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Our Community News - Home Vol. 5 No. 9 - September 3, 2005

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Dance benefits Tri-Lakes Cares and Sertoma

The "Dance at the Plaza" held Aug. 27 drew 800-1000 people and raised about $3,000 each for Sertoma and Tri-Lakes Cares. Photos provided by Karen Evans, Kelly McGuire, George Wilkins (Publisher of TidBits).

Below: Miss Colorado 2005, Jessica Urban. Photo by Karen Evans

Below: The festivities. Photo by Kelly McGuire

Below: The festivities. Photo by Kelly McGuire

Below: Some of the dedicated Sertoma volunteers at their booth. Photo by George Wilkins (Publisher of TidBits)

Below: The organizers (L to R): Karen Evans of A Chick & A Windshield, Fay Vogel of Rosie’s Diner, Sandy Bauers of Bauers Massage, P.J. Harshman of Two Timers Fine Consignments, Genny Natvig of Classic Floors, and Lela Nemmers of Colorado National Bank. Photo provided by Karen Evans

Below: The "Promises" Septet. Photo by Kelly McGuire

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Ripples continue from alleged embezzlement: Second board member resigns, Unger to enter plea Sept. 1

Kevin Lonergan, vice president of the Forest View Acres Water District, resigned effective Aug. 24. His four-year term would have ended in May 2006.

Lonergan is the second board member to resign in recent months. Board President Tom Guenther resigned effective Aug. 1.

The resignations came in the wake of the alleged embezzlement of at least $315,000 by the district’s former contract manager, Patricia Unger.

A recall campaign targeting Lonergan collected enough signatures to force a recall election had Lonergan not resigned. The cost for such an election was estimated at $4,000 to $6,000.

Meanwhile, Barbara Reed-Polatty, board secretary, reported:

Mediation with Patricia and Dennis Unger concluded at the final mediation session on August 19, 2005. Initial mediation was held on July 8, 2005.

Patricia Unger is set to plead on Thursday, September 1, 2005 at 2:00 p.m. in Division 4 at the El Paso County Courthouse (Judge Shakes) - 4th floor. This is a public legal forum where Patricia Unger will plead to the charges and the judge will read and enter the judgment against her as agreed upon at the mediation. After the plea and judgment, a separate hearing for sentencing Patricia Unger will then be scheduled.

For additional coverage of the Forest View Acres Water District article.

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Donala Water and Sanitation District, August 17: Donala looks to purchase Triview’s share of treatment plan; Classic buys Baptist Camp

By Sue Wielgopolan

During executive session at the Aug. 17 meeting, the Donala board decided to make an offer to buy Triview Metropolitan District’s share of the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility (WWTF). After Donala voted last month to amend its loan application to $10 million to cover the full cost of the plant expansion, the State of Colorado approved the site application, clearing the way for construction to begin. Uncertainty surrounding Triview’s ability to obtain funding for the $5 million needed for its share of the WWTF caused Donala to reconsider its options.

General manager Dana Duthie announced that Classic Homes closed Aug. 4 on the former Black Forest Camp and Conference Center property. Representatives for Classic have not contacted Duthie since initial inquiries regarding inclusion into Donala last spring. The approximately 430-acre parcel is presently zoned for 5-acre home sites. Rezoning will be required if the developer wants to reduce lot size.

El Paso County Water Authority (EPCWA) discussion

Duthie briefed the board on the Aug. 3 meeting of the EPCWA. Gary Barber, executive agent for the EPCWA, president Larry Bishop, and District 1 El Paso County Commissioner Wayne Williams have been rescheduled to speak to the Interim Water Committee about El Paso County water issues on Oct. 5 instead of the original Sept. 7 date. The committee is composed of state senators and representatives selected by the state legislature, and was formed to study water issues between legislative sessions.

Duthie informed Donala directors that the Arkansas River Basin roundtable, one of three roundtables in which the authority will participate, currently consists of 54 appointees, with 10 more to be added in September. Nine river basin roundtables encompassing all regions of the state were formed as part of HB05-1177.

The legislation implemented Statewide Water Supply Initiative (SWSI) recommendations. The intent of the bill was to create forums where water users with conflicting interests could meet to resolve their differences and propose workable solutions to dividing and distributing Colorado’s limited water resources.

The roundtable is charged with the responsibility of appointing two representatives from among the group to sit on the Interbasin Compact Committee, which will ultimately recommend water legislation. Duthie told Donala board members he is not optimistic that such a large and diverse group could be effective and reach consensus in the allotted two-hour meeting period.

Colorado Springs again declined to join the EPCWA. The city has rebuffed previous invitations to participate in the organization, which seeks regional solutions for providing water to all of El Paso County, including unincorporated areas.

Duthie briefly discussed the status of the Southern Delivery System (SDS), a proposed pipeline that would bring water north from Pueblo Reservoir to serve Colorado Springs. In spite of overtures made to the city by the EPCWA and the Palmer Divide Water Group (PDWG), northern El Paso County is not presently included.

Phil Tollefson, who is currently head of Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU), has been a vocal critic of efforts to include northern El Paso County in the SDS. Once he retires, EPCWA members hope that the climate for negotiations on the issue will become more favorable.

Duthie remarked that plans for the SDS have not yet entered the process of acquiring pipeline right-of-ways. Success of the project depends upon mutual consent between the two municipalities. Pueblo or El Paso County could scuttle, or at the very least delay, the project by overriding the permit or stopping the purchase of land needed for the pipeline right-of-way.

Many details remain to be worked out, including whether the inlet will be located east of Pueblo or at the reservoir dam. Already strained relations between the two cities further deteriorated when Pueblo announced its plan to sue CSU over accidental releases of raw sewage into Fountain Creek.

The potential for acquisition of water rights or the establishment of mutually beneficial water trade agreements between Colorado farmers and water users has increased recently. With the signing of the Central American Free Trade Agreement, Duthie expects that farmers in the state will face stiffer competition from nations south of the border.

With 85 percent of the water in Colorado presently allocated for agricultural use, a shift away from farming or a reduction in the acreage used for crops could represent a significant opportunity for suppliers on the Front Range to obtain future water sources.

Palmer Divide Water Group (PDWG) discussion

At the July 21 meeting, the PDWG general membership agreed to reduce its focus to northern El Paso County only. While endorsing lobbyist Dick Brown’s general idea of establishing a large regional group which could include all well water users between the Denver Metro area and Colorado Springs, members decided the PDWG does not have the resources to sponsor such a large effort.

Brown’s vision included creating a website and hiring a lobbyist and spokesperson. His intent is to consolidate the influence of smaller groups and establish a common agenda. PDWG members would commit to joining such a group if it were organized by another entity. Some members suggested that Jim McGrady, formerly of CSU but now employed by Castle Pines North, might be an excellent candidate to organize a larger association.

Gary Barber, who is also manager of the PDWG, is drafting proposals to counter the offer made to Donala by Brett Gracely, the water supply planning supervisor for CSU. Gracely and CSU staffer Cortney Brand had met with Duthie, and proposed tying into Donala’s line at Northgate and supplying the district with approximately 400 acre-feet per year to help offset summer peak demands. In exchange, Donala would provide supplemental well water to the city in the event of a drought. Duthie wrote a letter in reply suggesting that the district and its neighbors were hoping for a regional solution to the water shortage, not a short-term fix.

Though not yet formalized, Barber’s counterproposals will also involve connecting CSU’s and Donala’s lines at Northgate. Long-range plans in the Tri-Lakes area call for the eventual interconnection of water lines among area districts, which would allow the separate agencies to share surface water resources.

Other recommendations will probably involve recharge of the Upper Black Squirrel Aquifer for regional use, and possibly an arrangement for water storage in the proposed Jimmy Camp Creek Reservoir, which if built will be located on the Banning-Lewis Ranch property.

Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility (WWTF) Expansion

Duthie reported that due to the likely approval of Donala’s amended loan application for the full $10 million needed to fund the expansion, the state of Colorado approved the site application. Without funding confirmation for the entire cost, the project might have faced delays. Donala has given plant co-owner Triview Metro District until the end of 2005 to find a source of funding for its $5 million share.

Triview informed Donala that it intends to resubmit its loan application to Colorado Water and Power in October. However, the decision in executive session by Donala’s board to make an offer to Triview for their share of the WWTF could result in a change of plans.

A request for proposal (RFP) will be released this month to the eight contractors who qualified to bid on the wastewater treatment plant expansion. A selection committee composed of the general managers and contract engineers for the three owning districts– Donala, Triview Metro, and Forest Lakes Metro–will hold a pre-proposal meeting in mid-October. The committee intends to select the winning bid soon after, so that the contractor can have input in the last part of the design phase.

Contract engineer Roger Sams of GMS Engineering will also release a separate RFP for the ultraviolet (UV) disinfection process. The committee must choose among several processes, including a closed or open, vertical or horizontal channel, and high or low intensity UV lamps. The owners will use the contractors’ proposals to determine which system will best address the WWTF’s needs. The selected vendor’s proposal will be included as part of the contract for the expansion.

Forest Lakes has agreed to share engineering and design expenses for reinforcement of the small access road bridge over Jackson Creek just west of I-25, but has not yet committed to helping pay for the construction work. Independent engineer Mike Gaines determined that the 30-ton capacity of the bridge can safely bear the weight of the sludge trucks presently using it, but not the consistent flow of heavier earth movers and cement trucks that will cross during expansion construction.

Since Forest Lakes wants to eventually annex to Monument, it would like to make sure that any bridge alterations conform to Town of Monument specifications before committing to co-funding the changes.

Sams proposed sinking two cement pylons between the existing supports, and reinforcing the span with two additional beams. Because the bridge crosses Preble’s meadow jumping mouse habitat, extensive repairs or replacement might have resulted in lengthy delays while the facility waited for a permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS).

However, Duthie said as long as the construction site is less than 400 square feet in size, the FWS considers it a "minor habitat disruption" and only requires a visual inspection and letter of approval for the repairs to proceed. The WWTF will also need permits from the Army Corps of Engineers and the county’s flood plain management section.

Duthie informed the board that on Sunday, July 31, wastewater flows at the WWTF hit a total flow peak rate of 1.2 million gallons per day for a short period. He emphasized the need to expedite construction of the equalization basin to mitigate peak flows.

Another RFP for the construction of the railroad crossing will be released shortly. Though Mountain View Electric Association received payment several months ago, the districts are still waiting for it to move its lines from under the new crossing site.

The tentative timeline calls for the completion of the new railroad crossing by the end of November, with work on the bridge to be finished shortly after. The pipelines that presently run between the WWTF buildings will have to be moved before the basin is built, but that work can be done concurrently with work on the access. As soon as the crossing and bridge are complete, contractors can start building the equalization basin.

Duthie told the board that the sale of Forest Lakes Estates by the Schuck Corporation had fallen through. The developer is presently equipping a well, and tentative plans call for $1 million homes on 1-acre lots. An industrial user may purchase a site at the southern end of Forest Lakes. Originally, Transit Mix had shown interest. Forest Lakes has not disclosed whether Transit Mix or another buyer intends to make an offer.

Operations Updates

Donala pumped 74 million gallons of water in July, which is a record for the district.

Well 9A is finished and is still waiting to be equipped. The district expects the well to be operational by the end of the year.

Donala is in the process of lowering two Arapaho well pumps in an attempt to recover yield.

Before a well is drilled, the state engineer issues a permit specifying the aquifer from which the district may pull water. Geology is used to determine the minimum and maximum depths at which the aquifer lies at that site. (Aquifers vary in depth and thickness with location).A hydrologic engineer then uses test drill information to determine the range of depths where the well will give the greatest yield, and places screens, as opposed to a solid casing, at those depths. The screens allow the water, which is trapped in rock, to move into the well cavity.

Arapaho well pumps are usually installed at depths from 800 to 950 feet, even though the drilled cavity typically has a depth over 1,100 feet. Placement of the pump is a trade-off between head pressure and pumping costs. The lower the pump, the higher the head pressure, which helps raise the water to the top of the well. However, the farther down the pump is placed, the more power is needed to bring the water to the surface. As the amount of water in the aquifer drops over time, head pressure and yield from the well decline. In order to improve the yield, technicians can lower the pump deeper into the well cavity.

While attempting to lower the pump in Well 3A, which is located near the cul-de-sac at the end of Jessie Drive, drilling contractor AmWest hit a snag. To find out what caused the pump to get caught, the company will video the pipes.

The pump in Well 12A, located in Fox Run, will also be lowered next year. District staff is not sure that the pump will be powerful enough, and may need to replace it.

Donala is trying to determine whether Well 3D is worth rehabilitating. The well is in the Denver aquifer on the west side of the district; the wells in this location have recently exhibited decreasing pumping capacity. Samples and test data have been sent to an expert in the Midwest who will help the district determine whether acid cleaning or redrilling will help.

For three days in July, the golf course used water from Jake’s Lake. Though the state engineer claims "hundreds of gallons per minute" flowed through the pipeline connecting Jakes’ Lake to the Upper Lake of the golf course, Duthie estimates the number to be between 70 and 90 gallons per minute, possibly as high as 160 gallons per minute during rainstorms.

In order to accurately monitor flows from Jake’s Lake to the golf course’s upper lake and avoid future disputes, the district has installed a solar-powered radio. Since the existing flume is insufficient to handle flows into the lake, the district intends to replace it also.

Duthie reported that he had walked the golf course pipeline and discovered many of the flow control valves in disrepair. The valves were full of sand, as were many of the cement vaults. Several of the valves had also been damaged by mowers. Some are being repaired by the district, but the ultimate responsibility falls on the golf course.

The board went into executive session at 2:15 p.m. to discuss the purchase, acquisition, sale, or transfer of property, negotiation strategies, and personnel matters. The next meeting of the Donala Board of Directors will be on Tuesday, Sept.13, (not the usual 3rd Wednesday) at 1:30 p.m. at the district office, 15850 Holbein Drive. At that meeting water and sewer rates for next year will be determined.

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Forest View Acres Water District, August 10: District wrestles with bills, seeks board members

By John Heiser

About 20 people attended the Aug. 10 meeting of the Forest View Acres Water District (FVAWD) board of directors.

Tom Guenther, former president of the district, resigned effective Aug. 1. The district has 60 days to appoint someone to fill the vacancy. The board is urging interested district residents to submit a letter of interest. The deadline is Sept. 15.

Of the remaining four directors, only Treasurer Brian Cross and Secretary Barbara Reed-Polatty were present at the beginning of the meeting. Due to a family emergency, John Anderson arrived toward the end of the meeting. Vice President Kevin Lonergan was traveling on family business.

For those portions of the meeting where a quorum was not present, only discussion items were addressed. No votes were taken until Anderson arrived at 8:20 p.m.

Background

The late Hugh Nevins established the FVAWD in 1957 to provide water to 27 homes. Currently, FVAWD provides water service to 280 residences in the Red Rocks Ranch, Clovenhoof, Villas, Sundance Estates, and Shiloh Pines neighborhoods in unincorporated El Paso County. A five-member board of directors governs the FVAWD. The district has a contract water operations manager, Dan LaFontaine, who is responsible for maintaining the equipment and infrastructure and for managing all aspects of water delivery.

In February, a warrant was issued for the arrest of former contract office manager Patricia Unger on charges of embezzling more than $212,000 in district funds. That amount was subsequently increased to $315,000. Unger surrendered to authorities Feb. 16 and was released on bail awaiting a preliminary hearing, which was initially scheduled for April 18 and then postponed to May 19. The May 19 hearing was continued to allow time for mediation and completion of the audit by Sheri Betzer, a forensic auditor hired by the district’s attorneys. A mediation session was held July 8. Another one was scheduled for August 19. On July 12, the court hearing was continued to Aug. 22 to review the results of the second mediation session. That hearing was subsequently rescheduled to Sept. 1. (See related article on page 1)

The district has filed a civil suit against Unger to recover the missing funds and associated costs. The non-binding mediation is intended to address the civil and criminal aspects of the case.

Operations manager report

Some highlights of LaFontaine’s report:

  • During July, the plant that processes surface water produced 48.58 gallons per minute for 27.6 days for a total of 1.93 million gallons. For the first seven months of 2005, the surface plant produced 9.91 million gallons.

  • The Arapahoe well produced 95.2 gallons per minute for 14.6 days for a total of 1.99 million gallons. For the first seven months of 2005, the Arapahoe well produced 6.46 million gallons.

  • Total monthly system usage was 3.40 million gallons. Total monthly sales were 2.68 million gallons. The loss for the month was 699,761 gallons or 25.9 percent.

