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By Jackie Burhans
The Monument Academy (MA) School Board held its regular meeting on Feb. 10, unanimously passing a proclamation against gender identity protection laws, and a resolution against critical race theory (CRT). It also spotlighted a teacher, updated its graduation requirements, and modified its snow policy.
Board rejects gender identity protection laws
MA’s Feb. 10 board meeting was attended by over 80 parents, teachers, and staff as well as Rep. Tim Geitner of House District 20 and local developer Matt Dunston who helped MA acquire the land for its high school and whose metro district provides services to MA. Attendees and board members spoke out or read statements against Colorado bills from 2008 and 2021 that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
One bill, SB08-200, expands prohibitions against discrimination to include a person’s orientation toward heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, or transgender status and was codified in the Colorado Revised Statutes starting in CRS-24-34-01. The bill added the protection to 23 areas including housing, employment, education, public accommodations, and healthcare. See the bill at https://bit.ly/sb08-2008. House Bill HB21-1108, Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination, clarifies the individuals included in a protected class (https://leg.colorado.gov/bills/hb21-1108) by adding the terms "gender expression" and "gender identity" to the statutes.
MA’s proclamation, which is non-binding, asserts that, while it "shall not discriminate against individuals … in the event that their gender is not consistent with their sex," it firmly believes that laws passed by the U.S. Congress and the Colorado General Assembly that direct MA to follow specific instruction regarding non-biological gender expression or identity in determining the use of biological sex specific common bathrooms, locker rooms and specific athletic sports "violate natural law, moral truth and expose [its] students to undue harm, confusion and dysphoria."
The proclamation goes on to say that the board believes that elected representatives have the moral and ethical obligation to challenge and repeal such laws that "violate the innocence, vulnerability, well-being, privacy and safety of our children" and asks its parents and constituents to make their voices heard by contacting their representatives. See the proclamation at https://bit.ly/ma-proclamation.
Attendees speaking at the meeting brought up the following points:
• One parent said they didn’t care who people were or who they loved, none of it trumps biological reality and we do not mix boys and girls in this country. He said this is for transgender protection as well and recommended the school offer family bathrooms as there had already been issues that upset him.
• Another parent said that if someone’s kid was LGBTQ, what matters is the safety of all children and that if someone didn’t feel safe in the bathroom of their biological birth, they should be sent to an individual bathroom. She said, "The fact that this issue has occurred at our school is already horrifying."
• Another parent requested the board make a policy providing guidance to parents and teachers to protect them regarding gender. He noted that MA’s dress code is meant to let kids focus on education and recognizes that school is not a place for unrestricted personal expression. However, he said, there were young men dressing in skirts at school and that he heard that a young man was cast in a woman’s role in a play. He felt that was sending a message to him, as a parent, as to what MA thinks about truth and character.
Board members spoke or read statements which said:
• Board President Ryan Graham said this is not a violation of the law, simply a position this board is stating on where it stands.
• Board member Misty McCuen read her written statement, saying parents are children’s primary teachers with the responsibility to guard and protect them. She said that the attempt to accommodate a few have put children in an uncomfortable place and that MA must pursue better solutions without making anyone feel discarded. She noted there had been talk of MA going off track from its original intent and that classical education teaches children to look back at sources of what is good, beautiful, and true and that this [proclamation] is part of that.
• Board member Megghan St. Aubyn said that current legislation and societal trends were taking away from women and girls to accommodate another protected class. Women who came before us fought for equal rights and dedicated their lives to fight for the right to have control over their bodies, minds, and finances, she said. Many modern women are standing by, she said, while those rights are taken from our daughters. Her daughter deserves to feel safe and comfortable in a public restroom and compete on an even playing field, she added.
• Board member Lindsay Clinton said these issues revolve around a small number of students who are experiencing confusion with the expectation that the entire community must make accommodations. She said MA should focus on the majority it serves and address the concerns students have about privacy and safety and protect the rights to equality of athletes. She said that, while acknowledging the difference between gender and sex, we can proceed with the understanding that kids should use the facility and play the sport of their birth sex. Should a child want to pursue expression as the other gender, that is their choice, but not at the expense of the rest of the community, she added.
By roll call, the board unanimously approved this proclamation to a standing ovation. D38 later released an announcement that "statements in this proclamation do not reflect the position or policy of Lewis-Palmer School District 38." See https://www.lewispalmer.org/domain/33.
Board resolves to reject CRT
After hearing public comments, Graham made a motion regarding the opposition to the use of critical race theory and other race-based training, curricula, and methodology in public education. According to D38’s document on CRT and diversity, equity and inclusion, it is "… an academic theory that seeks to examine how the concept of race underlies social infrastructure and applies within legal systems and other policies. This theory originated in the late 1970s and is typically taught at post-secondary levels of education. And D38 does not teach CRT." See https://bit.ly/d38-crt.
Parents spoke about CRT, saying that their extensive research showed it to be Marxist, that it teaches racism, hate of our nation and neighbors, and segregation. One parent said she had also done research and that CRT is a form of activism across society to convince our culture that the fundamental principles of our society are based on white racism. She says this strategy uses racial minorities to bring about a revolution. CRT teaches our kids to hate our country, vilify police, and causes anxiety in kids who would never ever behave this way, she said.
Graham said that MA was correcting course at the school to re-establish who it is with this resolution and the proclamation on gender protections. He asked that the board and parents take a stand in this war on the agenda to divide and conquer. Graham then moved that the board approve and adopt the resolution, which describes 10 concepts that will not be taught in the schools but also resolves that "nothing in these resolutions shall be construed to restrict any expressive activities protected under the Constitution, including academic freedom or student political speech.
Board member Joseph Buczkowski said the issue is close to him as he comes from a family of immigrants. Clinton quoted Martin Luther King and MA’s philosophy and said that MA is an American school. McCuen also read a statement of support for the resolution, saying that teachers should focus on the subjects they are teaching without bias.
The board unanimously passed the resolution, which can be found in its entirety at https://bit.ly/ma-crt.
The following items were highlighted at the board meeting:
• MA spotlighted teacher Erin Hastedt, MA’s gifted and talented (GT) coordinator, saying she goes above and beyond in encouraging and engaging GT.
• The board unanimously adopted updated graduation requirements.
• Buczkowski said the staff survey results were still under review and had a 79% participation rate.
• Board member Chris Dole said MA has over $29 million in outstanding bonds on the East Campus, with debt service representing 20% of its overall budget. With plans for expansion costing a minimum of $12 million to $15 million, hopes for teacher pay raises, and the desire to increase security measures, he hopes to see MA raise up to $3 million starting with $150,000 from its upcoming gala and other events to possible building naming opportunities.
• Graham discussed an upcoming School Safety Information Night on March 3 with guest speakers discussing the possibility of armed staff inside the school.
• The board approved using virtual learning on any extra snow days called after allocated snow days are used up, with only St. Aubyn voting nay.
• Graham recognized Geitner and invited parents to take advantage of his time and provide him feedback.
• The board adjourned to executive session to discuss personnel matters in relation to the Employers Council survey as it relates to evaluating the chief operations officer.
Caption: Monument Academy held its regular meeting on Feb. 10 in its East Campus gym with more than 80 attending. Parents took turns speaking out against critical race theory (CRT) and gender identity protections. Toward the end of the meeting, the board unanimously passed a resolution opposing the use of CRT and other race-based training and curricula and a proclamation against bills that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Photo by Jackie Burhans.
Caption: Board member Misty McCuen, left, presented Gifted and Talented (GT) Coordinator Erin Hastedt, right, with a certificate of appreciation Feb. 10. Hastedt joined MA in 2019 with 20 years of experience and an endorsement in GT and supporting the emotional needs of the gifted, she said. McCuen said parents wrote that Hastedt goes above and beyond, encouraging and engaging GT students, producing a monthly newspaper, and even creating a special math class to meet students’ needs. Photo by Jackie Burhans.
The next meeting will be on Thursday, March 10 at 6 p.m. at the East Campus band room in person only. The MA School Board usually meets at 6 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month. For more information, see https://bit.ly/ma-boe.
Jackie Burhans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Natalie Barszcz
At the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD) meeting on Feb. 23, the board discussed the exponential increase of requests made by American Medical Response (AMR) in 2022, received an update on the unification process with Donald Wescott Fire Protection District (DWFPD), approved a new squad vehicle and a lease purchase agreement for the approved tower truck, and received multiple updates on other district matters.
American Medical Response
Secretary Mike Smaldino asked if there had ever been a time when the district had dispatched an ambulance into the City of Colorado Springs to assist AMR and the remaining ambulance was dispatched on a district call leaving the district without an ambulance.
Division Chief of Operations Jonathan Bradley said that it had occurred.
• I have a huge issue with that, and it is a disservice to the district residents.
• AMR is an outside commercial agency with a poor business model, and it is not doing its job.
• The situation is not getting any better throughout the region and there needs to be a conversation with the area fire chiefs.
Bradley gave the following update:
• The Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Division Battalion Chief Sean Pearson and EMS Coordinator Stephanie Soll had met with the AMR regional director in mid-February to discuss the increase in requests for service.
• Pearson and Soll raised the district’s concern over the number of requests made by AMR that had gone "above and beyond the norm" in January and February.
• The combined district received 24 AMR requests so far for February, a significant decrease from the 83 requests made in January.
• The district had turned down half of the AMR requests for service so far in 2022 and those decisions were made by the on-shift battalion chief to ensure the district would not be left without EMS support.
• During the meeting, AMR laid out its plan to recruit additional staff including recruiting incentives, but they said they received little interest and the situation is unlikely to lessen until the AMR training program catches up in April. See www.ocn.me/v22n2.htm#dwfpd and www.ocn.me/v21n9.htm#tlmfpd.
Fire Chief Andy Kovacs said Pearson and Soll will be the district representatives on the Pikes Peak Fire Chiefs Council during group meetings regarding the increase in AMR request for service.
• I applaud the fact the district can help out other communities, but when the district has to accelerate plans to staff an additional ambulance, it is unfair to the community.
• The problem is systemic throughout the region, and if the district continues to respond to the increase in AMR requests, the problem will not get fixed.
• The district is subsidizing a private company, at a cost to the district, and even though there is compensation, it is not a good model and it has to change.
Bradley said, "regardless of the increased AMR requests, the district has already reached the district call volume to warrant the third ambulance, but there is concern, since TLMFPD only received a total of 34 AMR requests for service in 2021."
Treasurer Jason Buckingham noted the district had responded with five mutual aid requests for EMS calls to Palmer Lake in January and he requested an update now that AMR 582 is no longer operating from Station 4 (formerly DWFPD Station 1).
Kovacs said Palmer Lake is still using an AMR ambulance as its primary response and still has the option to request mutual aid advanced life support or EMS assistance from TLMFPD or the Larkspur Fire Protection District.
Kovacs said, "Great comments, the executive staff will keep the board apprised."
Kovacs said he and legal counsel from both fire districts, Maureen Juran and Emily Powell, President John Hildebrandt and Chairman Mark Gunderman will meet virtually to review the draft for the full-service contract intergovernmental agreement, and the hope is to have the draft ready to present to both boards in March. After board review, the contract could be ready as early as May. See the DWFPD article on page 11.
Kovacs said he had met individually with all of the employees from both districts and had the opportunity to meet with all of the DWFPD employees in a station setting to get to know them better. Staffs have co-mingled, and every comment received indicates the orientation process is going really well with no issues, said Kovacs.
Bradley said the following:
• Permanent assignments will be decided on March 15, in conjunction with the battalion chiefs, the Local 4319, and both district board presidents.
• Half to a third of the Wescott staff will move to TLMFPD stations and vice versa, with the idea being that staff do not go back to their corners after such a long struggle to achieve a merger.
• Orientation will end earlier than the projected May 19, and permanent assignments will begin April 1-10.
• A third full-service ambulance will be in service in April at Station 5 (formerly "Shamrock" Station 2, Highway 83/Stage Coach Road) far earlier than the original goal of Aug. 1.
• The crews are making it happen and the district can accelerate the ambulance by four months.
Bradley said that periodically a "shift shake-up" takes place, and the shifts need to be balanced due to the recent promotions and the five staff members currently attending the academy. The district will move toward a "bid type system" with parameters in 2023.
Proposed squad vehicle purchase
Division Chief of Community Risk/Fire Marshal Jamey Bumgarner gave a short presentation on the proposed purchase of a squad vehicle for 2022, and said the following:
• The purpose of a squad vehicle would be to respond to medical calls with at least a two-person crew, and the multi-purpose vehicle will carry advanced life support and firefighting equipment.
• The vehicle would provide a quicker response time and greater maneuverability than the larger apparatus, and that will reduce maintenance costs on the engine.
• At other times, the squad vehicle could be moved around the district and used as a support vehicle for chipping days, a wildland crew, technical rescues, firefighter rehab and gross decontamination, and as a community paramedic vehicle.
• A new Pierce F550 will be available in Florida in June and a crew would visit Pierce manufacturing in May-June, and it would be in service July-August.
• The cost would not add to budget due to the sale of an older engine no longer in use, after a few light vehicles were auctioned by Schur Success Group, Monument and sold for $21,491 in January, and the Castle Rock ambulance was sold to Cimarron Hills Fire Department for $30,000. See www.ocn.me/v22n2.htm#tlmfpd.
Kovacs requested the board consider the motion to approve the purchase of a 2022 squad vehicle for $224,568 and said:
• The squad vehicle will initially be placed into service at Station 5, and eventually it will be co-located with the new tower ladder truck, wherever that might be.
• The long-term goal for Station 5 will be an engine company with a water tender and a Type 3 engine, after the fire academy recruits graduate and staffing levels increase.
• The 2022 squad 575 vehicle will be equipped with the surplus firefighting equipment from the sale of a DWFPD engine and the district cache of spare EMS equipment.
Bradley said the squad 575 vehicle will fill an immediate hole and add capability (at Station 5) and help the combined district plan for an increase in service. The vehicle gives the district the opportunity to bring specialized equipment on scene quickly, and the district drone will likely be kept on the vehicle, said Bradley.
The board approved the purchase, 7-0.
Vice President Roger Lance said, "It is a win-win and an excellent idea."
Pierce tower ladder truck lease purchase agreement
Kovacs requested the board approve Resolution 2022-02, a motion to approve the lease purchase agreement for the new tower ladder truck. The apparatus will cost the district about $1.592 million paid over 13 years and it will take about 18-24 months to build, with an anticipated delivery date in 2024, said Kovacs. See www.ocn.me/v22n2.htm#tlmfpd.
The board approved the lease purchase agreement, 7-0.
Kovacs said the chief’s report in its new format was shared with the DWFPD board on Feb. 15, and he said the following:
• During February, a detached garage was a total loss in the DWFPD, and a large swath of ground also burned around the structure.
• The Station 1 (Highway 105) remodel came in under budget by about $20,000, and the major punch list has been addressed with just a few small items to be completed by Mark Young Construction.
• The board approved additional enhancements to include privacy fences and signs, a landscaping plan, additional tables and chairs for the training room, and some carpet enhancements to the dormitories and the day room have yet to be completed. See www.ocn.me/v21n12.htm#tlmfpd.
• An open house "ribbon cutting" at Station 1 is planned for spring.
• The new ambulance will be in service in late February, and ambulance 2282 has moved to Station 4 on Gleneagle Drive, the busiest station for EMS calls.
Note: See the DWFPD article for additional information on the combined district on page 11.
First Due pre-plan software
Bumgarner said the following:
• First Due pre-plan software was purchased to specifically complete company inspections and building pre-plans, and it gathers data from the El Paso County Assessor’s Office, Pikes Peak Regional Building Department, and Google maps and combines it into one easily accessible format.
• The program allows crews to access the data en route and know before arriving at a fire where hydrants are located, the building’s age, the structure design, and an aerial and street view.
• Residents can note important information on the site, for example: resident is using oxygen tank, number of pets in the home, or even a home where a larger fuel load could make entry unsafe for firefighters.
