Correction: After the July 4, 2020 OCN went to print, minor editorial corrections were made to the Black Forest article and the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District article displayed on this website. To view the original, uncorrected print version of the two articles, download the pdf file of the July 4 OCN.
This page contains only the text of the articles and columns in this issue. To see the photos and captions including the Snapshots of Our Community section, view the on-line version above or download the PDFs whose links follow this table of contents.
the PDF file. This is a 52 Mbyte high-resolution file with color photos.
By Harriet Halbig
There were no comments received from the community for the budget hearing. Please see https://www.ocn.me/v20n6.htm#d38 for background on this subject.
Executive Director of Financial Services David Crews presented a proposed budget for the 2020-21 school year. Districts are required to pass a budget before June 30 for the following fiscal year.
Crews stressed that all numbers are fluid at this point due to the impact of school closures and the coronavirus. Tax revenue is down due to business closures and there is a recession of unknown duration beginning now, he said.
The state received a one-time payment of $121 million from the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) passed in March. The district is likely to receive $228,000 of this amount. Crews included this revenue in the budget but reminded the board of its one-time status.
As of the June 22 meeting date, the district expects to receive $7,084 per pupil in revenue for the coming year. This is more favorable than expected.
Crews said he anticipates a total reduction of $2 million in expenditures for the coming year but cautioned that the cost of health insurance and retirement funding will rise.
Executive Director of Learning Services Lori Benton said that her department has reduced curriculum expenditures by $230,000 and supplies by $60,000.
Treasurer Ron Schwarz asked about the impact of these cuts.
Benton responded that K-5 literacy programs would suffer because it is hard to fund training and resources with a reduced budget. Materials for literacy are expensive and teachers require extensive training in their use. This could provide a tipping point for those reading below grade level, especially in the third grade.
Schwarz commented that reading is fundamental to school success and that these materials must be provided if the district is to be an effective school system. He observed that 25% of students had tested below grade level in the subject, and adequate literacy training is essential to a quality education.
Benton said that the cost over two years would be $450,000.
Schwarz proposed that funding for the first year be taken from reserves.
The board agreed to vote on a resolution to restore these funds at a special meeting on June 29.
Director Chris Taylor suggested that the board make a list of items to be restored to the budget were revenue to increase. He would prefer not to cut curriculum.
Board Secretary Tiffiney Upchurch reminded the board of No Child Left Behind and that she would prefer that cuts be kept away from the classroom.
Superintendent KC Somers said there are no plans to cut staff in the proposed budget. Some teachers may be moved from one school to another due to student counts. There were hires that were offered and have been withdrawn and some vacant positions will not be filled.
Somers said there will be a survey of students, parents, and staff in the near future but did not want to send it out until more relevant information is available.
Upchurch asked whether the budget can be revisited during the school year. She said that she was concerned that a salary freeze could not be easily reversed. Somers said there will be monthly opportunities to alter it.
The board was asked to approve three things: a salary schedule for the coming year, the proposed budget, and the capability to transfer funds between reserve funds during the summer. All three were approved.
Board Vice President Theresa Phillips suggested that the board have a conversation about the ideal level of reserves and how to replenish it.
Taylor said he would favor using some of the capital reserve to fund security improvements, especially vestibules in the schools that could be equipped with temperature-sensing software to avoid admitting individuals with a fever.
Board President Matthew Clawson asked that research be done on these devices.
Remote learning conversation
Benton reported that the teachers had an advantage this year in that remote learning began more than halfway through the school year when they and the students understood what was expected of them.
She said teachers tried to connect with students individually to ensure that they could get individual help if needed. It was also an opportunity for teachers to get greater insight into families. Many students enjoyed the self-pacing aspects.
Some things do need improvement, including teaching students how to behave online, maximizing schedules for families with more than one student, and developing methods for feedback and grading, Benton said.
She said teachers and students need to be ready to go back to distance learning if necessary.
Secondary programs for online education are already in place, but programs for elementary grades will need to be developed.
There is a goal to increase rigor in online teaching to encourage critical thinking and teamwork, Benton said.
Somers reported on plans for getting back to school in August. He has been working with several neighboring districts to formulate the plans.
Foremost is that we must adhere to county public health guidelines, which are always in flux, he said.
At present, it appears that school can start for students on Aug. 19 and meet five days a week with up to 25 students in each classroom. It is unknown whether masks will be required. Online learning programs for K-5 will be developed.
In the event that an option for part-time in-person and part-time online attendance is offered, there will be separate teachers for the online portion.
If a family is uncomfortable returning its student to school, they could begin the semester online and change over to in-person, Somers said.
The district might survey families about in-person vs. online options during late June.
Somers encouraged individuals to monitor the district website for further developments.
Special meeting June 29
During a brief special meeting on June 29, the board passed a resolution to spend general fund 10 monies in the amount of $250,000 for the adoption of an updated K-5 literacy curriculum and related resources in the 2020-21 fiscal year. The board instructed that if such monies cannot be funded by increases in per-pupil operating funds, reserves will be used.
Somers said the district will use its traditional adoption process, allowing the public to review the materials before adoption sometime in the spring.
The board also passed a resolution to enter an intergovernmental agreement with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office for the provision of two school resource officers.
The Lewis-Palmer District 38 Board of Education meets on the third Monday of each month at 6 p.m. At present, all meetings are online and can be viewed on the website.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jackie Burhans
The Monument Academy (MA) School Board held its regular board meeting on June 9 online to hear about ongoing planning for the next school year including increased marketing efforts to expand classes and fill seats.
Plans for next year
MA Chief Operating Officer Christianna Herrera shared updates on planning for the Fall as part of the D38 cohort and including six other districts. The group is looking at what makes the most sense and how to communicate with stakeholders. They are looking at the guidelines which are broad enough to allow for differences at schools and districts. They met with Governor Polis and heard some of the changing requirements and the goal to structure things so school can return as close as possible to a regular program while recognizing that some families and teachers will want distance options.
She noted that MA is working with the Parent Teachers Organization (PTO) and considering how to implement schooling at both campuses. They are looking into a system within the HVAC to filter out and kill any germs while pushing out clean air. They are discussing challenges with social distancing and mask wearing. MA is looking at how these plans fit with its philosophy that focuses on in-person, teacher to student education. The group is also discussing what to do if the governor needs to close schools for an extended time and how to ensure things run more smoothly. They are discussing whether closures could be done on a regional or district basis rather than statewide.
Herrera noted there are still funding challenges that range from a 5% to a 15% decrease. There is talk of charter-specific funding being cut. MA is working with the 10% decreased budget passed by the board at the previous meeting and ensuring that it has 22 students per class before hiring new teachers. MA has added a fifth-grade class and looks likely to add another third- and fourth-grade classes. Their current rules allow 24 students per class, but that number can be exceeded by two with board approval. She cautioned that MA should be careful as it goes into a strict budget year. MA is unable to add hoped-for support positions but is considering having existing staff intern in positions as they gain experience.
President Mark McWilliams said he was thrilled to hear that MA has growth in third through fifth grade and said they had been hoping and planning to add classes nine months ago.
Amy Torrance, communication and marketing specialist for MA, reported that social media marketing in January and February drove traffic to the website but then lost communication after that. MA started looking at how to convert website visits to a more meaningful conversion and found a New York company called Enrollhand to help them with lead captures. MA provided information for Enrollhand to put together a promotional video. The company will have access to certain web pages and be able to chat directly with people who land on those pages. Their employees will be trained on what to say or ask about grade school children and will pass the leads onto Herrera or the deans, etc. This will provide engagement and the investment is small compared with the hoped-for return.
McWilliams noted that the bond holder on the new building requires a marketing program and that board members and principals will be asked to help handle the leads that come in. Torrance noted that this is important since interested parties cannot easily come and tour the buildings right now. McWilliams said marketing can continue into October, unlike other schools, and said they are targeting D20, Colorado Springs, and Douglas County.
The following items were highlighted at the board meeting:
• President Mark McWilliams reported that Cornella Brothers have been hired to work on the road, two roundabouts and the interchanges at the new campus. Curbs, gutters, and asphalt are to be finished by mid-July.
• McWilliams and Herrera were on a call with the county to discuss the Highway 105 project which is intended to improve traffic flow in front of the current building by prohibiting left turns into the school from Highway 105 and installing a roundabout on Knollwood.
• MA is planning another fundraiser to continue funding their school resource officer.
• Board member Chris Dole reported that the School Accountability and Advisory Committee reviewed the end of the year survey and had an increased participation with parents wanting more extracurricular activities and increasing the lunch and recess times.
• Director of Exceptional Student Services (ESS) Jessica Coote recognized the MA Board of Directors for its work in meeting the needs of ESS students after the previous administration changes (when two top officials were ousted) by nominating them for a district Aliorum De award, which recognizes people who make a significant difference in the lives of kids with disabilities.
• Board member Melanie Strop presented outgoing board members Mark McWilliams and Mike Molsen with a gift of appreciation, thanking them for their service.
The next meeting will be on Thursday, July 16 at 6 p.m. The MA School Board usually meets at 6 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month but moved July’s meeting due to the July 4 holiday.
Email email@example.com to get a Zoom invitation to the next board meeting and/or to submit comments or ask questions. See http://www.monumentacademy.net/school-board for the latest information.
Jackie Burhans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Allison Robenstein
During the Monument Board of Trustees (BOT) June 15 meeting, the board recognized a local award recipient. The board gave assurances of its commitment to the Police Department and approved a zoning change for The Village as well as a reenactment of an annexation, to the consternation of one resident. The annual audit submission time to the state was extended.
Trustee Jamy Unruh was present at the start of the meeting but left midway through.
National Young Marine of the Year Award
YM/Sgt.Maj. Abbigail Waters of Monument was named National Young Marine of the Year for 2020. The national youth organization began in 1959 and currently includes 264 units around the world. The young marines are encouraged to speak in schools about the dangers of illicit drugs as a way to reduce their use. Mayor Don Wilson, a fellow Marine, provided Waters with several challenge coins. These are typically carried by Marines to show their allegiance to America.
Waters said of the Young Marines program, "I love it with my heart and soul." See photo on the facing page.
Board pledges support for Police Department
Trustee Mitch LaKind began a discussion of the country’s current situation involving calls for defunding the police. LaKind said, "Today the police departments around the country are under a lot of scrutiny because of a few bad apples. And because of these few bad apples federal and state legislatures are finding ways to make it harder for our police."
Mayor Pro Tem Kelly Elliott said, "Thank you to the entire department for your service. Hang in there. Let the bad press blow over and stay with us because we need you. And, I support you 100%." Others on the board agreed, saying they support the department.
Police Chief Sean Hemingway said community support has been outstanding.
The Village developer requests zone change
A request to rezone The Village from Planned Commercial Development to Planned Development (PD) was brought to the board for review by Town Planner Debbie Flynn. The land is owned by Pinetree Properties of Tucson, Ariz.
In the project analysis, the Planning Department wrote, "The property has been vacant commercially zoned for 40 years … the current supply of commercial land already far exceeds the likely demand from the future catchment population and there are better located commercial sites than the subject property to meet future demand."
The Planning Commission heard and approved this request on March 11. During that meeting, the applicant’s representative Andrea Barlow of NES Inc. said the town would benefit from having more residences providing more people to work and support the town’s businesses. Barlow also said there are residential developers interested in the property, but no commercial developers. See https://ocn.me/v20n4.htm#mpc.
The newly proposed development of 84 acres is south of Highway 105 and on either side of Jackson Creek Parkway. The applicant intends to intermix commercial properties among the variety of multi-family, single-family detached and attached townhomes. They had set aside 6.8 acres of commercial property and 5.6 acres of mixed use for office space or other service-related uses.
The point of contention was the traffic study, which states, "The Village development does not in itself trigger the need for widening Jackson Creek Parkway." Trustee Jim Romanello said the town needs a plan for Jackson Creek Parkway to be a four-lane road.
Town Manager Mike Foreman said the town has received a matching grant for the design of Jackson Creek Parkway expansion from Higby Road to Highway 105. Foreman said the town will be speaking to this developer to help with the matching funds.
The board members had numerous questions regarding building heights and access points into and out of the development, but those will be decided in the Preliminary/Final PD Site Plans at some point in the future.
Trustee Laurie Clark said it was a "beautiful, thoughtful development."
During the public comments portion of the hearing, resident Ann Howe had concerns over traffic, saying the traffic study rating of E or F is the worst level of service you can get traffic-wise, and thought the town should have widened Jackson Creek Parkway when Triview Metropolitan District did.
Forest Henley, a 13-year resident of Village Center and current president of the metro district there, said because there are no good parks on the east side of I-25, he worried children would come into his development to ride their bikes and play. "Our deep concern is the pressure this will put onto our trails system," he said. Barlow said there will be a small centralized park on the east side and an elongated westside park. The sketch plan includes about 14 acres of parks and trails.
Barlow said her client has demonstrated agreement with the zoning and comprehensive plan.
The request passed unanimously.
Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District land annexation issue
At the Jan. 6 meeting, the board approved the annexation of Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD) land where Station 1 is located along Highway 105. At that time, Fire Chief Chris Truty claimed the land was owned by the Fire Department, but actually they are still making payments and do not own the land outright. "Legally under their financial agreement, they are not the owner," said Flynn. See TLMFPD’s decision on the land purchase at www.ocn.me/v20n5.htm#tlmfpd and earlier articles.
The Fire Department has asked for a 180-day extension to pay off the financial obligations and file all necessary paperwork. Alternately, they would agree to start the annexation process all over again when they have the full title.
At the March 18 meeting, the board found the annexation complied with all local and state laws.
Clark was concerned that title searches hadn’t been done in previous annexations and asked for the policy to include such actions. Town Attorney Andrew Richey said prior review of other annexations would not be necessary.
During the Oct. 7 meeting, Wilson asked if there are any benefits to annexing the land, but Planning Director Larry Manning said no. Truty told the board the process of approving permits with the county is complicated, noting, "In the past few years, since we’ve worked to improve relationships, I would rather work with the town with regard to this expansion and future projects."
Resident Ann Howe had reservations about this annexation, saying, "No one has ever addressed the reason why Tri-Lakes wants to be annexed into the town or vice versa," asserting the annexation doesn’t follow the municipal plan in that the property is not adjacent to town property as required. Howe asked how the petition could include a sworn testimony of the statement that TLMFPD held the title. And, she suggested Public Works Director Tom Tharnish, who sits on the TLMFPD board was perhaps influencing this project.
The request passed with a vote of 6-0.
Time extended to provide audit to state
Town Treasurer Rosa Ooms asked for a 60-day extension to deliver the town’s annual audit to the state. Ooms said a new auditing firm, which was approved at the May 5 meeting, has taken a longer time than if they were familiar with the town’s financials. See https://ocn.me/v20n6.htm#mbot.
The normal due date for audit submission to the board is June 30 and to the state is July 31. The new extended due date to the state will be Sept. 30
The request passed 6-0.
CARES Act discussion
Foreman said he and his staff are working to determine how the CARES Act funding will be spent.
