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By James Howald and Jackie Burhans
At three Palmer Lake Board of Trustees meetings in May, the spotlight was on the financial challenges faced by the town and proposals to increase revenue. At the May 12 regular board session, Trustee Karen Stuth gave the board an overview of the Palmer Lake Economic Development Group (PLEDG).
At a special meeting held May 24, Mayor Bill Bass presented a detailed analysis of the financial health of the town and its service departments and discussed a potential Mill Levy Override (MLO), merger with Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD), and/or the sale of recreational cannabis.
At the regular board meeting on May 26, Bass summed up the discussion of the special meeting. The board honored two volunteers, voted on the vacation of an undeveloped road, and discussed requests from the railroad concerning erosion and the construction of an exclusionary fence to prevent people from crossing the railroad tracks at the lake.
PLEDG aims to improve town’s financial heath
Stuth told the board that PLEDG was a 501(c)(3) nonprofit formed by herself and others to address the town’s shortfall in tax revenue, which she estimated at $2 million. She said the mission of PLEDG was to establish a model of economic development that would strengthen the town while maintaining the special character of Palmer Lake and protecting its core assets of its people, its small-town lifestyle, and its natural resources.
Stuth said PLEDG has interviewed the town’s residents, its past town leaders, and local business owners and has studied other towns with similar demographics. She was advised to keep the group non-governmental.
PLEDG has a board of 13 directors, Stuth said, and an ever-growing pool of volunteers. The PLEDG plan is organized around four pillars: Art, led by Jina Brenneman, Dining, led by April Fullman, History, led by Susan Kuehster and Outdoors, led by Ben Cunningham. The plan has four parts: attract complementary new businesses to Palmer Lake, communicate the Palmer Lake brand promise to attract visitors and residents, encourage residents to shop locally, and reach out to businesses by coordinating with business groups in the region.
Stuth mentioned a list of 2022 events in progress that includes Music at Chautauqua Days, the Taste of Palmer Lake, the Palmer Lake Wine Festival, a Masa Ito violin concert, and the 12 Days of Palmer Lake Christmas.
Bass predicts worsening shortfalls
At the May 24 meeting, Bass presented a detailed analysis of the town’s finances. He started by pointing out the current budget for the General Fund is $2.96 million, but the projected revenue for 2022 is only $2.56 million. Population growth, rising costs, the lack of a revenue plan, and financial reserves required by the state are all stressing the town’s finances. Population growth projections confirm that the town’s tax base will remain relatively small, he said.
Next, he examined the town’s service departments. The current budget for the Fire Department is $538,000, but $1.8 million is needed to reach staffing standards, be able to save for capital improvements projects, and to fund a public safety building. Bass documented a similar shortfall for the Police Department, which is budgeted at $649,331 but requires $854,942 to be adequately funded. Bass proceeded through Roads, Parks, Water, and Administration, all with similar shortfalls.
Bass presented projected revenues, starting with $2.6 million in 2023 and ending with $3.0 million in 2027. He presented similar projections for the budgets of the Fire, Police, Roads, Parks, and Administration. He predicted the following revenue shortfalls:
• -$2.08 million in 2023
• -$2.42 million in 2024
• -$2.72 million in 2025
• -$2.42 million in 2026
• -$3.60 million in 2027
Bass discussed three ways to address the shortfalls: a property tax increase, sales of recreational cannabis, and a merger of the town’s Fire Department with Tri-Lakes Fire Protection District. He provided calculations of the financial impact to taxpayers of a 35-mill and a 20-mill property tax increase. He anticipated recreational cannabis sales would provide $800,000 in revenue the first year. He said the fire department merger might free up 10 mills for other services.
Bass invited the residents to take an online poll at https://pollev.com/plake329.
Following Bass’s presentation, the residents present spoke in favor and against all the proposed solutions.
The slides Bass used as well as a link to a video recording of the special meeting are posted on the town’s web page here: https://www.townofpalmerlake.com/bc-bot/page/board-trustees-special-town-address
Mayor recaps message
At the May 26 regular board meeting, Bass reviewed the financial presentation, commenting he was "not convinced people feel the same sense of urgency," and imploring citizens to take action at the next election. He announced meetings to discuss aspects of what had been presented:
• A discussion of the potential Fire Department merger on June 9.
• A discussion of recreational cannabis sales on June 23.
• A discussion of mill levy increases on July 14.
• A vote by the board on final steps on July 28.
Appointed officials honored
At the May 26 meeting, Bass honored Dave Wilson and David Cooper for decades of service to the town. Wilson has represented the town on the Pikes Peaks Regional Building Department for forty years. Cooper has served for 19 and a half years on the town’s Planning Commission. Bass expressed the town’s sincere gratitude for their service. See photo on page 16.
Vacation of right of way granted
At the May 12 meeting, the board voted to vacate a right of way for an undeveloped road named Loveland Slope that was requested by Gene Kalesti. The decision was a complicated one, since the vacation affected multiple properties in addition to Kalesti’s. The board held a public hearing so that all parties could be heard, and scheduled visits to the site. In the end the board voted to pass Ordinance 8-2022 to vacate the right of way with the stipulation that 970 square feet of property owned by Kerry J. Paige might need to be ceded to the town in the future.
Board passes resolutions to handle erosion and build fence
At the May 12 meeting, the board passed Resolution 27-2022 awarding a contract to mitigate erosion at the east side of the pedestrian bridge to Fisher Enterprise. The board also passed Resolution 28-2022 to award the contract to build an exclusion fence as documented in the town’s contract with the railroad to Peak Fencing, after having approached the railroad one more time with a different suggestion for locating the fence.
Above: At the May 25 Palmer Lake Board of Trustees meeting, Mayor Bill Bass (right) presented certificates to two appointed officials for their years of service to the town. (L to R) Dave Wilson and David Cooper. Wilson has represented the town on the Pikes Peaks Regional Building Department for forty years. Cooper has served for 19 and a half years on the town’s Planning Commission. Photo by Jackie Burhans.
The next two board meetings are scheduled for June 9 and 23. See the town’s website at www.townofpalmerlake.com to confirm times, dates, and locations of board meetings and workshops. Meetings are typically held on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month. Information: 481-2953.
By Jackie Burhans
The Monument Academy (MA) School Board held its regular board meeting on May 12 to discuss proposed organizational chart changes, including restructuring Exceptional Student Services (ESS). It also updated four board policies and discussed resuming live streaming and posting meeting recordings.
Board considers organizational chart and ESS structure
Board President Ryan Graham reminded the board members that they had seen a first look at an organizational chart for MA at the April meeting and tasked Chief Operating Officer (COO) Merlin Holmes to get input from teachers and staff. Holmes said East Campus staff wanted separate principals for middle and high school and that, to save money, he suggested not replacing the director of facilities position. Holmes said the current payroll person was leaving at the end of the month. He was going to try out an outsourced payroll company to give MA the flexibility to take its time searching for a director of People Operations. Although some positions, such as athletic director, are under the high school section of the organization chart, they would also serve the middle school.
One question Holmes wanted to address was the change in MA’s Exceptional Student Services (ESS) structure. He said the change came about after discussions with Rick Frampton, the Lewis-Palmer School District’s executive director of Student Services. The change, Holmes said, would not affect the services that students receive. Holmes noted that MA’s ESS team initially reported to the district and that Colorado law has not let charter schools have independence in special education (SPED). A few years back, Holmes said, MA hired an ESS director but has switched between that model and reporting to the district. Staff has expressed concern that MA gets the proper level of training through the district and that the district be responsive to MA’s concerns and provide technical expertise as needed. Frampton said he would address these concerns with the team, make all training available to MA, and respond to MA’s needs.
Board members and parents asked several questions about who to contact if issues come up, who would be available at an Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting, and who would be responsible for writing IEP progress notes and conducting meetings. Holmes said parents with concerns should start first with the service provider, then the building principal, and finally the ESS staff at the district. If needed, a principal or assistant principal should be available for IEP meetings, along with the ESS teacher, regular teacher, social worker, and psychologist. The district coordinator may attend if there are questions or concerns about services. Typically, Holmes said, the ESS teacher would handle the notes, notifications, and meetings in coordination with the team.
Board member Megghan St. Aubyn asked if the motivation for changing the ESS structure was financial, legal, or both. Holmes said it was both. Graham said that the legal opinion was that the district, not MA, should provide the ESS director. Holmes said not following this model could open both the district and MA up to litigation. Current ESS Director Jessica Coote clarified that department heads at MA always had the title of "Director" but that she has always been acting under Frampton as the ESS coordinator. Asked if the district would expand resources at its own expense, Holmes replied that the charter contract spells out who pays for what and that MA is already paying for these services. As the Local Education Agency (LEA), the district is legally responsible for SPED within the district. Board member Chris Dole said we are paying for these services and have a fiduciary responsibility to the school, teachers, staff, and the children.
Holmes said Frampton would meet with the SPED team and Principal Kurt Walker the following Tuesday. The meeting will take place via Zoom so other administrators can attend. Graham said it would be good to have Frampton sit down with parents as well to answer their questions and concerns. Dole noted that such a meeting was mandatory so families could hear how the district, as the LEA, can support MA. Graham would not commit to recording the meeting but said that minutes could be made available.
Finally, the board had a lengthy discussion of St. Aubyn’s motion to hire a full-time development person, perhaps under Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Marc Brocklehurst. St. Aubyn said that MA couldn’t afford not to have this position and would never raise the money it needs without it. She insisted this role could not be done solely by volunteers. Brocklehurst said the job should probably combine fundraising and grant writing to start, and he was willing to take on the supervision of such a role. He said MA would have to dip into reserves to hire someone but that the position should be able to pay for itself shortly if they get the right person. St. Aubyn moved to ask the Finance Committee to explore options and the impact on the bottom line of hiring a full or part-time development person. Graham suggested withdrawing the motion and simply directing the Finance Committee to perform this task and considering the addition later.
Board member Joe Buczkowski highlighted the policies that the Governance Committee reviewed:
• 1519 Advertising Policy—the updated policy would accept advertisements in any format, not just publications. Advertising must meet the policy’s standards and prohibit hate literature attacking any ethnic, religious, racial, or other protected groups, rather than listing every protected group.
• 1520 Public Comment to the board—the updated policy changes the title "Executive Director" to "COO" and refers to multiple principals. Public comment will be allowed at all regular meetings and at special meetings or work sessions at the board’s discretion to bring the policy in line with the board’s practice.
• 1521 Student Fees and Instructional Fees—there were no policy changes except for updating the review date.
• 1523 Class Size Policy—the update removes reference to the outdated 2016 MA strategic plan.
The board unanimously voted to accept the changes as proposed.
Board considers live streaming and posting meeting recordings
Lindsay Clinton, board secretary, moved to return to recording board meetings and to upload the recording within 72 hours with an option to live stream the meeting with the assistance of the Technology Department.
The MA board had voted unanimously in their July 15, 2021, meeting to revert to in-person only meetings and to stop posting their recordings online on YouTube as they had been doing. Graham noted that MA did not need to live stream or post their recordings per legal advice. See https://www.ocn.me/v21n8.htm#ma.
Clinton noted that she has had community members ask if MA would consider posting recordings or live streaming as life circumstances could prevent people from attending in person. Clinton said she had gotten two quotes on the equipment needed, including a dedicated laptop that would ease the configuration effort. Graham asked who would be in charge of setting up and running the required technology, noting that board members struggled to set up audio recording on time at each meeting.
A Technology Department staff member said it was within his scope and that he would recommend using YouTube for live streaming. After discussing whether they would provide this during regular meetings and special meetings, McCuen moved to table the issue and explore further how to do this without requiring board members to be responsible. Graham suggested further discussion at the May 31 retreat, including the three new board members. The board unanimously agreed to table the motion.
Board meeting highlights include:
• MA spotlighted staff members Kyle Hall, a fourth-grade paraprofessional, and Sandy Coyne, a first-grade teacher.
• Science teacher Karl Brown presented volunteer parents Wendy and Josh Brethauer with a photo collage to thank them for their fundraising efforts.
• Holmes noted that enrollment is still under MA’s goal by 25 students, but MA will continue to hold tours and add students. He pointed out that the biggest challenge is to move eighth-graders to high school, given the facilities and need for more differentiation between middle and high school.
• Chief Financial Officer Marc Brocklehurst projected a net income estimate of $100,000 with possible losses in May and June due to accrued salaries.
• St. Aubyn said MA is still waiting for permits and bids for a construction manager and construction company for the school Highway 105 recirculation plan. El Paso County will want to be involved once proposals come in.
• The School Accountability and Advisory Committee (SAAC) for West Campus reviewed the survey results with a 35% participation rate. St. Aubyn said the survey praised teachers and staff and appreciated challenging academics and the opportunity for parents to have a voice. She said that top concerns included teacher/staff morale, the need for more clubs/extracurriculars, and school finances.
• Holmes said that he and Director of Academics Tina Leone would begin reviewing the East Campus Parent Handbook. He asked board members to send input individually and said the goal is to have it updated and voted upon at the July meeting to be ready for the start of school. The board unanimously voted to establish a temporary committee to get parent input and assigned McCuen and Clinton to lead the effort.
• The big change to the 2022-23 school calendar was to remove the alternate block schedule and go to a regular schedule of seven periods per day with Friday as a half-day, reported Holmes. Due to construction, he removed start times from the calendar; parents should check the website for up-to-date information. New teachers are to report on Aug. 1 for orientation, and there are 7 1/2 snow days built into the calendar, according to Holmes. The board unanimously approved these changes.
Above: At the May 12 meeting, Monument Academy (MA) board member Misty McCuen (center) presented certificates to staff members Kyle Hall (left) and Sandy Coyne (right). Hall is a first-grade teacher as well as a gifted musician and singer who loves teaching through music. Coyne is a fourth-grade paraprofessional who has been at MA since 2007 and assists classroom teachers as well as helping with the car line, lunchroom, and many extra events. Photo by Jackie Burhans.
The MA School Board usually meets at 6 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month. The next regular board meeting will be on Thursday, June 9, at 6 p.m. on the East campus. See more information at see https://bit.ly/ma-boe.
Jackie Burhans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Harriet Halbig
The Lewis-Palmer D38 Board of Education reviewed a summary of the proposed 2022-23 budget at its May 16 meeting. A new principal for Ray Kilmer Elementary School was introduced, and many student and faculty achievements were celebrated.
Chief Financial Officer Kitte Overton presented an overview of the 2022-23 district budget. This budget was based on a conservative estimate of 6,445 students. The 2021 October count for 2021-22 is 6,328.5 (preschool students and those participating in the Homeschool Enrichment Academy count for less than an entire full-time student).
Based on information from the state, Overton estimates that the per pupil operating revenue in the coming year will be $9,050, or more than $550 per pupil above this year’s revenue. This increase will yield an additional $4.5 million for the 2022-23 school year, enabling the district to offer an average 6% increase in compensation, depending on the category of employment. Certified employees (teachers) would receive an average 6% plus $500 to restore a step they did not receive in the past year. Classified employees (support staff) would receive 6% while those in clerical, technical, and security would receive 9%. Employees in transportation and food services received a market adjustment last year. Those in administration would receive a 3% increase. The pay schedules were approved by the board as part of the consent agenda at the May 16 meeting.
Overton said the district received funds from the federal government in 2020-21 for nutritional services to allow the district to provide lunches and breakfasts during the pandemic.
This funding will no longer be received in the 2022-23 school year. Money left over from federal funding must be spent on nutritional services. Due to inflation and supply chain issues, the cost of a meal will be raised by $1 to $4.10.