• The program comes with an initial fee based on how many rooftops the district contains and an annual fee.
• The district will evaluate the program to ensure it is working well for the district, and the goal is to roll out the program around mid-April.
Financial report as of January 2022
Treasurer Jason Buckingham said the following:
• The district received $249 in property tax revenue year to date. The projected annual property tax revenue for the district is $10.8 million.
• The district received $90,202 in ambulance fee revenue year to date and has projected $800,000 will be received in 2022.
• The district received $85,648 in specific ownership tax and $10,101 in impact fees year to date.
• Overall revenue received year to date is $297,187, and the projected 2022 income budget is set at $12.9 million.
• Overall expenses year to date are $814,783, about 8% of the projected 2022 total expense budget that is set at $10.1million.
The board accepted the financial report as presented, 7-0.
Annual 2021 District Report
Kovacs presented the board with hard copies of the Annual 2021 District Report and said the DWFPD board members had also received copies. The district thought the project would be fun and highlight all the accomplishments and successes of the fire district, and it will continue to produce hard copies annually, said Kovacs.
Director Tom Kelly thanked all of the staff and said, "It is well put together, easy to follow, and you can nickel and dime things, but to see it all come together speaks volumes."
The report can be viewed at www.tlmfire.org.
Station 1 Training Center update
Bradley said the district is looking at a couple of engineering firms for the Station 1 Training Center, and three have responded and asked additional questions. Once the orientation is finished, site visits will take place. Battalion Chief Kris Mola will lead the project with assistance from Battalion Chief Micah Coyle (recently promoted from lieutenant), Engineer Adam Wakefield and Firefighter Golden Rains. The four-person committee is taking time to plan the project slowly and "do it right" before recommending the purchase of any training props to the board. Site visit dates will be set up to find out the costs of the project and the potential options, said Bradley.
Director Tom Tharnish confirmed the water tank construction project bid for Forest View Acres was awarded on Feb. 22, and construction will probably begin in late March. The pipeline project will follow soon after the emergency water interconnect is installed, said Tharnish.
Note: Station 1 will move from well water and connect to the Town of Monument for its water supply when the pipeline project is completed.
The meeting adjourned at 7:54 p.m.
Caption: The Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District added a third ambulance (pictured at right) to the fleet. Photo by Andy Kovacs.
In the February edition of OCN, the TLMFPD article on page 18 read "Castlerock." It should have read "Castle Rock Fire Department." OCN regrets the error.
Meetings are usually held on the fourth Wednesday of the month. The next regular board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, March 30 at 6:30 p.m. at TLMFPD Station 1, 18650 Highway 105. For Zoom meeting instructions, agendas, minutes, and updates, visit www.tlmfire.org or contact Director of Administration Jennifer Martin at 719-484-9011.
Natalie Barszcz can be reached at email@example.com.
By Harriet Halbig
The Lewis-Palmer D38 Board of Education heard detailed updates on progress regarding the Strategic Plan, many comments and a clarification of the No Place for Hate program at the middle school, and recognized many student achievements at its Feb. 22 meeting.
Strategic Plan reports
During Superintendent KC Somers’ update and later in the meeting, detailed reports were offered regarding implementation of the district’s Strategic Plan.
Priority 1 of the plan involves student safety, diverse learning environments, and a feeling of inclusiveness.
Executive Director of Student Services Rick Frampton reported on the use of Gaggle software to monitor student Google activity on district-owned devices. Since Oct. 1 there have been 338 alerts received. The most urgent involved suicide and self-harm. Also triggering alerts were the use of profanity and insults. Alerts result in a text sent to the administration, which must respond within 5 minutes. Parents are contacted regarding questionable content. If a student repeatedly accesses pornography or other inappropriate content they can be locked out of the system. Gaggle is active when district-owned devices are used in student homes as well. Student cell phones are not monitored.
Chief of Safety and Security Dennis Coates reported on the district’s use of the Safe2Tell program which allows students and parents to anonymously report concerns about bullying, suicide, and other concerns. The program has been in use since 2015.
Coates said the number of reported situations has fallen slightly due to recent emphasis on counseling for stress during the pandemic.
The program has changed slightly, allowing administrators to question the tipster and learn the age and school of the individual of concern. Most tipsters are students. If someone is bullied through the program, the source of the call can be traced.
Coates briefly outlined activity in discipline. There have been 80 suspensions. If a student is found to have a vaping device, they are suspended for three days. If they agree to undergo the VapeEducation program, the suspension is reduced to one day.
Frampton reported on the results of the Panorama survey about school environment. This survey was submitted to all students. General results indicated that younger students feel positive about their school environment. Secondary students feel safe and engaged. There is a need to improve teacher/student relationships at the high school level. The survey was administered before Thanksgiving break. For detailed results, see boarddocs on the district website lewispalmer.org, board of education, and look under the date of the meeting.
Priority 2 involves offering a high quality of instruction and relevant education experiences for all students.
Lewis-Palmer Middle School Principal Seann O’Connor spoke about the No Place for Hate program which has been the subject of controversy at board meetings.
O’Connor said the program supports social emotional wellness and character-based education concepts.
The district acknowledges that parents are the primary source of moral authority, and various district policies support character-building in the areas of inclusiveness and social awareness.
At the elementary level, such programs as Responsive Classroom include building relationships between students during class meetings, and Capturing Kids’ Hearts is in use at the elementary level to promote self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship skills.
At the middle school level, No Place for Hate is in its third year. The program, developed by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), involves a voluntary pledge by students that if they witness a serious incident of bullying or other intolerant behavior, they are obligated to report it to school authorities.
O’Connor stressed that the middle school is not obligated to report incidents to ADL. The autonomy of the school is respected. Students may elect to be trained in the use of the program and can opt into such activities as the question of the week or quotes of the week. No data is shared with ADL from the school, but we do share which activities we choose to use.
The program encourages students to go from being a victim to being a participant in change. No lessons are included in the curriculum.
The Path2Empathy program is also in use at the middle school level.
O’Connor also reported that the Gay/Straight Alliance is one of the clubs at the school as well as such groups as Youth for Christ and various others.
Assistant Superintendent Amber Whetstine reported on literacy and math assessments administered in the fall and mid-year. For details on the results, please see boarddocs.
Board Treasurer Ron Schwarz, attending by phone, asked whether our students’ results can be compared with results nationwide. Whetstine responded that the results for the Measuring Academic Performance (MAP) tests in mathematics reflects national results and the district scores well.
Priority 3, which deepens professional learning culture, is being used by increasing the number of professional development days and meetings among staff, the mid-year compensation action approved at last month’s meeting, and the hiring of a consultant to measure D38’s compensation in comparison with comparable districts.
Priority 4, involving effective asset management and efficient use of resources, is being implemented through the selection of a new Financial Advisory Committee, which has met for the first time and created subcommittees to aid in its work.
Priority 5 involves outreach to the community. A series of Engage and Elevate meetings has been scheduled at various locations and various times in the district. A community survey has been planned to involve community members and elicit feedback.
New curricula adopted
The board approved new curricula for Spanish, French, and German and for health.
New administrator hired
The board approved the contract for Chris Coulter to begin as Executive Director of Operations and Development to replace Bob Foster.
The board approved policy IKF regarding graduation requirements. For details, please see boarddocs.
The board recognized Lewis-Palmer High School senior Rhianna Lingle for being selected as a string soloist in the Denver Young Adult Orchestra at its performance on May 8.
Steve Waldmann reported on the 15th annual district chess tournament held at Lewis-Palmer Elementary School. There was no tournament last year due to COVID restrictions. Eighty-five students participated. Waldmann thanked various Lewis-Palmer Elementary staff and members of the Key Club for their help.
Nine members of the Future Business Leaders of America placed in the top four and will go on to the state level. An additional three placed in the top 10.
Three students from Lewis-Palmer High School, Anna Icke, Davis Saunders, and Allison Sobers, were selected as finalists in the National Merit Scholarship competition.
Several members of the public spoke in support of No Place for Hate.
Two parents of middle school students said the program is valuable to make all students feel accepted and welcome. By removing hateful behavior, all are able to concentrate on learning.
In one case, a student was outed by a classmate, causing great emotional harm. Pride flags in the school demonstrate that all are welcome and valued. The district slogan of Every Student Every Day must respect the needs of everyone.
A gay student spoke that he had attempted suicide as a result of bullying by classmates. He said that the No Place for Hate program is not indoctrinating but promotes acceptance.
An additional individual said that her son is a member of the No Place for Hate Club, having signed the pledge.
Two additional members of the public spoke against the recent proclamation by Monument Academy regarding the use of restrooms by transgender students. See the Monument Academy article on page 1.
Caption: At its Feb. 22 regular board meeting, the Lewis-Palmer D38 Board of Education recognized Rhianna Lingle, a senior at Lewis-Palmer High School, who was recently announced as a soloist with the DYAO (Denver Young Artists Orchestra) for a Sunday, May 8 performance. Ms. Theresa Phillips introduced Ms. Lingle, saying that she has played violin since she was 4. Lingle played The Allemande movement from Bach Partita No. 2 for the enjoyment of those in attendance including her parents. From left are Superintendent KC Somers, Eric, Erica and Rhianna Lingle, and board Vice President Theresa Phillips. Photo by Jackie Burhans.
The Lewis-Palmer D38 Board of Education usually meets at 6 p.m. on the third Monday of each month in the district learning center, 146 Jefferson St. in Monument. The next regular meeting will be on March 14 because spring break will be March 21-25.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Harriet Halbig
The District Accountability Advisory Committee (DAAC) of School District 38 spent much of its Feb. 8 meeting discussing financial matters, including the budgeting process and application of Strategic Plan Priority 4 regarding effective asset management and efficient use of resources.
Chief Financial Officer Kitte Overton addressed Priority 4 of the district’s Strategic Plan.
Initiatives include developing short- and long-range plans for facility utilization, exploring multiple planning scenarios to reflect population fluctuations, and ensuring collaborative budgetary development with staff and the community
The collaborative budgetary development includes the formation of the new Financial Advisory Committee composed of staff and community members, which met the same evening as the DAAC meeting. Overton said interactive software called Balancing Act will be added to the website to enable community members to see the budget as it is and to attempt to alter it to achieve their goals.
Overton pointed out that a large percentage of the budget is devoted to staff salaries and benefits. Food service and transportation also must be supported. These must be taken into account when attempting to alter the budget.
Overton also explained the budget process on a month-by-month basis, stressing that, although the district must submit a budget to the state for approval each June, the Board of Education can alter the budget throughout the year to respond to such developments as emergency repairs, receipt of grants, and variation in the amount of funding received from the state.
Examples of these federal sources of revenue include the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds, which can be applied to programs to compensate for learning loss during the pandemic and improvements to make schools a healthier environment, such as improved air filtration or circulation. The district must request these funds by specifying their intended use.
Sources of grant money this year include $530,000 in a technical grant for the purchase of Chromebooks, $740,000 to be spent over the next four years on early literacy programs, and $100,000 to offset tuition for preschool. The receipt of these additional funds made possible a recent compensation action that benefits all district staff and compensates for a lost step in compensation during the pandemic.
Another source of funding is the school lunch program administered by the federal government.
A longstanding concern of the board has been the issue of deferred maintenance of facilities due to funding shortages. There is an ongoing effort to budget for these repairs and improvements each year. Continuing work on the geothermal system at Palmer Ridge High School is an ongoing expense.
Overton explained the process of internal controls, including compliance with laws, risk assessments, proper authorization of expenditures, and a review and approval process.
Board liaison Tiffiney Upchurch reported that the recently opened legislative session is considering 53 bills involving education and offered the website address for monitoring this legislation: https://casb.memberclicks.net/2022-legislative-bills.
Referring to recent board actions, Upchurch said that there is new technology available to filter internet content and monitor student data and devices. The district has also received a grant to train paraprofessionals in the application of a Multi-Tiered System of Support for students.
Curricula for health and foreign languages are now under review.
The board is conducting a compensation marketing analysis to determine where the district stands in comparison to other similar districts in the state and determine what can be done to make District 38 competitive.
The board will also host several listening sessions throughout the district at various times of day to gather community input.
Prairie Winds Elementary update
Principal Alicia Welch presented an introduction to her school.
Prairie Winds Elementary (PWES) received the James Irwin Schools of Excellence award each year from 2011-19. This award recognizes schools which exceed expectations in English, math, and science in their performance framework.
PWES is a responsive classroom school which includes meetings each morning. It is home of the Hawks and practices STAR, the Strategies for Teaching based on Autism Research. The school also abides by the acronym CARES, which includes cooperation, assertion, responsibility, empathy and self-control.
The school, founded in 2001, initiated its Dual Diagnosis program in 2011, and it addresses individuals with autism and an additional diagnosis. The goal is to get all students into the classroom.
The student population is 349.
PWES has a number of traditions, including a Veterans Day observation, science fair, honoring first responders, the Sweetheart Dance, literacy and math days, and the turkey trot.
The Parent Teacher Organization is very supportive and has raised funds to replace library and cafeteria furniture and provide a Smart Board for each classroom. 3M window film provides additional security by preventing breakage of glass near entrances.
PWES also participates in K-Kids, a program for 4th-to 6th-graders sponsored by Kiwanis and offers such after-school clubs as photography and gardening.
The Lewis-Palmer D38 District Accountability Advisory Committee meets five times per year. Locations vary. The last meeting of this school year will be held at 7 p.m. on April 12 at Palmer Ridge High School, 19255 Monument Hill Road, Monument. A tour of the school will be offered at 6:30.
Corrections and Clarifications
Monument Academy’s Amy Torrence submitted the following corrections and clarifications to the Monument Academy information as covered in the DAAC article in OCN’s February issue:
• The academy was founded in 1996.
• The total middle and high school target population will be 900-1,000. Currently, the east campus serves grades 6 through 10. Grades 11 and 12 will be added over the next two years.
• MA does not use common core standards, but standards based on classical foundations. In grades pre-K through 8, the curriculum is based on Core Knowledge Sequence involving recommended content in language arts, music, mathematics, and science.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at email@example.com.
By Natalie Barszcz
At the Donald Wescott Fire Protection District (DWFPD) meeting on Feb. 15, the board heard about call volume increases, and received multiple updates on the merger and other district practices and regional events. The board decided to meet at the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD) administrative offices but will hold all future meetings at TLMFPD Station 1.
Secretary Larry Schwarz was excused.
Full service inter-governmental agreement
District Attorney Emily Powell said that she and TLMFPD District Attorney Maureen Juran are close to an agreement on the legal terms for a full service inter-governmental agreement for provision of emergency services to the residents of the DWFPD area of coverage. The first draft is expected to be ready for presentation to both boards in time for the March board meeting. "It is progressing nicely for a mid-year completion," said Powell. See www.ocn.me/v22n2.htm#dwfpd.
Division Chief of Operations Jonathan Bradley said:
• The district planned for a busy year of increased call volume with a higher than usual increase of 7.5 percent, but so far the district is significantly ahead of that estimate.
• The orientation schedule has been edited and changes have been made to the monthly rosters, with the goal of finishing the orientation much sooner than anticipated.
• The Wescott crews "do a few small things a little differently" from the Tri-Lakes crews, but overall it has "gone exceedingly well, and it is a testament to the personnel working together to make the unification a success."
• The Emergency Medical Services (EMS) response for mutual aid requests increased significantly in January, and the district will have a definitive plan next month to staff a third ambulance from Station 5 (formerly Station 2 Highway 83/Stage Coach Road) to meet the 15% to 16% call volume increase.
• Permanent assignments for the battalion chiefs, etc., will be determined in March.
Fire Chief Andy Kovacs said he had met "one on one" with every employee to ensure their needs are being met, and to get to know each other personally and professionally. "The feedback indicates that everything is going well, and the staff are happy with the process," said Kovacs.