Background: During the May 18 meeting, the board approved $554,000 in CARES Act funding from El Paso County. The federal act is intended to provide relief during the COVID-19 pandemic. At that meeting, Wilson suggested setting aside $300,000 of it "to offer grants to local businesses using guidelines the board will determine." Although the board approved the full amount, it did not amend the resolution to ensure the $300,000 was set aside for businesses. See https://ocn.me/v20n6.htm#mbot0518.
After a debate of how the money will be distributed—giving each business the same amount of money versus giving as a percentage of payroll—the board decided each business deemed to qualify will receive $10,000. Community Relations Specialist Madeline Van Den Hoek said about 300 local businesses will qualify. See the El Paso Board of County Commissioners article on page 22.
Caption: YM/Sgt.Maj. Abbigail Waters, 17, of Monument was named the National Young Marine of the Year (NYMOY). Waters is a member of the Mountain View Young Marines, one of 264 units in the Young Marines, a national youth education and service program for boys and girls age 8 through the completion of high school.The National Young Marine of the Year (NYMOY) is the highest honor given to a youth member of the Young Marines. As the NYMOY, Waters will travel to other units throughout the country to lead, motivate, and serve as a role model for the program. She will participate in remembrances and ceremonies such as the Reunion of Honor on Iwo Jima, the Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, National Navajo Code Talkers Day, and more. Waters looks forward to keeping all youth members connected as the country finds a new normal. See https://www.YoungMarines.com. Photo courtesy of Andy Richardson.
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 July 7. 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 email@example.com.
By Kate Pangelinan
Due to COVID-19 pandemic closures, the Monument Planning Commission (PC) did not gather for the scheduled monthly meetings in April and May this year. This has resulted in special second meetings for June and July, as well as a likelihood of other special meetings moving forward.
These special meetings will help allow the PC to work through a backlog of developmental projects, as stated on the official website at https://www.townofmonument.org/263/Planning-Commission-Board-of-Adjustment. More information about how to access these virtual meetings, as well as links to relevant information such as maps, meeting summaries, and schedules, can also be found on this site.
The June 10 PC meeting focused on the Willow Springs Ranch PD Site Plan and a Final PD Site Plan for Monument Ridge Filing No. 2. The June 24 PC special meeting saw the approval of the Santa Fe Park Rezone and Preliminary PD Site Plan as well as the Final Plat for Sanctuary Pointe Filing No. 7. Both meetings were conducted by Planner Debbie Flynn.
June 10 regularly scheduled meeting
Chairman Melanie Strop and Co-Chair Daniel Ours were present at the June 10 meeting, along with Commissioners Eric Light (alternate), Steve King, Sean White (originally an alternate but moved to permanent commissioner status at this meeting), Bill Lewis, and Joshua Thomas.
Flynn requested that one of the PC’s alternate commissioners move up to permanent Planning Commissioner status, and White volunteered. Flynn also asked for volunteers for the Land Development Code Committee, for which King and Light volunteered.
Willow Springs Ranch PD Site Plan
Willow Springs Ranch comprises a 219-acre site west of I-25 and north of Forest Lakes Drive and Baptist Road. It is intended to be a "residential development with 399 single-family homes, public rights-of-way, drainage, utilities, trails, parks and open space," as described in the meeting packet. All tracts are proposed to be owned and maintained by the Willow Springs Ranch Metropolitan District, with no maintenance required of the Town of Monument. There is a planned school site offsite on the west side of the property, and there are four anticipated neighborhood parks included within over 100 acres of open space.
The property owners, Willow Springs Ranch LLC, were represented during the meeting by John Maynard of NES Inc.
A full explanation of the questions asked by planning commissioners during the discussion of this proposal can be found in the meeting minutes, available through the town’s website. Some of the topics discussed included why so much land was designated for open space (it is part of the protected Preble’s meadow jumping mouse habitat, along with being a floodplain and intended to facilitate trails); property lot design and spacing; trail head parking (which will be provided); who will maintain the roads (the town of Monument); and backup plans in the event of power outages.
King stated that while he likes the vast open space involved with this project, he finds the lots small and would prefer to see bigger lots in the future. White noted that the Willow Springs project effectively balances affordable housing and open space, and that the density "does not merit disqualifying" this project.
There were no speakers during the designated public comment section.
Ours motioned to approve this proposal. The motion passed 5-1, with King voting against due to the "small" lot sizes. Thomas wanted to note on record that he hoped staff would look into density issues in regard to future developments.
This was followed by a short break, after which staffing changes in the town government were discussed. Two employees were "furloughed," while three have had a temporary reduction in hours. Furloughed staff members are expected to return on Aug. 10.
Monument Ridge Filing No. 2 Final PD Site Plan
Monument Ridge Filing No. 2 comprises 3.42 acres east of Struthers Road and south of Baptist Road. The proposed project consists of four buildings totaling about 27,093 square feet. These buildings are intended for office and commercial use, specifically Medical Office, General Office, Retail, and Restaurant, potentially including a drive-through pickup in one of the establishments.
The buildings themselves are intended to be built with "stucco and stone veneer accented by a metal roof, heavy timber posts, and steel and aluminum accents, all in earth tone colors" as per the meeting packet. Four access points are planned, three to the north and one on the west, all on private roads associated with the Monument Ridge complex.
This project’s applicant is Ed Ellsworth with Ellsworth LLC, who attended the meeting to address planning commissioners’ questions.
Questions expressed by the planning commissioners focused on topics such as the lighting, landscaping, and the property’s accessibility by pedestrians. During the citizen comment portion of the hearing, Ann Howe voiced concerns about the project’s effect on traffic on Baptist Road and Jackson Creek Parkway.
White moved to approve Monument Ridge Filing No. 2, with the following conditions. The first two were submitted by planning staff and presented in the staff report, and the third was developed during this PC meeting. The specific wording has been copied from the meeting minutes:
1. "The decorative wall sconces shown on the buildings be wired to be off from dusk to dawn."
2. "An access permit be obtained from El Paso County, if required, prior to issuance of building permits."
3. "The developer consider a building sconce that complies with the dark sky ordinance by shining the light downward on the facility so that the development can benefit from the positive esthetics of having light on the building at night."
The motion passed unanimously, 5-0, with Commissioner Thomas having recused himself from voting due to businesses nearby the project.
Ann Howe applauded the Planning Commission and staff for showing up to the virtual meeting but expressed concerns about plans for "the northern delivery and a lift station for sewage," according to the meeting minutes. She stated that this issue should have been brought to the PC’s attention by the town manager. Howe also mentioned a developing regional water plan involving Triview and advised that more information be requested.
Strop expressed concerns that technical difficulties may have prevented members of the public from being heard through this virtual system that interfered with the planned three-minute time allotment. It was stated that when COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, the public will be invited back, and full statements can be made.
Reports and communications
Among other topics, Flynn noted that the Land Development code rewrite is expected to be completed in a year.
June 24 special meeting
Unfortunately, discussions during the course of the June 24 PC meeting stream were often difficult to understand due to periods of silence or static. When an OCN representative alerted planning staff of this issue, we were sent a saved recording of the meeting that maintained the same audio glitches.
Chairman Melanie Strop and Vice Chair Daniel Ours were present at the meeting, along with Commissioners Chris Wilhelmi, Joshua Thomas, and Sean White.
Santa Fe Park Rezone and Preliminary PD Site Plan
The Santa Fe Park development is immediately west of I-25, east of Old Denver Road and south of the Conexus Business Center. The Santa Fe Regional Trail winds between the site and Old Denver Road. Santa Fe Park comprises 64.7 acres, about 50 of which are currently zoned for Planned Industrial Development (PID). The remaining 14 acres at the south end of the property are zoned for Planned Commercial Development (PCD).
Part of the applicant’s proposal at this meeting included rezoning the entire development to Planned Development (PD) instead. This would allow for a mix of commercial, industrial, and other uses. The development is intended to allow for a wider variety of land use, providing employment centers and services to residents and passersby. The south of the property has been set aside for primarily commercial development, in harmony with its current zoning, but there is anticipated to be some commercial development scattered throughout the rest of the property as well.
For a more detailed explanation of how this project is meant to serve Monument’s Comprehensive Plan, please see the meeting packet available through the town’s website.
This project’s property owner, Phoenix Bell Associates LLP, was represented by Andrea Barlow of NES Inc.
The maximum height of buildings under PD zoning would be 90 feet. External setbacks along I-25 would have a 50-foot minimum, with a 25-foot minimum imposed along Old Denver Road and Baptist Road. The maximum lot coverage for the development would be 40%.
The proposed phasing for this project would go as follows:
1. First, the focus will be on construction of the streets, remaining utilities, and detention ponds. The anticipated streets include Terrazzo Drive—expected to form the "spine road" through the development, with a dual left-turn lane onto Baptist Road—and two new access points off Old Denver Road: La Campana Drive (combined with the current northern access to an adjacent trailhead parking area) and Baja Drive (along the northern portion of this property). There will be new southbound left-turn lanes on Old Denver Road at both of these access points. La Campana Drive and Baja Drive are expected to cross Santa Fe Trail, allowable due to a prior agreement stating that up to six trail crossings will be permitted. All road-related costs will be paid for by the developers and completed in accordance with county standards.
2. The remainder of the development will proceed on a lot-to-lot basis, with each lot requiring its own Final PD Site Plan.
There was no public comment.
Commissioner White moved to approve this proposed rezone and Preliminary PD Site Plan with two conditions:
1. That the applicant consider giving pedestrians on Santa Fe Trail right of way at all crossings.
2. That the applicant also consider minimizing all access points into the site and crossing the Santa Fe Trail to the greatest extent possible to make as little impact as possible.
This motion was seconded by Strop, and approved unanimously, 5-0.
Sanctuary Pointe Filing No. 7 Final Plat
Sanctuary Pointe Filing No. 7 is north of Higby Estates and south of Sanctuary Pointe Filings 4, 5, and 6. The property is 57.625 acres and is a part of Phase 2 of the Sanctuary Pointe development, the Final PD Site Plan that was approved in March 2018. Filing No. 7 features 56 lots, two tracts and four streets, with lots ranging from 9,800 square feet to 2.06 acres. The tracts will be owned and maintained by Triview Metropolitan District and comprise about 41.96% of the total land area. These tracts are intended for open space, parks, and trails, among other uses as stated in the meeting packet. This plat is consistent with the PD Site Plan.
Much of the discussion, including the public comment, was difficult to hear in the provided recording. In the end, Thomas moved to approve the proposal, which was then approved unanimously, 5-0. Planning staff is expected to release this special meeting’s minutes once they have been approved after the upcoming meeting in July, so please check the town website if you would like more information.
Reports and communications
Town Manager Mike Foreman stated that he will work to initiate discussions about relocating Santa Fe Trail where it crosses Old Denver Road. He acknowledged that the project would take effort, but that a lot of people are concerned.
The possibility of having two meetings during one week in August instead of spreading the meetings apart throughout the month was also discussed. As Strop will be moving out of Monument town limits after August, it is likely a vote will have to be held for her replacement at that time.
PC meetings will be held online over the next few months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Information: 884-8017 or http://www.townofmonument.org/meetings/.
Kate Pangelinan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At 1:30 a.m. June 3, Monument police officers responded to a report of "shots fired" in the 17000 block of Pawnee Valley Trail. An investigation revealed that a homeowner awoke to find a man inside of his vehicle in his driveway. When the homeowner went outside to confront him, the man fired a handgun at the homeowner three times. The homeowner was not struck. The suspects then immediately fled the area in a dark-colored sedan.
Further investigation found numerous vehicles were burglarized in the Trails End Neighborhood in the hours preceding the shooting. All vehicles targeted were unlocked or showed no signs of forced entry. A 2016 Ford Escape was stolen from the 2000 block of Wagon Gap Trail after the vehicle’s keys were found in an unlocked vehicle parked on the same property.
The Monument Police Department reminded citizens to remove valuables from their vehicles and ensure that they are locked.
Caption: The Monument Police Department (MPD) is requesting assistance to identify suspects and asking that residents of the Trails End and Pastimes Neighborhoods check security cameras and doorbell cameras for footage from the night of June 2 and the morning of June 3 that may help identify criminals involved in burglaries and shots fired. Anyone with information is asked to contact Greg Melikian at email@example.com. Photos courtesy of MPD.
By James Howald and Jackie Burhans
The Palmer Lake Board of Trustees met twice in June: on June 11 and 25. The meetings were held in person at the Palmer Lake Town Hall.
A new fire chief was sworn in, and the town updated the ordinance governing the handling of stormwater. An Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) with El Paso County was put in place that authorizes the town to receive funds from the CARES Act. Several resolutions and ordinances were passed, and the town granted a business license and a street vacation.
Fire chief sworn in
At the June 11 meeting, Fire Chief Christopher McCarthy took the oath of office, ending the town’s search for a new fire chief for the Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department (PLVFD). The oath was administered by Dawn Collins, the town’s newly hired town clerk.
Stormwater ordinance updated
At the June 11 meeting, the board began its consideration of Ordinance 04-2020, which amends the Municipal Code to address the issue of stormwater. The board heard a presentation from John Chavez of Chavez Consulting Inc., the consultant the town has hired to assist them in complying with the state’s regulations for handling stormwater. At that meeting, Chavez told the board he had added a chapter to the Municipal Code on illicit discharge, working from the El Paso County ordinance on the same subject. Other parts of the updated ordinance address construction and right-of-way issues, he said. Subdivisions, grading, and culverts are also handled in the updated ordinance, according to Chavez.
The ordinance was tabled until the June 25 meeting to give the board adequate time to consider the numerous revisions and additions.
At the June 25 meeting, Trustee Patty Mettler asked Chavez why oil and gas issues were not addressed in the illicit discharge portion of the ordinance. Chavez said that was because there was a separate regulation that oversaw oil and gas.
The board voted unanimously to approve the updated ordinance.
IGA to provide funds for COVID-19 remediation
At the June 11 meeting, Interim Town Manager Bob Radosevich asked the board to consider authorizing Mayor John Cressman to sign an IGA with El Paso County that will provide the town with $221,000 through the CARES Act. The money can be spent only on issues arising from COVID-19, and does not have to be repaid, Radosevich said.
The board voted unanimously to give signing authorization to Cressman.
Ordinance and resolutions approved
The board voted to approve the following ordinances and resolutions:
• Resolution 08-2020, which rescinds the water emergency Resolution No. 9 of 2018.
• Ordinance 05-2020, which allows the board to cancel elections when there is only one candidate in each race.
• Resolution 10-2020, which lets the board put on the November ballot an issue to allow the town to opt out of publishing town ordinances.
Business license granted
The board voted unanimously to approve a business license for Greater Grounds Landscaping LLC, at 630 Highway 105.
The board voted unanimously to grant a street vacation for John Kerr at 579 County Line Road. The vacation had previously been approved by the Planning Commission. The vacation will allow Kerr to resolve an issue with his septic system. Kerr will pay a fee of 10 cents per square foot for the 13,650 square feet he receives though the vacation.
Caption: On June 11, the Palmer Lake Board of Trustees met in person for the first time after months of conducting the meetings online. Palmer Lake Town Hall was set up to allow for social distancing during the meeting. Below: At that meeting, new Town Clerk Dawn Collins administered the oath of office to incoming Fire Chief Christopher McCarthy. Photos by Jackie Burhans.
