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By Harriet Halbig
In keeping with an order from Gov. Jared Polis, all in-person classes for Lewis-Palmer District 38 have been canceled for the remainder of the school year. Distance learning began on March 31. The last day of school is May 22.
Superintendent K.C. Somers praised teachers and administrators for their hard work under these unprecedented circumstances. Teachers are keeping in touch with their students, sometimes sending notes or emails to ease students’ apprehension about learning in this way.
Somers also said that staff at the administration building has been working many extra hours to see that the district continues to operate. Deadlines for completing the budget for the upcoming year and various reports to the state Department of Education have not changed.
Somers also said that some employees in the ground and maintenance areas are continuing to maintain district properties and ensure that they are secure.
Free meals from the Nutritional Department are being distributed at Lewis-Palmer High School (LPHS) and Palmer Lake Elementary School on Monday through Friday from 11 to noon. Each package includes one lunch and one breakfast. Anyone age 18 and under is eligible to receive these meals. LPHS has been distributing 150 to 200 per day and Palmer Lake Elementary has been distributing about 75 per day. This service will continue through May.
Playgrounds and other recreational facilities will remain closed.
Somers said in a communication to stakeholders that plans for graduation, summer school, and the return of Chromebooks and Hotspots are being developed. To read Somers’ communications, please go to www.lewispalmer.org, remote learning, and look to the left for D38 Communications and Updates.
Meetings to continue online
The board held two work sessions earlier in the month. One goal of these meetings was to change a district policy regarding remote attendance of meetings. This policy had its first reading at a work session on April 7 and a second reading and passage at a special meeting on April 10.
The policy, BEAA Electronic Participation in School Board Meetings, states that a board member may attend a meeting remotely "under extenuating circumstances which prevent a Board member from physical attendance."
Under current circumstances where gatherings of more than 10 individuals are not allowed in Colorado, the board has elected to hold the remainder of its meetings online for this school year. Meetings will still be open to the public. Citizens who wish to make comments may address the comments to the board earlier in the day to be read during the meeting. All those in attendance at the meeting will have access to the same materials.
Development in the district
During a work session on April 7, the board was presented with detailed demographic information by Shannon Bingham of Western Demographics.
Bingham explained the current state of development in the district, with development sorted by price range and density. Some developments such as Sanctuary Pointe are well into being occupied, whereas several others, notably Willow Springs and Wagons West on the west side of the highway, are only beginning to take shape. Monument Village, to be constructed on the east side of Jackson Creek Parkway south of Highway 105, is predicted to be a mixed-density area and not ready for occupancy for a few years.
Following a detailed presentation, Bingham initially concluded that most schools will be able to accommodate additional students with the exception of Bear Creek Elementary School, which will continue to lack 140 seats or more.
Bingham said that Monument Academy’s newly constructed secondary school could alleviate pressure on the high school level and that, when the Monument Academy second phase is completed to accommodate grades 6 to 12, a classroom at each grade level would be available at the existing site.
Bingham also said that, were Grace Best to be renovated for occupancy, it could accommodate two sections each of grades 1, 2, and 3.
At the end of his presentation, Bingham said that it is unknown what effect the pandemic will have on his predictions. In the event of a recession lasting longer that 60 days, construction activity will slow, and lower-income families may seek to live somewhere more affordable.
Evaluating Grace Best
Chad Leichti and Shane Keplinger of KPE architectural and engineering presented detailed information on the extent of improvement necessary to bring Grace Best Education Center up to code to be put to use as a school once again.
The building is currently in use for various purposes such as housing the Homeschool Enrichment Academy, the robotics team, storage, and rental use of the gym. Most of these activities take place in the newest portion of the building, built in 1988. The original construction dates to 1951.
Leichti and Keplinger covered such concerns as parking, exterior surfaces, plumbing, electrical, heating and air conditioning, and technology.
A major concern was lack of compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. To become compliant, doors must be widened for wheelchair access and plumbing fixtures must be replaced. The school has no sprinkler system for fire mitigation other than in the gym. Many exit doors do not have panic bars.
Leichti and Keplinger presented a detailed list of improvements and their estimated cost, which totaled a little over $8 million. For details, see the district website.
No action was taken on this information.
During the April 21 regular meeting, a brief discussion of budgetary concerns was held. Executive Director of Financial Services David Crews said that, due to school closure caused by the coronavirus, forecasting for the coming year is difficult, as state and local revenues will drop. As a result, he is formulating several budgeting models for consideration in May and June. The annual budget must be passed in June.
In answer to a question from Vice President Theresa Phillips, Crews said that the district will now purchase five new buses instead of 10.
Because no members of the public or students were present at the April 21 meeting, all recognitions were read by Phillips. They were:
• Students chosen to perform in the All State Orchestra and Band. Directors Tom Chapman of LPHS and Butch Eversole of Palmer Ridge High School (PRHS) brought students to both the All-State Orchestra and All State Band. Selection to these bands is determined by audition and limited based on the population of the school. The event took place at Colorado State University on Feb. 6 to 8. For a list of participants, please see the district website.
• Gianna Bartolo of LPHS has been selected as player of the year by the Sportswomen of Colorado. Each year this organization selects one representative from each state at the high school and college level. Bartolo is the winner for high school volleyball. She has a long list of honors over the last four years and was chosen for the Pikes Peak Athletic Conference First Team in 2019. She has accepted a scholarship from the University of Denver.
• Two groups from District 38 were honored by the Colorado Music Educators Association. The first is the PRHS Wind Ensemble under director Butch Eversole. This group was selected by blind audition as an "Honor Performing Group." This is the third time this group has been honored. They may only be selected once every three years. The Monument Academy Choir under director Desiree Floyd was chosen as an Honor Performance Choir, one of 16 chosen from a field of 116. This was the first time Monument Academy was chosen to perform at the event.
• The board recognized Steve Waldman for directing the 14th annual LPSD Chess Tournament on Feb. 22 at Lewis-Palmer Elementary School. The tournament has grown over the years from 30 players to over 100. Recognition was also given to Principal Jenny Day for the use of her school, and others who participated. For a list of winners please see the district website.
Caption: Verena Parsons, left, and Rose Marie McEntyre of Lewis-Palmer District 38 Nutritional Services distributed meals at Lewis-Palmer High School. Meals are being distributed from 11 to noon Monday through Friday at Lewis-Palmer High School and Palmer Lake Elementary School through the end of May. All individuals 18 and younger are eligible to receive these meals. Photo by Harriet Halbig.
The Lewis-Palmer District 38 Board of Education meets on the third Monday of each month at 6 p.m. Due to statewide restrictions on in-person meetings, these meetings will be held online through June. Please see www.lewispalmer.org for information.
Harriet Halbig can be reached at email@example.com.
By Jackie Burhans
The Monument Academy (MA) School Board held its regular board meeting on April 9 online to review eLearning, other impacts of the pandemic, and construction updates.
Members of the public who requested an invitation were sent information on how to join via Zoom and were encouraged to send questions or comments to the board via email. Despite some technical difficulties, 27 people attended the meeting.
eLearning update and long-term plans
Elementary Principal Charlie Richardson gave kudos to the teachers, technology team, instructional coaches, and everyone involved with eLearning. While there have been hiccups, he felt the school has done a phenomenal job and has heard positive feedback from parents.
Middle School Principal Julie Seymour joined in thanking the staff, teachers, and administration for stepping up with the behind-the-scenes work. She noted that the administration had arranged for families who needed technology and hotspots to pick them up at the school. She noted that many teachers worked through spring break to prepare for eLearning and that there have been many meetings with teams to share information.
At the end of the first week, she put out a survey to get feedback from middle school families who had a range of responses on the number of hours they were working during eLearning. Some felt they didn’t have enough; others felt it was too much. She noted that eLearning is very different in a crisis situation than a homeschooling situation. The biggest struggles were around sharing technologies among families, technology issues, and time management. MA added live meetings later to ensure security and allow families more flexibility.
Board member Megghan St. Aubyn raised concerns about the long-term ability to uphold standards of learning, differentiate in the classroom, and check in on social-emotional health. She recognized that some grades are doing a lot while others are doing very little. She asked what the administration’s process is to keep consistency, hold people accountable, and keep up to speed so that kids are not way behind next year while putting extra pressure and work on parents. She said that kids are our customers and it is the teachers’ jobs to educate the kids. She indicated she was appreciative of the effort that has been happening but wants to be forward thinking for the current year, including the possibility that we will not be able to come back. There was discussion about the need for two-way communication and additional surveys, but also about how difficult it is to plan amid the current crisis. Chief Operating Officer Christianna Herrera noted that MA is thinking about identifying and assessing students to identify any gaps before they come back, so MA is prepared to deal with them immediately.
Other pandemic impacts
Herrera noted at the meeting that other districts had already closed for the remainder of the year. She hoped that MA could salvage some part of the year or find alternative ways to hold events like graduation and awards.
She participated in a Town Hall meeting with the League of Charter Schools and Colorado Department of Education (CDE) representatives and school leaders to discuss technology needs for eLearning and Exceptional Student Services (ESS) requirements. Until ESS waivers come through, MA is trying to ensure students received the full service to avoid needing to make it up later. She gave Director of Exceptional Student Services Jessica Coote and team a huge thank you for their efforts to provide this service online.
Herrera noted that MA is committed to continue to pay teachers but felt it wasn’t fair to require preschool parents to pay tuition, so it was making that optional for those who are able. She also noted that MA was investigating the possibility of a CARES Act for Early Education. Although it is too soon to know, it would be worth about 10% of a faculty member’s payroll cost, which would cover two months. MA is looking to see how this relates to other stimulus money and to understand if MA qualifies.
Board member Melanie Strop reported that while the budget looks good, there may be an issue due to Northwest Mill’s work production shutdown. She said it’s not possible to change suppliers due to cost. Things are moving more slowly since social distancing requires JHL to have fewer workers on site. Herrera said that they are losing three days per week due to social distancing, but once the roof is on they will only be losing one day per week. Once the roof is in place, the schedule will be updated.
President Mark McWilliams noted he had gotten an email saying that all of the plans have been submitted to El Paso County for final approval. Once approved, roads will be worked on. Meanwhile, the Dunston brothers are working to ensure water pressure and roads are in place and getting approval for two roundabouts; one on the north at Walker Road and one on the southeast corner as an exit. There is also an access only onto the site from Highway 83; it cannot be used as an exit.
The following items were highlighted at the board meeting:
• The Spring Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) testing has been canceled by CDE. MA is in discussions with Northwest Educational Association (NWEA) on that testing, which MA uses to gather internal data for analysis.
• MA received permission from the CDE to spend grant money to purchase desks and furniture for the new secondary school.
• The board agreed on a plan to solicit candidates for the school board, collect information to provide to parents, and conduct voting online using Survey Monkey.
• COO Herrera gave a huge shout out to the district nutritional services team, which has been providing food for students and families across the district, including dropping off meals for those with limited transportation.
• MA’s school nurse has returned medication that was stored at the school and is working with families to obtain medication that is in short supply.
• Board member Chris Dole reported that the March 16 meeting was canceled and the Student Accountability Advisory Committee has several items pending to cover at a future electronic meeting, including a required Uniform Improvement Plan (UIP), end of year survey, and review of parent-community involvement.
The next meeting was moved to Wednesday, May 6 due to conflicts. The MA School Board usually meets at 6 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month.
Jackie Burhans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Natalie Barszcz
On March 24 at 5 p.m., the Black Forest Fire/Rescue Protection District (BFFRPD) board met via email to approve an emergency disaster declaration and on March 3 moved to cancel the May board election. The regular April 15 meeting was held virtually via Zoom.
Emergency disaster declaration
On March 17, interim Fire Chief PJ Langmaid announced a disaster declaration for BFFRPD due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The declaration allows the fire chief to deal with the emergency, and includes allocating sufficient funding from district reserves to purchase additional Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and implement protective policies and procedures to restrict exposure of district emergency first responders and staff in the effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The emergency disaster declaration is set to expire on May 31 but may be extended.
The board moved unanimously to ratify the proceedings of the March 24 email meeting, 5-0.
Board election canceled
Board Chairman Rick Nearhoof confirmed that the scheduled board election had been canceled on March 3 because no one applied other than the three current incumbent directors. Incumbent Treasurer Jack D Hinton and Director James Abendschan will be sworn in for three-year terms, and Director Nathan Dowden will be sworn in for a two-year term at the May board meeting.
Nearhoof thanked Langmaid and the BFFRPD staff for putting actions into place to ensure fire personnel and the citizens of the community were protected in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hinton updated the board as follows:
• The district received just over $1 million in property tax revenue in March, resulting in a total of $866,427 of unrestricted funds.
• The district has a total of $1.37 million, part of which is restricted for TABOR and emergency reserves.
• Expenses for the pandemic have been lower than expected.
• The district has received 40.5% of revenues to date this year and is expected to receive the Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER) grant for two new ambulances after the mid-June delivery. See www.ocn.me/v19n11.htm#bffrpd.
• The cancellation of the May board election saved the district $17,623.
The district is currently 18.7% under budget this year. "It’s a good thing!" said Hinton. The board accepted the financial report, 5-0.
Langmaid and Deputy Chief James Rebitski confirmed the following for the board members:
• The two new ambulances are currently in production at Pierce Manufacturing Inc. and on target for delivery by mid-June. Pierce is 100% operational during the COVID-19 pandemic.
• BFFRPD is accepting bids for the balcony repair at Station 1.
• CenturyLink had accidentally filled a PVC pipe with foam for about 6 to 8 feet at Station 1. The problem has now been rectified and the pipe is now in use as a conduit.
• Station 2 had a burst water pipeline and that has also been repaired.
Easter egg hunt volunteers
Hinton said he was disappointed that BFFRPD volunteer staff members were unavailable for the Annual 2020 Black Forest Easter Egg Hunt. "It is quite a big deal for BFFRPD to be there for the community," he said. Langmaid responded, "We still want to be present and have a good public relationship, but we cannot use our volunteer core when they are needed on call, nor can I force volunteer staff to attend since the event is not in the budget."
"In the future, it would be helpful to partner with another volunteer group in the community to coordinate set-up," Langmaid said.
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Langmaid canceled the scheduled March 18 meeting after implementing a strict no-visitor policy at all BFFRPD stations until further notice. Nearhoof confirmed during the meeting that BFFRPD may continue to conduct board meetings virtually via Zoom until further notice. This decision is in the best possible interests of public health and safety during the COVID-19 outbreak and will remain in effect until such time as Colorado residents can move around their communities freely. Members of the public who wish to join/attend future meetings can find information at www.bffire.org.
The meeting adjourned at 7:16 p.m.
Meetings are usually held at 7 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month at BFFRPD Station 1, 11445 Teachout Road, Colorado Springs. The next regular board meeting is scheduled for May 20. For updates, visit www.bffire.org.
Natalie Barszcz can be reached at email@example.com.
By Allison Robenstein
The Donald Wescott Fire Protection District (DWFPD) held virtual meetings on March 31 and April 21. The board discussed ways to minimize contact between voters and election officials during the May 5 election. The annual audit was announced to be clean. A station LED lighting project was approved, and there was discussion to rework the district’s website and social media platforms. Although no action was taken, the board discussed capital projects and strategic planning, especially with regard to unmanned Station 3. During a bi-annual pension meeting, the board discussed increasing monthly retirement benefits, but no decisions were made.