It is also proposed that the fee for bus transportation will need to increase due to increased cost of diesel fuel. The proposed new fee will be $115 per semester per pupil. The changes have yet to be finalized.
In response to a question from board Treasurer Ron Schwarz, Overton said that the compensation increases do not include substitute teachers and she agreed that, due to increased revenue, the amount of the annual budget devoted to salaries and benefits will decline from 86% to 82%.
Overton said that a next step will be to prepare a five-year projection to include anticipated increases in insurance costs.
Superintendent KC Somers added that even with these compensation increases, the district will not close the gap between itself and other nearby districts. In his superintendent update earlier in the meeting, Somers said the district will also offer signing and retention bonuses to new staff. This is already being done in nearby districts.
New principal for Ray Kilmer Elementary
Somers introduced Brian Pohl as the new principal for Ray Kilmer Elementary School.
Chosen from many applicants, Pohl has over 25 years’ experience in education including as a teacher and a high school principal. He was recognized for his empathetic listening and communications skills.
Somers updated the board on district activities in keeping with the strategic plan.
He said that the district has received the results of a second community survey and will report on it at the June meeting.
The district has received a Counselor Corps Grant from the state to be spent over several years. In the coming year, ESSER III (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief) funds will be used to hire an additional counselor at the middle school and one at each high school. After that, the grant money will cover the salaries of these positions.
End-of-year assessment results have been received and will be analyzed.
The district is facing hiring challenges with 19 certified and 14 special education vacancies. Because other districts have been offering hiring bonuses, District 38 will do the same. In addition to recruiting, the district will stress retaining quality staff.
The Engage and Elevate community meetings have been completed, and a recap and newsletter will be sent out shortly.
Darin Dawson of video/software company BombBomb was recognized for donating furniture and office equipment to the district.
The Palmer Ridge High School and Lewis-Palmer High School speech and debate teams were recognized for participating in the Grande Regional National Qualifier Tournament in March. Two from each category were chosen to go to the national competition in Louisville.
Coaches Erin White and Brian Hoff introduced the students who will compete nationally. From Palmer Ridge are Diya Suri and Cole Wickert (public forum debate) and Luxe Palmer (poetry oral interpretation.
From Lewis-Palmer are Harry Harcrow (dramatic interpretation), Andrew Knierim (humorous interpretation), and Halie Mason and Anita Gichuki (duo).
The District 38 Bearbotics Team was recognized for advancing to regional competition. Coach Mike Hinkle said this is the first time in three years that the team has been able to compete.
Of the 41 members of the team, 26 were new this year. Due to the size of the group, they were divided into three teams.
The robot was named Haribo after the team’s favorite gummy bear snacks.
The team demonstrated the robot’s ability to go forward, backward, pick up tossed balls, and climb a frame.
In the competition, the team ranked third in Colorado and in the top 6% in the world. They were awarded the Gracious Professionalism award for their conduct.
The Palmer Ridge High School’s Bear Necessity Theatre Company was nominated for six statewide Bobby G awards for its production of Once Upon a Mattress, including the award for Outstanding Overall Production. See photos on page 1.
The district’s DECA team (Distributive Education Clubs of America) participated in the international conference in Atlanta. Of eight participants from Palmer Ridge High School, three were recognized for their effort and competitive scores.
Palmer Ridge teacher Brandy Doan was recognized by the Colorado Springs Down Syndrome Association for overall impact on students with Down Syndrome. The recognition includes a $600 scholarship.
The following other achievements were recognized:
• Palmer Ridge women’s tennis ranked second in 4A competition.
• Four Lewis-Palmer women’s tennis competitors were state qualifiers.
• Lewis-Palmer’s swim and dive team was undefeated in Duel and championship season.
• The Palmer Ridge Knowledge Bowl team advanced to nationals and placed third in its division. Members include seniors Zoe Johnson and Jack Vandenbussche and juniors Lawson McVay, Cole Wickert, and Nate Sapp.
The Lewis-Palmer D 38 Board of Education meets at 6 p.m. on the third Monday of each month in the district’s learning center, 146 Jefferson St., Monument. The next meeting will be on June 20.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at email@example.com.
By Allison Robenstein
Town Manager Mike Foreman was awarded the Colorado City and County Manager Association Manager of the Year honor during the May 2 Board of Trustees meeting. Several land use decisions were made. Chief Sean Hemingway put a kibosh on a discussion of overnight parking issues, saying there are very few issues in the town.
Mayor Pro tem Kelly Elliott was noted absent but came to the meeting late.
Foreman receives Manager of the Year honor
Scott Trainor, Fountain city manager, presented Foreman with the Colorado City and County Managers Association Manager of the Year award. Managers are nominated every year. Trainor said Foreman rose to the top through his numerous community-based actions including building partnerships with other communities. Foreman champions staff accomplishments and takes the time to mentor those who are not meeting their potential.
In accepting the award, Foreman said it is the staff who deserve to be recognized.
Land use decisions mostly unanimous
A resolution amending the Conexus Phase 1 Preliminary Planned Unit Development unanimously passed. The request was simply to update the site plan, which was originally approved by the board in 2018 to include the industrial standards referenced in the town’s new land development code.
A resolution for the Preliminary/Final Planned Unit Development for Native Sun Construction didn’t evoke any public comment. A two-story, 7,000-square-foot office building and a 6,120- square-foot shop will be built at 16050 Old Denver Road, just south of the Baptist and Woodcarver Roads roundabout. The property is just over 10 acres.
The Planning Commission approved the request during its April 13 meeting. See www.ocn.me/v22n5.htm#mpc. Peter Patten of Patten and Associates represented Native Sun, saying there will be two access points off Woodcarver Road. Native Sun Construction was annexed into the town in 2021.
The final land use request was for a resolution for approval of the Final Plat for Willow Springs Ranch Filing No. 2. The parcel is just over six acres and will have 27 single-family homes with lots ranging from 5,400 to 11,000 square feet. The parcel is west of Willow Springs Ranch Filing No. 1 with direct access off Forest Lakes Drive. The preliminary/final site plan was approved by the board on July 6, 2020.
One point of contention was the future Lewis-Palmer School District school site along Cattail Drive. During the Planning Commission meeting on April 13, residents thought traffic patterns at a school would create congestion and become dangerous for students. The request was approved by the Planning Commission with the condition that Cattail Drive become a right-in/right-out roadway if a new road is built in conjunction with a school.
The resolution passed 5-1 with Trustee Darcy Shoening voting against with no reason given.
Overnight parking discussion moot
Schoening led a discussion to update the current Unlawful Camping ordinance 8.36.030. Mayor Don Wilson said her suggestions were largely covered within the current ordinance. Schoening said there should be new definitions covering where people cannot sleep. She went on to suggest she saw or was told of a bus full of homeless people cooking on a grill along Baptist Road near the Pilot Flying J.
Hemingway said if someone doesn’t want to drive, police encourage them to do so, particularly in a well-lit parking area such as the Pilot Flying J. Responding to complaints, Hemingway said Pilot staff were the ones found to be sleeping in cars between shifts. When pressed by Trustee Mitch LaKind for crime statistics related to those found sleeping in their vehicles, Hemingway said there is no correlation between people camping and those committing crimes.
But Schoening could not be silenced, saying she has heard of high school students going there to buy drugs and find prostitutes.
Ultimately, the discussion went nowhere.
During public comments, Christine Malmborg, owner of Dragonfly Paddle Yoga, came back to the board after begging it to change the Monument Lake business permitting process. Because no permits were approved this year for businesses like hers to work on the lake, she is in danger of losing her livelihood. Malmborg said half her revenue comes from this community in the summer months when she teaches yoga on paddleboards. She told the board she feels disenfranchised and inconsequential.
Wilson asked the town manager for an update on the permitting process at the next meeting.
Brandi Turner, home rule committee commissioner, thanked the board and staff for their assistance.
The meeting adjourned at 9:14 pm.
Above: Monument Town Manager Mike Foreman received the Manager of the Year award from the Colorado City and County Managers Association. Photo by Allison Robenstein.
Allison Robenstein can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Kate Pangelinan
The May 11 Monument Planning Commission (MPC) meeting included four Public Hearing items, all of which were approved for recommendation to the Board of Trustees, though not without significant discussion and—at times—additional conditions. As listed in the meeting agenda, these Public Hearing items were:
• The Thompson Thrift Residential Final PUD Plan
• The Village at Jackson Creek Filing No. 1 Final Plat
• The Eagle Rock Distribution Preliminary/Final PUD and Final Plat
• An ordinance adopting industrial design standards, definitions, and uses.
Of all these proposals, the ordinance concerning new industrial design standards generated considerable thought and discussion. Commissioner Daniel Ours asked that a more thorough explanation be put into this month’s minutes, hoping this article would include more information, and that both the Board of Trustees and the public will be informed/know that the issue was treated with care.
Any citizens who want more clarification are encouraged to use the resources provided. Links to both the minutes and the full recorded meeting are provided at the end of this article, and town staff members are available to answer questions. If you wish to watch the May 11 MPC meeting concerning industrial design standards specifically, the explanatory presentation begins at about the one-hour, 45-minute mark in the YouTube recording.
May 11’s meeting ended on a bittersweet note, with the commission presenting now-former Planning Director Meggan Herington with accolades and a plaque, wishing her well moving forward and stating that she has operated "with the highest standard of excellence and integrity" during her time working for the Town of Monument.
Commissioner Ours also mentioned that Planner II Debbie Flynn was honored as Employee of the Year recently and offered congratulations.
Thompson Thrift Residential Final PUD Plan
Some facts about the Thompson Thrift Residential Final PUD Plan, as detailed in the meeting packet available online, as well as presentations both by Flynn and Jon Romero of N.E.S. Inc:
• This project involves 13.14 acres within the Village at Jackson Creek development, upon which the intention is to construct "264 multifamily units, a clubhouse, pool, and fitness center." These 264 residential units will feature four kinds of buildings, and all of these buildings will have different kinds of residences within, allowing occupants to select between one-, two-, and three-bedroom homes. As stated in the meeting packet, "There are (108) one-bedroom units, (132) two-bedroom units, and (24) three-bedroom units." A total of 20% of the property—114,476 square feet—is expected to feature open space. There will also be a dog park.
• This project is the first of four lots within the Village at Jackson Creek, located in the northwest of the development.
• The Village at Jackson Creek in general is planned to feature "a variety of retail, employment, multifamily, and other commercial uses on 46.973 AC," again quoting the meeting packet.
• There are expected to be 479 parking spaces—"383 surface parking spaces, 19 ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) spaces, and 96 garage spaces." People will be able to access the property from Grand Village Drive. The meeting packet states, "The access point on the eastern side of the site is a right-in/right-out intersection. The access point on the southern portion of the site is a roundabout."
• The proposed building height is 48 feet.
• The applicant is listed as "Thompson Thrift Residential," and the property owner is listed as "Jackson Creek Land LLC." Pictures and maps concerning this project are available online in the meeting packet.
Steve King spoke during the Public Comment period, providing his impressions on the project and its history and expressing concerns. There were then several questions from the MPC, which were addressed by a whole host of people representing both town staff and the applicant. The applicant’s representatives are listed in the meeting minutes as: "John Romero of Thompson Thrift (Watermark Residential), Monica Unger with Thompson Thrift, and the traffic engineer Jeff Hodsten, (and) Brett Behnke with CSI."
Some of the highlights of this discussion included:
• Ours stated that it is a priority to provide viable, affordable housing for young people. Monument is lacking in such housing, and there is a need, he said. Herington noted that she has witnessed many phone calls from residents stating that varied housing is not "appropriate" for Monument. She recommends meetings to clarify a "vision" for the community and mentioned that an update to the town’s Comprehensive Plan is expected sometime in 2023.
• Commissioner Sean Zernickow asked about traffic signals at the Harness Road and Jackson Creek intersection, stating that the area is an "accident waiting to happen." The answer was that currently the "warrants" that would allow for such a signal to be built aren’t met, but that when they are a signal will be built.
• Several commissioners had questions about previously conducted traffic studies, just as several commissioners expressed concerns about density in the area. Vice Chairman Martin Trujillo mentioned wanting to preserve Monument’s "small-town feel."
• When asked how much the market value for these homes would be, representatives of the applicant answered that they couldn’t answer yet, but that they sometimes provide discounts, such as for police officers. A unit might go for $1,400 to $2,300 a month, it was said, but that could fluctuate with the market.
In the end, the Thompson Thrift Residential Final PUD Plan was approved for recommendation to the Board of Trustees 4-2, with Trujillo and Commissioner Ray Egley voting against.
The Village at Jackson Creek Filing No. 1 Final Plat
Some facts about the Village at Jackson Creek Filing No. 1 Final Plat proposal, as detailed in the meeting packet available online, as well as presentations both by Flynn and Brett Behnke of CSI Development:
• The Village at Jackson Creek is "west of Jackson Creek Parkway, off Harness Road and Strata Drive," to use the phrasing from the meeting packet. The May 11 MPC meeting dealt with a Final Plat for this project, officially dividing it into its lots and tracts.
• The development is composed of 46.973 acres, separated into four lots. The largest of those lots is 17.045 acres and the smallest is 4.364 acres. There are also three tracts, described as Tract A, Tract B, and Tract C. As for their uses, the packet states: "Tract A is dedicated for open space, utilities, and drainage … Tracts B and C are designated as streetscape tracts."
• The Village at Jackson Creek includes Harness Road, Cloverleaf Road, and Grand Village Drive. Road maintenance and water services will be the responsibility of Triview Metropolitan District.
• The development is expected to feature community amenities, residential spaces, employment opportunities, and retail.
• The applicant is listed as "CSI Development LLC" and the property owner is listed as "Jackson Creek Land Company LLC."
Steve King returned to speak during this project’s Public Comment period. Along with expressing concerns about the Village at Jackson Creek itself, he spoke about the idea of condominiums serving as useful "stepping stones" for people trying to "move up" from where they are currently living. Condos seem to King a good solution, although they are not currently being built here.
Some of the MPC’s question/discussion points included potential conditions they may want to put on this development, which—if implemented—would have to be approved by the town’s attorney. This included questioning if the MPC could limit the construction of more multifamily housing developments and/or forbid further subdivision of the current lots. None of those conditions has been set in motion.
In the end, a motion to approve this proposal for recommendation to the BOT passed 4-2, with Trujillo and Egley voting against. Trujillo stated he could not support this project, finding it inharmonious and out of sync with the rest of the community. He is opposed to the density. Egley voted "No" for similar reasons, also citing a lack of harmony with Monument.
Although he voted in favor of the project, Ours stated that he did so knowing that the MPC would have chances to assess any future subdivisions that would increase residential units on the property.
Eagle Rock Distribution Final Plat and Preliminary/Final PUD
Some facts about this proposal, as detailed in the meeting packet available online, as well as presentations by Flynn and Steve Economos of Eagle Rock Distributing Co.:
• This project is composed of 23.39 acres within the Falcon Commerce Center. It is intended to feature a 262,500-square-foot building and a 10,000-square-foot truck maintenance facility.
• Eagle Rock Distribution deals with beverage distribution, selling non-alcoholic beverages as well as beer, wine, and spirits to retailers. It is a family company based in Atlanta, although that family has spent time in Colorado and is invested in the community.
• This facility is expected to "be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with its heaviest use from 7 to 11 a.m. (light fleet and pedestrian vehicles)" as stated in the meeting packet.
• The meeting packet also notes that a trail connection will link to the Santa Fe Trail from the north end of this property.