  • Two main line leaks were repaired during August.

  • Monthly sales in August are expected to be about 3 million gallons. That will exceed what the surface water plant can provide and the Arapahoe well will be needed to make up for the shortfall.

  • All bacteriological sampling and reporting requirements of the Colorado Department of Health were satisfied.

In response to questions regarding the loss of 25.9 percent of the water produced, LaFontaine noted that larger districts typically lose 5 to10 percent. He said, "26 percent is on the high side but not atypical. The number one reason is that there are leaks in the PVC and poly pipe." He added that the pipe is buried 6 feet underground so it would very expensive to dig it up and replace it. He suggested that meters be put in at the forks in the system to "pinpoint areas with the greatest loss."

Billing report

Some highlights of the billing report for July:

  • The district billed 281 accounts for a total of 2.68 million gallons of water.

  • Total billing was $28,683. Of that, $3,262 was billed for past due accounts, $7,228 was billed for debt service, and $18,193 was billed for administrative and water usage fees. The average per account not including billing for past due amounts was $102.07.

  • The debt service funds go to pay off an $880,000 bond issued in 1995 and a $45,000 loan obtained in 2004.

In response to a question, Reed-Polatty said availability of service charges of $240 per year will be billed to those in the district who are not currently connected to the system. Those charges were apparently last billed in 2003.

Financial report

Cross’ financial report showed an operating account balance of $47,772, a debt service account balance of $3,602, and a contingency account balance of $1,501.

Invoices paid

The board unanimously approved checks totaling $47,670 for a variety of bills including $24,395 for maintenance of the Arapahoe well, $5,828 for debt service, $4,431 for LaFontaine’s services, $2,500 to Henkle Drilling, leaving an outstanding balance due them of $16,346; $2,275 to forensic auditor Betzer, leaving an outstanding balance due her of $7,500; $1,923 for electricity; $1,280 for part-time contract bookkeeper Anne Bevis’ services; and $500 to law firm Petrock & Fendel, leaving an outstanding balance due them of $47,522.

Cross noted that the district submitted to the state the bill for Arapahoe well maintenance for coverage under the district’s grant.

2004 audit

Reed-Polatty reported that the district must submit audit exemption forms for 2002, 2003, and 2004. An audit for 2005 will be required.

Schmidt inclusion

LaFontaine reported that he delivered the agreement to LeRoy Schmidt for inclusion of Schmidt’s 40-acre parcel. Further work on the originally proposed temporary connection has been postponed pending discussions with the Raspberry Ridge developer.

Public comments

District resident Micheale Duncan reported that the recall committee gathered 288 signatures on the petition to recall Lonergan. She added that the committee would submit the petitions to the county the week of Aug. 15. A minimum of 241 valid signatures are required to force a recall election.

District resident Susan Gates asked Reed-Polatty to apologize for a remark Reed-Polatty was reported in the Gazette as having made disparaging the behavior of recall committee members.

Gates asked who the boy is that is reading meters.

LaFontaine replied that the boy is his son who, as a summer job, is reading about 30 of the 280 meters in the district.

District resident and former board member Jeff Walker said the water leak problem has been discussed many years.

Reed-Polatty added that 10 years ago the loss rate was 22 percent.

District resident Ketch Nowacki asked for clarification of Lonergan’s statement at last month’s meeting that if Guenther had resigned in December 2004, the water would have stopped flowing.

Reed-Polatty replied that Guenther created a billing system so revenue could be collected to keep the water system operating.

Executive Session

The board unanimously voted to go into executive session to discuss confidential matters regarding individual billing issues.

**********

The Forest View Acres Water District normally meets the second Wednesday each month at 7 p.m. The next regular board meeting would normally be held Sept. 14. Those wishing to attend are encouraged to obtain the date, time, and location by calling the district at 488-2110.

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Joint Use Committee, August 8: Raising copper limits won’t pose a threat

By Jim Kendrick

The Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility (TLWWTF) Joint Use Committee (JUC) noted that construction had begun on the new laboratory and administration building. Copper concentrations in the facility’s discharge, which were occasionally elevated a year ago, remain below the temporary and permanent limits of the new state permit. The JUC’s consultant engineering firm reported significant progress in studies regarding copper and nitrogen concentrations in treated wastewater.

Woodmoor Water and Sewer District (WWSD), Palmer Lake Sanitation District (PLSD), and Monument Sanitation District (MSD) are the co-owners of the facility. Each district owns a third of the facility’s capital assets. Ownership of the plant’s water treatment capacity is roughly proportional to the amount of wastewater they deliver to the plant, with WWSD owning approximately three times the treatment capacity of PLSD and MSD. The JUC consists of one voting board member from each district, though the primary and alternate members of each district as well as the district managers usually attend every meeting.

Financial report unanimously accepted

Committee member Todd Bell of PLSD asked for confirmation that AT&T had refunded all the sales tax they had billed in error after they became the district’s phone company earlier this year. The district is exempt from several kinds of taxes. Committee Secretary Hope Winkler said AT&T would issue a credit. The payment of all bills was also approved.

No problems noted in Plant Operation Report

July test results of wastewater entering the facility were all normal. Copper and nitrogen levels in the facility’s effluent were well below permitted maximum concentrations. The copper concentration in the discharged water entering Monument Creek was 8 parts per billion (PPB), barely above the minimum measurable amount and well below the peak acceptable level of 36.4 PPB and the average acceptable level of 24.8 PPB under the temporary permit.

However, the state has proposed to drop these levels to 1.0 and 8.7 PPB in 2008 for the last two years of the new permit. The districts are conducting research to support a permit review to have the peak and average copper limits increased to two to three times the levels permitted under the previous permit (which expired at the end of 2004). The previous peak and average copper limits were 17.6 PPB and 12.0 PPB.

Burks also reported that WWSD water operator Toby Ormandy would take over the facility’s new plant operator position on Aug. 15. During budget development at the end of 2004, the JUC approved increasing the facility’s staff to three employees.

Burks noted that sludge removal would begin in mid-August. In the past, liquid sludge has been removed in tank trucks after 27 months of treatment. This time, the liquid sludge will be compressed and dehydrated with equipment called a filter press, then hauled away to farms, to be used as fertilizer. Cost-sharing for sludge removal is based on the amount of treatment required by each district during the period. Burks said the shares would be 66 percent for Woodmoor, 20 percent for Monument, and 14 percent for Palmer Lake.

Phil Steininger, WWSD manager and JUC executive agent, reported that construction had begun on the new WWTF building. He added that Access Construction planned to complete the building a month before the November 22 deadline, despite the construction permit delays experienced with Regional Building.

Preliminary study results reported

Engineering consultant Mike Rothberg of Rothberg Tamburini Winsor gave a "mid-study progress report" on his "year-long study to evaluate the appropriateness of new discharge limits for two components in their permit renewal: copper and nitrogen." Results to date support the JUC’s request for higher limits than the state had proposed for the new five-year permit. While doubling the amount of copper allowed would be enough to avoid plant expansion costs of a million dollars or more, tests support raising the standard to at least three times the limit proposed by the state.

Copper testing: Rothberg’s goal is "primarily to establish a scientifically defensible water effects ratio multiplier for the in-stream copper standard in Monument Creek below the outfall for the TLWWTF." This requires toxicity testing to determine the level of dissolved copper that the facility can discharge safely without harming downstream aquatic life. Rothberg noted that 30 measurements for two different types of tests have been conducted to ensure that study results are consistent. Preliminary indications are that raising the state’s proposed long-term copper standards can be justified scientifically.

Nitrogen testing: Rothberg also reported, "The most recent permit includes seasonal effluent limits both for ammonia and total inorganic nitrogen (TIN)." The TIN limits were established under the assumption that nitrate is limited to 10 parts per million in drinking water. JUC consultant Bill Lewis, of the University of Colorado-Boulder, is the state’s nitrogen expert and developer of the state’s standard tests. Lewis has advised Rothberg that tests performed to date in this study indicate that moderately increased nitrate limits could be safely proposed. Lewis has not completed his analysis on ammonia levels. These preliminary ammonia results should be available by the end of August.

Several board members praised Rothberg’s sampling and analysis plans and use of specialized technical and legal consultants. Rothberg said that the comprehensiveness of the test would demonstrate to the state that the JUC is strongly motivated to solve the facility’s temporary copper problem aggressively.

Two effluent copper measurements in early 2004 were higher than allowed under the expiring five-year permit. There have been no high copper testing results since then. A third violation in 2004 could have resulted in federal fines of up to $10,000 per day. Costs to modify the plant with equipment specifically designed to remove copper at the facility were estimated to cost no less than $1.5 million. This remains a concern because the monthly copper test result for June was 9.0 parts per billion, slightly above the average limit of 8.7 parts per billion that might apply after 2008.

The districts continue to ask their customers to avoid use of copper sulfate to remove tree roots from their sewer stubs because of the potential for heavy fines and sharp rate increases. There are much safer copper-free products that are far more effective in controlling tree root intrusions in underground sewer pipes.

There was also a lengthy discussion about the other types of dissolved metals that now have to be reported to the state. Though there are no treatment limits on them yet, Rothberg said if any reports routinely exceed 30 percent of the state’s maximum level, then the facility will have to conduct more extensive and costly testing.

WWSD committee member Benny Nasser noted that the JUC should discuss how to handle apportioning of capital costs for equipment that may be required for eliminating various types of metals and other chemicals, if the source of the contaminants was primarily one or perhaps two districts. The only factors used now for billing are the proportions of total water and total solids that each district delivers.

The meeting adjourned at 7:10 p.m.

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Joint Use Committee Annual Meeting, August 22: Three district boards meet to review agreement

By Jim Kendrick

All board members and attorneys for the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD), Palmer Lake Sanitation District (PLSD), and Monument Sanitation District (MSD) met on Aug. 22 for an annual session in which all the participants meet and discuss policy matters. The three districts equally own the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility (WWTF). Three issues were discussed, but no action was taken.

Proposed amendment to cash flow agreement

JUC member Todd Bell of PLSD proposed that the $30,000 cash reserve—used to ensure the committee’s checking account is not overdrawn—be increased by $15,000, by assessing $5,000 to each district. The proposal allowed for the increase to occur within the next 12 months.

The purpose of the proposed increase was to better ensure that there would be no chance of having to incur a late payment fee if there were delays in receiving, depositing, or clearing individual district payments for various invoices from the JUC. In the seven years since the cash flow agreement was approved, the costs for environmental testing and operational expenses have increased due to higher flows through the plant and inflation. Winkler said she couldn’t pay all the JUC’s bills on time in two of the past three months. Phil Steininger, District Manager for WWSD and Executive Support Agent for the JUC, manages the WWTF. He noted that he now delays issuing the monthly JUC reimbursement checks for Woodmoor’s executive agent services because of delays in payments from the owning districts.

Benny Nasser, WWSD member of the JUC, asked Steininger if the proposed increase was high enough. Steininger said it would cover all routine billing requirements for the long term except those near-term payments for the new WWTF laboratory and office building construction that had just been started.

Mike Wicklund, manager of MSD, noted that he has been authorized to pay all JUC invoices without prior approval of his board and that the MSD checks are delivered to JUC Secretary Hope Winkler within a day or two. He suggested that PLSD could consider revising its policy of having its board approve each payment and then having the district’s accountant issue the checks. Woodmoor’s board meeting is typically the day after the JUC meeting and prompt payment has not been a problem.

After a lengthy discussion, the members of the PLSD board agreed to alter its current approval and payment policy as suggested, to expedite payments to the JUC. The PLSD board has just upgraded Duane Hanson’s part-time operations and maintenance duties to a newly created full-time district manager position; he will now be authorized to make these payments to the JUC under the new policy.

Although the boards declined to increase the amount of the cash flow agreement at this time, they all agreed that growth and inflation would require an increase in the future.

Proposed JUC Capital Budget Amendment

Bell proposed that each district contribute $5,000 per month to a separate JUC capital fund that would be used for repair or replacement of JUC facility components in the future. He proposed that this capital fund be invested for more rapid growth. The amount deposited plus interest would be roughly equal to the current straight-line WWTF depreciation of $194,404 per year. Should a district wish to borrow back some of its contribution for an emergency, that district would be charged the prevailing Colorado Trust interest rate plus 1 percent for administrative costs of the loan.

Bell also proposed increasing the minimum amount for capital item amortization from $2,500 to $5,000. The purpose of the fund would be to avoid having to submit an emergency bond or tax increase issue to the voters of the districts in the event of a catastrophic failure of a major WWTF system.

During a wide-ranging discussion, members of all three boards said they felt that each district should retain control of their cash reserves and investments. They also noted that the districts had always handled cash flow issues for emergencies. Several also noted that the state would assist them with short-term emergency loans in a crisis, should a ballot issue be needed. They thanked Bell for his research and proposal.

Bell distributed copies of the voluminous risk assessment that he had prepared. Bill Burks, WWTF manager, will be attending a federal training program on risk assessment that is part of the federal Homeland Security program. Each district also agreed to review its insurance coverage for equipment and natural disasters, since the assessment said districts might be underinsured. The districts agreed to review the document for discussion at the September JUC meeting.

Apportioned treatment and expansion costs

Nasser presented his memo on potential costs that may arise in the future as regulations become more stringent for a variety of metals and chemicals released by the WWTF. Nasser suggested that possible future phosphorous removal problems be discussed. He noted that operational costs for treating total flow and solid waste removal are proportional to the amounts delivered to the WWTF by each of the districts. However there is no similar agreement for apportioning costs for removal of copper, nitrogen, zinc, or other regulated materials.

While phosphorous is not a problem for the facility, there were two incidents in 2004 of elevated copper concentrations in discharged effluent.

In the discussion that followed Nasser’s presentation, it was noted that the costs of monitoring each district’s amounts of the approximately 20 different effluent components that must be reported to the state health department might exceed any potential savings for a district. There was consensus that the boards needed to stay on top of the issue and that the JUC should continue to deal with permit limit negotiations in a fair and responsible manner.

The meeting adjourned at 7:23 p.m.

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Monument Sanitation District, July 12: Fine upheld for opening a manhole

By Jim Kendrick

The Monument Sanitation District (MSD) Board denied property owner Frank Puckett’s request to rescind the $1,000 fine he received for unauthorized opening of a district manhole. District Manager Mike Wicklund also reported that there might be a potential problem with concrete cracking in the new lift station that is being installed in the Trails End subdivision.

All four board members were present. The vacancy created by Jeremy Diggins’ resignation on July 18, following the sale of his rental property within the district, had not yet been filled.

The financial report for July was unanimously accepted. Four tap fees totaling $33,400 had been collected since the last board meeting. The total for 2005 is $234,963. Board members noted the successful repair of Beacon Lite Road by Avery Asphalt, Inc. Wicklund noted the cost of $5,140. He also pointed out that monthly revenue from commercial water use fees was down $4,791 in July from the budgeted amount of $12,500. Projected revenues within the budget are based on prior year usage.

Joint Use Committee report

Wicklund reported on preliminary studies by Joint Use Committee (JUC) engineering consultant Mike Rothberg at the Aug. 8 meeting. Rothberg had indicated there was sufficient evidence to justify tripling the permanent peak and average copper levels permitted in effluent samples from the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility during 2008 and 2009, the final two years of the new five-year permit. During the first three years, the allowed levels are three times the final peak value of 11.7 and average value of 8.0 parts per billion.

Wicklund noted that the ongoing copper testing is costly, over $100,000 so far, but the committee is investigating the copper problem. Board member Chuck Robinove observed that the state shouldn’t require or expect the district to conduct basic research on the toxicity of dissolved copper on fish and plant life in Monument Creek. "We’re operators, not scientists." He also said the state and the Environmental Protection Agency had not provided any advice on how to deal with excess copper to meet their standards and had instead offered only potential fines of up to $10,000 per day. Studies by the committee’s consultants on using electro-plating to remove copper showed that the iron that would be produced as a by-product would create an equally troublesome problem.

Treasurer Ed Delaney said the district still needed to take a "proactive step forward" to deal with the copper that is delivered to the treatment facility by each of the three districts and needed to plan ahead to resolve the issues in a way that would be least costly to their constituents. Wicklund added that incurred research costs would be deducted from any potential fines.

Sludge removal begins

Wicklund said that sludge would be removed from the facility and treated using a filter press to convert it to a solid product similar to compost that is hauled away in dump trucks. In the past, sludge had always been removed as a liquid pumped into tank trucks. The new process was to start on Aug. 15. He also reported that construction of the new laboratory and administration building had begun a week after the groundbreaking ceremony last month.