Bradley said, "The district is operating as one organization and it is very cool to see."
Kovacs said the following:
• As a combined district, a total of 169 requests for ambulance transports were received in January.
• The district received 83 requests from American Medical Response, but only half of those mutual aid requests received assistance from TLMFPD and the remainder were turned down at the discretion of the battalion chiefs to avoid leaving the combined district without EMS support. See www.ocn.me/v22n2.htm#dwfpd.
• A structure fire on Colonial Park Drive on Jan. 9 resulted in a civilian injury. The incident was attended by both districts, and multiple mutual aid agencies also assisted.
• The district assisted in a virtual Town Hall meeting, held at Tri-Lakes United Methodist Church in response to the Marshall Fire, and although the road conditions were not ideal about 120 people participated either in person or virtually. The district received a lot of "positive feedback" on the information that was shared during the meeting.
• Division Chief of Community Risk/Fire Marshal Jamey Bumgarner is assisting the Town of Monument to develop a Wildfire Community Protection Plan to encompass the combined district. The district hopes to receive a grant to contract independent services to create the plan.
• Battalion Chief Scott Ridings is working diligently behind the scenes on several projects, to include plotting out the station locations on the district map and the pending future station sites. The combined district will be able to meet response times.
• The Local 4319 will host a free Regional Cancer Seminar at the Great Wolf Lodge on May 13, with national research experts speaking about cancer in relation to firefighting.
• Battalion Chief Sean Pearson is nominated to serve on the Pikes Peak Fire Chief’s Council, a county/regional committee.
• The district has received a new ambulance that is expected to be in service soon after it is certified by El Paso County and fully equipped.
• Both of the combined districts’ tower truck engines are back from maintenance and in service.
• A new ladder truck has been ordered for about $1.6 million, with an estimated build time of about 19-21 months. The purchase will replace the tower truck at Station 1 (Highway 105). See the TLMFPD article on page 1.
• The district received the 15 Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus ordered in late December for the DWFPD crews, far earlier than the expected March delivery date. See www.ocn.me/v22n1.htm#dwfpd.
Kovacs said that Station 4 (formerly DWFPD Station 1) had a catastrophic failure of the bay door cable system that houses the ladder truck, but the firefighters are still able to respond out of the other bays. The district is awaiting an estimate and time frame for the door repair, said Kovacs.
Safety After the Fact Evaluation reporting
Bradley said the following:
• TLMFPD began Safety After the Fact Evaluation (SAFE) reporting last year to capture dramatic emergency events with a lot of moving parts and high consequence, such as structure fires, multi-patient EMS events, traffic accidents, violent events, and technical rescues.
• The district can learn from the reports and look for potential failures in the system, highlight positive outcomes, and reinforce good behaviors.
• The district operates on a shift system and the SAFE reporting system allows the whole department to learn from events, even if they are not on the same shift.
• After the initial report is generated by the on-scene incident commander and the shift battalion chief has completed the report, the Division of Training Chief Kris Mola and Bradley include additional information, and the final report is then loaded into the Target Solutions software program for all shifts to read.
Ice-rescue refresher training
Chairman Mark Gunderman said he had recently watched both districts during the annual ice-rescue refresher training (see photo on page 1), and it was interesting to see both crews working and training together at Bristlecone Lake, off of Forest Lakes Drive. "It was great to see how the crews get ready and how quickly they can get out onto the lake," said Gunderman.
Kovacs said the TLMFPD 2022 budget set aside funds to purchase boats and equipment to assist with lake rescues during the summer months. In the past, the district has commandeered boats and paddle boards from residents to complete rescues, and that is not appropriate.
Gary Nelson, president of the El Paso County Emergency Incident Support (EIS) volunteer group, said the following:
• EIS typically spends an average of about $450 per event, and the group is fortunate to receive donations from the community.
• EIS provides hot sandwiches, high energy snacks, protein drinks, and coffee for emergency responders during incidents and training events.
• The group recently provided support during ice-rescue refresher training at Bristlecone Lake.
• EIS is ecstatic to support first responders in all weather and situations—serving those who serve.
Note: EIS is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization. For information, visit https://epceis.com.
The meeting adjourned at 4:58 p.m.
Meetings are held on the third Tuesday of every month at the TMFPD Station 1, 18650 Highway 105, at 4 p.m. The next regular board meeting is scheduled for March 15 at 4 p.m. For Zoom meeting joining instructions, agendas, minutes, and updates, visit www.wescottfire.org or contact Administrative Assistant Stacey Popovich at 719-488-8680.
Natalie Barszcz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Natalie Barszcz
At the Black Forest Fire Rescue Protection District (BFFRPD) meeting on Feb. 16, the board heard about illegal recreational fire concerns and the cost for a potential future ladder truck. Also, the board received multiple updates to include comparisons of the district’s mill levy with neighboring districts.
Treasurer Jack Hinton was excused.
Recreational fire concerns addressed
Chairman Rick Nearhoof said Fire Chief PJ Langmaid had received an angry, threatening letter of complaint from a neighbor living next to a vacation rental property in Black Forest. Nearhoof read the letter that stated a rental property owner had not paid any fines for the numerous illegal fires started by vacation renters over the past several months. The letter also claimed the Fire Department was not doing its job. After reading the lengthy disparaging letter, Nearhoof read the corresponding letter Langmaid sent to the resident. Nearhoof thanked Langmaid for responding in a professional manner and for explaining the situation carefully to the angry, concerned resident.
Langmaid said the following:
• Although the Fire Department responded to the rental property on multiple occasions to ensure the fires were extinguished, request compliance of burn restrictions by posting signage to inform the renters, the authority to issue a citation and impose fines is currently the direct responsibility and the sole discretion of the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office (EPCSO) deputy patrol officer.
• Vacation renters from out of town are typically unaware of the extreme regional fire danger, the dry fuels, and the potential for a large wildland forest fire.
• The EPCSO has since instructed the vacation rental property owner to post signs stating that recreational fires are prohibited on the property.
• The district staff has been instructed not to issue recreational fire permits to vacation rental properties, and the district is working on compiling a list of vacation rental property locations.
• The EPCSO is working to solve the problem of illegal recreational fires at vacation rental properties, and they met with the rental property owner to ensure signage is posted on the door prohibiting recreational fires.
• EPCSO has instructed its deputy patrol officers to issue citations if vacation renters fail to comply.
Langmaid also said in response to concerns of the board directors and residents:
• Black Forest usually has stronger fire restrictions than the rest of the county with the exception of Tri-Lakes, but Black Forest has fewer resources.
• The permanent residents of Black Forest are very compliant with the fire restrictions and permitting laws, it is the out-of-town vacation renters that pose the greatest wildfire risk to the community.
• Fire permits are free and available from the Fire Department when fire stage restrictions allow.
• Any property owners will be legally, criminally, or civilly responsible if a fire should leave their property.
• For current fire restrictions, rules, regulations and permits information, visit www.bffire.org.
Vice Chairman Nate Dowden thanked Langmaid and said, "It was a job well done."
"The Sheriff’s Office did a good job," said Langmaid.
Langmaid said that recently, members of the public had called the administration office after hours and a non-emergency Sheriff’s Office to gain assistance for a motor vehicle accident on Burgess Road. In the case of an emergency, dial 9-1-1, said Langmaid.
Langmaid said he and the district accountants had looked over the financial report and everything appeared to be in order, and according to Hinton the total district assets at the end of January were about $1.7 million, and out of that, $560,000 will be used for operating funds until the first installment of property tax revenue is received on March 10. The transactions for January were reviewed by Hinton, and due to the spending moratorium imposed since November 2021, there was nothing remarkable to report, said Langmaid.
The board accepted the financial report as presented, 4-0.
Revenue and expenses
Langmaid said revenue and expenses as of Jan. 31 were as follows:
• Ambulance revenue was $33,299, and that fluctuates monthly depending on whether ambulance bills are paid.
• The district received $9,325 in Wildland deployment revenue, $4,216 in COVID-19 grant revenue, and $84,740 in combined county tax revenue (includes specific ownership and property taxes).
• The district paid $57,891 for workers compensation in January.
2022 mill levy—neighbor comparisons
Langmaid said BFFRPD has the lowest property tax mill levy at 14.5 mills in comparison to its neighboring districts, and the comparison information will be posted at www.bffire.org.
Note: Donald Wescott Fire Protection District (DWFPD) (northern sub-district) is set at 14.9 mills, and those residents currently pay 21.90 mills (which includes the 7 mills set for the residents in the southern enclave), Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD) is set at 18.4 mills, and Falcon Fire Protection District (FFPD) is set at 14.886 mills. The current BFFRPD mill levy was set for 2021.
Langmaid said he and Hinton had met with the 1st Bank president to discuss a loan for $357,000 to pay for the remaining balance on the Pierce Enforcer Pumper/Type 1 Engine. The apparatus is due to be delivered in May. See www.ocn.me/v21n5.htm#bffrpd.
Langmaid said the relocation and reorganization of TLMFPD and DWFPD has the district examining the need for a ladder truck and a tender. Although no action was requested, the board received a document that listed several proposed ladder truck options, and he said:
• The figures for a future ladder truck were discussed during the 1st Bank meeting, and a five- or 10-year loan at a 3.15% fixed rate was available, based on the current trends.
• Hinton had suggested an initial down payment of $500,000 on the purchase of a new ladder truck, rather than a loan for the full $1.5 million.
• In January, TLMFPD ordered a new ladder for about $1.6 million, and the Colorado Springs Fire Department ordered an almost identical ladder truck for about $1.5 million (similar to the one the district is hoping to purchase).
• The cost of apparatus is becoming outrageous, and planning accordingly to be fiscally responsible will avoid missing the opportunity to lock in a price before the next cost increase.
• A 6% manufacturing cost increase occurred at the end of January.
Note: The board approved the purchase of a 2,000-gallon Pierce commercial cab tender in February for a total of about $360,000. The tender will likely take 18-24 months to build. See www.ocn.me/v22n2.htm#bffrpd.
Langmaid said the following:
• In January, the district responded to 19 fire calls and 73 Emergency Medical Service (EMS) calls, up 62% for 2022 (EMS calls were up 58% at the same time in 2021).
• Personnel completed over 1,000 hours of training in January, and FFPD trained with BFFRPD on auto stabilization.
• All four of the Flying Horse North development meetings were attended by district staff.
• A team of three personnel with a Type 3 engine returned to the Marshall Fire in Boulder County for an additional five days in early January.
Langmaid said the nine staff members who were sick in January due to COVID-19 had returned to work, and now the district is heading in the right direction, not only as a department but also as a community.
Langmaid said the following:
• The merger between TLMFPD and DWFPD is moving along, and the combined district plans to put a third ambulance in service at Station 5 (formerly "Shamrock" Station 2) on Highway 83/Stage Coach Road.
• The combined district needs more staffing, and they are looking at response timelines.
• TLM/DWFPD have also seen a significant increases in EMS calls for service in 2022.
• Until Station 5 reopens, Black Forest will be impacted without a second tender available. See the DWFPD article on page 11 and the TLMFPD article on page 1.
Station 2 update
Langmaid said the retaining wall along the exterior stairs at Station 2 is now completed, and some landscaping and drainage will need to be corrected. The parking lot and the locker rooms have yet to be completed. The district is waiting to see what the Flying Horse North developer’s plans are for a future fire station before a commitment is made for a full renovation of Station 2, said Langmaid. See www.ocn.me/v22n2.htm#bffrpd.
The meeting adjourned at 7:54 p.m.
Meetings are usually held on the third Wednesday of every month at Station 1, 11445 Teachout Road, Colorado Springs. Meetings are open to the public via Zoom until further notice. The next regular meeting is scheduled for March 16 at 7 p.m. For joining instructions, updates, agendas, and minutes, visit www.bffire.org or contact the Administrative Officer Rachel Dunn at email@example.com or call 719-495-4300.
Natalie Barszcz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Allison Robenstein
During the Feb. 7 Monument Board of Trustees meeting, a remote participation policy was approved despite continued issues with microphones that have left virtual participants unable to hear throughout numerous board meetings.
Remote participation for board members
Town Attorney Joseph Rivera explained that the intent of the remote participation policy for the board is to ensure everyone can participate meaningfully. The request was approved 6-1 with Trustee Darcy Schoening voting against.
Oaths of office for Monument police
Chief Sean Hemingway introduced two new police officers and promoted another. Hemingway said newly promoted Sgt. Michael Case joined Monument police in 2012 and has served as patrol officer, trainer, and training coordinator. Maxwelle Ellis retired from the U.S. Army, receiving awards for his work fighting the global war on terrorism. Cory Yarborough also served in U.S. Army and holds a degree in criminal justice.
Terri Hayes recognized for work on ballot issue 2F
Terri Hayes, president and CEO of the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development, and Visitor Center was recognized by Hemingway for being an ambassador to the community and advisor to the Police Department. She was particularly helpful in guiding the 2F Issue Committee, rallying community support for the ballot issue, and for educating voters.
The final plat for QuikTrip was approved despite Schoening voting against the request. The request was heard at the Planning Commission’s Jan. 12 meeting. See Vol. 22 No. 2 - February 5, 2022 (ocn.me). According to the planning meeting, QuikTrip will build an 8,000-square-foot store in the Falcon Commerce Center. The convenience store and gas station is known for offering made-to-order food. Charitable donations are part of the organization’s mission. Additionally, QuikTrips are registered as Safe Places.
Planning Director Meggan Herington explained that the Planning Commission had put some conditions on approval that were impossible to meet. Specifically, Herington said that despite a traffic study showing the future need for a traffic signal now, CDOT will not put one in until the actual traffic patterns show the need.
One member of the public spoke against approval of this request, saying his own traffic study showed the need for a signal now.
Monument Junction West moves forward
The preliminary/final plat for Monument Junction West Filing No. 1 was approved. Doug Stimple, CEO of Classic Homes, urged the board to pass this request because his team needs to begin building the new development’s infrastructure. The town approved Classic Homes to begin grading.
Resident Kenneth Kimple asked the board to reject the request, saying, "Do not put the cart before the horse." He was referring to the need to widen Jackson Creek Parkway before development begins. Kimple said the final plat cannot impede the orderly growth of infrastructure.
When Stimple said Classic Homes would just develop the roadway, it became apparent the request would go through.
The meeting adjourned at 9:18 pm.
Caption: Chief Sean Hemingway of the Monument Police Department, along with Mayor Don Wilson and Town Manager Mike Foreman, recognized Terri Hayes of the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce for her efforts to help pass the 2F ballot issue sales tax measure to increase the police budget by $1.6 million. Photo by Jackie Burhans.
Allison Robenstein can be reached at email@example.com.
By Kate Pangelinan
The Monument Planning Commission (MPC) spent the bulk of its Feb. 9 meeting considering two public hearing points: a new Preliminary PUD Plan for Phases 2 and 3 of the Conexus development and a proposal for the annexation and zoning of Limbach Park. Both of these proposals were approved for recommendation to the Board of Trustees (BOT.)
Notably, near the end of the meeting, it was announced that this was Vice Chair Sean White’s final MPC meeting. Cathy Green, Sean Zernickow, and Ray Egley will be appointed regular Planning Commission members in March, and Tony Peck will be appointed as an alternate commissioner. It must also be determined who will take on White’s position as vice chair of the MPC. Currently, two commissioners—Martin Trujillo and Daniel Ours—have served long enough to be qualified. Someone will have to be chosen to represent the MPC on the Board of Adjustment as well, as that role has been filled by White.
White expressed that it was an "honor" to have served on the MPC; he was then thanked for his insight and service.