• A traffic study indicating that this project wouldn’t affect existing traffic patterns is leading to the construction of a roundabout at the intersection of Baptist Road and Terrazzo Drive. This is expected to "be constructed within 18 months."
• The applicant is listed as "Ware Malcomb," and the property owner is listed as "Eagle Rock Distributing Co." Pictures and maps concerning this project are available online in the meeting packet.
King spoke again during Public Comment about this proposal, expressing his worries about the development and making note of compromises that have been made on both sides in the development of the Falcon Commerce Center.
There was a fair amount of MPC discussion for this proposal as well. According to the meeting minutes, questions were addressed by "Steve Economos of Eagle Rock Distributing Company, Mathew Borner and Daniel Allen of Ware Malcom, and town staff." The points discussed included:
• Many questions dealing with the company’s vehicles from various commissioners, including topics such as truck repairs (for which there will be a staff member available on-site, at least for basic maintenance), routes (some trucks will provide deliveries, and some sales representatives will journey around seeking business from places with liquor licenses), and fueling (the trucks will fuel at different times, offsite).
• What jobs would look like with this facility.
• Road plans.
• Commissioner Zernickow asked if the public would be able to enter this facility for retail purposes, or to drink on couches as is rendered in the presentation’s pictures. It was answered that no, due to liquor licensing that sort of thing isn’t really for the public but rather for meetings involving companies and employees. It is noted in the meeting packet that "The outdoor patio is for employees and patrons of Eagle Rock. Eagle Rock hosts various community, fundraising, and/or town chamber events at the facility in Georgia and the use will be similar at the Monument facility."
In the end, a vote to approve this Final Plat and Preliminary/Final PUD was unanimous.
Some facts about this proposal, as detailed in the meeting packet available online as well as a presentation by former Planning Director Meggan Herington:
• This ordinance is intended to clarify and update the town’s Land Development Code to better represent the goals of the community and the Comprehensive Plan, specifically in regard to industrial land use. This involves adding terms and designations as well as deleting language that is no longer useful. A draft of the document that’s being worked on is available in the meeting packet, with all the additions in red and the omissions crossed out. Citizens can view this document.
• So far, it has been difficult to reach consensus on some of these industrial development topics. This ordinance has been in the works for a while, with Monument staff gathering people from varying sides of the story and working to refine industrial development terms.
• Some changes included in this ordinance:
1. Definitions have been added for "Distribution Facility, Fulfillment Center, Micro Fulfillment Center, and Warehousing with Distribution," to distinguish them. Some of these definitions are still contentious/being worked through.
2. "Microbrewery or Distillery" is being suggested as a conditional use in Light Industrial-zoned spaces, where Heavy Industrial use has been prohibited.
• According to the meeting packet, some of the most controversial issues have included semi-truck parking spaces, metal buildings, and loading berths and doors.
1. Rules have been drafted regarding semi-truck parking spaces, as well as how much of an exception can be made in the case of circumstance/need/adequate screening of trucks.
2. As far as metal buildings are concerned, they will only be allowed "if the gross floor area does not exceed 20,000 square feet." This conclusion was reached due to interactions with a small business owner, which Herington also discussed during her presentation.
3. Loading berths/doors/docks are very important to this discussion as they are part of the reason some of the MPC commissioners took issue with this document. They are described as "very controversial" in the meeting packet. People just aren’t sure how many doors should be allowed per feet of warehouse space. Currently, the document is allowing for "one (dock) per 15,000 square feet."
• The draft can still be updated. Reports are just being brought back to the BOT to further hone this document and add suggestions.
There were three speakers during the Public Comment period this time, including King, who likes this document. He advised against rezoning people’s property, among other points.
Tom Blunk of Falcon Commerce Center said the ordinance document could restrict developments that the MPC may approve of otherwise, such as the Eagle Rock Distribution facility, and a lot of restriction may prove unfortunate for the town.
Brett Behnke approved of some points from the ordinance document, although he explained ways that limiting industrial growth could hurt Monument, such as denying the town substantial revenue. He advocated for the allowance of one loading dock per 2,200 square feet of warehouse building.
Trujillo asked both Blunk and Behnke if they live in Monument—they do not.
Many discussion points were brought up by the MPC, covering a wide range of points. Here are some of the points made and questions asked:
• Ours stressed how important it is to consider what the public wants. Even if some definitions are deemed restrictive, the public asked for this document.
• More definitions were requested.
• Traffic and roadways were discussed.
• It was asked whether semi-trucks could be limited by weight. It is a priority of some MPC members to limit semi-truck traffic.
• Herington also suggested that rezoning individuals’ property might not be advisable.
After a lot of discussion, Ours recommended a 10-minute break, during which Herington added new wording to the document based on the discussions. Her amendments concern traffic. Quoting the meeting minutes: "The traffic impact study required as part of the application shall analyze types of and number of daily trips of truck traffic (semi-truck, box truck, and cargo van are examples but not limited to), and relationship to delivery times and impact on peak-hour traffic. If the project is proposed to be built in phases, each phase shall be analyzed individually as well as the cumulative impact on the surrounding roadways. Semi-truck traffic is discouraged and utilization of smaller and more frequent deliveries at off-peak hours is encouraged. Traffic projected to be generated by the industrial use (to include individual phases) shall not result in undue traffic congestion or traffic hazards, or unsafe parking, loading, service, or internal traffic conflicts to the detriment of persons on or off-site. The projected types (weight and size) of vehicles generating traffic as a result of the industrial use shall not overburden or denigrate the capacity of existing streets in a manner that exceeds other uses permitted in the zone district."
When Egley recommended this ordinance for approval to the BOT, he included a note that he was recommending approval of this "adjusted language added to the traffic study."
In the end, Egley’s motion passed 4-2, with Zernickow and Collins voting against. Zernickow stated that he found the ordinance too restrictive, and Collins that he specifically found the language related to loading too restrictive.
Although he voted yes, Peck wanted it noted that he found the "one loading door per 15,000 square feet" requirement too restrictive, too.
Information and relevant links
• This article was written in reference to a draft of the meeting’s minutes along with references to other town-provided resources, as usual. The draft of this meeting’s minutes was submitted by Theresa Rust and is currently available online at www.monumenttown.com/documents-on-demand.com.
• These minutes will later be considered for approval by the PC, and—once any potential amendments are made and a vote passed—no longer designated a "draft."
• The site www.monumenttown.com/documents-on-demand.com is also a good place to find explanatory packets and agendas for both MPC and BOT meetings.
• Many MPC 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. The May 11 meeting is currently available to watch and was another resource used in the writing of this article.
• According to the town’s website, planning staff can be contacted by calling 719-481-2954 or sending an email to email@example.com.
The next PC meeting will be held at 6 p.m. June 8 in Monument Town Hall.
Kate Pangelinan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Allison Robenstein
During the May 16 Board of Trustees meeting, a small-business owner said the town’s lack of business permitting at Monument Lake puts her in "situational poverty." The Police Department will request a grant to fund two new school resource officers, and Redmond Ramos was sworn in to take Laurie Clark’s board position after she resigned.
Lack of permitting causing "situational poverty"
During public comments, Christine Malmborg, owner of Dragonfly Paddle Yoga, asked the board for a third time to reconsider its current Monument Lake business permitting process. Madeline VanDenHoek, director of parks and community partnerships, gave a brief overview of the current lake permitting situation, saying that in previous years the first two businesses that apply for permits to operate a business on the 31-acre public lake get approved, while all others are denied. In 2021, there were so many arguments at the lake involving permit holders that all future permits are denied.
In an email to clarify her in-meeting statements, Malmborg said, "I work seven days a week for four months out of the year, which supports me for the entire year…. I’ve invested tens of thousands of dollars in training and equipment. Half of my business came from Monument Lake which is now ruined."
VanDenHoek said there have been ever-increasing conflicts between anglers and other watercraft users. She suggested a few possible solutions:
• Reinstate permits at $250/year plus a $75 business license.
• Hold a lottery system for all permit requests.
• Ask interested businesses to submit a proposal that would clearly show how their business would minimize impacts and maximize benefits.
• Eliminate lake use permits altogether, with no businesses operating at the lake.
When asked how many permits have been requested in past years, VanDenHoek didn’t have an answer. Trustee Ron Stephens asked her to quantify the negative impacts. She responded there have only been anecdotal issues. There were no official measurements or study by staff to identify peak hours or specific issues.
Monument Police Chief Sean Hemingway said peak hours for calls for service are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., especially on weekends and holidays. Hemingway said that when officers responded to complaints, they were usually unfounded, and the lake uses were consistent with town rules. He said the only consistent issue police find is double parking or congestion near the boat ramp.
Trustee Darcy Schoening was in favor of closing the lake to small business altogether and allowing only residents to use the water, but Trustee Mitch LaKind disagreed, saying he would like to have a set criterion if there is a lottery system or if the board will need to review proposals.
The discussion was left simply for the staff to bring hard data to the next meeting.
Newly sworn in Trustee Ramos asked during board discussions if there is anything the board can do other than wait for staff to do more research and present it during the June meeting, suggesting a temporary permitting option. Town Manager Mike Foreman struck that down, saying it didn’t follow the existing ordinance. Special event permitting was also not an option.
Malmborg said later a request for a business permit to teach yoga classes in Limbach Park has yet to be approved or denied.
Grant would pay for school resource officer positions
Hemingway asked the board to approve a request to apply for a Department of Justice (DOJ) Grant—Cops Hiring Program 2022. The financial request would total $250,000, for which the town would put in 25% or $62,500 with the rest being matched by DOJ. Grant money would be used to create two new school resource officer positions, and funding is paid to the town for three consecutive years.
The request was unanimously approved.
New trustee sworn in
Ramos and Sandy Waresak introduced themselves to the board during the May 2 meeting. Ramos said he was excited about the potential to be on the board, noting it could be a wonderful way to serve his community. Both candidates were there to take the seat recently vacated by Laurie Clark. The board nominated Ramos unanimously.
The board went into executive session at 8:48 pm pursuant to C.R.S. § 24-6-402(4)(a), (4)(b), and (4)(e) to Obtain Legal Advice regarding the Acquisition of a Fee Interest in Real Property at the southeast corner of Second Street and Beacon Lite Road for a water well project. Secondarily, the executive session was to cover legal advice for the acquisition of a temporary construction and a subsurface waterline easement at 18255 Davidson St.
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, June 20. 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://monumenttown.com.minutes-on-demand and click on Board of Trustees.
Allison Robenstein can be reached at email@example.com.
By Natalie Barszcz
At the Donald Wescott Fire Protection District (DWFPD) meeting on May 17, the board elected two board directors and held two executive sessions to discuss an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) for the provision of emergency services with Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD), and to receive advice regarding the disposition of real property.
Board officer positions determined
Chairman Mark Gunderman asked district counsel Emily Powell if the board needed to change the names of the board positions.
Powell said that the board did not need a vice position, and anyone can chair any given meeting. The Special District Act uses the term "president" and anyone could be the acting chair in the absence of the board president, but typically the board secretary would step in, said Powell.
Secretary Larry Schwarz thanked Gunderman for all his hard work and requested that he continue as board president, and the current roles remain the same.
Treasurer Duane Garrett and Directors Charles Fleece and Mike Forsythe concurred with Schwarz.
The board unanimously approved the nominations as follows: Gunderman as president, Schwarz as secretary and Garrett as treasurer.
Administrative Assistant Stacey Popovich confirmed before the meeting that to meet state requirements, Directors Gunderman and Forsythe were administered the oath of office on May 6 at the district administration offices.
The board moved into executive session at 4:14 p.m., pursuant to Colorado Revised Statutes 24-6-402(4)(b) and (e) to receive advice of legal counsel and to discuss matters subject to negotiations regarding the IGA for the provision of emergency services with TLMFPD. When the board returned to the regular meeting at 4:45 p.m., no action was taken.
Unification process update
After the executive session, Powell said the following:
• DWFPD had been working hard with TLMFPD to negotiate an IGA for the provision of emergency services, by which DWFPD will transfer most of its physical assets and its personnel to TLMFPD.
• TLMFPD will then be responsible for providing all emergency services within both parties’ jurisdictions.
• The negotiations continue to advance really well, and legally both district attorneys are on the same page.
• The next step is to present the IGA to both boards to make sure they are both on the same page.
• There are a couple of outstanding issues, such as the transfer of employee benefits and the date to transfer personnel. The original transfer of personnel was set to happen on Jan. 1, 2023, but that has proven to be administratively challenging, and there is a desire to move the transfer date up substantially, to Aug. 1 or Sept. 1, 2022.
Gunderman in response said:
• The board position is all for moving the date up to get things done sooner, but the board is concerned that we are being date driven, although I don’t think that is happening.
• The board is responsible for ensuring the DWFPD personnel have everything they need by whatever date we pick.
• The board feels more comfortable with Sept. 1 to allow Powell enough time to ensure every "I" will be dotted and every "T" is crossed.
• If anything happens and personnel are left without benefits that is on the board, and I am not willing to trade 30 days’ time for that.
• The board direction is for Powell to pursue the transfer on Sep. 1.
Powell said she would work with Kovacs and TLMFPD attorney Maureen Juran to ensure that all the correct steps are taken and all the documents are drafted.
Kovacs said on behalf of the staff we are prepared to go, and he is confident that the Sept. 1 date can be met, making sure that the employees are taken care of during the process.
Gunderman said, "It is no reflection on TLMFPD and the admin staff, and personally it is unchartered waters, but at the end of the day there is an obligation to the Wescott folks, and the extra 30 days will help him sleep better at night."
"We are really close," said Powell.
Common broker of record
Powell said a conversation about a common broker of record for employee benefits had occurred. The transfer of benefits would need to occur on the same day that the benefits cease at DWFPD, and then the employees would need to be enrolled in the TLMFPD benefit plans on that day. It is a very carefully coordinated dance that needs to occur on the same day as the transfer of employees. A common broker of record for both districts will need to work closely with Kovacs and the districts’ attorneys to ensure everything is coordinated without gaps in coverage, said Powell.
Gunderman recommended that Powell be involved in the discussion with the broker of record, and a special meeting be called for the board to sign the broker of record.
Kovacs said that due to the auditor’s scheduling, the auditor had requested a 30-day extension of the 2021 audited financial statements.
Powell said it was routine, and the district was entitled to a 60-day extension as a matter of course.
The board approved the extension, 5-0.
Fire Chief Andy Kovacs highlighted some of the combined district monthly activity report for April, and noted the following:
• The district hosted and attended a Wildfire Preparedness meeting at Palmer Ridge High School on April 2, and over 75 residents attended, which was a "good showing."
• The district is officially registered with the Center for Public Safety Excellence, which is the first step in the accreditation process.
• The district is evaluating the current fire station locations and discussing whether to remove or upgrade those stations and is looking at rebuilding Station 3 on Woodmoor Drive.
• The district administration offices are officially full, and the district is looking at incorporating future administrative offices into a fire station rebuild.
• The Station 4 (formerly DWFPD Station 1) roof repair had been completed.
• Ambulance revenue billing was higher than average with a 41% increase in the first quarter, with the DWFPD Station 4 third ambulance generating about $101,237.
• American Medical Response requests for service into Colorado Springs have decreased and were down to 11 in April; the district responded to 10. See www.ocn.me/v22n2.htm#dwfpd and www.ocn.me/v22n3.htm#tlmfpd.
• The 2010 Rosenbauer (DWFPD) and the 2005 Smeal (TLMFPD) engines have been listed for sale with Brindlee Mountain Fire Apparatus for $75,000 each.
Note: For additional updates, see the TLMFPD article on page 17.