Fine reversal rejected

Frank Puckett asked the board to rescind the $1,000 illegal manhole entry fine charged to his property on Washington Street in June. He said his building contractor Kurt Erhardt had opened the manhole. The open manhole was discovered by Wicklund during a dispute with Erhardt over whether to tap into existing sewer collection lines at the front or rear of the property, after tearing down the existing house on the property to build a new one. Erhardt had already paid the fine before Puckett’s presentation at this meeting.

Puckett said Erhardt had only inspected the depth of the manhole and had not done anything malicious. Erhardt had acknowledged opening the manhole at a previous MSD board meeting as well.

After he discovered the open manhole, while accompanied by board President Skip Morgan, Wicklund said they found a lot of debris and 2 feet of standing water caused by this blockage. He also said that the source of the debris and blockage could not be determined. Wicklund had the debris and blockage removed the same day. Puckett noted that the previous occupants of the abandoned house on the property had a lot of sewer pipe vent backup problems. Wicklund concurred, noting that there had been chronic root intrusion problems in the drain line between the old house and the sewer collection line.

Wicklund reminded Puckett that Erhardt had illegally disconnected the sewer tap for the house on the lot that had been torn down and left the stub to the collector open. He said that the district could have charged Puckett with an additional $2,000 fine for this as well, but had not done so because Erhardt immediately admitted he had opened the manhole. Wicklund observed that the unplugged service line was dangerous because it left the district’s collection line vulnerable to blockage through vandalism or animals entering the open pipe, which could have damaged many homes connected to that collection line.

During the inspection visit, he and Morgan had inserted an inflatable rubber plug in the open stub to the district’s collection line, which was subsequently buried by Erhardt. Wicklund added that Puckett and Erhardt had never done anything to properly seal the stub before burying the district’s temporary plug.

Morgan asked the board for comments. Delaney suggested the board could refund the $1,000 fine after Puckett dug up the unauthorized disconnect, returned the district’s temporary plug undamaged, and properly sealed the abandoned service line. Robinove said Delaney’s proposal would set a bad precedent and be unfair to those who had been fined in the past, since Erhardt and Puckett had known and followed the rules for all previous construction they had done within the district.

Morgan said there was more to the incident than just opening a manhole which "couldn’t be ignored" and Erhardt "knows what he should be doing." Secretary Glenda Smith agreed, saying "why ignore for one and not for all?" The board voted 3-1 to reject Puckett’s request, with Delaney opposed.

In the friendly discussion after the vote, Puckett agreed to excavate the stub and seal it properly. Wicklund and the board thanked Puckett for his MSD easement on another of his properties, which is used daily by JUC trucks to measure flows to the wastewater facility at its main metering vault. All agreed with Wicklund that Puckett remained "a good friend of the district."

Construction Updates

Trail’s End: Wicklund reported that there had been some cracking in one of the barrel sections of the two multi-segment wells that were installed in the new subdivision lift station in July. The wells consist of several cylindrical sections stacked on top of each other. Each well is designed to hold a day’s worth of wastewater if all the primary and auxiliary pumps and the auxiliary electrical generator in the lift station fail. This storage provides time to arrange to have the wells pumped out into tank trucks until repairs can be made.

The vendor and construction contractor are analyzing options for sealing the cracks or installing a 140-inch diameter internal liner to prevent leaks in the future. Wicklund said that grout is vulnerable to deterioration by the hydrogen sulfide gas within the well. He added that the board would have to evaluate whether to require an extended warranty for a repair or demand removal and replacement of the affected storage well, a choice that would be very costly to the vendor, who is responsible for fixing the problem.

Wakonda Hills: Engineering consultant GMS, Inc. is surveying Draco Drive and Spring Valley Road for the second phase of sewer line construction. The district’s new 8-inch gravity collection lines will be installed under the center of these streets. The district’s cost for paving the disturbed roadways will be about $100,000 for 2 inches of asphalt on top of the existing chip seal material. The trenches will be about 12 feet wide within the 24-foot roadway. This phase of construction could be completed before the end of 2006.

The district will also install 4-inch sewer stubs, at no cost to the homeowner, that extend roughly 10 feet inside the residential property line. Once a lot has been included and the sewer tap fee has been paid, the homeowner will install the rest of the 4-inch service line that connects the house to the stub. Upon completion and approval by the district, the homeowner will own and be responsible for the entire 4-inch line, while the district is responsible only for the 8-inch collection line, which is a standard industry policy.

Wicklund said that these district regulations will avoid street cut permit costs for each homeowner and the policy also ensures that the quality and security of the lateral stub installation meets district standards. After a lengthy discussion about the legal and procedural issues of the Wakonda Hills conversion, Wicklund said the district would send all residents a checklist and specifications to assist them in arranging for the installation of their service lines. The district will provide a credit of up to $1,000 for the cost of their installation against the tap fee.

Zonta Properties, developer of the 99-acre agricultural parcel to the south of Wakonda Hills, has agreed to have the connecting main sewer collectors installed through their property. Wicklund said that Zonta will seek to have the unincorporated 85-acre portion of the parcel annexed by Monument. The southern 14 acres are already within town limits. There are no plans for any of the lots within Wakonda Hills to be annexed by the town.

Raspberry Point: Wicklund said the $25,000 bid he had received for construction of six manholes along the private sewer lines that are being taken over by the district was too high. He will seek other bids. Easement documentation is being completed for each residential lot.

Miscellaneous

In new business, the board unanimously appointed Ray Russell, the district’s new accountant, to the vacant position of budget officer.

Wicklund asked if the board wanted to consider moving the district office by purchasing one or two 1,200-square-foot units in the new office condominium building that will be built on Beacon Lite Road behind the Air Force Academy Credit Union. He said the unit would range from $170,000 to $185,000. The board could then consider selling the district’s large building on Second Street to "get out of the rental business." The consensus of the board was to maintain the district’s central location in the business area of downtown.

The board then unanimously agreed to install a new 1,500-gallon grease interceptor to handle the additional load that may occur if the new operator of the Pure Delights Café expands the restaurant into the district’s office space. The district office would be moved to another space within the building.

The meeting adjourned at 8:15 p.m. The next meeting will be held on Sept. 20 at 6:30 p.m. in the district office at 132 Second St. Meetings are normally held on the third Tuesday of the month.

Correction

The pictures of the lifting station well in Trails End on page 10 of the July 2 edition were taken by Jake Morgan, not Jim Kendrick.

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Triview Metropolitan District, August 24: Proposed permitting system put on hold

By Elizabeth Hacker

Monument is proposing a permitting system that would charge Triview a fee for inspecting their water and sewer lines. Triview contends that this would be charging builders twice for inspection. Currently, Monument and Triview inspection standards are different.

Monument Town Manager Cathy Greene brought cookies for the Triview board to the Aug. 24 meeting as a peace offering and presented two letters, one from the town’s trustees and one from Mayor Byron Glenn. She requested a delay until next month before any action is taken, as the town needed more time to consider its proposed permitting system.

The district’s attorney, Pete Susemihl, noted that he needed more time to discuss the legal ramifications with Monument’s attorney, Gary Shupp.

District Manager Ron Simpson suggested that he would respond to Glenn’s letter. Glenn, who was sitting in the audience, requested that the Triview board of directors respond to his letter, rather than Simpson.

Susemihl responded that that a fee for inspection may be a tax. He further noted that Triview benefits the town by collecting property taxes for the town.

Board President Steve Stephenson noted that the town and Triview needed to standardize their codes and that if there were a single set of inspection standards, there would be no need for double inspections.

The matter was tabled until the Sept. 28 board meeting.

District Engineer Report

Consultant Engineer Chuck Ritter, of Nolte Associates, said that they now had permits from the railroad and for the Preble’s meadow jumping mouse, so they can start construction on the access road to the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility (WWTF). They are advertising for bids from contractors.

The drawings for the WWTF expansion are approximately 35 percent complete; the selected contractor could have input into the final design. Eight contractors have qualified to bid on the project. Bids will be taken on Sept. 9 and the winner announced in October. The cost will be divided between Donala, Forest Lakes, and Triview Water and Sanitation Districts. Construction should be completed in 2006.

District Manager’s Report

Drip Irrigation: The drip irrigation for the 30 trees along Homestead Pond on Saber Creek Drive is complete.

Weeds: Board member Julie Glenn asked if the weeds behind Children’s World would be cut. Simpson replied that areas like that are taken care of on an "on call" basis. He noted that he would send a crew out to take care of it.

Concrete stains from irrigation: The water from well A4 used for irrigating hasn’t been treated to prevent the water from oxidizing the concrete. The problem is being addressed, and the concrete can be bleached clean.

Playground: The playground equipment for Homestead Park located on Kitchner Way—which was purchased with a combination of funding from GOCO, the residents, and the developer—is now installed. The sod and park sign still must be completed. The board anticipated an October dedication that will coincide with a neighborhood block party.

Development Status

Promontory Point: The preliminary sketch plan did not indicate much detail as far as land use and lot sizes, but will come back at a later time with more information. Currently within the proposed development, 40 acres are located in the Town of Monument and 79 within unincorporated El Paso County. Simpson expressed concern that the 79 acres located in the county should be annexed into the town.

Simpson also noted initial concerns about steep grades and the lack of north collector streets interfacing with Home Place Ranch and east collector streets into the Baptist Camp development. He added that the plan respects Triview’s water and sanitation easements and also indicates a trail connection.

Stephenson asked if LandCo., the developer, had given any more thought to dedicating a 50-foot easement; Simpson responded that he was not inclined to dedicate an easement at this time.

Homeplace Ranch: This subdivision is being proposed on Sally Beck’s property, south of Higby Road, by developer Colorado Commercial Builders of Colorado Springs.

Simpson noted that more consideration should be given to collector streets. Jim Taylor, a homeowner in the Homestead Ranch subdivision, noted that the homeowner’s association was concerned about the small lots proposed in Home Place Ranch that would abut the expensive 5-acre lots of their subdivision. Simpson responded that lot size was a land use issue and that the town addresses land use issues if and when this county parcel is annexed, while Triview addresses water issues.

Baptist Camp: Simpson noted that the developer is talking to Triview and Donala for water and sewer service. Again he recommended coordination between the different developments on large land holdings to promote efficient interface in east-west and north-south collector streets.

The Timbers: Simpson noted that the primary concern was drainage. The developer needed to address how the drainage was going to flow off site.

Miscellaneous

Car wash: Simpson noted that he had some initial inquiries for car washes for two locations in the Marketplace. Simpson and the board noted that while car washes may be needed in the community, after two years there would be more revenue generated from residential water usage. Even though a car wash would serve a need within the community, the board declined to consider a car wash because of the limited water resources and the need to generate as much revenue as possible from the water resources they now have. But they also noted that it might be a possibility in the future as the community develops.

Fire hydrants: The Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Rescue Authority has requested that the various entities within the authority conform to the State of Colorado color codes for fire hydrants. This would allow firefighters to identify the amount of water pressure in a hydrant. Simpson questioned who would bear the cost of testing each hydrant. The board suggested that this should be done the next time the hydrants are flushed or flow tested in the spring.

Public comments

Valerie Remington, a new resident of Jackson Creek, addressed the board to say she didn’t feel very welcomed after receiving a sizable water bill that was the responsibility of the home’s previous owner only 22 days after she moved into her new home. She asked if it was the district’s standard practice to send a notice threatening to cut off the water supply and turn the account over to a collection agency. The board replied that the title company is responsible to determine if there are any outstanding bills or liens against the property and apparently they didn’t discover this outstanding bill. Simpson apologized but said that the bill goes with the property and had to be collected by the district.

At 5:36 p.m., the board went into executive session to discuss property acquisition and sale. No action was taken. The next meeting of the Triview board is Sept. 28, 4:30 p.m., at the district office, 174 N. Washington St. in Monument. For information, phone 488-6868.

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Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District, August 9: District shelves water station plans

By Sue Wielgopolan

After learning that the cost of the planned water station south of Highway 105 could run as high as $250,000, Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District board members opted to drop the idea at their Aug. 9 meeting. The district intended to provide a location for contractors working in the area to obtain construction water, and had planned to build the fill station off Knollwood Drive across from the Lutheran Church.

Member Ron Turner was absent. Visitors included Michaele Duncan and Ketch Nowacki, who reside in the Forest View Acres Water District.

Financial report

Board treasurer Jim Wyss summarized July’s financial statements for the board and stated that income was below expectations. Though excess water sales were up, water use, sewer fees, and tap fees were all below budgeting estimates.

However, with the exception of higher than expected expenditures on repairs and maintenance—primarily due to problems with Wells 8 and 17—expenses are also below budget. Wyss said that Woodmoor’s cash position is comparable to 2004.

Discussion of Joint Use Committee (JUC) activities

Member Benny Nasser, Woodmoor’s representative on the JUC, reported on the previous evening’s meeting. The JUC is composed of representatives from the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District, Monument Sanitation District, and Palmer Lake Sanitation District, which jointly own the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility (WWTF)

Mike Rothberg, contract engineer with the firm RTW, reported to the JUC that ongoing studies indicate that copper levels in wastewater facility effluent two to three times the current limits probably have no adverse affect on aquatic life. The state of Colorado presently allows a maximum of 12 micrograms per liter (µg/l) on a monthly average (known as chronic) and a high reading not to exceed 18 µg/l (known as acute) of copper in plant effluent.

After two violations in 2004, the WWTF requested and received temporary relaxation of those limits in early 2005 pending further investigations into copper’s affects on stream life. The temporary copper limits for the WWTF are 24.8 µg/l chronic and 36.4 µg/l acute, which is double the permanent maximum. JUC members hope the relaxed standards will become permanent, as copper is difficult and expensive to remove.

The WWTF will begin the process of removing solid waste from the plant in the middle of August. Sludge-hauling expenses will be divided among the three plant owners based on the amount each entity produced. Woodmoor’s share is 66 percent of the total, Monument’s is 20 percent, and Palmer Lake’s is 14 percent. On Aug. 15, the plant will begin putting the sludge through a mobile filter press, which removes most of the liquid and leaves a solid "cake." The solids are then transported off-site to farms, where they are tilled into the soil as fertilizer.

At the Aug. 22 annual JUC meeting, President Jim Taylor said he wants to address the issue of whether all three partners should be obligated to equally share the cost of fixing water quality problems caused primarily by only one of the partners. Specifically, Taylor wants to discuss copper limits and whether districts with higher copper readings ought to foot a greater percentage of the bill for controlling the metal.

Phil Steininger, manager of the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District, said he felt the topic was worthy of attention, because as long as the intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with the three agencies only dealt with biological oxygen demand and flow, the levels of metals and other measured effluent components have the potential to become a source of conflict. The state is tightening standards to ensure the health of downstream warm water fisheries, and consequently wastewater facilities will be forced to meet more stringent requirements for discharge into streams.

Steininger discussed the difficulty and expense of continuous testing, which would probably be the only way to pinpoint the source of the copper. He had obtained copies of other local IGAs, including the agreements for the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater facility and the Denver Metro region, to see how other agencies handle similar problems.

Tri-Lakes facility manager Bill Burks will attend a three-day Water Environment Federation training session as the WWTF’s representative. The session, intended for plants that process between 2 ½ million and 5 million gallons of wastewater per day, will focus on avoiding terrorist attacks on facilities. All expenses associated with the seminar will be reimbursed by the Department of Homeland Security.

Nasser informed the board that the JUC has decided not to provide reuse water from the plant to builders for construction.

New billing program

Last month Woodmoor chose Casselle to provide the new billing software package. Office manager Hope Winkler distributed preliminary copies of the new Woodmoor water and sewer bill format to the board for approval.

A sheet format will replace the old postcards, and return envelopes will be enclosed. Winkler said conversion to this format would double the total cost for each month’s billing—from roughly $650 per month for Woodmoor’s 2,900 customers to about $1,300 per month. The board discussed ways to reduce billing costs, and Steininger agreed to have staff further investigate possibilities for electronic transactions.

The board approved the layout and outsourcing of the billing to a contract company. Customers should see a complete changeover to the new billing format by November.

Central Water Treatment Facility (CWTF) expansion

Paul Gilbert, consulting engineer with RTW, told the board that his firm would be meeting with Woodmoor staff on Aug. 24 to go over plans for the CWTF expansion. Addition of a third filter unit and expansion of the existing building to accommodate it will enable Woodmoor to treat a greater volume of water and keep up with pumping capacity. The increase in demand resulting from recent construction in the area made the expansion necessary.

