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By James Howald and Jackie Burhans
The Palmer Lake Town Council held a special session July 17 to plan for the future of the town’s volunteer Fire Department. Initially, the final item on the agenda for the meeting was "consideration for approval of an interim governmental agreement (IGA) between the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD) and the Town of Palmer Lake for fire protection and emergency medical services."
Many town residents attended and used the public comment portions of the meeting to express their support for Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department (PLVFD), and to argue the department should remain part of the town. At times, the comments grew heated, with one resident demanding the recall of Mayor John Cressman.
Resident Shana Ball, previously the fire chief of PLVFD, presented a plan to keep the department local to the community and to use a tax increase to pay for the necessary changes. Rich Kuehster, who served as the council’s liaison with the Fire Department when he sat on the Town Council, argued the council should make some short-term improvements to the existing facility and take its time developing a long-term plan.
Meeting takes a new direction in opening minutes
When the agenda was presented for approval at the beginning of the meeting, Trustee Glant Havenar moved to make two changes to the agenda: first, to give Shana Ball and Weston Oesterreich, one of the departments’ paid firefighters, 20 minutes to present a plan to keep the Fire Department local to the town, and, second, to remove the vote on the IGA from the agenda. The council voted unanimously in favor of Havenar’s motion, sending the meeting in a new direction.
Following that vote, Cressman said the goal of the council was to draft a ballot issue that would go to the voters in November, stressing that his intention was to put the issue of the department’s future before the voters.
Councilperson Paul Banta added that he wanted to keep the Fire Department as a part of the town. He said the town had underfunded it for years, and he was determined to understand the required level of funding to keep it local. He noted that Dan Qualman, a consultant hired by the town to help them plan the future of the department, thought up to 45 mills would need to be added to the town’s taxes to fund keeping the department local. Banta ended by saying that no merger would be put in place that night.
Alternative plan presented
Ball and Oesterreich took the floor to present a plan that they argued would allow the town to retain control over its Fire Department and yet spend less than Qualman’s estimate. They said they had adjusted Qualman’s estimates with the goal of defining the best option to provide fire and medical services at the lowest projected cost.
Ball and Oesterreich proposed:
• A multi-purpose station that would house both the Fire and the Police Departments.
• Additional staffing.
• An ambulance housed at the multi-purpose station.
As their presentation continued, they added details about each of the three parts of their proposal.
Regarding the station, Ball and Oesterreich said it might be built on property owned by the Fire Department or on land owned by local developer Kurt Ehrhardt next to the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts. Ball said Ehrhardt had proposed an interest-free loan with a balloon payment due in 10 years, for a total cost of $1.5 million. The proposed building would be 5,500 to 7,000 square feet. Ball said another builder had proposed a pole building for the multi-purpose station, which would be less expensive than Ehrhardt’s proposal.
In terms of staffing, Ball and Oesterreich proposed adding a fire chief and four more paid firefighters and EMTs.
During the discussion of ambulances and other equipment, Ball said grants could possibly defray the cost of an ambulance and other equipment.
Ball said she estimated a tax increase of 16 mills, for a total of 26 mills funding the Fire Department, would be enough to fund the proposed plan.
Following the presentation by Ball and Oesterreich, Kuehster pointed out the town had a fully functioning Fire Department now, with two paid staff supported by volunteers, so the need for changes was not urgent. He supported the proposed tax increase, he said.
Comments show support for PLVFD, concern with the mayor
During public comments, residents made these points:
• Many residents spoke in support of the Fire Department, recalling instances when firefighters went beyond the call of duty to help them and their families.
• Several residents said they felt the future of the department should be decided by the voters and that time should be taken to develop the right plan.
• Residents argued TLMFPD would necessarily take longer to respond to medical emergency calls and saw this as a reason not to merge.
• Several commenters said tax revenue that should go to the Fire Department was not properly allocated in the budget.
• Mike Bromfield asked the council to let the town make the decision and to schedule workshops on the topic.
• Meredith Bromfield said she felt a tax increase was necessary, although no one wants that. She recalled working on the issue in 2014 as a part of a committee that recommended an increase of 16.2 mills. A proposal for 10 mills went on the ballot.
• Bonnie Gray called for Cressman to be recalled. Other residents expressed anger that the Town Council would consider merging with another district.
• Greg Coopman, who said he grew up in Palmer Lake, argued the town code does not give the Town Council the authority to disband the Fire Department. Coopman now is a Monument resident and serves on its Board of Trustees.
• Former Mayor Nikki McDonald recalled talking to TLMFPD about a possible merger in the late ‘90s with no success. She said changes were needed and that the residents should decide.
• Several residents said the Fire Department was a part of the town’s traditions that it would be a mistake to abandon.
• Trish Flake argued that the Fire Department was not getting revenue that it was supposed to get, and that Town Attorney Maureen Juran had a conflict of interest because she works with the Town of Palmer Lake and also with TLMFPD.
• Ann Forsyth pointed out that the town was not large enough to provide enough medical calls for the EMTs to keep their skills current.
Council members, others express support for mayor, council, town
In response to a number of hostile remarks directed at Cressman, several of the council members spoke out to support him.
Trustee Mark Schuler said that while he sometime disagreed with Cressman, he was proud to serve with him.
Trustee Robert Mutu said of the council, "We are your neighbors; we are not your enemies." Mutu said the council was there to address serious problems that were created by the previous management of the town. He said he was committed to fixing the town’s problems.
Trustee Gary Faust said he had believed merging was the best strategy, that he might disagree with others on the council, but he respected them, adding, "I’m tired of being shamed for my service. … I’m tired of being told we should recall the mayor and everyone on this board, of being told we shirked our fiduciary duties ... that criminal charges should be brought ... this has got to end."
Kuehster pointed out that every department in town government is short of money, that the town should work together, and there was no point in attacking the council over past mistakes.
Ball got to the heart of the matter by saying to the attendees: "We get that you love our Fire Department ... the real question is what are you willing to pay to keep them?"
Time is short to develop ballot language
Board members will work with the Fire Committee to build a plan and confirm the mill levy increase required. Juran told the council they have about five weeks to develop language for the ballot. The deadline is in early September, she said. Once language is voted on, fair campaign practice laws take effect and a citizen-run issue committee will be needed to run the campaign and track expenditures.
At the end of the meeting, the council voted to participate in the El Paso County coordinated election in November and to begin holding meetings to work on the ballot language.
Caption: Many town residents attended the Palmer Lake Town Council meeting July 17 and used the public comment portions of the meeting to express their support for the Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department (PLVFD), and to argue the department should remain part of the town instead of merging with Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District. At times, the comments grew heated, with one resident demanding the recall of Mayor John Cressman. Photo by Jackie Burhans.
By James Howald and Jackie Burhans
The Palmer Lake Town Council met twice in July—on July 11 and again on July 25. At the first meeting, the council heard an update from Awake the Lake, hired an engineer to oversee that project, and heard a presentation on allowing dogs on the trail to the town’s reservoir. The council also promoted the interim town manager to a full-time position.
At the July 25 meeting, the board heard an audit report for the town’s 2018 finances, voted on a special event permit for a wine festival, and considered a conditional use permit for a commercial development at Illumination Point. Finally, Rich Kuehster, a former member of the Palmer Lake Town Council, reported to the council on his efforts to remediate ventilation and housing concerns in the town’s current fire station.
Bridge project faces obstacles
Representing Awake the Lake, Jeff Hulsmann began his presentation by recounting the lengthy history of the project.
Hulsmann told the council inaction on the part of the town was impeding progress, and he hoped they would sign contracts at the meeting. He said Awake the Lake had contracts with Big R Manufacturing to build the bridge and with SEMA construction company to install it, and he was ready to move forward. Hulsmann said he recommended the town hire Roland Obering to oversee the work, since Obering was already familiar with the project.
In response to Hulsmann’s remarks, Mayor John Cressman said hiring an engineer from GMS was already on the agenda and the town did not have a proposal from Obering. Town Attorney Maureen Juran said all she had seen was a handwritten note saying Obering would charge $10,000 for the project. Juran said oversight on the project was lacking.
Hulsmann told the council there was a shortfall of funds to complete the bridge and told them about his efforts to raise money for the project. A fundraiser was planned at the lake, he said, and he also suggested selling metal plaques that would be attached to the bridge.
The discussion led to an acrimonious exchange between Hulsmann and Trustee Paul Banta about the total cost of the project and the relative responsibilities of the town and Awake the Lake.
Town hires engineer to oversee bridge
The town elected to hire Dave Frisch of GMS Engineering to project manage the remaining work on the bridge.
Cressman noted that the town had previously worked with GMS, which submitted a formal estimate of $25,000. The council voted to approve GMS as the engineer to provide project management, with only Trustee Mark Schuler voting no. Banta and Cressman expressed willingness for the town to pick up the difference in cost.
Dog ban discussion continues
The board heard a presentation from Pam Ransom, who wanted dogs to be allowed on the trail to the reservoir. Ransom suggested the town sell licenses to residents and others who want to bring their dogs on the trail.
The council told Ransom enforcing her plan would be difficult and expensive.
Other residents said they saw an improvement in the condition of the trail since the ban on dogs was put in place. No action was taken.
Town manager hired
Cressman told the council that Valerie Remington had been hired as town manager on an interim basis when Cathy Green-Sinnard left the position. He proposed hiring her permanently and providing a raise and a "real position."
Juran proposed a motion that would hire Remington for $100,000 per year, with an annual review and a 5 percent raise conditional on a satisfactory review.
Mark Schuler made the motion and Cressman seconded it. Banta voted no and the other trustees voted yes.
Remington previously was financial officer and Human Resources manager for the town.
During public comments, a resident objected to the salary, stating that the town manager in Vail was paid far less. Remington made a statement that the resident’s information was incorrect, and the town manager of Vail made far more and had a housing and car allowance along with a retirement plan, which Remington did not. She said that a salary survey had been done to determine the appropriate salary for a town the size of Palmer Lake. Trustee Faust confirmed that his own research showed that Remington’s salary was appropriate.
Audit shows improved town finances
At the July 25 meeting, Dave Green, of Dave Green and Associates LLC, reviewed the results of his audit with the council. Green said the audit included a clean, unmodified opinion, indicating the town’s finances are in good shape.
Green said the town had $2.4 million in its General Fund and no unusual liabilities.
The town’s water fund had a balance of $375,000, he said.
Green said he saw improvement in the town’s financial practices over the previous year, adding the town "is getting on the right track."
The council voted unanimously to approve the audit report and forward it on to the state.
Wine festival permit expanded
Matthew Hexter, the entrepreneur planning the Palmer Lake Wine Festival scheduled for Sept. 14 at the lake, asked the board to increase the number of tickets he can sell from the 500 the council approved previously to 1,000.
Hexter told the council he would donate 5 percent of the proceeds to Tri-Lakes Cares, and that 15 wineries wanted to participate. Music would be provided by the Monument Jazz Trio, he said, and three to five food trucks would be at the event. Palmer Lake restaurants would be provided free booths at the event, he said.
Havenar said she saw little benefit to the town in Hexter’s plan and was concerned the town would need to clean up after the event. Hexter agreed he would be responsible for leaving the park in good condition after the event.
The council voted to grant Hexter’s request with the conditions that he provide parking, cleanup, security and evacuation plans.
Council has concerns about plan for Illumination Point
Jeremy Ferranti presented his plan for a business to support contractors at Illumination Point. The business would support contractors by providing a location to run their business, to store supplies, and to park heavy equipment, such as cranes.
Several of the council members expressed concerns about the impact the heavy equipment traffic would have on Highway 105 and about the potentially unsightly appearance of the proposed business.
Effort to improve existing fire station advances
Rich Kuehster asked the board to authorize him to proceed with his work to improve the ventilation and sleeping facilities at the town’s fire station. Kuehster said he needed about $25,000 to implement his plan.
The board voted unanimously to give him approval to continue his work.
The council next is scheduled to hold meetings on Aug. 8 and on Aug. 22 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 Jennifer Kaylor
The Triview Metropolitan District Board of Directors met for a special meeting in lieu of its regular July 16 board meeting to receive Kiewit Infrastructure Co.’s final design and bid information on the Jackson Creek Parkway (JCP) widening project. The altered meeting schedule allowed the district and Kiewit to begin construction on the planned timeline. The regular board meeting was rescheduled for the following week, July 23, during which the board received the 2018 audit report and discussed strategy to address future financial challenges.
Water attorney Chris Cummins and Director Anthony Sexton were excused.
Triview is a Title 32 special district within Monument that provides road, landscaping, and open space maintenance, and water and wastewater services to Jackson Creek, Promontory Pointe, Sanctuary Pointe, and several commercial areas.
The July 16 and 23 board packets may be accessed via www.triviewmetro.com/boardDocuments.
Construction plan and improvements outlined
Kiewit Project Manager Joe Houtz explained that the improvements are specific to two different sections of the parkway and, consequently, construction will be conducted in two phases. Phase one, with a start date of July 29, began work on JCP north—the stretch of the parkway between Leather Chaps Drive and Higby Road—to add:
• Two traffic lanes with three new intersections and turn lanes.
• A 5- to 6-foot-wide sidewalk on the east side of the parkway.
• Additions and enhancements to the current storm drain system to improve capacity.
• Curb and gutter straddling both sides of the north section.
• A stamped and colored center median with landscape rock embellishments.
• Long-life LED light poles.
The plan is to build the new lanes and east side amenities of this section first. Traffic will eventually be switched to the new lanes for crews to work on the west side’s storm drain system, curb, and gutter. The expected completion date of this phase is Sept. 24.
Houtz defined JCP south as the length of parkway from Baptist Road to Leather Chaps Drive and detailed the work to include:
• Removal of old, transverse-cracked asphalt and replacement with new asphalt up to 7 inches thick.
• Overlay a new 2-inch layer of asphalt and apply Petrotac, a membrane that combats moisture and stress damage, on parallel cracks.
Houtz confirmed the plan to work on one lane at a time in this section to reduce traffic congestion.
When the north and south sections have been completed, the plan is to lay a new 2-inch asphalt overlay on all lanes as well as north-south bike-lane striping on Triview’s full extension of the parkway, from Baptist Road to Higby Road. Houtz expected to reach substantial completion of the entire project by Dec. 2.
Initially, the widening project was more limited in scope and primarily addressed changes to the north section. District Manager Jim McGrady expressed concern that cyclists would face serious safety issues if road surface and lane markings of the two sections did not match. For this reason, the project was broadened to include the south section repairs and final, full-extension asphalt overlay with bike-lane striping. Consequently, the district sacrificed some 2019 projects and used excess funds from others to cover the additional $821,189 costs. Kiewit’s ultimate price fell just below $6.6 million.
It should be noted that the portion of Jackson Creek Parkway that runs north from Higby Road to Highway 105 is under the authority of the Town of Monument and El Paso County and is not part of Triview’s 2019 Jackson Creek Parkway widening project. McGrady asked the town to partner in the design process, since the town owns Jackson Creek Parkway north of Higby, but did not get a firm commitment from the board at its June 18, 2018 meeting. See https://www.ocn.me/v18n7.htm#mbot1806.
Long-term rates strategy: Prepare for loss of tap fees
Triview is a district where developers have room to build, and new development brings significant revenue in the form of tap fees. McGrady explained that Triview has historically used about $800,000 in tap fees to supplement the enterprise fund’s debt service and operating costs to provide water and wastewater services. Because development will eventually cease due to the constraints of district boundaries, the tap fees will also eventually dry up. When this happens, the district will need to rely solely on water and wastewater rates and fees to pay for operations and debt service. This will likely translate to a dramatic rate hike for customers.
Related costs looming on the horizon include the anticipated expenses of participating in the North Monument Creek Interceptor (NMCI). McGrady suggested that current and future tap fees should be "piggy banked" in preparation for NMCI-associated costs, some sort of return flow pipeline, possible water storage, and costs inherent in obtaining renewable water. He promoted avoidance of additional debt or at least avoidance of high-dollar, long-term debt.
Directors considered methods for raising rates more gradually, such as expanding the current breakdown of rate tiers, adding a capital improvement fee or customer service charge, and tying rate increases to specific growth metrics or annual percentages. The board concurred that the practices of neighboring water and wastewater districts were inconsequential; the district must charge what is necessary to run its operations.
McGrady committed to an in-house collaboration with the district’s accountant, Kathy Fromm, CFO of Special District Solutions, to conduct a cost-of-service analysis and to further develop the long-term financial strategy that he presented to the board in March 2019. See www.ocn.me/v19n3.htm#tvmd.
2018 audit deemed positive, amendment approved, June financials reviewed
Lewis Malloy, supervising audit senior, and Steve Hochstetter, partner of Stockman Kast Ryan and Co., provided a summary of Triview’s 2018 financial audit, which determined that the district’s financial statements "are fairly presented in all material respects," the highest level of assurance.