May 5 election for three director seats
Three director positions are open for the May 5 election. The terms for Secretary Lawrence Schwarz and Dwayne Garrett expired in April, and one seat is vacant after the passing of former Chairman William "Bo" McAllister. Resident Steve Simpson, who is vying for one of the open seats, asked the board how it is handling the May 5 election logistically in light of the safer-at-home order. Besides Simpson, Schwarz and Garrett are running as well as Chris Mendrop and Charles Fleece.
The polling place election will be held at Station 1, 15415 Gleneagle Drive, Colorado Springs. The election style, which requires voters to be physically present to vote, was set up before the pandemic outbreak when COVID-19 wasn’t on anyone’s radar. Absentee voting is allowed, but voters had to request a ballot before April 28, according to district counsel Michelle Ferguson.
Chief Vinny Burns said he intends to minimize contact for election judges and the public. Voters will enter and exit into the bay at the south-side door, where rigs are normally parked, provide their identification and then move to a physically separate location to vote. Burns said election officials and the public will be required to wear masks and gloves. "This way, they will stay out of main living areas of station," Burns said, noting fresh air will be vented through the bay, weather permitting.
COVID-19 calls will likely surge with state opening
Burns told the board two line items have been created in the budget to account for costs relating to the novel coronavirus. As of the March 31 meeting, costs were about $10,000, Burns said.
Wescott staff members are coordinating their response to the pandemic via video conference with regional partners including northern fire departments, hospitals, and county and state Offices of Emergency Management. Burns thanked numerous local businesses and residents who have brought food, extra protective gear, and hand-written notes including several from a local child who was just learning to write, "It made my day. It made me laugh and grin," said Burns.
During the March 31 meeting, Burns said nine employees had been isolated as a precaution when they presented flu and cold-like symptoms. But during the April 21 meeting, Assistant Battalion Chief Scott Ridings said no one has contracted COVID-19.
Ridings said there was no fire loss in February, but in March there was one structure fire and a large state park fire for which Wescott provided mutual aid.
Ridings is anticipating a big jump in call volume over the next two months when the state begins to reopen, but he said they are prepared for that to make it through the spike.
Audit receives clean opinion
Tom Sistare from Hoelting and Co. audited the district’s financials, which received an unmodified or clean opinion. Sistare noted the following:
• Receivables on the balance sheet were up from the prior year by $130,000 due to an increase in property taxes.
• On the income statement, wildland fire income total was $181,000, but with expenses, the net was $119,000.
• Overall fire and EMS expenses were up 11% from 2018 due to increased staffing costs.
• Taxes were down $552,000, which related to changes in taxing entities in the overlapping southern part of the district.
Sistare suggested a segregation of duties within the Finance and Accounting Department, but that isn’t possible at this time.
LED lighting project
An LED lighting changes project was requested for Stations 1 and 2 for a total cost of $5,400. This would include a bay lighting changeout at Station 1 and the bay and living quarters lighting from Station 2. The project would reduce overall electric costs and spare firefighter turnout gear, which is susceptible to ultraviolet lighting degradation. Separately, Chairman Mark Gunderman said it was unofficially approved outside the regular meeting and requested a formal approval at the March 31 meeting. The project was unanimously approved.
District website updates
At the March 31 meeting, Gunderman asked if the district’s website could be updated. The chiefs agreed it could provide a tremendous amount of training and background for the public.
Battalion Chief Sean Pearson was assigned to lead a website update committee, and volunteer Rachael Dunn will work part-time to make the changes. Dunn is working to provide more information on all Wescott’s social media platforms including Twitter, Instagram, and Nextdoor.
Shwarz requested a few changes during the meeting, to which Pearson confirmed board comments will be taken, but a chain of command is in place to filter any change requests.
Director Dwayne Garrett was concerned about the security used for the district’s website and received assurances from Ridings.
Other discussion items
• At the Nov. 19 meeting, Burns requested $300,000 to purchase a new tanker truck. Chief Balvanz said they should take receipt of the vehicle this summer at a cost of about $276,465. See https://ocn.me/v19n12.htm#dwfpd.
• Gunderman asked for the existing strategic plan to be updated to include future capital projects and a long-term plan for Station 3. Ridings said the station is used for high fire danger days, when extra officers are positioned there. During the pandemic, leadership has considered using it as a quarantine location so that responders would live there and only respond to coronavirus-related calls. A committee will be formed composed of the fire chiefs, a firefighter, and a board member to further the discussion.
Resident Mary Gunderman thanked the fire district for helping her neighbor Glenn Scott, when his wife fell and broke her hip in their driveway.
The meeting adjourned at 5:18 p.m.
Caption: During the COVID-19 pandemic, Donald Wescott firefighters will respond to calls differently than before. Dispatch will ask a series of questions during a 911 call to evaluate a patient for COVID-19. Crews will be dressed in protective gowns or overalls, hoods, masks, and eye protection. It does not necessarily mean your neighbor has COVID-19, and it does not mean that you are in immediate danger. Wescott asks that if you see this activity taking place, please keep your distance from the scene. Photo courtesy of Donald Wescott Fire Protection District.
The next Donald Wescott fire district meeting is scheduled for May 19. During the COVID-19 pandemic, meetings will either be at Station 1, 15415 Gleneagle Dr., or be virtual meetings. They 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Natalie Barszcz
On April 22, the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District board met virtually via Zoom to discuss the May 5 board election, a land acquisition, and the many protocol changes implemented due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Board member election
TLMFPD will hold an election for four board positions on May 5 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the designated polling place: 16055 Old Forest Point Suite 103, Monument.
Nominated as director for a three-year term are Jason Buckingham, Harold Goldback, Terri Hayes, Roger Lance, Eric Nappo, and Thomas Tharnish. Biographies of the candidates can be found at www.tlmfire.org.
Social distancing precautions will be maintained during the election process and voters are asked to wear masks.
Fire Chief Chris Truty asked the board to approve Resolution 2020-02 authorizing the purchase of about 15 acres of property known as the Vollmer properties, next to Station 1. Truty said the property will allow for expansion at Station 1 and possibly provide the premium training site for northern El Paso County.
The purchase price for the property is $390,000 and is already annexed into the Town of Monument. See www.ocn.me/v20n3.htm#tlmfpd. The board unanimously approved the purchase.
Truty said the Station 1 remodel is postponed for 30-60 days while a redesign is explored. An addition to the east side is now feasible, leaving the drive-through bays open. The planned renovation for Station 1 had been approved in August. See www.ocn.me/v19n9.htm#tlmfpd.
Truty provided an insight into the TLMFPD response during the COVID-19 pandemic. "We started to pay attention in mid-February" when Kirkland, WA firefighters began quarantining people. By the end of February, TLMFPD began receiving emails from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) regarding how to approach COVID-19.
By mid-March it was evident that a crisis was developing, and President John Hildebrandt signed a State of Emergency for TLMFPD and the district administration office was closed to the public. For two weeks, staff met daily for COVID-19 meetings lasting 1-1.5 hours to discuss procedures pertaining to COVID-19. Throughout, all staff members have coordinated with the Pikes Peak Regional Office of Emergency Management (OEM), CDPHE, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the governor’s office, the state fire chiefs, area hospitals, colleges and school districts, and utility companies via teleconference.
Truty said after receiving welcome feedback from community residents, he plans to continue his bi-weekly blog providing a calming voice to the community. The community letter can be found at www.tlmfire.org/COVID-19.
A statewide burn ban will remain in effect for six months, Truty said.
Deputy Chief Randy Trost said many aspects of daily procedures were changed in early March, and the staff and crews were kept up to date with daily situation reports. All staff and crews made a tremendous team effort to adapt and implement new operational procedures and, at times, protocols were changing hourly. During calls, a balance in protecting staff and maintaining levels of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) was achieved by pre-screening for COVID-19 patients and using distancing measures. All staff members continue to be monitored for temperature, symptoms, and exposure.
Battalion Chief of Training Jonathan Bradley gave an overview of the medical direction TLMFPD received from early March on the COVID-19 pandemic. Guidelines have been issued to determine treatment criteria-based refusal for suspected cardiac arrest patients who are also COVID-19 positive in an EMS situation.
Once disinfection guidelines were announced by the CDC, the recommended isopropyl alcohol for cleaning stations and equipment became difficult to find. Bradley thanked Walmart and 3 Hundred Days of Shine in Monument, Woody Creek Distillery of Basalt, The Family Jones Distillery of Loveland, the OEM and Rich Heaverlo from the El Paso County Hazmat Team for isopropyl alcohol, and Kohls for providing extra N-95 masks. He said a huge amount of horse trading with neighboring fire departments helped to maintain PPE stocks and gave thanks to paramedic Jenny Catanach, who recognized in early March a potential supply issue and ordered PPE before the supply chain dried up.
Treasurer Jason Buckingham updated the board on expenses from January through March as follows:
• The first wave of property taxes received in March totaled $3.71 million, which represents 40.7% of the budget with the projected revenue of $9.12 million.
• Specific Ownership Taxes (SOT) received were $260,179 and 4.7% above the predicted amount.
• Impact fees received were $25,641—below average by 7.9%.
• Ambulance revenues were $234,384—above the expected amount by 4.3%.
Buckingham said that SOT and ambulance revenues are staying ahead of the predicted budget numbers for the year. Overall revenues for March were 37.4% of the projected budget. "Overall revenues are slightly above budget projection due to the first installment of property taxes, and expenses are slightly below expectation, and that’s right where we want to be," said Buckingham.
Truty said it is likely that revenue for SOT and ambulance revenues will decrease significantly next month due to the economic decline, and a postponement of the remodel at Station 1 may be necessary for a few months.
Truty informed the board that TLMFPD had received an unsolicited Coronavirus, Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act deposit of $12,700 from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHSS). The amount was based on the number of TLMFPD Medicare patient transports in 2019. If the DHSS grant were to be accepted, TLMFPD would have to agree to not "balance bill" COVID-19 patients. Balance billing is our process of billing a patient for the remaining balance after we receive payment from the patient’s primary insurance carrier, and it can amount to about 10-20% of the total bill, said Truty.
Director of Administration Jennifer Martin said out of 11 presumptive COVID-19 patients transported since Feb. 1, only two would have qualified for balance billing since the remaining nine were over age 65 and balance billing does not apply to those patients. Martin confirmed that after transporting another 10-20 patients, the district would be losing more revenue than what was gained from the grant. Hildebrandt said that since the confirmation of the start and end date for the grant could not be determined, and the end of the disaster declaration for COVID-19 had not yet been made, the board should consider declining the grant.
The board moved to decline the unsolicited CARES Act Grant, 6-0-1 with Buckingham abstaining.
Investment policy moves forward
Truty asked the board to approve Investment Policy 218, which authorizes the TLMFPD board to provide improved returns and improved stewardship of public funds. Truty stated that district attorney Maureen Juran, of Widner & Juran LLP, had reviewed and legally vetted the updated policy, which had been greatly simplified from 20 pages to four, since the first presentation at the November board meeting and the January board meeting discussion with Juran. The board unanimously approved the investment Policy 218, 7-0.
Truty asked the board to approve the investment of liquid assets with COLO Trust and the investment of assets in a local government investment pool. The board heard a presentation from Brent Turner, vice president of Investment Advisory Services of COLO Trust, at the February board meeting. See www.ocn.me/v20n3.htm#tlmfpd. Secretary Mike Smaldino led a roll call vote, and the board unanimously approved the resolution to invest liquid assets with COLO Trust, 7-0.
Truty gave the following update:
• The annual audit is scheduled for mid-May and will be conducted remotely.
• Capt. Dean Wahl is due to start June 1 as the division chief of Logistics.
• Firefighters Matt Edmunds and Braden Stoenner will be formally promoted to engineers at the May board meeting.
• The new EMS captain candidate interviews will be scheduled for early May.
• Impact fee discussions continue between the local fire chiefs and the Colorado Springs Home Builders Association (HBA) and area home builders. It is likely that the old formulas for assessing fees will not fly since the old figures are too high.
Bumgarner gave the following update:
• Coordination efforts with Officer David Husted of the OEM continue for the evacuation drill event scheduled for September.
• An application for a Wildland Fire Mitigation Grant has been submitted.
• TLMFPD is a finalist for an Evacuation Planning Support Grant, and results will be known in May.
• Wildfire mitigation efforts continue throughout the district.
Resident Lisa Hatfield, thanked Division Chief of Community Risk/Battalion Chief Jamey Bumgarner for speaking about wildfire preparedness at the Colorado Estates neighborhood group meeting in March. She added, "Besides cleaning out our closets, we are also going to clean up our overgrown yards!"
The meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m.
Meetings are usually held the fourth Wednesday of each month. The next meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. May 27 at TLMFPD Station 1, 18650 Highway 105. For information, contact Director of Administration Jennifer Martin at 710-484-9011. For upcoming agendas, see www.tlmfire.org/board.
Natalie Barszcz can be reached at email@example.com.
By Allison Robenstein
The Monument Board of Trustees (BOT) held a virtual meeting on April 6 and approved a request for radium removal from Well 3/9. They also approved a five-year support contract for Police Department evidence maintenance and held an executive session to discuss attorney salary.
Greg Coopman was noted as absent. This would have been the last meeting of his four-year term.
Connection issues prevented Trustee Laurie Clark from attending remotely. Several times it appeared as though she was connected to the Webex meeting, so Deputy Clerk Erica Romera asked for Clark’s vote, but nothing could be heard at her end.
Mayor Don Wilson began the meeting by explaining that both staff and board members would appear on the screen when they were speaking during the teleconference meeting. All other attendees had their microphones muted except during public comments.
Design and engineering services to reduce and/or remove discharge of Well 3/9
Public Works Director Tom Tharnish brought a resolution to the board to approve engineering services from Forsgren Associates Inc. to perform an extensive study of the rising levels of radium in Well 3/9. This same request had been presented at the March 2 meeting but was not approved. To vote again on the request, Trustee Jeffrey Bornstein made a motion to reconsider the resolution. Town Attorney Joseph Rivera said once the motion to reconsider was approved, the resolution should be voted upon as if it were new. See https://ocn.me/v20n4.htm#mbot.
Tharnish requested $81,360 for the engineering and design study, saying the construction portion of the project will be presented at a future date. The output from this project will be a technical memorandum to include costs.
In his request, Tharnish said, "By awarding the Project Agreement to Forsgren Associates Inc., we will follow an aggressive timeline to complete an evaluation and design for submittal to [the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE)] for approval in the next several months. Upon approvals from CDPHE, we will move forward with a construction [Request for Proposal (RFP)] to implement the chosen solution."
Forsgren provided information relating to previous radium removal projects. Bornstein said the information answered all of his questions.
Trustee Ron Stephens confirmed this is a design that will look beyond dilution, which was the temporary solution Tharnish implemented in 2017 when radium levels exceeded the maximum allowed.
"Dilution is no longer a consideration," said Tharnish.
The request unanimously passed with a 5-0 vote.
Resolution for Well 7 engineering and design modifications
Tharnish requested approval to spend $42,250 to create a new backwash system and to replace valves on the almost 30-year-old Well 7, saying it is becoming increasingly difficult to find parts. This request was not approved by the board during its March 2 meeting when Bornstein abstained from voting, and Coopman and Clark voted against. Forsgren was the only company to bid the project.