Board member kudos
Gary Nelson, president of Emergency Incident Support (EIS), thanked the board members at DWFPD for their services and support, and for the ambulances provided by TLMFPD and Black Forest Fire Rescue Protection District. Nelson said the group had simultaneously provided support to first responders on May 12-13, and about 760 meals were served in total at four incidents in El Paso County, and at the High Park Fire in Teller County, setting a record for EIS, said Nelson. For more information on the group, visit: www.epceis.com.
Gunderman thanked Nelson and his group for their support to first responders.
The board moved into executive session at 5:14 p.m. pursuant to Colorado Revised Statutes §24-6-402(4)(b) to received advice of legal counsel regarding the disposition of real property.
Kovacs confirmed that when the board returned to regular session no action was taken.
The board adjourned at 5:30 p.m.
Above: Fire Chief Andy Kovacs and Engineer Jody Thorpe, president of the Monument International Association of Firefighters (MIAFF), Local 4319 are pictured at the Regional Cancer Seminar on May 13. About 75 people participated in the event to hear four national experts in the field of cancer education and prevention provide much needed information in an area that is largely unmonitored. The event was sponsored and organized by the MIAFF, Local 4319. Photo courtesy Andy Kovacs.
Above: The Donald Wescott Fire Protection District ladder truck was on display during the event at the Great Wolf Lodge. The ladder truck is currently housed at TLMFPD Station 1, Highway 105, and is held in ready reserve status until the district receives a new mid-mount aerial ladder truck in 2024. Photo by Andy Kovacs.
Meetings are usually held on the third Tuesday of every month at the TLMFPD Station 1, 18650 Highway 105, at 4 p.m. The next regular board meeting is scheduled for June 21 at 4 p.m. Meeting attendance is open to the public both in person and via Zoom. For 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 May 18, the board administered the oath of office to the newly elected directors and determined the board positions. The board also heard about dispatch frustrations and received a needs assessment for a future ladder truck.
Treasurer Jack Hinton was excused.
Directors take oath of office
Chairman Rick Nearhoof administered the oath of office to newly elected officers Chad Behnken, Nate Dowden, and Kiersten Tarvainen.
The director positions were nominated and elected as follows: Dowden, chairman; Jim Abendshcan, vice chairman; and Jack Hinton, treasurer.
The board approved the positions 4-0.
Nearhoof thanked the board and staff for putting up with him for eight great years and said, "The department has come a long way since 2014 and has accomplished much."
Dowden thanked the outgoing board directors, Deb Hoffpauir and Nearhoof, for their service.
Tarvainen said she hoped to contribute and support the community as much as possible, providing what we can to serve the citizens.
Behnken said, as a homeowner with connections in the City of Colorado Springs and El Paso County, he hopes to be a resource and bring questions to the district regarding water and density. I take pride in Black Forest and want to be a voice for homeowners and the community, Black Forest is in a completely different place from eight years ago, said Behnken.
Dowden thanked Tarvainen and Behnken for volunteering and representing the community.
Ladder truck needs assessment
Deputy Chief of Operations Chris Piepenburg presented the board with a needs assessment for a future ladder truck company. Noting the differences between an engine and a ladder truck, and describing how firefighters tackle fires, he said:
• Engines typically carry two ladders, but a mid-mount ladder truck can carry eight or nine ladders plus an aerial tower.
• The district uses multiple ground ladders around a home, and many homes in the district look like a two-story on first approach but could be a three- or four-story residence in the rear.
• A mid-mount tower ladder truck would help get victims out of a burning structure in a timely manner.
• Allow easier access when entering a window to conduct a vent-and-search operation and provide more versatility with better water hose angles for tackling fire in the ceiling of a structure.
• The district is growing, with strip malls and hotels in the future, and construction accidents will likely occur with all the new development.
• The district typically relies on the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD) for a rear-mount "quint" ladder truck if one is available, but they do not have the ground ladder capacity necessary.
Note: A quintuple "quint" refers to a firefighting apparatus that can perform five functions: pump, water tank, fire hose, aerial device, and ground ladders.
Fire Chief PJ Langmaid said for the district to get a rear-mount ladder truck from TLMFPD Station 1 (Highway 105), it takes 20 minutes to arrive at BFFRPD Station 2 (Hodgen Road), and 30-35 minutes to Station 1, (Teachout Road). He added:
• The closest station with a rear-mount ladder truck is Colorado Springs Fire Department Station 19 (Research Parkway), and it would take 18-20 minutes to arrive via Old Ranch Road, but dispatch hinders the response, and sometimes Cimarron Hills Fire Department responds, although it is farther away than TLMFPD.
• The quint rear-mount ladder trucks that respond do not have the same capability as a mid-mount ladder truck. Loaded with ground ladders, pumps, and water, they are heavy and not likely to be supported on dirt roads.
• CSFD sends 28 firefighters to a fire and BFFRPD sends nine firefighters, so the district is looking to secure SAFER grants to continue hiring top-tier staff, purchase a ladder truck, and secure tax revenue.
• A ladder truck is a supporting element, and the engine will always be the main apparatus.
• There is a huge disconnect when TLMFPD requests a Black Forest tender with ladders because the TLMFPD ladder truck does not have enough ladders.
Note: TLMFPD placed an order for a Pierce mid-mount aerial ladder truck in January for $1.5 million and expects to take delivery by October 2023. See www.ocn.me/v22n2.htm#tlmfpd and www.ocn.me/v22n3.htm#bffrpd.
Abendschan said he needed more information on the cost differentials between the different types of ladder trucks available. Many driveways that have 3 to 4 inches of asphalt would not bear the load of a ladder truck, and having driven a tandem axle, maneuverability would not work with long driveways, said Abendschan.
Langmaid said it would be a toolbox for the community as it grows, and ground ladders will be used for those driveways that a ladder truck cannot access.
Tarvanian asked what the district proposes to do in the meantime if a truck build takes two years and suggested the district look at better communications with CSFD to get a ladder truck in the district sooner.
Langmaid said there is a dilemma with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office communication center. The CAD-to-CAD software should make it simple, by patching the different networks together, but it is not happening, and phone calls are relied upon to communicate the district needs. The dispatch office needs additional full-time staffing, dedicated to assist fire dispatch. Other districts are looking at using out-of-county dispatch services, sending county dollars away for dispatch services, said Langmaid.
Tarvainen asked if more ground ladders would be helpful and if the district had calculated the percentage of homes that would potentially require an aerial ladder.
Langmaid said BFFRPD does not know how many of the district’s 8,000 structures would require an aerial ladder truck.
Piepenburg said that typically a structure fire initially receives two engines, two tenders, a chief, and an ambulance. A call for mutual aid from Falcon Fire Protection District or TLMFPD takes longer to get when the district requires more apparatus.
Resident Hugh Carver suggested that the district consider saving money by purchasing a used truck of about 6 years old or a ladder-carrying truck.
Piepenburg said that a used truck would likely be about 20 years old and "run in," and a ladder tender has limited capability. Ladder trucks are the most expensive apparatus, and departments do not turn them in as frequently as other apparatus.
Langmaid said the district could look at a ladder tender in the interim, but maintenance could be high, and the district is trying to look after the district tax dollars.
Langmaid said the following:
• The wildland fire risk assessments began in April, and so far 131 properties had been assessed.
• Piepenburg attended the FDIC International, Indianapolis, national firefighter conference from April 25-30 and taught a two-day class during the event. He will teach the FDIC International "Man versus Machine" technical rescue course at CSFD. A $5,000 grant is helping to pay for the class.
• A small parcel for a fire station exists in the Sterling Ranch development, and a discussion with the developer was planned in late May or June to see how it should look.
• Tentatively, a third station in the Sterling Ranch development would need three personnel and house an engine, brush truck, and tender.
Abendschan asked who would pay for a station and what about impact fee collection for new development.
Langmaid said the district gets the revenue when the residence is occupied, but services are needed as soon as ground is broken.
The meeting adjourned at 8:47 p.m.
Above: From left, Chairman Richard "Gator" Nearhoof administers the oath of office to Directors Kiersten Tarvainen and Chad Bhenken, and Vice Chairman Nathan Dowden. After the oath was administered, the board appointed Dowden as chairman and Director James Abendschan (not pictured) as vice chairman. Photo by Natalie Barszcz.
Meetings are usually held on the third Wednesday of the month at Station 1, 11445 Teachout Road, Colorado Springs. Meetings are open to the public in person or via Zoom. The next regular meeting was rescheduled to June 22 at 7 p.m. For joining instructions, updates, agendas, and minutes, visit www.bffire.org or contact Administrative Officer Rachel Dunn at email@example.com or call 719-495-4300.
Natalie Barszcz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Natalie Barszcz
At the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD) meeting on May 25, the board held a moment of silence for the passing of a former board director and the 21 innocent lives lost in Texas. The directors also determined new board positions and held an executive session to discuss the full-service contract between the district and Donald Wescott Fire Protection District (DWFPD). President John Hildebrandt attended via Zoom.
Treasurer Jason Buckingham was on duty and unable to join the meeting until 7:26 p.m. Secretary Mike Smaldino did not attend.
A moment of silence was held to honor the passing of former TLMFPD board President Charlie Pocock and the 21 innocent lives lost at Robb Elementary School, Uvalde, Texas.
Fire Chief Andy Kovacs shared some of Pocock’s obituary and recognized his distinguished military service, amazing career, and service to the country and the community. Pocock, who passed on May 14, was a resident of Palmer Lake until 2017 and served on multiple volunteer boards, including the Palmer Lake Town Council, Palmer Lake Historical Society, Tri-Lakes Cares, and 15 years as president on the TLMFPD Board of Directors.
Hildebrandt said he had spent many hours with Charlie during the unification between the Woodmoor Fire Department and TLMFPD, and that was quite an accomplishment.
Above: Charles "Charlie" Pocock. Photo provided by TLMFPD.
Wescott unification—full-service contract
Kovacs said the board would discuss the full-service contract in executive session and said:
• The district is 99% of the way toward signing a full-service contract.
• The full-service contract is now expected to take effect on Aug. 28, when TLMFPD begins its next pay period. See the DWFPD article on page 14.
• The district is waiting for DWFPD board President Mark Gunderman to find a date to convene a "special meeting" with the DWFPD board, to sign the broker of record for the TLMFPD insurance brokers.
• The DWFPD employees will be brought over as TLMFPD employees on the same day, with insurance and Firefighters Police Pension Association benefits intact.
• Another broker of record will be required to start facilitating the next step of deeding the DWFPD facilities and apparatus.
• The joint boards will then meet and sign the intergovernmental agreement—full-service contract at a date to be determined.
Kovacs thanked Director of Administration Jennifer Martin for being the "go-to subject matter expert" during the process when it comes to health care plans, payroll, and benefits.
Board positions determined
Kovacs requested the board decide and determine the new board positions.
Director Terri Hayes said the positions should remain the same.
Director Tom Kelly said he supported Hayes and "let the horse run."
Hildebrandt said Treasurer Jason Buckingham had done a fine job as treasurer, but he had indicated that he would prefer to return to a director position.
Director Tom Kelly accepted the position of treasurer.
The following positions—John Hildebrandt as board president, Roger Lance as vice president, Mike Smaldino as secretary, Tom Kelly as treasurer, and Jason Buckingham, Terri Hayes, and Tom Tharnish as directors—were approved by the board, 5-0.
Kovacs said Mike Rohde and Associates consultants had visited the district and met with the stakeholders, and he added:
• Division Chief of Operations Jonathan Bradley accompanied the consultants on a tour of the areas to be included in the 2022 wildfire pre-plans.
• The consultants are expanding the Woodmoor plan to include the Arrowwood community and will combine the pre-plan for Red Rocks Ranch and Forest Lakes (to include all the properties in between those communities).
• The consultants think they will be able to reduce the total number of plans, making the project more cost effective.
• The consultants also toured DWFPD and will create a plan there in the future.
• The plans will be strategical, tactical tools for the chief and first arriving officer to start taking action and mitigate emergencies.
• Some information will be sensitive and confidential, but general information will be shared with the public.
Hildebrandt said he would be totally against combining the wildfire pre-plan for Red Rocks Ranch with Forest Lakes, due to the different topography, varying age of homes, and exit routes.
Bradley said he drove the areas with the consultants from Rohde and Associates, and the plans are not continuous, or a one size fits all, and there is not enough complexity to warrant a separate plan for the south plateau. The consultants believe they can provide a product that reflects each area, including access points with enough detail to be relevant for each community, said Bradley.
Kovacs said the district will have the opportunity to make the final decision on each pre-plan.
Mitigation efforts continue
Kovacs said the best way to get neighbors committed to pre-fire mitigation is to lead by example, and the district is conducting free home mitigation inspections, offering advice to homeowners on how to tackle mitigation. Visit www.tlmfire.org for details on mitigation inspections.
Division Chief of Administration/Fire Marshal Jamey Bumgarner said the district receives a large number of complaints about neighbors unwilling to mitigate, and although the district continues to get the message out, it cannot enforce compliance. The recent state fires sparked a lot of interest in mitigation, and the district is in partnership with the Tri-Lakes United Methodist Church Emergency Preparedness Group to help engage homeowners associations (HOA) or groups of homeowners that require a chipping event. For more information, visit www.tlumc.org/outreach/epg or Facebook page: Wildfire Neighborhood Ambassadors.
"The district chipping program is currently fully booked through September," said Kovacs.
Hayes said some residents do not belong to a HOA and suggested the district consider placing information monthly in the local newspaper to encourage residents to mitigate their properties.
Kovacs said the outlook for the next several years does not look any better, and to encourage participation, door hangers with pertinent information about community mitigation efforts might be helpful in communities without HOAs.
Kovacs said the following:
• Firefighter/Paramedic Eliza Norman has accepted a lateral position at Castle Rock Fire Department and will leave the district on July 10. The district wishes her the very best.
• A conditional offer of employment has been extended to a new firefighter recruit Spencer Crowe to replace Norman.
• Crowe will join firefighter recruit Andrew Dore at the Colorado Springs Fire Department (CSFD) fire academy on June 13.
• TLMFPD has adopted the DWFPD 500 series radio identifiers, making life a little easier with one less number.
• Battalion Chief Micah Coyle and Battalion Chief Scott Ridings had worked diligently with the dispatch team at the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office to make the project a success.
• American Medical Response is finally making progress and getting its staff trained and out on the streets.
• The district completed 607 hours of training in April.
Note: For additional information see the DWFPD article on page 14.
Station 1 training center update
Bradley said there is a possibility that the district could partner with the Town of Monument (TOM) on a different piece of property, but it is in its infancy. Meetings and planning continue to explore options, and the Station 1 training center committee will meet with consultants from WHP Trainingtowers, Kan., on June 6, to discuss site prep and engineering. The town site could require less engineering than the property at Station 1, keeping costs down for the district, said Bradley.
Kovacs said there could be a significant cost savings in a partnership with the TOM, and in addition to the training facility, an added fleet and facilities repair bay and a storage facility could be included.
Bradley said future training may not all take place on one geographic site, and the district could envision training at different locations instead of duplicating sites. Technical rescue training could take place at Station 1, and the burn training could take place somewhere else, such as Black Forest Fire Rescue Protection District, and other training could be with the CSFD and the Air Force Academy Fire & Emergency Services Department.
Regional cancer seminar
Kovacs said the Regional Cancer Seminar was successful and well attended with about 75 participants. The district is partnering with Dr. Alberto Caban-Martinez, assistant professor of Public Health Sciences, University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine to encourage retired Colorado firefighters to participate in an occupational cancer study. There is not a whole lot of peer reviewed data available within the fire service industry, and there is no national database to capture data after a firefighter has left the service, said Kovacs.