The board unanimously approved the district’s 2018 financial statements and authorization to file the Triview 2018 audit with the state of Colorado subject to final auditor review.
Fromm presented an amendment to the 2018 budget. The district opened a public hearing pertaining to the amendment. No public comments were received, and the public hearing was closed.
Fromm confirmed that the amendment accounted for a shift in tax revenue and excess road improvement expenses in the general fund and related capital projects. The water and wastewater enterprise fund amendment reconciled the district’s payoff of former debt after issuance of a new bond in November 2018. See www.ocn.me/v18n11.htm#tvmd. As amended, the general fund increased from $6.3 million to $13.4 million and the water and wastewater enterprise fund increased from $4.4 million to $16.7 million. See pages 18 to 21 of the July 23 board packet. Board directors unanimously voted to adopt Resolution 2019-03 amending the Triview 2018 budget.
Continuing the financial discussion, Fromm reviewed the June 2019 financials. She explained that the public works and parks and open space allocations under the general fund, and the water and wastewater allocations under the enterprise fund, "are all running at a positive," meaning operating revenues are covering operating expenses.
Property tax revenue, received as a lump sum generally in October or later, tends to skew the overall revenue percentage for public works, commented Fromm. The 2018 spring snowstorms also shifted the public works expenses into a higher-than-expected percentage for this mid-year assessment, she added.
Directors entered executive session §24-6-402(4)(b)(e)(f) legal advice, negotiations after each the meeting. OCN did not confirm whether additional actions were taken or decisions made after the respective sessions.
Caption: Triview Metropolitan District approved a contract with Kiewit Infrastructure on July 16 to widen the Triview-owned section of Jackson Creek Parkway from two lanes to four and install several amenities. The project was started July 29, and widening will extend from just north of the Leather Chaps Drive intersection to the Higby Road juncture. A second phase of repair work is intended for Triview’s southern section of the parkway, Baptist Road to Leather Chaps Drive. The district’s contract includes a final phase in which new asphalt overlay and striping are planned for the north and south sections, from Baptist Road to Higby Road. The anticipated completion date is Dec. 2. Photo by Jennifer Kaylor
The next Triview board meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 20. 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 Natalie Barszcz
At the Forest Lakes Metropolitan District (FLMD) and Pinon Pines Metropolitan Districts (PPMD) 1, 2, and 3 board meetings on July 1, the directors discussed the completion of the surface water treatment plant, accepted the 2018 audits for FLMD and Pinon Pines 1, and agreed to schedule all future regular joint meetings for late afternoon.
Surface water treatment plant
The target completion date for the surface water treatment plant was June 2, but a few final significant warranty items need to be addressed, said District Manager Ann Nichols. She also noted the following:
• Donala confirmed the plant is functioning well.
• All residents are solely receiving surface water from Bristlecone Lake.
• FLMD customers are not currently receiving any well water from non-renewable aquifers.
• Lake levels remain high due to healthy flows in Beaver Creek.
• Plans to combine Arapahoe well water with Bristlecone Lake water depends on the purchase of a pump for the previously drilled well.
2018 audits approved
The FLMD and PPMD 1 audits were conducted by Hoelting & Co. Inc. Certified Public Accountants and were due to be filed by July 31. Nichols stated that Pinon Pines Metropolitan District 1 exists only to collect taxes to be used to pay off bonds used to construct FLMD infrastructure, and the same will be true of PPMD 2 when development begins there. The board accepted the PPMD 1 audit 4-0.
PPMD 1 Board President/Classic Homes CEO Doug Stimple’s absence was excused.
• Capital assets for FLMD have increased from $9 million to $17 million with the completion of the surface water treatment plant.
• FLMD is operating at a loss due to the cost increases for the operations of the surface water treatment plant and wastewater treatment for more customers.
• Customer water rates will likely increase in 2020 closer to the levels of other northern El Paso County water district customers once the actual cost of operations have been determined.
The board also accepted the FLMD 2018 audit for state filing, 3-0.
Future meetings moved to afternoons
PPMD 1 Director Mike Slavic, a resident of Forest Lakes, asked that future board meetings be moved to late afternoon as a request on behalf of PPMD 1 residents. PPMD 1 Director Mike Hitchcock, also a resident, supported the request, saying it would work better for him to have the meeting at the end of the working day. FLMD Attorney Russell Dykstra confirmed that his calendar was open for 4 p.m. meetings in the future.
The board unanimously approved moving the time for the next meeting to 4 p.m., calling it a special meeting, although there was some debate on when the next meeting would be needed.
Assistant Secretary/President of Classic Homes Joe Loidolt suggested having an annual meeting just to answer residents’ general questions.
Nichols said the North Monument Creek Interceptor (NMCI) project continues to raise many questions, and it will likely take at least 18-24 months to reach an agreement. The wastewater portion to consolidate flows to the J.D. Phillips Water Reclamation/Recovery Facility in Colorado Springs is a desirable option for all the northern wastewater districts because it would be so much more cost effective.
However, FLMD is not interested in the future return flows of treated water from CSU, and the project could fail if a cost-effective solution to deliver return flows to other interested northern water districts cannot be found. See www.ocn.me/v19n1.htm#flmd and www.ocn.me/v19n4.htm#flmd. Also, see the Donala article on page 10.
The meeting adjourned at 10:48 a.m.
Note: One board director position remains vacant for the FLMD and for PPMD’s 2 and 3.
Future PPMD 1 meetings, followed by joint meetings of FLMD and PPMD 2 and 3, are usually scheduled for 4 p.m. the first Monday of the month in the Classic Homes office at 6385 Corporate Drive, Suite 200, Colorado Springs. Official meeting notices are posted on the district website at www.forestlakesmetrodistrict.com and at the Forest Lakes mailbox notice board. For general questions, contact Ann Nichols at (719) 327-5810 or at email@example.com.
Natalie Barszcz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By James Howald
At a meeting on July 8, the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD) board heard a brief audit report from John Cutler of Cutler and Associates. The board also heard comments from resident Shane Crippen concerning the district’s use of fees, and operational reports from staff.
Audit report shows good financial health
Because District Manager Jessie Shaffer presented the results of the district’s audit to the board in Cutler’s place at the June meeting, Cutler’s report to the board was very brief.
Cutler told the board the audit report was "unmodified"—an indication that the district’s finances are in good shape. There were no red flags, Cutler said.
More details about the contents of the audit report can be found in the July 6 issue of OCN, in the article titled "Audit report delayed" at www.ocn.me/v19n7.htm#wwsd.
District’s approach to fees questioned
Crippen shared his concerns about how the district assesses fees with the board.
Crippen told the board that he owns a rental property in Woodmoor that was recently without a tenant. During that time, he received a bill for $11 of water used and $70 in fees. He felt that the fees were excessive, and asked the board to develop a billing model entirely based on use. Crippen said he felt the use of fees was unfair to landlords.
Board President Jim Taylor explained to Crippen how the fees, especially the Renewable Water Infrastructure Fee (RWIF), came to be part of the district’s revenue collection. Before the RWIF was instated, Taylor said, the district relied entirely on ground water pumped from aquifers to serve the district. Understanding that ground water would not last indefinitely, the district acquired water rights for 3,000 acre-feet per year by purchasing a property then called the JV Ranch in June 2011.
The district spent $30 million to acquire the water rights, using bonds that will be paid off in 2036, Taylor said. Taylor pointed out that the RWIF has decreased by $5 per month as more residents have moved to Woodmoor.
The RWIF ensures that Woodmoor residents will have rights to renewable surface water permanently, Taylor said, adding that the district was ahead of its time in implementing a strategy that other districts have also begun to use in recent years.
Highlights of operational reports
• In the finance report, it was noted that water use in the district is down due to the cool, wet weather.
• Two hundred acres are being irrigated at the Woodmoor Ranch as part of the revegetation requirements the district must meet.
• Well 20 was temporarily out of production and was expected to be
productive again by mid-
• The radio system used by the district to control water production is being upgraded.
• A faulty valve at Highway 105 and Fairplay Drive was repaired.
• Brian Bush reported that a preliminary agreement to purchase the Walters property, which is currently open space, has been reached, and that as part of the agreement Proterra will build housing on 33 acres of the property.
The next meeting is scheduled for Aug. 12 at 1 p.m. Meetings are usually held at the district office at 1845 Woodmoor Drive on the second Monday of each month at 1 p.m. See www.woodmoorwater.com or call 488-2525 to verify meeting times.
James Howald can be reached at email@example.com.
By Lisa Hatfield
The Joint Use Committee (JUC) of the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility (TLWWTF) met on July 9 to discuss operations of this joint venture public utility. They also talked about upcoming meetings on state regulations and compared methods of noxious weed control.
TLWWTF is owned in equal one-third shares by Monument Sanitation District (MSD), Palmer Lake Sanitation District (PLSD), and Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD).
The three-member JUC acts as the board of the facility and consists of one director from each of the three owner districts’ boards: MSD board Chairman Ed DeLaney, JUC president; PLSD Vice Chairman Patricia Smith, JUC vice president, and WWSD board Director Lee Hanson, JUC secretary/treasurer. Other board and staff members of the three owner districts also attended, including MSD District Manager Mike Wicklund, PLSD District Manager Becky Orcutt, and WWSD Assistant District Manager Randy Gillette.
Facility Manager Bill Burks praised his staff for their hard work and good thinking when one very heavy sludge lagoon blower had to be removed, repaired, and replaced in a short amount of time. "I was really pleased at the way we worked together," he said.
Burks outlined specifics on the continued smooth operation of the facility. He presented the discharge monitoring report (DMR) for May, and he said all sampling results were well within required Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) discharge permit limits for TLWWTF and other baseline sampling. This includes checking biological oxygen demand (BOD), pH, total suspended solids, total inorganic nitrogen, total phosphorus, total recoverable iron, dissolved iron, potentially dissolved zinc, potentially dissolved copper, nitrite, nitrate, and E. coli.
He said the facility is functioning at 32% of its permitted hydraulic capacity and at 72% of its organic capacity, consistent with recent trends.
TLWWTF has grown enough that it needs to remove biosolids from the sludge lagoon every year instead of in alternating years. Burks said 175 dry tons should be removed by July 12 and then hauled always in trailers to be land-applied as fertilizer, which is the most affordable and ecologically sound solution.
Burks summarized the July meeting of Arkansas River/ Fountain Creek Coalition for Urban/Rural River Evaluation (AF CURE). The group continues to work with environmental engineers Brown & Caldwell on sampling and analysis plans, the Colorado Data Sharing Network on water quality, periphyton sampling plan, and the nutrient sampling project. Burks mentioned that it was unclear if the USGS gauge measuring stream flow in Monument Creek near Palmer Lake was still in service or not.
AF CURE members discussed how CDPHE is trying to change the way a facility’s capacity is calculated, "updating" definitions of vital keywords and wavering on the final rules on dealing with TENORM (technologically enhanced naturally occurring radioactive material). See www.ocn.me/v18n11.htm#tlwtfjuc.
MSD Environmental Compliance Coordinator Jim Kendrick talked about the June 12 Colorado Wastewater Utility Council meeting, saying extensive changes to construction stormwater drainage rules were in the works, generating many questions from stakeholders. The group also received information on corrosion control in drinking water facilities.
Kendrick said Environmental Attorney Gabe Racz would be attending upcoming state Regulation 22 meetings on behalf of permitted wastewater plant stakeholders. The consensus of JUC was that having Racz representing facilities was well worth the cost, which is divided among up to 60 groups who need his representation at state hearings.
Noxious weed control discussed
Wicklund had received a complaint from an irate resident who is a beekeeper concerned about the effects of herbicides on his hives, and so Wicklund asked the other managers to share with him about how they do county-required noxious weed removal from around their facilities and equipment.
The consensus was that mowing and herbicides were the best options for the districts to control noxious weeds and that the declining bee population is a worldwide problem, not just caused by three sanitation districts doing weed control.
The meeting adjourned at 10:53 a.m.
The next meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. Aug. 13 at the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility, 16510 Mitchell Ave. Meetings are normally held on the second Tuesday of the month and are open to the public from all three owner-districts. For information, call Bill Burks at 719-481-4053.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jennifer Kaylor
Donala Water and Sanitation District General Manager Kip Petersen presented to the full Board of Directors a resolution formalizing Donala’s Pueblo County 1041 permit at the July 18 meeting. He provided updates on Donala’s request to the Colorado Department of Health and Environment’s Water Quality Control Division (WQCD) to temporarily suspend arsenic discharge limits and on the district’s potential consolidation with Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) and northern El Paso County wastewater treatment providers to direct their respective wastewater flows to the J.D. Phillips Water Resource Recovery Facility.
Donala’s water attorney Rick Fendel was present.
Permit within reach and expensive
A public hearing on Donala’s 1041 permit request to Pueblo County was rescheduled, extending opportunity for public objections to July 11 and postponing consideration of permit Donala Board Resolution 2019-2 until this meeting.
This Donala 1041 permit is a necessary step for the district to use the CSU Southern Delivery System (SDS) to transport Donala’s renewable surface water from its Willow Creek Ranch through Pueblo County to Donala customers.
Petersen reported that Donala’s water attorney Rick Fendel and Donala water engineer Katie Fendel had reviewed the resolution and declared that it meets the established criteria set forth in Pueblo County’s land use rules, regulations, and conditions imposed for county 1041 permit approval. The resolution states that Donala’s directors agree to the county’s 1041 permit terms and conditions and acknowledge and accept them.
Permit conditions for Donala’s mitigation payments for Fountain Creek impacts include:
1. An initial payment of $50,000 to Pueblo County within 30 days of the 1041 permit’s effective date.
2. A subsequent payment of $200,000 to Pueblo County by Jan. 31, 2020.
3. An initial payment of $10,000 to the Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District within 90 days of the 1041 permit’s effective date.
4. An annual payment to the Fountain Creek Watershed District of $10,000 by Jan. 15 of the next year. These annual Jan. 15 payments will increase by 3% each year over the previous year’s payment.
5. An at-minimum proportional 0.3% share to any regional water quality monitoring in the Fountain Creek watershed conducted by the Fountain Creek Watershed District or one or more of the CSU SDS participants.
6. An at-minimum proportional contribution of 0.3% to the cost of any studies of a flood control dam or dams on Fountain Creek conducted or financed by the Fountain Creek Watershed District.
7. Fendel said the final Pueblo County 1041 permit would be provided to the Donala directors by July 30, 2019.
The directors unanimously approved Donala Board Resolution 2019-2.
President Ken Judd, the Fendels, Petersen, and Superintendent of Water Operations Mark Parker were scheduled to meet with the full Pueblo Board of County Commissioners on July 30 to address any lingering questions. Petersen speculated that the long-awaited approval would be granted at this meeting.
Arsenic regulation suspension request denied
At the June 20 Donala board meeting, Petersen reported that he had submitted a request with the WQCD to suspend the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility’s (UMCRWWTF) arsenic discharge limits for five years. See www.ocn.me/v19n7.htm#dwsd. This action was intended to give the facility’s partner-owners—Donala, Triview Metropolitan District, and Forest Lakes Metropolitan District—time to seek two possible solutions: regional consolidation of wastewater treatment with Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) or construction of a $1 million Water Treatment Plant Residuals Dewatering Facility (RDF). Both solutions require significant time to establish and the CSU collaboration has a "to be determined" cost.
If the northern El Paso County wastewater treatment facilities, UMCRWWTF and the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility (TLWWTF), collaborate with CSU, wastewater from the two facilities would be directed to the much larger and compliance-adept J.D. Phillips Water Resource Recovery Facility, and the burden of arsenic compliance would rest on CSU. The RDF solution would provide a means to extract arsenic and other contaminants as solid wastes to divert most of them from the wastewater treatment facility altogether. Petersen expressed appreciation for WQCD’s quick response but reported that the request had been denied due to mismatched timelines.
As a result, Petersen communicated with engineers at GMS Inc. to restart the million-dollar RDF project. He anticipated a construction kick-off in January 2020.
NMCI plan disappointments and delays
Referring to a July 9 memo received from CSU regarding the North Monument Creek Interceptor Project (NMCI), Petersen summarized that "CSU will not provide potable water in exchange for our return flows from the waste plant" meaning that direct potable reuse of the wastewater treated at J.D. Phillips is not an option. Indirect potable reuse is also fraught with many concerns, reported Petersen. If the northern entities consolidate and the discharge point is established much farther south, Donala would have to construct a new water pipeline to deliver its water back to district customers. The expense would be prohibitive and essentially strike indirect potable reuse as an option. The memo included a CSU proposal that the northern entities could account for their respective flows discharged at J.D. Phillips.
The NMCI also faces significant delays if it is to be constructed. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) stipulates that a yet-to-be-named lead agency must produce an Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision; this process may consume 18 to 24 months and postpone a construction start date to spring 2022
Petersen confirmed that several of the northern entities met recently to discuss possible options for recovering return flows.