Tonight, there were no questions from the board, and the request passed 5-0.
Contract awarded to Axon Enterprise for evidence management
Police Chief Sean Hemingway requested approval for a five-year support contract with Axon Enterprise Inc. The company provides all cameras and storage for data and evidence through its Evidence.com site. The sole-source request was approved, although no board members asked how the five-year contract interferes with TABOR laws against multi-year contracts.
During public comments, westside resident William Quimby said he was invited to speak by Clark, noting his wife has been suffering from complications due to breast cancer. He noted Clark had intended to give a presentation on the issue tonight and requested more information about the radium issue, perhaps implying it caused his wife’s ailment.
Will Kroger of Forsgren thanked the board for approving the water-related resolutions tonight.
Electronic signatures for ordinances
Town Manager Mike Foreman asked the board to approve the use of electronic consent when there is a state of emergency. Stephens was concerned about the confidence that the item was signed, and Foreman said they use DocuSign and will follow up with email confirmations.
Rivera confirmed many Colorado municipalities have approved similar resolutions.
Foreman noted the report format was updated to a more readable layout. The staff has been doing the following:
• Researched information about the benefits and implications to change from statutory town to a home rule town.
• Submitted a site proposal to the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade for a global IT company that would like to locate in a Colorado community.
• Met with El Paso County, at the county’s request, to discuss the possible annexation and future maintenance of Baptist Road and its westerly extension at Forest Lakes Drive.
• Performed a preliminary survey to gauge interest in the possibility of moving to a four-day workweek of 10-hour days.
The board went into executive session at 7:27 p.m. to discuss new town attorney compensation. The board decided to hire an in-house attorney after costs for Rivera as an outsourced legal counsel has become too costly. In 2019, the town spent $72,200 over the projected legal counsel funding in the budget. See https://ocn.me/v20n2.htm#mbot.
Upon returning to open session, the board directed town staff to negotiate compensation and make an offer for a new town attorney.
Allison Robenstein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Allison Robenstein
The Monument Board of Trustees’ April 20 meeting began with Mayor Don Wilson thanking the outgoing trustees for their service on the board. Newly elected Trustee Mitch LaKind and incumbent Jim Romanello were sworn in for their four-year terms. The mayor pro tem and town manager positions were appointed during the meeting.
Mayor Pro Tem Kelly Elliott and Trustee Ron Stephens were in attendance remotely. Trustee Laurie Clark was absent.
Thanks to departing trustees
Trustees Jeffrey Bornstein and Greg Coopman were present at the beginning of the meeting when Wilson and Town Manager Mike Foreman thanked them for their years of service on the board. Coopman served one four-year term, and Bornstein served two four-year terms.
"It’s been eight years, it’s been wonderful having you onboard. You always demonstrated your ability to have the community as your first priority," said Wilson to Bornstein.
Coopman received similar accolades. Foreman said, "Trustee Coopman, I appreciate all the work and efforts you’ve put in.… Great working with you and given me some great ideas over the months and years."
Wilson added, "You started out even before you were an elected official putting the community first and looking out for the community, with your effort when we were struggling with the possible methadone clinic being here. When you joined the board, that continued. I don’t think anyone will ever question your passion." Wilson said he and Coopman would disagree during board discussions, but that never spilled over into their personal conversations.
Coopman and Bornstein agreed it was an absolute pleasure to serve.
Oath of office for newly elected officials
LaKind, Romanello, and Jamy Unruh were elected April 7. LaKind and Romanello took the oath of office. Jamy Unruh and her husband were blessed with a child on Sunday, so she will be taking the oath formally at the next meeting. For full election results, see page 24.
Appointments approved unanimously
Kelly Elliott was appointed to continue as mayor pro tem. The board directed Town Attorney Joseph Rivera to create resolutions to appoint Laura Hogan as town clerk and Foreman as the town manager at the next meeting.
The town is in the process of hiring an in-house attorney, so that appointment was put on hold, as was the treasurer’s appointment. Because the town currently only has a finance director, the board will discuss this appointment at a future date. The treasurer position has been vacant since Pamela Smith left town employment after receiving a settlement agreement at the Nov. 18 meeting. See www.ocn.me/v19n12.htm#mbot.
Town manager’s report
Foreman reported the following for April:
• Town staff continue to attend virtual meetings with the Pikes Peak Regional Office of Emergency Management, the El Paso County Public Health Department, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, and the governor’s office to receive advice on COVID-19 pandemic protocols.
• Monument Water Department will not charge late fees, nor will it issue any shut-off orders for non-payment of water bills while the town is under the emergency declaration.
• MPDCOVIDemail@example.com has been established to facilitate communication with the public.
• The Monument Police Department has divided the town into three districts and is deploying officers in each to provide a visual presence.
• The Memorial Day ceremony set for May 25 at the Monument cemetery has been canceled.
• Northern Water Utility entities, including the Monument Water Department, developed a plan for backup supplies and operators should an agency be affected by the virus.
To read the entire report, go to https://tinyurl.com/y7pcu3qm.
The meeting adjourned at 7:08 pm.
Caption: From left are Mayor Don Wilson, Trustee Jeffrey Bornstein, who served two four-year terms, and Town Manager Mike Foreman. On April 20, Wilson thanked Bornstein for his dedication to the community. Photo courtesy the Town of Monument.
Caption: On April 20, Trustee Greg Coopman (center), who served one four -year term, received a plaque of appreciation from Mayor Don Wilson, left, and Town Manager Mike Foreman, right. Coopman reminded everyone the trustees are volunteers. Photo courtesy the Town of Monument.
Caption: Mitch LaKind served on the Planning Commission but was recently elected to the Board of Trustees. He was sworn into office April 20. From left are LaKind, Mayor Don Wilson, and Town Clerk Laura Hogan. Photo courtesy of Town of Monument..
Caption: Incumbent Trustee Jim Romanello was sworn into office April 20. Previously he had been appointed to the vacated seat of Mayor Don Wilson when he was elected mayor. See www.ocn.me/v19n1.htm#mbot. From left are Romanello, and Town Clerk Laura Hogan. Photo courtesy of Town of Monument.
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 regular meeting is scheduled for May 4. Call 719-884-8014 or see www.townofmonument.org for information. To see upcoming agendas and complete board packets for BOT or to download audio recordings of past meetings, see http://monumenttownco.minutesondemand.com and click on Board of Trustees.
Allison Robenstein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By James Howald and Jackie Burhans
The Palmer Lake Town Council met on April 9, 11, and 23. To comply with social distancing requirements, all three of the meetings were held online using Zoom. Links to future online meetings can be found on the town’s website at www.TownofPalmerLake.com in the Agendas and Minutes section.
Emergency measures to address coronavirus concerns took center stage at the first two meetings. At the April 11 meeting, the council passed an ordinance banning parking on streets within the town’s boundaries. At the April 23 meeting, the council addressed an ordinance detailing how the town would handle public displays of art, and a memorandum of understanding (MOU) defining how the town would work with Awake the Lake (ATL) in the future.
Town bans parking on streets
On April 11, the Town Council passed Ordinance 2020-1, which prohibits parking by non-residents on all town roads. All parking is also prohibited in the lots at the trailhead of the reservoir trail on Old Carriage Road. The ban took effect immediately.
Parking is allowed at the lot on Highway 105 adjacent to the gazebo. Trails remain open, and those wishing to hike can park at the lot adjacent to Highway 105 and walk to the trailheads.
The council took action because of an increase in hikers visiting the town to use the town’s trails since Colorado was placed under stay-at-home restrictions.
The council has discussed the problems resulting from over-use of the town’s trails many times, and a range of solutions has been proposed. The increase in hikers has caused chaotic parking at the town’s trailheads, in some cases making it impossible for emergency vehicles to reach residences.
Ordinance defining public art standards is approved
The council passed Ordinance 2020-2, which defines design, construction, and placement standards for art, including memorials and advertising placed on public land. The ordinance specifies the Town Council must approve any art on the town’s property. The council wrote the ordinance to facilitate fundraising efforts planned by the ATL committee that would install plaques on the bridge between the town and the lake.
The general ordinance was followed by a resolution that specifically authorized ATL to install railroad-themed displays on the bridge as a means of raising money to complete the project. The resolution requires that the displays be consistent with Ordinance 2020-2.
Chris Cummings of ATL assisted in drafting the ordinance.
Council passes memorandum of understanding with Awake the Lake
The council passed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the ATL organization that will define how the town and ATL will work together to complete the pedestrian bridge and maintain the lake and parkland. The memorandum specifies:
• ATL will raise funds for the project.
• ATL will work in cooperation with the town and in accord with the Comprehensive Plan.
• ATL will assist the town with public outreach.
• All funds will be spent on public lands.
The MOU also requires:
• The town and ATL engage in a public/private partnership.
• The town has the right to oversee all work.
• ATL events will be covered under town insurance if there is no additional cost to the town.
• The ATL board will produce and present an annual report at a Town Council meeting.
• ATL meetings, minutes, annual reports and information regarding donations will remain open to the public.
Other meeting highlights
• A portion of Eaton Road was vacated at the request of Steve and Julie Martin.
• A liquor license was approved for the Pinecrest Event Center at the request of Mark Russel Giveans.
• Reid Wiecks, Jessica Farr, and Christie Ramshur were appointed to the Parks Committee.
• Dawn Collins was appointed as town clerk/deputy administrator.
• An anonymous donor has offered to provide the town with a police vehicle.
• An anonymous donor has offered to provide an electric sign for the town’s use.
• Interviews with potential fire chiefs will begin shortly.
Caption: Palmer Lake Reservoir Trailhead parking is closed. Photo by Steve Pate.
The council is scheduled to hold two meetings online in May, on May 7 and 28 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. Check the town’s website for links to the online Zoom meetings.
James Howald can be reached at email@example.com.
Jackie Burhans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Natalie Barszcz
The boards for Forest Lake Metropolitan District (FLMD) and Pinon Pines Metropolitan Districts 1, 2, and 3 (PPMD 1, 2, 3) met via conference call on April 6 to discuss multiple land tract exclusions and inclusions.
FLMD is the half-acre operating district that owns and is responsible for the public infrastructure, water, wastewater, storm drainage, parks and trails, landscaping, and streetlight services for the residents of PPMD 1 and PPMD 2, the residential districts, which are in unincorporated El Paso County, and PPMD 3, the commercial district, which lies mostly within the southwest town limits of Monument. "The Pinons" are financing districts and provide no services except to collect property taxes. The infrastructure installation for PPMD 2 is currently underway in readiness for lot sales in the fall. PPMD currently has no residents.
Board members for FLMD and PPMD 2 and 3 are: President George Lenz, executive vice president of finance of Classic Homes; Secretary James Boulton, vice president/project manager of Classic Homes; Assistant Secretary and Treasurer Doug Stimple, CEO of Classic Homes; and Assistant Secretary Joe Loidolt, president of Classic Homes. One board member vacancy exists in all three of these districts.
PPMD 1 board directors are residents Mike Hitchcock and Mike Slavic alongside Lenz, Stimple and Loidolt. Ann Nichols is the manager for all four districts.
PPMD 1 land inclusion
A public hearing was opened to consider a petition that excludes two pieces of land from PPMD 2 and transfers both pieces for inclusion within the PPMD 1 lot lines. The two pieces of land amount to 137 square feet of Lot 26 and 150 square feet near the retaining wall on Mesa Top Road. District counsel Russell Dykstra said, "Both slivers of land do not affect any personal property and simply clean up the lines within each district and keep everything legally where it should be in PPMD 1." Hearing no comments from the public, the board unanimously approved the two inclusions 5-0.
Ann Nichols said, "Everything is pretty close to budget and nothing really jumps out, and the budgets are currently undergoing audit with Hoelting & Co. and should be available in June." The board unanimously approved the PPMD 1 financial statements for December 2019.
PPMD 2 land exclusion
A public hearing was opened to consider a petition for four individual land exclusions. The four parcels of property for exclusion are:
• The Alm property on the South Ridge Mesa Top, which lies outside the service and taxation area of FLMD and PPMD 2.
• The valley and South Ridge lot areas across from Beaver Creek, which may be developed as a separate district in the future.
• The two previously stated portions in the PPMD 1 board meeting.
Hearing no public comments, the hearing was closed, and the board unanimously approved the actions for exclusion 4-0.
PPMD 1 and PPMD 2 development
Tom Blunk of C P Real Estate Capital said he hoped there would be a market for lot sales in PPMD 2 when things normalize after the COVID-19 pandemic. Stimple confirmed that all lots in PPMD 1 have been sold.
Bond issuance consideration
Dykstra said the draft for the PPMD 2 bond issuance was not ready to be presented to the board and suggested the discussion should be tabled for a subsequent board meeting. He added that work had not slowed down for him, but a two-to-four-week delay due to COVID-19 would likely be a factor for bond issuance approval at any city council bond budget meeting. See www.ocn.me/v.20n.3.htm#flmd.
The meeting adjourned at 4:23 p.m.
PPMD 1 meetings, followed by joint meetings of FLMD and PPMD 2 and 3, are typically scheduled once a quarter at 4 p.m. Please check the website for the location. Official meeting notices are posted on the district website at www.forestlakesmetrodistrict.com. 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 Jennifer Kaylor
In compliance with social distancing, the April 16 Donala Water and Sanitation Board of Directors meeting was conducted online. All directors and the district’s new General Manager Jeff Hodge—who started officially on April 15—participated in the meeting. President Ken Judd confirmed votes via roll call. Outgoing General Manager Kip Petersen, who retires officially on May 29, provided the status reports.
Safety first at polling place
Petersen explained that Donala traditionally conducts its elections by poll as opposed to mail due to the added expense—about $20,000—of mailing ballots. The decision to conduct a poll vote for the May 5 board election was made well in advance of the coronavirus pandemic restrictions and, once the stay-at-home order had been issued, timing was too tight to make changes. Therefore, unless voters request an absentee ballot, they must come to the district office to cast their votes.
Office Manager Tanja Smith confirmed that voters interested in receiving an absentee ballot needed to complete and return to the district office by April 28 an Application for Absentee Ballot form which was printable from the district’s website. All ballots, whether cast by mail or in person on election day, must be received my 7 p.m. on Tuesday May 5. Petersen emphasized that ballots received after the deadline will not be counted. For future elections, he recommended that the district investigate mail-in ballots.
Donala staff prepared a plan for keeping voters and themselves safe during the election, said Petersen. Voters will have their temperatures taken before entering the voting station located in the Donala office at 15850 Holbein Drive. Poll watchers will disinfect the polling booth after each vote is cast and the voter will exit the building via a side door.
In response to community feedback regarding the election, Petersen reported that the district does not post information about the candidates to avoid the perception that the district is endorsing one or more of the candidates. There are three, three-year director positions open for this election. The nominees are Kevin Deardorff, Stephen M. Hrin, William George, and Edward H. Houle.