The Board of Trustees is scheduled to hold two meetings in July, on July 10 and 24 at 6 p.m. at Town Hall, 42 Valley Crescent. Meetings are normally held on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month, with the second meeting organized as a working session. Information: 481-2953.
By Steve Pate
The following issues facing the Palmer Lake Board of Trustees (PLBOT) are partly based on a summary that local resident Bryan Christensen shared with the Monument Hiking Group, with additional information verified by this writer.
In a chat with a member of the PLBOT to get background on the sudden closure of the Reservoir Road, which feeds a network of hiking trails, Christensen was able to delve into other issues that call for local residents to provide constructive input and support to implement long-term solutions.
Many don’t grasp the magnitude of the problems facing the town. As Christensen stated, "Since I live local I don’t hike when I know it’s peak time, which means I don’t really see how bad it is on those days (and) I’m not confronted with the enormous problems the town can’t avoid."
The current closure
The access road to the reservoirs is in bad shape, eroding and sending silt into the creek, which is bad for the town’s water. The trail requires extensive repair with proper retaining walls, etc. The town was planning for repairs later in the year but was able to secure a reasonable bid from Bradley Construction and begin work right away.
Work started on June 15 and may take about six weeks, though it could go longer because unforeseen problems often arise in a large project like this once you start moving dirt. This is a big project with heavy equipment, so it will not be safe for hikers to be on the trail when they are working and probably not even on the days they are not working. Bad time of year for us hikers, but it’s obvious why the town had to jump on this.
Alternate routes exist to access the reservoirs and the network of trails off the Reservoir Access Road, such as Ice Cave Creek Trail, Swank, Balanced Rock, and others, but please do not approach any Reservoir Trail work that is going on.
Wider issues and the scope of the problem
If you avoid peak times for hiking, you probably don’t know how bad the crowding and parking can be. Hundreds of people descend on Palmer Lake to hike the trails, and the town is not equipped to handle the crowds. By and large, these people do not generate increased revenue for the town, so it is inaccurate to say the town is making money off them while simultaneously wanting them to stay away.
Folks who’ve studied the same problem in Manitou Springs have found that the majority of hikers do not have dinner or shop in town after they finish their hike. They hike and, in the case of Palmer Lake, visit the lake and they leave. This results in significant stress on infrastructure with no offsetting revenue for the town.
Before parking restrictions were implemented, 100 to 150 cars commonly were parked at the trailhead area. The trailhead parking lot has 16 designated spaces and no other facilities. The cars block driveways and streets and impede access. This also presented a significant fire hazard when cars were parked in grassy areas. Parking fines have had a marginal impact. It’s also hard to get towing companies to come to Palmer Lake, so that is not a viable option. The town budget supports only two full-time police officers. They are supplemented with four officers on weekends to deal with the crowds, but that’s yet more money out of a limited budget. More enforcement against bad actors is not as easy as it would seem.
Trash and waste (dog and human) get left along the trails and at the trailhead.
Another issue facing the town is at the lake, where the shoreline is littered every weekend with discarded fish bait and lost fishhooks. Kids wading in the water there are at risk of tangling their feet with old fishhooks lost in the mud around the shoreline. As the lake gets more crowded, people drag their kayaks and paddle boards across marsh areas that are supposed to be protected and further erode the shoreline.
What needs to happen
As Christensen puts it, "I think a first step is educating everyone on the magnitude of the problem so more people are motivated to get involved in constructive ways instead of just complaining."
Metered parking could be a wise and necessary first step, even though it means having to pay to hike. Several members of the PLBOT are resistant to (or just hesitant about) visitors paying to park for a variety of reasons. If you support this idea, then let your voice be heard and encourage the board to act. That could generate much-needed revenue to enable other initiatives (install trash cans at the trailhead, perhaps a bathroom, etc.) to help protect the trails and protect access to them.
For additional information, visit www.townofpalmerlake.com.
Caption: Workers repair a retaining wall along the Reservoir Access Road. Photo by Steve Pate.
Steve Pate can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Allison Robenstein and Janet Sellers
During an in-person June 16 meeting, the Donald Wescott Fire Protection District board heard requests for money but made no decisions. A roof replacement is needed for Station 2 and a year-long debate on retirement increases continues. The public relations representative requested money for a website update and for electronic signs. The board is considering a ballot issue to de-Gallagherize their revenue.
Joyce Hartung was noted absent.
Chief Vinny Burns asked the board to approve money for a Station 2 roof replacement citing extensive wind and hail damage from 2019. The cost for the replacement is $60,000, but insurance will cover $42,000 of that.
There is no itemized budget for this project, nor is it part of the district’s strategic plan.
Although numerous bids were received, some were itemized while others were not, so the board asked for each to be more specific as a way to compare each equitably.
Pension fund vote postponed yet again
The board discussed increasing the monthly pension for retirees after putting it on hold at the last meeting.
Background: During the September 2019 pension meeting, Lt. Bryan Ackerman and Lt. Tim Hampton asked the board to consider increasing the monthly payment to their 13 retirees. An actuarial study shows a variety of increases that the board could approve. For example, to increase the current monthly payment from $400 to $450, the fund would need to receive an annual increase of $6,583. See https://ocn.me/v19n10.htm#dwfpd.
After a short discussion, the board decided without a formal vote to table the decision until budget time. Newly seated Director Charles Fleece said, "Let’s see what plays out."
Public relations and website update on hold
Battalion Chief Sean Pearson, who is the district’s public relations representative, gave the board an update to the website update efforts and community relations initiatives. A committee led by Pearson has identified several possible initiatives including chipping days, teaching classes to residents, and an auxiliary program.
Pearson said the committee has also been reviewing costs for the website update. Costs range wildly from $10,000 for a commercial website builder down to $1,000 for a local small business to create the site. In the meantime, the district is creating weekly, educational Facebook posts. See https://www.facebook.com/wescottfire/.
He asked the board to approve $16,000 for electronic signs at each of the stations, but the board tabled the decision until they review the 2021 budget.
Possible election to de-Gallagherize
Chief Vinny Burns said the Colorado State Fire Chiefs is encouraging local fire departments to put de-Gallagherizing language on the November ballot.
Background: The Gallagher amendment is a voter-approved measure requiring 45 percent of the state’s total property tax burden to be paid by residences in order to relieve the increases in residential property taxes. The other 55 percent is paid by nonresidential (commercial) property. Because of TABOR, the tax rate can never increase. Fluctuations in the residential tax directly affect the district’s budget.
A ballot initiative to de-Gallagherize would mean the district is unaffected by the changes to the residential tax rate in order to maintain a consistent cash flow.
If the board were to create such an initiative, it must approve the resolution and notify its intent with the county clerk by July 26.
District Attorney Michelle Ferguson said there will be a statewide resolution in November asking voters to repeal Gallagher altogether. In recent years, Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District residents approved such a ballot measure. See https://ocn.me/v19n12.htm#tlmfpd.
Should the statewide ballot issue fail, the 2021 General Assembly is set to review the residential assessment rate, and it could decrease.
Burns said there are some signs of normalcy as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Wescott has begun training again with other north group fire districts. Responses to suspected coronavirus calls for service still require full personal protective gear, but for all other calls just masks are being worn.
Burns said the community has been very generous with not just food but some supplies that have become difficult to procure.
He also identified several Wescott personnel who have been sent to national wildfires. Battalion Chief Scott Ridings is working as a task force leader in Scottsdale, Ariz. Stacey Popovich and Rachel Peterson are on assignment in Durango.
The meeting adjourned at 6:08 p.m.
The next Donald Wescott Fire Protection District meeting is scheduled for July 21 at 4 p.m. at Station 1, 15415 Gleneagle Dr. Meetings are usually on the third Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. For information, call Executive Administrator Stacey Popovich at 719-488-8680 or see www.wescottfire.org.
By Natalie Barszcz
On June 3, the Black Forest Fire/Rescue Protection District (BFFRPD) board met in executive session for two hours to discuss a permanent fire chief position. The board met again on June 11 in executive session for a further three hours to discuss the employment status of interim Fire Chief P J Langmaid.
The board met in person under strict COVID-19 distancing guidelines in the Community Room at Station 1 on June 17 to discuss the current status of hiring a permanent fire chief, to hear an update on the anticipated new ambulances, and to accept the 2019 audit.
The meeting was delayed until the arrival of Director James Abendschan.
Fire chief’s permanent contract
Board Chairman Rick Nearhoof said that after two long executive sessions, a contract for a permanent fire chief had been finalized by the district’s attorney, Linda Glesne of Collins Cockrel and Cole Law Firm, Denver. Nearhoof said he hoped that Langmaid would find it agreeable after reviewing it with his lawyer before the July board meeting. Langmaid has done a great job so far after starting out as a board member eight years ago, he is highly recommended by the Colorado Springs Fire Department (CSFD) and the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD) and we hope he accepts the permanent fire chief position, said Nearhoof.
Board Vice Chairman Nate Dowden said he hoped that an accord could be reached before the July board meeting. He made a motion to allow Nearhoof to execute a signed contract and review any revision to the contract with the district counsel before the July board meeting. The board accepted the motion, 5-0.
Note: Langmaid was BFFRPD board chairman until he stepped into the role as interim fire chief at the request of the board in May 2019, and he has continued to work full time as a firefighter for CSFD.
Langmaid informed OCN that after the board meeting, he had accepted the contract and is now the permanent fire chief. He has resigned from CSFD.
Nearhoof asked board members to confirm they had received and read a copy of the 2019 audit as presented by Dawn Schilling at the May board meeting. The board confirmed they had read the audit report and had no comments. See www.ocn.me/v20n6.htm#bffrpd. The board accepted the 2019 audit as presented, 4-0.
Langmaid gave the following update:
• Call volume has remained relatively low and is likely associated with the "safer at home" order. But traffic accidents have increased now that restrictions are being lifted.
• Langmaid requested the board convene in a long-term planning session before the end of the summer to discuss the 18 vehicles the district currently owns.
• Annual pump testing cannot be confirmed and is likely overdue, Langmaid said, hoping all the vehicles will pass the test.
• Deputy Fire Chief James Rebitski inspected the new 4x4 ambulances at Arrow Manufacturing Inc., Rock Rapids, Iowa. Both ambulances arrived in the district the week of June 22 and will be put into service soon after branding is applied and the radios and the existing Stryker gurneys are fitted.
• Firefighter/EMT Cody Poole created a new patch for the department in a traditional old English style in red and black. The patch will be displayed on new vehicles and district correspondence and will complement the existing department patch that was created by Fire Chief Bob Harvey at the beginning of his tenure.
Mobile Data Communication project update
Langmaid said two Mobile Data Communication (MDC) devices have been ordered, one for the in-service ambulance and the other for the Command/Communications vehicle. The district has to own its own communications and not rely on the county to provide communications, and we need to build a robust communication system, he said.
After testing the Panasonic Toughbook and the Microsoft Surface, both were found to be unsuitable with the latter being prone to melting in the heat of a vehicle. A rugged G Tech Microsoft Surface model is less costly than the Panasonic Toughbook and was chosen to serve the district better. However, the need for eight additional MDC’s for the frontline units to include hardware mounting and connectivity would cost the district $70,000 to move forward with the project, said Langmaid.
Treasurer Jack Hinton wanted to discuss the cost of current and future IT costs. Langmaid said he had already asked for two, three-year projections from Colorado Computer Support (CCS), the district’s current IT provider, and a competitor to avoid any budget surprises in the future. Typically the average cost is $2,200 to $2,500 per month. CCS currently provides the district with over 10 hours of support per month for a cost of $1,400 but, with the additional MDC’s, the cost would increase to $2,200.
Hinton said the district was at 35.1% of the budget year to date and roughly 5.4% better than the projected goal of the 2020 budget. Dowden asked if BFFRPD were under budget due to reduced expenses during the COVID-19 period. Langmaid said spending had been reduced to see what might happen, and now that we are ready to purchase, the supply chain is slow and we cannot make the intended purchases. The board accepted the financial report 4-0.
Langmaid said that Chris Richardson of CMG Corp. had completed an inspection of Station 1 and determined that the caulk has never been updated in the building’s lifespan, which could be the cause of the leaks from the upstairs balcony. Richardson recommended that before undergoing a major repair project to the concrete and raising doors, the whole building would require re-caulking, and he also noted that ramps might be needed to comply with an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirement.
Hinton questioned the need to make the building ADA compliant since that would require an elevator, and initially there was no ADA requirement, and that would have been grandfathered into the design. Langmaid said the caulking needs to be fixed regardless and he is waiting for a quote for the re-caulking from CMG Corp.
Fire Geographic Information Systems
Langmaid said they are seeking a Fire Geographic Information Systems vendor to assist with the creation of a Wildland Urban Interface Preplan along with an Emergency Operations Plan in preparation for a unique event such as a tornado or a plane crash that would likely result in a wildland fire.
Land development code
Langmaid said they are talking to land stakeholders regarding the proposed land development code changes that will require some additional staff duties, but ultimately it is in the hands of the El Paso Board of County Commissioners.
Langmaid said the Conex containers have been delivered and stacked, and painting is almost complete, so the fire training facility at Station 1 is moving forward.
Capt. Chris Piepenburg has been conducting Water Supply Tactic and Medical Trauma training, and the Wildland Fire patrols continue.
Terry Stokka of Friends of Black Forest noticed that many homes in Black Forest did not have visible address signs and notified residents that BFFRPD has a program that produces high visibility signs for a cost of $25, and to date BFFRPD has received 50 requests for the signs. See www.ocn.me/v20n6.htm page 26 for information or visit www.bffire.org/community.
The meeting adjourned at 7:56 p.m.
In the BFFRPD article in June issue of OCN, "Pierce Manufacturing Inc." should have been "Arrow Manufacturing Inc." OCN regrets the error.
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 July 15. For updates, visit www.bffire.org.
Natalie Barszcz can be reached at email@example.com.
By Natalie Barszcz
On June 24, the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD) board met at Station 1 and via Zoom virtual conference to solve unexpected annexation complications, accept the 2019 audit, and witness the swearing in of the division chief of Logistics position. They also held an executive session that resulted in the approval to purchase administrative office space and heard about more temporary road closures, including Monument Hill Road.
Board Vice President Roger Lance and Treasurer Jason Buckingham were excused.
Station 1 annexation
Chief Chris Truty explained to the board that although TLMFPD had requested Station 1 be annexed into the Town of Monument (TOM) in 2019 and the town granted the annexation on Jan. 6, 2020, it was not realized at the time of the application that TLMFPD did not own the deed to Station 1 due to an outstanding lease-purchase agreement. See www.ocn.me/v19n7.htm#tlmfpd and www.ocn.me/v19n11.htm#mbot2.
Director Tom Tharnish, who is also director of Public Works for the town, said the TOM cannot proceed until it has the deed in its possession and it was decided that paying off the lease would be the best solution to avoid re-starting the process of annexation. The Monument Board of Trustees (BOT) granted a six-month extension to finalize the annexation. See related June 15 BOT article on page 6.