The design phase is over 60 percent complete; Gilbert expects the rest "to come together quickly" after the meeting. The Trident filter unit is on order and should be delivered in October. The filter’s arrival will trigger the construction process.

Total cost for the project will be approximately $257,000. The filter unit is the single most expensive component at $107,000; the remaining $150,000 will cover building materials and labor. The new unit will be up and running before the summer of 2006.

New warehouse

Steve Diller, of S.J. Diller construction company, met with Steininger and district engineer Jessie Shaffer to begin design work on the new warehouse, which will be located next to the Woodmoor office. The building will house district vehicles and provide storage space for parts.

Steininger attended a recent meeting of the Architectural Control Board, a subcommittee of the Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA), to inform members of the impending construction and to solicit input on the appearance of the building. WIA president John Ottino clarified to the committee that the district was not seeking permission, but wanted to get suggestions for making the warehouse’s exterior more attractive.

Subdivision status update

Walter Commons: The utilities for Filing 1 are in the ground; Woodmoor is waiting to receive construction documents before granting conditional acceptance. Filing 2 is in design preview; Shaffer expects to receive the plans for the east section within two weeks. Walters Commons is located north of Higby Road and east of Lewis-Palmer High School and will consist of multifamily homes.

Village Center at Woodmoor: The utilities for Filing 1 are complete and have been conditionally accepted. Filing 2 has been approved by the district for construction, and will consist of multifamily homes. Filing 3 presently consists of three large lots, and has been set aside for future residential redevelopment. The contractor, WED Construction, has only given the district a tentative plan for Filing 4, which will be a commercial development. The Village Center is located south of Highway 105.

Misty Acres: The district has approved the utility construction plan for the development (Filings 1 & 2), located south of County Line Road and east of the campground. Work has stopped, pending resolution of issues with the county.

The Crossroads at Monument: Kirk Weiss of CoReVet Investment Group, LLC has submitted a preliminary plat for the planned strip mall to be located east of the BP/Amoco station on Woodmoor Drive and north of Highway 105. The mall will contain offices, retail space, and possibly a fast-food restaurant.

Greenland Preserve: Utilities have been installed and tested. Masterbilt is waiting for the state to approve its left station permit before starting construction. The preserve is located south of County Line Road between High Pines Drive and Silverhorn Lane.

Hillsong Village: The development, located north of the Greater European Mission along Monument Hill Road, is in the preliminary plat stages, and will consist of 67 single-family homes.

Brookmoor: The eastern half of the development (Filing 3) is in the final planning stages. Shaffer told the board he is reviewing the final utility plans for the property, which is located across from the Woodmoor Center off Lake Woodmoor Drive, north of Highway 105 and east of Knollwood Drive.

Timberview: Located in the extreme southeast corner of the district, off Mingle Wood Trail and Higby, the subdivision is in its final planning stages. Each of the four lots will be 2½ acres in size and will be buying only water from the district.

Taylor pointed out that the district would not be receiving wastewater return flows from homes that provide their own septic. The district uses the effluent resulting from wastewater to trade for Monument Creek water that is stored in Lake Woodmoor, or sells the credits to other agencies. He asked whether their water rates should be higher as a result. Steininger answered that district staff could calculate the amount of effluent that would normally result from return flows, and decide whether the loss would be large enough to justify increased rates for those homes.

KAB Pankey LLC: Cheyenne Mountain Development Company LLC has expressed interest in purchasing the properties surrounding Lake Woodmoor. Steininger informed the board that when the district acquired the lake, Woodmoor granted Pankey a water allotment for the surrounding undeveloped property that would be sufficient to serve up to the equivalent of 400 multi-family housing units, which could include a combination of single and multi-family homes and commercial space.

Water station plans shelved

After months of discussion and negotiations with WED Construction to build a bulk water fill station on property near the Village at Woodmoor, the board determined the cost of the project was too high and decided to canceled its agreement with WED. Initially, the district had anticipated a cost of approximately $80,000. But Shaffer said that with the board’s preferred features, it would probably run about $250,000. He distributed cost estimates for four designs of the station; the cheapest version would still have cost in excess of $127,000.

The decision to investigate the feasibility of building a bulk water fill station arose in response to numerous requests by contractors for construction water from Woodmoor. In the past, Woodmoor had allowed contractors to hook up to remote hydrants in the district to obtain water, but development has expanded into those formerly isolated areas, and use of hydrants is now prohibited.

Steininger told the board that contractors have other options for obtaining water. Several have purchased taps for construction purposes. Donala sells water to builders, allowing them to hook up to a hydrant near its office.

The board discussed contractual obligations and possible uses of the half-acre site, which Woodmoor has the option of acquiring as part of the inclusion agreement with WED. Because of its proximity to other Arapahoe aquifer wells, it would be unsuitable as a new well site. However, because the site is in prime residential territory, the district may wish to sell it and buy other property for a new well.

Integrity Bank chosen to manage Woodmoor investments

With the approval of the board, Steininger had contacted Integrity Bank, C Safe, People’s Bank, and Colorado Trust to discuss investment opportunities and strategies. He discussed his comparisons and recommendations. Because Wyss is president of Integrity Bank, he recused himself from the discussions and voting and left the room.

Woodmoor will start with investments totaling between $3.5 million and $4 million. Potential exists within the next two years to increase that amount to $6 million.

After considering proposals by all three institutions, Steininger recommended using Integrity Bank. He said the investments would be a mixture of money market accounts, certificates of deposit, and possibly agency and treasury bonds—and would have maturity dates of three months to two years. As the rates have probably fluctuated since the time of his inquiry, Steininger estimated a net gain for the district of between $30,000 and $50,000.

Nasser asked the district’s attorney Erin Smith if she was confident that any potential conflict of interest issues involving Wyss had been resolved. Smith replied that as long as Wyss did not influence or act on the vote and would not personally benefit from the board’s decision, she was satisfied that the board had fulfilled its legal obligations.

The board unanimously voted to invest the district’s funds with Integrity at Steininger’s discretion. Nasser asked Steininger to check rates every six months or so and report back to the board on his findings. Members also decided to keep accounts open at C-Safe and Colorado Trust so the option of changing institutions remained available. Wyss returned to the room after the vote and was informed of the decision.

Budget revised

Steininger informed the board that due to delays in construction on some of the larger projects within the district, expected income from water and sewer tap fees will be significantly lower than anticipated for this year. Though the number of units that will eventually be built has not changed, tap fees and other revenues will not catch up to projections by year’s end. Excess water sales to WED Construction and other contractors will not make up for the shortfall.

Consequently, Steininger revised the 2005 budget to reflect the changes. Approval by the board was not needed, as the state does not require districts to file mid-year adjustments. Due to the reduction in anticipated income, the district will transfer $367,000 into reserve instead of the previously projected $1,473,000.

Steininger added that builders are only locked in to the present tap rates for the remainder of the year. When the new water and sewer tap rates go into effect in 2006, contractors will have to pay the higher rates.

Taylor noted that in spite of the disappointing news, revenues for the district were up $300,000 over last year.

Fees for administration of Prairie Winds chlorinator reduced

Board members unanimously voted to reduce the monthly fees Woodmoor charges District 38 to oversee Prairie Winds Elementary School’s chlorinator and bag filter system. The school installed the system to treat water being held in its storage tanks. Chlorine breaks down over time and loses its disinfectant properties; the chlorinator provides supplemental treatment as needed.

Because operation of the system requires a technician with water treatment certification, District 38 contracted with Woodmoor to monitor and adjust chlorine levels in the tanks at a cost of $500 per month. But operational costs were considerably smaller than originally estimated, and Steininger said that $100 per month was a more fair figure. The board approved the lower charge.

Storage and reuse of Woodmoor’s effluent discussed

One of Woodmoor’s goals is to investigate ways to conserve and use the district’s water resources most efficiently. Since fecal coliform readings at the WWTF had been extremely low in past months, Nasser wanted to know whether the district could make use of the relatively bacteria-free effluent.

Nasser pointed out that the WWTF processes approximately 1 million gallons of wastewater per day. When flows in Monument Creek are sufficiently high, the district can trade excess effluent released into the creek for water that it pulls from the creek upstream of the plant and stores in Lake Woodmoor. During much of the year, however, the effluent credits are sold to downstream buyers. Nasser asked Gilbert whether it would be feasible to capture that excess effluent and store it in the lake, to be used for irrigation and possibly as drinking water sometime in the future.

Gilbert explained that making use of effluent was not simply a matter of piping the water over to the lake, then treating it for consumption as it would stream or well water. Nitrogen and phosphorous would have to be removed from the effluent. This would probably entail construction of a new treatment plant or addition of a new process to existing facilities, which could prove costly.

Ultimately, using effluent would only delay the need for surface water by 10 to 20 years. It would not satisfy future demand.

Additionally, although some communities in other parts of the country have been successful in mixing a low percentage of reuse water into their drinking water supply, it has never been done in Colorado. For the idea to gain acceptance, Woodmoor would have to conduct an extensive public relations campaign to inform and educate its customers.

Gilbert said that in the long term, surface water would probably be less expensive to obtain and would be a more cost-effective use of limited financial resources. Steininger agreed that looking at reuse water at this time would not be productive.

The public portion of the meeting ended at 3:50 p.m., and the board went into executive session to discuss matters related to acquisition of water rights.

No announcements were made before the meeting was officially adjourned.

The next meeting of the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation board of directors will take place on Sept. 13 at 1 p.m. at the Woodmoor office, 1845 Woodmoor Dr. Meetings are normally held the second Tuesday of the month.

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Palmer Lake Town Council, August 11: Record high water usage (and bills) "tax" town staff

By Jim Kendrick

The Palmer Lake Town Council held a combined Liquor Licensing Authority, Workshop, and Regular Meeting on Aug. 11. Mayor Nikki MacDonald’s and Trustee Trish Flake’s absences were excused. The vacancy created when former Trustee Brent Sumner moved out of town has not been filled.

The August Palmer Lake Planning Commission Workshop and Regular Meeting were cancelled.

Liquor Licensing Authority

The board unanimously approved a special event liquor license for the Tri-Lakes Women’s Club. The club will be hosting their fourth annual wine-tasting benefit called "Wine and Roses IV" on Oct. 20 at the Pinecrest Event Center. Club board member Judy Vliet said that last year’s event raised $12,000 for Lewis-Palmer School District 38.

The board also unanimously approved three special event liquor licenses for Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts events on Sept. 9, Oct. 1, and Oct. 7. Town Clerk Della Gray noted that the maximum number of licenses allowed for one year is ten special events and that the application erroneously listed that seven licenses had been approved previously, though the center had only used six. Town Attorney Larry Gaddis said the actual number of licenses issued is the deciding factor for approving future licenses and the typographical error would not matter.

Regular Board Meeting

The board unanimously approved two consent items, the minutes for the July 14 meeting, and payment of bills.

Committee Reports

Economic Development Trustee Gary Coleman noted that Monument was moving forward with an exploratory effort to obtain a station along the Union Pacific railroad in anticipation of the tracks being converted to commuter rail tracks when the freight trains are moved to the east. He asked if the board wanted to pay $10,000 per year to be eligible for consideration. Gray noted that paying the fee would not guarantee a station in Palmer Lake, only eligibility 10 years from now. She added that the town would have to perform a feasibility study as well.

Trustee Max Parker suggested that the town should investigate the opportunity but not expend any funds until more information is known. Coleman offered to form an exploratory citizen committee to see if there would be any interest in pursuing a commuter station, given the expenses that would be involved.

Coleman also suggested that the council send Western Enterprises CEO James Burnett a framed print of a photo by local artist Joe Bohler that shows a train under exploding fireworks along Palmer Lake. Gaddis and Coleman said that several out-of-state visitors had told them that this year’s fireworks and parade were the best they had ever seen.

Coleman also noted the success of the town staff barbeque held at the Living Word Church and the Ice Cream Social in front of Town Hall. He also announced the annual Tri-Lakes Railroad Festival that will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sept. 24. He said that the model train display would be in Town Hall while the swap meet would be moving to the Palmer Lake Elementary School at Glenway and High Street. He said he was coordinating special food offerings for the event at local restaurants and closed by saying, "This is a neat place to live."

Water trustee Chuck Cornell reported record town water usage averaging 350,000 gallons per day with a peak of 450,000 gallons. He said the water rate structure is designed to discourage very high usage and that the structure was based on a rate review and water study by the town’s citizen water committee. He also said this high usage had led to very large water bills for a number of residents, who were now saying that the quantities listed on their bills are not accurate. The staff has been busy repairing broken water pipes on South Valley Road that were 67 and 80 years old. Cornell commented, "We’re definitely pushing our system to its max" and that any new construction will likely require a return to water restrictions.

Police Trustee Trudy Finan reported 172 police calls for July, up from 145 last year. There were 5 custody arrests, 30 cases, 33 traffic citations, 15 traffic and dog warnings, and 3 dog citations, as well as 23 calls each to assist the Monument Police Department and 40 calls to assist other county police agencies. The town’s Smart Trailer, which shows and records actual speeds of passing cars, had been repaired and put back in service.

Cornell reported that there were 33 calls for the Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department in July, including 6 fire, 18 medical, 8 wildland, 3 traffic accident, 3 public contact, and 1 other. The department received a donation of $700 toward the truck from the Bowling Alley at Palmer Lake from their Poker Run fundraiser. The truck was displayed at the Estemere Estate open house and owners Kim and Roger Ward have donated $3,000 to the firefighter training fund. Part of that contribution paid for volunteer firefighter Nora Birt’s emergency medical technician-basic training

He added that residents of the Glen were again asked to please post their house numbers where they could be seen from the street by emergency vehicles. The apparent futility of these fire department requests remains an ironic running joke at each of the board’s meetings.

Roads Trustee Parker said that planned asphalting on High Street, Forest View Circle, and Forest View Way was going very well and that millings from Highway 105 had been laid on Shady Lane. He said it is "a good thick carpet" and that the millings will be sealed after some compaction.

Greg Cook of Awake the Lake reported that contributions had reached $26,318 and that their 501(3)(c) tax-exempt status had been approved. The committee is investigating available options for more water rights for "swaps and transfers." Gray asked Cook to review her report of the cost for the amount of drinking water the town actually pumped into the lake before the invoice is submitted to the county for reimbursement through its grant to the committee.

Cook suggested the town review its options for redirecting drainage runoff into the lake, particularly from the west side of the railroad tracks. He said the lake has dropped 1 foot due to evaporation. Cornell said that was less than the typical drop of 3 feet due to evaporation each summer. Cook would like to make a model for evaporation based on surface area and temperature for future management efforts.

He also suggested creating a map of the lake bottom contours. Cornell asked what the town would do with the map. Cook said it would be interesting to analyze changes over time. Cook also noted that fishing success normally tapers in August due to warmer water temperatures.

Gray reported that annual aerial photography of the lake would take place in late August and would cost $850. Gray suggested that the town might be able to auction or sell reproductions of the lake photos since it will own the copyright to these new photos.

Fire ordinance amended

The board unanimously approved an amendment that prohibits outside fires during a fire emergency. Gas, propane, and charcoal grills are not restricted by this amendment.

Public Comment

Cook noted that the annual fishing derby and Columbine Art and Music Festival would be held on the same day next summer, unlike in the past. He noted that there are no food vendors at the festival, which might cause a problem since there would be more people in town. Gray asked Cook to coordinate with Trustee Flake who organizes the festival.

The meeting adjourned at 7:48 p.m. There will be a combined Town Council Workshop and Regular Meeting on Sept. 8 at 7 p.m. in Town Hall, 28 Valley Crescent.

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Monument Board of Trustees, August 15: Board approves first Remington Hills filing

By Jim Kendrick

The Monument Board of Trustees (BOT) approved the first filing of the Remington Hills at Jackson Creek subdivision on Aug. 15. The board also approved a resolution of intent to begin negotiations regarding a lease or purchase of the Assembly of God Church at the corner of Second and Jefferson. Trustee Gail Drumm was absent.

A new trustee has not yet been appointed to fill the seat vacated by the resignation of former Trustee Scott Meszaros. Meszaros resigned so he could apply for the job of Town Clerk, a position that had been vacant for three years. New Town Manager Cathy Green has restructured the town staff and had asked the BOT to fill the clerk position in anticipation of the work required to add a ballot question to the November ballot.

Next BOT meeting date shifted

The board unanimously approved rescheduling the date of the next regular BOT meeting to Tuesday, Sept. 6, due to the Labor Day holiday.