"Flushable" wipes headache intensifies, neighborly collaboration gains momentum
Petersen revisited the terrible circumstances that arise when people flush so-called "flushable" wipes down the toilet. Expressing fear that some residents have substituted wipes for toilet paper, Petersen recounted occasions in the past month when district staff had to unclog several pumps at the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility (UMCRWWTF) that were jammed with "flushable" wipes. He expressed a wish for everyone who flushes a toilet to experience the conditions that Donala operators face when disentangling not just the wipes but the entire collection of debris and waste matter that becomes a clog in the pump. Petersen advised directors to emphasize the message with friends, family, and strangers alike that only human waste and toilet paper should ever be flushed.
While tackling clogs in the wastewater system, the district also coped with a decreased workforce. Former Chief Waste Plant Operator Terri Ladouceur and her replacement Aaron Tolman vacated their positions on Feb. 28 and March 27, respectively. See https://ocn.me/v20n4.htm#dwsd. As of the board meeting, Superintendent Robert Hull was serving as an interim chief waste plant operator. Petersen expressed praise for the commitment, focus, and positive attitudes of Donala’s staff whose round-the-clock efforts to maintain safe drinking water and wastewater discharge standards made him extremely proud.
Petersen informed the board that managers and chief operators from the Town of Monument, Triview Metropolitan District, Woodmoor Water and Sanitation, and Palmer Lake Sanitation District were teleconferencing each Tuesday to discuss their various needs. The districts have provided support to one another by sharing water and wastewater treatment chemicals, personal protective equipment such as sanitizer, gloves, and masks, and even personnel hours. The statewide cooperation is also quite impressive, he added.
Donala staff would continue to uphold Gov. Polis’ April 26 stay-at-home order, stated Petersen, and would follow recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) through the effective date or later if extended. Donala’s office will remain closed to the public until the stay-at-home order is lifted.
Donala’s arsenic disposal alternative, the residual management facility (previously referenced as the Water Treatment Plant Residuals Dewatering Facility or RDF), is no longer expected to meet its May operational deadline. The project’s general contractor and press manufacturer informed Petersen that they expected delays in their deliveries as part of the ripple effect of the coronavirus restrictions.
The residual management facility creates a solid waste/landfill option for the district to dispose of arsenic. Arsenic and other substances such as iron and manganese occur naturally in groundwater from wells but are removed in the process of "finishing" drinking water for homes and businesses. Arsenic waste removed by Donala’s groundwater treatment plant goes to a wastewater collection system and is then sent to the UMCRWWTF.
In October 2019, new CDPHE regulations strictly tightened the amount of arsenic that the wastewater facility could discharge into Monument Creek. The residual management facility, intended to serve as a potable water pretreatment process, will capture most of the groundwater’s arsenic in a manner appropriate for landfill disposal and dramatically decrease the disposal into Monument Creek. Although Donala is currently in full compliance with its potable water and discharged wastewater arsenic levels, completion of the residual management facility means that the district can rely less on its arsenic-free renewable water from Willow Creek Ranch during the higher-water-demand summer months and draw from its groundwater wells. For more information see www.ocn.me/v19n3.htm#dwsd.
• Eastern El Paso County was classified as "abnormally dry."
• As part of his outreach efforts, Petersen confirmed that he scheduled a May 19 meeting with Colorado Springs at-large City Council Member Wayne Williams. City Council members serve as the governing board of Colorado Springs Utilities.
• Petersen asserted that the district’s water main replacement program should proceed without interruption. The economic downturn due to the coronavirus has caused other construction projects to be cancelled, therefore, Donala’s project received several bid responses from contractors.
The meeting adjourned at 2:15 p.m.
Board meetings are normally held on the third Thursday of the month. The next board meeting is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. May 14. The meeting may be held as a conference call or online video meeting depending on the status of stay-at-home restrictions; call (719)488-3603 or access www.donalawater.org to receive up-to-date meeting information. The district office is located at 15850 Holbein Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80921. When the directors meet in person, meetings are held in the district office conference room. See https://www.donalawater.org/images/docs/PUBLIC_NOTICE_2020.pdf for the meeting schedule.
Jennifer Kaylor may be reached at email@example.com.
By Jennifer Kaylor
The Triview Metropolitan District Board of Directors met via conference call on April 22. President Mark Melville sustained a roll call system for votes. District Manager Jim McGrady presented four resolutions for directors to review and consider for approval.
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. See https://triviewmetro.com/districtMap for a map of district boundaries.
The April board packet is separated into three parts and may be accessed via www.triviewmetro.com/boardDocuments.
Bonds sought to acquire water assets
McGrady introduced Resolution 2020-02, which authorizes the issuance and sale of water and wastewater enterprise revenue bonds and provides sources of payment of the bonds as well as other details. McGrady stated that Triview is acquiring assets that will enhance the district’s ability to provide renewable water. The purpose of the bonds is to establish financing for the purchase, and the purpose of the resolution is to set the parameters on the amount, interest rate, and duration of the bonds. By setting pre-established limits on the bonds, the board authorizes the district manager or the board president to make final pricing determinations subject to those maximums.
The resolution also stipulates that revenue generated from water operations, known as enterprise revenue, will be used to pay back the bonds and, therefore, does not require an election. If for some unknown reason the annual payment exceeds the district’s ability to pay, the resolution supports the district in exploring water service rate increases.
Bond counsel Kim Crawford from Butler Snow reviewed Section 213 of the resolution and confirmed that it authorizes the district manager or board president to make final pricing determinations subject to the maximums, which include: a net effective interest rate not to exceed 4.5%; if the bonds are callable, a redemption provision of not more than 103% (or a prepayment penalty of not more than 3%); a purchase price of 98% or more of the aggregate principal amount; and a principal not to exceed $18 million. The maximum annual bond payment is set at $1.5 million with a maximum total of $32.5 million and a maturity date not later than Dec. 31, 2051. The resolution also authorizes bond insurance if it is cost effective to the district. See pdf page 35 of Board Packet, Regular Meeting, 4/22/20, Part 1 https://triviewmetro.com/assets/documents/board/agenda/2020/BoardPacket_2020-04-22_p1.pdf.
Nate Eckloff from underwriter Piper Sandler and Co. anticipated that Triview would be able to secure an effective interest rate of about 3.5%, a redemption provision of 100%, and a purchase price closer to 99.5%.
After their questions were addressed, Triview directors approved the resolution.
Service plan amendments create potential for a subdistrict
Three additional resolutions were brought before the board. Resolution 2020-03 recognized Gov. Polis’ state of emergency declaration due to the threat presented by COVID-19 and authorized the district’s board to teleconference for regular and special meetings.
The remaining two resolutions worked in tandem to enable the district to create a subdistrict.
Resolution 2020-04 amended and restated the Triview service plan to update financial plans, development assumptions, and cost estimates; reflect current conditions; and allow for future flexibility. Currently, the district provides water and wastewater services, street and drainage improvements, traffic safety protections, parks and open space maintenance, and mosquito control. The restated service plan empowers the district to amend the service plan as needed according to appropriate statutory procedures, to modify implementation of the financing plan and public infrastructure and create subdistricts to provide public improvements for new developments. The resolution and following service plan begin on page 8, Board Packet, Regular Meeting, 4/22/20, Part 2, https://triviewmetro.com/assets/documents/board/agenda/2020/BoardPacket_2020-04-22_p2.pdf.
The fourth resolution, 2020-05, authorizes the formation of a subdistrict in Triview. The Creekside subdivision—bordered on the north by Higby Road, on the west by Jackson Creek Parkway, and on the east by the planned Home Place Ranch development—anticipates 611 homes and 480 multi-family units. McGrady explained that designating the area as a subdistrict opens the opportunity for the developer to issue bonds to construct infrastructure such as utilities and parks. It also allows for a 10-mill operations and maintenance levy, which prevents current Triview rate payers from shouldering the burden of additional operations and maintenance costs. Resolution 2020-05 begins on pdf page 72 of Board Packet, Regular Meeting, 4/22/20, Part 2, https://triviewmetro.com/assets/documents/board/agenda/2020/BoardPacket_2020-04-22_p2.pdf.
For information about the proposed Triview Metropolitan District Subdistrict A May 5 election, see https://triviewmetro.com/assets/documents/notices/2020/NoticeConcerningCreationOfADebtOrObligationOfTheDistrict.pdf.
The board approved resolutions 2020-03, 2020-04, and 2020-05.
• Parks and Open Space Superintendent Jay Bateman confirmed that Kiewit, the construction company contracted to expand Jackson Creek Parkway, is scheduled to resume completion of the project on May 4.
• The district’s water transport collaboration—known as a wheeling agreement—with Donala Water and Sanitation, Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU), and the Pueblo Board of Water Works has been put on hold. McGrady explained that some of the requirements and the timing were not currently appropriate for Triview. The 400,000 gallons per day of water produced by the district’s new wells, A9 and D9, more than offset the anticipated water that Triview would have received as a result of the agreement. McGrady indicated that a wheeling agreement remains a possibility in the future.
• The coronavirus’ negative impact on tax revenue has caused the district to suspend installation of the public works building at its JCP complex (on the east side of JCP and north of the JCP-Leather Chaps intersection) until at least September or October. McGrady stated that the district will rebid the project for updated pricing and potential savings. Depending on bid amounts and recovery of the local economy, the project may be deferred to the 2021 budget.
• McGrady confirmed that CSU is proceeding with the National Environmental Policy Act study. This required step must be completed before CSU and the northern El Paso County wastewater service providers, including Triview, can move forward on a potential regional wastewater system called the North Monument Creek Interceptor. One component of the study—a public scoping meeting that requires input from about 5,000 respondents—has presented challenges due to the coronavirus and social distancing restrictions.
At 6:38 p.m., the board entered executive session §24-6-402(4)(b)(e) legal advice, negotiations. McGrady confirmed later that no additional actions were taken as a result of the executive session.
Caption: Triview Metropolitan District’s 2020 road rehabilitation project began on April 20 and is expected to be completed by June 9. Crack repair, edge mill, and a two-inch asphalt overlay are scheduled for specific roads throughout the district. See a more detailed schedule at https://triviewmetro.com/assets/documents/projects/2020/RoadMaintenance_Schedule_2020_rev0424.pdf. Abbreviated road rehabilitation schedule by Jennifer Kaylor.
Caption: On March 31, the weather provided Triview Metropolitan District’s landscape crews an opportunity to jump ahead on the summer’s beautification efforts. Jameal Gaines worked quickly to spread seed in thinning grassy areas along Leather Chaps Road. The married father of five has been with the district since March 2017. Originally from Detroit, Gaines prides himself on his work ethic and willingness to tackle any job. Photo by Jennifer Kaylor.
The next Triview board meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. May 20. Check the district’s event calendar at www.triviewmetro.com/home or call 488-6868 for meeting schedule updates and to confirm if the meeting will be in-person, via conference call, or online. In-person board meetings are held at the district office, 16055 Old Forest Point, Suite 300, Monument. See also "Triview Metropolitan District" on Facebook or Twitter.com/@TriviewMetro.
Jennifer Kaylor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By James Howald
Due to safety concerns arising from the coronavirus, the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD) meeting for April was canceled.
District website gets makeover
WWSD has published a redesigned and updated version of its website at www.woodmoorwater.com.
The website contains information about the district, including district boundaries, information about the Board of Directors and district staff, maps, and minutes of board meetings.
Using the website, customers can report interruptions to their water service and request sewer backup assistance.
Caption: In early April, work began at Woodmoor Drive and Deer Creek Road to construct a water main and transmission lines from Well 21 in Woodmoor to the pump station. This work, undertaken by Woodmoor Water and Sanitation Department, has created intermittent detours. Photo by Jackie Burhans.
The next meeting is scheduled for May 11 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 Helen Walklett
During April, the El Paso Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) largely held only its Tuesday meetings and received weekly updates on the county’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The commissioners have made decisions relating to the Highway 105 project, the North Gate Boulevard/Struthers Road water quality pond project, and ambulance and liquor licenses.
Meetings during COVID-19 outbreak
The commissioners have been receiving weekly updates on the COVID-19 outbreak from Dr. Leon Kelly, chief medical examiner and county coroner, Susan Wheelan, director, county Public Health, and Jim Reid, director, Pikes Peak Regional Office of Emergency Management. At the April 21 meeting, the commissioners went into executive session to discuss the county’s legal authority to respond to the 2020 budgetary impacts of COVID-19, including their ability and the means by which they can modify the county budget, as well as the implications of the federal CARES Act, and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) response. As is customary with executive sessions, no decisions were taken.
While some commissioners and staff have been attending BOCC meetings in person, others have joined the meetings from home. Meetings are streamed live on the county’s website at: https://clerkandrecorder.elpasoco.com/clerk-to-the-board/meeting-live-stream/ and on its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ElPasoCountyCO/. Members of the public are encouraged to participate remotely by contacting Kristy Smart, clerk to the board, at KristySmart@elpasoco.com in advance. They can also indicate they wish to speak while a meeting is in progress either by commenting on the Facebook page or by emailing BrandonWilson@elpasoco.com.
Highway 105 easement
At the March 31 BOCC meeting, the commissioners unanimously approved a memorandum of agreement and approved and accepted a special warranty deed, a non-exclusive permanent easement, and a temporary construction easement for Highway 105 Improvement Project A. These pertain to property owned by CW Monument 2013 LLC at a cost of $105,200. Project A is the segment of the project from Woodmoor Drive to Lake Woodmoor Drive. The county anticipates construction will begin in the fall, subject to the completion of the necessary property acquisitions.
North Gate Boulevard/Struthers Road water quality pond project
At their April 7 meeting, the commissioners approved an intergovernmental agreement between the county and the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) for construction of the North Gate Boulevard/Struthers Road Permanent Water Quality Pond Project.
The project will provide stormwater improvements in the area adjacent to North Gate Boulevard, Struthers Road, and I-25 where stormwater infrastructure has been inadequate for many years. The proposed improvements would create a stormwater infrastructure system that would intercept stormwater runoff from the area and carry it through a concrete pipe network to a detention/water quality pond in the I-25 median south of North Gate Boulevard. Construction is expected to begin in 2021.
Black Forest slash and mulch program update
While the Black Forest slash and mulch program, located at the southeast corner of Shoup and Herring Roads, will open for the 2020 season for slash drop-off on May 2 as planned, the committee has made some changes due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Social distancing measures will be in place. Staff will not walk up to vehicles, will not take money (for a while), and will not be able to help anyone unload. They will also not be distributing dog treats. Normal business hours will be Saturdays 7 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sundays, noon-4 p.m., and Tuesday and Thursday evenings, 5-7:30 p.m. The last date for slash drop-off is Sept. 13. Free mulch will be available for self-loading from May 16 through Sept. 19.
Users are asked to fill out and submit a form on the website prior to their first visit. For more information, visit www.bfslash.org.
The BOCC approved the 2020 memorandum of understanding with the Black Forest Slash and Mulch Committee at its March 19 meeting. See https://www.ocn.me/v20n4.htm?zoom_highlight=%22samcom%22.
• March 31—The commissioners approved the issuance of an ambulance service license to the Black Forest Fire Rescue Protection District. The license is effective for one year from May 1.