Manager addresses finances and other topics
• Petersen commented that the wastewater operations and management capital projects expenses were higher than budgeted for 2019 due to manufacturing delays experienced in 2018. The costs were subsequently incurred in 2019. He expected to conduct a supplemental budget adjustment at the end of 2019 to account for the additional expenses.
• After reviewing and noting minor corrections, directors unanimously approved the formalized succession plan as drafted by Vice President Ed Houle. The plan outlines that the new district general manager, after completing a rigorous assessment, will likely start May 1, 2020. Petersen’s retirement officially falls on May 31, 2020, allowing for a month-long transition overlap.
• From July 21 to 26 a Donala crew spent time at Willow Creek Ranch repairing telemetry and perimeter fences, calibrating flumes, conducting fire mitigation, and maintaining the access road. Petersen reported that a visit to the ranch in early July showed good vegetation and grass cover and strong water flows compared to previous years.
• Due to concerns of a possible spill at Pueblo Reservoir in early July, Donala moved a substantial amount of water out of storage to avoid a loss. Petersen reported that the district is currently taking credit for as much water as its decree allows as part of its water management strategy.
The regular meeting moved into executive session at about 2:20 p.m. Petersen later confirmed that no decisions were made nor actions taken following the executive session.
The next board meeting will be held at 1:30 p.m. Aug. 15 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 Allison Robenstein
At the July 1 Monument Board of Trustees meeting, three new land use ordinances were approved, members were appointed to the Planning Commission and to the Board of Adjustments, and emergency repairs to a Monument well were approved using contingency funds.
Two commercial developments approved
The board unanimously approved the final plat for Flying Horse MOB Filing No. 1, the parcel that previously held Little Sprouts Learning Center, at 77 Third St. Flying Horse Medical Center & Aesthetics will move to the lot. See www.ocn.me/v19n7.htm#mpc.
Next, Senior Planner Jennifer Jones presented a zone change, as well as the preliminary and final PD site plans and final plat, for an 11.8-acre parcel called Monument Marketplace North on the west side of Jackson Creek Parkway across from Harness Road. Jones and the developer asked for the site to be "down-zoned" to Planned Development (PD) to include fewer "uses by right" to mirror those of the Regency Park Planned Commercial Development District.
The Final PD site plan for 3.8 acres of Monument Marketplace North will allow Ferrari Films to build an almost 16,000-square-foot building and move from its current location across the street.
As was discussed at the June 12 Monument Planning Commission meeting, Trustee Greg Coopman said the town had gotten into trouble with its lack of specific zoning definitions in the past and was in favor of changing the wording of "film studio" to "film and recording studio" and clarifying the definition. He also said there should be parameters on auto-use businesses. Jones disagreed, saying they could change this to conditional use to mitigate the negatives rather than creating parameters outright that might eliminate development options. See www.ocn.me/v19n7.htm#mpc.
Trustee Ron Stephens said citizens have been pushing back on the number of auto stores in the area and agreed they should just vote to eliminate auto uses completely. Mayor Don Wilson suggested they address this in the ordinances for all new developments generally, rather than including it in just this one. Jones confirmed stores like AutoZone are retail stores, so they wouldn’t be included in any of these definitions and could come into the town.
Harness Road will be extended across Jackson Creek Parkway and will be maintained by Triview Metropolitan District. The lots within the parcel will access Harness Road via a private road with no other access points onto Jackson Creek Parkway.
Resident Ann Howe spoke against the development, saying the Harness Road intersection is already a hazard. Marco Fiorito, vice president of Triview Metropolitan District, spoke in favor of the project, telling the board the expansion of Jackson Creek Parkway will include a traffic light at Harness Road.
The ordinance was unanimously approved without redefining film studios or exclusion of automotive stores.
Monument Ridge Apartments approved
The final land-use ordinance approved was for the Monument Ridge Apartments at the southeast corner of Baptist and Struthers Roads. This request was originally brought forward as a commercial development, but then changed to multi-family housing. The density of the housing has slowly crept downward with multiple denials by BOT and the Planning Commission.
At the Sept. 15, 2017 Planning Commission meeting, the developer asked for a multi-family housing density of 20-24 dwellings per acre, which passed but then failed at the BOT meeting. See https://www.ocn.me/v17n10.htm#mbot1002. In early 2018, the housing density of 16-20 dwellings per acre was passed by both boards. Tonight, the BOT agreed to abide by the Planning Commission’s conditions. See www.ocn.me/v19n7.htm#mpc.
During public comments, Monument Chamber of Commerce President Terri Hayes said it would help local workers who make $15 to $20 per hour and cannot afford to live where they work. Although there was no discussion of apartment rent costs at this meeting, John Romero of NES Inc. had previously said they would rent for $900 to $1,700 per month.
Coopman was against the buildings before and continued to be tonight because commercial businesses rather than residential housing would create taxes, he doesn’t agree the expected rent is affordable, and he is concerned about high-density housing in general.
Public Works Director Tom Tharnish brought forward a resolution to use Water Enterprise Fund contingency money for emergency repairs to Well 9 in the Trails End subdivision. Tharnish told the board the well was drilled in 2004 and suddenly experienced a catastrophic failure of the motor and pump, rendering it useless. This is the town’s largest well, producing 20% of the water for the town’s water system west of I-25.
The cost to repair the well is $100,000, all of which would come from budgeted contingency money, and will take 4-5 weeks to complete. The request was approved unanimously.
Members added to Planning Commission and Board of Adjustments
Steve King, a semi-retired real estate developer who recently moved here from Englewood, was approved by the BOT as an alternate to the Planning Commission. King is familiar with this type of commission as he served on the Englewood commission. Bornstein asked if it would be a conflict of interest if he was still developing land, but King said now he only remodels small projects. The Planning Commission needed to fill one of its two alternate seats.
Mitchell LaKind was approved as a regular member of Board of Adjustments. After moving here a year and a half ago, LaKind said he wants to contribute to the community. He had a previous property variance issue that he brought to the board, and he thought it appropriate to be a part of the decision-making process.
During the previous development discussions, Bornstein noted only four of the seven PC members attended the June 12 meeting, although the only open position was that of the alternate that King filled. The board was concerned about the PC board showing up, so they asked Wilson to attend the PC meeting on July 10 to let them know the BOT appreciates and depends upon its referrals.
Bill Wengert, Monument financial director, gave the board a financial review that impressed Clark, who said, "I highly commend you on this exceptional report." The report goes through May of this year and includes:
• The General Fund receives revenues from property taxes, retail sales tax, use tax, motor vehicle tax, specific ownership tax, cigarette tax, franchise fees, licenses and permits, charges for services, and fines and forfeitures.
• General Fund revenues have exceeded the amount from the same time for 2018 by $203,000, while GF expenditures have increased from last year by 14%.
• The Water Fund is the town’s enterprise fund, the account used for all water-related development and extraction, water treatment, water transportation systems, and repair and maintenance of such facilities.
• Revenues for the WF are exceeding the same time last year by 3% or $34,000 and tap fees have increased 11% or $64,000.
• All other funds include the 2A Water ASK Fund, Community Development Fund, Traffic Impact Fee Fund, Storm Drainage Impact Fee Fund and the Conservation Trust Fund.
• There have been no notable significant fluctuations in revenues or expenditures in any of these funds.
Employee of the month
Jones was named employee of the month. She was integral to getting the $100,000 matching grant from the state Department of Local Affairs to help with ordinance and zoning updates. Coopman asked the planning staff to put some urgency to the zoning update project, but Jones said they had already started bringing zoning changes to the board, at meetings in which Coopman was absent. See www.ocn.me/v19n7.htm#mpc.
Checks over $5,000
• Triview Metro District – Sales tax due for April 2019, motor vehicle sales tax for May 2019, and Regional Building use tax for May 2019, $176,117.
• Common Knowledge Technology Inc. workstation management, $5,000.
• National Meter & Automation – water meter supplies, $5,711.
• Prestige Worldwide Technologies LLC – PRV repairs, $7,177.
• Bliss Studio & Gallery – art benches, $7,500.
The meeting adjourned at 8:57 pm.
Allison Robenstein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Allison Robenstein
At its July 15 meeting, the Monument Board of Trustees (BOT) was caught off guard by a Labor Day weekend special event announcement that came during public comments and concerned the trustees about logistics due to a possible very large influx of visitors. They approved more money for the Well 9 retrofit and discussed attorney fees again, suggesting they should work toward hiring a full-time, on-staff attorney to save money.
Music festival plans questioned
Mike Bailey of Tri-Lakes Radio spoke during public comments, proposing a two-day "Monument Indie Fest" music festival to be held this Labor Day weekend at Dirty Woman Creek Park. He suggested the event could bring in "indie" bands from across the country, with as many as 4,600 spectators. The event would benefit the town’s park and recreations programs by sharing 25% of event proceeds, estimated to total $25,000.
Trustees Jeffrey Bornstein and Greg Coopman asked Town Counsel Joseph Rivera if they could suspend the normal rules of public comment to discuss the festival, so the agenda was amended to include a discussion of the event. Board consensus was that Town Manager Mike Foreman should have requested an agenda amendment at the beginning of the meeting to make this topic a discussion item.
Foreman spoke briefly, telling the trustees he had sent them an email July 11 immediately after meeting with Bailey and receiving the application. He said staff has not made a decision due to concerns about the logistics of the event but thought the trustees should hear about this proposal and ask questions before town staff made any decisions. None of the trustees replied to that email with questions before the meeting. Public Works Director Tom Tharnish said special events applications are reviewed by all the department directors before they are approved, but he was not aware of asking the BOT for approval unless there is a liquor license request.
Bailey said he had been approached six to eight weeks ago by Indie On Air Records, an independent record label producing events in smaller municipalities. After Mayor Pro Tem Kelly Elliott asked if this is the standard time frame for planning such an event, Bailey acknowledged the time for preparation has been rushed.
Coopman and Bornstein were visibly upset, asking multiple, logistical questions about neighborhood impacts, parking issues, security, noise levels, medical support, alcohol sales, overtime costs, and liability insurance. Bailey didn’t have answers to all the questions since he was waiting to hear back from several entities including School District 38, Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District and American Medical Response.
Mayor Don Wilson summarized for the board by saying they were not comfortable with going forward with the event unless there are more answers to their questions. He said the board could even call a special meeting to discuss new solutions as Bailey worked with Foreman.
Note: As of July 20, OCN noticed that Indie On Air’s www.Eventbrite.com site lists the Western Museum of Mining and Industry in Colorado Springs as the event location.
Attorney fees over budget
Trustee Laurie Clark asked for the "Checks over $5,000" to be moved off consent agenda for discussion. She requested that the Murray, Dahl, Beery & Renaud LLP invoices for Rivera’s legal service be emailed to her prior to the meetings, since it appeared they were being emailed only to Wilson and Foreman. However, Wilson said he wasn’t receiving emails on this and only got the information in the board packets. Rivera said he would now email them to all the trustees plus Foreman.
Elliott confirmed they would also continue to be included in the board packet that is publicly posted before all meetings.
During board authorizations, Bornstein suggested the town begin looking for a full-time attorney because using contract legal services is putting them $70,000 over budget. "This is not directed at our current counsel," Bornstein said, because Rivera is excellent. Foreman said an attorney who works onsite is more effective for the staff. The board directed Foreman to put together the requirements for a full-time attorney position.
Elliott noted the invoices reflect a lot of time spent researching questions from Clark outside the regular meetings. Rivera said the research is purely clarification and expansion upon previously discussed items. It is unclear why Clark doesn’t ask her questions during meetings rather than paying for extra time.
Background: In the past, the town has used both on-staff and contract attorneys. Attorney Gary Shupp was the town’s "contract attorney" for at least 15 years. In 2017, the trustees suddenly replaced Shupp with a "staff attorney," Alicia Corley, who was not reappointed. The town had no legal counsel until the trustees finally appointed Rivera as the town’s "contract attorney" in December 2018. See www.ocn.me/v17n7.htm#mbot, www.ocn.me/v18n6.htm#mbot, www.ocn.me/v19n1.htm#mbot.
Well needs full replacement of pipes and cabling
At the July 1 meeting, Tharnish asked the board for $100,000 to fix Well 9 after the motor and pump experienced catastrophic failures.
On July 15, he told the board that upon further inspection, his team determined the entire pipe and power cabling systems within the well needed to be replaced as well due to corrosion, so he requested $25,000 more for repairs. The board unanimously approved his request.
Economic Development Committee
Foreman asked the board to place two members on a new Economic Development Committee he is creating that will most likely meet quarterly for the next few years. He said two citizens will also be selected for the committee that will be run by town Community Relations Specialist Madeline VanDenHoek. Triview Metropolitan District will also put two members onto the committee. It was not stated whether this is related to the partnership between the town and Triview to work with Buxton Co. on economic development.
Coopman said he hoped the board members selected to the committee will share what they learn with the other BOT members. Clark asked to be on the committee, but Bornstein said her real estate business should be considered a conflict of interest. "I’ve substantially removed myself from" sales in Monument, she said, also noting her relationship with developers has been minimized.
Clark and Wilson were selected by consensus as committee members since they could represent both sides of town, east and west of I-25.
Public Works annual projects
Every year the town’s Public Works Department selects roads that need to be chip sealed and/or paved.
A-One Chipseal was selected to complete the chip seal project at a cost of $81,478. Clark asked if there were any other bids for the project, but Tharnish said the town subscribes to http://governnmentcontracts.us for Colorado, a consortium of pre-vetted businesses that can reply to requests for bid.
The paving project was awarded to Martin Marietta for $174,518 after Tharnish solicited bids from companies already working in the area. Both projects combined are well within the 2019 budgeted amount for asphalt repairs.
Tharnish apologized that he accidentally allowed the paving project to move forward without getting board approval. "The work was scheduled and was underway before I realized that I had not sent to the board for contract approval," he said. Trustee consensus was that this was unacceptable, but Foreman said oversight steps have been added so that this cannot happen in the future.
BOT opposes National Popular Vote bill
Wilson asked the board to approve his resolution in opposition of the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, which was enacted into law by the Colorado Legislature and Gov. Jared Polis in March, not by a vote of Colorado citizens. The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes across all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Wilson said this devalues the smaller states and increases the leverage of larger metropolises, "opening the door for new forms of gerrymandering." Trustee Ron Stephens said he isn’t in favor of the bill because it disrupts the prevention of voter fraud our founding fathers put into place.
The bill would take effect when states with a total of 270 electoral votes enact it into law. As of July 2019, states totaling 196 electoral votes have approved the bill.
The board unanimously voted in favor of the resolution.
Checks over $5,000
• CIRSA Insurance – third-quarter installment Property & Casualty Coverage, $30,295.
• CIRSA Insurance – third-quarter installment Worker’s Comp Coverage, $24,915.
• CIRSA Insurance – Property and Casualty Deductible, $5,000.
• Common Knowledge Technology Inc. – Technology management, $5,000.
• Murray, Dahl, Beery & Renaud – Legal services, $14,490.
The board went into executive session at 8:13 p.m. for negotiation of the Northern Monument Creek Interceptor and legal questions on water use litigation with Forest Lakes. According to Town Clerk Laura Hogan, there were no actions taken after the executive session. This meeting recording is not posted on the town’s website, but the video may be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggj3mhUl14U.
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 Aug. 19. 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 Kate Pangelinan
As noted by Planning Commission Chair Michelle Glover, the July 10 MPC meeting was the first to feature a full commission in some time. A new alternate planning commissioner—Steve King—filled in for Commissioner Kenneth Kimple. King was appointed by the Board of Trustees on July 1. Commissioners Chris Wilhelmi, Daniel Ours, Melanie Strop, Jeremy Lushnat, and Vice Chair John Dick were also in attendance.
Three motions were approved at the July 10 meeting—a Final Plat for Sanctuary Pointe Filing No. 6, a Final Plat for Conexus Business Park Filing No. 1, and a Final PD Site Plan for Peak Equipment Solutions. All items were approved for recommendation unanimously and will now go on to be discussed by the Board of Trustees (BOT). On July 25, a Preliminary Final PD Site Plan for Home Place Ranch Phase 1 was also approved for recommendation to the BOT during a special meeting.
Mayor Don Wilson spoke during the public comments section at the end of the July 10 meeting, stating his appreciation for the MPC. He wanted the MPC to know that the BOT looks at the recommendations sent to them.
On July 10, it was noted that Planner Jennifer Jones had been named the town’s employee of the month, which Glover said could be directly attributed to the grant Jones secured to revamp Monument’s zoning codes.
Board packets for both meetings can be located at https://monumenttownco.documents-on-demand.com/. Recorded MPC meetings can be found on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdFLo8UcqZfFdkio5jT6GDA/videos.