Board of Trustee Comments

Glenn thanked the Police Building Sub-Committee for its work on financing, property, and architecture for a new police building.

Wall to serve as consultant

In an unadvertised agenda item, Mayor Byron Glenn reported that former mayor Betty Konarski, who now serves as a volunteer water representative for the town, wanted the board to reconsider her request for consultant help in drafting a town water supply plan.

Background: The board had unanimously rejected Konarski’s request to hire retired Public Works Superintendent Tom Wall for this task on Aug. 1. Wall had asked for a $750 retainer for up to 30 hours of work to help Konarski and the town’s legal and engineering consultants write a water supply plan. Wall also proposed that he could help his successor Richard Landreth "get acquainted with the Public Works Department." In addition, Wall offered to assist the "staff with understanding several large projects in process such as the public works garage."

However, at the Aug. 1 meeting Green asked the board to allow her to temporarily cease garage construction. When the BOT approved construction of the garage by the town’s road and parks maintenance personnel, Wall had said the staff could complete the garage by the end of spring. Green told the board she wanted to re-assign the public works staff so they could complete their deferred summer duties of park and road maintenance before winter. The board unanimously approved her request and garage construction was halted.

Aug. 1 vote reversed: Glenn asked the board "to consider paying him [Wall] a certain amount of money to review the document" and then said, "It would be a couple hundred dollars. So does anybody have a problem with that?" Trustee George Brown said, "I don’t."

Glenn then told Green to "go ahead and let him [Wall] know he’ll be doing that." There was no motion, vote, or discussion of the actual number of hours of work Wall would be authorized to perform, how much he would be paid, or how a consultant contract might be worded.

Gillette honored

Trustee Tommie Plank presented a Certificate of Appreciation from the town to departing Tri-Lakes Tribune reporter Geoff Gillette for his reporting of town meetings for almost four years. She noted that he had also covered District 38 school board meetings during this period and was "masterful in pulling out pithy comments made by board members." Gillette has moved to San Francisco and plans to write movie reviews and science fiction novels.

Remington Hills Filing No. 1 approved

The board unanimously approved an ordinance for the Preliminary Plat for Remington Hills at Jackson Creek Filing No.1, as well as a separate ordinance for the Preliminary/Final Site Plan. This filing is on the north side of Leather Chaps Drive, between Creekside Middle School and Higby Road. There were no comments for or against the proposal during the public hearing.

During the board’s discussion, Plank asked if the planned rerouting of Higby Road to the south, away from the high school, would occur during this phase of construction. Vision Development Project Manager Rick Blevins said that Filing No. 1 is far to the south and the new segment of Bowstring in this development would not intersect the rerouted portion of Higby for quite a while.

Trustee Dave Mertz asked if the electrical utility lines serving the filing would be buried underground and if there would be landscape screening around the adjacent electrical substation on Jackson Creek Parkway. Blevins said that the larger lines that supply power to the substation would not be buried, but those lines supplying power to the subdivision would eventually be underground. He added that Vision Development has asked Mountain View Electric Association to install additional screening shrubbery when it has finished expanding the substation to serve the entire load for Jackson Creek. No completion date for the substation expansion was discussed.

Glenn asked that the wording of Blevins’ supporting documentation be amended to eliminate references to "prevalent" recreational opportunities in the surrounding community because there are only trails and no nearby ball fields or parks.

Glenn also said that having only a single entrance was not sufficient for 91 residential lots. He suggested that the developer should add a temporary second access as a condition of approval, such as a graded 20-foot wide gravel road and temporary easement for emergency vehicles until a permanent second access is constructed in later filings. Blevins disagreed, saying that the developer’s professional traffic studies and Tri-Lakes fire marshal reviews of the plat and site plan did not call for a second access. He also said that the filing’s access roads, an isolated segment of Bowstring Rd. leading from Leather Chaps to an isolated segment of Harness Rd., are 60 feet wide with wide grass areas on both sides. Glenn countered that if fire trucks tried to go around an obstacle on the pavement, they would sink in the grass if it were wet.

Blevins said that there was no low-cost place to provide a second access due to the steep grading and protected trees next to Leather Chaps and long distance to Jackson Creek Parkway. After a lengthy discussion there was consensus among the trustees to require the second access as a condition of their unanimous approval. Blevins asked that his formal protest to this condition be entered into the hearing record. There was no agreement on how the secondary access would be provided.

Glenn said that lot 80 had a "weird shape" and might have setback problems if a large custom home lot were built on it. Blevins said the lot is 9,000 square feet and there should not be a problem. Glenn said the town would not be disposed to approve a setback waiver for this lot in the future.

Glenn also asked that Blevins provide temporary as well as permanent drainage easements for the filing. He agreed to do so.

Ballot language decision continued

At the Aug. 1 BOT meeting the board narrowed the range of options provided by Town Attorney Gary Shupp for a ballot issue for the November election that would permit the town to use a portion of the amount collected from the 1 percent sales tax for other than water system improvements and maintenance. In 1989, the voters had approved a restriction on use of this sales tax revenue to improvements and maintenance of the town water system. Creation of a water enterprise fund has also been approved.

Due to the complexities in the laws regarding enterprise funds and TABOR, the town is restricted in how much of this revenue it can spend each year on the water system. Money in the cash reserves is growing more rapidly than it can be spent under current constraints.

The board is seeking relief so that it can use the revenue for other capital improvements. Passage of the ballot issue would allow the board to use some revenue for a secondary purpose such as financing the acquisition, construction, and equipping of a new town government complex to include a jail, court room, and expanded police department offices and perhaps a new town administration building at a later date.

After some discussion, the board unanimously voted to continue the agenda item until a special board meeting and public hearing on Aug. 22 at which the wording of the ballot issue and associated emergency ordinance will be finalized and voted upon. Plank and Town Attorney Gary Shupp agreed to meet and write a final draft of the proposed wording before that special meeting. The deadline for submitting the ballot issue documentation to the state election office for a November election is Sept. 1.

The board also unanimously passed a resolution to approve the standard intergovernmental agreement between the town and El Paso County for running a combined November election. The cost for the town’s ballot issue is paid in four equal installments of $550.

Church purchase contemplated

The board unanimously passed a "resolution of intent to proceed with due diligence necessary to lease or purchase" the Abundant Life Assembly of God Church at 245 Second St. "for the relocation of the Monument Police Station and other municipal services." Green’s recommendation said that the church’s recent appraisal of the property valued the facility at $1.54 million. The building contains 5,020 square feet of chapel space and 9,600 square feet of office space. There is a residential lot on the property as well with a house and garage that are currently leased by the Tri-Lakes Cares charity. Passage of the resolution did not commit the town to purchase the property or specify a purchase price.

Green’s report also noted that a commercial appraisal of the property by the town would probably cost between $3,000 and $5,000 though a buyer’s appraisal is typically deferred until the time of purchase. A separate preliminary appraisal would be an additional cost because another appraisal would still have to be performed when the lease-purchase agreement is signed.

The architects who are already competing for a contract to design a new police and courtroom building for an empty parcel of land between Grace Best Elementary School and Beacon Lite Road will now also submit proposals on how to modify the church for the same purposes. Green suggested that the included house and garage could be torn down for a parking lot after Tri-Lakes Cares moves into their new facility and that the chapel space could be leased to another group until the town is ready to relocate some staff offices from the existing Town Hall.

Passage of the resolution allows the town to begin negotiations with the church immediately.

Other matters

The board unanimously approved a temporary street closing on Park Trail Drive by Woodfield Drive for a neighborhood block party from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Aug. 20.

The board also unanimously approved two payments over $5,000: payments of $50, 356 to Triview Metropolitan District for June sales tax revenue and a contract payment of $27,843 to Ed Green Construction Company for work on the public works garage foundation.

Budget revised

Treasurer Pamela Smith reported that the 2005 budget could be reforecast, based on the results of the first six months of the year and department head projections. She said there would be a $27,000 increase in the end-of-year general fund balance and a decrease in the water enterprise fund balance of $57,622. After the related changes were made to the TABOR, Water, and 15 percent Recommended Audit Reserve, the town’s general fund balance for the end of 2005 is now projected to be $115,265.

Based on this surplus, the staff recommended the purchase of new financial software. The board unanimously approved Smith’s revision and recommendation. The board will have to pass an ordinance to finalize the changes at a subsequent meeting.

Drainage plan initiated

Glenn asked for and received consensus from the board to begin the first phase of creation of a town master drainage plan. Director of Development Services Tom Kassawara said that a contractor will be selected after an evaluation of the qualifications and study proposals from four engineering companies have been completed, which should be by the end of September. The study would be paid for with money collected for drainage impact fees. The estimated cost is between $70,000 and $95,000. The study results will be useful in obtaining state grants.

Lodging tax ballot measure contemplated

The board reached a consensus to move forward in developing a ballot issue for creation of a town lodging tax. The proposed ordinance will be advertised for a public hearing at the next regular BOT meeting on Sept. 6. The town currently has an ordinance that calls for a $2 tax, but no hotels. Lodging taxes range as high as 15 percent in home rule towns in Colorado. However, statutory towns like Monument must charge a specific daily dollar amount. The amount of the daily tax that will be proposed has not yet been determined by the board.

Reports

Lawsuit status: Shupp reported that motions for Kalima Masse’s two concrete batch plant lawsuits and the District 38 lawsuit have been filed with the court of appeals. He will report on the results when a decision is announced.

Baptist Road construction deferred: Glenn noted that the developer of the Monument Marketplace had pledged $1.2 million dollars to temporarily widen Baptist Road to four lanes between Jackson Creek Parkway and the I-25 interchange and reduce the existing steep grade of the segment. The grade of the new bridge over I-25 will be considerably higher than the current bridge. Some of the improved roadway next to the interchange would have to be "throw away" even though the eastern portion could be permanent in quality and grade.

Completion of the temporary improvements had originally been a condition for issuing a certificate of occupancy for the opening of the Home Depot on June 30, 2004, when the Marketplace development was first approved. Following Marketplace approval, there were several other problems: gaining approval for the temporary Baptist Road improvements from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, finding the utilities that are buried under this road segment, a requirement to build a 60-inch culvert to replace the existing 48-inch culvert under the Jackson Creek bridge, and loss of public improvement fee funding when the county disapproved the Baptist Road Wal-Mart.

There is no expectation for state funding of the I-25 interchange improvement in the near and perhaps long term, though construction may be accelerated by some unknown number of years if Referenda C and D are approved by the voters in November. There have been delays in the town approving the shopping center developments that are expected to line Jackson Creek Parkway for a number of reasons. Improvements on Baptist Road east of Jackson Creek Parkway will begin sometime in 2006.

Glenn proposed a further delay in improving this segment of Baptist road even though more stores will be opened in the Marketplace. He said the delay would allow for better planning and less waste of the $1.2 million impact fee reserve on temporary roadway. The board unanimously approved his recommendation.

Development Services: Kassawara reported that he had met with:

  • Triview Metropolitan District Staff to discuss town construction observation and inspection activities within Triview and unifying the differing construction standards of the two entities.

  • Wal-Mart representatives to discuss plan revisions for a reconfiguration of their auto service center. He has also reviewed and commented on their submitted engineering and drainage plans.

  • Timbers representatives and the Watt family to discuss an alternative access to the Foxworth-Galbraith property. Struthers Road north of Baptist will eventually be closed when the I-25 interchange is improved.

Green suggested four work session topics for the board to discuss prior to regular board meetings in the near future.

The meeting adjourned at 8:13 p.m.

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Monument Board of Trustees, August 22: Sales tax ballot measure wording approved

By John Heiser

The Monument Board of Trustees held a special meeting Aug. 22 to approve the wording of a ballot measure to be submitted to the voters in November. Mayor Byron Glenn presided. Trustee Frank Orten was absent.

After some discussion, an emergency ordinance was unanimously approved adopting the following measure for inclusion on the November ballot:

"Without increasing taxes, shall the town of Monument be allowed to modify restrictions on the sales tax revenues as passed, approved, and adopted in November 1989, with such revenues over and above that contributed to the town water enterprise fund, as allowed by the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, be used to construct or purchase and renovate a police and/or governmental facilities complex, including fixtures, equipment and furniture, and for the acquisition of water rights, and the storage and delivery of any newly acquired water, without limiting the collection or spending of other revenues or funds by the town under Article X, Section XX of the Colorado Constitution or any other law?"

At the end of the meeting, Trustee George Brown announced that the Sept. 6 meeting would be his last since he sold his house and will be moving to Douglas County.

The start time for the Sept. 6 meeting was set at 6 p.m. to allow time for a reception for new Public Works Director Richard Landreth and departing Trustee George Brown.

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Donald Wescott Fire Protection District Board, August 17: Volunteer pensions unchanged, station expansion completed

By Jim Kendrick

The Donald Wescott Fire Protection District Pension Board of Directors was scheduled to meet before the regular district board meeting on Aug. 17. The pension board consists of the five members of the district’s board of directors and two volunteer firefighters, John Hamand and Mike Badger. All members were present.

However, the 2004 final audit report was presented to the district board before the beginning of the Pension Board meeting. Coverage of the audit report is found as the first item of the regular meeting report, which follows the Pension Board report.

The district board also heard a presentation on insurance policy renewal immediately after the conclusion of the Pension Board meeting, and then returned to the routine agenda.

Pension Board Meeting

Secretary Dave Cross noted that the number of qualified volunteers with at least 20 years service who can draw $300 per month in retirement benefits has increased from 1 to 3. Chief Bill Sheldon said the study showed that the fund would be financially sound in the short term, the next six years, for up to five retirees receiving the current benefit of $300 per month. No additional volunteers are expected to be eligible for benefits in the next 18 months, however. The pension board unanimously approved a continuation of the $300 per month benefit through 2006.

There was consensus on increasing the annual contribution to take advantage of available state matching funds in 2006, but members agreed with Chairman Brian Ritz’s recommendation to wait until the 2006 budget review to make the final decision. The pension board voted unanimously to recommend not more than a $10,000 increase in the district’s contribution to the volunteer firefighter pension fund for 2006, from $25,000 to $35,000. The state would increase its current matching contribution by $9,750 if the district approves the increase.

The pension board adjourned at 7:44 p.m. The next pension board meeting will be held on Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. in the new Gleneagle station conference room. This meeting will fulfill the state requirement for at least two pension board meetings per year.

Regular Board Meeting

Construction of a third engine bay and new administrative office space was completed with a final acceptance inspection scheduled for Aug. 16. Delivery and setup of the furniture and equipment for the new offices and conference room was expected to be completed by the end of August. The district’s auditor presented his final report for 2004 which found there were no problems. The board also agreed to renew its liability insurance with Volunteer Firemen’s Insurance Services, Inc. for another year. All members of the board were present.

Final 2004 audit report accepted

Auditor Don Granner of Hanson and Company gave a presentation on what he characterized as a "clean audit" which shows that the department is in conformity with recently updated, generally accepted accounting principles. The majority of his comments concerned the differences required to reconcile the modified accrual method used for the annual district budget to the full accrual method required for reporting to the state.

He suggested that the department confirm that there is a disaster recovery plan for the electronic information systems. He also suggested that the district set up an accounting policy and procedures manual to define roles and responsibilities involving accounting functions.

The 2004 audit showed:

  • Volunteer pension fund assets increased $64,579 to a total of $191,380.

  • Total end-of-year assets - $2,814,160

  • Total end-of-year liabilities - $1,692,232

  • Revenues - $1,072,975

  • Expenses - $909,550

  • Net end-of-year assets - $1,122,128, an increase of $163,425 from 2003

Granner’s report has been forwarded to the state.

Liability insurance policy renewed

Mickey Leonard of Volunteer Firemen’s Insurance Services, Inc. (VFIS) presented his recommendation to the board for property, liability, accident, and sickness coverage for the department. The new policy was unanimously approved and started on Sept. 1.

The premium for property and liability will go down from $17,104 to $15,155 due to the district selling several older fire engines. However, this premium does not include the increase for the Gleneagle Drive station additions of a third engine bay, new offices, and a conference room, which will cost about $1,000 more. There will be a slight increase in the accident and sickness policy from $4,776 to $5,781.

There are few changes to the policy from last year and all property is again covered on a guaranteed replacement basis. Leonard noted that fraud and embezzlement are a growing problem for special districts and non-profit organizations, but recommended no increase in coverage due to the tight financial controls of the district.

After a brief discussion, the board voted to continue with VFIS as the department insurance carrier again as of September 1, 2005.