Truty requested that the board approve paying the loan one year earlier by borrowing from the Capital Reserves. This would also save about $4,000 in interest.
The board moved to approve a non-budgeted amount, not to exceed $142,000 from the Capital Reserves account to pay off the remaining debt on the Station 1 lease. The board vote carried, 4-0-1 with Tharnish abstaining.
2019 audit accepted
The board heard the 2019 audit presented via Zoom by Mitch Downs and Amber Stoops from Osborne, Parsons, & Rosacker LLP. The audit was carried out remotely by Stoops and Mike Collins due to COVID-19 distancing, with assistance from District Accountant Becky Weese and Director of Administration Jennifer Martin. Stoops said there were no significant difficulties completing the audit or issues or deficiencies with the audit and no management overrides.
Downs said auditing remotely does create some timing issues, but he felt comfortable that the auditing standards were met and that remote auditing would continue into the future with the pandemic. The audit would be held open for a week to allow board members time to review it since the audit was delivered to TLMFPD on the day of the board meeting.
After the presentation, Weese said there were no adjustments required for the audit.
The board accepted the audit as presented, 5-0.
Chief of Logistics sworn in
Truty introduced the new Division Chief of Logistics Capt. Dean Wahl. Board President John Hildebrandt administered the oath of office and Lt. Mauricio Ayala presented Wahl with a department helmet. "I started three weeks ago at TLMFPD, and it already feels like home," said Wahl.
This new position was created to relieve administrative responsibilities that were spread across multiple staff members, with a primary focus on fleet and station management and maintenance.
Administrative office space purchase approved
The regular meeting adjourned at 8:08 p.m. and the board moved into executive session to discuss property acquisition and land strategy.
When the board returned to the regular meeting, it unanimously approved items related to relocating from the district’s leased administrative offices in Suite 103 to purchased space in the same building:
• To purchase suites 102 and 104 in Jackson Creek Commerce Center at 16055 Old Forest Point, for a price not to exceed $1.05 million, pending an appraisal of the property to be financed through a partial down payment of $250,000 and a 10-year lease/purchase agreement with Community Bank of Colorado.
• An expenditure of $25,000 from the Capital Reserves Account for the remodel of the suites as needed.
Note: The district has been leasing space for about $36,500 a year since November 2017. See www.ocn.me/v17n12.htm#tlmfpd.
I-25/Gap closures will affect Monument traffic
Deputy Chief Randy Trost said he learned the following at the latest I-25/Gap project meeting:
• The east side of the Greenland exit will be shifting and closures to the southbound lanes are next. TLMFPD will have emergency access throughout the 45-day closure.
• Monument Hill Road will temporarily close to accommodate a wildlife crossing underpass. Northbound will be closed at Misty Acres Boulevard, but local traffic will be allowed access to the Colorado Heights Camping Resort. A hard closure will be set at the resort entrance going northbound. Southbound will be closed at Misty Acres Boulevard with local traffic access to the Telios Law Office entrance. A hard closure will occur just south of the Telios entrance.
• A study of wildlife vehicle collisions resulting in accidents was conducted to determine the placement of the wildlife underpasses.
• The widening of County Line Road Bridge is scheduled for late 2021.
For updated information on the I-25 Gap project, text I25Gap to 21000 to get alerts or visit their Facebook page @I25SouthGapProject, or visit firstname.lastname@example.org, or sign up for email updates at email@example.com, or call the project hotline at 1 (720)-745-5434. See www.ocn.me/v19n11.htm#mbot1.
Truty gave the following update:
• In 2021, all employers will be required to increase pension contributions to help shore up stability to employee pensions in the future. TLMFPD will contribute 8.5%, with a 0.5% increase each year until it reaches 12% in 2028.
• The planning for the 2021 budget will be conservative with the exception of necessary expenditures, and the board and staff are invited to submit their input on prioritization soon.
• Meetings with the architect and contractor for the Station 1 remodel are producing some high-level brainstorming and plans to expand the building are now moving toward the eastside of Station 1, allowing the drive-through bay option to remain in the plan.
Truty gave the following update on the repeal Gallagher ballot initiative for the November election:
• It will be quite an uphill climb to get the bill passed, according to the state Fire Chiefs, since many are opposed to the bill.
• The financial repercussions could make or break some local special districts including D38.
• TLMFPD, Black Forest Fire/Rescue Protection District and Hanover Fire Department are the only three departments to de-Gallagher in northern El Paso County.
• TLMFPD has secured the Residential Assessment Rate (RAR) at 5.88% from dropping any further for the time being, but an unknown calculation could be used in the future and could be really problematic in 2024.
• The de-Gallagherization ballot issue that passed in November 2019 only addressed the RAR and not the commercial tax rate, which has been fixed at 29% since 1976. For more about de-Gallagherization, see www.ocn.me/v19n8.htm#tlmfpd and www.ocn.me/v19n6.htm#tlmfpd.
Trost gave the following update:
• Two multi-mission reconnaissance aircraft now have a primary mission to spot potential wildland fire sparks such as a cigarette butt from as high as 20,000 feet. The aircraft departs from Centennial, and once requested can be flying within 60 minutes to anywhere within Colorado.
• Intel from the aircraft is now available to fire departments via a website and app, and fire departments are encouraged to use the tool to maintain funding for it.
• Flights can be requested by fire departments and El Paso County Search and Rescue through the El Paso County fire warden.
Wildland/fire marshal update
Division Chief of Community Risk/Fire Marshal Jamey Bumgarner gave the following update:
• The Northwest Passage Emergency Evacuation Drill scheduled for September is now postponed until May 2021. Residents will be encouraged to participate then.
• Some homeowner associations in limited access communities are placing evacuation route signs to indicate safe routes for residents to use in an emergency.
• Monument Academy High School on Highway 83/Walker Road is on a busy schedule for final fire code inspections before the grand opening on Aug. 15.
Battalion Chief of Training Jonathan Bradley gave the following updates:
• Wildland Fire Drills were hosted on the new property at Station 1, and the Wescott Fire Department and BFFRPD took part with instructor participation from all three districts.
• A series of EMS webinars on resiliency, domestic violence recognition, and handling in the field were provided by Dr. Judith Long, the district psychologist who supports TLMFPD’s Peer Support Program.
• Blue Card IC simulation for both TLMFPD and BFFRPD. The Blue Card program is a local hazard zone command training and certification program designed for fire departments.
• Water Training Awareness in June with the Technical Rescue Group.
• Engineer Tyler Ruona completed the Driver Operator Course practical test on the 2231 Tower Truck after the vehicle had returned from a two-month repair.
• The three paramedic students are finishing up rotations and will begin internships in July.
Bradley said emergency room experience has now resumed for students, but labor and delivery experience is being augmented with simulation. Hildebrandt said you just cannot simulate labor and delivery. Bradley said the new paramedics would be able to receive hands-on experience in labor and delivery rotations later in the year or in early 2021.
Board member comments
Tharnish said the TOM has finally won its state Supreme Court lawsuit lasting 3.5 years to acquire land at Forest View Way in Red Rocks Ranch. The TOM can now proceed with the installation of a water retention tank and a pipeline with fire hydrants to connect into the town water system. Four pipeline routes are available, and his preference would be the most costly, extending the pipeline from Red Rocks Ranch and east along Highway 105 to connect to the town water pipes at TLMFPD Station 1. The pipeline will take a long time to install and the project is scheduled to start in late 2020 or early 2021, he said.
Caption: Board President John Hildebrandt administers the oath of office to the new division chief of Logistics Capt. Dean Wahl, whose wife Kathy Wahl (pictured at center) pinned on his badge of office during the ceremony.
Caption: Lt. Mauricio Ayala (right) presented Wahl with a firefighter’s helmet from the district. Photos by Jennifer Martin.
In the TLMFPD article in the June issue of OCN, "Wall" should read "Wahl." OCN regrets the error.
Meetings are usually held the fourth Wednesday of each month. The next meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. July 22 at TLMFPD Station 1, 18650 Highway 105. For information, including possible Zoom joining instructions, contact Director of Administration Jennifer Martin at 719-484-9011. For upcoming agendas, see www.tlmfire.org/board.
Natalie Barszcz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By James Howald
In May and June, the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD) board held its monthly meetings online to accommodate concerns about the COVID-19 virus. Future meetings may also be held online; the link to the online meetings can be found on the district’s webpage here: https://www.woodmoorwater.com/images/docs/notices/2020_Meeting_Notice/2020_6_10_B_Notice_Virtual.pdf.
At the May meeting, new and re-elected board members were announced, the board heard a presentation from its engineering company that addressed radium levels in Well 21 and the plans to upgrade the Central Water Treatment Plant (CWTP) to process surface water, an update from District Manager Jessie Shaffer concerning policy changes to mitigate the risks of COVID-19, an announcement of the retirement of Assistant District Manager Randy Gillette, and an update on the status of the pipeline connecting Well 21 to the CWTP.
At the June meeting, the district’s auditor gave the board the results of the 2019 audit, and the board heard operational reports.
New and re-elected board members announced
At the May 11 meeting, the board was notified that the new and re-elected board members had taken their oaths of office on May 8 and 9. Bill Clewe joined the board, and the other board members retained their seats.
Brian Bush was elected president of the board, replacing Jim Taylor. Jim Wyss was re-elected treasurer, having held that position previously. Clewe was elected secretary and was added as a signatory for the district’s bank accounts.
Board member Lee Hanson will continue to represent the district on the Joint Use Committee.
Engineering company addresses Well 21 radium and CWTP plans
At the May meeting, John McGibbon and Richard Hood of JVA Consulting Engineers told the board that an initial test of water from Well 21 showed that the radium level exceeds the legal limit, and that JVA is working with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) to resolve the issue and get final approval to put the well into production.
McGibbon and Hood told the board that water from Well 21 would be treated at CWTP using a method that typically removes 35 percent of the radium present. The water currently exceeds the limit by a small amount, they said, and they predicted the processed water would meet the regulations requirement for radium.
Hood reviewed the plan to upgrade CWTP. The goal of the upgrade is to allow the facility to treat surface water as well as well water. The project will make changes in three areas:
• Pre-treatment, in which surface water will be blended with water from other sources.
• Upgrading Trident Treatment units that provide filtration and clarification.
• Improving chemical systems.
Board President Brian Bush added that these improvements would also assist with the removal of radium.
Hood presented three potential approaches:
• Installation of a below-grade storage tank for surface water and construction of an additional building at the CWTP.
• Construction of a building and a tank on Deer Creek Road adjacent to Lewis-Palmer Middle School.
• Construction of an above-grade tank next to CWTP.
Hood said JVA recommended option 2 to the board, because it is a gravity flow design that would not require pumps and power and therefore has lower capital and operating costs.
Shaffer mentioned that option 2 would require the use of land that currently belongs to Lewis-Palmer School District 38. Shaffer said discussions were underway with the district to find a way for WWSD to use or purchase the land, and that the upgraded CWTP would no longer use chlorine gas, and so would be safer for the school district.
The board unanimously voted to pursue option 2.
At the June meeting, the board elected to use the Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR) methodology to manage the CWTP upgrade effort and two other projects the district is planning. CMAR emphasizes getting contractors involved in a project from the very beginning, earlier than the design-bid-build approach that the district has used in the past.
Board passes resolution to address COVID-19 concerns
Shaffer told the board that Resolution 20-03 contained a number of policy changes intended to minimize the possible impacts of COVID-19 on the district. The resolution:
• Authorizes online meetings.
• Continues the closure of the district office to the public.
• Removes on June 4, 2020 the four-day-on four-day-off schedule that district employees have been using.
• Implements some emergency personnel policies requiring social distancing and specifying how symptomatic employees will be handled.
• Waives disconnections and late fees for April and May of 2020.
The board voted unanimously at the May meeting to pass the resolution.
At the June meeting, Shaffer provided additional details about the changes to the work schedules and social distancing. He told the board the employees would return to the work schedule in use before the transition to the current schedule, which requires staff to work Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. To improve social distancing, staff will be divided into four groups, and each group will use a different district location as an operational base. Groups will meet at CWTP, the South Filter Plant (SFP), the office, and some will work from home.
Assistant district manager retires
Shaffer told the board that Randy Gillette will retire at the end of May. His replacement will be Gary Potter.
Well 21 pipeline to be completed in June
At the May meeting, Shaffer told the board that the pipeline connecting Well 21 to the CWTP will be complete in June, and that the well will be in production for the peak demand period of 2020.
At the June meeting, Shaffer announced the pipeline was substantially complete, with only a handful of punch list items remaining.
District financial audit finds no issues
John Cutler of Cutler and Associates, the district’s financial auditor, summarized the results of the 2019 audit for the board. Cutler said the audit included an unmodified report and no audit adjustments, and he said there were no disagreements with management.
Shaffer congratulated the board on another clean audit.
Board makes operational decisions
The board made the following operational decision at the May and June meetings:
• To update its paperwork with the Integrity Bank.
• To put in place an agreement with the Colorado Water and Wastewater Response Network that will enable the district to request emergency resources from that group and optionally provide help to other water districts.
• To consider a request from resident John Mills to include a portion of his property in the district for tax purposes (part of the land in question is already within WWSD boundaries).
The next meeting is scheduled for July 13 at 1 p.m. Meetings are usually held at the district office at 1845 Woodmoor Drive on the second Monday of each month at 1 p.m. See www.woodmoorwater.com or call 488-2525 to verify meeting times.
James Howald can be reached at email@example.com.
By Jennifer Kaylor
The Triview Metropolitan District met for a special meeting on June 16 in addition to its regular monthly Board of Directors meeting. Primary concerns for the meetings revolved around possible resident confusion as evidenced through recent social media posts.
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 June board packet may be accessed via https://triviewmetro.com/assets/documents/board/agenda/2020/BoardPacket_2020-06-17.pdf.
District plunges into water consumption and rates discussion
Some Triview residents expressed grievances regarding their water bills on the social media forum Nextdoor. The district held a special meeting to discuss its response to the possible confusion and misunderstanding reflected in the comments. The board and District Manager Jim McGrady committed to addressing specific questions and complaints directly as well as providing expanded billing information in future newsletters. When discussion turned to water conservation ideas, directors considered possible alternatives to the district’s current watering schedule as well as potential incentives such as rebates for lawn irrigation rain sensors and smart clocks.
At the regular board meeting, McGrady furnished data that explained possible reasons for increased water consumption. May 2020 water use totaled 35 million gallons—a significant increase compared to 20 million gallons in May 2019. Data showed a 13-degree higher temperature in May 2020 from the previous year. The average annual May precipitation for the area is generally 1.8 inches, but the month’s 2020 precipitation registered .96 inches. McGrady surmised that warmer temperatures coupled with less spring precipitation increased lawn watering needs.
The district also passed a resolution at its Dec. 11, 2019 board meeting to increase rates. See https://www.ocn.me/v20n1.htm#tvmd. McGrady listed some of the increases: Tier I rates increased from $4.00 to $5.25, and Tier II rates increased by about $5.00 per 1,000 gallons. With the dual impact of increased rates along with increased consumption, one would expect some residents to experience significantly higher water bills, he said. However, McGrady later pointed out that a 20,000-gallon water purchase, a typical amount in a summer month for the district’s residents, would still cost less from Triview than from three other local water providers.