Sanctuary Pointe, Filing No. 6—Final Plat
Filing No. 6 for Phase 2 of the Sanctuary Pointe development consists of 27.9 acres on the north side of Sanctuary Rim Drive. This filing includes 59 residential lots and four tracts intended for trails, drainage, landscaping, etc. It includes Mountain Glory Drive, Golden Sun Way, Snowy Vista Place and Treetop Court.
In response to a question from the MPC, the applicant stated that the hope is to complete the connection between Sanctuary Rim Drive and Gleneagle Drive within the next 45 days. This construction was a condition during the initial approval of Phase 2, when it was decided that no more than 40 land use permits could be issued to the development before the connection was complete.
The Final Plat passed 7-0.
Conexus Business Park, Filing No. 1—Final Plat
Conexus Business Park is located between I-25 and Old Denver Road across from Monument Ice Rinks. Filing No. 1 for this development includes two lots and four tracts, named Tracts A through D. Lot 1 is about 5.4 acres and Lot 2 is 0.7 acres. Access to Lots 1 and 2 is provided via public roadways Wagon Bow Way and Centrus Way.
In response to a question from the MPC, the applicant stated that a church is anticipated to be built on Lot 1.
The Final Plat passed 7-0.
Peak Equipment Solutions—Final PD Site Plan
Peak Equipment Solutions is an equipment rental facility proposed to be built at 2124 Wolf Court, on Lot 4 of Wolf Business Park Filing 2, north of Monument Town Hall on Beacon Lite Road. This property is adjacent to I-25 and is about 2.15 acres. It is intended to include a 6,000- square-foot office/warehouse building, screened outdoor storage space, required parking, and landscaping. The proposed fence would be made of a material that hasn’t been brought to the MPC before; it’s described as durable, quick to put up, and simulating the appearance of masonry.
As many trees as possible will be saved on this property, though several will be relocated. Native grasses will be utilized, along with neutral paint tones for the building itself and a recycled asphalt material for the area meant to house machinery.
A handful of points were discussed before the MPC voted on this proposal, including the property’s anticipated security, lighting, and signage.
The Final PD Site Plan passed 7-0.
Home Place Ranch Phase 1
Glover, Strop, King, Kimple, Dick, Ours, and Lushnat were present at the four-hour Special Meeting on July 25. Wilhelmi was absent.
This meeting focused on the Preliminary/Final PD Site Plan for Phase 1 of the Home Place Ranch housing development, which will be marketed to the age 55-plus active adult community. Phase 1 deals with the southern portion of the property south of the large space that is not developable. It will encompass 130 acres north of Promontory Pointe and west of Sanctuary Pointe and includes a required connection from Sanctuary Rim Drive to Gleneagle Drive. See www.ocn.me/v19n2.htm#mbot.
The applicant is proposing noticeably less dense housing than the sketch plan that was originally approved in 2007 would allow, which called for 990 housing units total in Phases 1 and 2. Phase 1 technically allows for about 400 units, but the applicant is proposing 300 residential lots and 12 tracts, plus a Preble’s jumping mouse habitat that will "not be touched at all," said HR Green planner Phil Stuepfert The tracts will be maintained by the new homeowners association (HOA) of Home Place Ranch, and open spaces will comprise 45% of Phase 1. There is also a temporary emergency access to Higby Road, using Old Ranch Road, which will not be available for everyday use.
All the properties in the Home Place Ranch Development will be single-family unattached, although some in Phase 2 will be larger, "estate"-style homes, and those in Filing 1 of Phase 1 are planned to be "cluster lots," featuring lower maintenance yards and a common area maintained by the HOA. There will also be a clubhouse, an amenity only available to residents. Two miles of trails will be included in Phase 1, with more planned for Phase 2.
There are six filings within Phase 1, which will be platted and considered separately by the MPC and BOT. Details for each of these filings can be found in the MPC packet.
Extensive traffic studies were conducted concerning this project, and it was concluded that yes, there would be increased traffic on Gleneagle Drive, but that this "collector" road is designed to handle up to 10,000 trips a day. Currently it sees 1,900 trips and with Phase 1 this could reach 5,000 trips, said HR Green traffic engineer John Aldridge.
Commissioner Ours recommended the condition that the development should only be allowed to apply for 300 land use permits until the connection of Gleneagle Road north to Higby Road is completed. He did not want to miss the opportunity to add a condition like this to avoid leaving vague instructions that could be misunderstood in the future. A motion with this attached condition failed, 4-3, with Dick, Kimple, King, and Lushnat voting against. Those opposed thought this discussion would fit better when considering Phase 2 of the development.
The proposal was approved 6-1, with a condition that formal written approval be received from Fire Marshal Jamey Bumgarner concerning the project and its emergency egress routes before this goes to the BOT. Kimple voted against, stating that "It’s not if, it’s when" for when evacuation routes would be needed. He was concerned that the currently established emergency exit point may not be enough. Other MPC members added notes to their "yes" votes, which will be included in the meeting minutes.
MPC meetings are generally held at 6:30 p.m. on the second Wednesday of the month at 645 Beacon Lite Rd. Information: 884-8017 or http://www.townofmonument.org/meetings/.
Kate Pangelinan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Natalie Barszcz
At its meeting on July 17, Black Forest Fire/Rescue Protection District (BFFRPD), the board witnessed the swearing in of the new training captain, approved the search for hiring additional full-time staff, and accepted the resignation of board Chairman Rick McMorran. The board also appointed a new director and reassigned board positions.
Treasurer Jack Hinton was excused, and several items were postponed to Aug. 20 so he could participate in those discussions.
New training officer
The BFFRPD board welcomed Capt. Chris Piepenburg, who was hired July 2, for the newly created position of full-time training officer. Piepenburg was formerly employed at South Metro Fire Rescue, Denver, and is a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and East Coast Fire Training School instructor. The oath to the constitution was administered by McMorran during the swearing-in ceremony.
Note: In May, Interim Fire Chief P.J. Langmaid suggested creating this new position at his first meeting as chief instead of as board president. See www.ocn.me/v19n6.htm#bffire.
Additional staffing search approved
Langmaid said BFFRPD needs stable, consistent staffing levels to operate the rigs and get out the door with a "standard response." Currently, trucks are delayed leaving the stations because it is difficult to know how many staff can respond to a call, and on which rigs, instead of the "spinning of plates" on staffing occurring on a regular basis due to reliance on part-timers and volunteers, he said. See www.ocn.me/v19n7.htm#bffire, www.ocn.me/v19n4.htm#bffire.
• Hiring three firefighter/paramedics would cost the district $28,455 more than hiring firefighter/EMTs.
• Finding firefighter/paramedics is a lengthy process because they are a rare resource for small fire districts.
• On the other hand, firefighter/EMT staff could be hired as soon as August.
• The paramedic shortage within the district is critical and needs to be addressed immediately within the district.
• The offer of competitive wages would be an incentive in the hiring process.
Langmaid recommended replacing 1 1/2 part-timers with three full-time firefighter/EMTs or firefighter/paramedics if possible, and disbanding most of the part-time program, but keeping an affiliation with the part-time paramedics. The board approved his recommendation, 4-0.
Advanced Life Support standards of coverage
Langmaid informed the board that American Medical Response (AMR) had been notified that BFFRPD is changing its terms of service and will no longer be providing a paramedic to Colorado Springs, a city already saturated with paramedics.
Langmaid asked the board to consider raising the district’s "standards of coverage" by setting a goal of having at least one Advanced Life Support (ALS) staff on duty at least 95% of the time within the district. Langmaid explained the following:
• 100% ALS coverage is not reasonable because extending past 48-hour shifts to cover an absent paramedic is not good for patient care and staff.
• During the past 2 1/2 months, the district went without in-district ALS coverage for a total of three days and two hours.
• ALS is key for cardiac arrest and breathing treatment calls and is done by paramedics.
• Basic Life Support (BLS) is done by EMTs.
• ALS coverage is supplied by neighboring districts during a BFFRPD staff shortfall.
• He is also working on a staffing model that will force back some staff on days when coverage is short.
The board approved 4-0 the motion to establish a goal of maintaining ALS coverage within the district 95% of the time.
Langmaid said preventive maintenance involving safety issues would be a priority when allocating funds. He also thanked Deputy Chief James Rebitski for his hard work in obtaining a state grant for the purchase of an ambulance. Langmaid also said the following:
• The new 711 engine will be in service Aug. 1.
• BFFRPD will not commit to joining Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District in the development of a regional fleet maintenance facility until he knows more of the details.
• Nine sets of bunker/turnout gear have been purchased. This topic was discussed last month, and the board did not make a decision.
• Target Solutions Fire & EMS Online Training programs are now available for various staff employment training.
• A physical fitness training program is now in place—every day will be a training day at BFFRPD.
• Plymovent will install the new diesel exhaust ventilation systems on Aug. 12.
• The air conditioning in the IT Server room cost $5,600 to repair.
• AARP sent a card of thanks for BFFRPD’s assistance with their June shredding program.
2018 audit extended
Due to unforeseen circumstances and scheduling conflicts, BFFRPD auditor Dawn Schilling of Schilling & Company Inc. Certified Public Accountants requested an extension from the state as well as a date change for the August meeting.
The board voted 4-0 to move the next board meeting to Tuesday, Aug. 20.
Public and IAFF Local 4502 comments
Black Forest resident Gary Watson thanked the board for spending money wisely on the new engine. He also thanked Lt. Rick Robirds for his detailed tour of the new 711 engine during the recent open house. See related snapshot on page 25.
Watson asked when BFFRPD would be re-applying for the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant. Langmaid said they are still waiting for the federal government to determine approval of a grant before re-applying. See www.bffire.org/community/newsroom/news-information/.
Firefighter/EMT Larry Bell, IAFF Local 4502 representative, asked the board when the process to search for a new fire chief would commence. McMorran said the new board will review the matter during the August board meeting. Note: Langmaid’s term as interim chief was extended through September at the June 19 meeting.
Board president resigns
McMorran had previously notified the district that due to his residency change and no longer owning a property in Black Forest, his resignation would be effective after the regular board meeting on July 17. Langmaid presented him with a plaque in appreciation for his seven years of service to BFFRPD. His wife, Anita McMorran, was also recognized with a plaque for "21 years, two months, and seven days" of volunteer service as an auxiliary to department operations.
The regular board meeting adjourned at 7:39 p.m.
New board member appointed,
In the special meeting that followed, Chairman Rick Nearhoof introduced the three Black Forest residents who were seeking a position on the BFFRPD board. Nearhoof thanked all three candidates, Jim Abendschan, Thomas Garmong, and Maggie Mae Sharp, for making the selection a difficult choice.
The board unanimously approved the appointment of Abendschan as director to fill the vacancy left by McMorran. Director Nate Dowden encouraged Garmong and Sharp to reapply for the three positions that will become available in May 2020.
The board also unanimously approved motions to appoint Abendschan as director to fill the vacancy left by McMorran, appoint Vice President Rick Nearhoof as chairman of the board, and to appoint Director David Hoffpauir as vice chairman of the board.
Hoffpauir thanked Langmaid, Rebitski, McMorran, and Hinton "for making an about-face at BFFRPD since June 2013."
Note: The Black Forest Fire started on June 11, 2013, destroying at least 509 homes resulting in the deaths of two people. The forest fire burned 14,280 acres and was 100% contained on June 20, 2013.
The board meeting adjourned at 8:03 p.m.
Caption: Capt. Chris Piepenburg receives his badge from his son, Cole Piepenburg, after taking the oath to the constitution at the BFFRPD board meeting on July 17. Board President Rick McMorran administered during the swearing-in ceremony of the new training officer. Photo by Natalie Barszcz.
Meetings are usually held at 7 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month at BFFRPD Station 1, 11445 Teachout Road, Colorado Springs. However, the next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 20. See www.bffire.org.
Natalie Barszcz can be reached at email@example.com.
By Allison Robenstein
The Donald Wescott Fire Protection District (DWFPD) board held a regular meeting July 23 to discuss the search for a new board member after Director Gary Rusnak’s seat became available last month. They also attended the promotion of two firefighters to lieutenant.
Board Treasurer Joyce Hartung and Assistant Chief Scott Ridings were excused.
Board accepting letters to fill seat
Chairman William "Bo" McAllister explained the process of appointing a new board member to fill the seat left open when Rusnak moved out of the Wescott district.
The board will accept letters of intent from district residents who are interested in applying for the position until Aug.16. Send letters to District Administrative Assistant Stacey Popovich, firstname.lastname@example.org. To see if you live within the district, look at the district’s map at www.wescottfire.org/contact.
The board will review the letters they receive and could vote to appoint a candidate at the Aug. 20 meeting. District Counsel Matt Court said all Colorado-based special districts including DWFPD are now required to administer the oath of office and file the signed copy with the local Clerk and Recorder before the new member can be formally seated. Therefore, the board might also call a special meeting to speed up the new board member’s ability to join in the 2020 budget discussions.
Resident Steve Simpson asked if the board is looking for a specific skill set from potential applicants. Board Secretary Mark Gunderman said someone who will listen and make the best decisions for the firefighters, who has an open mind and no agenda, would be best. Director Larry Schwarz agreed, and McAllister said he enjoys having a board composed of different views and opinions.
Two promoted to lieutenant; volunteer staff increases
Just before the board meeting, Justin Chavez and Jonathan Urban were promoted to lieutenant positions, then McAllister administered the oath of office during the regular meeting. He noted there will be another promotion to lieutenant coming soon, as well as promotions for drivers. "This has been a long time coming," he said.
Volunteer firefighter Melissa Seidenberg told the board a new class of four volunteers would start in late July, with two other volunteers starting a bit later. The district has 22 volunteers total, Seidenberg said.
Chief’s report includes advocating for higher education
Chief Vinny Burns told the board he recently attended the International Fire Chiefs Association Conference & Expo, saying break-out sessions on Insurance Service Office (ISO) inspection preparedness and firefighter family dynamics and wellness provided helpful information to improve the district’s processes. Burns said he took a class on officer development and hoped to incorporate higher education opportunities for officers or those who would like to develop professionally.
Station thanked for community outreach and stable budget
During public comments, Simpson applauded Ridings for his forethought in bringing Force Broadband, a locally owned internet provider, to Station 2. Force will set up internet services and equipment inside the station, offering free internet service in return, thereby reducing the need to pay for internet services.
Mary Gunderman of the Gleneagle Women’s Club thanked the district for helping residents of Paradise Villas change smoke detectors after the club requested their assistance. Burns added that all the food the women’s club and others provide to the firefighters and staff is wonderful.
The meeting adjourned at 8:04 p.m.
Caption: Donald Wescott Fire Protection District Board Chairman William "Bo" McAllister administers the oath of office to Jonathan Urban, left, and Justin Chavez, who were promoted to lieutenants at the July 23 meeting. Photo by Allison Robenstein.
The next Donald Wescott fire district meeting is scheduled for Aug. 20 at Station 1, 15415 Gleneagle Dr. Meetings are usually on the third Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. For information, call Executive Administrator Stacey Popovich at 488-8680 or see www.wescottfire.org.
Allison Robenstein can be reached at email@example.com.
By Natalie Barszcz
At the July 24 Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District board meeting, the board approved a resolution that a district special election related to the Gallagher Amendment will be held in coordination with the El Paso County coordinated election Nov. 5, and discussed the findings of the 2018 financial audit with the auditors.
Director Michael Smaldino was excused.
Ballot issue resolution
Chief Chris Truty asked the board to approve a resolution to participate in the 2019 consolidated election with a district-wide ballot issue, and the board unanimously agreed. Over the past several months, the board has discussed the impact of Colorado’s Gallagher Amendment and the impact it has on TLMFPD. See www.ocn.me/v19n6.htm#tlmfpd.
The official ballot language has not yet been determined, but as Truty has explained, special districts could receive less tax revenue as Colorado’s Residential Assessment Rate (RAR) decreases due to the Gallagher Amendment. The ballot measure will ask voters to allow the district to be proactive about stabilizing its ability to deliver quality services when the economy changes. It would do this by, if needed, allowing the district’s board to raise its mill levy at a rate that makes up the revenue lost from the decreased RAR, without a vote of the people, when the state’s RAR decreases. In other words, it would allow the district to retain tax revenue. So this doesn’t increase taxes but only maintains them proactively.
2018 financial audit
Hilary Carlson and Mitchell Downs from the auditing firm of Osborne, Parsons and Rosacker LLP certified public accountants presented the 2018 audit to the TLMFPD board and gave it an unmodified or "clean" opinion. Downs commented that this year they found no deficiencies in the finance and accounting practices.
Downs thanked district accountant Becky Weese, Jenny Bilbrey her bookkeeper, and Jennifer Martin for the outstanding financial accountability systems put in place.
Truty thanked Carlson for teaching TLMFPD something new every year.