Treasurer’s report

The July treasurer’s report was unanimously approved. Administrative Assistant Ginnette Ritz reported that the final 2004 end-of-year carryover amount would be adjusted upward to $640,220, a net increase of $62,331. The amended carryover balance is based on the auditor’s final report for 2004 and will be listed in district financial reports beginning in August.

Construction nearly completed

The final walk-through inspection was scheduled for Aug. 18 at 9 a.m. There will be an additional charge of about $1,400 for the duct work in the upper level of the addition. This price was not included in the original cost of the construction. The duct work was to have been completed by the end of August.

Director Kevin Gould, an architect, stated the department needs to have an accurate set of "as built drawings" and that they needed to be reviewed to ensure they are complete before payment of the final billing at the end of the month.

Chairs, which will cost about $2,500, have been purchased for the offices and boardroom. There will be a display of the new facility at the open house for Fire Prevention Week on Saturday, Oct. 8.

Ballot issue postponed

The board had voted during the July meeting to hold an election in November on the elimination of term limits for board members. The cost of holding that election was found to be $6,234. After a short discussion, there was a consensus to postpone the term limit question until May 2006, to make it a part of the regular special district election for new board members. Three board members will be up for election at that time.

Chief’s Report

Chief Sheldon advised the board that he had appointed Firefighter Sean Pearson as Safety Officer for the district. Sheldon noted that the district’s accident-free safety record in 2004 resulted in a refund of about $1,900 from the workers compensation carrier this year.

Chief Sheldon reported that five sets of bunker gear would be delivered in the following week. He also recommended the purchase of a new computer for Ritz. Her current computer could then be used by the shift supervisors. He also recommended purchasing a laptop computer for the Chief’s office. The telephone system upgrade will include new phones in the new offices and upgraded phones throughout the building.

Annexation within the district proposed: Sheldon reported that he has been notified that the owners of two parcels under development in the area of Voyager and Interquest are requesting annexation by the city of Colorado Springs. Sheldon recommended that the board meet with the district’s attorney, Peter Obernesser, and direct him to discuss the potential annexation with the city attorney to ensure the parcels are handled under the same guidelines as previous annexations, such as Flying Horse Ranch. Under the agreements with the city, property owners would continue to pay taxes to the district until such time as a city fire station is built in the area.

Run report: Assistant Chief Vinny Burns reported that the district made 143 runs in July bringing the total to 843 for the year, a 5 percent increase over 2004. The calls consisted of 27 medical, 6 traffic accident, 12 automatic alarm, 2 brush fire, 1 hazardous material, 1 smoke, 1 service call, 83 AMR ambulance calls, plus 10 mutual aid calls comprised of 1 medical, 3 structure fire, and 6 brush fires.

Sheldon selected for award: Burns also announced that Chief Sheldon would receive an award for Distinguished Manager of the Year at the September Special District Association conference. Former board chairman Bill Lowes filled out the majority of the paperwork for the submission. The association will prepare a video presentation for the ceremony.

Budget preparation to begin: Battalion Chief Jeff Edwards, who will replace Sheldon when he retires at the end of the year, will assist in the 2006 budget preparation as part of his transition into his new position. The district should receive the first estimates of its property tax revenue for 2006 in September. Sheldon distributed an article on fire department pay scales around the nation, noting that cost of living projections won’t be available until October. He also distributed information regarding new fire engine options.

In discussing the expense of the training equipment for the new addition, Sheldon distributed an article on physical fitness and firefighter deaths. He quoted a paragraph from the article: "The bottom line is that firefighters must view themselves as athletes who work at maximum emotional and physical stress levels without the advantage of a warm-up in a game that is not win or lose but life or death as the statistics so painfully show. The deaths are often preventable. We must improve the maintenance of our human machines to ensure their reliability and safety."

Brian Ritz had asked Sheldon to complete a list of budget cuts totaling roughly $36,000 for the remainder of the year that would offset the district’s contribution to his pension that was approved on July 27. Sheldon will contribute about $11,000 to his pension fund. Sheldon said he had prepared a preliminary list that totaled $24,000 and suggested that the board use some the $62,331 increase in the general fund that the auditor had just reported to cover the remainder of the district’s payment. He added that the district was not overspent or near being overspent. Ritz replied that he’d still like to see Sheldon’s full list of recommendations due to overages on the building addition and other items. He asked that Sheldon, Edwards, and Cross meet before the next board meeting to identify the cuts.

$2,300 raised: The district’s golf tournament at the Gleneagle Golf Club on Aug. 13 raised a total of $2,300 for the district’s Rescue 1 Volunteers. Proceeds will go to the Rescue 1 fund to support the volunteers’ development training as firefighters and emergency medical technicians. There were 13 foursomes in the tournament and 10 sponsors.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:03 p.m. The next meeting will be at 7 p.m. on Sept. 20. The meeting location has been permanently moved to the new conference room at Station One, 15425 Gleneagle Drive. The meetings are normally held on the third Wednesday of the month.

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Tri-Lakes-Monument Fire Rescue Authority, August 24: 2004 audit issues revisited

By John Heiser

On August 24, the boards of the Tri-Lakes Fire Protection District and the Woodmoor/Monument Fire Protection District met jointly as the Tri-Lakes-Monument Fire Rescue Authority board.

All directors were present except Tri-Lakes director John Hartling, who was on vacation.

Gregory Parsons and Clint Bulkley, CPAs with accounting firm Osborne, Parsons & Rosacker, attended the board meeting and answered questions regarding the 2004 audit.

Financial Report

John Hildebrandt, treasurer for the Tri-Lakes district and fire authority, distributed copies of his treasurer’s report that covers the Tri-Lakes district and the Woodmoor/Monument district and the resulting financial status of the fire authority through the end of July. Some highlights:

  • The districts and, in turn, the fire authority received $1.83 million or 96 percent of the anticipated $1.91 million in property tax revenue for the year, and $162,378 or 57 percent of the anticipated $284,000 in specific ownership taxes for the year.

  • The district also received ambulance revenues of $162,002 or 54 percent of the anticipated $300,000 for the year. That is 4 percent below expected levels at this point in the year compared to 7 percent below the expected level last month.

  • Administrative expenses stand at $140,731 or 63 percent of the $222,635 for the year called for in the revised budget. That is 5 percent over the expected level for this point in the year.

  • Salary expenses were $896,885 or 60 percent of the budgeted $1.48 million. That includes $58,622 for part-time employees, which is 63 percent of the $93,433 for the year called for in the revised budget.

  • Overall expenses year-to-date are $1.61 million, which is 61 percent of the annual budget of $2.65 million. That is 3 percent over the expected level for this point in the year.

  • The only lease payment remaining this year is $36,950 due Nov. 1 for the new Smeal engine 2212 purchased in 2004.

A motion to accept the financial report was unanimously approved.

2004 audit

At the March 23 meeting of the Tri-Lakes board, Hildebrandt reported that the auditor contends the district should have characterized lease-purchase agreements for Station 2 and new vehicles as income to the district. As a result, the auditor says that in 2004 the district was in violation of Colorado special district budget law by $1.374 million.

Hildebrandt said he has been on the board since 1997 when the Tri-Lakes district’s annual budget was $166,900. It is now $1.45 million. He said, "It’s been a heck of a balancing act."

He noted that in reviewing the audits, he found that the Tri-Lakes district was in violation of the budget law in 1999 ($1.2 million), 2000 ($35,000), and 2001 ($9,400).

Hildebrandt added that in 2003 and 2004 he talked with Parsons regarding how to avoid future violations and was told to amend the budget to conform to the final revenue and expense figures. Evidently, the budget was not amended in December 2003 and the amended budget for 2004 was not filed with the state.

Parsons said the violation was noted every year in the audit report. He added, "We could all communicate better."

Bulkley noted, "All you have to do is amend the budget at the end of the year and file it with the state."

Hildebrandt expressed concern that if the income and expenses had reflected the value of the leases obtained, then the state requirement for a 3 percent reserve would have tied up additional funds in reserve accounts.

Parsons replied that the reserve need not be in cash. He said non-liquid assets such as equity in fire stations and equipment could satisfy the reserve requirement.

Parsons also noted that with the imposition of Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB) statement 34, the district is required to file a Management Discussion and Analysis (MD&A) letter. He characterized GASB 34 as "an attempt to make government financial statements more like business financial statements." He added, "The MD&A is a discussion from a business perspective as to what has occurred. It compares current operations to last year and discusses significant changes. It is a commonsense analysis."

Referring to the draft 2004 audit for the Woodmoor/Monument district, treasurer Bob Hansen said, "This is the first I’ve heard that we are $72,044 in violation."

In response to a question regarding how the state would respond to violations, Bulkley replied, "I haven’t seen them do anything other than issue a letter."

Parsons urged the board members to call him with questions so the budget can be accepted and forwarded to the state following the Sept. 28 board meeting.

Operational report

Chief Robert Denboske presented his report covering operations through the end of July. Some highlights:

  • The fire authority responded to 165 calls during July, bringing the total for the year to 874. Vehicle trips made totaled 1,803 in responding to the 874 calls with an average of 2.06 vehicles responding to each call. The 165 calls handled in July consisted of 82 medical, 48 fires or fire alarms, 25 traffic accidents, 7 public assists, and 3 calls involving hazardous materials.

  • 65 people were transported to local hospitals during July, bringing the total for the year to 357.

  • Station 1 on Highway 105 responded to 74 calls, station 2 on Roller Coaster Road responded to the 37 calls, and station 3 on Woodmoor Drive responded to 54 calls. For the year, station 1 responded to 395 calls, station 2 responded to 180 calls, and station 3 responded to 300 calls.

  • The Insurance Services Organization (ISO) is not coming in August to perform the hauled water test as previously anticipated. Denboske said ISO might allow the district to conduct the test and send in the paperwork.

**********

The Tri-Lakes-Monument Fire Authority board holds regular monthly meetings on the fourth Wednesday at 7 p.m., at the Tri-Lakes district firehouse 1, 18650 Highway 105 (near the bowling alley). The next meeting will be held Sept. 28.

For more information, call Chief Denboske at 481-2312 or visit www.tri-lakesfire.com.

The Woodmoor/Monument board held a meeting following the Fire Authority meeting. The Tri-Lakes district did not.

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Woodmoor/Monument Fire Protection District, August 24 and 29: Tim Miller appointed to fill board vacancy

By John Heiser

The Woodmoor/Monument Fire Protection District Board of Directors met for its regular monthly meeting Aug. 24 immediately following the meeting of the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Authority Board.

The board held a special meeting Aug. 29 at which they appointed Tim Miller to fill the vacancy created by Jeremy Diggins’ resignation last month.

Financial Report

Some highlights of treasurer Bob Hansen’s report:

  • The comparisons to the budget are made to the original budget for the year, not the revised budget adopted last month. Hansen said he feels it is important to track the finances relative to the original budget. The fire authority is tracking its revenue and expenses relative to the revised budget.

  • District income through the end of April was $1.01 million (88.7 percent of the annual budget of $1.13 million).

  • Expenses totaled $661,259 (60.1 percent of the annual budget of $1.1 million).

  • Administrative expenses totaled $65,085 or 61.2 percent of the $106,310 budgeted for the year.

  • Salary expenses totaled $441,287, which is 62.0 percent of the $711,356 budgeted for the year. The wages for part-time employees at $24,904 is 99.6 percent of the $25,000 budgeted for the year.

  • As of the end of July, the total cash on account was $1.01 million comprised of $447,154 in checking and savings accounts at Peoples Bank and $567,218 in the district’s ColoTrust account.

  • The district is debt free.

Hansen remarked that he just learned of the issue with the 2004 audit showing the district in violation of budget law by $72,044.

Director Bill Ingram said, "This has been a learning experience for all of us."

Pension deposit shortfall

Hansen said the amount of the shortfall in pension deposits for 2003 and 2004 has been increased to $5,667.20. The figure includes the employee’s portion and the district’s portion. The board unanimously approved paying the increased amount of the shortfall.

Appointment to fill the vacancy

Chief Robert Denboske reported that the legal notice announcing the vacancy set an Aug. 28 deadline for applications.

Applicant Tim Miller, area financial manager for Edison Schools in Colorado Springs, said, "I am interested in the position to look out for the interest of district residents." Miller added that in his work he has written Management Discussion and Analysis letters as required to accompany submission of audit reports.

In response to a question from director Rod Wilson, Miller said he would be willing to run for election in May 2006.

The board voted to hold a special meeting Sept. 29 to pick someone to fill the vacant position on the board.

At the Sept. 29 meeting, Tim Miller was appointed to fill the vacancy.

Public comments

Noting that funding for full time paid staff is split evenly between the districts, resident Ken Ford asked about full-time paid staffing levels at the three stations.

Denboske replied that aside from the chief, assistant chief, and fire marshal there are 12 paid staff at the Woodmoor/Monument station and 12 paid staff split between the two stations in the Tri-Lakes Fire Protection District.

To reach a level of four emergency workers per shift, Denboske noted that part-time employees and residents from Station 2 and other volunteers are used. He noted that the pay for part-time staff is split between the districts based on the hours worked at each station.

**********

The Woodmoor/Monument Fire Protection District board normally meets the fourth Wednesday of each month following the 7 p.m. meeting of the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Rescue Authority. The next meeting is scheduled for Sept. 28 at Tri-Lakes district firehouse 1, 18650 Highway 105 (near the bowling alley).

For more information, call Chief Denboske at 481-2312 or visit www.tri-lakesfire.com.

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Lewis-Palmer School District 38 Board of Education, August 18: School board considers new building/field use policy

By Tommie Plank

At the Aug. 18 regular meeting of the Lewis-Palmer Board of Education, a first reading was conducted of a revision to the policy and procedures for renting out district facilities. The rental policies were last updated in 1994, and have not always been applied consistently. The proposed revision includes combining the now separate field use and building use policies into one combined use policy, using common application forms. There will be few changes procedurally, but some fees are likely to be revised.

The board approved the 2005-06 charge to the District Accountability and Advisory Committee (DAAC). Some of the focus areas for the school year include assisting in the district’s quest to improve students’ respect for one another, improving communication throughout the district, and meeting the needs of individual students. In addition, DAAC will assist with the Board’s long-range growth plan, monitor development of the Professional Learning Community, and provide a forum for the public to meet the candidates for school board prior to the November 1 election.

The School Board stated that its main goals for this school year include developing, identifying, and charging a Facility and Growth Committee; monitoring progress and providing input into the promotion and development of Professional Learning Communities, students’ respect for one another, communication within the district, and meeting the needs of individual students; and overseeing development of an overall district-wide communication plan.

The Lewis-Palmer High School Student Council Officers for the 2005-06 school year were present. Mike Laband, Monica Mueller, Shelley Nagata, and Jacob Schutz introduced themselves to the board and discussed Student Council plans for this year. Monica and Shelley attended a leadership conference entitled "The Greatest Show on Earth" at Colorado State University. They brought back a book entitled A Place to Stand that will be introduced to other students. The book gives students a chance to reflect upon who they are as individuals. It will also be used in the Student Council class, a new course being offered this year at the high school. Craig Kettels presented some of the curriculum for the class, Leadership 101, which is about collaboratively moving forward, governing, and getting involved in the community. Students will learn in this class what it means to be a good leader.

Director of Transportation Hal Garland updated the board on recent progress in developing and refining the District crisis plans. He has worked with the El Paso County’s Sheriff’s Department and the Palmer Divide Safety Group to develop a common language to improve communication among all the emergency response teams. The District crisis plans will coincide with the National Homeland Defense response system. This year, Garland will present Volume II; regarding prevention, mitigation, and recovery for the Board’s approval. Volume I, regarding preparedness, was developed last year. Laura Vertucci, of the transportation department, received a commendation certificate for her efforts in assisting Garland in organizing various auxiliary services projects.

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School board candidates announced

Friday, Aug. 25, was the deadline for interested candidates to submit completed petitions to have their names placed on the ballot for the November election. Petitions were received from the following five candidates:

  • For Director District # 1 - Jerrel Schubert and DeeDee Eaton

  • For Director District # 3 - John McGerko, Georgeann Hughes, Gail Wilson, and Tom Roddam

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Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority, August 12: 22 of 26 tracts acquired; board to decide church access Sept. 16

By John Heiser

A special meeting of the Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority (BRRTA) board of directors was held Aug. 12 at Monument Town Hall.

The BRRTA board is composed of three county commissioners (Jim Bensberg, Dennis Hisey, and Wayne Williams) and two Monument representatives (Mayor Byron Glenn and Trustee David Mertz). Bensberg and Mertz were absent.