• April 21—Approved a request by Colorado Brewers Group LLC, dba Pikes Peak Brewing Company, to waive the time requirement for filing an application to renew its brewpub license for its premises at 1756 Lake Woodmoor Drive. The applicant said he had overlooked the renewal deadline because all his efforts were going in to keeping the business operating during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Helen Walklett can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Helen Walklett
During April, the El Paso County Planning Commission made provisions for remote participation in meetings during the COVID-19 outbreak. At the April 7 meeting, the commissioners unanimously recommended for approval a minor subdivision application by the Curtis Family Living Trust for a property at the intersection of Roller Coaster Road and Baptist Road.
Meetings during the COVID-19 outbreak
The two Planning Commission meetings in April were conducted primarily remotely, although some staff and applicants did attend in person. The hearings were moved from their usual venue to the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) hearing room at 200 S. Cascade Ave., Colorado Springs and took place at 1 p.m. to allow the BOCC meeting to happen in the morning. County staff think it is likely that the only Planning Commission meeting scheduled for this month, on May 19, will also be held at 1 p.m. in the BOCC hearing room. Contact TraceyGarcia@elpasoco.com nearer the time for confirmation.
Although members of the public may still attend in person, the county is encouraging remote participation. The hearings are being broadcast live for members of the public to view via the county webpage at https://www.elpasoco.com/news-information-channel and on the county’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ElPasoCountyCO/. The staff is monitoring comments made on the latter. Those who know in advance they wish to comment should email TraceyGarcia@elpasoco.com and leave their name and phone number and include any documents they wish to submit, and they will be called at the appropriate time.
During the COVID-19 outbreak, the Planning and Community Development Department stresses that it is making every effort to operate "business as usual," with all phone calls and emails being returned, projects reviewed, and necessary meetings held via conference call. All applications can be reviewed at: https://epcdevplanreview.com, and the county’s land development code is online at: https://library.municode.com/co/el_paso_county/codes/land_development_code.
Curtis minor subdivision request
The proposed minor subdivision, to be known as Curtis Subdivision Filing No.1, would create two single-family lots from the 36.65-acre property at the northwest corner of the intersection of Roller Coaster Road and Baptist Road and zoned RR-5 (residential rural). Lot 1 would be 25 acres and Lot 2 about 8 acres. 4.10 acres would be dedicated as public right-of-way for the future realignment of Roller Coaster Road.
The applicant requested a deviation that driveway access for the second lot be allowed onto Baptist Road, an arterial road, instead of Roller Coaster Road. Normally access is not allowed onto an arterial roadway, but the request was granted because of safety concerns with access via Roller Coaster Road due to a large curve near the property that would cause a dangerous blind spot.
The application was heard as a consent item, meaning there was no discussion. The commissioners voted unanimously to recommend it for approval. It was scheduled to be heard at the BOCC meeting on April 28.
Upcoming appeal to the Board of Adjustment
On May 13, the Board of Adjustment will hear an appeal of a decision made by Craig Dossey, executive director of Planning and Community Development, to deny a request for approval of administrative relief for a proposed subdivision that would consist of three lots less than 5 acres on a property zoned RR-5 (rural residential) where the minimum lot size is 5 acres. Dossey denied the application on the grounds that it did not meet the review criteria for administrative relief as set out in the county’s land development code.
The 14.89-acre property, located on the east side of Goshawk Road just north of Hodgen Road, is owned by Daniel Andres. The minimum lot size would be 4.95 acres. If the appeal is approved, Andres plans to submit a minor subdivision application, to be known as Circle A Subdivision Filing No.1. The intention is that his children will build homes for their families on the two additional lots. Andres’ attorneys have stated that the property had always been assessed as a 15-acre parcel and that it was only when their client began the subdivision process that modern surveying techniques discovered the property to be slightly smaller.
The appeal will be heard in the BOCC hearing room at 200 S. Cascade Ave. at 9 a.m. on May 13. The hearing will be streamed live at https://www.elpasoco.com/news-information-channel and on the county’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ElPasoCountyCO/. Anyone wishing to participate is being encouraged to do so remotely in the same way as participation is encouraged for Planning Commission meetings (see above).
Master plan update
Work on the new county master plan continues. The April 1 Master Plan Steering Committee (MPSC) meeting was held remotely via Vimeo. Dossey said he hoped that work on the new plan would be completed by the end of the year as planned, despite the COVID-19 outbreak. Information about the plan, including the recording of the April 1 MPSC meeting, can be found on the county’s website at https://elpaso-hlplanning.hub.arcgis.com. Progress reports are normally given at the end of Planning Commission meetings.
Helen Walklett can be reached at email@example.com.
By Bill Kappel
April is often one of the more erratic months of the year as we transition from winter to spring. Of course, spring for us usually isn’t much of a "season"; instead we usually jump back and forth between winter and summer. This year was no different, with record lows during the middle of the month and near 80° highs by the end of the month. For the month overall, both temperatures and precipitation were below normal.
The first shot of cold air moved into the region late on April 1st, with a strong cold front ushering in colder air and snow at times. Stratus clouds and fog greeted us on the morning of the 2nd, with a few flurries. Steadier snow developed later that day, with some heavy snow at times during the evening. Light snow continued through the next morning, with 4-6 inches accumulating throughout the region. Temperatures were well below normal both days, with highs in the 30s on the 2nd and upper 20s on the 3rd.
After a chilly start on the 4th, mild conditions returned for the next few days, with highs jumping back into the 50s and 60s from the 5th through the 11th. But this was ahead of the next shot of cold air, and this time it was record cold. The initial wind shift ahead of this cold air came through during the mid-evening hours of the 11th, with the stronger cold front a few hours later. Temperatures dropped over 40 degrees from the afternoon of the 11th to the morning of the 12th, going from 65°F on the 11th to 14°F at 7 a.m. on the 12th.
Of course, associated with the cold air, snow developed quickly, with light snow on the 12th turning to heavier snow on the 13th. This initial shot of cold air produced 6-10 inches around the region and, as skies cleared during the morning of the 14th, temperatures plummeted. Low temperatures fell to zero and slightly below that morning, setting daily record lows. The cold air also stuck around during each day, with record low high temperatures occurring on the 13th. Temperatures warmed slightly on the 14th and 15th, ahead of another reinforcing shot of cold air. This next cold front moved through during the mid-evening hours of the 15th.
Low clouds and fog again developed that evening and into the next morning, with brief heavy snow and blowing snow accumulating that afternoon. Temperatures were again well below normal, with highs only reaching the upper 20s the afternoon of the 16th.
After this round of cold and snow moved out, more spring-like conditions took hold. This meant generally quiet and cool mornings, then developing clouds by late morning and early afternoon. The stronger sun and more intense heating of the atmosphere meant those clouds continued to develop and often turned into to brief rain or snow showers. There were even a few rumbles of thunder on a couple of the days. None of the showers produced much measurable precipitation, but it was definitely a sign of the season changing. This pattern of quiet mornings and active afternoons continued from the 17th through the 25th.
This pattern was finally broken when warmer and generally drier air began to move in from the west to end the month. This produced our warmest temperatures of the month as well, with our first 70s of the season occurring during the final days of the month. This was the first time we reached above the 70°F mark since Oct. 17th of 2019.
A look ahead
May often brings a wide variety of weather conditions in the region, from warm, sunny days to severe thunderstorms and hail, and even some snowfall. Just last year we had a major snowstorm toward the end of the month, with nearly 2 feet of snow accumulating. But other times very little snow falls during the month and temperatures can reach well into the 80s.
April 2020 Weather Statistics
Average High 55.9° (-0.6°)
Average Low 26.3° (-1.3°)
Highest Temperature 79° on the 29th
Lowest Temperature 0° on the 14th
Monthly Precipitation 0.83" (-2.13", 70% below normal)
Monthly Snowfall 16.9" (-9.8", 37% below normal)
Season to Date Snow 135.7" (+18.1", 15% above normal) (the snow season is from July 1 to June 30)
Season to Date Precip. 8.45" (+2.11", 33% above normal) (the precip season is from July 1 to June 30)
Heating Degree Days 718 (+29)
Cooling Degree Days 0
Bill Kappel is a meteorologist and Tri-Lakes resident. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Guidelines for letters are on page 31.
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.
Inspired by Winston Churchill
The story about Winston Churchill in last month’s Art Matters column (www.ocn.me/v20n4.htm#art) was inspiring. While I have always enjoyed Churchill’s quotes, I loved learning more about him. The timing was perfect! During this unsettling period for our country, his strength and conviction can be an encouragement to all of us.
By Chief Ronald J. Siarnicki, National Fallen Firefighters Foundation
Hundreds of firefighters across the country have COVID-19. The reality is harsh. Even with personal protective equipment and strong infection control procedures, hundreds of firefighters are sick. Some have died.
They’re not looking for sympathy. They’re not looking for glory. The nation’s fire service is turning to you for help.
There’s a lot you can do to make it safer for firefighters. And many of these same actions will help prevent harm to others on the front lines of the COVID-19 battle, like police officers, nurses, and doctors.
• Stay home and practice social distancing. We know it’s getting tired and old. We know staying home is stressful and frustrating. But it’s an essential action that keeps us all safe.
• Call 911 for emergencies only. If you need assistance, firefighters, paramedics, and EMTs will be there. If it isn’t an emergency, many communities have stepped up their non-emergency lines to offer guidance during the crisis.
• Call 911 for emergencies only. That’s not a typo—it’s a reminder. If you think you have an emergency, call 911. We don’t want you to hesitate to call for real emergencies like heart attacks, household accidents, and small fires. These are emergencies and firefighters are here to take care of you.
• If you do need to call 911, alert the call-taker to anyone in your household that has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or has experienced any symptoms such as cough or fever. Firefighters will be there to help but will take the precautions needed to ensure they can keep doing their job throughout this pandemic. The 911 call-taker will likely ask additional questions. Please be patient and answer these questions.
• Make a list of all medications being taken by each member of your household, along with a medical history. Do it now, just in case. New rules in many communities will prevent relatives and friends from riding in the ambulance or even entering the hospital. We understand how scary this thought is, but being prepared can help ensure your loved one is getting the most appropriate care. Make sure those lists are handy.
• Collect a few things a loved one might need if they must go to the hospital. A phone charger, eyeglasses, wallet, ID, and insurance card(s) are great things to include.
• Follow your local fire department and emergency management agency on social media. They’ll have additional COVID-19 safety tips and keep you updated on changing procedures and policies.
And since you’re at home, there’s no time like the present to prepare for and practice for other types of emergencies:
• Every household needs to have a home escape plan in the event of fire. There are great tools available on the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation’s Be a Hero, Save a Hero app and at the National Fire Protection Association’s Sparky website. If you have children at home, make them an active participant in putting the plan together. It’s an activity with immediate and long-term benefits—and let’s face it, who doesn’t want to escape their house right now?
• Think like a firefighter: firefighters work hard each day to be prepared for anything and everything that comes along. Being prepared will help you tackle problems effectively. It also minimizes stress. If you feel prepared, you’ll feel more in control.
There are no stay-at-home orders for your local fire department. Your firefighters always respond when called. Please do your part to help them return safely to their families.
Congress created the NFFF to lead a nationwide effort to remember America’s fallen firefighters. Since 1992, the tax-exempt, nonprofit foundation has developed and expanded programs to honor our fallen fire heroes and assist their families and co-workers. NFFF also has expanded its mission to help prevent firefighter line-of-duty injuries and deaths.
Ronald J. Siarnicki is the executive director of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF). He’s the former fire chief of Maryland’s Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department and is currently a volunteer firefighter on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
By the staff at Covered Treasures
"You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child."—Dr. Seuss
"Reading should not be presented to children as a chore, or a duty. It should be offered as a gift."
These are interesting times. With all the time together as a family at home, reading aloud is one of the best ways to be fully present with our children, even long after they can read themselves. All ages benefit.
The Read-Aloud Family: Making Meaningful and Lasting Connections with Your Kids
By Sarah Mackenzie (Zondervan), $16.99
In this handy resource, Sarah Mackenzie champions the lifelong benefits of reading aloud to children and offers book lists, strategies, and tools parents can use to form deep and lasting connections with their children. The stories we read, and the conversations we have about them, help shape family traditions, create lifelong memories, and become part of our legacy.
This is a perfect time to start a series. Some wonderful choices for all ages include:
By J.K. Rowling (Scholastic)
This magical series has been entertaining all ages for more than 20 years. You can find the seven volumes individually or together in boxed sets. There are also illustrated editions available through volume four, but the illustrated editions for all seven eventually will be available.
Chronicles of Narnia
By C.S. Lewis (Harper Collins)
For over 60 years, this series has transcended the fantasy genre to become part of the canon of classic literature. Epic battles between good and evil, fantastic creatures, betrayals, heroic deeds, and friendships won and lost all come together in this unforgettable world. The seven volumes in this series can be found individually and in boxed sets.
By Judy Blume (Puffin Books)
Fans young and old will laugh out loud at the irrepressible wit of Peter Hatcher, the hilarious antics of mischievous Fudge, and the unbreakable confidence of know-it-all Sheila Tubman in Judy Blume’s five Fudge books.
Ralph Mouse Series and Ramona Series
By Beverly Cleary (Harper Collins)
Newberry Medal-winning author Beverly Cleary’s Ralph Mouse Series features a young mouse named Ralph who is thrown into a world of excitement and adventure when a boy, Keith, and his shiny toy motorcycle check into the Mountain View Inn. With a pal like Keith always looking out for him, there’s nothing this little mouse can’t handle. In the Ramona series, Beverly Cleary delivers a humorous portrayal of the ups and downs of sisterhood. Both the younger and older siblings of the family will enjoy these series.
More great choices include the classics, for example:
Anne of Green Gables: Complete and Unabridged
By L.M. Montgomery (Puffin Classics), $6.99
This complete and unabridged edition contains a behind-the-scenes journey, including an author profile, a guide to who’s who, activities, and more. Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert are in for a big surprise. They’re waiting for an orphan boy to help with the work at Green Gables—but a skinny, red-haired girl turns up instead. Feisty and full of spirit, it’s not long before Anne Shirley finds herself in all kinds of trouble. But soon it’s impossible to imagine life at Green Gables without her.
By Robert Louis Stevenson (Sterling Publishing) $9.95
Young and old have been thrilled by this timeless classic since it was first published in 1883. This gripping story of young Jim Hawkins’ perilous encounters with the treacherous Long John Silver and his fellow pirates is filled with mystery and adventure for the whole family.
Around the World in Eighty Days
By Jules Verne (Sterling Publishing) $9.95
"I will bet twenty thousand pounds against anyone who wishes that I will make the tour of the world in eighty days or less." So says Phileas Fogg in Jules Verne’s unforgettable adventure tale. Journey with Fogg and his French servant Passepartout as they race across the globe in an attempt to win the legendary wager.
The One and Only Ivan
By Katherine Applegate (Harper Collins) $8.99
This Newberry Award-winning novel is soon to be a major motion picture. Inspired by the true story of a captive gorilla known as Ivan, it celebrates the transformative power of unexpected friendship, art, and hope.
Matilda and Boy: Tales of Childhood and The BFG
By Roald Dahl (Puffin Books)
Roald Dahl was a spy, ace fighter pilot, chocolate historian, and medical inventor. He was also the author of Matilda, Boy Tales of Childhood, The BFG, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and many more brilliant stories. His books are always a good choice for reading aloud.
Until next month, happy reading.
The staff at Covered Treasures can be reached at email@example.com.