The 2018 audit was accepted 6-0 as presented.
Truty announced the following updates:
• The Station 1 remodel is still in the design process and making tiered wish lists, the lowest of which is what is currently in the approved budget.
• The process of annexation into the Town of Monument is still going forward.
• The labor agreement has been tentatively approved by TLMFPD and the labor representation. If ratified by the labor union, it will be presented to the board for approval for a one-year agreement.
• The El Paso County 911 Authority is installing station alerting systems county-wide to improve communications within all fire stations. The systems automatically turn on color-coded lights and turn electric devices off throughout a station when a call comes in to alert firefighters, allowing them to turn off radios and only be notified of relevant calls.
• The Larkspur Fire Department is having difficulty with access points to accidents on the I-25 Gap project. TLMFPD has a two-mile jurisdiction past County Line Road and has not experienced any difficulties, but Phase 3 is coming, and access problems could increase.
• The Pikes Peak Regional Communications Network in conjunction with Douglas County has installed repeaters on its towers. From Aug. 5, emergency communications in northwestern El Paso County will be greatly improved.
Station and fleet update
Deputy Chief Randy Trost said the leach field at Station 2 is now installed and fully operational. He thanked Bob and Carol Simpson for allowing the installation of a new leach field on their property.
Note: A leach field, also called a septic drain field or leach drain, is used with a septic system for the disposal of subsurface wastewater contaminants. It usually consists of an arrangement of trenches and perforated piping, with a layer of porous material (often gravel) to absorb the wastewater from the septic tank, and a covering of soil.
The second new engine is approaching buildout and the final design inspection team will visit Pierce Manufacturing Inc. in Appleton, Wis., from Aug. 18 to 21. The engine is expected to be in service mid-September.
Battalion Chief of Training Jonathan Bradley said the North Group active shooter drill took place at Palmer Lake Elementary School in mid-July with participation from TLMFPD, Donald Wescott, Black Forest, Palmer Lake and Larkspur Fire Departments, Monument Police Department, AMR, Penrose St. Francis, EMS institute and District 38. Monument and Colorado Springs Fire Department Explorers (14-20-year-old men and women) participated as live casualties for a 30-hour period in the simulated event. The point of the drill was to neutralize the threat and to test the skills learned last year with emphasis now on creating joint operating procedures in realistic scenarios.
Wildland fire updates
Truty said the district is now ready to be deployed to wildland fires if necessary. The Rocky Mountain Region risk is low this year, but 40 large wildland fires are burning in the United States at this time. Typically, an average of 100 fires are burning throughout fire season. A large wildland fire is defined as over 100 acres of timber or 300 acres of timber and grass.
Administrative Battalion Chief/Fire Marshal Jamey Bumgarner said a new Development Review Team has started meeting monthly at the Town of Monument to create a synergistic review process so that fire, utilities, etc. can see the big picture in proposed developments.
Bumgarner said training on the new chipper has begun for the TLMFPD staff. Chipping days are scheduled with homeowners associations and wildfire risk mitigation inspections, and new subdivision reviews are ongoing.
The meeting adjourned at 7:39 p.m.
Meetings are usually held the fourth Wednesday of each month. The next meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Aug. 28 at TLMFPD Station 1, 18650 Highway 105. For information, contact Office Administrator/HR Jennifer Martin at 719-484-9011. For upcoming agendas, see www.tlmfire.org/board.
Natalie Barszcz can be reached at nataliebarszcz.ocn.me.
By Jackie Burhans
The Monument Academy (MA) School Board met on July 18 to hear feedback from stakeholders on the new school, elect officers, and volunteer for committee assignments. Principal Elizabeth Davis was absent.
During public comments, several people provided feedback on plans for MA’s new school.
Mike Herbert, a seventh-grade teacher at MA, expressed concern about the number of boys’ toilets and the combined teacher workroom/lunchroom. He said it would be difficult for teachers to concentrate or have private phone conversations with parents. He asked that the board create a design advisory group made up of teachers, staff, and students to address these concerns noting that, though he had brought this up to administration twice in the past five months, no action had been taken.
James Keating, an MA parent, asked, given the email that said the board had declined to renew Dr. Don Griffin’s contract as executive director, why the board was confident Griffin would provide the services sought in his new contract and act with integrity and transparency during the financing and construction of MA’s new school. He also asked for the document that provided the board’s authority to sign and obligate MA to enter into a contract for services.
Cristin Patterson, who is the strings teacher at MA and whose husband is the band teacher, said she and the performance art team are concerned the new expansion will not support what is currently offered at MA nor support the board’s strategic plan. She said the new gym that is the hub of the new school in Phase 1 is smaller than the existing gym at MA and has no space for spectators. She noted that band and orchestra share a single space and are divided from the gym by a folding panel partition. She felt that it left one unusable wall, would be noisy, and did not provide sufficient security for valuable equipment. She noted that there is no raised stage in the gym and expressed concern that four board members had not yet seen the plans. She asked the board if this is what they wanted for their own kids and for the future of MA.
In additional comments, grandparent Carolyn Beddingfield expressed concerns about MA’s use of the TAGG system to hire substitutes, noting that Griffin had invested $15,000 in the company and expressing concern about the possible conflict of interest. She also noted his new contract would pay him $90,000 per year, which she noted was equivalent to three new teachers’ salaries. Community member Julie Keim also expressed concern that MA’s new bond comes from Wisconsin, given that Colorado is one of the few states that provides the school an improved bond rating. She asked that board members be transparent and ask questions, because they could bankrupt both schools by making the wrong choice.
Board officers and committee assignments
The MA board unanimously approved the following board officers for 2019-20:
• President Mark McWilliams
• Vice President Mark Molsen
• Secretary Megghan St. Aubyn
• Treasurer Melanie Strop
Board members volunteered for the following committee assignments:
• Curriculum, Dwayne Cooke
• School Advisory Academic Committee, Chris Dole
The following items were highlighted at the board meeting:
• Board policy 1514 covering the Board of Directors Code of Conduct was tabled until the next meeting.
• Treasurer Nancy Tive reported on revenue and expenditures and noted that Monument Academy Building Corp. (MABC) carries the liability of the current bond. She said the current bond payable amount is $12.910 million. The original bonds were refinanced in 2014 for $14.265 million at a lower interest rate, and $929,363 of building rentals were paid to MABC. Board member Strop presented Tive with a bouquet of roses in recognition of the additional work she had been asked to undertake.
• The principal’s report was given by Dean Charles Richardson in the absence of Davis. He focused on the upcoming year, noting that the school is actively pursing Title 2 funds, had nearly completed purchasing for the 2019-20 year, and was hard at work on the physical plant. He said the Dads of Great Students (DOGS) program would give parents the opportunity to volunteer time in the school, with Dole coordinating the effort. He said that MA was looking at data for the school but said that Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) results are embargoed until Aug. 15.
• McWilliams swore in new board member St. Aubyn.
The next meeting will be on Thursday, Aug. 18 at the Monument Academy library at 1150 Village Ridge Point. The MA School Board usually meets at 6 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month. Information on the MA School Board, including schedule, minutes, committee and finances, can be found at http://www.monumentacademy.net/school-board.
Jackie Burhans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Helen Walklett
During July, the El Paso County Planning Commission recommended for approval initial requests for the proposed Rollin Ridge Estates residential and commercial development to the southwest of the Highway 83 and Hodgen Road intersection. The commissioners also recommended for approval an application for a variance of use in Black Forest.
Rollin Ridge Estates
At its July 2 meeting, the Planning Commission unanimously recommended for approval three requests from property owner TC&C LLC relating to its proposed Rollin Ridge Estates development at the southwest corner of the intersection of Highway 83 and Hodgen Road. The 57-acre property is currently zoned RR-5 (residential rural) and is located within the boundaries of the Tri-Lakes Comprehensive Plan area. Access to the site would be via Hodgen Road.
The commissioners heard two rezoning requests, one to rezone an 8-acre part of the property to a planned unit development (PUD) where the anticipated plan for future development includes three commercial lots, and the second to rezone the remainder of the property to residential rural (RR-2.5) with the intention of putting 16 single-family residential lots on this portion. The third request was for a preliminary plan for the entire 57-acre property.
David Jones, Land Resources Associates, told the commissioners on behalf of the applicant that the commercial development would have a "commercial village" feel to it as opposed to being a strip mall center. This conforms with the recommendation for commercial development in the small area plan. The development would have four buildings on three lots. One building is planned to be single story and would house a convenience store with gas sales. The others would be two story with the intention that the lower levels be used for general retail sales while the upper stories would house professional or medical offices.
The final tenants of the commercial properties will depend on who comes forward, and all uses would have to go through the site development plan process and be reviewed by the relevant agencies before being granted the necessary permits to proceed. The commercial lots would have individual parking areas and landscaped open spaces totaling 43% of the site, which would be spread throughout the development. The developer anticipates full buildout to be completed over a five- to eight-year period.
As part of the commercial rezoning request, the commissioners recommended for approval a waiver request relating to the required lot size when using an onsite wastewater treatment system. Lots are generally required to be a minimum of 2.5 acres but all three in this proposal are slightly smaller than this.
Of the 15 adjacent neighbors informed of the plans by county, four objected and one was in favor. Neighbors’ concerns focused on water supply, increased traffic, the decrease in lot sizes and the impact on open space. No one spoke in opposition at the hearing. Jones told the commissioners that traffic would not be going into any other neighborhoods. Cole Emmons, senior assistant county attorney, said that the State Engineer’s Office had found the proposed water supply to be sufficient in terms of quantity and dependability and that the County Attorney’s Office had reviewed this and concurred. At the time of the hearing, the county’s Public Health Department had not made a recommendation for sufficiency in terms of water quality.
Commissioner Grace Blea-Nunez expressed concern that the commission was consistently approving smaller lot sizes in the area and noted that they were regularly receiving complaints about such rezonings. Commissioner Joan Lucia-Treese responded that, while she understood the concern with rezoning, property owners do have a right to request it.
The applications were then heard at the El Paso Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) on July 23. See the BOCC article below.
Variance of use for a second dwelling
At the July 16 Planning Commission meeting, the commissioners unanimously recommended for approval a request by the Herbertson Family Living Trust for a variance of use for a second dwelling on a 47.55-acre property zoned residential rural (RR-5) on the east side of Highway 83, slightly to the south of its intersection with Walden Way. The property is within the boundaries of the Black Forest Preservation Plan.
There are already two residences on the property, and the secondary residence did have a variance of use. However, as this residence has now been unoccupied for over a year, this variance is now considered abandoned and no longer in effect, and a new variance is required to allow it to be used. The property owner intends to use the second residence as a rental property.
The application is now due to be heard by the BOCC at its Aug. 6 meeting.
Helen Walklett can be reached at email@example.com.
By Helen Walklett
During July, the El Paso Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) approved applications relating to two proposed developments in Black Forest. The BOCC also made decisions relating to the redevelopment of the former Gleneagle golf course.
At the July 9 BOCC meeting, the commissioners unanimously approved three applications from McCune Ranch LLC relating to the Winsome development, which is the redevelopment of the McCune Ranch, at the northwest corner of Hodgen and Meridian Roads. The concurrently submitted applications for the 767-acre property were for a rezoning of 350 acres from RR-5 (residential rural) to RR-2.5 (residential rural), the rezoning of a separate portion of the property to the CC (commercial community) zoning district, and a preliminary plan for the entire property. 409 acres of the site will remain as RR-5. Access to the development will be via three proposed rural local roads along Hodgen Road and one along Meridian Road. All streets within the subdivision are planned to be public roads and would be adopted and maintained by county following their completion and satisfactory inspection. The property is located within the Black Forest Preservation Plan area.
The preliminary plan is for 143 single family lots, with an overall density of one dwelling per 5 acres across a mixture of RR-5 and RR-2 zoning, one commercial lot and 151 acres of open space, drainage tracts and rights-of-way. All perimeter lots, apart from those adjacent to Hodgen Road, would be over 5 acres and the lots along the northern boundary, adjacent to the Country Squires Estates subdivision, would be 7 to 10 acres. The 2.5-acre lots are generally planned to be located along Hodgen Road. The open space will include floodplain and wetlands, and there will be a pedestrian trail through it.
The commercial lot, situated at the northwest corner of Hodgen and Meridian Roads, would be just over 4 acres and in an area that the local small area plan identifies as a potential location for commercial uses. The plan further states that any commercial uses should be geared toward the needs of local residents. The rest of the CC-zoned area would be a drainage facility and not eligible for a building permit.
There has been opposition to the development from adjacent neighbors who have felt the rezoning of part of the property to RR-2.5 is not in keeping with the rural nature of the area. There is also opposition to the likely development of a convenience store.
The Mountain View Electric Association (MVEA), which would provide electrical service to the site, also opposed the preliminary plan application. MVEA is currently in litigation with the county regarding rights of way. At the suggestion of county staff, the developer has proposed an additional easement for MVEA that allows it to comply with county’s right-of-way regulations in this case.
The planners and developers worked closely with the Black Forest Land Use Committee on this development, and the committee supported approval of the preliminary plan, stating that the development "conforms well to the Black Forest Preservation Plan."
Services to the future residents of the development are to be provided by four special districts, known as Winsome Metro Districts Nos. 1, 2, 3, and 4. The districts will install the necessary public infrastructure and be responsible for the ongoing maintenance of the open space, trail, drainage ways, and floodplain areas. The process necessary to establish the four districts got underway at the July 23 BOCC meeting when the commissioners unanimously approved the districts’ service plan.
Rollin Ridge Estates
At the July 23 BOCC meeting, the commissioners unanimously approved three requests from property owner TC&C LLC relating to its proposed Rollin Ridge Estates development at the southwest corner of Highway 83 and Hodgen Road. The 57-acre property is currently zoned RR-5 (residential rural) and is located within the boundaries of the Tri-Lakes Comprehensive Plan area. Access to the site would be via Hodgen Road.
The commissioners concurrently heard a request to rezone 8 acres of the site to a PUD (planned unit development) for future commercial use, a request to rezone the remainder of the property to RR-2.5 (residential rural) for 16 single-family residential lots, and an application for a preliminary plan for the whole site.
David Jones of Land Resources Associates, on behalf of the applicant, told the commissioners that the commercial development would be four buildings over three lots. One would be intended as a convenience store and gas station and the other would be a mixture of retail and office space in two stories.
The county received objections from neighbors who had concerns about water availability, increased traffic, the impact on open space, and the smaller lot sizes. David Schroeder spoke at the hearing to voice his and fellow neighbors’ concerns about the proposed commercial development that he said would drastically and irrevocably alter the nature of the area in profoundly detrimental ways.
The applications were approved 3-0. Commissioners Longinos Gonzalez and Holly Williams were excused. There was a finding for water sufficiency for quantity and dependability, but a finding for water quality was deferred to the final plat stage because the county’s Public Health Department has not yet made a recommendation for this.
The applications were recommended for approval by the El Paso County Planning Commission at its hearing on July 2. See article on page 17.
Gleneagle golf course redevelopment
The commissioners approved a request for a vacation and replat request from G & S Development Inc., the owner of the Gleneagle Golf Course Residential Infill Development, to create the final 12 lots on the former golf course at their July 9 meeting.
The request related to a tract created at the time of the final plat approval for the rest of the former golf course to allow the development to move forward while drainage issues relating to the 12 lots were resolved.
The El Paso County Planning Commission heard the application at its June 18 meeting and recommended it for approval. See www.ocn.me/v19n7.htm#epcpc.
Helen Walklett can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jackie Burhans
The Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA) board met July 24 to discuss improving communications for public safety, learn about an uptick in mountain pine beetle (MPB) activity, and hear updates on The Barn expansion. Board members Lee Hanson, Bert Jean, and Rich Wretschko were absent.
Public Safety communication improvements
Public Safety Director Brad Gleason reported that Woodmoor Public Safety (WPS) has been granted approval to join the Pikes Peak Regional Communications Network (PPRCN). Gleason said this will allow WPS to better communicate with surrounding public safety entities such as fire and police departments and the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office. He noted that Sheriff Bill Elder was very supportive of this effort. For more information see http://pprcn.com.
Gleason later made a motion to request $8,700 from the reserve fund to buy five new radios. WPS will still have its own channel (talk group) for internal communications but since WPS regularly assists with traffic control and often arrives at a fire scene first, it will also be able to communicate directly with other entities on a shared channel instead of going through dispatch. This will allow WPS to quickly relay information that could allow other entities to adjust their response level based on current information.
Gleason noted that the current radio system is a VHF system slated to be out of service by the FCC by 2020. This spurred the effort to join PPRCN, purchase new radios, and to ultimately improve community safety and working relationships with other public safety entities. The board voted unanimously to approve the motion.