In answer to the question, "How’s the district going to address this issue?", McGrady outlined Triview’s efforts:
• The district began installing new smart technology cellular water meters that provide real-time information and take readings every 15 minutes. This puts data into the hands of customers so they can better manage their water consumption and pinpoint leaks if they are present. The momentum at which new meters were being installed increased from eight per week to about 40 per week. There is a possibility of bumping installations up to 70 per week.
• District personnel contact customers who have excessive water use to determine if a leak or leaks exist.
• If a customer discovers a leak, Triview is willing to adjust a water bill if proof of the leak is provided. McGrady described proof as a plumber’s receipt, an irrigation company’s invoice, or something similar to show that a leak repair was completed.
• McGrady also developed a spreadsheet to serve as a model for calculating water application needs using the turf square footage and the number of irrigation applications per month. The spreadsheet reveals the amount of water needed for each application. The spreadsheet will be available under the conservation tab on the district’s website.
• District staff members are also able to help customers reprogram their irrigation clocks and check for leaks or pressure issues. Triview staff members are not professional plumbers and cannot fix the leaks but can advise customers on how to determine if leaks are an issue.
• The conservation information on the website will be revised to be more user friendly and current.
McGrady explained that the rate increase was necessary in meeting the district’s future needs as determined by a comprehensive rate study. Triview’s goal is to transition to a renewable water supply because, unlike nonrenewable from the Denver Basin aquifer, it can be used and reused until extinction. The Denver Basin aquifer will become unproductive, but no one knows when that will happen. The district has acquired enough acre-feet of renewable water to supply customers’ needs when the district is fully developed, but additional challenges such as transporting, tracking, and capturing the water must be solved. The rate increase also supports Triview’s participation in regional water and wastewater projects.
Resolutions support water and wastewater projects
The meeting agenda included two resolutions. Directors voted to ratify Resolution 2020-07: "… approving the purchase of water and water rights, land, and mineral rights from the Stonewall Springs Quarry LLC, Stonewall Water LLC and Stonewall Springs Reservoir Company." The board had approved this purchase at its May meeting. See https://www.ocn.me/v20n6.htm#tvmd. The vote at the June meeting was conducted to satisfy terms of the title company. Correction: In OCN’s June issue, the cost of Triview’s purchase was incorrectly published as $9,505,500. It actually was $19,505,500. OCN regrets the error.
The second resolution stipulated an interim wastewater conveyance and treatment agreement between Triview, Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU), and Donala Water and Sanitation District. See related Donala article on page 21.
McGrady spelled out the logic behind the agreement, which allows CSU to construct a temporary pipeline and lift station to the Donala lift station, which will pump CSU’s wastewater to the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility (UMCRWWTF) using an estimated 1 million gallons of Triview’s excess capacity. Triview is a one-third partner-owner of the treatment facility with Donala and Forest Lakes Metropolitan District.
The gesture prevents CSU from having to build its temporary pipeline through endangered Preble’s jumping mouse habitat which would require a lengthy National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process and expedites the construction of the U.S. Air Force Academy’s Visitors Center. The temporary pipeline gives the AFAVC the ability to proceed with construction while the potential wastewater regionalization project called the North Monument Creek Interceptor (NMCI) completes its two- to three-year NEPA study. Once complete, the NMCI would provide wastewater services to the AFAVC, thus the temporary status of the pipeline to and treatment by the UMCRWWTF.
McGrady requested that directors authorize him to sign the agreement if it is not substantially changed by Donala or CSU. He expressed confidence that the NMCI would be built and, if not, Triview would give a one-year notification to CSU to find another alternative.
"We believe this is the neighborly thing to do," stated McGrady.
Meetings return to Tuesday evenings
Personal obligations for two directors caused the board to revisit the evening on which board meetings are held. The board voted to switch the meeting night to the third Tuesday of the month for the remainder of 2020.
At 6:46 p.m., the board entered executive session §24-6-402(4)(b)(e) legal advice, negotiations. The board did not take actions or make decisions following the executive session.
The next Triview board meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. July 21. Check the district’s event calendar at https://triviewmetro.com/home or call 488-6868 for meeting schedule updates and to confirm if the meeting will be in-person or via conference call. 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 Jennifer Kaylor
Newly appointed President Ed Houle took the helm of the June 18 Donala Water and Sanitation District Board of Directors meeting. General Manager Jeff Hodge and Superintendent of Water Operations Mark Parker provided operational status updates.
District wells and water plants meet increased water demand
Parker reported that water demands increased substantially from April to May—16.9 million gallons to 36.6 million gallons, respectively. The district’s renewable water source, Willow Creek Ranch, supplied 45% of the May consumption, and the remaining 55% came from Donala’s wells. Parker projected a total water consumption of about 42 million gallons for June, basing his estimation on the 21.1 million gallons used from June 1 to the date of the board meeting.
Wells and water plants that had minor malfunctions in May were primarily returned to functional status, stated Parker. The R. Hull plant—although awaiting a part that would enable the plant to return to full capacity—met the increased demand due to the round-the-clock efforts of the plant operators. Parker expected the necessary part to arrive in a day or two. With the combined work of the Holbein and R. Hull Plants, he expressed confidence in meeting the 2020 summer water needs. Well four received its requisite repairs and was up and running. Well seven remained out of service. The district is waiting for the well to be assessed by Donala’s contracted engineer who was unavailable for a quick response due to COVID-19-related emergencies.
Arsenic disposal concerns diminish
Although the residual management facility—a structure designed to convert liquid waste, the byproduct of treated well water, into solid waste—is unfinished, the district’s temporary solution for reducing the arsenic discharge into Monument Creek achieved success. Instead of sending waste from treated well water to the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility (UMCRWWTF), the district collected and held the liquid waste in an onsite holding tank that was built as part of the facility’s infrastructure. Upon completion of the residual management facility, the stored waste will be processed and made viable for hauling to an appropriate landfill for disposal. For more information about the residual management facility, see the Donala’s May OCN article at https://www.ocn.me/v20n6.htm#dwsd.
The district initiated the new procedure June 15, and Donala’s following arsenic discharge readings at the UMCRWWTF measured at zero. Parker confirmed that wastewater treatment facility partner Triview Metropolitan District supports the reduced arsenic discharge goal with low arsenic levels in its influent flows sent from its infrastructure to the wastewater treatment facility. The third and final UMCRWWTF partner, Forest Lakes Metropolitan District, draws only surface water and, therefore, does not contribute any arsenic with its influent wastewater flows.
The main component of the residual management facility, a press, was expected to arrive at the district by July 2. Parker estimated that the press could be installed, plumbed, and operational by July 15 if the shipping date held firm. Hodge commented that final permitting steps for hauling the solid arsenic waste had been obtained but a letter of credit or surety bond had yet to be accomplished.
Regionalization and temporary pipeline collaboration discussed
Six northern El Paso County wastewater districts, including Donala, are cooperating with Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) in a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) study to determine the feasibility and environmental impacts of building a regional wastewater pipeline called the North Monument Creek Interceptor (NMCI). This pipeline would transport wastewater flows from the six Tri-Lakes wastewater districts to the J. D. Phillips Water Resource Recovery Facility in Colorado Springs for treatment.
Hodge expressed gratitude for the solid relationship established with CSU as well as CSU’s careful and thorough pace in conducting research on the NMCI. The speed of progress on the NEPA study would likely accelerate once COVID-19 concerns have abated, he said, and more detailed progress updates would be available.
Later in the meeting, Parker responded to questions regarding a related topic: possible construction of a temporary pipeline from the UMCRWWTF to the U.S. Air Force Academy Visitors Center (AFAVC). It is expected that the AFAVC will connect to the NMCI when the regional pipeline is constructed, but the slow nature of the NEPA study and construction could delay wastewater services to the AFAVC by five years or longer. The temporary connection to the UMCRWWTF would provide wastewater treatment capability to the visitors’ center sooner. For more information, see https://www.ocn.me/v20n4.htm#tvmd and the Triview article on page 20.
Parker acknowledged that many technical concerns and questions needed to be addressed. Although the idea originated as an offer of excess capacity from Triview to the AFAVC, Hodge expressed a willingness to explore the opportunity and possibly keep the cost and revenue tracking contained in Donala’s in-house accounting procedures. Donala is the administrator for the UMCRWWTF.
District welcomes new employees
Parker welcomed new employees to the district: Michael Boyett accepted the position of chief waste plant operator and has about 35 years of experience in wastewater management. Amy Acevedo occupies the water quality specialist position and brings more than 15 years of experience to her role. Office Manager Tanja Smith announced Sharon Lewis as a new part-time employee. She will be trained to prepare for the anticipated maternity leaves of two accounting staff members.
Water main replacement project
Preparations for the district’s annual water main replacement program are scheduled to begin July 7 with an official start of the project set for July 27. The engineers, GMS Inc., plan to start at Candlewood Court, move onto Hunting Beach Drive, and end at Mission Hill Way. Project savings of about $250,000 prompted staff to explore the feasibility of adding the Westchester Drive cul de sac as well, Parker commented, but the final determination would depend on asphalt replacement costs.
• Tom Sistare of Hoelting and Co. Inc. presented the district’s 2019 audit findings as a clean report.
• The Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority conducted a virtual meeting for June. Hodge informed directors that he would be serving on a subcommittee that explores general aspects of regionalization.
• Other projects under consideration include a drinking water delivery system called the Northern Delivery Pipeline. Donala is not currently a participant in the project but provides information as requested. Similarly, Hodge expressed interest in considering participation in Triview’s Stonewall Springs Reservoir Complex, see https://www.ocn.me/v20n6.htm#tvmd. He and Parker plan to meet with Triview for preliminary discussions.
• The board passed resolutions that expressed appreciation for exceptional performance demonstrated by former General Manager Kip Petersen and former President Ken Judd during their years of service.
The meeting adjourned at 2:29 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. July 16. The meeting may be held in person or as a conference/online video meeting depending on the status of coronavirus 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 board meets in person, meetings are held in the district office conference room. See https://www.donalawater.org to access prior meeting minutes and the 2020 meeting calendar.
Jennifer Kaylor may be reached at email@example.com.
By Helen Walklett
At its June meetings, the El Paso County Planning Commission heard two special-use requests that had been elevated to public hearings due to objections. The first was a request to reconsider an expired approval to allow an existing recreational vehicle (RV) repair business to continue. The second was a request by Verizon for a new tower to improve its cell coverage along the Roller Coaster Road corridor.
Turbo’s Mobile RV Service
At its June 2 meeting, the Planning Commission recommended for approval a request by Eric VanDenHoek for reconsideration of an expired special use to allow RV repair as a rural home occupation at his property. The 5-acre property, zoned RR-5 (residential rural), is northwest of the Baptist Road and I-25 interchange, on the south side of Doolittle Road.
The existing business, Turbo’s Mobile RV Service, which was started in 1999, was legalized by an administrative special use approval with a five-year time limitation in November 2014. The applicant reapplied for administrative approval of the expired special use in December 2019. Administratively approved special use applications are automatically limited to a five-year period and are then subject to renewal. However, the standard five-year expiration period does not apply to applications that are elevated to a public hearing unless the Planning Commission and the El Paso Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) adds a condition that imposes a time limitation. The applicant requested that no time limitation be imposed in this case.
When county staff notified adjacent property owners of the request, they received a complaint that elevated the application to the public hearing process. However, Nina Ruiz, planning manager, Planning and Community Development, told the hearing that the applicant had met with the adjacent property owner to discuss his concerns and that a revised letter had now been submitted indicating that he no longer objected to the request.
The application was unanimously recommended for approval with a request for a waiver of the screening standards in the county’s Land Development Code. The waiver request followed a letter received from the adjacent neighbor to the rear of the property, Monique French, requesting that no privacy fence be installed. French commented that she would rather see a changing mix of RVs than an unchanging fence and raised a serious concern that a fence could cause excessive drifts in winter, endangering her animals. In its resolution, the Planning Commission noted that "a privacy fence could cause the property to stand out and may actually defeat the purpose of the screening requirement, which is to mitigate visual impacts."
The application went forward to be heard at the BOCC meeting on June 23. See BOCC article below.
New Verizon cell tower
The Planning Commission heard a request for approval of a special use for a Verizon cell tower at its June 16 meeting. The tower would be sited on part of a 35-acre property, zoned A-5 (Agricultural), and owned by Aspen Willow Estates at the southeast corner of the Higby Road and Happy Landing Drive intersection.
The tower would address a gap in Verizon cellular coverage that generally extends along the Roller Coaster Road corridor from Highway 105 to Hodgen Road. It would be designed to mimic a large pine tree with faux branches to conceal the antennae and would be 75 feet tall and about 20 feet wide. A fenced equipment compound at the tower’s base would house a generator and equipment storage facilities. Access to the site would be via Happy Landing Drive.
The tower would be in a stand of existing pine trees in the southwest corner of the site. It would extend approximately 30 feet above the height of the existing trees, which the county noted in its report to the Planning Commission "may make it difficult for the tower to fully blend in with the existing landscape." However, 75 feet is the minimum height required to meet Verizon’s coverage objectives. The tower is expected to accommodate the equipment of two additional service providers in the future.
The application was elevated to the public hearing process after a letter of opposition to the plans was received that objected to the tower’s proposed proximity to the Higby Estates residential area. No one spoke in opposition at the hearing. A resident spoke in support, referring to the current poor cell service in the area.
The Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend the application for approval. The request is now scheduled to be heard at the BOCC meeting on July 14.
Master plan update
The commissioners continue to receive progress reports on the work to update the county master plan. There is an opportunity for the public to provide feedback on the "Areas of Change" part of the project until July 12. To participate, visit the project’s website at: https://elpaso.hlplanning.com.
Helen Walklett can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Helen Walklett
During June, the El Paso Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) approved agreements with the towns of Monument and Palmer Lake to enable the county to disperse to them some of the funding it received from the federal government under the CARES Act. The commissioners also made decisions relating to the Winsome development on Hodgen Road, the Gleneagle Golf Course redevelopment, and a special use request to allow a recreational vehicle (RV) business to continue operating.
CARES Act funds
At its meetings on June 9 and 23, the BOCC approved intergovernmental agreements (IGAs) between the county and the towns of Monument and Palmer Lake regarding the distribution of funding received under the CARES Act, which is to be used to mitigate the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The county received $125.704 million and voted on May 5 to disburse 45% of this funding to municipalities within the county based on population size.
With a population of 6,997 (based on 2018 data) Monument is receiving $554,033. Palmer Lake, with a 2018 population of 2,793, is being allocated $221,154. Under the terms of the IGAs, any of these funds that are reasonably expected not to be used by Dec. 30 must be returned to the county by Sept. 1. The county will then return all unspent funding to the federal government by the year’s end.
Winsome pre-development site grading
At the June 23 meeting, the commissioners approved a request by McCune Ranch LLC to authorize the county engineer to issue a construction permit for pre-development site grading at its proposed Winsome Filing No.1 final plat ahead of final plat approval. The filing, which will have 47 residential lots, is the first 164.4-acre phase of the 767-acre subdivision at the northwest corner of the Hodgen Road and Meridian Road intersection. The BOCC approved the preliminary plan in July 2019. See https://www.ocn.me/v19n8.htm#epbocc.