Mouse permit redo required

Rick Blevins, representative of the Monument Marketplace developer, reported that the county’s application to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for a Preble’s meadow jumping mouse permit assumed the temporary improvements to Baptist Road originally proposed by Blevins would be completed before the permanent improvements would begin. Blevins noted that since the present approach is that the funds for the temporary improvements will be contributed toward the cost of constructing the permanent improvements, the county must reapply for its permit.

Williams said he would discuss it with Andre Brackin of the El Paso County Department of Transportation.

Right of way acquisition 85 percent complete

Bradley Rodenberg, real estate services manager for Wilson & Company, reported that 22 of the 26 tracts needed for the improvements to Baptist Road have been acquired.

PPRTA supports Baptist Road improvements

Williams reported that negotiation and coordination is continuing with the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (PPRTA) regarding funding and oversight of the improvements to Baptist Road.

Conner Shepherd, BRRTA project manager, said, "PPRTA is very enthusiastic about our project."

BRRTA attorney Jim Hunsacker reported that an intergovernmental agreement has been signed between PPRTA and BRRTA.

Development status

Monument town manager Cathy Green reported that the planning commission would be considering annexation requests for the Walters Promontory Pointe 119-acre parcel on the north side of Baptist Road and the 30-acre Barber property, which was the former Wal-Mart site on the south side of Baptist Road. She said the Promontory Pointe parcel is being planned for about 300 dwelling units and the former Wal-Mart parcel is being planned as half residential and half commercial.

Ron Simpson, manager of the Triview Metropolitan District, added that the Barber property is being planned for 50 to 90 dwelling units.

Green noted that Classic Homes has completed the purchase of the 460-acre Baptist Camp property, which is being planned for about 600 dwelling units.

Green added that the Home Place Ranch project on the south side of Higby Road is planning 976 dwelling units.

Simpson said the Home Place Ranch project would be closer to 900 dwelling units. He added that he disagrees with inclusion of that project in BRRTA.

Green said Wal-Mart might start construction at the Monument Marketplace within about 60 days.

Green noted that a revised site plan is needed for the Timbers project at Jackson Creek Parkway and Baptist Road.

Blevins reported that ENT Federal Credit Union would have a branch in the Jackson Creek Commerce Center on the north east corner of the intersection of Jackson Creek Parkway and Leather Chaps Drive.

Properties for inclusion to be identified

Hunsaker said he needs geographic information systems maps to assist in identifying properties for inclusion into BRRTA.

Williams said, "Anything south of 105 will have an impact on Baptist Road even if their traffic study shows less than 50 percent [of the generated traffic] on Baptist."

Baptist interchange funding still elusive

Monument Mayor Byron Glenn reported that he is working with State Senator Tom Wiens to pursue funding for the reworking of the Baptist Road I-25 interchange. He said, "I am disappointed with the COG [Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments]."

Former county commissioner Duncan Bremer asked if there is a local funding option using a public improvement fee.

Glenn replied that PPRTA is discouraging pursuit of that option unless November ballot issues C and D fail.

Special meeting Sept. 16

The board decided to hold a special meeting at Monument Town Hall, Friday, Sept. 16, 2:30 p.m.

Access road to the church and adjacent properties to be decided Sept. 16

At past BRRTA meetings, Chaparral Hills resident Linda Silveira has objected to the proposed use of eminent domain to create an eastern access road to the church and two houses.

She has cited adverse impacts on property owners along that part of Baptist Road and urged use of a western access road through the Barber parcel. Since the Barber parcel is being planned for development, the road could be made a condition of approval at no cost to the taxpayers.

Williams said the decision on whether to go forward with acquisition of the property for the eastern road would be made at the Sept. 16 meeting.

**********

The next meeting will be held Friday, Sept. 16, 2:30 p.m., at Monument Town Hall, 166 Second St. Articles on prior Baptist Road-related meetings are posted at www.ourcommunitynews.org/top_stories.htm#baptist. There is also background information at http://adm.elpasoco.com/transprt/baptist_rd.asp and www.coalitiontlc.org/baptist_road.htm.

To get more information and provide comments on the Baptist Road Improvement Project, contact: Conner Shepherd, BRRTA Project Manager, 303-779-4525, connershepherd@cliftoncpa.com.

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August Weather Wrap

By Bill Kappel

Average conditions returned to the Tri-Lakes region after a record hot July. The month started off on the hot side with highs in the 90s the first two days of the month. However, a strong cold front rolled through the region late on the 3rd. Thunderstorms that produced heavy rain and hail developed as the front moved in and temperatures dropped to the upper 50s on the afternoon of the 4th. Quiet and seasonal conditions returned for the next few days, before the next cold front began to affect the region. Moisture moved back in on the afternoon of the 10th, with thunderstorms common throughout the region. High pressure began to build out of the northern plains as well, allowing moisture and cool air to push up against the Front Range. This brought with it several rounds of showers and thunderstorms from the 10th through the 16th. Low clouds and fog made for a gloomy, cold, and wet weekend from the 13th to the 14th.

Seasonal conditions returned for most of the rest of the month, with plenty of moisture-producing afternoon and evening thunderstorms. One of the bigger storms occurred during the afternoon of the 20th. Moisture began to work its way back into the region later in the week and into that weekend. Strong thunderstorms began to develop over the Tri-Lakes region during the early afternoon. The storms gained strength and tapped into the abundant moisture while moving slowly down the I-25 corridor, producing heavy rain and hail.

One of the hardest hit areas was along I-25 from Highway 105 to InterQuest. Heavy rain and hail in this area caused extensive flash flooding and some damage as water surged over ground exposed from recent construction. Water, mud, and other debris rushed through many of the drainages and onto the roads. This rushing wall of water and mud closed the northbound section of Jackson Creek Parkway near Home Depot in Monument. These storms continued to rumble down the I-25 corridor through Colorado Springs. Monument and Fountain Creeks responded quickly with flash flooding and several roads in town became water-logged. Numerous drivers were stranded throughout the city. Remember, when approaching water on a roadway, "Turn around; don’t drown," as it takes very little water to float your vehicle and get you into trouble very quickly.

The final week of the month saw a return to above average highs, with mid to upper 80s on the 30th under mostly sunny skies. However, a dry and windy Pacific cold front raced through and brought a feeling of fall to the air on the 31st. Overall, the month ended with near-normal temperatures and precipitation.

A Look Ahead

The month of September is a transition month for the Tri-Lakes region, with touches of summer and winter conditions often experienced during the month. The overall weather pattern is generally one of tranquility, with chances for thunderstorms dwindling and blizzard conditions not quite ready for prime time. We are often greeted with sunny, pleasant afternoons, with highs from the mid 70s early in the month to the mid 60s later in the month. Our first sub-freezing low temperature usually occurs during the second or third week as well, so prepare those plants. Remember that September 2003 and 2004 received brief snowfall, so don’t be surprised to see a few flakes as well. The official monthly forecast for September 2005, produced by the Climate Prediction Center (http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/predictions/30day/), is calling for equal chance of normal temperatures and equal chance of normal precipitation. For a complete look at monthly climate summaries for the Tri-Lakes region, please visit http://users.adelphia.net/~billkappel/ClimateSummary.htm.

August 2005 Weather Statistics

Average High 78.4°
Average Low 47.2°
Highest Temperature 93° on the 2nd
Lowest Temperature 41° on the 17th
Monthly Precipitation 2.78"
Monthly Snowfall 0.0" 
Season to Date Snow 0.0" (the snow season is from July 1 to June 30)
Season to Date Precip.3.44" (the precip season is from July 1 to June 30)

For more detailed weather information and Climatology of the Palmer Divide and Tri-Lakes region, please visit Bill Kappel’s Weather Web page at http://users.adelphia.net/~billkappel/Weather.htm.

Remember, weather affects all of us every day and is a very important part of life for us in the Tri-Lakes region,. If you see a unique weather event or have a weather question, please contact us at our_community_news@hotmail.com.

Bill Kappell is the KKTV 11 News morning meteorologist and a Tri-Lakes resident.

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Between The Covers at the Covered Treasures Bookstore: A Real Knee-Slapper

By Judith Pettibone

My dad used to conclude all his sillier jokes with a contagious guffaw and then, "Ahhh, now that was a real knee-slapper!" Whether or not you agreed with his sentiment, you laughed with him, just for the sheer joy of it. I’m not sure about you, but I find our current times a bit humor-impaired. How good it is to laugh with abandon, to laugh so hard you have to wipe your eyes or plead for mercy when you can’t catch your breath. Funny books are not common; it is not easy to write humor. Finding a book that makes you laugh or even one that makes you smile is special. And when you find one that makes you chortle—and you just have to tell someone how funny it is—now that is something to treasure.

Ya-Yas in Bloom
By Rebecca Wells, $24.95

If you’ve been waiting to find out how in the world the "Ya-Ya Sisterhood" began, your wait is over. The prequel to Little Alters Everywhere and Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood has finally been written. Discover how the four Ya-Yas began, with a moment of prissing and a pecan up the nose. Then travel 60 years with these four intrepid friends, adventuring and discovering a few family secrets along the way. If you’ve read either of Wells’ first two books, you know you are in for many chuckles.

Bad Cat
By Jim Edgar, $9.99

Oh my! Just imagine a collection of 244 cat snapshots. And then imagine that you sat down in a circle of your funniest friends and wrote captions for each one (some captions best not shared with the PG audience). The subtitle summarizes it all pretty well: 244 not-so-pretty kitties and cats gone bad. Just imagine a full frontal shot of the most overweight cat you can envision with the caption "My whole family is big-boned," and you get all there is to get about this tiny New York Times best seller. Each photo gives you the name, age, and "hobby" of the cat—the latter can be pretty giggle-producing as well.

Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
By David Sedaris, $14.95

A regular contributor to NPR’s This American Life, Sedaris is an essayist and humorist whose most popular book prior to this no. 1 best seller is Me Talk Pretty One Day. One reviewer captures this latest title best: "Buy this book. It made me a crazy person on the Los Angeles subway as I howled with laughter." Very dry, very witty, as one essay after another tackles a small (sometimes very small) slice of America as well as his life. Enjoy!

Skinny Dip
By Carl Hiaasen, $12.95

A comic detective story is the treat that unfolds under Hiaasen’s deft hand. This latest of his New York Times’ best sellers is just out in paperback. Wacky? Yes, but the entertaining plot that involves a marine biologist who attempts to murder his wife by tossing her overboard is a screwball comedy about ambition, greed, and a really lucky bad guy. Joey, the wife, wants revenge, and luckily she landed on an island with an ex-cop and a TV producer. You might know this south Florida writer—not only for his adult novels, but also for his award-winning children’s book, Hoot.

The Last Days of Summer
By Steve Kluger, $13.00

I start to smile just thinking of this book, thinking also that it might be time for a third read. This completely charming and heartfelt novel of pre-World War II and beyond tells the story of the extremely funny and endlessly precocious Joey Margolis and his friendship with a professional baseball player, New York Giant Charlie Banks. The novel is narrated by Joey and engagingly complimented with every manner of document: newspaper articles, memos, report cards, psychiatrist notes, and letters. For example:

The White House: February 14, 1940

Dear Joseph,

President Roosevelt has asked me to respond to your most recent letter, and to assure you that he, too, is keeping an eye on Denmark. No doubt you will understand that it is far too premature to consider arming the Royal Air Force as you suggest, although your reminders relative to the "Lusitania," are sobering indeed. In any event, I am sure the President will pass your recommendations on to Neville Chamberlain at his earliest convenience.

Yours truly,

Stephen T. Early, Press Secretary

Just wait until you read the teacher’s comments on Joey’s report card. I challenge you to a laughing contest on this book.

Horseshoes, Cowsocks and Duckfeet
A Field Guide to the Butterflies of North America

By Baxter Black, $14.00

If I were a humorist/cowboy-poet/vet, I’d like it if the Washington Post Book World said this about me: "He could make a dead man laugh." If you’ve not read Baxter Black, you may have heard his laconic drawl as he reads a piece on NPR. This is his 17th volume of essays/musings about life in the West, cowboy life to be sure. His piece called "Cowboy Vocabulary Misconceptions" gives you the flavor:

Statement: You don’t have to be a genius to see that the team pulls to the left.

Misinterpretation: Whoever they are, they were not satisfied with the election results.

Each musing is a slice of cowboy Americana that will make even "Gentiles," as he calls us noncowboy folk, laugh out loud. A great gift for a first visitor to the West.

A Prairie Home Companion Pretty Good Joke Book
Introduction by Garrison Keillor, $9.95

For sheer laughs, you don’t get much better than this. For fans of "A Prairie Home Companion," one of America’s favorite radio programs, this revised and expanded third edition includes all of the jokes from the first seven "Joke Shows" and over 400 more! Enough to start, and end, each day with a smile, a chuckle, or a knee-slap!

Laughing out loud, or just enjoying a good giggle, leaves one feeling better, with—as I understand—a stronger immune system. Stay well and happy reading.

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High Country Highlights: Fall Garden Tips

By Woody Woodworth

Those beautiful fall days ahead are a perfect time to get out in the garden. Here are some things you can do to prolong the growing season and to get ready for spring.

Improve plant health and control the spread of your perennials by dividing them in the fall – unless the plants are fall bloomers. Cut back their stems and dig them up. If the center of the plant is old and woody, cut rooted sections from healthier outer portions of the clump and discard the spent center part of the root ball. If plant roots are badly matted or have bulged toward the soil surface, make sure each division has roots by teasing them apart and cutting down through the plant crown.

There are at least four good reasons to divide perennial plants. One is to maintain their health and vigor, because overcrowding stresses plants. When crowded, their dense foliage doesn’t dry out after morning dew or rainfall. This, in turn, invites fungal disease, which thrives on poor air circulation around the plants. Stressed plants also invite insect infestations, which add to the problems. Furthermore, as some perennials age, the center of the clump may become woody and unproductive. And the soil around the plant may have been depleted of nutrients from years of inattention.

A second reason to divide plants is to maintain their beauty and peak flower production. Aged and overcrowded plants have small flowers and sparse, small leaves. They’re root-bound so they don’t efficiently take up nutrients from the soil. The result is faded flower and foliage color and often stunted stem growth.

Third, when you divide and replant, you also control excessive spreading. Enthusiastic growers, such as yarrow and artemesia, need dividing every year or two.

Finally, by dividing plants, you make more plants. And most perennials, other than those with taproots, can be easily divided. When you cut off rooted sections from the root balls of existing plants, you automatically have instant new plants, rooted and ready to grow. They’re exact replicas of the originals, sharing their desirable characteristics and growth habits—and they’re free.

Divide iris clumps by digging them up and cutting rhizomes into pieces with three fans of leaves. Discard any rhizomes that show signs of insect damage or rot. Cut the fan-shaped leaves back to 6 inches and clean away any dead leaves. Plant rhizomes 12 to 15 inches apart and just deep enough so they are covered with soil.

Fertilize roses in the later half on September. Apply rose fertilizer according to label directions or ammonium phosphate at the rate of one-half cup per bush. Scratch the fertilizer into the top surface of the soil and water in. Remove sunburned leaves, and prune rose canes back a foot or so to stimulate new growth and fall flowering.

Plant winter herbs such as cilantro, chives, parsley, sage, thyme, and oregano. Herbs benefit greatly from a rich, organic soil. Containers are ideal for growing herbs as they prefer potting soils with good drainage and lots of organic matter. Winter herbs prefer plenty of sunshine and monthly feedings with a complete water-soluble plant food.

Plant spring-flowering bulbs and rhizomes such as narcissus (daffodils), crocus, and iris late in September. Choose a location with plenty of morning and midday sun, but with afternoon shade. Prepare a bed for planting by mixing in plenty of desert or garden compost, composted manure, or peat moss. At the same time mix in 2 pounds of 6-6-6 or similar analysis fertilizer per 100 square feet of bulb bed area. Plant bulbs at the depth and spacing indicated for that variety.

After planting, firm soil around the bulbs and thoroughly water the planting bed. Repeat waterings just enough to keep the soil around the bulbs moist, but not wet! Cover the bulb bed with a layer of organic mulch such as ground wood mulch, compost, or peat moss. This will help hold in moisture and insulate the soil from heat and cold.

Enjoy our beautiful autumn weather. Happy gardening!

Woody Woodworth owns High Country Store and is a member of Garden Centers of Colorado and the Green Industry.