Uptick in mountain pine beetle
Forestry Director Ed Miller reported there have been 10 new cases of MPB activity in North and Central Woodmoor in 2019. Eleven pines with MPB infestations were removed from the common areas. Bush noted that another option of spraying, while not cheap, is available in some cases.
Woodmoor Public Safety addition
Commons Area Administrator Bob Pearsall reported that WIA received its building permit for the WPS addition to The Barn on July 15. Prior to beginning excavation, a large blue spruce tree was successfully moved on July 22. The construction is anticipated to take about 60 days. Three windows will be repurposed elsewhere in The Barn and 10 sprinkler heads were removed and will be placed in storage as spares.
• The first mowing in Woodmoor common areas has been completed. There has been unusually high grass growth this year. Residents should mow tall grass on their property to the edge of the roadway to improve overall community appearance and eliminate a potential fire hazard.
• President Brian Bush stated that Community Outreach Director Jean will report on five newly available scholarships at the August meeting. Jean also has been attending the NEPCO meetings to report important information to the board and residents.
• Bush reported for Treasurer Hanson that expenses remain low but income in certain categories is a little down. He has asked staff to review projections through the end of the year, so the board has a more accurate forecast to help with budget planning for 2020.
• The July 13 chipping day at the Lewis-Palmer High School parking lot saw 132 loads, including six to eight from nearby communities. The two chippers reduced wait times to 15 minutes. The next chipping day will be held in the same location on Aug. 3.
• The program fix for the WIA sprinkler system has resulted in a water bill nearly $1,100 lower than last year.
Caption: A large blue spruce was successfully moved before beginning excavation for the Woodmoor Public Safety expansion at The Barn. Photo courtesy of WIA.
The WIA Board of Directors usually meets at 7 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of each month in the Barn at 1691 Woodmoor Drive, Monument. The next regular meeting will be on Aug. 28.
Jackie Burhans can be reached at email@example.com.
By Bill Kappel
It was another active month around the region, with precipitation again well above average even for a normally wet month of July. Most locations in the region accumulated 5-7 inches of rainfall, about twice as much as normal. This also helped to keep temperatures in check, with only one afternoon of widespread 90s. Of course, all the moisture and clouds also kept overnight lows on the mild side, resulting in an overall monthly average temperature right about normal.
The month started off with active weather, as afternoon and early evening thunderstorms were a daily occurrence from the 1st through the 8th. As is typical during the summer thunderstorm season, there was a significant amount of variation in who received the heavy rainfall and who missed out. The heaviest rainfall occurred during the midafternoon hours of the 2nd and was accompanied by areas of hail. Several areas picked up more than a half inch of rainfall within about 30 minutes. Temperatures during the first week of the month were right around normal, with afternoon highs in the upper 70s to low 80s. The exception was the afternoon of the 6th when highs struggled to reach the 70-degree mark, well below normal for early July.
Dry and relatively quiet conditions then moved in for a few days from the 9th through the 12th as high pressure built in from the southwest and cut off the low-level moisture supply from the east. Temperatures responded during this dry period, with highs reaching the mid- to upper 80s on the 11th and 12th.
But the calm, warm conditions didn’t last long, as more moisture began to move into the region starting on the 13th. This started the next cycle of quiet mornings and afternoon thunderstorms. This lasted from the 13th through the 16th, with 1-2 inches of rainfall occurring in many locations.
This period was enhanced by the North American Monsoon pattern, as evidenced by the fact that temperatures stayed relatively warm each day. In other words, there were no fronts moving through causing the thunderstorms, instead it was warm, relatively moist air moving into the region from the southwest around the North American Monsoon high pressure area. Highs remained in the mid- to upper 80s on the 17th. Then drier air accompanied by westerly winds helps to elevate temperatures even more, with highs reaching the upper 80s and low 90s on the 18th and low 90s on the 19th. But be glad we live above 7,000 feet on the Palmer Divide, because this generally keeps our temperatures about 10 degrees cooler than Colorado Springs and Denver. And on days in the low 90s for us, that means a lot.
This warm and dry spell was broken up quickly starting on the 20th, with areas of heavy rain and hail during the afternoon of the 20th and 21st. The heaviest rainfall fell during the late afternoon and early evening of the 21st, with several areas accumulating more than 2 inches of rain.
Cooler air then worked back in during the last week of the month, with highs dropping into the 70s and low 80s. But the active weather conditions continued, with thunderstorms and rain showers each day from the 23rd through 27th. After a brief break of dry, mild conditions on the 28th, another round of heavy rain, hail, and strong thunderstorms returned on the 29th.
Unlike normal conditions, the storms on the 29th moved more from north to south and tapped into high levels of instability along and just east of the I-25 corridor. This combined with low-level winds moving in from the southeast to cause some extra lift and rotation in the atmosphere. The result was areas of large hail and even some reports of funnel clouds in the area.
The last two days of the month saw a return to normal conditions, with highs in the mid-80s and just a few scattered thunderstorms.
A look ahead
August is the last true "summer" month for the region. We are often greeted with sunny, pleasant mornings that turn into afternoon and early evening thunderstorms. Highs during the month range from the mid-80s at the beginning of the month to mid-70s at the end. Temperatures at night get more comfortable as well, often dipping into the 40s.
July 2019 Weather Statistics
Average High 81.4° (-1.1°)
100-year return frequency value max 87.6° min 75.3°
Average Low 51.5° (+0.5°)
100-year return frequency value max 56.2° min 46.9°
Highest Temperature 91°F on the 19th
Lowest Temperature 45°F on the 9th
Monthly Precipitation 5.45" (+2.08" 40% above normal)
100-year return frequency value max 6.03"min 0.98"
Monthly Snowfall 0.0"
Season to Date Snow 0.0" (the snow season is from July 1 to June 30)
Season to Date Precip 5.45" (+2.08" 40% above normal) (the precip season is from July 1 to June 30)
Heating Degree Days 27 (-5)
Cooling Degree Days 67 (-13)
Bill Kappel is a meteorologist and Tri-Lakes resident. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclaimer: The information and opinions expressed in Letters to Our Community are the responsibility of the letter writers and should not be interpreted as the views of OCN even if the letter writer is an OCN volunteer.
D38 bond: Support the district now and for the future
The D38 School Board plans to include a bond on the ballot this fall—one bond with clear language to build one school. I support the bond based on information gathered regarding the following questions:
1. How does the D38 education tax rate compare to other districts?
D38’s education tax rate is much lower than comparable districts. For tax year 2018 (paid in 2019) our D38 mill rate was 44.068. Academy D20’s rate was 60.216 (36.6% higher than ours). Cheyenne Mountain D12 was 55.0 (24.8% more). See all mill rates on the El Paso County treasurer site below. School districts are two-thirds the way through the document.
2. What happens to D38 education taxes if the bond passes?
Hilltop Securities (D38’s bond advisors) estimates the education mill rate will increase to 44.289, which will be offset by the residential assessment rate decrease from 7.2% to 7.15%. This is possible because the D38 tax base has grown due to increased property valuation and new construction. Passing the bond leaves the D38 rate essentially unchanged, and still far below comparable districts.
3. Has D38 demonstrated financial reliability repaying current debt?
The bonds for Palmer Ridge, Prairie Winds, and Creekside/Bear Creek are being paid on schedule, and as they are paid our education tax rate has decreased annually. This is different from comparable districts that have kept rates constant (example: D20 at 60.216 for the past five years) or voted large increases (last year D14 Manitou Springs increased by 9.9 mills to 61.9 and D2 Harrison increased its rate by 15.215 to 48.333).
The Tri-Lakes region is growing rapidly; another school is needed. I’m thankful residents previously voted to fund and build schools my kids attended. It’s time to support the district now and for the future.
El Paso County Mill Levies (2014-18): https://treasurer.elpasoco.com/mill-levies/
Hilltop Securities Bond Estimates: https://go.boarddocs.com/co/lewispalmer/Board.nsf/Public#, search 2019 Bond LPSD - $28.985 Million - EPC AV Estimate 5.15.2019.pdf
D38 Bond Pay Off: https://www.lewispalmer.org/site/default.aspx, 2018 Bond Info, Let’s Talk Facts and Figures
Welcome, Dr. KC Somers
Dr. KC Somers, thank you for your time to meet with community constituents at several locations. I appreciated your desire to facilitate a healing process of unity within our community. The key is for all individuals to hold the utmost integrity.
Acknowledging the desires of the majority of the community must be reflected within the actions of our district and administrators. Mirroring community desires through action can build up that which has been broken. We have a wonderful school district because of the dedication of caring parents, teachers, and responsible students.
I appreciated your acknowledgment of parents and teachers within our community. I’m looking forward to more open discussions.
At the June D38 school board meeting, three board members voted to publish all CORA requests and their responses on D38’s website for all to see. Director Pfoff championed this idea, saying the purpose is to show the community they are being "completely transparent." Considering the fact that administrators recently started defacing every requested page with the requestor’s name in large-sized font, is this transparency or intimidation? Was it also under the guise of transparency when administration stood in unison as community members’ names were called out publicly in February of 2017?
Since we’re being completely transparent, the community should also know:
1. D38 spent nearly $9,000 of our tax dollars on those eight-page full color, fancy mailers they sent at the end of May. The former superintendent claimed these mailers didn’t violate Fair Campaign Law because a factual summary is allowed, and they haven’t made any formal decision yet (May 2019 BOE meeting). But they signed a resolution regarding the intent to pursue a bond in the upcoming election in February 2019.
2. D38 spent $36,000 to put last year’s initiatives on the ballot, and they’re spending it again this year.
3. In an email dated 4/22/2019, the former superintendent said Grace Best houses the transition program, homeschoolers, and the robotics club, all of which can be housed at another school or off-site location. The board was CC’d on this email. Why can’t Grace Best be a school again?
Complete transparency would encourage a full manpower assessment and a forensic audit. This will help build trust and start the new leadership on a new path letting the community know everything is in proper order.
LPSD 38: property tax effect of 2019 bond
During my career, I have never seen any estimate realized exactly as projected. However, every plan requires the use of estimates. For example, the estimated tax effect on a taxpayer living within the LPSD 38 area (property) is based upon historical trends, hypothetical assumptions, and a decision to be fiscally conservative. The assumptions used in the 2019 bond plan to estimate the tax effect calculation were identified and formulated with input provided by El Paso County (EPC) historical records and third-party professionals.
The LPSD 38 Board of Education believes that the evidence to support the assumptions used to estimate the construction and bond costs for the 2019 bond plan are reasonable. We invite discussion about the reasonableness, sufficiency, and validity of the assumptions used to estimate the tax effect on a local taxpayer upon passage of the 2019 bond.
Some assumptions the board relied on to estimate the tax effect on a local taxpayer are:
• $592 million—property assessed value (AV) provided by EPC
• 7.15%—residential assessment rate provided by EPC
• $29 million—construction cost for new elementary school provided by architects and general contractor
• 3.687%—interest rate provided by Hilltop Securities
• 2%—future growth rate in AV bi-annual reassessment chosen by the board
• 15 years—bond term to settle all interest and principal chosen by the board
The board used the above assumptions to structure the 2019 bond to minimize the incremental annual tax impact on $400,000 of AV for a local taxpayer while retiring the 2019 bond in 15 years.
The board provides construction and bond cost estimates on the LPSD 38 website. Please view it from a critical thinking perspective as you determine your support for the 2019 bond. Thanks!
Treasurer, D38 Board of Education
By the staff at Covered Treasures
"Reading ... a vacation for the mind."—Dave Barry
Here are some "chilling" mysteries to enjoy during the last hot days of summer:
Aunt Dimity and the Heart of Gold
By Nancy Atherton (Viking) $26
Years ago, local author Nancy Atherton awoke with the first lines for Aunt Dimity’s Death, her first book. It was voted "One of the Century’s 100 Favorite Mysteries" by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association. She has just released the 24th book in the series, Aunt Dimity and the Heart of Gold. What starts as a Christmas party turns into a mystery involving a secret room, a hidden compartment, and a heart of gold. With Aunt Dimity’s otherworldly help, Lori and friends set out to unravel the mystery behind the heart of gold and along the way discover new friendships.
By Barbara Nickless (Thomas & Mercer) $15.95
Local author Barbara Nickless brings the third installment in her gripping Sydney Rose Parnell series. Railway cop and former Marine Sydney Parnell and her K9 partner, Clyde, work to chase down a ruthless killer, Alpha, before he finds Malik, an 11-year-old Iraqi boy with secrets to guard. But when their paths collide, Sydney realizes just how far-reaching and sinister Alpha’s past is.
By Kate Atkinson (Little, Brown and Co.) $28
Jackson Brodie has relocated to a quiet seaside village in the occasional company of his recalcitrant teenage son and an aging Labrador. Jackson’s current job, gathering proof of an unfaithful husband for his suspicious wife, is fairly standard issue, but a chance encounter with a desperate man on a crumbling cliff leads him into a sinister network and back across the path of his old friend Reggie. Old secrets and new lies intersect.
The Sentence is Death
By Anthony Horowitz (Harper) $27.99
Death, deception, and a detective with a lot to hide stalk the pages of Anthony Horowitz’s second book in his bestselling series starring private investigator Daniel Hawthorne. A successful celebrity-divorce lawyer is found dead in his home with baffling evidence. As Hawthorne takes on the case, it becomes clear that he, too, has secrets to hide. As our narrator becomes ever more embroiled in the case, he realizes that these secrets must be exposed—even at the risk of death.
By Stephen King (Gallery Books) $18.99
An 11-year-old boy’s body is discovered in a town park. Eyewitnesses and fingerprints point unmistakably to one of Flint City’s most popular citizens, Terry Maitland. As the investigation expands and horrifying details begin to emerge, King’s story kicks into high gear, generating strong tension and almost unbearable suspense. Maitland seems like a nice guy, but is he wearing another face? When the answer comes, it will shock you as only Stephen King can. Soon to be an HBO limited series starring Ben Mendelsohn.
Before She Was Found
By Heather Gudenkauf (Park Row Books) $16.99
For 12-year-old Cora Landry and her friends Violet and Jordyn, it was supposed to be an ordinary sleepover. But when they decide to sneak out to the abandoned rail yard on the outskirts of town, their innocent games will have dangerous consequences. Cora is discovered on the tracks, clinging to life, her friends nowhere to be found. This is a timely thriller about friendship and betrayal, about the power of social pressure and the price of needing to fit in. It is about the great lengths a parent will go to protect their child.
The Long Call
By Ann Cleeves (Minotaur Books) $26.99
Bestselling author Ann Cleeves’ first book in her new Twin Rivers Series introduces readers to Detective Matthew Venn. Taking place in North Devon, a body is found on a beach nearby where Venn grew up and now lives. The case calls Matthew back to the people and places of his past, as deadly hidden secrets are revealed, and his new life is forced into a collision course with the world he thought he’d left behind. (To be released in September.)
"You know you’ve read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend."—Paul Sweeney
Until next month, happy reading.
The Covered Treasures staff can be reached at email@example.com.
By Harriet Halbig
The 2019 Summer Adventure program ended on July 31, celebrated with a gala party on the Village Green in Palmer Lake featuring face painting, games, mascots, snacks, and more. The library thanks the many teen volunteers who helped everything run smoothly by registering young patrons and awarding prizes for their achievements.
Following the party, on Aug. 3, is the annual Ice Cream Social sponsored by the Tri-Lakes Friends of the Library and the Palmer Lake Historical Society’s Chautauqua celebration featuring ice cream from Palmer Lake’s Rock House, music by the Velcro Barbershop quartet, and a visit from the Pikes Peak Library District Book Trike.
Regularly occurring children’s programs include Book Break on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10:30 to 11, Story Time on Tuesday from 10:30 to 11:15 (please note there will only be one session of story time each week going forward), and Toddler Time on Thursdays at 9:30 and 10:30. Paws to Read will be on Mondays and Wednesdays from 4 to 5.
Join us on Friday, Aug. 9 from 4 to 5:30 for Coloring for Everyone. We will color themed coloring sheets at a variety of skill levels. Colored pencils, markers, and gel pens are provided.
Lego Build will be held on Saturday, Aug. 17 from 10 to 11:30. All ages are welcome to build to their heart’s content.
See above for descriptions of Coloring for Everyone and Lego Build.
All Ages Knitting meets in the study room from 3 to 5 each Wednesday. This intergenerational group supplies practice materials and basic instruction, but attendees are encouraged to bring their own projects.
The Teen Creative Writing Group will meet in the study room from 6 to 7:30 on Tuesday, Aug. 6. Join us to meet fellow writers, share ideas, do writing exercises, and enjoy snacks. This group is for ages 12 to 18.
Wednesday, Aug. 28 from 4 to 5:30 there will be a program to celebrate Spoil Your Dog Day (Aug. 10) and National Cat Day (Oct. 29). We will make dog and cat treats for your favorite friends. Ages 12 to 18 only. Registration is required.