By Harriet Halbig
All Pikes Peak Library District facilities remain closed until further notice. Please retain any library materials until we reopen.
All holds will remain available, and cards will not expire during the closure. There will be no late fees on materials returned in good condition.
In the meantime, consult our website, www.ppld.org, for a wide variety of virtual programming including yoga classes, story times, and a virtual book club. These can be found under the heading Virtual Programs on the home page.
You can also access our Cybershelf to stream videos, books, magazines, and music.
Using our research databases, you can access information on consumer issues, legal issues, history, newspapers and magazines, and even learn a language with Mango!
All you need to access these assets is a library card. You can apply online and use it immediately.
During this time, the library district has been contributing to the community in a number of ways.
We have donated masks and gloves to the Pikes Peak Regional Office of Emergency Management and lent 3D printers and sewing machines to make personal protective equipment.
The Friends of the Library provided books to distribute to those picking up food at food banks.
We have lent laptops and hotspots to be used to apply for employment.
Books, DVDs, and laptops have also been lent to the isolation shelter at the Colorado Springs City Auditorium.
We hope that you are all staying well and look forward to seeing you again.
Please consult the website for the latest updates.
Harriet Halbig can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Sharon Williams
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold, affecting the lives of everyone globally in a rapid, dramatic way. This experience may feel unprecedented, but a similar pandemic transformed daily life in similar ways more than a century ago. We can look back to the Spanish Influenza pandemic of 1918-19 for historical insight and valuable lessons. This can help us understand the current critical impact on Colorado. Then and now, politics, human nature, and medical science are key elements that play a role in disrupting, reversing, supporting, and resisting policies to control the disease.
The pandemic’s death toll was greater than the total number of military and civilian deaths from World War I, which was happening simultaneously. It is believed one-third to half the world’s population was infected by the influenza. It moved indiscriminately. President Woodrow Wilson and Walt Disney survived the deadly flu, while acting first lady Rose Cleveland and many influential politicians, artists, and athletes did not.
Important facts about the 1918 pandemic matter a 100 years later. At the time, scientists had not yet discovered flu viruses, but we know today that the 1918 pandemic was caused by an influenza A (H1N1) virus. The pandemic is commonly believed to have occurred in three waves. The first flu-like activity was identified in U.S. military personnel during spring 1918. The second wave was the most severe, occurring during fall 1918. The third wave came during winter and spring 1919.
The 1918 flu virus spread quickly. Controlling the spread of flu was limited to non-pharmaceutical interventions. The science behind this was applied inconsistently. In Colorado, an estimated 7,500 deaths occurred beyond what a normal flu season might bring from September 1918 to January 1919. Colorado’s reputation as a healthy tuberculosis recovery destination, as well as a key mining state, is thought to be a contributing factor to its high death rate. Only 24 states reported their flu deaths, and Colorado’s death rate ranked among the highest.
There was no prevention or treatment for the virus. Many doctors believed the illness to be bacterial. By the time it was determined a viral threat, the death toll was so immense that life expectancy fell by a remarkable 12 years.
Although public gatherings were discouraged in various places in Colorado, citizens were required to wear masks in theaters and shops, but not in churches and hotels. Restaurant waiters had to wear them, but diners did not. It was noted that the way local authorities often reversed course inspired neither public confidence nor cooperation.
Shortly after three flu deaths at Colorado College, the Colorado Springs commissioner of public health advised, "There is no need to become panicky over the matter."
The pandemic of 1918 showed the hazard of easing up too quickly, with Denver seeing a resurgence in cases after allowing people to once again congregate before things were fully under control. The Denver Post noted that any measures to substantially slow the 1918 pandemic came too little, too late or were lifted too early.
Forty-thousand people gathered in Cheesman Park in early October to view a warplane for the first time, while another 10,000 filled the streets for a war bond parade. Just over a week later, Denver had 1,200 cases and 78 deaths.
In fall 1918, cases seemed to be leveling off in Denver. Business owners pressured government officials to let them open back up. The mayor relented. On Nov. 11, 1918, Armistice Day, the ban on gatherings went by the wayside as thousands came together to celebrate the war’s end. It seemed, for a brief period, that the flu had taken its course, but it soon returned with a vengeance.
"Sickness" placards began to be placed outside homes in Colorado Springs that had been touched by the flu. Monument and other towns didn’t allow customers to enter stores. They received orders at the store front door. When a Durango-bound train passed through, a dead passenger’s bedding was burned and the railcar fumigated.
The U.S. experienced a severe shortage of professional nurses because large numbers were deployed to military camps in the United States and abroad. This shortage was worsened by the failure to use trained African American nurses.
Restrictions had to be re-imposed as public life once again ground to a halt. It wouldn’t be until January 1919 that the Spanish flu would finally run its course in Denver, though it lingered into the spring in outlying parts of the state.
In 1918, Gunnison’s strict measures earned the town the title of "escape community," because it emerged comparatively unscathed. But in 2020, Gunnison is far less isolated, with a highway system making travel easy and ski country nearby. Early on, Gunnison County surged with 52 cases of COVID-19 and one death, leading Colorado in cases per 100,000 people. The contrast of the Gunnison experience during the Spanish flu pandemic to much of the rest of the country can serve as a lesson for communities struggling with the coronavirus outbreak today.
The 1918 pandemic 2020 hindsight has shown that following precautionary and preventive measures is what we can do until adequate testing, personal protective equipment, and treatment is available, and an effective vaccine is developed.
Caption: 1918 Ft. Collins influenza ward. Photo courtesy The Denver Post.
Sharon Williams can be reached at email@example.com.
By Janet Sellers
"Agriculture is the most destructive human activity on the planet."—Rosario Dawson.
The UN estimates we have fewer than 60 years of farmable soil left. At the 2016 World Soil Day event, speaker Maria-Helena Semedo, deputy director-general of natural resources at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, said that if current soil degradation rates were not reversed, all the world’s topsoil could be gone in 60 years.
As I mentioned last month, the Victory Gardens of the 1940s provided about 40% of our local food supply. This was done in backyard gardens and co-op land parcels. When we consider that we can put food on the table from our backyards, all the while creating healthy soil and clean air, just imagine the impact on our soil and all that implies! The Back to Eden no-till gardening methods create soil in place, and the byproduct is food for us to eat and clean habitats. We can change our ways and enrich the Earth’s soil instead of ruin it. Eat locally, as from your own backyard and windowsill, and you save not only time and money while creating clean food but also reduce travel eco-impact as well.
It takes 1,000 years for nature to make topsoil. We lose 20 hectares of topsoil every minute to chemical-heavy farming techniques, deforestation, which increases erosion, and global warming. But we can act now: copying nature, we can save our soil and our Earth. South Africa has proven that large scale food production can be managed for conservation, ultimately putting back more into the soil than they take out. Successful no-till subscription farms in California have shown us that even small farms of 8 acres can have extraordinary results both ecologically and economically. We can actually help create soil and restore the Earth with dispatch—but we have to get going and do that.
Things to do
• Plant soil-replenishing lawns of low water, no mow white Dutch micro clover, for lush lawns (micro clover is used for Danish and Dutch golf courses) that support our pollinators, restore the soil, defeat erosion, and, since it only grows 4-6 inches high, it does not need mowing.
• Guerilla garden with plants and flowers in vacant spots and lots, plant veggies in places needing landscaping, plant gardens in vacant lots with seed bombs (balls of seed-embedded soil).
• Backyard Victory Gardens—replace the single-use zoning environmental disaster with food from home.
• Support our local village community—buy local food, walk or bike to shops and the farmers market. Buy local, organic food, support co-ops and subscribe to a CSA (community supported agriculture) farm, seek these out and support them.
• Deter deer and rodents: My neighbor has had zero deer and rabbit problems. She puts a 2-foot perimeter, sprinkling shaved soap and cayenne pepper all around her flower garden. The voles are 10 feet away in the green belt, but her flower garden goes untouched. For more high-altitude gardening tips, I have hundreds of hand-picked articles, videos and DIY tips on my Facebook page, Monument Community Garden, all carefully chosen for beginner to green thumb gardeners. Take a look and tell me what you like best for your garden!
Caption: In a tub, drill/poke holes all around 4 inches up from bottom and use drain holes on bottom (optional in our dry area) or tip the bucket/tub to drain excess water. Layer shredded paper, leaves, grass clippings, kitchen scraps, toilet paper rolls, garden clippings, eggshells, coffee grinds, wood chips, and potting soil. Water lightly and keep it lightly watered. Plant zucchini and squashes and any other slow-growing seeds immediately.
Caption: Broadtail hummingbird scouts are back! DIY feeder: 8-ounce water bottle, poke one hole in its lower third, mark hole in red, fill with nectar, and replace the cap. Hang by a red ribbon and watch the aerial dynamics begin. Hummers are attracted to the color red (bees and wasps are not).
Caption: Hang a paper bag to simulate a wasp nest to deter nesting wasp queens. Bring feeders in at night to deter bears. In June, Friends of Fox Run Park will hold the annual Hummingbird Festival—stay tuned to http://nextdoor.com for exact dates.
Photos by Janet Sellers.
Janet Sellers is an avid "lazy gardener" using natural methods for high-yield, restorative gardening success. Drop by and see the Monument Community Garden in Lavelett Park on Beacon Lite Road. Janet can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Janet Sellers
"The wave is not the water. The water merely told us about the wave moving by."—Buckminster Fuller
The pencil and the electronic screen are not the idea, it is the human hand behind those tools that brings the idea to Earth and to manifestation. Even the word manifestation has the word "hand" in it (from the Latin manus equals hand, fendo means thrust). These tools simply put down the wave of thought moving through tools to a new form.
When hard times hit, we need an extraordinary experience to help us through. For "ever," at least since the 60,000 years that human beings have been on this planet making cave paintings, human beings have turned to art and creativity in their lives, and we call it "culture."
For the last few months, we’ve had virtual concerts with musicians playing alone at home, studio-assembled on screen in complete ensembles whether it’s an orchestra in Amsterdam, Colorado Springs, or a group of rock or country musicians playing for us from their homes to our homes.
National and international venues, via Google Arts and Culture, offer virtual walkthroughs a la Google maps street view. I shared some of these experiences with my art classes as we’re now online. Granted, we have been holding pencil, pen, and brush to make art, and we’re very aware of what it takes for museum class artwork as we make art at home. We saw the Sistine Chapel from all angles. We enjoyed the Museum of Modern Art from our own easels and armchairs, and of course shared our class work from home alone, but together online as a group.
Pikes Peak regional artists have gone online to bring their art into our living rooms and share with us the beauty of the human spirit. The Colorado Springs First Fridays art events brings art from the street tram to our home screens. The http://PeakRadar.com site, supporting local artists and art forms, created pages for virtual art classes, virtual art tours, and online art experiences.
DIY success in person or online
Sometimes looking at art or listening to music on devices is like trying to taste bakery goods through the display’s pane of glass, but there’s something special going on per student when we do the work in situ. I’ve been teaching my art classes with Zoom and Hangouts. I wanted to keep momentum for learners, and it plays out. The reason is simple: Although we are using screens, we are also using our eyes, ears, arms, hands, and bodies to make the art. It is a tangible work being created by students right where they are, even though the screen is not a tactile source.
In a study of students and screen time and learning, the results of using pen and ink created a stronger learning experience for notes, retention, and tests. Students using laptops for notetaking were pitted against students using paper and pen at college lectures. Test results showed higher scores for the pencil kids in short-term retention (within one-half hour). Pencil note students also did much better on tests a week later. Keyboard note takers could only transcribe verbatim, not process the information into their notes, which turns out to be the strongest impression of the information for retention.
In taking an art class, we find that using art tools helps create a more powerful visual memory. I am fond of using a pencil; there’s something very grounded about graphite. From sheepherders in France taking chunks of graphite to mark their sheep, graphite became the artists’ magic wand we know today, encased in wood and painted yellow: our pencils. Efficient and economical, they’ve served us for a long time. A single yellow pencil can make a line that is 36 miles long! That’s a lot of notetaking and sketching.
Many people are now using the online experience to choose the art they want to live with. Gone are the days when people obeyed gallerists for hot art trends. Art buyers these days want to live with the art that they buy, take a vital interest, and are on the hunt personally for their art. Art lovers and artists alike can benefit from virtual art until we can meet again.
No Art Hop in May? Maybe in June—but let’s all be creative anyhow. Support your local artists, art classes and art galleries—visit them online. It’s easy: Find them by name on Google; it might be easier to find them on http://Peakradar.com.
Local sixth-grader makes ear protectors
Caption: Andrew Deeds, a sixth-grade student at Lewis-Palmer Elementary and Boy Scout with Troop 8, has been using his quarantine time to create 3D-printed ear protectors for essential personnel in El Paso County and elsewhere. He has donated over 900 ear savers to local hospitals and people who find the face mask elastic uncomfortable. Some days he has his printers going 18 hours a day to keep up with the requests. His favorite job was making them for the Pikes Peak YMCA to help its staff and kids in childcare. For that order, he modified the design of the protectors to fit children, too. Andrew says this has been a great opportunity for him to learn about taking orders, creating the product, delivering, and maintaining his printers. Photo by Marcy Deeds.
Virtual Birthday Party, Mar. 30
Caption: How do you celebrate your birthday when you’re practicing social distancing and are not allowed to invite a lot of people to your house? Invite everyone to log in and celebrate online. That’s what my sister Jane Weinfeld did. More than 20 of her friends and family took part in her virtual party on Zoom March 30. That’s Jane in the top row, fourth from the left. My wife, Tia Mayer, and I are also on the top row, second from the left. Though there were no birthday hugs and many people talked over each other, Jane got to hang with her friends and family, and that made for a successful evening. One friend even virtually offered a cupcake with a candle in it. Screenshot by Michael Weinfeld.
Seniors-only shopping hours, Apr. 1
Caption: Seniors lined up in front of King Soopers on Baptist Road to take advantage of special shopping hours when the store first opened April 1. The store reserved the hours of 7 to 8 a.m. for seniors only to better control crowds in this age of coronavirus. Nearly 40 shoppers lined up about a half-hour before the store opened to make sure they were the first to get in. Everyone in line was asked to keep at least 6 feet apart both outside and inside the store to comply with social distancing recommendations. Each shopper got a freshly disinfected cart on their way in. Photo by Michael Weinfeld.
Demand lessens, supply returns
Caption: By early April, as compared to mid-March, the shelves at area grocery stores were starting to be regularly replenished, with some restrictions on purchase quantities still enforced. Demand for certain products had begun to subside, as shoppers had stocked up for shelter at home, while transitioning to other needs. You can compare these photos of the produce area at Natural Grocers and the soup shelves at King Soopers with those in the March edition of OCN. Photos by David Futey.
Monument Election Results, April 7
By Michael Weinfeld
On April 7, voters elected three people to sit on the Monument Board of Trustees and approved a ballot question relating to high-speed internet.
The winners were newcomers Mitch LaKind and Jamy Unruh and returning Trustee Jim Romanello. LaKind got 1,145 votes, Romanello 1,008 votes and Unruh 834 votes. They defeated Ann M. Howe, who received 584 votes, and Allison Thompson, who got 568 votes.
A total number of 7,265 ballots were sent to registered voters. About 22 percent of them cast votes.