The board approved 5-0 an amendment to the agenda, adding the approval of the audit engagement letter (received on May 25) with certified public accountant Mitch Downs of Erikson, Brown and Kloster LLC.
Kovacs said the district would receive 90% of the Wescott budget when the full contract for services is complete, and the remainder will be retained for the DWFPD audit, and to "keep the lights on." There will not be a whole lot to audit in the future, said Kovacs.
The board approved the engagement letter for the 2021audit 5-0.
Executive session—contract for services
The board moved into executive session at 7:55 p.m. pursuant to Colorado Revised Statutes Sections 24-6-402(4)(e) for the purpose of determining positions relative to matters that may be subject to negotiations, developing strategy for negotiations, and instructing negotiators.
The TLMFPD board took no action after the board returned to the regular meeting.
The meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m.
Above: From left are Fire Chief Andy Kovacs, Paramedic Eliza Norman, Mark Livingston, Firefighter Cancer Support Network, and Frank Leeb, deputy assistant chief of training, Fire Department of New York. The group was attending the Fire Service Occupational Cancer Regional Seminar at the Great Wolf Lodge, Colorado Springs, on May 13. Leeb was one of four guest speakers during the event. The national guest speakers spoke throughout the day on research studies about carcinogen exposures, risk factors and lifestyle changes, exposure reduction, and support after cancer diagnosis. The seminar was organized and sponsored by the Monument International Association of Firefighters, Local 4319.
Below: Dr. Alberto Caban-Martinez, DO, PhD, MPH, CPH, assistant professor of Public Health Sciences University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, speaks to attendees during the event. Photos by Andy Kovacs.
Meetings are usually held on the fourth Wednesday of the month. The next regular board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, June 22 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 James Howald
At its May 9 meeting, the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD) appointed Barrie Town to the WWSD board. The board considered a second request from Elite Properties to supply supplemental water service to the Monument Junction west development and awarded a drilling contract for a new well. District Manager Jessie Shaffer updated the board on El Paso County plans to improve Highway 105 and explained to the board how that work would impact the WWSD budget. Finally, the board heard operational reports.
Town sworn in
Board president Brian Bush administered the oath of office to Barrie Town. Town was appointed to the board to replace retiring Director Jim Wyss. Wyss agreed to retire early and be replaced by Town as a means for the board to avoid paying for an election. The agreement also allowed Directors Daniel Beley, William Clewe, and Tom Roddam to be elected by acclamation. Town will serve until May 2023.
Monument Junction options second allotment of supplemental water
At its previous meeting, WWSD agreed to provide $1.6 million per year in supplemental water service to Elite Properties for its Monument Junction east development. Developers must purchase supplemental water, which is more expensive per gallon than standard water service, when they expect to need more water than the standard service, which is based on the size of their property, will provide them. In the case of Monument Junction east, Elite Properties decided to bypass optioning the supplemental water and instead to purchase it outright, thereby avoiding some fees.
At the May 9 meeting, Shaffer told the board that Elite Properties had made a second supplemental water request, this time for Monument Junction west, the portion of their project that contains both commercial and residential lots. The entire project will span Jackson Creek Parkway just south of Highway 105. Shaffer said the second request was to purchase water for some of the lots immediately, and to option the rest of the supplemental water. Shaffer said Elite Properties requested to purchase water for 260 apartment units and for a Whataburger fast food restaurant.
Shaffer said Elite Properties requested to buy $2.8 million of supplemental water immediately and pay a $73,000 option fee for additional water later. Tap fees would be in addition to these costs, Shaffer said, adding that each townhome would have its own tap while apartments would have one larger tap per apartment building. He explained Elite Properties would be purchasing water at Tier 3 rates, the most expensive charged by the district at $43,500 per acre-foot. The Tier 3 rate was a result of the project’s high water demand coming from a relatively small amount of land.
The board voted unanimously to authorize Bush to sign the agreement when District Engineer Ariel Hacker completes her technical review.
Drilling contract for new well proceeds
Shaffer told the board that two bids to drill a new well, Well 22, had been received by the district: the first, from Hydro Resources, was for $1.2 million, and the second, from Layne Western, was for $1.4 million. Shaffer pointed out that Hydro Resources had drilled the district’s last well successfully. Well 22 will be located on the south side of County Line Road, just east of I-25.
The board voted unanimously to authorize Bush to sign the agreement with Hydro Resources.
Highway 105 improvement moves up by year
Shaffer told the board that El Paso County had originally planned to improve Highway 105 between Jackson Creek Parkway and Lake Woodmoor Drive in 2024. Now they intend to start in fall 2022, Shaffer said. WWSD budgeted funds to do the required utility locates to support the improvements, but Shaffer suggested the WWSD budget would need to be revised in light of the new schedule.
Highlights of operational reports
• Operations Superintendent Dan LaFontaine told the board that all meters were in operation and the month’s unaccountable water was 4%.
• The Lake Pump Station has been affected by supply chain issues but would be in production by the end of May.
• At the May 9 meeting, which was before the last heavy snowfall, there was some concern that Woodmoor Lake was filling more slowly than anticipated. Ideally the lake will be refilled before the summer weather increases the demand for water.
The next meeting is scheduled for June 13 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 719-488-2525 to verify meeting times and locations.
James Howald can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By James Howald and Jackie Burhans
The Donala Water and Sanitation District (DWSD) board met on May 16 to swear in newly elected board members and elect board officers. The board heard a report on its 2021 financial audit. A representative to the Mountain View Electrical Association (MVEA) board was elected to represent the district, and the board heard an update on the status of Well 16A, currently being drilled. District Manager Jeff Hodge reported to the board on recent developments concerning the County Loop water reuse project.
The meeting ended with an executive session.
Vanderscheure and Miller sworn in
Board President Ed Houle administered the oath of office to Directors Wayne Vanderschuere and Ed Miller. Both Vanderschuere and Miller are incumbents who were elected to an additional term on the board.
Later in the meeting, Houle was re-elected as president of the board for a term of one year because only one year remains in his term of office. Vanderschuere was elected as vice president and Director Kevin Deardorff was elected as secretary and treasurer.
District finances receive clean bill of health
Tom Sistare of Hoelting & Company Inc. told the board that the field work for the audit had been done in mid-March and he had "issued an unmodified or clean opinion," indicating no problems with the district’s finances or financial processes.
Sistare said the district’s net position was up by $1.5 million compared to the previous year, and liabilities were down by $500,000 due to retirement of debt. Operating revenue was little changed from the previous year, according to Sistare, with a 3% increase in water rates but a counterbalancing 8% decline in water usage. Tap fees declined from $402,000 in the previous year to $324,000 in 2021. Sistare advised the board to retain a copy of the district’s old accounting software as they migrate to a new system to maintain historical continuity.
Vanderschuere elected to be MVEA representative
The board voted unanimously to elect Vanderschuere to represent DWSD’s interests on the MVEA board. Vanderschuere recused himself from the vote.
Well 16A update
Hodge said that Well 16A had been drilled to a depth of 750 feet when an electrical shock event took place and required a two-day pause to drilling. A meeting was held with residents close to the drilling site, who are impacted by the noise of drilling that typically proceeds 24 hours a day until the well is complete, to explain the delay. Hodge said the residents were understanding.
County Loop water reuse project proceeds
Hodge told the board that Jessie Shaffer, district manager of Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District, is fine-tuning the numbers for the County Loop water reuse project, which will allow participants to retrieve effluent from Fountain Creek and convey it north to be reused by customers. Hodge said he hoped to hear news about El Paso County funding the project with dollars from the American Recovery Plan Act soon.
Houle pointed out that the project might allow DWSD to market some of the surface water it already has rights to.
The meeting ended with an executive session covering several topics: receiving advice from Donala General Counsel Linda Glesne of Cockrel Ela Glesne Greher & Ruhland on a legal question with contracts; advice on a long-term water contract with Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU); advice on a contract with CSU concerning the Northern Monument Creek Interceptor project; and the annual job review of General Manager Jeff Hodge. No votes were taken after the executive session.
The next meeting is scheduled for June 16 at 9 a.m. Generally, board meetings are held the third Thursday of the month at 1:30 p.m. 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.
James Howald can be reached at email@example.com.
Jackie Burhans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jackie Burhans and James Howald
The Monument Sanitation District (MSD) board began its May 18 meeting with the swearing in of two board members and the election of board officers. The board discussed the quality of work done by Haynie & Co., the district’s accounting company. During his manager’s report, District Manager Mark Parker updated the board on two residential developments.
Morgan and Howe sworn in
Peggy Rupp, a paralegal with Collins Cole Flynn Winn and Ulmer, the district’s newly hired law firm, administered the oath of office to John Howe and Skip Morgan. Howe is serving a second term on the board. Morgan, who previously served on the MSD board as president in 2005, filed an application to serve on the board earlier in 2022 that was accepted without an election since there were two applicants for two available seats. Morgan replaces Katie Sauceda, who did not apply for re-election and did not attend the May meeting.
Director Marylee Reisig was re-elected as the board’s secretary. Howe asked Director Laura Kronick if she would consider serving as treasurer. Kronick often takes the lead in asking detailed questions about the district’s financial reports. Kronick said she would accept the nomination and was elected unanimously to serve as treasurer. Later in the meeting, Kronick proposed that all invoices be available at board meetings or included in the board meeting packets for review by the board members. Dan Hamilton, the current board president, was re-elected unanimously to another term in that role.
Dissatisfaction with accounting firm
During the discussion of the month’s financial reports, Parker expressed dissatisfaction with the reports provided by Haynie & Co., the accounting firm used by the district. Lack of detail, missing information, and apparent errors in Haynie & Co. reports have been topics in previous meetings. Kronick questioned a line item on depreciation in the current reports. Parker said in his opinion Haynie was charging too much for the work they perform and are often late with reports. Accounts Administrator Cheran Allsup has mentioned to the board in the past that Haynie & Co. seems to be understaffed. Hamilton asked, "Do they even want us as a customer?" The board voted unanimously not to accept the financial reports for May.
Update on residential developments
Parker updated the board on the status of a lift station required to be completed before houses in the Willow Springs Ranch development can be sold. The lift station is taking longer than anticipated to complete, and Polo Brown, the Willow Springs Ranch developer, argues that MSD and its engineering firm GMS Engineering Inc. are responsible for delays. Allison Ulmer, in her legal report to the district, said she believes Polo Brown’s frustration is misdirected and that the district has offered potential solutions for addressing a non-compliant portion of the sewer line used by the development. Parker said Willow Springs Ranch has a waiting list of 500 potential buyers for its homes.
Parker told the board about a newly proposed residential development at Rickenbacker Avenue and Spaatz Road, north of Forest Lakes Drive and west of I-25. Aspen View Homes plans to build 100 to 130 homes at the location, which will need to be annexed into the MSD service area.
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 June 15 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.
By Jennifer Kaylor
The Triview Metropolitan District Board of Directors heard a presentation pertaining to Triview’s December 2020 land purchase near Buena Vista at the May 19 regular Board of Directors’ meeting.
Triview staff, all board directors, and legal representatives attended the meeting either online or in person.
The May 19 agenda and packet may be accessed https://triviewmetro.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/Triview-Board-Packet-for-5.19.2022-Website-Reporter-2.pdf.
The district conducted an April 13 special meeting that was initially open to the public; 10 minutes after the meeting was called to order, the board entered an executive session pursuant to C.R.S. Section 24-6-402(4), (b), (e) to receive legal advice and negotiations related to the Northern Delivery System pipeline project. The executive session adjourned at 8:49 p.m. The April 13 agenda and minutes may be accessed via https://triviewmetro.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/Agenda-Special-Meeting-Agenda-4-13-22.pdf and https://triviewmetro.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/Minutes-for-Special-Meeting-4.13.2022_.pdf, respectively.
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.
Potential annexation generates recreation and open space master plan
At a Dec. 28, 2021, special meeting, Triview directors accepted resolutions 2020-20 and 2020-21 that finalized the purchase of parcels in Buena Vista officially known as the Sailor and Quarter 2 Circle properties, but which are colloquially known as the Chicago Ranch. Triview purchased the land to acquire the property’s associated water rights, and the town’s citizens and governing officials turned their collective gaze to the land for potential recreational opportunities and open space. Lying just north and adjacent to the ranch are the town-owned Rodeo Grounds which, if combined via annexation with the Chicago Ranch, would create a 600-acre parcel.
In the fall of 2021, the town of Buena Vista and Triview embarked on a cooperative effort to explore Triview’s possible annexation of the Rodeo Grounds. If the annexation is approved by the Buena Vista Board of Trustees, the town’s vision to transform the land into open space and recreational facilities could be achieved. District Manager Jim McGrady characterized the collaboration as a "win-win" situation and confirmed that the master plan, drafted by landscape architecture and planning firm NES, fulfills a necessary step in the annexing process.
NES principal Chris Lieber described the master plan’s public input process as robust and stated that stakeholders included various recreational service providers and employed the website my-bv.com to mobilize resident participation. Survey results communicated a desire for the majority of the Rodeo Grounds to maintain its open space character and incorporate pedestrian trails. The master plan’s long-term goals incorporate a non-traditional and extensive off-leash dog park and a recreation hub that connected a sports complex and fields, a community center, pavilions, and a rodeo-themed playground. The community emphasized a desire for flexibility in the facilities for current events such as the town’s Fourth of July celebration and Ford Bronco show as well as activities such as the drone and gun clubs. McGrady added that the plan would provide a vision to Buena Vista to fund a unique and expansive recreational area for locals as well as a partnership with a not-so-local special district.
Triview’s basic role with the ranch land is a revegetation commitment.
Increase in multi-family development prompts water use estimation decrease
McGrady and water attorney Chris Cummins surmised that an observed increase in demand for the development of multi-family homes in Colorado Springs was driven by the lack of affordability of single-family homes. McGrady introduced resolution 2022-04 concerning domestic water use estimations that help the district determine the water needs of the various types of development—multi-family, single-family, light industrial, commercial—and assess the district’s in-lieu-of fees charged to developers. He explained that Triview’s current estimations for multi-family homes such as apartments (called multi-family equivalents or MFEs) and single-family homes such as stand-alone houses (called single-family equivalents or SFEs) were 0.375 acre-feet per year and 0.5 acre-feet per year, respectively.
Triview’s estimates were in accordance with an April 24, 2014, Town of Monument ordinance (WA-10) but engineering data gathered over the last two years provided justification for a water use estimate reduction. Increased water efficiency practices and technologies as well as water conservation efforts prompted the resolution which proposed a decrease in MFEs from 0.375 annual acre-feet to 0.25 annual acre-feet and a dip in SFEs from 0.5 annual acre-feet to 0.4 annual acre-feet.
Cummins reported that the downward shift from 0.375 to 0.25 and 0.5 to 0.4 would not only be favored by developers, but the numbers would more closely match the "real world" numbers calculated by the district’s contracted engineers, JDS-Hydro Consultants and a division of RESPEC. He affirmed that resolution 2020-04 was more about being fair to developers so they weren’t paying for water they wouldn’t need.
Directors James Otis and Anthony Sexton expressed concerns that the water use estimation decreases might negatively impact Triview’s ability to meet water demand once the district’s geographic territory had been completely built out. Cummins indicated that changing some building projects from commercial or light industrial to multi-family or single-family wouldn’t threaten the conservative supply that the district has acquired. He emphasized that the decreased estimations incorporate conservative calculations and referenced the district’s growing renewable water supply that calculates a 0.5 annual acre-foot use per resident. McGrady confirmed that data collected not only by JDS-Hydro engineers but by the developers’ engineers—who obtain nationwide information—strongly support the lower estimates. The board accepted the resolution with Otis abstaining.