The Monument Library Anime Club will meet from 5 to 6:30 on Thursday, Aug. 29 to enjoy videos (nothing rated above TV-14) and tasty snacks. Help shape the anime club for the future. This group is for those 13-14 and older.
The Teen Advisory Board meets in the study room from 2 to 3 on the first Saturday of each month to talk about ways to improve the Teen Zone, share ideas for displays or events at the library, and earn volunteer hours.
See above for descriptions of Coloring for Everyone and All Ages Knitting. Other regularly occurring adult programs include Senior Chats on Wednesdays from 10 to noon, yoga on Mondays from noon to 1, and two book groups described below.
The Life Circles Writing Group will meet from 9:30 to 11:30 on Mondays Aug. 5 and 19. This group involves writing memories of life experiences, offering discipline, inspiration, and structure. No registration is required.
The Second Thursday Craft on Thursday, Aug. 8 from 2 to 4 is Burlap Wreaths. Join us to create a rustic wreath, perfect for getting a head start on fall decorating. Adults only, and registration is required.
Join author Rand Samuelson on Sunday, Aug. 11 from 1 to 2 to take a look at the boisterous early days of Colorado from 1859 to 1930. The Rowdy Colorado will cover the shortage of women, gambling, bad whiskey recipes, licit and illicit drugs, prostitution, and cattle rustling. No registration required.
The Monumental Bookworms will meet from 7 to 8:30 on Tuesday, Aug. 13 to discuss Last Bus to Wisdom by Ivan Doig. All are welcome and no registration is required.
The Monumental Readers will meet from 10 to noon on Friday, Aug. 16 to discuss The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs. All are welcome and no registration is required.
The Monument Spinning Group will meet from 1:30 to 3:45 on Thursday, Aug. 22.
On Monday, Aug. 26 from 2 to 4 use a wooden board, small nails, and thread to create a work of art representing our state flag. Registration is required.
The History Buffs will meet from 1:30 to 3:30 on Wednesday, Aug. 28. This year’s discussion topic is the Age of Exploration. No registration is required.
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.
Family Story Time in Palmer Lake is on Wednesdays at 10:30.
Toddler Time is on Fridays at 10:30.
We hope to see you at the Ice Cream Social on Saturday, Aug. 3 from 1 to 2:30.
Please note that all Pikes Peak Library District facilities will be closed on Monday, Sept. 2 in observance of Labor Day.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Sigi Walker
Palmer Lake Historical Society monthly history program attendees gathered July 18 at the Town Hall to caravan to the Three Eagles Ranch in southeast Larkspur. Our hosts, Rollie and Paula Johnson, provided a unique and thoroughly enjoyable experience for the large number of attendees.
Referring to a prior program on Ute culturally modified trees presented by John Anderson, Rollie called our attention to a huge, unusually shaped ponderosa pine just outside the ranch’s event hall. "It is 450 years old," he said, "and it is a spirit tree. From its top, Tava (Pikes Peak) is clearly visible."
Next, the attendees were introduced to the Three Eagles’ "yoked" oxen pulling what is known as a "prairie schooner" or "western wagon." It was pointed out these wagons were smaller and more maneuverable than Conestoga wagons, which were large freight wagons used mainly in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, and Virginia. And, for the emigrants, oxen were the draft animals of choice: less costly, calm, friendly, intelligent, strong, and could eat while walking. In most cases, the settlers walked alongside the fully loaded wagons.
Rollie explained that a steer is classified as an ox when it reaches 4 years of age and has been trained as a draft animal, often weighing over 2,000 pounds. A team is usually paired from birth, and the two spend their lives together. The animals are controlled through voice commands and hand signals. Today, American Milking Devon Oxen are extinct in England and critically endangered in the United States.
The attendees then moved inside the event hall for an informative presentation covering some history on westward expansion and maps showing the Oregon, California, and Mormon Trails. It was pointed out that most deaths on the trail were due to illness, weather, and accidents, not because of attacks by Native Americans. Wagon trains were popular until the Transcontinental Railroad connected the East to the West in 1869.
Caption: Three Eagles Ranch American Milking Devon Oxen, Davey and Dandy. Photo by Mike Walker.
Mark your calendars for the next upcoming PLHS event. On Saturday, Aug. 3, the Historical Society will host "Chautauqua celebrates Railroad Days in Palmer Lake." Commemorate the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad and enjoy model railroads, railroad history presentations, exhibits, and tours. The event runs from 10 to 3 in the Palmer Lake Town Hall and Village Green, 28 Valley Crescent, with the Library Ice Cream Social from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Palmer Lake Historical Society events and programs are free and open to all.
Mike and Sigi Walker may be reached at email@example.com.
By Janet Sellers
A favorite easy-care perennial is Russian sage, perovskia atripilcifolia, a gorgeous, waterwise plant thriving locally. It’s actually a Tibetan medicinal plant and not the distantly related desert-grown purple sage salvia known as "Ute tobacco sage." Both have ancient medicinal uses. We easily grow the gorgeous, pest-free Russian sage here in Colorado.
I bought many Russian sage plants for a pretty penny years ago, and now have plenty of this hummingbird, butterfly, and bee favorite. We can bundle and dry the twigs and flowers for a fragrant, colorful dried bouquet. Historically a great antimicrobial house air freshener, it makes a lovely friendship gift, too.
Arizona State University reports its importance in academic studies ranging from cultural and intellectual history, to biology, to agriculture and landscaping. "... In central and southwest Asia, Russian sage is a shrub of many medicinal uses. Flowers are eaten fresh, while the foliage is smoked like tobacco because of its slight euphoriant properties. Academic papers there include information on identified medicinal oils and secondary compounds in Russian sage, "Russian sage has also been found to possess inhibitory activity and might have potential therapeutic effects on inflammatory diseases."
In the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health academic paper "Medical smoke reduces airborne bacteria," we learn that "aerial bacterial population caused over 94% reduction of bacterial counts by 60 [minutes] and the ability of the smoke to purify or disinfect the air and to make the environment cleaner was maintained up to 24 hours in the closed room ... absence of pathogenic bacteria in the open room even after 30 days ... demonstrated that [by] using medicinal smoke it is possible to completely eliminate diverse plant and human pathogenic bacteria of the air within confined space.…"
The purpose of the study was to see whether or not these medicinal smoke deliveries could be explored by western medicine. Findings included: "The advantages of smoke-based remedies are rapid delivery to the brain, more efficient absorption by the body and lower costs of production. Perhaps good news for back-to-school germ season?
In my outdoor Summerfest demo series (see below) in August, I will be demonstrating how to make Russian sage bundles and how they’re used, as well as other backyard herbs we can easily grow in our gardens and window sills for good health and pest control.
Monument Community Garden on view
Surrounded by sunflowers, the Monument Community Garden shows off its summer crops, prepping for fall crops. Location: north end of Lavelett Park, Beacon Lite Road, Monument.
Summerfest: nature talks, herbs, celebrations
On Aug. 3, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Summerfest includes an alpaca petting zoo, garden ideas and goodies, art, and talks on local plants including herbs. Herbs, soil talks, and more Aug. 10 and 17 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and by appointment. Southwinds Fine Art Gallery, 16575 Rollercoaster Rd.
Caption: Russian sage grows well locally and supports pollinators. The age-old indigenous use of smudging (burning dried flower and stick bundles for medicinal smoke) has found favor in modern science. Ancients used it to soothe the stomach (tea), treat fevers (tea compress), help relieve cold or flu symptoms (steam pot) and to purify the air in a closed space or sick room (smudging). Photo by Janet Sellers.
Janet Sellers is a "simple ways" ethno-ecologist, aka lazy gardener. She researches and writes about nature, gardens, and re-discovering ancient healthy living ideas. Contact her at JanetSellers@ocn.me.
By Janet Sellers
Most of us buy art because blank walls are bleak, and art offers a sense of completion like no other expressive form. As an artist, I change the art at home, studios, and galleries. But, what if you’re not an artist and want to put up something and live with it for a while to see how it fits in? Enter art rentals or art leasing.
There are many ways a perfect art fit happens, from homes or dorm rooms to enormous corporate buildings. A search for the right art is a search for the right influence and feel to a place. This is human, and we humans have been doing this since cave paintings! We usually think of buying art, but we can rent it and change it out, too.
The importance of art at work
Workplace art studies worldwide have helped businesses address key challenges such as reducing stress (78% agreed), increasing creativity (64% agreed) and encouraging expression of opinions (77% agreed). 80% of the women (66% of the men) in the studies agreed that art at the office could reduce their stress levels. Furthermore, 92% of the women stated that art affects their general well-being, compared to 71% of the men.
Japan’s Hiroshima University studied workers who looked online at cute baby animals. "The present study shows that perceiving cuteness not only improves fine motor skills but also increases perceptual carefulness." And, they note that cute objects might be useful to "induce careful behavioral tendencies" in "specific situations, such as driving and office work."
The London law firm JAG Shaw Baker bought quirky, eclectic pieces of art, which are unusual for a sector known for its conservatism. "When it came to fitting out the office, I wanted something that was fun, open and didn’t look like a conservative law firm—the clients really appreciate that."
Art rentals and leases offer clients short-term enjoyment into long-term ownership, and leasing credits can go toward eventually owning artwork. This gives the art from artists or galleries to the client with some leeway for change. The art rental/leasing offers artists passive income while clients "think it over."
Artists, designers, and curators help client decisions from homes to corporations. Artists rent out art through many channels including art advisory firms, corporate consultants, or directly asking firms about how they acquire art for their firm.
Art and corporate strategy
I often visit an organization with a ground floor of framed posters in neutral, horizontal lines, abstract colors with calm, copacetic, modest influences. The next floor’s posters include circle elements reminiscent of targets, on view to problem-solving employees dealing with targets and plans for corporate success; the meeting rooms have dynamic posters with "challenge" imagery—athletes, adventure, wildlands. The firm’s top floors have artful paintings, not posters; the rich painted surface implies stability and sturdy investment. With mere peripheral impact, even the corporate walls were purposeful.
Nowadays, corporations are wary of how art collecting looks to shareholders and business relationships. The show-off 1980s corporate arts one-upmanship has waned in favor of separate corporate art collection investiture, not evident from the interiors. Further sleuthing could reveal pricey, upscale corporate art interest. Some art is sold during corporate downturns, like stocks.
Buying original art has qualities that live through generations, holding interest and value. Artists, art sellers, and buyers have costs and use smart choices to enjoy the process. Buying nationally and internationally could lack personal, creative affinity; buying locally supports our creative community here at home. The local advantage? Knowing the artist personally, having a pleasant, personal relationship overall, and being in front for what’s next!
A summer evening with art, music, conviviality in Historic Monument. The next Art Hop is set for 5 to 8 p.m. Aug. 15 at:
Bella Art and Frame Gallery, featured artist, member artists. 183 Washington St.
Santa Fe Trail Jewelry, with featured courtyard artists, 106 Second St.
Bliss studio and gallery, art of Jodie Bliss, 243 Washington St.
Gallery 132, group of artists, crafters, events. 251 Front St.
August, September festive weekends
Studio events, weekend creative fun:
Southwinds Fine Art Gallery—Taste of Summer, Aug. 3, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.: art, crafts, baby alpaca petting zoo, mega-bubbles, herbfest, farmer’s market; Aug. 10, 17, 24, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.: art, crafts, mega-bubbles, herbfest, farmer’s market.
Front Range Open Studios—annual Open Studios weekend: art, artist demos, creative environments, Sept. 7-8, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Maps at local shops and online at http://FrontRangeOpenStudios.com.
Caption: Artist Sarah Dean demonstrated her equine oil painting techniques for an admiring crowd at Bella Art and Frame Gallery at the Art Hop on July 18 in Historic Monument. Dean is the gallery’s July featured artist and her equine and Western-themed paintings and graphite pencil works proved to be a favorite of visitors this year. The monthly Art Hop is a community art festival with all kinds of art, live music, food trucks, and more on a walk around town. The next one is from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 15. Photo by Janet Sellers.
Janet Sellers is an artist, writer, speaker, and teacher. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Barn Dance, July 3
Caption: On July 3, the Barn Dance, as is its tradition, started off the Fourth of July festivities for the Tri-Lakes community. Ronnie Davis and the Rocky Mountain Outlaws were the musical headliner that got attendees on the dance floor throughout the night. Bill Miller, who coordinated the event this year, said the event was "honoring Si, Dorothy, and the Sibell family for their contributions and commitment to the Tri-Lakes community." Si, a former mayor of Monument, passed away in December 2018. Miller said proceeds from the event will support Wounded Warrior USA and American Legion Post 911. Photo by David Futey.
Bethesda Gardens BBQ, July 3
Caption: Bethesda Gardens Assisted Living celebrated Independence Day a day early, on July 3, with an annual barbecue for the residents. The event was open to the public and was enjoyed by many from the staff of the Town of Monument and Veterans of Foreign Wars. Photo by John Howe.
Pancake Breakfast, July 4
Caption: On the morning of July 4, the Knights of Columbus Council 11514 hosted its annual Fourth of July Pancake Breakfast in the St. Peter School walkway. Past Grand Knight Dave McCloy said the Knights were expecting 1,600 for this year’s breakfast of pancakes, eggs, sausages, drinks, and community get-together. McCloy said proceeds from the event are "distributed based on donation categories of community, church, family, and faith." Kiwanis K-Kids, St. Peter students, and members of the Knights were among the volunteers who helped make the breakfast a success once again. Photo by David Futey.
Palmer Lake Fun Run, July 4
Caption: At 7 a.m. on the Fourth of July, 1,400 runners took part in the 37th annual Palmer Lake Fun Run. The number of runners in the 4-mile run from Palmer Lake to Monument was an increase from last year’s race. Coordinated by Lori McConnell, Lindsey Lieker, and Megan Smallman, the run raises money for Palmer Lake Elementary School. McConnell said, "the Fun Run is operated with the support of 100% volunteers" and the proceeds are used for "field trips, in-school experiences and technology." Erik Le Roux (19:56) of Colorado Springs and Amy Shertzer (25:10) of Monument were the top male and female finishers respectively. Pictured above: Friends Nadine Echeverry, Kayleigh Evans, and Clay Evans sported Fourth of July attire for running in the Palmer Lake Fun Run. Photos by David Futey.
Independence Day Parade - Photos by David Futey
Caption: Brianna and Kimber Reynolds and Kai and Carmen Lipka, as the Statue of Liberty, are set for participating in the Children’s Parade.
Caption: A rider-less horse with backward-facing boots in the stirrups represent a fallen soldier and spirit of a leader looking back on their troops.
Caption: Tri-Lakes Little League All-Stars.
Caption: Vietnam veterans.
Caption: Palmer Ridge Bearbotics Team.
Caption: Colorado Renaissance Festival.
Caption: U.S. Air Force Academy cadets shake hands with youthful parade attendees.
BFFRPD Open House, July 13
Caption: From left are Flight Nurse Jan Rawson, Pilot Steve Patton, Flight Medic Andy Roberts from UC Health EMS Lifeline, and Keith Lonnquist with Bailey his El Paso County Search and Rescue dog in training, at the Black Forest Fire Rescue Protection District annual open house on July 13. The event was well attended by over 225 people, and visitors toured Station 1, enjoying barbecue and snow cones served in the bay. Many enjoyed exploring and learning about all the vehicles, especially the new 711 Engine and the visiting EMS Lifeline and Flight For Life Colorado helicopters. A live extrication drill took place and the following organizations provided information and fun activities: El Paso County Search and Rescue, UC Health, Penrose St. Francis Trauma Service and Cancer Center, and Belfor Property Restoration. Photo by Natalie Barszcz.
Chief Shirk’s retirement party
Caption: On July 13, the Town of Monument held a retirement party for Police Chief Jake Shirk at the Secret Window Wedding & Event Venue. Mayor Pro Tem Kelly Elliott, as well as many of the Monument Board of Trustees members, attended the event to say farewell to Shirk. Photo by Allison Robenstein.
Suzy Bogguss at TLCA, July 17
Caption: On July 17, a capacity crowd welcomed Country Music Award and Grammy Award winner Suzy Bogguss to the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts. Bogguss, accompanied by Elio Giordano (bass) and Craig Smith (guitar), opened the evening with a little humor, stating "we are going to play songs we know." Those songs in her two-set performance started with Outbound Plane, continuing with the breakout Aces, Letting Go, a song written by her husband Doug Crider, and covers by Merle Haggard, The Beatles, John Hiatt, and Chuck Pyle, and such classic songs as Red River Valley. Colorado is a special place for her as she started her musical career in the early 1980s as a "troubadour in a camper van with my dog." She traveled the country for five years finding particular success at the ski resorts, clubs, and coffeehouses here and in Wyoming. Photo by David Futey.