Conexus Phases 2 and 3 Preliminary PUD Plan
Some facts about the Conexus proposal according to presentations by Planning Director Meggan Herington and a gathering of representatives standing for the applicant, along with the meeting packet available online:
• The property involved is composed of 145 acres on the east side of Old Denver Road west of Highway I-25. It is expected to feature four development areas—Commercial/Civic/Office, Industrial, Medium Density Residential (six to 10 du/ac), and High Density Residential (12-21 du/ac)—along with open space and detention areas. "Du/ac" refers to dwelling units per acre. Maps are available in the meeting packet online and can be seen in the recorded presentations. It was stated that a goal of this project is to provide Monument with "accessible," "market-rate housing."
• A great deal of citizen input contributed to the current design of this project. Three meetings were held to discuss concerns, gathering 15-20 citizens from a community to then take information back to their neighbors. These meetings were held first after the submittal of a Final PD Site Plan for the project, and then after planning staff released a letter reviewing that proposal, and then before the PC’s Feb. 9 public hearing. This new Preliminary PUD Plan was submitted in November 2021.
• Seeing that the original Final PD Site Plan was negatively received by the public, steps were taken to address specific citizen concerns—for example, understanding that citizens would prefer more residential land use rather than non-residential land use on this property led to an increase in the expected number of residential homes (465 to 631) and a decrease in the amount of land set aside for non-residential use (1 million square feet to 830,000 square feet.) Also, upon hearing that the citizenry was interested in seeing more parks around the area, parks are now listed as an allowed use in every category.
• There has been controversy surrounding the project’s planned redirection of Old Denver Road, as well as the approved crossings of the Santa Fe Trail. Plans for Old Denver Road were explained at the meeting. As stated in the meeting packet, "Old Denver Road will be realigned, shifting a section of the road east through the development and away from the existing neighborhood. Individual access driveways or streets connecting to the new Old Denver Road will serve the development.… The remaining portion of the existing Old Denver Road will eventually be renamed and reclassified as a local road serving only the residential area to the west. With reclassification, speed limits would be reduced on that section."
• Also, instead of the previously-agreed-upon three access points crossing the Santa Fe Regional Trail, there are expected to be two.
• The Town of Monument won’t need to contribute any water to these projects: Triview Metropolitan District will provide water and sanitary sewer services along with maintaining Old Denver Road.
• Not all people representing the applicant presented at this meeting, but all were available to answer questions. As listed in the presentation, those in attendance were: Applicant/Owner: Conexus LLC, Steve Schuck, Brock Chapman, Mike DeGrant, Steve Everson, Land planner: Andrea Barlow of N.E.S. Inc., traffic consultant: Kirstin Ferrin of LSC Transportation Consultants, legal representatives: Carolynne White and Angela Hygh of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck LLP.
Former MPC member Steve King spoke during the designated Public Comment period, stating that the MPC has a "good leader" in Chairman Chris Wilhelmi, and a good planning director in Meggan Herington. King identified himself as "one of the citizens who led the charge" against the previous proposed Conexus development and that "we’ve come a long way since then." He said he was "grateful" for this, and that he’d submitted a letter detailing why he is now supporting the amended Conexus development submission.
Before the MPC voted, Commissioner Ours noted that he was impressed by the planning work done with this proposal on the part of the planning director, applicant, and citizenry.
In the end, the Conexus Phases 2 and 3 Preliminary PUD Site Plan was unanimously approved for recommendation to the BOT with the condition that "The final details of the New Santa Fe Regional Trail alignment and proposed crossings of Old Denver Road will be addressed with the final design of the Old Denver Road realignment and will be subject to approval by El Paso County Community Services Department."
Limbach Park annexation and zoning
Some facts about this proposal, according to a presentation by Planning Director Meggan Herington:
• This is being done because current town staff has been unable to find any evidence of Limbach Park ever being annexed.
• The 1.48 acres involved were deeded to the Town of Monument by the Union Pacific Railroad Co. in 2005.
The goal now is to zone this property "P" for "Public," and officially annex it into the Town of Monument. Commissioner Cathy Green spoke about how she was there to sign the papers when this property was deeded to the town, saying that everyone at the time thought this land was part of Monument already and there was therefore no attempt to see it annexed.
A vote to recommend this proposal was approved unanimously, 7-0.
Traffic signal discussion
Herington explained that the QuikTrip convenience store and fuel station proposal was recently approved by the BOT, and that its approval involved conversation about the traffic signal to be built at Terrazzo Drive. The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has decided that this signal will not become warranted upon the opening of the store—rather, it will be warranted when enough physical trips are generated. Representatives from CDOT are expected to speak to the BOT on March 7 and answer questions about this.
Information and relevant links
• The town’s planning staff posts explanatory packets, agendas, and meeting minutes on this website: www.monumenttownco.documents-on-demand.com.
• Many PC meetings are available to watch in their entirety on the town’s YouTube page at www.youtube.com/channel/UCdFLo8UcqZfFdkio5jT6GDA. Citizens may find it easier to search for "Town of Monument" or "Monument Planning Commission" in YouTube’s search bar.
• According to the town’s website, planning staff can be contacted by calling 719-481-2954 or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The next PC meeting is expected to be held on March 9 at 6 p.m. in the Monument Town Hall. There is also a Board of Adjustments meeting scheduled for March 14 at 6 p.m.
Kate Pangelinan can be reached at email@example.com.
By Allison Robenstein
The Monument Board of Trustees approved a planned development for Conexus and the service plan during its Feb. 22 meeting.
Conexus plan takes steps forward
Planned unit development plans for the 145-acre Conexus development were approved by the board. The site, which will include light industrial, commercial, and residential uses was previously approved under the older Land Development Code. This request is simply following the new code to ensure the legality of the development plans.
An interesting note to these plans is the realignment of Old Denver Highway. It will shift to the east so that it travels through the new development and away from the Santa Fe trail, requiring only two trail crossings. According to the board packet, "The final details of the New Santa Fe Regional Trail alignment and proposed crossings of Old Denver Road will be addressed with the final design of the Old Denver Road realignment and will be subject to approval by El Paso County Community Services Department."
The request was approved.
Conexus metropolitan districts’ service plan approved
The service plan for Conexus metropolitan districts 1 and 2 were approved. The residential and commercial districts are separate. According to the board packet, the service plan will "provide property tax-based public improvement financing and services for the Conexus project east of Old Denver Highway. The district area encompasses 164 acres; the commercial district being 137.5 acres and the residential district being 26.27 acres."
Despite two different districts, the proposed mill levy for commercial and residential property owners is 35 mills with 30 mills for debt service and 5 mills for ongoing maintenance. With all the other mills property owners will pay, this totals 98.545 mills per property. The other mills levied include:
• El Paso County, 7.120 mills
• EPC Road & Bridge Share, 0.165 mills
• Town of Monument, 5.750 mills
• EPC-Monument Road & Bridge Share, 0.165 mills
• Lewis-Palmer School District 38, 39.455 mills
• Pikes Peak Library District, 3.490 mills
• Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection, 18.400 mills
• Triview Metropolitan District, 24.000 mills
The request was approved by the board.
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 Monday, March 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
By James Howald and Jackie Burhans
At its first meeting in February, the Palmer Lake Board of Trustees (PLBOT) returned to a discussion of a request to de-annex 162 acres from the town that first came before the board at its Jan. 13 meeting. Both meetings saw votes on administrative and housekeeping resolutions. The board heard operational reports at both meetings, and the Feb. 24 meeting ended with an executive session.
Public hearing and debate on de-annexation request
The Feb. 10 meeting opened with a public hearing on the United Congregational Church’s outstanding request to de-annex its property east of the lake and south of County Line Road from the town and to make it part of unincorporated El Paso County. There were no comments from residents.
The board discussed the request, considering whether they should facilitate the request or require the church to resolve its request in court.
Trustee Karen Stuth asked if there was any advantage to the town in agreeing to the request and what the church hoped to gain through de-annexation. Town Administrator Dawn Collins answered that she saw no advantage to the town, and she believed the request was prompted by a desire on the church’s part to retain the water rights accompanying the property, which would belong to the town if the property was developed and the town provided water service.
Trustee Glant Havenar pointed out that if the de-annexation went forward, the town would be required to provide police and fire service to any residences built on the property, but the residences would not be taxed by the town.
Collins told the board that the town had asked the church to reconsider its request.
Mayor Bill Bass pointed out that its was unlikely the town could prevent de-annexation in court. Town Attorney Matt Krob declined to estimate the cost of opposing the request in court.
Following the board’s discussion, Bass closed the public hearing.
Later in the meeting the board took up Ordinance 1-2022, which addresses the church’s request and states: "The Board of Trustees is of the opinion that the best interests of the municipality will not be prejudiced by the disconnection of the Property . . . from the Town. Therefore, the Property is hereby disconnected from the Town." Only Bass voted in favor of the ordinance. Trustees Nicole Currier, Jessica Farr, Glant Havenar and Stuth voted no. Trustees Samantha Padgett and Darin Dawson were not present and did not vote.
Resolutions and ordinances address appointments and fees
The board voted in favor of several resolutions making appointments to boards and commissions:
• Resolution 6-2022 re-appoints Shana Ball and appoints Martha Brodzik and Susan Miner to the Planning Commission.
• Resolution 7-2022 re-appoints Ande Furrer and Reid Wiecks to the Parks Commission.
• Resolution 8-2022 re-appoints Ed Kinney, Bob Miner, and Michael Richards to two-year terms and re-appoints Glant Havenar to a one-year term, on the Board of Adjustments.
• Resolution 9-2022 appoints Nikki McDonald to the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments Citizens Advisory Committee.
• Resolution 10-2022 adopts the Master Fee Schedule discussed in previous meetings.
• Resolution 11-2022 authorizes a lease agreement with the Pikes Peak Library District allowing the library district to open a branch in Palmer Lake.
• Resolution 12-2022 adopts a Section 125 Plan Document that gives town employees choices relative to health care coverage.
• Resolution 13-2022 appoints Mayor Bill Bass to a one-year term on Pikes Peak Regional Building Department Advisory Board.
• Resolution 14-2022 appoints Trustee Nicole Currier to a one-year term on Awake the Lake.
• Resolution 15-2022 allows town employees to donate leave time to each other.
• Resolution 16-2022 approves a drug-free workplace policy.
• Resolution 17-2022 authorizes an agreement with Coast Professional Inc. to provide debt collection services for the town.
• Ordinance 2-2022 amends the municipal code to require a business license for businesses physically located in or conducting business in the town.
• Ordinance 3-2022 amends a section of the municipal code to align the code with El Paso County standards for roads.
• Ordinance 4-2022 revises the municipal code to define a lodging fee for short-term rentals.
• Ordinance 5-2022 prohibits parking on Walnut Avenue and Lovers Lane.
Highlights of operation reports
• Fire Chief Christopher McCarthy told the board fire mitigation work near the reservoirs was being planned and would require portions of the trail to be widened. McCarthy also said the department had purchased $40,000 worth of breathing equipment and would participate in a program to provide in-home COVID-19 tests.
• Collins told the board the library ramp was finished, and she expected the library branch to open March 2.
• Collins also mentioned the interior painting and restroom at the Town Hall were finished and she expected the building to be available for events by April.
• Collins asked the board to authorize her to put together a committee to write grants for the town.
• A parking kiosk at the reservoir trailhead is installed and working, Collins said.
• All equipment has been removed from the Fletcher Drilling property.
The meeting ended with an executive session to discuss a possible annexation.
See the town’s website at www.townofpalmerlake.com to confirm times, dates, and locations of board meetings and workshops. While the Town Hall is being repaired, evening meetings will be held at the Palmer Lake Elementary School Library at 115 Upper Glenway, and daytime meetings will be held at Tri-Lakes Chamber Community Meeting House at 300 Highway 105. Meeting times may change. Meetings are typically held on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month. Information: 481-2953.
James Howald can be reached at email@example.com.
Jackie Burhans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Natalie Barszcz
The Forest Lakes Metropolitan District (FLMD) and the Pinon Pines Metropolitan Districts (PPMD) 2 and 3 combined boards met via teleconference for a "special meeting" on Feb. 7 to approve a contract for an emergency interconnection and approve an independent engineering report for the public infrastructure in the Falcon Commerce Center.
Treasurer Douglas Stimple was excused.
The board approved the minutes from the Dec. 6 meeting, 3-0.
Emergency interconnection contract
District Manager Ann Nichols requested the board approve a contract for Global Underground Corp. to install an emergency water interconnection with the Town of Monument (TOM), and said:
• FLMD has been working on the emergency interconnect for months with the TOM.
• The developer of Willow Springs Ranch did a lot of work because they needed water.
• There is an Intergovernmental Agreement with the TOM, and the total cost of $73,800 will be split 50/50.
• FLMD will bill the TOM for its half of the cost.
The board approved the bid and delegated Nichols to sign the notices to proceed with the contract, 3-0.
RE Tech engineer report
Nichols requested the board approve the RE Tech independent engineer report for the Falcon Commerce Center Phase 1 installation of public infrastructure.
District Counsel Russell A. Dykstra of Spencer Fane LLP said the report had been reviewed, and he recommended the board approve the certification.
The board approved the report, 3-0.
Tom Blunk of CP Real Estate Capital, representing Forest Lakes LLC and Forest Lakes Residential Development, said he appreciated the board meeting at short notice to approve the items.
The meeting adjourned at 4:13 p.m.
The meetings of FLMD and PPMD 1, 2, and 3 are usually held quarterly or when necessary, on the first Monday of the month at 4 p.m. Until further notice, meetings will be held via teleconference due to COVID-19 distancing protocols. Meeting notices are posted at https://forestlakesmetrodistrict.com. For general questions, contact Ann Nichols at 719-327-5810, email@example.com.
Natalie Barszcz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.Board amends sick leave policy
By James Howald
At its Feb. 14 meeting, the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD) board aligned its personnel policies with a state law recently revised in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. District Manager Jessie Shaffer said he had requested confirmation from the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility (TLWWTF) Joint Use Committee (JUC) that it would continue to accept radium-tainted backwash wastewater from WWSD treatment facilities. The board heard operational reports. The meeting ended with an executive session.
State law requires additional sick leave
Shaffer told the board a state law, SB 20-205, had become effective on Jan. 1, requiring WWSD and other employers to provide 80 hours of emergency sick leave to employees in addition to any accumulated sick leave they had already earned and required the district to change how regular sick leave is accumulated.
The 80 additional hours of sick leave are provided once per public health emergency, he said, adding COVID gave rise to the only public health emergency declared in the last 100 years. The additional hours of sick leave must be used for COVID-related quarantining, diagnosis, preventive care, treatment, or to care for a family member with COVID.
Shaffer said district employees currently accrue sick leave at the rate of four hours per month up to maximum of 48 hours per year.
District Attorney Erin Smith said the 80 additional hours of sick leave are intended to address the situation where an employee has not yet accumulated enough hours of sick leave to quarantine, if required, without sacrificing financially. She added the state law requires sick leave to accumulate at the rate of five hours and 20 minutes per month, slightly faster than the rate WWSD currently specifies. The yearly limit remains unchanged, she said.
Smith explained that when an employee requires sick leave, hours normally accumulated would be used before the 80 additional hours.
In response to a question from Director Tom Roddam, Shaffer said unused sick leave was paid out when the employee leaves the district. Employees are also paid each year for any hours they have accrued above the maximum. Shaffer said employees would not be reimbursed if any of the 80 additional hours go unused.
President Brian Bush said he wanted to make it clear to employees they should stay home if they are sick but that district policy should provide a financial incentive for employees not to use unneeded sick leave.
The board voted unanimously to approve Resolution 22-04, which brings district policy into line with state law.
Radium in backwash raises concerns
Shaffer told the board he had requested that the JUC, which operates the TLWWTF, document its willingness to receive backwash wastewater from WWSD treatment plants. This water is produced when treatment plant filters are cleaned and contains particulates that include radium. Shaffer said backwash was regulated by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) standard for wastewater. It leaves the treatment plant and goes to the TLWWTF where it is treated to remove particulates, biosolids, and radium.
Shaffer explained that the water WWSD delivers to customers is treated to remove iron and manganese, and this treatment also removes some of the radium present.