Forward movement of NDS continues
McGrady reported on the regional pipeline known as the Northern Delivery System (NDS). He confirmed that the district had met with the appropriate landowners about necessary easements and had been received well. He described a rigorous survey called a subsurface utility investigation to identify buried utilities as having been initiated along Roller Coaster Road. The district’s American Rescue Plan Act application—requested to fund a tank to be installed near the district’s B-plant water treatment facility—had been submitted. Another necessary step, the 1041 permit process with Pueblo County, generated a response from the Fountain Creek Watershed. McGrady anticipated that Triview would be called upon to pay annual compensation for the district’s storm drainage impact on the watershed.
Additional items of note
• President Mark Melville, Secretary/Treasurer James Barnhart, and Sexton were officially sworn in to serve new board terms.
• Parks and Open Space Superintendent Matt Rayno reported that some homeowners have damaged open space as a consequence of making improvements to their property. He confirmed that they must communicate when access via the district’s open space is needed and return the impact area to its original state. If homeowners fail to comply, an escalating process of communication from the district with the homeowner may end in a cease-and-desist order.
• Water Superintendent Shawn Sexton confirmed that the district’s wells and water plants were in service and ready to meet summer water needs.
Triview board meetings are generally held on the third Thursday of the month. The next regular board meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 16. The district office is located at 16055 Old Forest Point, Suite 302. Because a public presentation is expected to be scheduled for mid- to late-June, check the district’s website, https://triviewmetro.com for meeting updates. See also "Triview Metropolitan District" on Facebook or Twitter.com/@TriviewMetro.
Jennifer Kaylor can be contacted at email@example.com.
By Helen Walklett
During May, the El Paso Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) made decisions on the approval of final plats for the Walden Preserve 2 and Flying Horse North developments. The commissioners also approved requests relating to work at Black Forest Regional Park and the Beacon Lite Road and County Line Road Improvements Project, and approved a reappointment to the El Paso County Planning Commission.
Final plats at two developments to be approved administratively
At the May 3 BOCC land use meeting, the commissioners approved a request by Walden Holdings LLC to amend the Walden Preserve 2 preliminary plan to allow the BOCC to authorize the administrative approval of final plats, meaning there will be no public hearings. The development is east of Highway 83, north of Hodgen Road and south of Walker Road, along the north side of the intersection of Pond View Place and Walden Way.
The BOCC approved the preliminary plan in January 2015, before the 2019 amendment to the Land Development Code which authorized the administrative approval of plats if certain findings were made and if the BOCC specifically authorized it. Administrative approval is a faster approval process as it eliminates possible delays incurred due to having to schedule applications before the Planning Commission and BOCC.
At the May 17 land use meeting, the commissioners approved a similar request from Classic Consulting relating to the Flying Horse North preliminary plan that was approved in September 2018, again before the Land Development Code amendment. The applicant’s request in this instance relates only to Filing No. 2, which is a one-lot subdivision. The applicant stated that there remains a high demand for lots and that they wish to begin construction on this subdivision as soon as possible.
Tennis courts to be replaced at Black Forest Regional Park
At their May 3 meeting, the commissioners approved the award of a purchase order to FieldTurf USA Inc. for the renovation of the two tennis courts at Black Forest Regional Park at a cost not to exceed $273,915. The existing courts are to be demolished and new courts and fencing constructed. The new courts will also be lined to allow for pickleball play.
County Planning Commission reappointment
At its May 3 meeting, the BOCC approved the reappointment of Commissioner Sarah Brittain Jack as a regular member of the Planning Commission. Her term will run until May 1, 2025. Regular members may only serve two consecutive terms on the nine-member commission.
Beacon Lite Road and County Line Road Improvements Project
The commissioners approved a memorandum of agreement, a special warranty deed, and temporary construction easements associated with the Beacon Lite Road and County Line Road Improvements Project at their May 24 meeting. This concerns property owned by Hong Ridley as trustee of The Rainbow Properties Revocable Living Trust for a cost of $35,200.
Helen Walklett can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Helen Walklett
At the May 19 El Paso County Planning Commission meeting, the commissioners voted unanimously to recommend for approval a request by Brian Warner to allow a minor subdivision to create four single-family lots on a 40-acre property along the north side of Goshawk Road north of Hodgen Road. The property is zoned RR-5 (residential rural).
The proposed Lots 1 and 2 would be 5 acres, Lot 3 would be 20 acres and would contain the existing home and well, and Lot 4 would be 10 acres. The property is within a large-lot, residential "placetype" area as identified by the new county master plan, which recommends lots sizes of 2.5 acres or larger.
The Planning Commission heard the request as a consent item, meaning there was no discussion. The request is now due to be heard at the El Paso Board of County Commissioners’ land use meeting on June 7.
Helen Walklett can be reached at email@example.com.
By Marlene Brown
The Northern El Paso County Coalition of Community Associations (NEPCO) held its General Membership bi-monthly meeting May 14 at the Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA) building, the Barn. It was discussed that the meetings would continue being held at the Barn, since the Town of Monument was no longer holding public meetings at the Town Hall due to COVID concerns.
President Mike Aspenson said he and other board members have been meeting with members of the El Paso County Planning Commission (EPPC). Future land development projects being reviewed by EPPC and the remarks by the NEPCO Transportation and Land Use Committee on the Electronic Development Application Review Program (EDARP) of the county will be considered. Future reports will be brought by the NEPCO board to the general membership as relationships with EPPC continue.
Aspenson asked for the Treasurer’s Report and then Vice President Bob Swedenburg announced that the secretary position on the board was still open. Swedenburg continues to help with the minutes of the meetings until the position is filled. Dave Betzler, Community Outreach chair, was absent. Also, it was announced that Matthew Nelson, Wildfire Preparedness Committee chair, was no longer with WIA and that position also needs to be filled.
Rep. Carver describes state bills
Rep. Terri Carver of District 20 explained the state House and Senate bills that were voted on this session that concern HOAs in the area:
• HB22-1137 Homeowners Association Board Accountability and Transparency—Passed. Limits the autonomy of HOAs and their ability to assess fees and impose late fees fines or violations of the bylaws and covenants.
• HB22-1139 Homeowners Associations cannot regulate use of public rights-of-way—Passed. Prohibits HOAs from regulating use of public common use areas.
• HB22-1239 Regulate community association managers—Defeated. Would have imposed licensure requirements to perform association management.
• HB22-1140 Homeowners’ reasonable access to common areas—Passed. Imposes a legal standard for when HOAs can restrict access to common areas during times of maintenance or repair and require specific notice to homeowners.
• HB22-1387 Common Interest Communities Reserve Funds—Passed. Imposes specific requirements on reserve funds for common interest HOAs.
• SJR22-002 Water projects eligibility lists—Passed. Concerns approval of water projects’ revolving fund eligibility administered by Colorado water resources and power development authority.
• SB22-114 Fire suppression ponds water rights—Passed. Recognizes water rights for fire suppression ponds.
• HB22-1132 Regulation and services for wildfire mitigation—Passed. Requires that a fire department or appropriate local entity be notified prior to anyone conducting a controlled burn on private property.
• SB22-007 Increase wildfire risk mitigation outreach efforts—Passed. Authorized $800,000 for public outreach on wildfire mitigation.
• HB22-1012 Wildfire mitigation and recovery—Passed. Requires that the State Forest Service develop a publicly accessible statewide accounting for ecosystems by county and forest cover type and wood products.
For more information on these and other bills that Carver has been working on this year, go to https://leg.colorado.gov/legislators/terri-carver
HOA attorney speaks on regulation
Lenard Rioth, HOA attorney for Anderson, Dude and Lebel, P.C. explained how the Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act (CCIOA, pronounced Kiowa) was enacted in 1992 to regulate Colorado HOAs. HB22-1137 was created to regulate HOA boards in certain matters regarding small claims court limiting conduct in collecting unpaid assessments, fees, and fines. See https://leg.colorado.gov/bills/hb22-1137. HB22-1040 was created to protect the homeowner’s ability to use and enjoy the common areas. The HOA board must provide a reason for restricting common areas due to repairs or modifications either by electronic or mail and post a visible notice at each access point. See https://leg.colorado.ogv/bills/hb22-1040.
The next NEPCO meeting is scheduled for July 9 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Woodmoor Barn, 1691 Woodmoor Dr. For more information regarding NEPCO, visit www.nepco.org.
Marlene Brown can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jackie Burhans
The Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA) board met on May 25 to hear residents’ suggestions on replatting guidelines.
Owner comments on subdividing and fire insurance
Resident Joann Schmitz returned to discuss suggested replatting guidelines as she had been encouraged to do at the last board meeting. She reported attending the Architectural Control Committee (ACC) meeting to review the changes she had in mind and asked how to proceed. Schmitz noted that a recent article in the Colorado Springs Gazette reported that a judge had upheld the City Council’s rejection of an apartment project rezoning because it was right to consider the public interest, health, safety, convenience, or general welfare. She felt those reasons might apply to guidance for the ACC to consider when asked to replat a property.
President Brian Bush pointed out that rezoning and replatting are very different. Rezoning is changing the designation concerning density (e.g., from residential suburban RS-2000 to RS 5000). Replatting is simply changing the dividing line of the lot and does not affect the zoning. Per Suhr, director of architectural control, confirmed that the replat request that ACC would be considering was a lot that was replatted and now could return to its original plat. The standards referred to by the judge, Suhr said, did not pertain to the ACC regarding replatting. Suhr said that, depending on the ACC’s decision, either the builder or the group objecting to the replatting could address their concerns with the county.
Another resident asked, given the differing views on the authority of the ACC, whether the board might have counsel review. Bush said the ACC has the prerogative of asking for a legal review, but the board is judicious about its legal use for fiduciary reasons. Bush said that while the ACC does have a role in reviewing subdivisions and replatting, the county also has a role. The county, he said, has been reasonable about considering input but that its authority supersedes that of Woodmoor’s ACC.
Suhr confirmed that the ACC had received Schmitz’s suggestions and would review them but that it might take up to two months.
• Board member Rick DePaiva said that the Northern El Paso County Coalition of Community Organizations (NEPCO) clarified that residents of a member homeowners association (HOA) may access meeting material. WIA will provide NEPCO access information in WIA’s next newsletter.
• HOA Administrator Denise Cagliaro announced that Justin Gates had joined the team as covenants and forestry administrator. Gates had served as a Woodmoor Public Safety (WPS) officer since 2014. Contact Justin at email@example.com for forestry, Firewise, or covenant concerns.
• Director of Woodmoor Public Safety Brad Gleason reported that WPS had hired two officers: Jeff Allen, who served with the Woodmoor Police in the ‘90s, and Brent Horst from Arizona.
• Forestry Director Ed Miller said the wildfire mitigation grant continues to go well. The grant is expected to be open to all Woodmoor residents in mid- to late summer.
• Gleason noted that the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office had issued a Stage 2 Fire Ban for the county. County residents can only use propane fires outside that they can switch off. All other burns are prohibited, including outdoor smoking on public property. For more information, see: https://www.epcsheriffsoffice.com/services/fire-information.
• WIA has scheduled two chipping events for June 25 and 26 and July 30 and 31 at Lewis-Palmer High School. The service is free to Woodmoor residents who will unload their vehicles to lessen wait times. Volunteers will handle feeding the slash into the chippers.
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 June 22.
Jackie Burhans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Bill Kappel
The weather was quiet overall for the month with one exception: A major late season snowstorm brought some much-needed relief from the record dryness that has continued since the start of April. Temperatures overall were slightly cooler than normal, with snowfall well above normal for the month.
Unfortunately, the first half of the month was mainly dry and mild, again during a time of the year when we would expect significant amount of moisture, both rain and snow. Also, a time of the year when moisture is critical at the start of the growing season. Another sign of how dry it has been during the spring season was the number of fires that occurred across the region. Of course, most if not all of these were manmade, as there were no thunderstorms to produce lightning.
The first half of the month saw two quick-moving storms move through the region. As in April, these moved just a little too far north to produce significant weather for us. The first system sent a cold front through and produced some fog and low clouds on the 2nd. This also managed to produce some rain and snow showers, but barely enough to make a dent in our precipitation deficits. As that storm left the region, another surge of cooler air moved through and reinforced the fog and low clouds. We also managed to squeeze out more precipitation in the form of rain, graupel, and snow. Around 1/10th of an inch accumulated for most of us with a dusting of snowfall.
Temperatures warmed up quickly after this storm moved out, with highs reaching the 70s to low 80s from 6th through the 19th. During this period, smoke was present on many afternoons, courtesy of wildfires in New Mexico and portions of southern Colorado.
As usual, temperatures peaked right ahead of the strongest storm of the month on the 19th. The initial frontal passage moved through during the evening of the 19th as temperatures tumbled from the 70s to the 30s in about an hour. Clouds and moisture filled in behind the front, producing flurries and drizzle during the early morning hours of the 20th. Colder air and more moisture continued to fill in and snow started in earnest that morning and early afternoon. Snow fell heavily through the afternoon and into the night. This continued into the next morning with a rate of accumulation of over an inch per hour for much of the storm.
This resulted in 1-2 feet of heavy, wet snow accumulation. This moisture of course was very welcome but also caused lots of problems. One of the issues with the warm spring was that most of the foliage had leafed out. Therefore, the trees were vulnerable to the heavy, wet snow. This meant lots of broken branches and unhappy young leaves. The effects of this storm stuck around for a few days with daily rounds of snow and rain showers continuing through 24th.
Once this system departed, conditions quieted down again with warmer air quickly returning again as highs reached the 80s on the 27th and 28th.
A look ahead
By June we can usually say goodbye to our chance of snowfall but hello to frequent afternoon and evening thunderstorms. Most of the time we can expect warm, sunny days with afternoon and evening thunderstorms.
May 2021 Weather Statistics
Average High 65.8° (-0.0°)
100-year return frequency value max 75.7° min 57.9°
Average Low 38.9° (-2.3°)
100-year return frequency value max 43.2° min 32.5°
Highest Temperature 87°F on the 7th, 27th
Lowest Temperature 24°F on the 21st
Monthly Precipitation 2.09" (-0.55" 20% below normal)
100-year return frequency value max 6.94" min 0.15"
Monthly Snowfall 18.6" (+12.9" 70% above normal)
Season to Date Snow 89.7" (-33.6" 27% below normal) (the snow season is from July 1 to June 30)
Season to Date Precip 7.07" (-1.91" 21% below normal) (the precip season is from July 1 to June 30)
Heating Degree Days 427 (+109)
Cooling Degree Days 0
Above: After a drier than usual April, May brought a wet snowstorm that dumped 18 inches or more in some parts of Monument. Without the usual wind, it was beautiful trudging through the snow in the Lake of the Rockies neighborhood as well as the open space behind it. Photo by Michael Weinfeld.
Bill Kappel is a meteorologist and Tri-Lakes resident. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Disclaimer: The information and opinions expressed in Letters to Our Community are the responsibility of the letter writers and should not be interpreted as the views of OCN even if the letter writer is an OCN volunteer.