The Land Development Code requires the BOCC to consider pre-development site grading when it approves a preliminary plan. In this instance, the applicant did not include approval of pre-development site grading with its preliminary plan application, hence this stand-alone request for the grading.
Gleneagle Residential Infill
Also at the June 23 meeting, the BOCC approved the partial release of a letter of credit for $393,421 following the completion and satisfactory inspection of 70% of the grading and erosion control work at the Gleneagle Residential Infill Filing 2. This is part of the redevelopment of the former Gleneagle Golf Course site.
Turbo’s Mobile RV Service
The commissioners approved the renewal of a special use for Turbo’s Mobile RV Service at their June 23 meeting. The request by Eric VanDenHoek was for reconsideration of an expired special use to allow his RV repair business to operate from his 5-acre property northwest of the Baptist Road and I-25 interchange, on the south side of Doolittle Road. The application was treated as a consent item, meaning there was no further discussion.
The El Paso County Planning Commission heard the case at its June 2 meeting and sent it to the BOCC with a recommendation for approval. See EPCPC article above.
• June 9—Approved the application by Z Golf Food Beverage Services LLC, d/b/a Wedgewood at Black Forest, for a change of manager of its hotel and restaurant license at 12375 Black Forest Drive.
• June 23—Approved a request to establish the survey area and set July 21 as the hearing date for the application by Black Forest Diversified Services LLC, d/b/a Firehouse on the Run 2, for a hotel and restaurant liquor license at 12480 Black Forest Road.
Helen Walklett can be reached at email@example.com.
By Jackie Burhans
The Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA) board met on June 24 for the first time since February in a socially distanced layout with optional masks. The board voted to make a rule on ash disposal permanent, heard residents support for more trails, and announced awards and scholarships.
Board President Brian Bush stated that the board had adopted an immediate rule change a month ago to prohibit the disposal of ash. It seemed to him to be common sense that hot ash constitutes an extreme fire hazard and he asked the board to ratify that decision.
The board unanimously voted to modify the Rules and Regulations document found at https://www.woodmoor.org/governance/ to include the following sentence at the end of section F. OPEN FIRES: Ashes must be disposed of in a non-combustible container once completely cooled and must not be disposed of on any portion of the property.
The word "ash" was also added in section R. REFUSE AND RUBBISH to indicate that it must be disposed of in a sanitary manner, kept in a clean container with a secure lid, and may not remain exposed and visible on the property.
Support for trails
Resident Brian Hum, who started the Facebook group Woodmoor 2020, spoke to raise awareness and support for more trails in Woodmoor. He has been homebound during the pandemic and has been walking the streets. He is aware of existing trails in the open spaces and the plans for the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) trail that is under way but would like to see more connecting trails. He has spoken with board member Rich Wretschko and common area administrator Bob Pearsall and is waiting to see the map of the bridle trail easements to learn where they connect.
Bush indicated that WIA is always looking for ways to improve and that expanding trails is one of the things they would like to do. He indicated that School District 38 is in charge of the SRTS project. WIA has committed funds to that project. He also noted that WIA had hoped to work on trails in the Walters Open Space area before it was sold. Putting trails along streets would be hard, because those roads are owned by El Paso County, so the preference is to work with land controlled by WIA.
Board member Peter Bille suggested Hum form an executive committee and noted that easements may not be in a convenient location and require homeowners’ permission to use.
Awards and scholarships
In 1995, WIA created an award to honor Vincent Elorie, a former chief of Woodmoor Police, for his outstanding citizenship. Bush announced that Eddie Bruck is the 2019 recipient of the Vincent Elorie award. Bruck is a forestry volunteer and expert who has given to the community for a substantial number of years. He is always coming up with new ideas to make the community safer from fire. He came up with the idea to offer new residents a Firewise review. The board regards fire as the single biggest danger and is deeply appreciative of anyone who helps.
Director of community engagement Bert Jean announced that WIA has selected five recipients for student scholarships of $1,000 each. Applicants were reviewed on criteria such as service to Woodmoor, grade point average, acceptance or attendance at a college in fall 2020, and board member recommendations. The money can be used for tuition or books. Winners were expected to be notified by mail by the end of June.
• The WIA office remains closed to the public. Anyone needing to meet with staff should call or email to make an appointment.
• Rules for reserving The Barn have changed to allow a maximum of 50 people and require renters to complete a checklist to have their damage deposit returned.
• Public safety radios have been received and were expected to go live on July 1, allowing direct communication with law enforcement and fire department entities in the area.
• July 1 is also the target date for body cams to be available for all Woodmoor Public Safety officers.
• There has been a nationwide increase in vehicle break-ins including in Woodmoor. Residents are reminded to keep vehicles locked and remove all valuables.
• Red flag warning days are posted on Woodmoor sign holders during hot, dry, windy conditions.
• Fireworks of all types are prohibited in Woodmoor and their use could result in a minimum fine of $5,000.
• A resident concerned with speeding tractor trailers who were avoiding the weigh station and speeding through the neighborhood was directed to contact the county or the Colorado Department of Transportation to look into solutions.
• A representative of the U.S. Census inquired about the availability of The Barn at no cost for use as a training site. She was directed to send details about her request to the HOA administrator.
Caption: On June 24, WIA President Brian Bush presented the Vincent Elorie award to longtime forestry volunteer Eddie Bruck. Photo by Jackie Burhans
The WIA Board of Directors usually meets at 7 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of each month in the Barn at 1691 Woodmoor Drive, Monument. The next meeting has been moved to July 22.
Jackie Burhans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Bill Kappel
If you just looked at the averages for June as a whole, nothing too exciting would show up. We were slightly warmer and wetter than normal for the month, but of course that doesn’t tell the entire story. We of course experienced our typical daily patterns of quiet mornings and afternoon thunderstorms, but the real story was the taste of winter early in the month and severe weather late in the month.
The first week of June was very typical, with mostly clear skies starting each day, then clouds building first over the mountains by late morning and early afternoon. These clouds continued to build through early afternoon, and with the help of winds generally from the west to the east, were blown over the Front Range. As they continued to grow and encounter more moisture, thunderstorms and brief rain showers developed. The energy and moisture were then used up as the storms developed and moved through, with generally quiet conditions returning each evening. This pattern produced light rainfall accumulations at various locations around the region but nothing dramatic.
While this typical June pattern was occurring over us, a strong and cold system was moving through the Pacific Northwest and northern Rockies. This storm was moving south toward Colorado on the 8th and picking up more moisture and energy as it developed further over the region. The storm made its presence felt along the Palmer Divide during the mid-evening, with a strong frontal passage around 8:30 p.m. Strong winds and colder air continued to rush in that evening while the atmosphere moistened up.
As clouds continued to fill in, drizzle developed, and temperatures tumbled. Heavy, wet snow soon developed around 2 to 3 a.m. the next morning. The wind-driven, heavy wet snow continued to fall through morning until finally winding down around 9:30 a.m. on the 9th. Of course, this being June, we were right on the edge of rain versus snow and elevation played a key role in that process. Areas above about 7,300 feet were all snow with 1-3 inches accumulating, while areas below 7,000 saw some snowfall but no accumulation. But no matter your elevation, everyone around the region was wet and cold on the 9th.
Once this late season blast of winter moved out, a slow and steady return to warmth began. High temperatures pushed through the upper 60s on the 10th, to the mid-70s on the 11th, and to the 80s from the 12th through the 17th. During this warm and dry period, smoky skies were common, not from forest fires along the Front Range but instead from large fires around the Four Corners region.
This warm and dry period was interrupted by another cold front during the evening of the 17th. This one didn’t have quite as much cold air to work with, so instead of another June snow, we received some cold rain with temperatures in the 50s and 60s. After this storm departed, we fell back into the normal diurnal pattern of quiet mornings and afternoon thunderstorms. Most of the storms were well behaved with one exception on the afternoon of the 26th.
That day started off warm with higher than normal levels of moisture. Unlike most days, the low-level flow held the moisture in place along the Front Range instead of the typical pattern where winds push the moisture farther east by afternoon. This meant that once the storm started to form over the higher terrain to our west and move out into our region, it encountered a very unstable and moisture-rich environment. This led to the explosive development of one of the storms first over Jefferson and Douglas counties. This storm then traveled east/southeast into northern El Paso County.
As the storm continue to tap into abundant energy and moisture right over the region, heavy rain, strong winds, and hail formed. These were all of course accompanied by frequent lightning. The storm became severe and exhibited significant rotation at times. Fortunately, no tornadoes formed, but that didn’t mean there wasn’t damage. Hail fell off and on for almost an hour, hitting areas along and east of the I-25 corridor from northern Colorado Springs through southern Douglas county the hardest. Torrential rains fell, with 12 inches accumulating in less than an hour. This led to flash flooding, catching many drivers off-guard in some of the low areas where the water rushed over roadways.
A look ahead
July can be an active weather month around the region as the Southwest Monsoon season gets going. Afternoon and evening thunderstorms are a common occurrence, and when they are able to tap into higher levels of moisture, flash flooding can result. Hot, stagnant weather can also take hold for a few days at time, with highs hitting the 90s on the warmest days.
June 2020 Weather Statistics
Average High 78.5° (+1.1°)
100-year return frequency value max 82.5° min 66.3°
Average Low 47.3° (+2.9°)
100-year return frequency value max 50.7° min 40.2°
Highest Temperature 88°F on the 5th
Lowest Temperature 32°F on the 9th
Monthly Precipitation 3.20" (+1.25" 40% above normal)
100-year return frequency value max 6.94" min 0.15"
Monthly Snowfall 2.1" (+2.0" 400% above normal)
Season to Date Snow 138.5" (+16.0" 12% above normal) (the snow season is from July 1 to June 30))
Season to Date Precip 13.38" (+2.36" 18% above normal) (the precip season is from July 1 to June 30)
Heating Degree Days 98 (+3)
Cooling Degree Days 37 (+9)
Bill Kappel is a meteorologist and Tri-Lakes resident. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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.
Walking with purpose: thoughts on BLM in Colorado Springs
Yesterday, at one of the peaceful protests organized in downtown Colorado Springs, I saw a sign that resonated with me: "BLM The Church Cannot Be Silent!"
Growing up in Colorado Springs and in the United Church of Christ tradition, I am no stranger to hardships and social justice work. Being a Black child, and now a Black woman, in Colorado Springs (especially northern Colorado Springs) is hard. I was 8 years old the first time kids really started targeting me for my race, and I’ve been having to fight with family, friends, and strangers in defense of my human rights ever since. I was afraid to wear my Black Lives Matter (BLM) bracelet to my high school because I knew that people would try to fight with me about it (and I was right). This week has really brought me back to 2016, the year of the Baltimore "riots." At school, a white person that I thought was friendly spent an entire lunch period telling me that the riots in Baltimore were "unwarranted" and that police brutality against Black people is "population control."
So, let’s circle back to that sign. It resonated so deeply with me because it is true. The struggle for justice is one that is deeply rooted in Jesus’ teachings, and yet the church has historically assisted in or been silent about the oppression of Black folks. I was lucky to be raised in a church community and tradition that was focused on fighting injustice of all kinds, because that’s what Jesus would have done. He would be walking side by side with the protesters in defense of Black people and Black lives.
The church cannot stay silent in situations of injustice. Now is the time to speak up, to march, to donate, to educate on and pursue anti-racism work, because this work is integral in defeating injustice and inequality in the U.S. This work is uncomfortable—it will challenge beliefs you’ve held for a long time; it will force you to deeply examine the internalized racism that we all have—but it is nothing compared to the discomfort of being Black in America. The time has come: Everybody needs to speak up and take a stand for real, systemic change in pursuance of a life "On Earth as it is in Heaven."
By the staff at Covered Treasures
"In the presence of nature, a wild delight runs through the man, in spite of real sorrows."
—Ralph Waldo Emerson
Now is a wonderful time to get outside, especially as a safe way to spend time with family and friends.
60 Hikes within 60 Miles: Denver and Boulder: Including Fort Collins and Rocky Mountain National Park (Revised 3rd Edition)
By Mindy Sink (Menasha Ridge Press) $22.95
Blending popular trails and hidden gems, this full-color edition features trails that transport you to scenic overlooks, wildlife hot spots, and historical settings that renew your spirit and recharge your body. Each hike description features information on distance, difficulty, scenery, traffic, hiking time, detailed directions, GPS-based trail maps, elevation profiles, tips on nearby activities, and more.
Colorado Day Trips by Theme
By Aimee Heckel (Adventure Publications) $16.95
Jam-packed with more than 170 of Colorado’s best destinations, this guidebook helps you take a simple day trip or string together a longer vacation of activities that catch your interest. Destinations are organized by themes, such as annual festivals and outdoor adventures. Discover hot springs, mountain peaks, museums, national parks, and more.
Thrasher’s Fly Fishing Guide: An Essential Handbook for All Skill Levels
By Susan Thrasher (Menasha Ridge Press) $16.95
Expert angler Susan Thrasher provides your all-in-one resource on fly fishing with success. Covering beginner to advanced knowledge, various methods, tips and techniques, how to teach kids, and so much more, you will find this an essential guide.
Colorado Journey Guide: A Driving & Hiking Guide to Ruins, Rock Art, Fossils & Formations
By Jon Kramer and Julie Martinez (Adventure Publications) $16.95
This resource helps you discover some of Colorado’s best: majestic mountains, ancient ruins, secret canyons, hidden waterfalls, and exotic places. The author’s rating system for significance in archaeology, geology, and paleontology ensures that you find the places that are right for you and your interests. Illustrations by Vernon Morris depict pottery, prehistoric animals, and more.
Family Camping: Everything You Need to Know for a Night Outdoors with Loved Ones
By Charlie and Cheryl Ess (Falcon Press) $24.95
This just might be the ultimate camping handbook, whether you’re with family or friends, camping or in your backyard. Part inspiration, part practical knowledge, this book is a whole lot of fun, offering up food and drink recipes, family activities, nature hacks, expert know-how, and more.
Mountain Biking Colorado’s Front Range: A Guide to the Area’s Greatest Off-Road Bicycle Rides (2nd edition)
By Stephen Hlawaty (Falcon Press) $21.95
Featuring 45 off-road bicycle rides along Colorado’s Front Range, this guide includes rides from Fort Collins south to Boulder, Denver, Colorado Springs, and everywhere in between. Readers will find maps, route directions, vivid descriptions, and much more. A mountain biking atlas to the Front Range region, this one-of-a-kind guidebook details each trail in relation to local history, geology, archeology, legend, and lore.
Night Sky: A Field Guide to the Constellations Revised and Expanded (with Card Flashlight)
By Jonathan Poppele (Adventure Publications) $16.95
Revised and expanded, this award-winning book takes a simple approach to finding 64 constellations by focusing on one constellation at a time, teaching how to locate any constellation in relation to the Big Dipper, the North Star, and the top of the sky. It also introduces mythology, facts, details about the planets, solar system, and more.