Shaffer said WWSD’s backwash wastewater contains enough radium that CDPHE requires the district to demonstrate that it can keep the radium level stable over time. CDPHE also requires the entity that receives WWSD’s wastewater, in this case TLWWTF, document its willingness to receive the wastewater.
Shaffer concluded by saying there was no cause for concern at this time, and the JUC would continue to monitor radium levels
Highlights of operational reports
• Shaffer mentioned SB22-114 Fire Suppression Ponds Water Rights, a bill under consideration in the state Legislature, that could allow Woodmoor Lake to be used as a source of water to fight fires.
• The Central Water Treatment Plant upgrade project is almost complete and was expected to undergo final testing during the week of Feb. 28.
• The Lake Pump Station construction is on track to complete by the beginning of June.
• The refilling of Woodmoor Lake is ahead of schedule, with 112 acre-feet currently stored.
• The bidding package for an additional well is being prepared and should be published in late February.
• The Cloverleaf development, being built on a portion of the land previously known as the Walters property, purchased supplemental water service.
• The Monument Junction West development, which will host commercial properties and apartments, is expected to request supplemental water service in March.
The regular meeting adjourned to an executive session to discuss real property issues, negotiations, and to get legal advice concerning an agreement between WWSD, the Town of Monument, Donala Water and Sanitation District, and Cherokee Metro District.
The next meeting is scheduled for March 14 at 1 p.m. Meetings are usually held on the second Monday of each month at 1 p.m. at the district office at 1845 Woodmoor Drive; please see www.woodmoorwater.com or call 488-2525 to verify meeting times and locations.
James Howald can be reached at email@example.com.
By Jackie Burhans and James Howald
At its February meeting, the Monument Sanitation Department (MSD) board signed a letter of engagement with a new auditor and heard an update on the North Monument Creek Interceptor project (NMCI). The board discussed ways to improve the snow removal at the district’s headquarters building. Representatives were appointed to the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility Joint Use Committee (JUC). The meeting ended with an executive session.
Olsen Reyes & Sauerwein selected as auditor
Accounts Administrator Cheran Allsup recommended the board hire Olsen Reyes & Sauerwein to replace the district’s current auditor. Derek Watada, a certified public accountant with the company, had worked on the district’s audits for six years, Allsup said. The board voted unanimously to authorize Chairman Dan Hamilton to sign the letter of engagement with the company.
District Manager Mark Parker told the board that a proposed lift station, which Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) has required as part of the new Air Force Academy Visitor Center, has come before the Upper Monument Water Quality Management Association for approval. Parker represents MSD on the association, he said, along with the district managers of several nearby water and sanitation districts. Parker said the construction of the lift center, estimated at $3 million, might discourage participation in the proposed NMCI project, which was originally proposed as a means of treating wastewater from the Visitor Center.
Snow removal issue considered
Board Secretary Marylee Reisig, who, in addition to serving on the board, is the owner of Santa Fe Trail Jewelry, a shop in the district’s building, mentioned that the entrance to her business was left dangerously icy by the current snow removal process. Snow from the building’s courtyard and sidewalk was piled on Second Street, blocking a drain, and when the snow melted it pooled and froze, making the entrance to her business dangerous.
Hamilton recommended a sidewalk ice warmer, which he believed could keep the drain open and prevent the melted snow from refreezing. Parker said he would look into the solution.
Representatives to JUC appointed
Director John Howe was appointed to serve as MSD’s representative to the JUC, which manages the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility. Director Laura Kronick was appointed as an alternate representative.
Executive session held
After the regular board meeting adjourned, an executive session was held to develop strategies for negotiations. Following the executive session, the board reconvened and voted to engage a new law firm to replace Fritsche Law LLC. The new firm will be identified once it is notified by the board.
Monument Sanitation District meetings are normally held at 9 a.m. on the third Wednesday of the month in the district conference room at 130 Second St., Monument. The next regular meeting is scheduled for Mar. 16 at 9 a.m. See https://colorado.gov/msd. For a district service map, see https://colorado.gov/pacific/msd/district-map-0. Information: 719-481-4886.
Jackie Burhans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
James Howald can be reached at email@example.com.
By Jackie Burhans
The Triview Metropolitan Board of Directors held its regular meeting on Feb. 17 to re-authorize amended water leases, approve a loan, and quitclaim unwanted property. District staffers reported on their respective activities and progress.
The Feb. 17 agenda and packet may be accessed via https://triviewmetro.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/Triview-Board-Packet-for-2.17.2022-1.pdf
Triview is a Title 32 special district in Monument that provides road, park, and open space maintenance as well as water, stormwater, and wastewater services to Jackson Creek, Promontory Pointe, Sanctuary Pointe, and several commercial areas.
Water leases amended
At the January meeting, the Triview board approved three lease agreements with the Arkansas Groundwater and Reservoir Association (AGRA) to provide revenue for excess water supply that Triview had acquired but could not yet use. See https://www.ocn.me/v22n2.htm#tvmd.
Water attorney Chris Cummins explained that while he thought AGRA had agreed to the terms of the leases, he received pushback on the final agreement. He noted that, in a typical year, AGRA has access to a lot of cheap water which would allow it to pay market price for the water Triview has available. This year it does not have that access and at the previously board-approved pricing would have taken a substantial loss for every acre-foot it purchased. Since Triview has a limited market, Cummins said, it reduced the price to something AGRA could afford and made other small tweaks to the agreement.
Cummins noted that the leases of water from Triview’s Excelsior ditch shares and its Fountain Mutual Irrigation Co. (FMIC) portfolio are annually renewable one-year leases. Like all Triview’s leases, he said, they are interruptible in case the district’s needs increase.
The board unanimously approved the three amended lease agreements and authorized district General Manager Jim McGrady to sign them.
McGrady reported that the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) approved a loan to Triview of $4.78 million at an interest rate not to exceed 2.05% for a 30-year note. The debt service, he said, would be close to a flat $220,000 per year. Resolution 2022-01 would authorize acceptance of the loan and the execution and delivery of related documents.
This resolution would be the board’s opportunity to approve going ahead and working through the final loan agreement document, McGrady said. The loan would reimburse the district for monies already spent or planned for 2022, including a pipeline expected to be completed in May 2022. This money could be used for the central reservoir or the Northern Delivery System (NDS). He noted that there was no penalty for paying back the loan early, but he would prioritize paying back higher interest loans first.
The board unanimously approved the resolution.
Quitclaim of unwanted property
Cummins explained that a 4.5-acre piece of land, unintentionally granted to Triview as part of its Stonewall purchase, was a piece of property it never meant to own. He requested the board authorize the district manager to sign a quitclaim deed transferring the property to Pueblo Phase III LLC, saying that the situation was causing them headaches getting bonds released. He noted that Pueblo was correcting its assessor map, but that this piece of land was not supposed to be part of Triview’s property. The board unanimously approved the request.
Additional topics of interest
• In his report, Water Superintendent Shawn Sexton reported on the Forest Lakes Metropolitan (FLMD) transition. In December 2021, Triview agreed to provide operations, maintenance, and administrative services on behalf of FLMD. See https://www.ocn.me/v22n1.htm#tvmd. Sexton said Triview likes to run things a certain way and was handling those changes. He also said transferring the supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system was one of the biggest projects. McGrady explained that FLMD’s current SCADA system was closely integrated with that of the Donala Water and Sanitation District but that Triview had decided to keep its SCADA system separate. He also said Triview was catching up on deferred maintenance at FLMD and dealing with a knocked-over fire hydrant and a new tank coming online.
• Parks and Open Space Superintendent Matt Rayno reported on planning for spring fertilization and weed control, preparing equipment needed for the coming summer season, and working on replacing and upgrading signs. Rayno also said he got a $7,000 quote from a contractor who has the right equipment to do fire mitigation work on 5 acres of scrub near the plant at St. Norman Way. The plan is to make a buffer along the split-rail fence, clear out a drainage wale, and minimize the scrub oak patches, he said, noting that it had been a while and that after the Marshall Fire he felt it wise to be proactive. McGrady noted that the Fire Department and the town are very interested in fire mitigation and that if the metro district were to lose a lot of homes it could affect its assessed valuation and therefore its ability to pay off its debt service. The cost, said McGrady, is peanuts compared to what the district could lose.
• McGrady, in his district manager monthly report, said he had attended his first FMIC board meeting since he was elected to it in January. There is a lot of interest in Triview, he said. He also reported attending the Jan. 29 Northern El Paso County Coalition of Community Organizations (NEPCO) meeting to speak about the proposed NDS. He said Triview has gotten a lot of input from residents that it is digesting and making changes to alignments and the structure of the project. He said he hoped to come back to the board at the next meeting in executive session to talk about costs and contract negotiations. He hoped to have a final meeting with the public toward the end of March or early April to discuss the final plan. It could be a virtual meeting or an in-person meeting if he could find the right venue.
The board went into executive session to discuss the district manager’s contract, revisions to the personnel policy and procedure manual regarding vacation carryover, and negotiations regarding the NDS.
Triview board meetings are generally held on the third Thursday of the month. The next meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Mar. 17. The district office is located at 16055 Old Forest Point, Suite 302. Check the district’s website, https://triviewmetro.com, or call 719-488-6868 for meeting updates. See also "Triview Metropolitan District" on Facebook or Twitter.com/@TriviewMetro.
Jackie Burhans can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By James Howald and Jackie Burhans
At its February meeting, the Donala Water and Sanitation District (DWSD) board approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with three other water districts authorizing DWSD to proceed with a water reuse project. The board approved a bid to drill a new well. The board heard operational reports and the meeting ended with an executive session.
MOU signed to move water north to DWSD
General Manager Jeff Hodge told the board that the project informally known as the "County Loop" would divert water from Fountain Creek and convey it north, through a pipeline yet to be constructed, to customers in four water districts: Cherokee Metro District (CMD), DWSD, Woodmoor Water and Sanitation (WWSD) and the Town of Monument (TOM). The project is still in the planning stages, he said, and different routes for the pipeline and different storage locations are being studied. The MOU allows the four water districts to seek funding together, and to jointly engage consultants, engineers, grant writers, land acquisition counsel, and attorneys.
Hodge said that the MOU was a first step that could lead to an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA), which would be required to obtain funding from the American Recovery Plan Act. Board President Ed Houle pointed out that the MOU does not commit the district to proceed with the project after engineering studies are complete.
Hodge told the board he had proposed to Triview Metro District that it join the County Loop project, but he thought it was committed to a water reuse project of its own, known as the Northern Delivery System.
Materials in the packet presented to the board, from Forsgren Associates Inc., outlined two paths for the largest portion of the pipeline: Both are adjacent to Marksheffel Road, but differ in the point of diversion of water from Fountain Creek. Beginning just south of Stetson Hills Boulevard, the pipeline would continue north adjacent to Vollmer Road. The final portion of the pipeline would run west adjacent to Hodgen Road and then to Higby Road.
Hodge said the WWSD board had already signed the MOU and he expected CMD and TOM to sign by March 7.
The board voted unanimously to authorize Hodge to sign the MOU.
Bid accepted to drill new well
Hodge told the board DWSD had received two bids to drill a new well into the Arapahoe aquifer. The well will supply the R. Hull treatment plant. The bids, from Hydro Resources and Layne Christensen Co. (LCC), were both very close to $1.3 million.
Leonard Rice Engineering Inc. (LRE) a consulting firm that frequently advises DWSD, recommended the bid from LCC, arguing that the schedule of completion proposed by LCC was more realistic and that DWSD is currently working with LCC on maintaining some of the district’s other wells. Hodge said he agreed with LRE’s opinion and expected the new well to be completed by August or September and to deliver 400 gallons per minute when in production.
The board voted unanimously to accept LCC’s bid.
Highlights of operational reports
• Hodge told the board that financial reports showed the district was on track and had $11 million in cash on hand.
• Waste Plant Operator Aaron Tolman told the board that semi-trailer trucks were leaving the Pilot Travel Center and parking in front of the entrance to the DWSD’s waste treatment plant, blocking access to the plant, in some cases overnight. The treatment plant gate had been damaged by a truck. Chief Waste Plant Operator Boyett said the trucks were causing safety issues, since emergency vehicles could not reach the treatment plant in case of an injury. He said Monument Police Department needed to address this situation.
An executive session was held to discuss the district’s negotiations with Colorado Springs Utilities for long-term water supply and to receive legal advice on two legal cases.
The next meeting is scheduled for March 17 at 1:30 p.m. Generally, board meetings are held the third Thursday of the month and include online access; 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.
By John Rickman
The Tri-Lakes United Methodist Church Emergency Preparedness Group (TLUMC EPG) is a 2020 national award winner in the wildfire mitigation arena and has conducted numerous risk reduction projects. Following up on last year’s successful program that trained 45 personnel in 16 neighborhoods in Colorado, Montana, and Oregon, the EPG is once again presenting the free course to share their experiences gained through training Neighborhood Ambassadors. What is a Neighborhood Ambassador? It is simply someone who desires to organize their neighbors to implement risk reduction projects in their own neighborhoods.
Neighborhood Ambassador training started with a virtual kick-off meeting on Feb. 26 and then an Organizing a Neighborhood Project meeting on March 1. (Recordings of those meetings are available.)
The program consists of a Zoom training module each week for eight weeks in March and April and two on-site modules to train group members to perform Wildfire Risk Assessments and train as chipper operators. The virtual modules will cover:
• Tuesday, March 8 (6-7:30 p.m.): Module 2 – Wildfire Assessment Program, How to Protect Your Home’s "Ignition Zone" Against Flying Embers
• March 15 (6-7:30 p.m.): Module 3 – Wildfire Assessment Program, "Home Hardening" Against Flying Embers
• March 29 (4-6 p.m.): Module 4 – Wildfire Assessment Program, Home Assessment Exercise in person
• April 5 (6-7:30 p.m.): Module 5 – Hazards and Connect with Fire/Forestry Professionals
• April 12 (6-7:30 p.m.): Module 6 – Fire Risk Reduction Project Planning Techniques
• April 19 (6-7:30 p.m.): Module 7 – Neighborhood Prep, Rolling Chipping Days
• April 26 (6-7:30 p.m.): Module 8 – Firewise Vegetation: What can I plant?
• May 3 (6-7:30 p.m.): Module 9 – Wildfire Emergency Preparedness: Ready, Set, Go! and connect with Pikes Peak Regional Office of Emergency Management
• Saturday, May 7 (9 a.m.-noon): Chipper Operations Leader Training in person
• Dates TBD on Saturdays May through September: Neighborhood-led Rolling Chipping Day Projects with EPG Guidance, in person
• Tuesday, Oct. 4 (6-7:30 p.m.): End of Season Review
This training program is being presented in association with the Pikes Peak Regional Office of Emergency Management and Colorado State Forest Service. Instruction adheres to guidelines from the National Firewise program.
Caption: After several months of online training, these local residents were ready to learn how to give a stern safety briefing and run a slash chipper in May 2021. They’re ready to help reduce "ladder fuel" on their private property and around their neighborhood to reduce wildfire risk. A similar free class series has just started for 2022, organized by Tri-Lakes United Methodist Church Emergency Preparedness Group and taught by TLUMC EPG with support from local forestry and fire professionals. Photo by Lisa Hatfield.
Email email@example.com to sign up or get links to recorded sessions. Go to www.tlumc.org/outreach/epg or our Facebook page Wildfire Neighborhood Ambassadors. Call Lisa 719-339-7831 with questions or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jackie Burhans
The Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA) board met on Jan. 23 for its annual meeting to elect new board members, review 2021 accomplishments, state 2022 goals, and recognize good neighbors. The board met on Feb. 23 to reorganize the board positions and update its open fire rules and regulations. President Brian Bush implored residents to store their trash cans after pickup and clean up after their dogs on local streets and common area trails, leveraging the dog waste stations.
