit www.bfslash.org or phone the County Environmental Division, 520-7878; Carolyn, 495-3127; Chuck, 495-8675; Jeff, 495-8024.
County seeks citizen input: Master Plan Survey now online
El Paso County has launched an online survey to gather residents’ views as it creates the new county master plan. To complete the survey, go online to www.elpasoco.com and click on the "Your El Paso Master Plan" graphic.
Tri-Lakes Y Summer Sports Camps
For children ages 3 and up, weekly camps for various sports June 10-Aug. 2. Financial assistance is available. For more information, call 481-8728 or stop by the YMCA, 17250 Jackson Creek Pkwy., Monument. See ad on page 6.
July 4 Parade
Registrations are now open if you want to be in the Independence Day parade. Register online at www.MHKiwanis.org. The theme for the Fourth of July Parade in Monument this year is "Pioneer Days," honoring pioneers who settled along Palmer Divide before 1920. If you are related to one of these pioneers, you can be part of the grand marshal unit leading this year’s Monument Hill Kiwanis Fourth of July Parade. Register at http://MHKiwanis.org. See ads on pages 6, 11 and 13.
Support Palmer Lake Fireworks
Help support a Tri-Lakes tradition. You can donate directly to the fireworks fund at www.palmerlakefireworks.org. July 4 concessions will open around 5 p.m., bands will start at 6 p.m., and the fireworks begin at dark, around 9 p.m. Parking is $10. For more information, visit www.palmerlakefireworks.org.
Officiate high school basketball
Make the right call and become a high school basketball official. Email the Colorado Springs Basketball Officials Association, firstname.lastname@example.org, for information on training and certification.
Black Forest Together offers 2019 season services
Black Forest Together provides fire recovery/mitigation services to the Black Forest community summer through fall, weather permitting (Nominal fees may apply to cover equipment expenses): Post-fire recovery including hauling slash, building erosion control barriers, and planting seedlings to reforest the burn scar; Transplanting larger local ponderosa pine trees to expedite reforestation of the burn scar; Green Forest Mitigation utilizing local tree contractors to mitigate properties to Colorado State Forest Service standards; Promotion of healthy-forest education and best practices; and Consultation and assistance to other fire-impacted communities. For more information, contact Black Forest Together, 495-2445, or email@example.com.
County seeks nominations for Veteran of the Year, due June 30
El Paso County is currently seeking nominations for the third annual Veteran of the Year. Nominees should have demonstrated exemplary military service, community service, and support for veterans in the community. Nomination forms can be found at https://communityservices.elpasoco.com/veterans-services/veteran-of-the-year/.
St. Peter Catholic School now enrolling
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.
Volunteers needed for new nature trail
Black Forest’s award-winning School in the Woods began work on an extensive nature trail system that will educate students and the community about the plants and animals found in Colorado’s higher-altitude life zones. Volunteers are needed to support the project through public relations, fundraising, donations, assisting on planting and maintenance days, and other resources. To get involved, contact Jon Wuerth, school coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-234-4330.
I-25 MyWay commuting options website
Visit www.i25myway.org and enter starting and ending ZIP codes for personalized I-25 commuting solutions and savings estimates. The website will help you arrange the details and free test commutes, including carpools, van pools, and the Bustang South Line. The site will run through the end of construction in 2022.
Free grief group forming
The Church at Woodmoor, 18125 Furrow Road, Monument, is forming a group for people who have struggled with grief for six months or more. This group will meet for six weeks with a trained leader who will provide a safe place to process the grief resulting from the loss of a loved one, or grief due to a change in health or finances. Participation is limited to 10 individuals on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, contact Rick Jackson, 488-3200, Rjackson.email@example.com.
By Judy Barnes, Community Calendar Editor
Although we strive for accuracy in these listings, dates or times are often changed after publication. Please double-check the time and place of any event you wish to attend by calling the info number for that event.
LOCAL LIBRARY EVENTS
All Pikes Peak Library facilities will be closed Thu., July 4 for Independence Day.
WEEKLY & MONTHLY EVENTS
Our community calendar carries listings on a space-available basis for Tri-Lakes events that are sponsored by local governmental entities and not-for-profit organizations. We include events that are open to the general public and are not religious or self-promotional in nature. If space is available, complimentary calendar listings are included, when requested, for events advertised in the current issue. To have your event listed at no charge in Our Community Calendar, please call (719) 339-7831 or send the information to firstname.lastname@example.org or Our Community News, P.O. Box 1742, Monument, Colorado 80132.
Contact us at (719) 488-3455, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, or P.O. Box 1742, Monument, Colorado 80132-1742.
This page was last modified on January 24, 2023. Home page: www.ocn.me.
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