The Daring Book for Girls
By Andrea Buchanan and Miriam Peskowitz (William Morrow & Co.) $16.99
For every girl here is a hands-on guide to adventure, imagination, and fun. Have fun, take risks, learn a variety of skills, activities, games, how to put up your hair with a pencil, whistle with two fingers, build a good campfire, make paper airplanes, clubhouses and forts, public speaking, famous women in history, and more.
Dangerous Book for Boys
By Gonn and Hal Iggulden (William Morrow & Co.) $22.99
Now a Prime Original Series, this bestselling book for every boy from 8 to 80 covers essential skills such as building tree houses, learning how to fish, tying knots, skimming stones, and stories of incredible courage. It’s a wonderful collection of all things that make being young or young at heart fun—building go-carts and electromagnets, identifying insects and spiders, and flying the world’s best paper airplanes.
Until next month, happy reading.
The staf at Covered Treasures can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Elizabeth Clancy
In July 2018, my family escaped the domestic violence that hid behind the solidly respectable front door of our home for 20-plus years. Since then, our lives have revolved around healing the physical, emotional, and financial damage that was left behind. Our yard seemed like the best place to start so that we could reap immediate, visible rewards in assessing our progress each day.
That August, we began to clear our property of the extensive physical damage and debris and to re-establish the character, nature, and integrity of the original footprint of our home. This process has been symbolic of the journey we have taken over the last two years to establish the character, nature, and integrity of our lives. All of this, though, it is fair to say, has come, "with a little help from our friends."
During that first summer, emotions ran high and we were grappling with new realities, as well as learning to understand and process old traumas. One afternoon, I was working in the yard when I overheard a couple of neighbors talking. They were discussing the disheveled state of a neighbor’s yard. Their observations of the neighbor’s property weren’t kind and included discussing whether it was time to contact the homeowner’s association to complain. In the past, I had received complaints from the association regarding the dogs getting off of the property and where our garbage cans were stored. This, though, took the proverbial "cake" in my mind. There we were, just starting to clean up our lives through the slow process of picking up the yard and these folks were knocking it. Did they have any idea? Of course not! Would I give them an idea?
"Excuse me," I interrupted, tears of indignation streaming down my face. "Do you have any idea of what has been going on?" Well, not to go off on a tangent, but I went off on a tangent. These neighbors heard about what went on behind many closed doors in "solid" middle-class neighborhoods. Although they had no idea about what was happening in the home just beyond their own properties, they heard how they could curb the judgment about the yard, as our lives were as destroyed as that yard. My tirade waned once I realized how I had gone on. Although one neighbor immediately responded defensively to my tirade, the other extended a thoughtful apology that very day, referring regretfully to a family member who had been in a similar situation.
Thankfully, time passed as it does, and summer became fall. The second neighbor offered to help us with blowing out our sprinklers. And the cleanup slowly continued as the seasons changed. Over this time, while monetary problems were a constant worry, the neighbors directly behind our home and across the street both sent groceries to us to help us make ends meet. Again, in the spring, the second neighbor extended his kindness by offering the use of an aerator that he had rented for a couple of hours so that we could care for our property. By this time, the first neighbor had apologized for any misunderstanding resulting from the overhead conversation of the prior summer and had indicated that he would like a positive neighboring relationship. Things were turning around.
By 2013, my family moved to Gleneagle from New York City in search of a life away from the sensory overload of a city that never sleeps and a family history of generational domestic violence (with which I was just beginning to grapple) to a place of what we hoped would be calm appreciation. Our journey to that place, though, began thanks to my neighbor and dear friend who made a Safe-to-Tell phone call in 2014 to alert authorities that domestic violence was occurring in my home. Thanks to both small and large gestures from our many generous, thoughtful, and kind Gleneagle neighbors, our yard and our home are beginning to thrive, and we are looking forward to a life of more than just surviving our flight from domestic violence.
For information about The Fourth Judicial District Domestic Violence (DV) Court, see https://www.courts.state.co.us/Courts/County/Custom.cfm?County_ID=6&Page_ID=529.
By Harriet Halbig
Beginning July 1, the library will reopen with limited indoor services.
The number of patrons will be limited at any given time, and patrons are encouraged to continue to use curbside service for holds.
In keeping with Health Department regulations, masks will be required.
Computers will be available for a period of 55 minutes, and reservations are recommended because all stations will not be available.
The library will look very different, with much less furniture and signage to indicate safe practices such as social distancing.
The meeting rooms will remain unavailable, and programs will continue to be suspended for now.
We look forward to seeing you during this new phase.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at email@example.com.
By Sharon Williams
As our freedoms are once again celebrated this Fourth of July, we also note the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, enacted in August 1920, giving women the right to vote in the United States.
Proponents were just beginning to organize the first suffrage convention in the Territory of Colorado in January 1876. Later that year, they attempted unsuccessfully to get women’s right to vote included in the Colorado Constitution at the time of statehood in Aug. 1, 1876.
The first state referendum on women’s suffrage following Colorado statehood was presented to voters on Oct. 2, 1877. Several nationally known suffrage proponents, including Susan B. Anthony and Lucy Stone, campaigned extensively throughout Colorado during 1877 to provide support for passage of the referendum. The Oct. 2 referendum election resulted in a resounding defeat, with Boulder County being the only one in favor of passage.
Their efforts were not successful until passage of a second state referendum on Nov. 7, 1893, with 55% in favor of suffrage and 45% against, declaring victory for women’s voting rights in Colorado. Instrumental in Colorado’s path toward that moment was Elizabeth Piper Ensley, an African American educator, political activist, and suffragist. Often a hidden figure in the women’s movement narrative, she received an induction into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame on March 18.
After winning their cause, Colorado women turned their sights to national suffrage movements. While this 100-year anniversary is celebratory, it is also a reminder that not all women gained the right to vote in 1920. The same customs and systems that disenfranchised African American men in parts of the country also excluded African American women from voting in 1920. It wasn’t until the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that African American women were included with their male counterparts to have the right to vote.
Native American women were barred from voting because they were not considered citizens due to the sovereign status of their tribes. The 1924 Indian Citizenship Act made some limited provisions for citizenship, but many states nonetheless make laws and policies that prohibit or hinder indigenous peoples from voting. See https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/analysis-opinion/state-native-american-voting-rights and https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/1694/test?q=%7B"search"%3A%5B"H.+R.+83"%5D%7D&r=62&s=1.
Large settlements of non-English speaking or language minority citizens were excluded from participation in the electoral process. The 1975 Language Minority Provisions amendment of the 1965 Voting Rights Act ordered enforcement of the 14th and 15th amendments necessary to eliminate such discrimination and prescribing remedial devices. See https://www.justice.gov/crt/about-language-minority-voting-rights; and https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/08/give-us-the-ballot-expanding-the-voting-rights-act/399128/.
Therefore, the remembrance of women’s suffrage also requires recognition of those who were blocked from this basic right. This historic centennial offers an unparalleled opportunity to commemorate a milestone of democracy and to explore its relevance to the issues of equal rights today.
Caption: On Nov. 14, 1917, known as "The Night of Terror," women led by activist Alice Paul were arrested, imprisoned, clubbed, beaten, and tortured for silently picketing for the right to vote outside the White House. Photo courtesy of the Bettmann Archive. Caption by Sharon Williams.
The Palmer Lake Historical Society has suspended its regular monthly historical program series due to COVID-19. Until these monthly programs resume, Sharon Williams will provide this column with relevant topics to OCN readers. The Historical Society meets on the third Thursday of the month, 7 p.m., Palmer Lake Town Hall, 28 Valley Crescent; Lucretia Vaile Museum, closed for now, 66 Lower Glenway St., Palmer Lake. The museum houses items of local historical significance. Special displays rotate every four to six months. Info: 719-559-0837; PLHS@PalmerDivideHistory.org; www.palmerdividehistory.org
Sharon Williams can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Janet Sellers
Ethnoecology, aka traditional human knowledge, is a body of knowledge, belief, and practice that evolves over time and adapts to the times and needs of the people such as food sourcing. Foraging in nature is the harvesting of what nature has prepared over time, and gardening is one form of using those processes, optimizing convenient results.
Knowing how to pluck berries is easy, knowing how to get berries to grow takes understanding and prudent action. And knowing what is safe for food is yet another major factor in both foraging and gardening. Nature composts her leaves and other elements, and the foods thereby created have a cycle that we can accelerate for our own convenience with composting knowledge.
Composting at home is black gold on the ground
Mother Nature takes three months to three years making leaves and debris into soil. We can accelerate the process using compost knowledge: layering straw, dry leaves, sawdust and shredded paper for carbon, kitchen scraps (no meat or oil), freshly cut grass, and prunings and seaweed for nitrogen. Organic activators, homemade (with kitchen scraps) or bought, jump start the process with nitrogen and hungry microorganisms. Kitchen scraps compost has specific food nutrients and microbes optimizing food gardening outcomes.
Just piling up old garden debris won’t work, and not all compost is created equal. The pile needs oxygen, usually helped by aerating by lifting and turning the pile with a rake or garden fork (cheapest but needs muscle), or use a tumbler composter (easiest). Lately, using manure for the nitrogen factor is very questionable due to new strains of bacteria concerns, but alfalfa meal is likely safer. The pile needs its nutrients, microbes, oxygen, and water to create compost. It’s not hard to do but must be done right or the microbes die, and you have either a slimy mess or a dried-out pile.
Forest debris is perfect for forests but missing some food garden microbes. Adding helpers like food scraps in small particles breaks down fastest, using a blender for the kitchen scraps and a weed eater for yard debris speeds things up for compost. We can use compost bins sized for a kitchen and outdoor tumbler bins sized for the household.
Did you miss the Friends of Fox Run Park foraging day with Donny Dust in June? Well, then, stay tuned for more summer treks via Friends of Fox Run Park Facebook page.
Caption: Julie Dail, left, Tri-Lakes Cares (TLC) volunteer garden coordinator, and Haley Chapin, TLC executive director, show off the victory garden on the south side of the TLC building on June 25. Using the amazing ability of wood chips from local fire mitigation cuttings in the mulching system known as the Back to Eden gardening system, the garden does not require any watering, and the wood chips turn to viable soil in a year or two, all the while keeping out weeds and deterring pests. The wood chips are a foot to 18 inches deep on the ground, keeping rainwater down at the soil level and thereby available to the plants. Plants and seeds were donated from local citizens and include potatoes, tomatoes, green beans, four or more kinds of squash, and brassicas.
Caption: Dail shows how the deep wood chips keep the water in the ground and optimal for the plants in the Back to Eden wood chip gardening method. It’s becoming very popular for victory gardens and community subscription agriculture. Photo by Janet Sellers
Janet Sellers is an avid ethnoecologist posing as a lazy gardener enjoying the fruits of nature in the garden and foraging in the wild. email@example.com.
By Janet Sellers
"Whistler’s 1875 nocturne paintings had subverted the widely-held notion that art should have some moral or didactic purpose; indeed, to some it barely seemed to represent anything at all."—Tate museum
0th-century art became a product instead of an inspiration assigned to upliftment, a poetry embodied in art as true creativity, human intelligence, and essence. Now, art is shown and sold without concern for quality of life, a requisite ancient factor necessary in poetry, music, art, and sculpture, known as the genie of daily life in Greco-Roman times. British artist James Whistler (of Whistler’s Mother fame) was sued for his nocturnes that included contemporary English industrial pollution.
"Digital art" is contemporary art that uses the methods of mass production and digital media. Conflict is quieting now regarding art from artificial intelligence—computers and apps. Phone art and photo apps are common practice now, but in the 1980s I was working with scientists at Caltech developing watercolor, oil paint, and other artistic techniques at the dawn of computer modeling. The computer engineers had little understanding of art techniques and the expressive, tactile qualities of painting, and having attempted the aesthetic goals with extremely rudimentary modeling programs trying to imitate art materials, they called in us artists to help them understand the mediums and to develop the finer aspects of the visual expression on the computer screens.
It was back in the ‘80s when famed computer scientist Jim Blinn computer modeled the JPL Jupiter watch. He was my instructor for computer 3D engineering classes where I stubbornly prevailed to create abstract expressionist computer art. Clearly, it is the artist and not the medium that makes the art as visual communication, the art "experience"!
Refresh your walls, refresh your life using a paint brush or your computer
With the "safer at home" orders, we’re all home a lot more. People are changing things around the house, tidying up, getting rid of clutter and so on. But how about a change of scenery indoors? Art is the window on the wall, creating windows for imagination. My digital photo frame changes images all day long!
I encourage everyone to try that change of view. Art affects how you feel in a place. Original art, as paintings, prints, or sculptures, is profoundly connected to the artist’s creativity as well as to the person who lives with it.
When we can’t go out into nature’s environments, we can affect our inner environment, the walls in our home or workplace. Our homes surround us, and what we put on the walls affects us with a powerful connection—our artful dreams and hopes engage us each day.
Caption: Digital paintings of local Spirit Trees. Making digital paintings has become wildly popular with cell phone art. Almost any photograph can be manipulated digitally for satisfying artwork that can be commercially printed into small to mural-size artwork. Images courtesy of Janet Sellers.
Janet Sellers is an artist, writer, and speaker, with public art in American cities, towns, and museums using hand-wrought and tech methods. Janetsellers@ocn.me.
Congratulations Class of 2020!
Caption: Lewis-Palmer High School held its graduation ceremony at the UCHealth Park baseball stadium June 12. The graduating seniors were socially distanced on the field while their families watched from the stands. Despite these uncertain times, the class of 2020 was able to enjoy a lively ceremony with family and friends and complete their high school memories with a cheerful finish. Photos by Elena Statham.
Caption: The Palmer Ridge High School class of 2020 was able to enjoy their special day with their parents, family, and friends in the UCHealth Park Baseball stadium stands on June 11. Those who couldn’t attend were able to watch via a live stream link online, so they could also partake in their student’s graduation day. They were among the first graduates in Colorado to enjoy an in-person and live-audience graduation ceremony, all while social distancing with masks, 6 feet apart, hand sanitizer, and all. Photos by Maya Eaton.
Woodmoor chipping day, June 6
Caption: On a stormy June 6, Woodmoor Improvement Association’s Matthew Nelson and Tom Smith oversaw Woodmoor chipping day as community members brought their fire mitigation tree branch refuse to Lewis-Palmer High School. Photo by Janet Sellers.
Black Forest Fire 7th Anniversary
Caption: The community of Black Forest commemorated the seventh anniversary of the Black Forest Fire in June. It was the most destructive fire in Colorado’s history. The theme for displays on June 20 north of the Black Forest Community Center was Recover, Rebuild, Restore, Regrow. Property destroyed by the fire was cleaned up by hundreds of volunteers. It has literally risen from ashes and is now the home for the Backyard Farmers Market every Saturday and for the annual BFCC Festival on Aug. 15. Please join us to reflect on the ever-present danger of wildfires and specifically the Black Forest 2013 Fire that will impact this community for generations. Information courtesy of New Falcon Herald. Photos above and far right by Michael Weinfeld. Photo on the right by Lisa Hatfield.