Bush kicked off the meeting by noting that the meeting was being held both in-person and by Zoom and that it was being recorded. He invited the audience to ask questions as he presented either in-person or by chat. He noted that the 2021 annual meeting had been canceled but its presentation was on the website and said the 2022 presentation would also be posted. See http://bit.ly/wia-2022-annual.
Bush confirmed that with 862 ballots, a quorum of homeowners was achieved, and the election of new board members could proceed. At the time of the meeting three people had nominated themselves and the League of Women Voters of the Pikes Peak region was scheduled to count the votes and certify the results.
Bush reviewed the mission of WIA to perform covenant and architectural control; maintain and improve common areas; and provide public safety. He introduced the 2021 board members and staff, noting their years of service. Noting that prices for everything have gone up, he said the $8 increase in annual dues to $275 was still a pretty good deal, as many associations charge that much monthly. The main sources of WIA revenue are dues, new construction fees, and rental fees for the Barn and its offices, he said. Bush commended staff for holding down expenses, and coming in under budget, which left a small surplus to be allocated at the next meeting. Major expenses include payroll, common area maintenance and improvement projects, and Woodmoor Public Safety (WPS) operations. Finally, he noted that the board maintains a healthy reserve fund to pay for things that need to be replaced or repaired, with a recent study projecting expense out for 30 years.
WPS services include immediate officer response, vacation checks, crime prevention, traffic control, 24/7 patrol, and interagency support and communication. In 2022, WPS had 12,500 on-duty hours; drove 60,000 miles; completed 9,751 vacation checks, responded to 1,117 calls for service, and more.
Bush reviewed 2021accomplishments:
• New portico roof and new windows in The Barn.
• New trail in The Meadows open space.
• Working on D38 Safe Route to Schools grant.
• Managing the $245,000 matching grant for wildfire mitigation.
• Three chipping days that were free to residents.
• Five $1,000 academic scholarships.
• Common area pond augmentation, picnic table installation, trail improvement, landscaping, mowing, noxious weed spraying, and Firewise mitigation.
For 2022 objectives, Bush highlighted:
• Commitment to fire risk mitigation and updating the community wildfire protection plan.
• Continued development of trails and enforcement of community standards.
• Engagement on proposed donation of Walters property and development of Proterra property.
• Continued digitization of WIA files.
Top covenant violations include trailers on property more than 72 hours, mowing needed, and barking dogs. Many issues are resolved with a friendly email or phone call without requiring a hearing or fines. Top architectural projects were repainting and roof replacement, with 764 total projects of which 73.7% were approved by office staff.
Good neighbor award nominations were submitted for two residents who looked out for their neighbor’s property, brought in packages, and tended plants as needed. A letter and gift card were sent to the two residents.
The meeting ended with a round of questions and answers on topics including regulations for propane fireplaces, short-term rentals, disposal of firewood, size of the association, construction impact, an excess rabbit population, and family events.
At the Feb. 23 meeting, the board provided certified election results which re-elected two members and added a new member. The board re-instated and reorganized to the following roles:
• Brian Bush, President
• Peter Billie, Vice President
• Rick DePaiva, Secretary and Community Outreach
• Connie Brown, Treasurer
• Per Suhr, Architectural Control
• Brad Gleason, Public Safety
• Steve Cutler, Common Areas
• Cindy Thrush, Covenant Control
• Ed Miller, Forestry
Open fire regulation updated
Bush said that a recent covenant hearing revealed that the existing rules on open fires were lacking. Gleason summarized the proposed new wording for section F of the Rules & Regulations document with an expanded section. The new section will clearly define "open fires," which are not allowed in Woodmoor under any circumstances and can result in a $5,000 fine. It will further define "recreational fires," which are allowed under specific conditions, which include the presence of a spark arrestor and may require approval by the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District fire marshal. Recreational fires not permitted during Red Flag warnings and burns must be a minimum distance from combustible structures, must have clearance from combustible vegetation, must be constantly attended by an adult, and must have at least one extinguisher present. The WIA Rules & Regulations document can be found at https://woodmoor.org/governance/ with more details on open fires in Section F of Part I Use of Property. The board unanimously approved a motion to adopt the new rules.
• The board voted unanimously to meet on the fourth Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m. following a 6 p.m. executive session. The November and December meetings will be moved to the week earlier due to holidays.
• The board also set its covenant hearing dates and appointed committee members.
• The board authorized the Architectural Control Committee (ACC) administrator to approve certain projects, handle compliance fee refunds with review, and handle routine change orders for all projects.
• The board authorized the director of forestry to review and approve tree removal requests and Firewise lot evaluations and appoint forestry committee members. Bush thanked Forestry Director Ed Miller for taking over this position given the increased interest due to the mitigation grant and the recent Marshall Fire.
Caption: With Forestry Administrator Matthew Nelson and Architectural Control and Commons Administrator Bob Pearsall (in the foreground) looking on, the new certifiedly Woodmoor Improvement Association board and staff conduct its reorganization meeting. From left: Ed Miller, Director of Forestry; Steve Cutler, Director of Common Areas; Rick DePaiva, Secretary and Director of Community Outreach; Cindy Thrush, Director of Covenants; Peter Bille, Vice President; Brian Bush, President; Per Suhr, Director of Architectural Control; Brad Gleason, Director of Woodmoor Public Safety (WPS); Kevin Nielsen, WPS Chief; Denise Cagliaro, Homeowners Association Administrator. 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 will be on March 23.
Jackie Burhans can be reached at email@example.com.
By Bill Kappel
Winter made its presence known during February as temperatures were well below normal for the month and snowfall was above normal. The additional snowfall was much needed after the very dry fall and early winter. Two strong Arctic air masses visited the region and brought very cold air, but just as important for the below-normal temperatures was the fact that we didn’t have any extended periods of mild weather or Chinook winds. This meant temperatures were almost always normal or below for the month with the exception of a few days.
Cold and snow started the month as an Arctic front moved into the region during the evening of the 1st. Snow developed as this cold air moved in and continued through the next day. Five to 10 inches of new snow accumulated during the first two days of the month. This was our largest snowfall of the season so far, but more important were the cold temperatures. The "high" on the 2nd of 11F was reached at midnight with daytime temperatures holding in the single digits during the day.
Temperatures continued to cool during the day, falling below zero before midnight and continuing to plummet by the next morning, reaching as low as minus 20F. The slow warmup began on the 3rd with temperatures reaching the upper teens, then upper 20s to low 30s on the 4th and finally above freezing on the 5th. This was an extended period of cold conditions, with about 108 hours of temperatures continuously below freezing.
The warmup on the 5th was interrupted by a quick-moving cold front that produced a couple inches of snow during the early hours of the 6th. After this quick shot of snow, quiet conditions moved in with highs reaching the 40s from the 7th through the 9th and low 50s on the 10th. Each day saw plenty of sunshine as well. The next quick-moving cold front moved through during the morning of the 11th and again produced a couple inches of snow and blowing snow.
Once again, clear skies quickly returned behind this departing storm and temperatures responded nicely, rebounding into the low 50s during the afternoon of the 13th. As high pressure continued to build in from the west, the warmest conditions of the month occurred, with mid- to upper 50s for highs on the 15th. However, the next in the line of quick-moving cold fronts made its way into the region the next day, with snow developing by mid-afternoon and temperatures quickly dropping back below normal. Another 4-8 inches of snow accumulated from the afternoon of the 16th through the morning of the 17th.
Temperatures again began their slow march back to above normal over the next couple of days, again topping out in the mid- to upper 50s on the 20th. Once again, however, cold air was pooling to our north and working its way toward the Front Range. Like the beginning of the month, this airmass originated from high in the Arctic regions and unlike the previous cold front was able to remain in place for several days. This was courtesy of an area of low pressure to our west that anchored the high to our north in place and allowed for a continuous easterly flow into the region.
The first signs of this cold air arrived during the afternoon of the 21st as temperatures quickly dropped from the 40s to the teens in a matter of an hour. Temperatures continued to fall over the next few days, with highs barely breaking above zero on the 22nd and 23rd. Nights were cold too, with teens below zero common on the 23rd and 24th. High temperatures stayed in the 20s on the 24th and 25th before finally touching just above freezing on the 26th.
For the period, we were continuously below freezing for almost six days. Again, this is unusual for the Front Range as cold air normally has a hard time staying in place for more than a couple days. During this Arctic air outbreak, 2-4 inches of snow accumulated with light snowfall occurring each day from the 21st through the 24th. The relatively low amount of snow isn’t unusual as the very cold air masses are generally moisture starved, unless they can interact with moisture from the south. This feed from the south didn’t occur with this system, and therefore only light snow accumulated.
Once the cold air retreated over the last couple days of the month, mild conditions quickly returned. High temperatures reached to the low 50s on the last two days of the month and the stronger late February sunshine went to work on thawing things out.
A look ahead
March is known for a wide range of weather conditions in the region. We can see 70° temperatures one afternoon and blizzard conditions the next. Many of us remember the blizzard of March 2003 when we received 30-50 inches of snowfall that shut down the region. However, snow that does fall begins to melt quickly this time of the year, providing beneficial moisture for our plants as we head into spring.
February 2022 Weather Statistics
Average High 35.7° (-4.0°)
100-year return frequency value max 51.9° min 32.8°
Average Low 8.0° (-4.8°)
100-year return frequency value max 21.9° min 3.7°
Highest Temperature 56° on the 20th
Lowest Temperature -19° on the 3rd
Monthly Precipitation 1.05"
(+0.11" 11% above normal)
100-year return frequency value max 2.10" min 0.02"
Monthly Snowfall 22.8" (+5.1", 22% above normal)
Season to Date Snow 46.7" -21.8", 32% below normal)
Season to Date Precip. 3.14" (-1.94", 39% below normal)
Heating Degree Days 1184 (+146)
Cooling Degree Days 0
Bill Kappel is a meteorologist and Tri-Lakes resident. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclaimer: The information and opinions expressed in Letters to Our Community are the responsibility of the letter writers and should not be interpreted as the views of OCN even if the letter writer is an OCN volunteer. The letters are arranged in alphabetical order by the authors’ last names.
True democracies do not build fences
Recently, Congress installed permanent fences around the U.S. Capitol building. Why would a democratic republic need fences? Who are they trying to keep out? The word democracy comes from two Greek words, demos = people and kratos = rule: "people rule." If the people rule, then the leaders must listen to them.
Western countries have only a façade of democracy. Trudeau, Biden, Macron, and other Western leaders decry, "We must save democracy" as they violate, trounce, and lock up their citizens who simply aired their grievances and peacefully protested.
Western leaders have hollowed out democracy to such an extent that they hold their citizens in contempt. No protests, no petition, no grievances. Just shut up and obey. Yet, they need the consent of the governed to solidify their legitimacy. We no longer have divine-right monarchs. They have been supposedly replaced by the ballot box-elected leaders. However, "democratic elections" are only a tool to confer legitimacy our leaders need to justify their tyrannical rule.
During the pandemic, both Republicans and Democrats placed the interests of Big Pharma over the health of their constituents. Unwelcomed and unwanted mask and vaccine mandates were put in place. Effective treatments were banned in favor of neither safe nor effective vaccines. In D.C., our elites suspended habeas corpus for the Jan. 6 political prisoners. In Canada, Trudeau refused to meet with or listen to the truckers. Instead, he declared a national emergency to crush any dissent. In Russia, Putin invaded Ukraine against the will of his people. Any Russian protesting against the war risks being arrested and silenced.
These cases exemplify how our leaders use the veneer of democracy to cover their authoritarian rule. Western democracy is a lie. The fences around the Capitol are a testament to that lie.
True democracies do not fear their people. They do not build fences. True democracies listen to and serve the people.
Sad, scared, and stunned
I am sad, scared, and stunned by the proclamation from the board of Monument Academy. I know that no amount of facts will persuade you, so I’m writing from a place of feeling and hope to show you how much your words hurt.
I am an elementary teacher, a school librarian, and a yoga teacher, but the identity that moves me to write this is that I am also the mother of a transgender child. I wish you could understand the struggle my family has been through. The nights crying because I don’t know what’s wrong with my 6-year-old who is so angry. Calling the police to talk some sense into my 8-year-old who has run away—again. Taking away all the belts and long-sleeve shirts so I don’t find the body of my 10-year-old. Appointments with doctors, counselors, psychiatrists, neurologists to find an answer. Books, books, so many books.
This is not a path any parent chooses. It is hard and messy and filled with worry at a much grander scale because of hurtful words like yours.
You sent a message that my child is not welcome.
I simply ask that you educate yourself about transgender kids. I ask that you talk to families who are raising gender nonconforming kids. I ask that when you talk of innocence, well-being, privacy, and safety of all students, when you talk of undue harm, confusion, and dysphoria, that you please think of my child who has been through so much to be her authentic self. I ask that you think of my daughter, who is now happy and healthy, and others like her who would very much appreciate your protection.
The Constitutional COVID Conundrum
It seems obvious, to me at least, that many Americans do not understand the most basic meaning of our Constitution. If the Constitution were boiled down to a single statement, it would read something like this: The Constitution was designed by our forefathers to protect all Americans’ right to do basically whatever they want, as long as those actions do not impede any other American’s right to do the same.
It couldn’t be a much simpler concept, and I have received no disagreement to this statement regardless of political affiliation. People who believe politicians over scientists and gather in large groups without taking any precautions have forgotten the all-important second part of the statement italicized above: When they then travel the country possibly spreading a dangerous disease, people start getting sick and maybe die. How is that not impeding another’s, possibly many others’, constitutional rights?
This action is analogous to making the choice to get drunk and drive at high speeds through town. Maybe no one dies, but does the Constitution give anyone the right to take that chance? And these protesters are mostly sober! I agree with the right to protest, and that the Constitution doesn’t empower the government to force us to comply to simple cautions, but it would say that someone making that choice should have no contact with anyone else. It’s notable that the people making this choice on constitutional grounds are predominantly Republican, a party that condemns large government. The ignorance of the unselfish nature of the Constitution is exactly what causes laws and big government. My mask protects you, and your mask protects me.
My wife has suffered a lifetime of pain, surgeries, and limited mobility because she just missed Salk’s polio vaccine by a few months. Does anyone really believe that vaccine science hasn’t progressed in 70 years?
Monument Academy School Board has poor values
On Feb. 10, the Monument Academy School Board issued a proclamation in which they essentially said that although the law mandates that a transgender student can use the bathroom that conforms to their gender identity, that that law violates natural law and moral truth and that the parents of the students in their school should lobby their legislators to get the law changed. What arrogance. Who made the Monument Academy School Board the experts on natural law and moral truth?
Just last year, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed a U.S. Court of Appeals ruling to stand in which the Court of Appeals said that under federal law a transgender student is entitled to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity. The Monument Academy School Board believes that federal courts are wrong.
The board’s proclamation would not be so troubling if it was the policy of a radical fundamentalist religious cult located in a compound in rural Montana. However, it is the policy of a public school in our very own community.
The board’s proclamation is hateful and has no place in our community. It should immediately be rescinded. Anyone who supports it should be shunned.
By the staff at Covered Treasures
"Good books don’t give up all their secrets at once."—Stephen King
March is a month of basketball and spring break. It’s also a great time to hunker down with some good mysteries, whether you are staying at home or traveling.
A Perfect Eye
By Stephanie Kane (Cold Hard Press) $14.95
Stephanie Kane is a Denver attorney and award-winning author of four crime novels. She owned and ran a karate studio and is a second-degree black belt. She has lectured on money laundering and white-collar crime in Eastern Europe. In A Perfect Eye, the setting is the Denver Art Museum and an unflinching look at what goes on behind closed doors. As conservator of paintings, Lily Sparks uses her keen visual powers to restore masterpieces and detect what’s authentic and what is not. When the museum’s billionaire benefactor is brutally murdered, Lily confronts where art ends and fraud begins.