Even though Romanello was already on the board, this is considered to be his first term because he was originally appointed to fill a vacancy. LaKind and Unruh will fill the seats previously held by Jeffrey Bornstein and Greg Coopman. Each will serve a four-year term.
A ballot question concerning broadband services passed. There were 1,044 yes votes and 504 no votes. This means the town opted out of a Colorado state senate bill that was passed in 2005 and prohibited towns from joining with private broadband companies to provide high-speed internet and other cable services. More than 100 other Colorado cities and counties have also opted out, including El Paso County.
Caption: Election Judges Pat Horn, John Howe, and Michael Weinfeld count ballots cast in Monument’s municipal election. Before ballots were counted, judges had to verify voter signatures. They made sure to work at least 6 feet apart to comply with social distancing recommendations. The room in the town hall, computers, pens and tables were sanitized each day. Gloves and masks were also available. Photo by Laura Hogan. Caption by Michael Weinfeld.
Michael Weinfeld can be reached at email@example.com.
Meals-on-Wheels delivers, Apr. 8
Caption: Richard Lindberg, Silver Key Meals-on-Wheels volunteer, waits for drivers picking up meals to deliver to clients. The Meals-on-Wheels program is considered an essential service and is delivering meals to senior citizens. Usually seniors are transported to the Mountain Community Mennonite Church for luncheons but due to the pandemic, lunches are being delivered. Photo by Kim Statham.
Even a horse is wearing a mask
Caption: To help combat the coronavirus, Gov. Polis has asked people to wear masks when they go to a store or other places where they’ll encounter a lot of people. Apparently even horses need to comply. This horse statue created by Jodie Bliss stands in front of the Flying Horse Medical Center on Third Street. Photo by Michael Weinfeld.
Masks for the front-line workers
Caption: On April 11, Red Cross volunteers Bob and Pam Munson stopped at Sew-In-Tune in Monument to collect some of the fabric masks made by Tri-Lakes residents. The Pikes Peak Regional Office of Emergency Management procured hundreds of yards of fabric, elastic, and bendable nose pieces to support this effort to provide 6,000 masks to front-line staff out working during this crisis, and it will continue to coordinate materials donations, mask sewing, and distribution to community organizations supporting the COVID-19 response. Landlord John Dominowski also donated finances so that Sew-In-Tune could give away kits so volunteers could make another 1,000 masks for those who need them. Contact RobinAdair@elpasoco.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Organizations in need of hand-sewn masks for work in the community may request them at http://ppmasklist.eventzilla.net. Volunteers interested in sewing may sign up at http://samsam.eventzilla.net. Photo by Lisa Hatfield
Home Depot barricade, Apr. 8
Caption: The entrance to Home Depot on Jackson Creek Parkway has changed since the coronavirus arrived in Colorado. Stacks of bagged soil covered in blue plastic surrounded the entrance April 5 to create two lines to control crowds—one for regular customers and one for contractors. Once inside the store, everyone was asked to keep at least 6 feet apart to comply with social-distancing recommendations. Photo by Michael Weinfeld.
Gleneagle Circuit Training, Apr. 9
Caption: In April, walkers along Gleneagle Drive had another exercise option as they strolled along the road—the Groovy Neighborhood Workout Circuit. There were nine stations, usually at a cross street of Gleneagle, with a different exercise at each along with instructions on how to perform the exercise and a foam pad, jump rope, or other item to use in performing the exercise. Photos by David Futey.
Caption: Usually, you don’t warn people to stay away from your birthday party, but when there’s a pandemic you do. This sign was seen on a driveway in the Lake of the Rockies neighborhood. Neighbors were asked to give a "light beep" when they drove by to acknowledge the celebration. Photo by Laura Liposky McGraw. Caption by Michael Weinfeld.
Volunteers make masks
Caption: Robin Adair of Pikes Peak Regional Office of Emergency Management picked up hundreds of masks from the NextDoor Face Masks of Woodmoor volunteers.
On March 21, Kathy Kemp, a registered nurse with ICU and ER experience, posted a message on NextDoor looking for volunteers to make homemade cloth masks for healthcare workers who were not getting the personal protective equipment they needed to stay safe. Over 90 people started donating fabric, elastic, nose pieces, and thread, washing and cutting fabric, and sewing masks at home, all using the exchange system Kemp set up on her front porch. The group had to move to Facebook for its communication, where it is called NextDoor Face Masks of Woodmoor.
As of April 21, they had donated over 1,000 masks to healthcare workers of all types: nurses, doctors, medical assistants, dentists, physical therapists, respiratory therapists, medical office workers. They have gone to law enforcement, fire departments, jail staff, and nursing homes. They have gone to oncology wards and visited home health workers. They have gone to immunocompromised people in our neighborhoods. This was all through the informal network set up by people in our community.
In April, the Pikes Peak Regional Office of Emergency Management (OEM) supplied more raw materials so the volunteers of this and other groups could make thousands more masks for the essential front-line workers through OEM.
"The one thing I have learned is how absolutely incredible and giving people can be in the worst of times. The amazing volunteers have been keeping the flow of masks going," Kemp said.
Kathy’s words of wisdom are, simply, stay home. Let those who need to be out there do their jobs, and stay home to keep those jobs from being even more difficult. Caption by Lisa Hatfield. Photo courtesy of Chancey Bush, The Colorado Springs Gazette.
Appreciation for medical workers
Caption: My daughter Lisa is an occupational therapist at Memorial Hospital and is working daily among COVID-19 patients. Family friends surprised her with this yard sign in appreciation for her and for all of our frontline medical professionals. Photo and caption provided by Dave Betzler.
Masks from Black Forest
Caption: In this current pandemic situation, our Gov. Jared Polis recommends adopting the "Mask Culture" by everyone to stop the spread of the virus. Many volunteers and organizations came forward to make masks. Trish Boatner is one of those who has a great passion for sewing. She decided to give away masks to individuals and families in the community. She started making perfect-fitting fabric masks in different sizes and colors. The masks are professional quality with adjustable fitting ties. She also made a tutorial showing how to sew a face mask on her Peregrine Designs YouTube channel. Thirty members of Black Forest Arts and Crafts Guild, Grace Community Church, and Stitchin & Bitchin (a social group) together made around 10,000 masks and donated them to the staff at St. Francis Medical Center, a senior nursing facility, pharmacy staff, trash collectors, Peterson Air Force Base staff, and others. Photos by Sreedevi Vangala.
Celebrating Easter, Apr. 11
Caption: The threat of coronavirus didn’t stop the Lake of the Rockies community from taking part in an Easter parade on April 11. Kids and adults rode bikes and scooters and balanced on hoverboards throughout the neighborhood, taking care to keep at least 6 feet apart to conform with social distancing guidelines. Some wore masks. Adults cheered them on from their driveways, some banging pots or drums, others blowing horns. Resident Donna Ewers came up with the idea as a way to cheer up families and get them outside after spending a lot of time at home because of the pandemic. Pictured are Isabel and Aven (last names withheld on request) riding their bikes with Julie Lucas cheering them on by banging a pot. Photo by Michael Weinfeld.
D-20 distributes lunches
Caption: Beginning in March and continuing into April, Academy District 20 and other area school districts have provided "grab and go" lunches and snacks to students. District 20 had six locations, including Discovery Canyon Middle School pictured here. Staff and volunteers distributed the lunches at the Discovery Canyon Campus, providing 325 to 375 lunches every weekday. Photo by David Futey.
Food for those in need
Caption: Family of Christ Lutheran Church has partnered with Palmer Lake Elementary, Tri-Lakes Cares, and the Springs Rescue Mission to feed hundreds of people in April alone. This effort will continue through the summer to serve families that are in need. "Many people have lost their job or have reduced hours. With schools closed, there is more food needed in homes for the children," Pastor Mark Moreno said. "Our role as the church in our community is to help our neighbor." All donations go to families who need assistance. "We are here to help anyone." See www.foccs.net to give help or to request help. Photo courtesy of Mark Moreno.
Caption: On Fridays in April and on May 1, Emerge Aquaponics, affiliated with YWAM Emerge and located in Black Forest, offered free lettuce in its Get One-Give One giveaway as a response to COVID-19. According to Emerge Aquaponics founder Josh Imhoff, they teach individuals and organizations around the world "how to grow lettuce and other produce through aquaponic systems" as a business model. About the lettuce giveaway, Imhoff said we "usually sell to local colleges, universities, restaurants, and small grocers, but since they are closed we decided to offer our produce for free to the community." Attendees drove up to one of four stations and received two heads of bibb lettuce and were encouraged to keep one and give the other to someone else. Photo by David Futey.
Local church helps feed homeless
By Lisa Hatfield
Volunteers from Fuel Church in Monument are standing in the gap to help feed homeless people right now. A coalition of nonprofit organizations came together to serve people with food insecurity during this period of COVID-19 isolation that has everything off-kilter. One of the solutions: The Salvation Army offered use of its food truck, Catholic Charities is providing the food products, and Fuel Church is cooking and serving hot meals three days a week in Colorado Springs.
On April 6, they served American goulash with bread, Gatorade, and individual dessert packages. Fuel Church Chef Deanna Smith said it was really a positive experience, and people were kind and supportive and the volunteers serving did such a great job. "We are expectant and grateful for the opportunity to serve the unsheltered community and to glorify our Heavenly Father!" she said.
Yes, there are still other agencies providing grab-and go meals, including Salvation Army’s RJ Montgomery New Hope Center, Springs Rescue Mission, and Catholic Charities Marian House. They have even increased the number of meals served a day to include a new homeless isolation shelter for those infected with COVID-19 and serving extra lunches to those who come to Springs Rescue Mission, with the food provided by Care and Share. Tri-Lakes Cares in Monument is stretching its hours so families can pick up pre-ordered food boxes and still maintain social distancing. Silver Key is teaming up with COSILoveYou to deliver more food to people in homes all over Colorado Springs.
And yet, there are people who are unwilling to come in from the cold. And so, three days a week since early April, the church volunteers have parked the food truck and fed 50 to 100 people a hot meal, according to Maria Crosby, one of Fuel Church’s leaders.
Everyone tries to keep at least 6 feet apart. Fuel Church hands out fliers from the El Paso County Public Health Department with information about a wide variety of resources available. On cold days, they hand out home-knitted hats, scarves, and gloves, and handwarmer packs from the Salvation Army.
Finding a location to park the truck has been the biggest hurdle in the whole process due to requirements from the city of Colorado Springs. So far, they have been allowed to park at Marian House, Sacred Heart Catholic Church, and Westside Cares. Then they get the word out so anyone who needs a meal during the COVID-19 pandemic can find it.
See: http://fuelchurch.org/, www.ccharitiescc.org/emergency-essential-services/marian-house-soup-kitchen/, https://coloradosprings.salvationarmy.org/colorado_springs_corps/cure-hunger/, https://careandshare.org/findfood/, https://tri-lakescares.org/donate/current-needs/
Caption: Volunteers from Fuel Church in Monument have been cooking in the Salvation Army food truck in Colorado Springs to support anyone in need of a meal during the COVID-19 pandemic. Face masks came from the Salvation Army and volunteers sewing in the Tri-Lakes area. Photo by Maria Crosby.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at email@example.com.
Essential hidden heroes
Caption: Before the COVID-19 pandemic, frontline service workers maintained and provided essential services and goods for our community. Often not in an identifiable work uniform, these people are hidden in plain sight because of their casual dress. Now directed under the stay-at-home policies, these same personnel are considered essential to sustain the every-day, critical infrastructure operations of our communities. Sanitation worker Michael Harsinowicz picks up and disposes trash from the many container sites on his daily long routes. At the end of the day, he pursues a business management degree online. Not pictured is his co-worker and truck driver Michael Cianciarullo, who finishes with a long commute home to help his wife with homeschooling their two children. Photo by Sharon Williams.
By Steve Pate
Hiking is recommended as an outdoor activity to maintain fitness, provided that hikers practice physical distancing. Hiking in the Tri-Lakes area has become even more popular due to the stay-at-home/safer-at-home order, so much so that the Town of Palmer Lake has banned all trailhead parking and street parking except for residents of Palmer Lake (commercial parking lots are exempt). Trailhead parking in Palmer Lake was closed due to extreme overcrowding that restricted emergency access and created additional hazards related to Palmer Lake’s water supply. Trails are still open for hikers in the Tri-Lakes area.
Physical distancing does not happen automatically just because you are hiking. Some precautions to ensure physical distance should be taken. Here are guidelines suggested by experienced and knowledgeable hikers in our area:
• Go solo. If you feel uncomfortable hiking alone, try to make it only two. Three should be the absolute maximum. Practicing physical distancing on a trail becomes more difficult with each added person in your group. Local jurisdictions have the power, under the current state order, to close trails if things get crowded or physical distancing is not being practiced.
• Avoid popular trails during the popular hours—go early in the morning or late afternoon. It’s not a good idea to go alone on remote trails that you do not know without proper equipment and most especially as an inexperienced hiker.
• Anticipate social distancing when meeting someone on the trail. Don’t just squeeze by on the trail—that is not social distancing. Stop and one of you move off of the trail at least 6 feet. Ten feet is even better. If you’re hiking with someone, stay 6 to10 feet away from your hiking partner and be aware of breathing in his/her air (unless you live in the same household).
• Try not to stop on a trail to have a conversation or change gear. Stopping on a trail invites social-distancing issues with others moving along the trail. Move off the trail for these stops.
• If someone is behind you, be aware of their pace. If they are faster, move 6 to 10 feet off the trail and let them pass. Consider waiting at least 30 seconds after they pass before re-entering the trail to allow droplets and exhaled aerosol to dissipate. People who are breathing hard, like runners, bikers, and hikers going up steep inclines, broadcast their exhaled breaths much farther than usual.
• As recommended by the Coronavirus Task Force, bring a scarf, bandana, or mask to cover your nose and mouth, especially when encountering another person.
• And finally, what about dogs? Dogs are great companions for many hikers. Even some mountain bikers and equestrians bring along dogs. While dogs are still not permitted on the Palmer Lake Reservoir trail, it is permissible to bring dogs along in most Tri-Lakes areas so long as they are leashed. While no evidence has yet been shown that dogs carry and transmit COVD-19 or that the virus can survive long on fur, logic says that if someone who has the virus touches a dog and then someone else touches that dog, well, you get the idea. The solution is to keep dogs leashed, under control, and don’t allow strangers to pet them.
For trail etiquette related to mountain bikes, hikers, and equestrians, see the Friends of Monument Preserve website at http://fomp.org.
Caption: Before the COVID-19 pandemic, frontline service workers maintained and provided essential services and goods for our community. Often not in an identifiable work uniform, these people are hidden in plain sight because of their casual dress. Now directed under the stay-at-home policies, these same personnel are considered essential to sustain the every-day, critical infrastructure operations of our communities. Sanitation worker Michael Harsinowicz picks up and disposes trash from the many container sites on his daily long routes. At the end of the day, he pursues a business management degree online. Not pictured is his co-worker and truck driver Michael Cianciarullo, who finishes with a long commute home to help his wife with homeschooling their two children. Photo by Sharon Williams.
Caption: Santa Fe Trailhead parking is open. Photo by Steve Pate.