Local artist’s fundraiser dragonfly
Caption: "A community transformed through dragonflies and butterflies." The Rotary Club of Colorado Springs selected Palmer Lake artist Jean Kowalski to paint a dragonfly sculpture for the Flight 2020 fundraiser. Kowalski will add top wings in shades of green and the bottom of the wings in shades of red and orange to her sculpture before it goes up for auction. Her creation will join over 60 other butterfly and dragonfly sculptures of all sizes and colors at the fundraiser event in September. See ww.csflight.org. Photo courtesy of Jean Kowalski.
Monument Lake fence, June 8
Caption: A new green chain-link fence has been installed around the south side of Monument Lake. The Monument Public Works Department installed the fence on June 8. The old fence was damaged in some spots, making it possible for people to climb over or crawl through. It’s hoped that the new fence will stop people from climbing to the top of the dam. Photo by Michael Weinfeld.
Schuh wins PLAG scholarship
Caption: Palmer Lake Art Group awarded its 2020 Art Scholarship to Kennedy Schuh on June 12. She graduated from Palmer Ridge High School in June and plans to attend the Art Institute of Chicago. She said she is always exploring and experimenting with new media and techniques, including drawing, painting, photography, 3-D art such as sculptures, and "mark-making," which means bold lines and purposeful use of color. Schuh’s goal is to make a difference in the world by using bold design to express emotions. Photo courtesy of PLAG.
Wirewood Station, June 14
Caption: Monument Lake attracted more than boaters and anglers on a hot Sunday afternoon last month. Dozens of people showed up June 14 to listen to the Colorado band WireWood Station. The acoustic group gave a free concert at one of the lake’s pavilions. The show was announced by the band two weeks earlier when they gave a surprise concert at the lake. WireWood Station won Best Acoustic Band in Colorado at the last Rocky Mountain Music Festival. From left are Sam Wachtler, Michelle Edwards, Casey Cherry and Bob Bowker. Photo by Michael Weinfeld
WMMI resumes tours
Caption: On June 22, museum volunteer tour guide Phil McDonald holds a piece of gold ore as he describes gold’s everyday uses to visitors. The Western Museum of Mining & Industry (WMMI) reopened in June after closing due to the pandemic. Tours are available Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., with the museum being open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on those days. The museum has modified the tours to meet COVID-19 guidelines, recommending that visitors wear a mask when attending and to not visit the museum if experiencing associated symptoms. The museum tour consists of an overview of mining history, a discussion on minerals, gold panning, and the operation of steam engines. Information on admission price and upcoming events can be found at www.wmmi.org. Photo by David Futey.
Monument Lake dock extended
Caption: It might be easier to catch a fish now on Monument Lake. The dock was extended by 26 feet on June 2 and 3. The original dock was 30 feet long. The dock is being secured by two 600-pound weights. Town Landscape Supervisor Cassie Olgren says the cost of the project was $20,865. The work was partly paid for by a $9,000 Fishing is Fun grant from Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Olgren says extending the dock deeper into the lake will improve people’s chances of catching a fish. She says it also improves accessibility for the handicapped. Olgren says the town hopes to apply for the grant again to pay for other lake projects. Photo by Michael Weinfeld.
Breakfast drive-through, June 13
Caption: On Saturday morning, June 13, folks drove up to Jackson Creek Senior Living for a homemade cinnamon roll, coffee, and friendly greetings from staff and residents. Staff (L to R): Gary Liebowitz and Lisa Loeber. This was in appreciation for friends and families who stopped by during the pandemic to say "Hi" via window or doorway to family and friends who cannot visit in person. From left, rear of the car: Loeber, Sharon Seymour, Cathy Scheafer. Driver’s side: Liebowitz (driver unidentified). Photo by John Howe.
BLM demonstrations, June 7, 14
Caption: On June 7 (left) and June 14 (right), peaceful demonstrations were held in Monument in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and antiracism. On June 7, about 70 people lined up on the Highway 105 overpass holding signs and, for the most part, wearing masks. Many people drove by with most expressing support by honking and waving from within their cars. On June 14, about 200 people gathered at Limbach Park to hear speakers talk about their experiences with racism or their thoughts on how they could help. The peaceful event included a moment of silence, sharing of water, food, and personal protection equipment for any who wanted it, and a march around historic downtown Monument with signs supporting racial justice. Photos by Jackie Burhans.
New county park opened June 27
Caption: El Paso County opened its newest park, Pineries Open Space, without the usual hoopla June 27 as the county followed the governor’s guidelines for COVID-19 and didn’t allow crowds to congregate. Everyone was allowed to come to the park with their families, hiking, walking, bike riding, and by horseback while social distancing and wearing masks, if so desired. The site straddles the Palmer Divide in Black Forest and is characterized by gentle rolling terrain covered by ponderosa pine forests, grassland meadows, wetlands, and dotted with small ponds. It has a doughnut-shaped open space and abundant wildlife, including elk, white tail deer, raptors, and turkeys. The Palmer Land Trust holds a conservation easement on the site that ensures scenic, wildlife, aesthetic, recreational, and ecological conservation values will be preserved and maintained in perpetuity. The trail is a 9-mile loop with no bailout points (no way to exit the trail along the loop because it is surrounded by private property). The Pineries Open Space Master Plan, which guides the overall development of the site, was completed in 2010. In 2013, the site was extremely damaged by the Black Forest Fire, which significantly delayed the opening of the site for public use. Phase 1 improvements include 1,070 acres of scenic open space, a large trailhead, a restroom, and the single-track trail. The park will be open from dawn to dark. Photos and caption by Lisa Hatfield and Marlene Brown.
Flying Horse Ranch history
Caption: Built by William Edward Higginson in 1932, the original Flying Horse Ranch stretched 6,000 acres and six miles, from east of Highway 83 to the Air Force Academy’s north entrance. A grand adobe ranch entrance archway with a caretaker’s home and extensive corrals stood on what is now the south end of Rollercoaster Road between the old and new Northgate Boulevards. Sold to Ned and Gloria McLean in 1942, the three-story, 30-room Spanish-style pink adobe mansion stored the Hope Diamond before the home was bought in 1948 by John Ben Snow, owner and publisher of Western Horseman magazine. Gloria McLean later married actor Jimmy Stewart at the ranch. After 10 years, Snow sold the ranch to his foreman Don Flint. In 1965, Arch and Gloria Barron fulfilled their Western dream and bought it; for five decades, Flying Horse remained in the Barron family. In 2006, 205 acres were permanently protected by a Palmer Land Trust Conservation Easement. Photo and caption courtesy by Bill X. Barron.
Monument pioneers, July 4, 2019
Caption: Amid many well-wishers at the 2019 Fourth of July parade in Monument were Monument pioneer residents Marlene Brown (left, in sun hat) next to Norma Lavelett (seated in vehicle, for whom Lavelett Park is named) and Brown’s nieces Samantha Brown (braids) and Cara Brown. The Brown brothers came to the Monument area in the late 1860s. Melvin Brown, Marlene’s great-grandfather, started a cattle ranch while his brother Samual Brown was the local sheriff. Melvin’s son William married his high school sweetheart, Esther, from the local Monument high school. She was a Monument schoolteacher, as was their son Gwilym’s wife, Lillian, Marlene’s mother. The cattle ranch was located at what is now the Jackson Ranch subdivision on Higby and Rollercoaster Roads. Marlene and her brothers, Morgan and Marshal, grew up on the property and currently manage the subdivision business. Photo by Dave Futey, caption by Janet Sellers.
Caption: Maria Garcia of Monument submitted Glorious Evening. Garcia took the photo during a walk in Monument June 11.
Caption: Bear holding an iris blossom welcomes summer. Photo by Ross Meyer, June 11.
Keep them coming! Send your best "Summer in Tri-Lakes" photo to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than July 24. Include names of any people in the photo, date taken, a description of the activity or location, and the name of the photographer. Call Lisa at 719-339-7831 with questions. We will print the winners in our Aug. 1 issue.
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.
4th of July Symphony on your porch
Enjoy the Colorado Springs Philharmonic’s annual patriotic concert broadcast from your favorite radio station, all from your porch! Tune your radio to Sunny 106.3 FM, Y96.9 FM, KCME 88.7 FM, AM 740 KVOR, 92.9 Peak FM, or iHeartRadio App. Fireworks will light the night sky across the Pikes Peak region; check out the event map, www.coloradospringssports.org. If you don’t have a great view of the fireworks from your porch, log into www.kktv.com to live stream all the action.
Help sought in Watkins homicide
The morning of Sept. 14, 2017, Tim Watkins rode his mountain bike up Mt. Herman west of Palmer Lake as he’d had done many times before. But he never returned, and three days later, a crew of volunteer searchers found his body, shot and buried on a hillside near one of his favorite trails. Two years later, no suspects have been named and no arrests have been made. Authorities in Colorado continue to ask for the public’s help in the murder of Tim Watkins. Friends and family have established a GoFundMe goal of $15,000 to Pikes Peak Area Crime Stoppers for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for Watkins’ death. Anyone with information can submit an anonymous tip by calling the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office tip line at 719-520-6666, or by calling Pikes Peak Crime Stoppers at 719-634-7867.
Community COVID-19 resources
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).
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 10 people. The El Paso County Public Health Department still wants you to be Safer at Home.
Tri-Lakes Senior Center reopens July 8
The senior center now has a temperature check station at the entrance and will follow all state guidelines to allow seniors to participate safely in various activities. The senior center is located in the portable building between Lewis Palmer High School and the Don Breese Stadium. For more information, contact 719-464-6873 or www.trilakesseniors.org.
Tri-Lakes Cares is there for you
Do you need help as a result of COVID-19? Connect with Tri-Lakes Cares for assistance with groceries, rent or mortgage, utilities, car repair, and medical assistance at www.tri-lakescares.org/coronavirus. For more information, call 719-481-4864. See ad on page 13.
Stage I Fire Restrictions
Continued dry conditions and the National Weather Service forecast for continued dry and warmer-than-normal conditions have resulted in very high to extreme fire danger ratings. Stage I Fire Restrictions are now in effect for all the unincorporated areas of El Paso County. The following are prohibited:
• Open burning, excepting fires and campfires within permanently constructed fire grates in developed campgrounds and picnic grounds; charcoal grills and wood burning stoves at private residences in areas cleared of all flammable materials.
• The sale or use of fireworks.
• Outdoor smoking except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials.
Violations of Stage I Restrictions may result in a fine of up to $600. For more information, visit www.epcsheriffsoffice.com.
Slash-Mulch season underway
The El Paso County Black Forest Slash and Mulch program will accept slash (tree and brush debris only) through Sep. 13. Mulch will be available through Sep. 19 or until mulch runs out. Hours of operation are: Saturdays, 7 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sundays, noon-4 p.m.; Tuesday and Thursday evenings, 5-7:30 p.m. The mulch loader schedule is Saturdays only, 7 a.m.-4 p.m. The cost for slash is $2 per load. The mulch loader fee is $5 per bucket, about 2 cubic yards. The slash and mulch site is located at the southeast corner of Shoup and Herring Roads in the Black Forest area. For more information, visit www.bfslash.org or phone the County Environmental Division, 520-7878; Carolyn, 495-3127; Chuck, 495-8675; Jeff, 495-8024.
Annual County Fair for 4-H only this year
The 115th Annual County Fair will feature only 4-H exhibits and attractions. Under normal circumstances, the fair would be held July 11-18 and include around 200 activities that would draw about 25,000 participants and spectators. The county decided to carry on the fair tradition while providing a safe environment, but also recognized large special events would be difficult while maintaining social distancing requirements at performances, carnival, and vendor areas. The 4-H Only Fair option would allow for 4-H participants to complete their projects and potentially participate at the State Fair. County staff will work with Public Health officials to determine the procedures for offering a 4-H Fair. This will likely include a a variety of safety measures. For additional information, visit the website, www.elpasocountyfair.com; or contact Todd Marts, Recreation and Cultural Services Division manager, 719-520-6399, email@example.com.
Openings on Monument boards
The Town of Monument has openings on its Planning Commission and Board of Adjustments. For more information, visit www.townofmonument.org.
Virtual Fourth of July Parade now online
Enjoy the creative contributions of your friends and neighbors. The Monument Hill Kiwanis 2020 Virtual Parade is now online through the end of July. You can view the virtual parade at https://monumenthillkiwanis.org/mhk/.
Monument’s Virtual Memorial Day
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the town canceled the annual ceremony at the cemetery. A virtual remembrance is available online at www.townofmonument.org/331/Memorial-Day-Ceremony.
WMMI indoor tours resume
Western Museum of Mining & Industry (WMMI) tours now accommodate social distancing and COVID-19 safety standards. Tours are available Mon., Wed., Fri., and Sat., 10 a.m.-2 p.m., with a special hour for our vulnerable population, 9-10 a.m. Please call in advance. The gift shop is open. Cost: $11 adults, $10 military/AAA, $9 seniors and students, $6 children 3-12, free to children under 3 and museum members. The museum is located at 225 North Gate Blvd. (I-25 Exit 156 A). For more information, phone 719-488-0880, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.wmmi.org.
Summer STEM Camp at WMMI in July
Western Museum of Mining & Industry (WMMI) Summer STEM Camp offers a fun, educational, hands-on week of learning for ages 8-12, Jul. 20-24, full or half day. Register by phone, online, or in person: 488-0880, www.wmmi.org. The museum is located at 225 North Gate Blvd. See ad on page 32.
Sisters’ Thrift & Boutique reopens
The Sisters of Benet Hill Monastery have a shop full of gently used treasures, including clothing and accessories, household items, and small furniture at 8674 N. Union Blvd., Colorado Springs. Store hours are Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m., and Sat., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The phone number is 719-282-0316. For a $5 off coupon, see ad on page 7.
Monument Hill Kiwanis annual peach sale
Fresh large Colorado Western Slope freestone peaches, handpicked and specially delivered in two days, are still just $36 per 18-pound box. Get your prepaid order in by Jul. 31. Pick up your peaches Aug. 15. All net proceeds go back to the community through projects supported by the Monument Hill Kiwanis Club. Order online at www.monumenthillkiwanis.org or contact Chris Wilson, 615-516-3880, or email@example.com. See the ad on page 9.
Mountain View Electric Association (MVEA) Residential Lighting Rebates has been extended through 2020. MVEA will also reward you for switching from gas to electric powered outdoor power equipment. Learn about MVEA’s Energy Efficiency Rebate Program at www.mvea.coop/rebates. See ad on page 8.
Palmer Lake prohibits visitor parking
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.
Front Range Passenger Rail Project survey
Coloradans along the Front Range are invited to give their input on a plan to develop passenger rail service along a 173-mile corridor from Fort Collins to Pueblo. Through end of July, you will be able to weigh in on important questions such as how they might use the rail service and whether they would want trains to go faster or have more stops. The website also has useful information on the design options for the rail service, such as potential routes. The online meeting is being put on by the Front Range Passenger Rail project, which is drawing up plans for the rail service. Funding to complete the rail service has not been identified yet and could include a variety of options. See www.frontrangepassengerrail.com for survey. Tim Hoover, Colorado Department of Transportation,303-619-2674, firstname.lastname@example.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.
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