The Devotion of Suspect X (Detective Galileo 1)
By Keigo Higashino (Minotaur Books), $17.99
Yasuko thought she had finally escaped her abusive ex-husband, but when he shows up one day, the situation escalates and he ends up dead. Yasuko’s next-door neighbor, Ishigami, offers help. Dr. Manabu Yukawa, aka Detective Galileo, a physicist who also went to college with Ishigami, is brought into the case. What ensues is a high-level battle of wits. One surprising twist follows another in this first in a series featuring Detective Galileo. Higashino won Japan’s Naoki Prize for Best Novel with this stunning thriller about miscarried human devotion.
By Harry Farthing (Blackstone) $19.99
Everest guide Neil Quinn is confident he can handle anything the mountain throws his way. But then disaster strikes, leaving him with a lot of questions and a very old swastika-embellished ice ax. He uncovers the story of Josef Becker, a Nazi climber who sought the top of the world 70 years before when Europe teetered on the brink of World War II. Quinn’s innocent queries into Becker’s expedition have neo-Nazis, assassins, and history buffs vying to take possession of the ax.
The Replacement Wife
By Darby Kane (William Morrow) $16.99
Elisa Wright is a mom and wife, living a nice, quiet life in a nice, quiet town. She’s also convinced her brother-in-law is a murderer. Josh has one dead wife, one missing fiancée, and he starts dating someone new. Searching for clues means investigating her own family, she doesn’t like what she finds. The race is on to get to the truth before another disappearance because there’s a killer in the family—or is there?
By Alafair Burke (Harper) $26.99
Hope Miller has no idea who she is. Fifteen years ago, she was found in a New Jersey town thrown from an overturned vehicle, no clue to her identity, and she never regained her memory. When Hope vanishes, the only lead is a drop of blood. More ominously, the blood matches a sample connected to a notorious Kansas murderer. The search for the truth beneath long-buried secrets will upend everything defense attorney Lindsay Kelly and homicide detective Ellie Hatcher have ever known.
A Narrow Door
By Joanne Harris (Pegasus) $26.95
For the first time in history at St. Oswald’s school, a headmistress is in power, opening the gates to girls. Rebecca Buckfast has spilled blood to reach this position. As the new regime takes on the old guard, the ground shifts, and with it, the remains of a body are discovered. But Rebecca is here to make her mark. She’ll bury the past so deep it will evade even her own memory, just like she has done before. After all, you can’t keep a good woman down.
By Charles Cumming (Mysterious Press) $27.95
This pulse-pounding mystery straddles two eras, 1989 and 2020. Lachlan Kite is a member of Box 88, a covert, elite transatlantic black ops outfit. He falls into a trap, and his pregnant wife is held as collateral. Thirty years earlier, Lachlan cut his teeth on a special assignment involving one of Iran’s most dangerous men. Today, Lachlan’s nostalgia for the trip is corrupted by recollection of the deceit that accompanied it, but to save his family, he’ll be forced to revisit those painful memories.
Until next month, happy reading.
The staff at the Covered Treasures can be contacted at email@example.com.
By Harriet Halbig
Good news in library land! The Palmer Lake Library reopened on March 3 and will be open Wednesdays through Fridays from 10 to 6.
District 38’s spring break will be from March 21 to 25. There will be no math tutoring offered on the 21st, but there will be a special Cool Science program for ages 4 to 12 involving using liquid nitrogen to make your own ice cream. This program, from 10:30 to 11:30 on the 22nd, will be at the Monument Library.
Free math tutoring will be offered each Monday from 3:30 to 6:30 with the exception of March 21, during spring break. All ages are welcome to take advantage of this offering. No appointment required.
Thursday, March 24 there will be an off-site story time at the Reynolds Ranch House on the site of the Western Museum of Mining and Industry on North Gate Road. The program begins at 10:30. Registration is recommended.
The Winter Adult Reading Program continues through the end of March. Register at the library or online and receive prizes for time spent reading! All reading after Feb. 1 counts toward your total.
We look forward to seeing you at the library.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Caption: The Reynolds Ranch House on the site of the Western Museum of Mining and Industry hosts off-site story times on Thursdays at 10:30. Photo by Athena Cazier.
By Sharon Williams
Palmer Lake Historical Society presenter Mel McFarland readily beguiled his audience on Feb. 17 with little-known history interspersed with the humorous questions and comments from tourists that he experienced during his almost 20-year career with the Pikes Peak Cog Railway.
McFarland’s easy, entertaining manner delighted the passengers during his 5,000 roundtrips up and down Pikes Peak serving interchangeably as a conductor and later an engineer.
Construction of the unique railway began in 1888 and was completed in 1891. At the time, it was the highest of its kind in the world at 14,115 feet. China now holds that title with a passenger train traveling to a 16,000-foot elevation, designed with pressurized, climate-controlled cars.
The first cog train built in the U.S. was at Mount Washington, N.H. Besides the Pikes Peak train, the only other existing cog train in the U.S. is in Michigan. It goes down into an old quarry.
With invited guests, the first train to go up the Peak broke down at timberline and did not make it to the top. The second train to attempt the steep climb was successful in carrying a church choir from Denver. Because the cog railway was the highest of its kind when it was built, no one was aware that the first three locomotives used weren’t capable of making it to the summit. Since then, new and improved models were changed out in a trial-and-error period for several years until they could determine what was reliable for the demanding ascent, descent, altitude, and climate changes.
Today, during the height of summer tourist season, there are 12 train trips scheduled daily to the top of Pikes Peak. Four smaller trains each carry 80 passengers and four larger trains each carry 216 people. Roundtrip takes three hours and 16 minutes, with allowance of 45 minutes at the summit.
There are now a couple of trains that run during the winter season as well.
With the recent dedication of the new summit house, the Pikes Peak Cog Railway also has a new name: the Broadmoor, Manitou and Pikes Peak Railway.
McFarland is an artist, photographer, amateur railroad enthusiast, author, and contributor of many articles published in newspapers throughout the Pikes Peak Region. After 27 years as a middle-school teacher, Mel worked as a conductor and engineer with the Pikes Peak Cog Railway from 1996 until his retirement in 2015.
Palmer Lake Historical Society monthly programs are presented at 7 p.m. every third Thursday of the month at the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce Community Room, 166 Second St., Monument. The Thursday, March 17 program, "The Night of a Thousand Heroes," will be presented by Tracy Beach. Based on her book, the program will consist of a short historical lecture on the disastrous June 1921 Pueblo flood, including a display of flood artifacts.
Sharon Williams can be reached at SharonWilliams@ocn.me.
By Janet Sellers
More than 70 percent of the world’s flowering plants rely on pollination to produce seeds and fruit. We can create landscapes at home to support our pollinators and our planet just by knowing what to plant, where, and when our favorite pollinators need them most. And it is a fun and interesting endeavor for us all. Food, water, shelter, and space are things everyone can provide to support pollinators, which include bees, beetles, flies, moths, butterflies, hummingbirds, and even bats!
We commonly see four species of hummingbird breeders in Colorado, and we can see all four in our area some years, but our state has recorded up to 11 species. We mostly have the broadtail in spring and rufous mid- to late summer on its way back from its Canada nesting grounds. The calliope heads straight to above 8,000-foot territory most years. The black chinned and broadtail nest widely all over Colorado, and we see plenty of the broadtail in our area.
The first period noted for attracting hummingbirds in Colorado is usually mentioned as mid-April to the end of May, but we can get ready toward the end of March to tempt the early-bird scouts. Before nectar is available from flowers and blossoms, hummingbirds may drink sap holes created by sapsuckers (woodpeckers), and breeders need protein, often pirating bugs to eat and silk from spider webs for their nests. A female may catch as many as 2,000 insects a day.
Right now, hummingbirds are on their way north from Mexico headed as far north as Canada. In Colorado, we have a couple of peak periods for attracting hummingbirds and if we get ready in time, they’ll come to our landscapes to set up housekeeping. The male hummingbird scouts arrive by the end of March or beginning of April, looking for good food and water sources, and then will look to attract the females when they arrive sometime in April or early May. Our Colorado hummingbird season is, at earliest, late March-April till September, weather and resources permitting.
When providing habitat, according to the Colorado State University Extension, "location of the garden is extremely important. Most pollinators generally prefer sunny areas, and large connected habitats are better than small patchy ones. It is important to have a variety of flowering species planted as groups/swaths in the landscape rather than as single plants. This allows the pollinators to work one area more thoroughly and efficiently, rather than having to move around a great deal to find plants of the same species."
The main thing that birds need, particularly hummingbirds, is water, a safe attractant that does not entice bears or other creatures that might be interested in nectar feeders. The second period is the return migration around the Fourth of July through October.
Planting for flowering throughout the season will give the most opportunity to watch the pollinators, and the easy-care, "lazy gardener" early and midseason flowering plants I have in my garden are Rocky Mountain penstemon, wallflower, pasqueflower, blue flax, and flowering fruit trees including crab or lady apples and chokecherries. Also, yarrow in white, purple, and yellow, asters in white, yellow, and purple, blue harebells, blanket flower, gaillardia, and salvias. Flowering trees in my neighborhood also include willows, black locust, linden, and honey locust.
Caption (L to R): Dandelions and the purple pasqueflowers are some of the earliest flowers to bloom and support pollinators. Dandelions especially support creating high nutrient content in the soil and will only grow where there is a lack of nutrients. When the nutrients are restored, dandelions will not grow in that area. Photos by Janet Sellers.
Janet Sellers is an avid lazy—aka nature-focused—gardener, using Mother Nature’s methods for the local "high desert forest" clime. Share your wisdom and send your local gardening tips to
By Steve Pate
Hiking season? That would be all year! The "season" is not just during the spring bloom of flowers, fall colors, and the aspens turning. Snowscapes add a different character to familiar trails, the ability to easily see tracks in snow, and some challenges you might not experience during warmer months.
Most experienced hikers in our local mountains are adaptable to weather changes and know how to layer up when it’s cold and add traction when needed to deal with packed snow and ice (include micro spikes in your pack from October through at least April). Bring gloves, a warm hat, and the usual gear—water, first aid, flashlight, rope, matches, knife, navigation, and food and shelter for longer treks.
Another piece of equipment you might consider if you plan to be off the grid—no cell phone service, remote areas—is an emergency satellite communicator. Many experienced local hikers carry a Garmin InReach which can let designated people know they are OK and don’t need assistance. Conversely, if some unforeseen incident disables you, most satellite communicators also have an emergency SOS button that will summon Search and Rescue (SAR) to the GPS coordinates transmitted via satellite. These devices, InReach, Zoleo, SPOT, and others, can also connect to your cell phone via Bluetooth. While you can’t make phone calls using your phone, you can send/receive text using the Bluetooth connection from phone to satellite communicator.
If you should ever need SAR assistance in the back country, purchasing an annual hunting or fishing license and some other permits helps fund SAR. SAR teams are mostly volunteers, but 25 cents of these license fees go toward paying for specialized rescue equipment, training, and to help maintain equipment.
I find hiking on snow-packed or icy trails easier than loose gravel on steep terrain with micro spikes (Kahtoola, SpringK, Yakrax, etc.). Age has quelled somewhat my adventurous spirit, so I usually wait a day or so after heavy snow to let younger folks break trail and pack the snow. Thank you for that.
Friends of Monument Preserve and others have reported multiple vehicle break-ins in the Monument Preserve parking areas and other parking areas for trails east of Mount Herman and Raspberry Mountain. Please do not leave valuable items in your car while hiking, biking, or riding and, if you see suspicious activity, notify the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office—much of this area is outside the jurisdiction of Monument police.
Caption: On Feb. 18, from Monument Rock looking west toward Mount Herman and Raspberry Mountain.
Caption: The Town of Palmer Lake has installed a parking kiosk at the Reservoir Trailhead parking lot (credit cards only). The fee is $5.30/day. Effective Feb. 24, those who do not purchase and properly display the fee receipt may be ticketed and fined $100 and possibly have their vehicle towed. Photos by Steve Pate.
Steve Pate can be contacted at email@example.com
By Janet Sellers
In our community, we have art in public places as a cultural precedent around the town in view for the upcoming annual Art Hop season, including along the Santa Fe Trail and in some of our public parks but also in some highly visible places on private property that we can keep a lookout for and enjoy.
There are many ways that cities and public places make a call for art, including the exhibition of temporary art that is for sale or art that is commissioned for a place. Cities create invitations to artists, "artist calls," for artworks intended for the outdoors or for public places indoors. These public artworks have a very special purpose and impact. In olden times public art was almost exclusively commissioned by leadership with focused agendas, and requirements were very specific to what the city fathers, government leaders, or religious leaders or commission entities wanted to have as the influence in the community.
These days, the moniker has changed and is frequently referred to as "art in public places" which means that the artist has full freedom to create the work and submit images for review, which are then juried into selection for the public place. In my case, I create artworks to be uplifting or inspire a moment of wonder. Moments out of the daily grind can change the trajectory of a person’s mindset for the day, uplifting their consciousness and possibly their lives.
Having worked with inner-city gang youths years ago, I realized then that, although the gang life was famously very violent, inside their hearts they were creating beautiful murals. The youths revealed they were like other teens, still growing up and figuring out the world around them. The difference between these kids and others I have taught or guided in grades K through 12 and at the university level as well, is that gang youths have a very dangerous local element with weapons and reactivity within their community. That was one of the reasons the city had commissioned the mural: to make a public and social impact while generating higher-level thinking and higher-level behaviors.
Public art particularly has the power to immediately impact people in a culture and, given that its visual, verbal languages and words are not a part of the impact and not a part of a cultural access, but the art impacts the process of social change. The public art arena has an immediate impact on many aspects of visual culture and appears to go to the very basic level of a person’s consciousness through the visual impact as well as audible and other sensory parts of a human being. We often have audio art related on-site to the visual art in terms of complex electronics, lighting-sensitive elements, and even simple things that will work with air movement such as bells or chimes.
Janet Sellers is an artist, writer, speaker, and educator. She exhibits her artworks in cities and museums in Colorado and other places around the world. She can be reached at JanetSellers@ocn.me.
Caption: From left, Lt. Steve Buckner, Lt. Jon Bodinsky, and firefighter Golden Rains complete their annual ice-rescue refresher training at Bristlecone Lake on Jan. 24. Crews from the combined districts of Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District and Donald Wescott Fire Protection District took part in annual ice-rescue refresher training under a "bluebird sky" on one of the many frozen lakes within the district. Photo courtesy of Andy Kovacs.
National Ice Cream for Breakfast Day at Lolley’s, Feb. 5
Caption: There was a long line in front of Lolley’s Ice Cream in Monument when it opened at 9 a.m. on Feb. 5 to mark National Ice Cream for Breakfast Day. Lolley’s says it served more than 225 breakfast sundaes between the early opening and noon. Caption: Customers had a choice of Belgian waffles, French toast, or doughnuts to go with their ice cream and toppings that included crumbled bacon. Photos by Michael Weinfeld.
TLWC gets CPR training, Feb. 7
Caption: The Tri-Lakes Women’s Club’s (TLWC) Pine Forest Spring Show has been canceled for the second straight year because of COVID-19 concerns. But the TLWC has announced that its Holiday Home Tour will be held this winter. Meanwhile, members of the TLWC hiking group got CPR training from the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Department on Feb. 7. TLWC member Carol Costakis, kneeling in left front, organized the training to honor her son’s fiancée, who went into cardiac arrest two years ago on New Year’s Eve. She was saved by CPR and an automated external defibrillator that shocked her heart back into rhythm. Costakis says knowledge of CPR could save someone in their group if they had a problem while hiking in a remote area. Photo by Stephanie Soll.