EPCO District 1 needs a leader
El Paso County Commissioner Holly Williams is not a leader. I voted for her expecting great things for our community but am now convinced she is weak and not in touch with her constituents. One only needs to review the board of commissioner meeting videos to witness her lack of knowledge on the issues and her inability to lead fellow commissioners to do right by the people of Northern El Paso County. The record shows Commissioner Williams is tuned out on most issues and offers no substantive comments during meetings. It is apparent the other commissioners are more engaged with District 1’s issues than she is. The record also shows her unwavering support for area developers over the desires of her constituents. A review of the TRACER Campaign Finance System indicates our commissioners enjoy the rich support of area developers and associates who donate to their campaigns. With explosive growth threatening the northern rural reaches of our county, District 1 critically needs a "switched-on" leader with the competence and gravitas to persuade their fellow commissioners to vote on the side of the citizens they serve. It is the reason why I will not be voting for Holly Williams.
By the staff at Covered Treasures
"Books train your mind to imagination to think big"—Taylor Swift
Summer is a perfect time to dive into a book series. Here are some award-winning choices for middle grades and elementary.
Dragon Captives: The Unwanteds Quests No. 1
By Lisa McMann (Aladdin) $8.99
Magical twins Fifer and Thisbe have spent their entire lives wishing for an adventure. When a dragon shows up claiming that his family is being kept as slaves, the twins sneak off to the land of the dragons to help them. Bestselling author Lisa McMann has written more than two dozen books for middle grades and young adults. One of her most well-known series for middle grades is The Unwanteds. The Unwanteds Quests is a sequel to that series. Some have said this is Hunger Games meets Harry Potter.
Tesla’s Attic: Book 1 of The Accelerati Trilogy
By Neal Shusterman and Eric Elfman (Little Brown and Company) $7.99
With a plot combining science and the supernatural, four kids are caught up in a dangerous plan concocted by the eccentric inventor Nikola Tesla. Fans of intrigue, action, humor, and nonstop surprises are guaranteed a read unlike any other. The authors’ love of Tesla shines through as they weave in history, science, and math lessons in a painless way. Great for fans of Rick Riordan’s Kane Chronicles.
By Ben Guterson (Square Fish) $8.99
Eleven-year-old Elizabeth spends Christmas break at Winterhouse. There, in a massive library, she discovers that she has magic, and her love of puzzles helps her solve a mystery. Themes for this enchanting middle-grade fantasy trilogy are danger, intrigue, fun, adventure, and the power of family. This series is great for fans of The Mysterious Benedict Society and Greenglass House.
The Isle of the Lost: A Descendants Novel No. 1
By Melissa de la Cruz (Disney-Hyperion), $9.99
Imprisoned on the Isle of the Lost, the teenage children of Disney’s most evil villains search for a dragon’s eye. Twenty years ago, all the evil villains were banished to the Isle of the Lost. Stripped of their magical powers, they live in total isolation, forgotten by the world. In the quest for the Dragon’s Eye, these kids are proof that just because you come from an evil family tree, being good isn’t so bad. Great for fans of Ranger’s Apprentice, Wings of Fire, and Keepers of the Lost Cities.
The Field Guide: Spiderwick Chronicles No. 1
By Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black (Simon & Schuster) $7.99
After finding a mysterious, handmade field guide in the attic of the ramshackle old mansion they’ve moved into, the Grace children discover there’s a magical and maybe dangerous world existing parallel to our own. Perfect fit for fans of The Borrowers and A Series of Unfortunate Events.
Two Dogs in a Trench Coat Go to School
By Julie Falatko (Scholastic) $9.99
Loyal pups Sassy and Waldo need to save their boy from being bored all day in class, but the school won’t let two dogs inside. Good thing they found that trench coat! This is the first in a series from the creator of the Snappsy the Alligator books. One of our customers says it’s similar to Spy School.
The Secret Explorers and the Lost Whales
By SJ King (DK Publishing) $5.99
Meet the Secret Explorers. This group of brilliant kids comes together from all four corners of the globe to fix problems, solve mysteries, and gather knowledge all over the planet and beyond. In book one, marine life expert Connor needs to help save a pod of humpback whales that have lost their way. Packed with fun illustrations and facts, this thrilling adventure is perfect for emerging readers and fans of Explorer Academy.
Azmina the Gold Glitter Dragon: Dragon Girls No. 1
By Maddy Mara (Scholastic) $5.99
Azmina, Willa, and Naomi are thrilled to learn they’re Glitter Dragon Girls. Summoned to the Magic Forest by its magnificent ruler, the Tree Queen, the girls quickly find out their dragon-selves have unbelievable abilities. As Dragon Girls, they are sworn protectors of the forest and must help keep it safe from the troublesome Shadow Sprites, who are determined to take the forest’s magic for their own. Great for fans of Key Hunters and Zoey and Sassafras.
Until next month, happy reading.
The staff at Covered Treasures can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Harriet Halbig
The Pikes Peak Library District’s Summer Adventure program kicked off on June 1. Open to ages up to 18, the program is designed to create a habit of reading, creating, or being physically active each day.
The program is scored the same for all age groups, and a paper scoresheet can be picked up at any library, or patrons are invited to register and keep track of their activities on the district website (www.ppld.org) and come in to claim their prizes. Scoring is based upon the number of days of activity.
Upon registration, all age groups receive a free book. After 30 days of activities, ages up to 3 receive a set of three plastic boats, ages 4 to12 receive a reading medal, and ages 13 to 18 receive a book or journal.
Regular story times and toddler times are suspended during June and July, replaced by special programming. At the Monument Library, the special programs will be on Tuesdays from 10:30 to 11:30. In Palmer Lake the special programs will be on Fridays from 9:30 to 11 through July 5, then Family Story Time will resume on Fridays from 10:30 to 11:15.
To learn of additional programs during the summer, please go to the website under programs and by location.
Story Times at the Reynolds House at the Western Museum of Mining and Industry will continue through the summer on Mondays from 9:30 to 10:30. They will be hosted by the Bookmobile.
On Aug. 5 there will be an end-of-program party on the Village Green in Palmer Lake from 10 to noon, featuring games, refreshments, and fun for all. All community members are invited to attend.
To learn more about special programming, please see the district website, www.ppld.org, and look under programming by location.
Free math tutoring is suspended for the summer and will resume after Labor Day.
The official ribbon-cutting to reopen the Palmer Lake Library was held on May 7. Palmer Lake will remain open from 10 to 6 on Wednesday through Friday. Monument Library is open from 9 to 7 Monday-Wednesday, closed on Thursday and Sunday, and open on Friday and Saturday from 10 to 6.
We look forward to seeing you for our summer adventure!
Please note that all Pikes Peak library locations will be closed on July 4 in observation of Independence Day.
Above: Pikes Peak Library District (PPLD) representatives attending the ribbon-cutting for the reopening of the Palmer Lake Library included, from left, PPLD Friends of the Library Vice President Aida Richardson, Interim Chief Librarian Teona Shainidze-Krebs, Library 21c Manager Catie Tierney, Monument and Palmer Lake Library Manager Jean Carrier, East Library Manager Gigi Holman, PPLD Friends of the Library President Rita Jordan, PPLD Southeast Region Director Abby Simpson, and Interim PPLD Chief of Public Services and Deputy Chief Librarian Tammy Sayles. Photo provided by the PPLD.
Left: Interim Pikes Peak Library District Chief Librarian and CEO Teona Shainidze-Krebs and Monument and Palmer Lake Library Manager Jean Carrier cut the ribbon to reopen the Palmer Lake Library on May 7. Photo by Rita Jordan.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at email@example.com.
By Sharon Williams
Award-winning author Randi Samuelson-Brown vividly brought to life the realities of lesser- known Colorado pioneering experiences—sometimes humorous and quirky, sometimes deadly, with twists and turns of the bad old days of the Wild West era. She gave the presentation to the Palmer Lake Historical Society on April 21.
A passion for Colorado history was instilled from childhood by her father. His Denver engineering firm required frequent travel to service the mining operations in remote mountain towns. Randi became his traveling companion, and he would talk about the first-hand accounts of miners and those who made up the rowdy, rough communities. To this day, she feels haunted by the West’s little-known histories and their long reach into the present.
Life during the 1800s was tough, and mining settlers were lucky to get out alive, much less rich, as the territory was invaded and claimed by gold and silver seekers.
One of the unflinching narratives of reckless rollicking ways was that of the popular Morrison Saloon. Full kegs of whiskey were brought by wagon only during the good weather months between April and November. Once delivered to the saloon, the whiskey was served by the bartender for 25 cents a shot. Whiskey was often made from raw alcohol and further diluted or laced with tobacco juice, gunpowder, molasses, turpentine, creosote, strychnine, prune juice, and tree bark to name a few. "Scamper Juice" and "Forty Rod" were monikers for some of these toxic versions.
If you missed this enthusiastically paced, intriguing program, or for those who want to know more about Colorado’s Cemetery Scandal, Mining the Miners—Colorado’s Good Time Girls, The Hard Men—Gunslingers and Outlaws, and Retribution in Northwestern Colorado, among other eclectic, but true topics, you can check out this author’s first non-fiction book, titled The Bad Old Days of Colorado: Untold Stories of the Wild West.
Originally from Golden, Samuelson-Brown now lives in Denver. A fifth-generation Coloradan, she has written several books springing from the obscure and strange historical facts uncovered by her research of the early years of Colorado. When not writing, Randi can be found riding horses and traveling Colorado and the West, finding inspiration from people, places, and whispers from the past.
Above: Presenter and author Randi Samuelson-Brown provides untold stories of the Wild West days in Colorado. Photo and caption by Sharon Williams.
The Palmer Lake Historical Society Lucretia Vaile Museum, 28 Valley Crescent St., Palmer Lake, is open Wednesdays from 1 to 4 p.m., the first Thursday of the month from 10 a.m. to noon, and Saturday from10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Special tours by appointment. Call 719-559-0847 and leave message. Current exhibits: Vintage Radios and Women’s Suffrage. For information, call 719-599-0837 or click on www.palmerdividehistory.org.
Sharon Williams can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Natalie Barszcz
Palmer Lake Historical Society presenter Doris McGraw enthralled her audience on May 19 at the recently renovated Palmer Lake Town Hall. McGraw gave a detailed account, with an inspired "expert" insight into the life of poet and travel writer Helen Hunt Jackson, addressing the questions surrounding why Jackson’s literary life blossomed out West and discussing the many well-known works written during her time in Colorado Springs.
Born in 1830 as Helen Marie Fiske Banfield in Amherst, Mass., much of her childhood and early adult years influenced her future. By age 18, Helen and her younger sister Anne had lost two brothers and their parents, and by late 1865, she had lost her two children and her first husband.
Fraught with despair, Helen secluded herself in her aunt’s attic in Newport, R.I., and began to write poetry, drawing solace and strength through writing. Her first works were published in early 1866, just two months after the death of her 9-year-old son.
Well-travelled and already known internationally for her publications by 1873, Helen arrived in Colorado Springs seeking a drier climate for health reasons. The weather was cold and rainy on the day she arrived, but she decided to stay.
Helen grew to love the physical beauty of the region, especially Cheyenne Canyon, and took her faith from nature. Through the turns in her life story, she found renewed inspiration, new interests, friends, and a second marriage in 1875 to quaker banker William Sharpless Jackson.
An incredible observer of her surroundings, Helen wrote in a letter: "On the 4th of June, 1876, Pikes Peak was white with snow, and glittered in the sun as if the snow were solid ice, half a dozen little fleecy clouds flittered around its summit, like various rapid swans skating back and forth on the shiny surface, nowhere else in the radiantly dome-less sky could a cloud be seen."
Helen Jackson became an activist for the Native American cause until her death, writing A Century of Dishonor and the novel Ramona to raise awareness of the plight and the injustice shown toward Native American people. Helen in her lifetime thought Ramona a failure for having missed the goal of raising awareness with the public, but the novel remains in print and resides in the public domain, having been reprinted about 300 times since its first publication in 1884. Ramona is considered an essential book along with Nelly’s Silver Mine, a children’s book centered on the environment around Rosita.
Helen passed away on Aug. 12, 1885 at age 55 from stomach cancer in San Francisco. William had her body exhumed and buried on Inspiration Point at the top of Seven Falls, Cheyenne Canyon, Colorado Springs, but due to the popularity of the site and the risk of vandalism, her body was exhumed again and laid to rest in Evergreen Cemetery, Colorado Springs. Her poem titled Emigravit is inscribed on her gravestone in accordance with her wishes. The marker in Cheyenne Canyon remains in place, and her writing desk along with room replicas from the Jackson residence on Weber Street can be viewed at the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum. Her papers and a recently added photograph collection, courtesy of the Banfield family, are kept at Colorado College.
Doris McGraw is a local author, public speaker, historian, and actor, specializing in Colorado and Women’s History, well-known as an authority on the life of Helen Hunt Jackson. McGraw has also written several historical romance novels for the popular Lockets and Lace series, under her pen name, Angela Raines.
Above: Doris McGraw holds a vintage edition of Helen Jackson’s poems at the Palmer Lake Town Hall on May 19. Photo by Natalie Barszcz.
Palmer Lake Historical Society monthly programs are presented at 7 p.m. every third Thursday of the month at Palmer Lake Town Hall, 42 Valley Crescent St., Palmer Lake. The June 16 program, The Night of a Thousand Heroes, will be presented by Tracy Beach based on her book (this event is rescheduled from March due to a snow cancellation). The program will consist of a short historical lecture on the disastrous June 1921 Pueblo flood and include a display of flood artifacts.
Natalie Barszcz can be reached at email@example.com.
By Janet Sellers
"Follow nature—it knows a thing or two about how to grow things."—The Empress of Dirt, aka Melissa Will.
Sunflowers for summer
I used to think that we would just let the sunflower grow and it would have one beautiful bloom. We can deadhead for more blooms, likely getting more heads on the stalk. Seeds planted in the garden and protected by a castor oil in kitty clay treatment can grow 8 to 12 feet tall, and in a pot they will indeed grow and flower, but they will be much smaller. In a planter box that’s 6 inches deep in December last year, a sunflower seed accidentally got in the pot and grew to 2 feet during the winter in the window box! It sprouted, had leaves and then it grew a pretty, yellow flower. I didn’t know to deadhead it, but I think it could have kept going awhile like my geraniums did all winter.
In the Bunny Garden online blog, the author says, "Sunflowers are native to North America. In the wild they usually have multiple heads—up to 20 heads per flower is the norm. These wild seeds make up the genetic basis for the domesticated and hybrid seeds we see today. If you get multiple heads on your sunflower, it could be cross-pollinating with nearby wild sunflowers."
Diatomaceous earth eliminates garden pests
Diatomaceous earth is a safe method used by farmers and gardeners alike for pest control inside and outside the body. In the garden, it eliminates soft-bodied pests like slugs, snails, aphids, ants, and others. Oregon State University reports, "Diatomaceous earth products are registered for use against bed bugs, cockroaches, crickets, fleas, ticks, spiders, and many other pests." On pets and livestock fur, used carefully, farmers and pet owners eliminate fleas, ticks, and more. In livestock, cat, and dog feed, it eliminates worms. It is a safe, earth-friendly and wildlife safe alternative to toxic products. And it is quick and simple to use.
Compost tea for garden soil health
The best compost tea I’ve used is alpaca bean steeped in water for a few days and applied to the garden soil. If you’re short on alpacas and their beans, put some banana peels in a jug of water for a few days and use that as a nutritive tea. Caveat: Indoors, fermenting fruit can attract fruit flies which are hard to get rid of, so I do this outdoors.
Janet Sellers is an avid and proud lazy gardener, seeking Mother Nature’s wisdom year-round for landscaping and food gardening. Send your garden-wise tips to JanetSellers@ocn.me.
By Janet Sellers
Monument Art Hop, our summer monthly celebration of art, music, stories, and more, is one of our cultural heritage events that we’ve been creating together in Tri-Lakes for nearly a quarter of a century. The events generate art, music, and social connectedness in the community.