Butterfly Tour, July 13
Caption: Although not a professional lepidopterist, Steve Fisher discovered his passion for butterflies at age 13 and has been studying (and chasing) them ever since. Elise Hughes Berheim possesses a master’s degree in wildlife sciences and facilitates environmental activities that engender conservational thinking. The morning of July 13, the two led a small group on a hike—the second of the summer—to explore a butterfly-filled meadow adjacent to Palmer Lake. Fisher educated the group about common butterfly predators, various plants that attract different species, and the impact of sunlight and temperature on the transition from chrysalis to butterfly. Berheim identified plants along the trail and discussed their importance to the environment. Pictured: Steve Fisher shows young visitor Olivia Chaffin how to flip the butterfly net to avoiding harming specimens. Photo by Jennifer Kaylor.
Fox Run Park cleanup, July 13
Caption: Volunteers from Wells Fargo Bank Jackson Creek Branch and Our Community News helped tidy the north trail entrance to Fox Run Park by weeding and cleanup July 13. The cleanup workday included a short hike to take in the forest atmosphere and Native American history of the area, followed by refreshments across the street at Southwinds Fine Arts. Photo by Janet Sellers.
MVEA thanks members, July 18
Caption: Mountain View Electric Association (MVEA), an electric cooperative, held a member appreciation dinner July 18 at the Monument office. MVEA had the lineman aerial lift equipment on hand for "bucket rides" for attendees to ride with an MVEA specialist, and all were harnessed into the equipment for the high ride into the air and back. The event served to celebrate as well as educate members on electrical conservation and safety, especially regarding tree dangers (MVEA will trim trees near power lines for free). Photo by Janet Sellers.
Meeting with Somers, July 19
Caption: New Lewis-Palmer D38 Superintendent Dr. KC Somers hosts a Listening and Learning event July 19 at the Tri-Lakes Senior Center. This was one of six events for Somers; other locations were the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce, Wesley Owens Coffee, Tri-Lakes YMCA, Monument Library, and Serranos Coffee Company. Each event asked participants to discuss three topics: what they value about the district, challenges the district faces, and advice to the superintendent. Attendees included parents, teachers, and community members. Values mentioned included high achievement, diverse offerings, world-class education, and qualified and dedicated teachers. Challenges and concerns ranged from improving teacher morale, support for kids who are not college-bound, location of the new Monument Academy High School, new state graduation requirements, curriculum, use of technology, managing growth, increasing trust, and maintaining academic excellence. Attendees advised Somers to continue to communicate with the community, provide as much data as possible when making decisions, and follow up after soliciting input. Photo by Jackie Burhans
Forest Lakes Concert, July 26
Caption: On July 26, a cheerful Forest Lakes crowd enjoyed the music of the Martini Shot band playing favorites from the 1960s to the present. The audience enjoyed picnics, dancing, singing, and clapping along with the music, while children played on the playground. Food trucks provided picnic suppers and libations. Photo by Janet Sellers.
TLWC funds RMMA master class
Caption: The Tri-Lakes Women’s Club (TLWC) gave the Rocky Mountain Music Association (RMMA) a generous gift of $650 to provide a master class for Tri-Lakes area students. The class will be taught on Sept. 14 by the featured artists just prior to RMMA’s first concert of the season, which is also a celebration of women composers. Interested students must obtain a recommendation from their respective music teachers. Pictured from left, TLWC Grant Chair Cindi Ryan, RMMA Church Liaison Vivian Delano, RMMA Board President Coleen Abeyta, and TLWC Co-President Pam Perry. Photo by Pam Perry.
Limbach Park Quilt Show, July 20
Caption: On July 20, the Front Range Modern Quilt Guild showed 91 quilts that were hung on clothes lines around Limbach Park. Many visitors came to view the modern-style creations as breezes teased the quilts. Pictured from left are, front row, AK Miller, Barbara Konkle, Abby Leonard, Anna Ortiz, and Michelle Davis; back row, Nicole Young, Char Allen, Janis Williams, Sally Leavitt, Karen Guerra, Cheri Stanley, Margie Jones, Donna Squibb, Wyna Todd, Melissa Richie, and Suzanne Hay. Photo by Nicole Young.
Run 4 Hope, July 20
Caption: The Ascent Church sponsored Run 4 Hope with over 200 participants running through the nearby Woodmoor neighborhood on July 20. Race check-in began at 6:30 a.m. for the chipped competitive run followed by a family-paced color fun run. Course marshal was 1970s-era Olympian Frank Shorter, and volunteers at various checkpoints scattered colorful powders at the runners. The annual fundraiser helps support suicide prevention efforts in local schools. Photo by Janet Sellers.
Spiderman, July 26
Caption: The Monument summer outdoor movie night event series presented Spiderman July 26 at Dirty Woman Park. Families and friends brought their picnics, lawn chairs, and snacks to enjoy a family movie under the stars at the weekly event. Palmer Ridge Cheer leaders (pictured above) had snacks available for sale. Despite an overcast rain threat the movie went on successfully. Photo by John Howe
Amy Helm at TLCA, July 27
Caption: I On July 27, Amy Helm and her band brought their energetic and eclectic Americana sound that brought the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA) audience to its feet and the dance floor. Helm, daughter of acclaimed The Band drummer Levon Helm, performed songs from her latest album This Too Shall Light, from her previous band Ollabelle, placing her sound on an interesting mix of covers. Those covers included Alan Toussaint’s Freedom from the Stallion, Bruce Springsteen’s Atlantic City, Dave Mason’s Only You Know and I Know, and closing with vocal-only Gloryland, a Ralph Stanley hymn taught to her by her father. Though Levon died in 2012, Helm continues to oversee the Midnight Rambler shows he started at his Woodstock, N.Y., barn as a "rent party," but has grown to be a premier performance location. Information on upcoming events at the TLCA is at www.trilakesarts.org. Photo and caption by David Futey.
Caption: The Town of Monument recently purchased a cutting-edge machine that uses super-heated steam to kill weeds. This is the newest measure taken by the town to phase out the use of chemical herbicides in public spaces and rights-of-way. This form of weed treatment is relatively unheard of in the United States. Developed by Jeremy Winer of Weedtechnics in Australia and purchased through Rocky Mountain Steam-N-Weed, the steamer is an effective weed control method that holds many benefits over the traditional chemicals or even mechanical methods used by municipalities. The machine is carried on a truck accompanied by a 100-gallon water tank. These summer days, one can find Public Works or Water Department employees at work around town with what looks like a garment steamer in hand and the smell of steamed spinach in the air. Pictured above is Kellyn Bryan of Monument Public Works, cleaning up the trails at the Santa Fe Trailhead on Third Street. Photo courtesy of Cassie Olgren, landscape supervisor, Town of Monument.
Rosie’s car show, July 28
Caption: Car enthusiasts came out to celebrate beautifully restored vintage cars and vintage music July 28 in the parking lot at Rosie’s Diner. Owners shared stories of their lives and the cars they love. Some bought the cars decades ago and restored them, and some bought their cars recently because it was their bucket list, "always dreamed of" car. While the Royal Aces band played golden oldie songs about cars and surfing and the like, visitors put in their vote for top favorite cars of the day. The show had vintage, meticulously restored vehicles from many favorite collector eras, including a 1938 Chevy vintage fire truck. 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 continues
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.
YMCA School Supply Drive ends Aug. 12
Donate your supplies at three Monument locations: Tri-Lakes YMCA, 17250 Jackson Creek Pkwy.; YMCA Day Camp at Bear Creek Elementary, 1330 Creekside Dr.; Tri-Lakes Cares, 235 Jefferson St. For more information, call 481-8728.
D-38 First day of school, Aug. 19
Families are encouraged to check the school website for important information, including school supply lists. Click on the ‘Family Resources’ tab at www.lewispalmer.org for important details. See ad on page 9.
County seeks citizen input: Master Plan Survey now online
El Paso County continues to seek citizen input in an online survey as it creates the new county master plan. To complete the survey, go online to http://planningdevelopment.elpasoco.com. For more information, phone 719-520-6300. See ad on page 12.
First Step Preschool now enrolling
First Step offers a high-quality educational program in a Christian environment and is operated by Black Forest Community Church. For a tour and more information, call 719-495-0146 or visit www.thefirststeppreschool.com. See ad on page 8.
Early childhood teachers wanted
Hope Montessori Academy’s Monument location is hiring early childhood teachers to work full and part-time with children ages 6 weeks through 12 years. For more information, contact 488-8723 or visit www.montessorichild.com. For details on qualifications, see ad on page 14.
Sisters’ Thrift & Boutique
The Sisters of Benet Hill Monastery have a shop full of gently used treasures at 8674 N. Union Blvd., Colorado Springs. Store hours are Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m., and Saturdays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The phone number is 719-282-0316. For more information and a $5 off coupon, see the ad on page 10.
MVEA essay contest, enter by Nov. 14
High school juniors can enter to win an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C., for the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour, or win a stay at the Colorado Electric Education Institute’s Youth Leadership Camp in Clark, Colo. Essays must be received by Nov. 14. Apply online at www.mvea.coop/essay-contest. Info: Erica, 719-494-2654, email@example.com. See ad on page 27.
MVEA Scholarships, apply Sept. 3 to Jan. 15
Each year, MVEA awards $1,000 scholarships to 14 graduating high school seniors. Applications are due by Jan. 15, 2020. Apply online at www.mvea.coop/scholarships. See ad on page 27.
MVEA tree-trimming services
Tree trimming helps prevent storm-related power outages. For more information, call 800-388-9881 or 719-495-2283, or visit www.mvea.coop/tree-trimming.
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.
Support Palmer Lake fireworks
Help support a Tri-Lakes tradition. You can still donate to the fireworks fund at www.palmerlakefireworks.org.
Black Forest Together offers services
Black Forest Together provides the following fire recovery/mitigation services to the Black Forest community summer through fall, weather permitting:
• Volunteer projects: Post-fire recovery includes hauling slash to the slash/mulch site, building erosion control barriers, planting seedlings to reforest the burn scar. Nominal fees may apply to cover equipment expenses.
• Trees 4 Tomorrow: Transplanting of larger local ponderosa pine trees to expedite reforestation of the burn scar. Discount for fire survivors.
• Green Forest Mitigation: Utilizes local tree contractors to mitigate properties to Colorado State Forest Service standards to reduce the risk of another forest fire.
• Community Outreach and Education: Promotion of healthy-forest education and best practices to residents, schools, and organizations to create a fire-adapted, resilient community.
• Phoenix Program Consulting: Consultation and assistance to other fire-impacted communities, providing community leaders the tools to minimize the time needed to implement sustainable recovery operations.
For more information, contact Black Forest Together, 495-2445, or email@example.com.
St. Peter Catholic School now enrolling
The school offers academics, athletics, and faith formation for preschool-eighth grade. Call or visit: 124 First St., Monument; 481-1855; www.petertherock.org. See ad on page 2.
Free services for seniors
Mountain Community Senior Services offers free transportation and handyman services to Tri-Lakes seniors. If you need a ride to a medical appointment, grocery shopping, or the local senior lunches, a volunteer driver will be happy to help you. Call 488-0076 to leave a message for the dispatcher. If you need grab bars in the bathroom, a ramp to your door, or repair of stairs or railings, please call Cindy Rush, 488-0076, and leave a message or visit www.coloradoseniorhelp.com.
Home-delivered meals by Silver Key
If you’re a homebound senior age 60 or older, you might qualify to receive meals delivered to your home through Silver Key. To register or volunteer, call 884-2370.
Meals on Wheels needs substitute drivers
Meals on Wheels in the Tri-Lakes area is looking for substitute drivers. They deliver on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and it usually takes only a couple hours. All volunteers will have to place an application with Silver Key and then go through a background check. If you are interested, you can contact coordinator Sue Cliatt at 481-3175 or by email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volunteer drivers needed for seniors’ transportation service
Mountain Community Senior Services is a nonprofit, grant-funded organization that provides free transportation to Tri-Lakes seniors 60 and older. The program needs volunteer drivers. For more information, visit the website, http://coloradoseniorhelp.com, email email@example.com, or call the hotline, 488-0076.
Silver Alliance Thrift Store needs volunteers
Volunteers are needed for various tasks. The store is located at 755 Highway 105, Suite N, in the West End Center and is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. To volunteer, call 488-3495.
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.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Become a CASA volunteer
Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) offers a volunteer opportunity like no other. As appointed representatives of the court, CASA volunteers are empowered to make a lifelong difference in the lives of abused and neglected children. To learn more, contact Uriko Stout, 447-9898 ext. 1060, email@example.com; or visit www.casappr.org.
There is now a website, www.TLtalks.com, for local articles, podcasts, and much more. www.TLtalks.com is dedicated to providing a platform where you can write about what is important to you and where the Tri-Lakes community can exchange ideas, thoughts, and information. Visit www.TLtalks.com to see the mission statement, submission guidelines, and terms and conditions.
Get help if your vehicle is stuck
4x4orce is an emergency notification network of 4-by-4 enthusiasts/good Samaritans ready and willing to respond when, where, and how they can. Sending a message to the Facebook 4X4orce Community Rescue & Recovery page is the best way currently to get assistance. However, you can also phone 719-286-9323. If Facebook is not working, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
County launches Citizen Connect
Citizen Connect is a new tool that allows citizens to report problems and put in service requests with the click of a mouse or touch of a button. Citizens can download this app, EPC Citizen Connect, for iPhone or Android phone. For more information, visit www.elpasoco.com/county-launches-citizen-connect.
Sign up for "Reverse 9-1-1" notifications
The Emergency Notification System (powered by Everbridge), commonly referred to as Reverse 9-1-1, is a tool that can make rapid notifications to specific geographic areas to alert you to emergency situations including manmade disasters, evacuations, hazardous materials incidents, missing persons, and more. Reverse 9-1-1 is not the same as Amber Alerts, which are generated by a different system. You must register to receive emergency notifications on any phone other than your landline. You can list up to five locations and up to eight points of contact. Sign up at www.elpasoteller911.org.
County assessor launches enhanced website
The newly redesigned site with the Property Record Card and Citizen Comper (value comparisons) makes parcel and property searches more informative, easier to use, and accessible on mobile devices as well as desktops. Find the enhanced website at https://property.spatialest.com/co/elpaso/.
Residence vacation check
The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office will conduct vacation checks of homes of county residents who are on vacation. This is a great way to add security to your home when you’re away for multiple days. Either a deputy or trained volunteer will visit your home while you’re away and check it periodically. To add your home to their schedule, visit www.epcsheriffsoffice.com. Info: 520-7151.
Monument text alerts
Text "Monument" to 41411 to receive updates and news of meetings, weather alerts, openings and closings, as well as other important town information to your phone or personal mobile device.
Senior Beat newsletter—subscribe for free
Each monthly Senior Beat newsletter is full of information for local seniors, including the daily menu of the senior lunches offered Monday through Friday at the Mountain Community Mennonite Church, 643 Highway 105, Palmer Lake. It also contains the schedule of the classes and events for the month at the Senior Citizens Center and senior-friendly library programs. To subscribe, send an email with your name and mailing address to SeniorBeat@TriLakesSeniors.org. Senior Beat can also be viewed online at www.TriLakesSeniors.org.
El Paso County expands services to veterans
Three county agencies providing services to veterans now have satellite offices at the Mount Carmel Center of Excellence, 530 Communications Circle, Colorado Springs. The Veterans Service office at Mount Carmel is open Monday through, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. and closes noon-1 p.m. for lunch. Call 667-3816 for an appointment. The Pikes Peak Workforce Center Mount Carmel office is open Tuesdays, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. (closed for lunch noon-1 p.m.) and is staffed with two Workforce Center employees who help veterans with their employment needs. Call 667-3729 for an appointment. The county Department of Human Services also has a Mount Carmel office open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Rocky Mountain Music Alliance (RMMA) receives grant for master class
Tri-Lakes Women’s Club has awarded RMMA a $650 donation for a Master Class for Tri-Lakes students the day of the season’s first concert, Sept. 14. Rocky Mountain Music Alliance is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) corporation that promotes the enjoyment of classical music in the Pikes Peak/Tri-Lakes region and supports the study of classical music in our community. For more information about RMMA, visit www.rmmaconcerts.org.
By Judy Barnes, Community Calendar Editor
Although we strive for accuracy in these listings, dates or times are often changed after publication. Please double-check the time and place of any event you wish to attend by calling the info number for that event.
LOCAL LIBRARY EVENTS
For information on library events, see the library events column on page 21 and visit www.ppld.org. All Pikes Peak Library District facilities will be closed Mon., Sept. 2 in observance of Labor 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 email@example.com or Our Community News, P.O. Box 1742, Monument, Colorado 80132.
Contact us at (719) 488-3455, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, or P.O. Box 1742, Monument, Colorado 80132-1742.
This page was last modified on August 01, 2019. Home page: www.ocn.me.
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