John Schneider at TLCA, Feb. 12
Caption: On Feb. 12, the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA) welcomed actor and country music singer John Schneider. Schneider is well-known for his acting in Dukes of Hazzard, Smallville, and in the movies. It was through the Dukes of Hazzard and the show’s celebrity speed trap, where country music singers were required to sing in exchange for citation forgiveness, that Schneider met and received inspiration from country music greats. Schneider played a number of his hits including Cowboys Don’t Get Old and I’ve Been Around Long Enough to Know. He also paid tribute to Dottie West with A Lesson in Leavin’ and close friend Waylon Jennings, performing I’ve Always Been Crazy. Opening for Schneider and acting as his backup band was the Richie Law Band. Law, who made it into the top 42 on American Idol in 2012 and originally from Parker, brought his Colorado-inspired, high energy country sound to the stage. Photo by David Futey.
Palmer Lake Winterfest, Feb. 12
Caption: No skates. No sticks. Just brooms. Palmer Lake’s Broomball Tournament highlighted the town’s annual Winterfest on Feb. 12. Two rinks were cleared on the frozen lake. One was called Rinky Dink, the other Rinky Doo. Broomball is like hockey except players use brooms instead of sticks and wear shoes instead of skates. The Palmer Lake Parks Commission says the Rag Tags won the youth division while Icy Hot came in first in the family division and Vicious Ice Fishas took the adult division. The commission raised $650 to improve the town’s parks and lake. Photo by Michael Weinfeld.
TLWC builds beds for needy kids
Caption: Many disadvantaged kids will sleep easier thanks to 23 members of the Tri-Lakes Women’s Club (TLWC) who helped build beds for the group Sleep in Heavenly Peace (SHP) on Feb. 19. The women, including Robbie Larson, left, and Kathy Budney, right, used drills, saws, sanders, and hammers to build beds that SHP will provide to some of the hundreds of children in the Colorado Springs area whose parents can’t afford to buy a bed for them. TLWC also donated 20 complete bedding sets. SHP is a volunteer group dedicated to providing high quality beds to needy children. The Colorado Springs chapter welcomes volunteers of all skill levels at bed-building events. For more information, visit its website at www.shpbeds.org. Photo by Maureen Morgan.
Our Community News is an all-volunteer organization. For the past 20 years, our volunteers have provided unbiased reporting on important local issues, including real estate development, fire departments, school districts, and water availability. We have provided a very favorable platform for advertising local businesses. We have published letters to the editor to allow you to express your opinions on events affecting the Tri-Lakes area.
Now we find that we have more tasks than we have volunteers. Some vital jobs where we could use your help:
• Reporters. Reporting on local meetings, what they talked about and what they decided.
• Mailing assistants. Counting and lifting tubs of papers to take the monthly mailing to the post offices and stacks of papers to local businesses, loading and unloading mailing tubs from a truck at two locations, preparing post office paperwork, tub labels, subscription labels, etc.
• Drivers. Driving a rental truck to various post offices once a month.
• Ad sales assistants. We need volunteers who love OCN to contact local businesses and encourage them to advertise in OCN.
The time and skills involved vary greatly from job to job. OCN will provide whatever equipment and training you need.
Please join us today! Meet a group of interesting and committed people. Learn new skills—use your enthusiasm and creativity to benefit our community and celebrate unfiltered information.
Please call Publisher John Heiser at (719) 488-3455, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to see how you can contribute. Contact John today! He is waiting to hear from you. Together we can ensure that OCN continues to provide a vital service to our wonderful Tri-Lakes community.
By Janet Sellers
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. Please notify us if your event listing needs to be updated.
Forest Lakes Metro election, May 3
Forest Lakes Metropolitan District of El Paso County will conduct a regular election May 3, 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Three directors will be elected for a 3-year term. Details are available from the District’s Designated Election Official (DEO), Stephanie Net, SNet@spencerfane.com.
Seniors Driver’s License Electronic Renewal
With the implementation of the Driver’s License Electronic Renewal By Seniors Act (HB21-1139), Colorado seniors now have the permanent ability to renew their driver license or identification card online, but there are new laws to understand. Information is online via www.mycolorado.state.us. Some restrictions apply to drivers aged 21-80, and drivers over 80 need a special doctor’s statement. Coloradans who are concerned about an elder family member’s ability to drive should email email@example.com.
DMV online and kiosks
Clerk & Recorder’s Office provides motor vehicle and driver’s license services. 30+ services at www.mydmv.colorado.gov. Renew registration online or at a kiosk. Make appointments. check in for appointments and wait where it’s convenient for you. The DMV encourages Coloradans to skip the trip and use its online services whenever possible. So before your next trip to the DMV, remember to save time, go online. Visit www.DMV.Colorado.gov/Save-time for more information. See www.epcdrives.com.
CO 21 (Powers Blvd.) & Research Pkwy. construction
Work will be completed in fall 2022 and will consist of replacing the current at-grade intersection with an innovative Diverging Diamond Interchange by constructing an overpass for Powers Boulevard/Colorado Highway 21 traffic to move continuously through the intersection over Research Parkway. For many more details and rendering of final configuration, including a video showing new traffic flow, see https://cccpi.net/cdot-powers-research.pdf.
Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK)
If a disaster happened today, could you easily find your crucial household, financial, and medical documents to recover quickly? Use the checklists in the free Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK) to ensure nothing is missing. Get the EFFAK at: https://go.usa.gov/xHC2m
MVEA board of directors election
Are you interested in being an MVEA board of directors candidate? You must reside in the district where there is a vacancy. For more information, see the ad on page 18 and visit MVEA’s annual meeting web page at www.mvea.coop/annual-meeting.
MVEA planning broadband service
Mountain View Electric Association is planning to provide reliable, affordable, high-speed fiber broadband service to all its 51,000 members in the next six years. MVEA and Conexon Connect teams are now designing and mapping the network. For more information about MVEA and Conexon Connect’s fiber-to-the-home project, visit www.mvea.coop/broadband.
MVEA offers rebates
For information on MVEA’s energy efficiency rebates, visit www.mvea.coop/save-energy-money/rebates/, or call 800-388-9881.
It pays to use MVEA’s bill paying options
MVEA offers credits for using making auto-pay and on-line payments.
Palmer Lake Arts District forming
The newly forming Palmer Lake Arts District is looking for working artists interested in participating in an artist cooperative located in Palmer Lake, working artists and persons to organize and manage the coop. For inquiries contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Palmer Lake Vaile Museum to reopen
Plans to reopen soon with several new exhibits upon completion of the improved handicap accessible ramp. We are in great need of volunteers to carry on the work of the society. Visit www.PalmerDivideHistory.org or call 719-559-0837.
Palmer Lake trailhead parking kiosk
For visitors wanting to park up close to the trailhead, beginning Wed., Feb. 23, patrons will be required to pay for that parking space. The kiosk was installed in February and staff is testing the hardware. Please note that the kiosk is for debit and credit payments only and the parking payment receipt needs to be displayed on the dash of your vehicle. Take care to confirm that the license plate number printed on the receipt matches your vehicle. The parking fee is $5 plus processing fee and is subject to change for special events, holidays, etc., as determined by the Town Board. See the On the Trail column on page 24.
WØTLM to hold license class
Now taking registrations for the April 2022 Tri-Lakes Monument Radio Association Technician License Class. The class meets in person Apr. 2 - 9. Advanced registration required. To register for the class, go to: http://w0tlm.com/radio-classes/tech-registration or contact Bob Witte at email@example.com or 719-659-3727.
Area code required for local (719) and (970) calls
Colorado customers with numbers in the 719 and 970 area codes should dial 10-digits (area code + telephone number) for all local calls. They will still count as local calls. Check your safety and security alert devices to be sure they are programmed with 10-digit dialing. You can still dial just three digits to reach 711 (relay services) and 911 (emergency services) and other local three-digit services including 211, 311, 411, 511, 611, 711 or 811 are currently available in your community, dial these codes with just three digits.
Openings on Monument boards
The Town of Monument has openings on its Planning Commission and Board of Adjustments. For more information, visit and to download an application, go to http://townofmonument.org/261/Available-Board-Openings.
Openings on Palmer Lake boards
The Town of Palmer Lake continues to seek volunteer residents to serve on upcoming potential seats for the Planning Commission, the Parks Commission, and the Board of Adjustments. The Planning Commission meets once a month on the third Wednesday. The Parks Commission meets a minimum of once a month but also has opportunities to be involved in Work Groups for various Park areas. The Board of Adjustments meets up to once a month on the first Tuesday, as needed. To qualify, you must be a resident of the Town of Palmer Lake for a minimum of 12 consecutive months and be at least 18 years of age. See www.townofpalmerlake.com.
Tri-Lakes Cares Needs Your Support
Tri-Lakes Cares is the only food pantry and human services organization located in and serving northern El Paso County through emergency relief and self-sufficiency programs. The community-based, volunteer-supported center is a critical resource for our neighbors in need. The best way to help support Tri-Lakes Cares is to donate. Visit https://tri-lakescares.org/donate to find out how to donate money, medical items, personal supplies, or food. Please check the web for current needs in our food pantry at https://tri-lakescares.org/donate/current-needs. Donation drop-off hours are Monday thru Thursday, 10 am to 4 pm. For more information about Tri-Lakes Cares or how you can help, contact Nicole Pettigrew, director of Volunteers and Community Partnerships, at 719-481-4864 Ext. 111.
LEAP—help for heating bills
The Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) is a federally funded program that provides cash assistance to help families and individuals pay a portion of winter home heating costs. The eligibility period for LEAP runs Nov. 1-April 30. Application packets will automatically be mailed to residents who received LEAP assistance last year at the address where they were living at that time. To find out if you qualify for LEAP, call 1-866 HEAT-HELP (866-432-8435) or visit www.colorado.gov/cdhs/leap .
WMMI seeks volunteers
WMMI has positions for docents/tour guides, front desk, landscaping, and building and maintenance. For more details, contact Loretta, 719-488-0880, or email Volunteer@wmmi.org.
Free services for seniors
Mountain Community Senior Services offers free transportation and handyman services to Tri-Lakes seniors. Private transportation to medical appointments or a grocery store is now provided by Envida, 719-633-4677. If you need grab bars in the bathroom, a ramp to your door, or repair of stairs or railings, please call 719-488-0076, and leave a message or visit www.coloradoseniorhelp.com.
Senior Beat newsletter—subscribe for free
Each monthly Senior Beat newsletter is full of information for local seniors, including the daily menu of the senior lunches offered Monday through Friday at the Mountain Community Mennonite Church, 643 Highway 105, Palmer Lake. It also contains the schedule of the classes and events for the month at the Senior Citizens Center and senior-friendly library programs. To subscribe, send an email with your name and mailing address to SeniorBeat@TriLakesSeniors.org. Senior Beat can also be viewed online at www.TriLakesSeniors.org.
Foot Care Clinic
A registered nurse examines your feet and provides foot care advice, toenail trimming. Silver Alliance Senior Center across the street from the Tri-Lakes YMCA, on the Lewis-Palmer High School campus. By appointment only, 303-698-9496. $40 charge unless insured through Kaiser. Info: Nurse Association, 719-577-4448.
MCSS needs driver volunteers
Mountain Community Senior Services is in desperate need of drivers to drive senior citizens to appointments. For information on how to help, call 719-488-0076, and leave a message or visit www.coloradoseniorhelp.com.
El Paso County services to veterans
If you or someone you know needs food, housing, transportation, behavioral health counseling, or employment support, Mt. Carmel continues to be a beacon of support for those who served. Please call 719-772-7000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to be connected to a member of the Mt. Carmel team. For more information, visit www.veteranscenter.org.
Can you volunteer today?
• OCN needs your help. See article on page 28.
• Links to local organizations with an immediate need for volunteers are listed on the county’s website, www.elpasocountyhealth.org/volunteering-and-donations, for groups like Care and Share, Crossfire Ministries, blood donations, Early Connections (volunteer from home opportunity), foster an animal, Medical Reserve Corps of El Paso County, Salvation Army, Silver Key, and United Way (ongoing opportunities).
• The Colorado State University Extension office in El Paso County has several opportunities for individuals interested in volunteering. https://elpaso.extension.colostate.edu/volunteer-opportunities/
• Committed to building healthy, caring communities, these El Paso County volunteer-based and nonprofit organizations rely on the hard work of individuals like you. Reach out today and find out how you can play a part by becoming a volunteer in El Paso County. Get involved in El Paso County volunteering non-profits and organizations! https://www.americantowns.com/el-paso-county-co/volunteer-organizations/.
• The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office Volunteer Program is composed of a collective citizens group with a true and common desire to partner with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office by volunteering their services while learning more about the internal workings of the law enforcement community. https://www.epcsheriffsoffice.com/volunteer-program-0.
• The El Paso County Volunteer Program is a wonderful opportunity for citizens to learn about the various functions of county government as well as give back to the community. The County’s numerous boards and commissions need your experience, talents and time. https://bocc.elpasoco.com/volunteer.
• The El Paso County Fair started as a potato festival in 1905 and has grown into so much more. We will be celebrating our 117th Fair, July 16th -23rd! https://www.elpasocountyfair.com/p/getinvolved/volunteer-opportunities
• The Friends of El Paso County Nature Centers is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit whose mission is to support Bear Creek and Fountain Creek Nature Centers. The organization is comprised of an executive board of elected officers and a general membership governed by official Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation as a 501-c-3 nonprofit organization. https://communityservices.elpasoco.com/nature-centers/nature-center-volunteers/
• Children’s Literacy Center provides free one-on-one literacy tutoring to Tri-Lakes children in grades 1-6 who are reading below grade level! Tutoring is at the Tri-Lakes Senior Center on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:30-6:30 p.m., and our Summer Session will run through Aug. 14. For more information, to become a volunteer tutor or to enroll your child, visit www.childrensliteracycenter.org or email Christine Jeffson at Christine@childrensliteracycenter.org.
I-25 MyWay commuting options website
In another effort to improve traveler and worker safety along the 18-mile-long construction zone of Interstate 25 between Monument and Castle Rock, rush-hour travelers now can take advantage of I-25 MyWay, a new partnership between the Colorado Department of Transportation and the Denver Regional Council of Governments. I-25 MyWay is offering transit, vanpool and carpool incentives to commuters willing to try a new mode of transportation between Colorado Springs and Denver. Taking more single-occupant vehicles off the road helps reduce congestion and enhances the environment. Commuters can learn more about eligibility and types of incentives at i25MyWay.org. The site will run through the end of construction in 2022.
Sign up for "Reverse 9-1-1"
The Emergency Notification System (powered by Everbridge), commonly referred to as Reverse 9-1-1, is a tool that can make rapid notifications to specific geographic areas to alert you to emergency situations including manmade disasters, evacuations, hazardous materials incidents, missing persons, and more. Reverse 9-1-1 is not the same as Amber Alerts, which are generated by a different system. You must register to receive emergency notifications on any phone other than your landline. You can list up to five locations and up to eight points of contact. Sign up at www.elpasoteller911.org.
El Paso County Hazardous Materials & Recycling Collection Facility
https://communityservices.elpasoco.com/environmental-division/ Appointments required. 719-520-7878.
By Janet Sellers
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. Please contact email@example.com with changes and additions.
WEEKLY & MONTHLY EVENTS
Our community calendar carries listings on a space-available basis for Tri-Lakes events that are sponsored by local governmental entities and not-for-profit organizations. We include events that are open to the general public and are not religious or self-promotional in nature. If space is available, complimentary calendar listings are included, when requested, for events advertised in the current issue. To have your event listed at no charge in Our Community Calendar, please call (719) 339-7831 or send the information to firstname.lastname@example.org or Our Community News, P.O. Box 1742, Monument, Colorado 80132.
Contact us at (719) 488-3455, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, or P.O. Box 1742, Monument, Colorado 80132-1742.
This page was last modified on February 02, 2022. Home page: www.ocn.me.
Copyright © 2001-2019 Our Community News, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Contact us at (719) 488-3455, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, or P.O. Box 1742, Monument, Colorado 80132-1742.
This page was last modified on February 02, 2022. Home page: www.ocn.me.
Copyright © 2001-2019 Our Community News, Inc. All Rights Reserved.