We celebrate our artists and visitors through art sculptures and murals in public places, galleries of visual art, live music, books, and food. We see friends and even whole families walking along the streets, going into shops and places they might normally drive past. People take in the fun of walking around and engaging in the event.
At Bella Art and Frame Gallery, I spoke with featured artist Gary Gore, who talked about his paintings and his philosophy of the much-admired "loose stroke" oil painting technique. He feels that the loose stroke frees both artist and viewer to complete the imagery and inspiring viewers’ and art collectors’ imaginations in a truly personal way.
In contemporary art history, the loose stroke painting has been a source of pride and accomplishment for artists. Art visionaries such as JSM Turner, John Singer Sargeant, Claude Monet, and Vincent Van Gogh embraced the now much-loved technique as a hallmark of their aesthetic mastery. These artists brought in a new awareness to painting. Loose brushstroke mastery means that the artist can convey visually in a form of suggestion, offering the viewer a creative response to finish the idea personally and intuitively in a creative rapport.
Loose brushstrokes also subtly imply bolder decision-making as well as a powerful sense of structure often referred to as painterly. This communicates the ease of the flow of thinking, and usually the brushstrokes are apparent. Its quick, intuitive, and solid structure is pleasing and relaxing to see and offers a sense of tactile visual experience that isn’t in other kinds of painting.
Art in public places and the events connected to the art and conviviality exist to create an enjoyment of a sense of place. It’s fun now, and eventually becomes an historic event. Such events bring a community together, beautify the area, and increase the love of the place. By doing this, the value for visitors increases and the locals, shops, and towns thrive. Art and such events do much more than hold space, they create enjoyment in the present and something to look forward to in the future months.
Above: At the May 19 Art Hop, Bella Art and Frame Gallery hosted Gary Gores, who shows his exhibit The Mountains Are Calling. Gore was the featured artist for May. Seen here, he welcomes visitors of all ages including young artist Ella Clark, visiting her first Art Hop event with her family. Ella enjoys art and nature, and recently received top honors at the Colorado state awards ceremony for the Federal Junior Duck stamp design contest among middle school youth artists. Photo by Janet Sellers.
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.
PRHS musical wins Bobby G award
Above: The Palmer Ridge High School production of Once Upon a Mattress has won the Bobby G Award for Outstanding Choreography. Georgia Lawrence, Riana McHugh, and Christy Inama accepted the award that’s the Colorado High School equivalent of the Tonys. The award ceremony took place on May 26 at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. The musical was up for six awards in all, including Outstanding Overall Production. That’s the most nominations the Bear Necessity Theatre Company has ever gotten. Photo courtesy of Performing Arts Media Group.
Right: The cast hammed it up on the red carpet before entering the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Photo by Erika Belk.
Above: We were visited by male and female Bullock orioles at our home in Monument on May 4. At first, they feasted on the nuts and seeds in the feeders on our deck. Research by my wife, Tia M. Mayer, found they also like to eat oranges. So, she filled up a feeder with sliced oranges and the orioles spent the entire day pecking at the juicy fruit. By nightfall, all the pulp was gone. We put out more oranges the next day, but by then, our fair-weather friends had flown the coop. Photo by Michael Weinfeld
Paul Overstreet at TLCA, May 7
Right: Songwriter Paul Overstreet, a two-time Grammy Award winner, performed a number of his hits May 7 at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA). Overstreet’s first hit was Same Ole Me performed by George Jones and The Oak Ridge Boys in 1982, reaching No. 5 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart. Since then, Overstreet’s songs have been performed by country music legends such as Kenny Chesney, Allison Krauss, Randy Travis, The Judds, and Tanya Tucker. Overstreet’s acoustic sets this evening included his songs Forever and Ever, Seein’ My Father in Me and a tribute to mothers for Mother’s Day with When Mama Prayed. Overstreet said "music was in our house growing up" as family members played guitar and piano and were involved in the church choir. He said he "sets an appointment to make the time" to write songs, with that creative focus leading to awards throughout his career. Photo by David Futey.
LPHS final concert, May 10
Above: The Lewis-Palmer High School final concert of the school year featured performances by the Jazz Band, Symphonic Band, and Wind Symphony.
Below: At the conclusion of the concert, Tom Chapman, music director, expressed his gratitude to graduating seniors and they, in turn, presented him with a memory book and flowers for his wife to show their affection and appreciation for his leadership and guidance. The concert was held May 10 in the Lewis-Palmer Auditorium. Photos by Steve Pate.
Gleneagle Sertoma presents checks
Above: Proceeds from last year’s Gleneagle Sertoma 20th annual Patriot Golf Benefit Tournament were handed out at a breakfast on May 11. The tournament raised nearly $30,000. Among the recipients were the Colorado Springs Police Protective Association (CSPPA), which got $10,000, and the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office Foundation (EPCSOF) and Homefront Military Network (HMN), both of which received $5,000. The rest of the money will fund the many other contributions the club makes throughout the year. Accepting the checks were EPCSOF President Greg Maxwell, center left, and HMN Executive Director Kate Hatten, center right. CSPPA Executive Director Sherryl Dixon was not present. Sertomans John Coyle, left, and Pete Peterson, right, presented the checks. Gleneagle Sertoma has already started planning for this year’s golf tournament on Sept. 13 at Flying Horse North. Photo by Vicki Wynn.
LPHS choirs performed, May 12
Above: Aaron Miller, director and accompanist, led two Lewis-Palmer High School choirs in their final performances under his leadership on May 12. The Spring Pops Concert, performed in the Lewis-Palmer Auditorium, included solo performances in both choirs. The Mixed Choir is composed of students who enroll in the music class, while Treble Voices is composed of students who try out for this ensemble and are selected based on their performance. Miller is leaving LPHS after this school year to return to his hometown of Widefield. Photo by Steve Pate.
Car show benefits PLFD, May 14
Above: On May 14, Dino Salvatori of Palmer Lake Wellness held the 2nd Annual Blacktop Madness Car Show and BBQ to benefit the Palmer Lake Fire Department (PLFD). Over 100 classic cars were entered at $20 per entry, including Chevy Corvettes, Dodge Vipers, Ford Mustangs, and Pontiac GTOs as well as classic British Jaguar and vintage MGB GT. Barbecue, sides, and beverages from Elizabeth Locker Plant in Castle Rock were available at $10 per person. Attendees also enjoyed a selection of oldies music as they strolled through the parking lot and all proceeds were donated to PLFD. Photo by Jackie Burhans
Meadowgrass, May 27-29
Above: Friends of Fox Run Park (FoFRP) had a booth for community outreach at the Meadowgrass Music Festival at La Foret Conference & Retreat Center on May 27-29. The festival had several hundred members of Rocky Mountain Highway Music Collaborative from Colorado, including national and local artists. FoFRP, along with Native American Sacred Trees and Places (NASTaP) and Black Forest Trails Association (BFTA), talked to festival-goers about historic trees on the La Foret property and in Fox Run Regional Park and several El Paso County parks in the Black Forest area. Pictured are Julie Haverluk, left, and Lee Recca representing FoFRP and NASTaP respectively. For more information regarding any of volunteer opportunities in northern El Paso County, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Photo by Marlene Brown.
DCC swimmers at championships
Above: On May 12 and 13, the Discovery Canyon Campus (DCC) High School Swim and Dive team competed in the CHSAA 4A Swim and Dive Championship. Coached by Joe Fanthorp, Kent Nelson, and Katie Cerda, the DCC team finished third with one diver and eight swimmers qualifying. The first-place (Cheyenne Mountain) and second-place (Silver Creek) teams each had twice as many state qualifiers, thus increased opportunities for scoring points. However, DCC won multiple events—four of the eight individual events and two of the three relays. Senior Quintin McCarty won and set Colorado state records for the 50-yard freestyle (19.47) and 100-yard freestyle (43.73). McCarty was also selected as 4A Swimmer of the Year. Junior Adam Pannell won the 200-yard freestyle (1:40.80) and junior Taylor Wagner won the 500-yard freestyle (4:35.03). The DCC 200-yard and 400-yard relay teams won each of those events. Photo by Tamera Tresemer.
Wildfire fuels reduction, May 18
Above: An excavator clears large swaths of dense Gambel oak and undergrowth in the area east of Mount Herman Road in the Monument Preserve on May 18. The three-year project is intended to reduce fuels that put the area at risk for high-intensity, potentially catastrophic wildfires, a great risk for residents living in the wildland urban interface. Phase 1 of the mitigation project began in May and is expected to last six weeks, ending in late June. A second phase is scheduled for winter 2023, and a third phase for winter 2024. During Phase 1, access to National Forest Trail 715 and other trails within the Monument Fire Center Area are closed to the public for day use, hiking, biking, and horseback riding. Information is posted at trailheads, and for additional inquiries, contact: Pikes Peak Ranger District office at 719-636-1602. Photo by Natalie Barszcz.
Picnic-N-Planes, May 25
Above: On Saturday, May 1, the Town of Palmer Lake held a grand-reopening event that included a ribbon-cutting for the newly reopened Lucretia Vaile Museum, Pikes Peak Library, and the historic Town Hall. The town also unveiled two newly restored history signs provided by Wayne Russert. Attendees enjoyed cake, beverages, and live music by the Rock of Ages (Joy on the Rock) band on the greens in front of the hall. Mayor Bill Bass spoke at the ribbon-cutting for the Town Hall and was assisted by Trustees Glant Havenar and Karen Stuth in unveiling the restored signs.
Right: The museum ribbon-cutting was performed by longtime volunteer and former director Sharon Jarnigan, who was dressed in a vintage outfit. The current director of the museum, Roger Davis, spoke at the event. As shown in the photo on page 22, the library was opened by Jean Carrier, the current manager, and Teona Shainidze-Krebs, interim chief librarian and CEO of Pikes Peak Library District as well as library staff and volunteers. Photos by Jackie Burhans.
Ruth Ann Steele celebrated, May 25
Caption: A group of 26 gathered to honor and celebrate the legacy of Ruth Ann Crook Steele, with the unveiling of a hand-forged iron memorial bench at the Black Forest Community Center, on the morning of May 25. The group sang a selection of Ruth’s favorite songs from the 154 pieces she had arranged during her lifetime, and they sang along with the Forest Choir accompanied by Judith Von Ahlefeldt on the African Ashiko drum. Ruth was founder of the Slash and Mulch Program, beloved teacher, conservationist, noxious weed warrior, bluebird lady, musician, composer, founder, kingpin, and director of the Forest Choir and Black Forest "Keeper of the Keys." Ruth died June 3, 2021, leaving the 35-acre Black Forest property owned by Ruth and her husband Jim for 55 years as a conservation easement. The Ruth Ann Steele Memorial Bench design reflects Ruth’s passions and was hand-crafted by Jodie Bliss at Bliss Studio and Gallery, Monument. The memorial bench was installed in front of a small tree in a southwest-facing position in the Log School Park, on the corner of Shoup and Black Forest Roads. Kay and Lynn Stricklan began a GoFundMe page in 2021 to generate funding to fabricate the bench, and thanks to multiple generous donations the goal was met. Photo by Natalie Barszcz.
Memorial Day, May 30
Above: A shivering crowd of about 200 gathered at Monument Cemetery to remember and honor the fallen on Memorial Day. The flags were flying straight out from a strong wind. A sudden mist blew in while fallen service members’ names were read aloud. State Rep. Terri Carver was the honored speaker. Photo by Creighton Smith. Caption by Creighton Smith and Michael Weinfeld.
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 postoffice 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 email@example.com 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.
Drop the Distracted Driving
Colorado has a law that bans texting while driving for drivers of all ages. CDOT found that most people have a "Do Not Disturb While Driving" feature on their phone in a recent survey, but many don’t know how to use it. The unexpected can happen in an instant. Be proactive, learn how to enable this feature see DropTheDistraction at www.distracted.codot.gov.
The safety stop is now state law
Bicyclists in Colorado now have safe and legal options for navigating through intersections after governor Jared Polis signed Colorado house bill 22-1028 into law on Wednesday, April 13, 2022. The new law, which allows bicyclists and users of low-speed conveyances to treat stop signs as yield signs and stop lights as stop signs when they already have the right of way, goes into effect immediately statewide. Info: www.bikecoloradosprings.org.
What qualifies as suspicious activity? "If you see something, say something." It’s vital to report to local law enforcement. Suspicious activity can refer to any incident, event, individual or activity that seems unusual or out of place. Some common examples of suspicious activities include: A stranger loitering in your neighborhood or a vehicle cruising the streets repeatedly. Someone peering into cars or windows. Here’s what local authorities and Colorado Department of Public Safety says is needed information: Who did you see; what did you see; when did you see it; where did you see it; why it is suspicious. Call 911 or your local law enforcement agency.
Rotary Club coming to Tri-Lakes
Rotary International has 1.4 million worldwide with clubs in every country on this planet. Rotary focuses on local and international communities on improving education, saving mothers and children, clean water, sanitation, growing local economies, and protecting the environment via its member business professionals, teachers, real estate persons, developers, medical doctors, nurses, housewives, and retired people serving to change lives locally and globally. Local info: Dr. Qureshi at 719 229 1648 or firstname.lastname@example.org and www.Rotary.org.
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.
Location: Southeast corner of Shoup and Herring Roads, drop-off open Apr. 30-Sept. 11, Sat., 7 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sun. noon-4 p.m., and Tue., Thu. evenings 5-7:30 p.m. $2 drop-off fee for slash, loyalty card offers a discount. Free mulch, self-loading from May 14 through Sept. 17. Info: visit www.bfslash.org.
Beetle trunk drop off site
There is now a safe drop-off site for infested tree trunks at 6725 Foxtrot Ln. 80924, near Black Forest Rd. and Woodmen. Open 6 am to 7 pm daily. Closed July 1 -Sept. 30 (during flight season.) Mountain Pine Beetle infested trunk wood only, up to 20" size, small amounts of deadfall and standing dead trunk wood acceptable, no branches and/or debris of any type or size allowed. Thank you for assisting in all forest mitigation. Questions? Call or text Charles Newman 7 am -7 pm only, 719-352-6168
Emergency Financial First Aid Kit
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 offers rebates
For information on MVEA’s energy efficiency rebates, visit www.mvea.coop/save-energy-money/rebates/, or call 800-388-9881. See ad on page 14.
The Sunflower is for people with non-visible disabilities
Watch for green and yellow sunflower lanyards, bracelets, and ribbons, discreet ways to make the invisible visible. Wearing the Sunflower discreetly indicates to people around the wearer including staff, colleagues and health professionals that they need additional support, help or a little more time. However big or small, your help moves us closer to a society where people recognize that an offer of help, understanding and kindness can make a huge difference to the daily experiences that a Sunflower wearer has.
Palmer Lake trailhead parking kiosk
For visitors wanting to park up close to the trailhead, 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.
Area code required for local 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.
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.
Can you volunteer today?
• OCN needs your help. See article on page 27.
• 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com or Our Community News, P.O. Box 1742, Monument, Colorado 80132.
Contact us at (719) 488-3455, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, or P.O. Box 1742, Monument, Colorado 80132-1742.
This page was last modified on January 24, 2023. Home page: www.ocn.me.
Copyright © 2001-2023 Our Community News, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Contact us at (719) 488-3455, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, or P.O. Box 1742, Monument, Colorado 80132-1742.
This page was last modified on January 24, 2023. Home page: www.ocn.me.
Copyright © 2001-2023 Our Community News, Inc. All Rights Reserved.