Steve Pate can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Safer at Home’s physical distancing rules
For up to date information on this changing situation, see https://covid19.colorado.gov/blog/safer-at-home. The goal is still for the general public to stay home unless it’s absolutely necessary to go out. Certain businesses may open now but with strict precautions. It’s a new level of safety that still includes keeping your distance, wearing a mask when in public, and limiting size of gatherings to less than ten people. The El Paso County Public Health Department still wants you to be Safer at Home.
Community resources available during COVID-19 pandemic
The county’s website, www.elpasocountyhealth.org/community-resources-0, has lists to help with basic needs, behavioral health resources, businesses, childcare resources for children and teens, health and wellness resources, and volunteer opportunities (local and immediate needs).
Monument Police Department non-emergency email contact
Throughout the COVID-19 emergency Monument’s police department is modifying procedures to reduce the spread of the virus. They will continue respond to calls on a priority basis and will do everything possible to deliver a high quality of service while minimizing the risk of community exposure. Please use MPDCOVIDemail@example.com to contact police with non-emergency information.
Silver Key senior citizen luncheons
Connections Café sites will have "grab and go" (prepared meals). A $2.25 donation is requested. Please call 719-884-2300 to reserve your meal. Meals on Wheels and Home Delivered Meals will deliver frozen meals for the week to Monument on Wednesdays. If you qualify but are not yet enrolled for meals, phone 719-884-2300 or visit www.silverkey.org. The Food Pantry is implementing a "pick up only" model for clients. Mon.-Fri., noon-12:30 p.m., Mountain Community Mennonite Church, 643 Hwy 105, Palmer Lake. Reserve & Ride is temporarily limited to essential transportation needs only: strictly medical and food-related trips. Reservations are requested, phone 719-884-2300. For more information about senior services, visit www.silverkey.org.
Monument Hill Kiwanis grants, apply by May 15
The Monument Hill Foundation, the charitable arm of the Monument Hill Kiwanis Club, has an annual granting program. Grants are awarded to charities as defined by the IRS, to various qualifying youth activities, and to schools for various educational activities and scholarships. Applications will be accepted through May 15. The grant application is available at http://monumenthillfoundation.org (select "Apply for a Grant"). See ad on page 3.
Trees 4 Tomorrow, ends soon
Trees 4 Tomorrow Program (T4T Program) is an innovative, green approach transplanting healthy trees from unmitigated properties to burn scar properties needing reforestation. Black Forest Together is now accepting requests for our 2020 Trees for Tomorrow program. This will be the last year that we are able to offer this program on this scale. Transplant days will be limited this year so the program will be on a first come, first served basis. Once demand drops or inventory runs out, this program will shut down for the year. To sign up, phone 719-368-0500 or visit the website, www.blackforesttogether.org.
Monument Hill Farmers Market
The Monument Indoor Market for March and April were canceled due to District 38 school closures. The outdoor market season could begin in May at Grace Best Elementary School, 66 Jefferson St., Monument, so watch the Facebook page for an opening date. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/monumenthillfarmersmarket. See ad on page 5.
Monument’s Memorial Day ceremony canceled
The Town of Monument sent notification that this year’s Memorial Day Ceremony at the Monument Cemetery has been canceled. However, the town will post a video on its website and social media. If you or your organization would like to contribute by recording a short (no more than two minutes) video about the significance of Memorial Day, send the video to http://firstname.lastname@example.org.
Blood supplies need to be replenished; please help
Blood donors are needed at the Colorado Springs Blood Donation Center, 3670 Austin Bluffs Parkway, Suite 110, Colorado Springs. Do not donate if you are sick; Vitalant does not test for COVID-19. An appointment is required; book by phone or online: 303-363-2300 or 800-365-0006, opt. 2; www.vitalant.org.
Local grocery stores offer senior shopping hours, ages 60+
During the COVID-19 pandemic, local stores have made some changes to their schedules: King Soopers is open for seniors only Mon., Wed., and Fri 7-8 a.m.; it closes at 8 p.m. Safeway opens for seniors Tue. & Thu., 7-9 a.m.; it closes at 8 p.m. Walmart opens for seniors Tue., 6-7 a.m.; it closes at 8:30 p.m.
Help CASA help kids, just $5 and a social media post
CASA of the Pikes Peak Region has launched its #Give5Challenge5 social media campaign for Child Abuse Prevention Month and invites the public to get involved to help local children.
It costs $1,200 per year to provide a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer to an abused or neglected child within the child welfare system, and there usually are about 830 children in the Pikes Peak Region in need of one of these volunteers. As stay-at-home orders, school closures, and social distancing remain in place during COVID-19, CASA knows that children who are at risk for abuse and neglect are now even more vulnerable than they were two months ago. For this reason, CASA expects to see a rise in the number of Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteers that will be needed for children in Colorado’s Fourth Judicial District. Here is how people can help on Facebook or Instagram.
Facebook: CASA is challenging community members to follow @casapikespeak on Facebook and donate $5 to CASA’s Facebook Fundraiser. After donating, community members are encouraged to post about their donation using @CASAPikesPeak and #Give5Challenge5, and then tag five of their friends challenging them to also #Give5Challenge5.
Instagram: Community members can also get involved by following CASA on Instagram, donating through the nonprofit’s Instagram profile, and posting in stories to challenge five friends to #Give5Challenge5 for @CASAPikesPeak.
If the cycle of $5 donations continues until 5,000 people have given, CASA of the Pikes Peak Region will receive $25,000 in donations—enough to provide life-changing advocacy to 20 of the most vulnerable children in the Pikes Peak Region. Community members interested in getting involved with CASA in other capacities as volunteers, donors, or business partners, can learn more about the nonprofit at www.casappr.org.
Change a child’s story, 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.
County parks, trails, and open spaces remain open for drop-in use
Bear Creek and Fountain Creek Nature Centers, park headquarters, and county fairgrounds are temporarily closed to public access to combat COVID-19. Also closed are playgrounds, picnic pavilions, and park restrooms. County parks, trails, and open spaces remain open for drop-in use. Please enjoy the outdoors during this challenging time but practice social distancing. Refrain from using parks or trails if you are exhibiting symptoms. While on trails, warn other users of your presence as you pass, and step aside to let others pass. For more information, phone 719-520-7529, email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit elpasoco.com.
Palmer Lake prohibits parking to visitors
The Town of Palmer Lake has issued an emergency ordinance prohibiting parking on all town streets, with the exception of Palmer Lake residents, and closing the parking area at the reservoir trailhead on Old Carriage Road during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tri-Lakes Women’s Club helps local vendors
The Tri-Lakes Women’s Club will donate $500 from its Charitable Events Emergency Reserve Fund to Tri-Lakes Cares to assist with increased need during the COVID-19 outbreak in Colorado. It specified that the money be used to purchase goods from local vendors to help stimulate the local economy. The club has been serving the Tri-Lakes community for over 44 years. To learn more about this charitable organization, please visit the website, www.tlwc.net.
Clerk & Recorder offices closed; some services available
Residents can renew their motor vehicle registration online at http://mydmv.colorado.gov, by phone 520-6240, by mail, or by self-service kiosks at King Soopers or at the North Motor Vehicle Office at 8830 N. Union Blvd. (24/7 kiosk). Additionally, marriage licenses can be obtained by appointment. For more information phone 520-6200. See ad on page 2.
Pikes Peak Birding and Nature Festival canceled
To combat the COVID-19 virus, the festival committee canceled the 2020 festival. While it is eager to celebrate spring bird migration and our wonderful outdoors in the Pikes Peak Region, it is better done on your own while practicing safe physical distancing and restrictions. Next year’s festival is scheduled for May 21-23, 2021. For more information, visit www.pikespeakbirdingandnaturefestival.org.
Silver Key Calls of Reassurance are available for seniors
Extended social isolation and loneliness significantly impact the quality of life and health of older adults. The current public health crisis has increased the need and demand for seniors to receive these critical calls and connection with others. Seniors who self-enroll can be called weekly (one to three times) to talk with a Silver Key volunteer. It offers two types of helpful calls. Social Calls are for seniors who wish to have a weekly, bright, and supportive connection with a well-trained VIP volunteer. Safety Checks are similar to Social Calls, but if the senior does not answer after three calls, emergency contacts (maintained on file) will be called, then the police if the emergency contacts cannot be reached. For more details, visit www.silverkey.org.
Jewish Family Service offers virtual counseling for all
Jewish Family Service (JFS) of Colorado’s virtual counseling services are available to anyone throughout the state who is feeling overwhelmed or in crisis at this time. JFS supports everyone, not just those of the Jewish faith. With stay-at-home orders and the number of coronavirus cases continuing to rise, it is expected that the number of people struggling with mental health issues will increase as well. According to JFS therapists, the biggest concerns for clients are heightened anxiety and fear, intensified trauma symptoms triggered by current fear regarding COVID-19, confusion about the coronavirus situation due to language barriers, isolation, and daily anxiety about how to pay rent and other bills. Mental health services are available to adults and youth, including students who normally receive mental health counseling at school through JFS’s KidSuccess program. In addition, JFS provides mental health services for underserved refugees and is the region’s only agency that provides mental health care for the Russian-speaking immigrant population in their native language. JFS accepts private insurance, self-pay, Medicare, Medicaid, and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and offers a sliding-fee schedule for those with limited financial resources and will not turn away anyone in crisis. To find out more about virtual counseling and the various services JHS offers, phone 303-597-5000 or visit the website, www.jewishfamilyservice.org.
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Teleconference Family Support Group
NAMI offers teleconference support the first and third Tuesdays of every month, 7-8:30 p.m. Pre-registration for each teleconference support group meeting is required. To pre-register, contact NAMI Colorado Springs at 719-473-8477, 719-482-0918 or email@example.com. For more information, contact Ethel Leslie 970-527-3284, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Help protect firefighters and yourselves
Hundreds of firefighters across the country have COVID-19. Even with personal protective equipment and strong infection control procedures, hundreds of firefighters are sick. Some have died. Here are some steps you can take to make it safer for firefighters and others on the front lines of the COVID-19 battle, such as police officers, nurses, and doctors. (1) Stay home and practice social distancing. (2) Call 911 for emergencies only. If you need assistance, firefighters, paramedics and EMTs will be there. (3) If you do need to call 911, alert the call-taker if anyone in your household has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or has experienced any symptoms such as cough or fever so that firefighters can take the precautions needed to ensure they can keep doing their job throughout this pandemic. The 911 call-taker will likely ask additional questions. (4) Make a list of all medications being taken by each member of your household, along with a medical history. Do it now and keep it handy, just in case. New rules in many communities will prevent relatives and friends from riding in the ambulance or even entering the hospital. (5) Collect a few things a loved one might need if they must go to the hospital. A phone charger, eyeglasses, wallet, ID, and insurance card(s) are great things to include. Follow your local fire department and emergency management agency on social media. They’ll have additional COVID-19 safety tips and keep you updated on changing procedures and policies.
El Paso County services for veterans
During the COVID-19 crisis, if you or someone you know needs food, housing, transportation, behavioral health counseling, or employment support, Mt. Carmel continues to be a beacon of support for those who served. Please call 719-772-7000 or email email@example.com to be connected to a member of the Mt. Carmel team. For more information, visit www.veteranscenter.org.
MVEA board nominations open
The board election will take place during the annual meeting June 4. If you are interested in being a candidate, find application details at www.mvea.coop. For more information, phone 719-494-2528 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. See ad on page 10.
Can you sew homemade masks? Free mask-sewing kits, drop-off site available
The Sew-In-Tune shop in Monument is providing mask kits for sew-ers to make up to 1,000 masks (each kit makes five masks). Email email@example.com or leave a message at 719-203-5642. Include your name, contact info, number of kits requested, and what day you would like to pick up or if you would like them delivered. Sew-in-Tune has many more detailed instructions about how to make, package, and label the masks, so even if you are not using its kits but using your own materials instead, please email them for all the specifics they can share. To find out more, call 719-203-5642 or visit http://facebook.com/sewintuneservicing.
Can you volunteer today?
Links to local organizations with immediate need for volunteers are listed on the county’s website, www.elpasocountyhealth.org/community-resources-0, for groups like Care and Share, Crossfire Ministries, Citizen’s Project (email firstname.lastname@example.org for virtual opportunities to help with Census 2020), blood donations, Early Connections (volunteer from home opportunity), foster an animal, Medical Reserve Corps of El Paso County, Salvation Army, Silver Key, United Way (ongoing opportunities).
Tri-Lakes Cares needs us
Tri-Lakes Cares is the only food pantry and human services organization located in and serving northern El Paso County through emergency, self-sufficiency, and relief programs. The community-based, volunteer-supported center is a critical resource for our neighbors in need. The best way to help support Tri-Lakes Cares is to make a financial donation. For more information about Tri-Lakes Cares or how you can help, contact Brendan Rhoades, TLC’s Community Engagement Manager: 719-481-4864, ext. 111; email@example.com; or visit www.tri-lakescares.org.
Annual Jackson Creek Community Garage Sale coming in June
This is a great opportunity to get to know your neighbors, spring clean, and of course shop. For more information, contact Francie at 719-200-7387 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monument Academy is expanding; enroll now
Monument Academy is a free public school of choice and features academic excellence, award-winning programs, and more. Its new east campus will open this fall. Learn about this growing school; schedule a tour at 481-1950 ext. 1710, www.monumentacademy.net.
St. Peter Catholic School now enrolling
Preschool through eighth grade features academics, athletics, and faith formation. For more information, call 719-481-1855 or visit http://petertherockschool.org. See ad on page 2.
Emptier roads can still be dangerous if you don’t drive safely
The Colorado Department of Transportation reminds drivers that less traffic on the roads does not mean less danger, especially when some choose to abandon safe driving practices. Several multi-car pileups, in addition to significant additional crashes, have caused road closures and injuries throughout Colorado. At a time when medical facilities are already stretched, drivers can #DoYourPartCO and move responsibly. Your trip and the health and safety of your community are counting on it. For more information, visit www.codot.gov.
Free admission to museums and attractions with your library card
You can now check out free admission passes with your library card at http://ppld.org/culturepass. Participating organizations include the Western Museum of Mining and Industry, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College, U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Center, ProRodeo Hall of Fame, Space Foundation Discovery Center, The Money Museum, and Rock Ledge Ranch Historical Site. For more information, call 719-531-6333 or visit http://ppld.org/culturepass.
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.
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.
Sign up for "Reverse 9-1-1" emergency notifications to your cell phones
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.
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.
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.
The unpredictability of the COVID-19 situation presents scheduling challenges to area governance entities and other organizations. Because OCN is a monthly publication, readers should assume that information published in this issue is subject to change and event information should be confirmed a day or two before the event by calling the information number or checking the organization’s website.
Many entries show dates even though the event has been canceled or suspended. The date indicates when the event was planned to be held or when it would normally have been held.
LOCAL LIBRARY EVENTS
WEEKLY & MONTHLY EVENTS
Our community calendar carries listings on a space-available basis for Tri-Lakes events that are sponsored by local governmental entities and not-for-profit organizations. We include events that are open to the general public and are not religious or self-promotional in nature. If space is available, complimentary calendar listings are included, when requested, for events advertised in the current issue. To have your event listed at no charge in Our Community Calendar, please call (719) 339-7831 or send the information to 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 January 24, 2023. Home page: www.ocn.me.
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