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Bird Watch on the Palmer Divide: Rufous Hummingbird

Below: Drawing by Elizabeth Hacker of a a Rufous Hummingbird. \

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Click on the drawing to zoom in

By Elizabeth Hacker

Summers in Colorado are delightful, and while July and early August were a little too hot for me, these warm temperatures may have been the reason birders observed slightly larger numbers of rufous hummingbirds (Selasphorus rufus) on the Palmer Divide.

Many readers have contacted me with humorous stories of seeing these feisty little birds bullying other birds. Hummingbirds are the only birds known to fly backward. While feeding, they generally do not perch but hover in front of the flower, sipping the nectar or catching small insects while in flight. Like all hummingbirds, the rufous can hover and fly in any direction with ease, but it excels in speed and flying abilities over other slower hummingbirds.

The rufous is the bronze-colored hummingbird that arrives on the Divide a few weeks later than the broadtail hummingbirds. Females are larger than males and are less colorful, often with green tones rather than the iridescent bronze coloring characteristic of mature males of this species. The brightly colored patch of feathers on its throat is called the gorget. When sunlight is reflected from the gorget, it glows a bright, shimmering orange-red. The gorget will appear a darker brown when the rufous is in a shaded area.

The sexes have separate territories, and the female visits the male at mating time. The rufous is among the hummers that can be identified by the aerial display of the male in courtship. It makes a series of steep, J-shaped dives that end at the same point, but begin at points progressing around a circle. During descent, the male emits a dit-dit-dit-deeer sound. Once the male attracts a mate, the birds often fly in tandem from flower to flower. After mating, the female lays two white eggs in a tiny nest generally located in scrub oak or a pine tree while the male establishes a new territory. Incubation takes place in 12 to 15 days.

Unlike most birds, the rufous doesn’t always flee from danger. Instead, it often confronts humans and other birds, fluffing up its gorget and challenging the intruder. My husband, Randy, was relaxing on our deck one afternoon when a rufous hummer flew up in front of him and hovered around his head while flashing its gorget. Randy figured the rufous either thought he was a flower or didn’t like it that he had recently changed the sugar water in the feeder from red to clear. When he changed it back to red, the rufous returned to the feeder and once again went about his business.

A rufous hummingbird will wrestle for position at a feeder. Sometimes two or three of them will set up a rotational feeding schedule, but rarely will more than one of them feed at a time. Its flying skills allow it to easily drive off birds more than twice its size. We have observed the rufous fearlessly chasing off magpies when they get too close to where we think its nest might be.

Rufous hummingbirds are found across much of North America as far north as Alaska and the Yukon, and as far west as Siberia. They begin their long migration back to the Gulf of Mexico or Southern California between July and September, benefiting from the wildflowers along the way.

Although rufous hummingbirds were observed in greater numbers on the Divide this summer, the Breeding Bird Survey indicates that they have declined 2.7 percent per year from 1966 to 2001 across their range. Many other species of pollinators have shown similar decreases across the continent. Little is actually known about what causes these declines, but potential threats are thought to include habitat loss, increased use of pesticides, and replacement of native plants by invasive plants.

This is the perfect time to add native or non-invasive perennials to your planting beds to attract hummingbirds next summer. Delphiniums, lupine, monarda, trumpet vine, honeysuckle, and many other beautiful flowering perennials grow well here and attract hummers. Take advantage of plant nurseries and bird stores that provide free information on how to attract hummingbirds to your yards.

Elizabeth Hacker is an artist and freelance writer. E-mail your questions and bird stories to her at OCN.

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The Society Page: Society and its roots

By Leon Tenney

At the August meeting, Society got to hear a blast from its own past. Lucretia Vaile gave us her legacy to enable the museum of her name. Victor Vaile, who is the grand nephew of Lucretia Vaile, told us her story. That day even the stalwarts of today’s society listened.

Joel Vaile, the father of Lucretia, traveled to Colorado to work on General Palmer’s railroad. His last child, Lucretia, was born in Denver in 1884. Joel Vaile was a lawyer and he met the current husband of his second wife during a law case in Denver. He and this fellow named Wolcott were on opposite sides of this case, but Joel so impressed the older man that Wolcott and he became partners. Joel Vaile not only succeeded Wolcott as husband to his wife, but also as director of the Denver and Rio Grand when Wolcott died.

Joel Vaile’s first wife was named Charlotte. She gave birth to four children, three of them in Indiana. She died in 1903 and then Joel married Anna Louisa Wolcott 10 years later.

The first child of Joel Vaile was named William Newell Vaile. He was elected to the U.S. Congress in 1918 and was reelected until he died in 1927.

Gertrude Vaile was the next child and she was involved in Colorado politics during the 1920s and lost her job at the state level when some less than tolerant governor replaced her with a good ‘yes’ man. Gertrude’s highest post was civilian director of the Rocky Mountain Division of the Red Cross.

The next child, Louis Frederick Vaile, got married and that was the source of all the Vaile’s currently in Colorado. He was educated in the Denver Public Schools and attended Yale. He spent some time in Alaska and ended up in California.

Getting back to Lucretia, she attended Vassar, graduating in 1906, and went into library science. She ran the Denver Public Library from 1914 to 1928. She retired in 1946. She was a founding member of the Colorado Mountain Club, which apparently did some hikes in the mountains. In the 1930s, she was one of those who brought the first Yule Log to Palmer Lake from Lake Placid, New York. In the 1950s, she was one of the founders of the Palmer Lake Historical Society. She died in California in 1976 and had named the Town of Palmer Lake in her will. Her money was for the advancement of education and culture in the town she came to love in her youth.

Next month, Society travels to a superb antique collection at the "Maguireville Tour" located in Woodmoor. This event, on Sept. 18, from 2 to 5 pm, is open to members only. For more information, call 481-4407.

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Art Matters: Art and History: A 12,000-Year Redux

By Janet Sellers

The history of art is as old as printmaking and spray painting. Those are two of the first art forms on the planet. Prehistoric cave paintings were created by the artist’s handprints or by blowing or spraying pigment from a hollow bone onto cave walls. The cave paintings exist to this day. They are in France. You don’t get to see them in person anymore because they are considered too fragile to be exposed to modern pollution.

Over the course of the past 12,000 years, those first spray painting techniques for human art expression gave way to sculpture and mosaic works. Millennia later came grinding those mosaic colors into pigments for painting. Artists applied the colors onto fresh plaster (fresco) or mixed them with egg or oil to make them stick to the wall or substrate. The art of painting was singular, unique, and experimental for decades or centuries while artists figured out how to do it so it would last. Unfortunately, too often the artwork popped off the walls in 50 to 100 years.

Slowly over time, as human demands became supplied by modern machines, so did mechanizations create art. No surprise, then, that the slow method of painting pictures one by one has been giving way to more mechanized methods.

In our digital creative arena, we find the current generation of creative thinkers have applied their best efforts to it. Artists can now create an art print via digital means. It is called the Giclée print.

Giclée are beautiful and accurate art reproductions, produced with special large-format, ultra-high-resolution 7-color ink-jet printers, using recently developed archival inks and papers. They are very affordable, have an archival life of up to 100 years, and a signed, limited-edition print can increase in value. Giclée prints are a new, favored art investment for beginning art collectors.

Giclée, incidentally, is a French word that means "to spritz" or "to spray." Our old cave paintings made with a hollow bone spritzer have been replaced with the modern inkjet, but the human creative factors for art are in there. This most contemporary art form has social and cultural value. It is inexpensive to make (after the initial purchase of expensive equipment), and it is admired for its fidelity to the original imagery that is being reproduced. The Giclée process allows us to enjoy two-dimensional as well as multi-dimensional art.

Why start art collecting with Giclée prints instead of originals? It comes down to cost value ratio: the supply and demand can be met more easily than with single works of art due to speed and cost of production. There are more people acquiring art, and fewer artists able to provide single originals.

Basically, Giclées fit your purpose if you cannot afford the cost of single art originals, have an immediate need for great-looking images, or require a large number of artworks to fill a design/decor need. One can have prompt access to beautiful Giclée art in a blink of an eye, compared to waiting for a single painting to be finished. Giclée prints can range from $10 to $100 and up, compared to thousands and even millions of dollars for single paintings.

So how do you go about starting to collect these new artworks—or any art, for that matter? Recently, the Manhattan accountant Ginger Broderick, who advises art galleries and other businesses on managing money, was in the news giving some investment pointers: "Select works by living artists, buy directly from the artist (for authenticity) and get the artist’s certificate of authenticity to keep in your safe deposit box. … Keep a file with press clippings on your favorite artist. Your artwork will appreciate more in value if your artist gains public recognition for a commissioned piece."

While the artist’s price should be the same as the gallery price, a personal visit to the artist’s studio or to art shows and art fairs is educational and fun. Like collecting antiques, developing a discerning eye for art is partly investment, partly pastime, and most of all an adventure.

Along these lines, ask your favorite local artist or local gallery about beginning art collecting. They should be glad to talk with you, especially about what they can offer you personally, and it is their expertise to seek when setting out to purchase art.

Come to think of it, you could take a class in art collecting, or take a class in creating art. These would offer an intimate experience of art, which would help you make well-informed choices.

Here’s what’s happening in the arts these days in our community:

Annual Member Art Show Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts

Opens Sept. 9, Reception 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Call 481-0475 for information.

Arts/Art Buying Class

Newbies to Experts - calling all artists and small-time collectors! Local Arts/Art Buying Class, begins Sept. 10, 9-11 a.m. "The New Prints Redux: What to look for/look out for," Monument Saturday Farmers’ Market; free biscotti, bring your own coffee and chair. Ongoing, at the ArtFest site until October, then to a new location. Contact Janet at www.StartMyArt.com, or show up: Saturdays at 9 a.m., Second and Adams Streets.

Art Marketing Salons

Free six-week serious marketing salon held at the Monument Library for artists. Begins Sept. 13, 7 to 8:30 p.m. For further information or to register, call Janet at 488-8280 or e-mail ArtSalons@mac.com for the registration link and free materials from www.Artbizconnection.com. The workshop and materials are courtesy of the highly successful Serious Art Marketing Salons with former museum curator and ArtBizCoach.com mentor, Alyson Stanfield.

Art Hop

A monthly (June through October) art evening in Historic Downtown Monument, with free-flowing food and drink, fine art and crafts, and plenty of conviviality; 19 participating merchants!; Sept. 15, 5 to 8 p.m. Follow the Art Hop banners into Old Town from Highway 105. These have been a big hit every month.

Concert at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts

Crystal Creek, Sept. 17, 7 p.m., doors open at 6:30 p.m. Call 481-0475 for information.

Display your art at the library

Pike’s Peak Library Art Evaluation Panel will jury works/artists for PPLD-wide shows. Contact cgenato@ppld.org, 531-6333, x2338. Penrose Library, 20 N. Cascade Avenue. Drop off 5 pieces of your hanging artwork Sept. 21, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., or Sept. 22, 10 a.m. to noon. Pick up your artwork Sept. 22, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Palmer Lake Art Group Annual Christmas Crafts Festival

Palmer Lake Art Group’s 32nd Annual Juried Christmas Crafts Festival (pottery, glass, wood, metal, jewelry, baskets, more) Saturday, Oct. 1, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, Oct. 2, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., 2005. Palmer Lake Town Hall, across from the Village Green, just off Highway 105 in Palmer Lake, Colorado. Free. Sales proceeds fund local student art scholarships. For additional information, contact Al Hawkins, Craft Festival Chairman, 303-663-9415 or Mary Krucoff, 719-488-8101.

Concert at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts

Johnny Long, Sept. 17, 7 p.m., doors open at 6:30 p.m. Call 481-0475 for information.

The Art of Mining

Western Museum of Mining and Industry’s new exhibit, The Art of Mining, will run until Dec. 15. The museum is located at 1025 Northgate Road. Call 488-0880 or e-mail specialprograms@wmmi.org.

ArtFest at the Monument Farmers’ Market

Every Saturday, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., and the first and third Sundays, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Second and Adams Streets. Featuring fine art paintings, prints, cards; jewelry, antiques, fiber art and crafts; beautiful home art/décor, artisan fancies of soaps, candles, home adornments, garden sculpture, more.

Art Enrichment and Classes

Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts Special workshops for September include:

Sculpture of the head with Ronnie Walker, begins Sept. 7, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., 4-weeks.

Wood-turning with John Cobb, Sept. 10, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Acrylic Underpainting with Lance Green, Sept. 10., 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.

Watercolor with Bob Gray, Sept. 24, 9 a.m. -3 p.m.

Call 481-0475 for information.

Monument School of Fine Arts: Open enrollment weekday afternoon/evening classes for children and adults, vacation art camps, monthly art events, weekend art tours. Saturday art workshops 1-3 p.m. or 4-6 p.m. "Galerie du Jour" art shows with local businesses and merchants; Call 488-8280, or visit www.startmyart.com.

2-Watts Creative: Pottery, painting, and parties; call 488-0889.

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Special Events and Notices

By Judy Barnes, Editor Emeritus

Black Forest slash-mulch site open till mid-September

Have you been thinking about making your wooded property more "fire-wise?" Do you want to reduce the risk of mountain pine beetles infesting your ponderosa pines? The solution to your problems could be thinning, and you still have time to take your slash to the slash-mulch site.

The Black Forest Slash-Mulch Program is a wildfire mitigation and recycling program of the El Paso County Solid Waste Management Department. The slash-mulch recycling site is located in Black Forest on the east side of Herring Road, between Shoup Road on the north and Burgess Road on the south. You may bring slash up to 6 feet long and up to 8 inches in diameter to the slash-mulch site, where it will be ground into mulch and recycled.

Slash is being accepted through Sept. 17, Tuesday and Thursday evenings 5 to 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Sundays, noon to 4 p.m. The cost is a donation of nonperishable food for nonprofit Black Forest organizations. No stumps, roots, lumber, railroad ties, dirt, weeds, or household trash will be accepted. Loads must be covered and tied, and children and pets must stay inside the vehicle while at the site.

Mulch will be available until Sept. 24. Bring your own tools and load mulch free of charge. The mulch loader schedule for July is Saturdays only, 7 a.m. to noon. In September, the mulch loader will be available Saturdays, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call El Paso County Solid Waste Management at 520-7878 or Ruth Ann Steele at 495-3107, or visit www.bfslash.org.

NEPCO hosting community meeting with Sheriff Maketa

El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa will meet with local residents Sept. 6, 7 p.m., to speak about crime patterns and statistics for this area, as well as services the sheriff’s office offers. Everyone is invited; questions and input are welcome. Find out how to get involved to help prevent crime. The meeting will be at the Gleneagle Golf Club, 345 Mission Hills Way. For information, phone 520-7151.

Monument Homemakers Annual Rummage Sale and Bake Sale

The Monument Homemakers Club will hold their annual rummage sale Sept. 10, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Monument Town Hall, 166 2nd St. Donations will be accepted Sept. 9, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Town Hall. The bake sale will be held Sept. 10, 8 a.m. at Monumental Toys at 274 Washington St. For more information, phone Lorena Roe, 481-8418.

High Country Chili Cookoff

The second annual chili cookoff fundraiser for Tri-Lakes Cares will be held Sept. 10, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in front of High Country Store, 243 Washington St. in downtown Monument. The event is sponsored by High Country Store. The cooking starts at 8 a.m. and the judging is at 1 p.m. Tastings are available all day. Contestants sign up at High Country Store with an entry fee of $15. Tasting tickets will be available to the public at five tickets for $1. Call 481-3477 for more information.

The Tri-Lakes Music Association seeks singers and orchestra musicians

The Tri-Lakes Music Association is forming once again in order to put together a community wide Christmas concert series to be performed at Lewis-Palmer High school on December 16, 17, and 18. The music selection for this year is Phil Barfoot’s "Spirit of Christmas" The proceeds from this event will be donated to Tri-Lakes Cares, a local non-profit organization. There will be two identical rehearsals each week starting on Sept.11, 1 p.m, at Tri-Lakes United Methodist Church, 183 North Washington St. and a second weekly vocal rehearsal starting Sept. 12, 6 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church, 17750 Knollwood. Anyone and everyone with a desire to sing and have fun is encouraged to come and join this group. Practice tapes are available for those who can’t attend all rehearsals. A children’s choir will also be recruited. For further information about the adult choir children’s choir and/or orchestra please contact Bob Manning at 481-3883 or rwmanning@adelphia.net

Tri-Lake’s John Stansfield featured at Sierra Club event

On Sept. 13, at 7 p.m., the Pikes Peak chapter of the Sierra Club will host John Stansfield, who is a storyteller, naturalist, and writer. Stansfield will present "Enos Mills: Rocky Mountain Naturalist" who is known as the "father of Rocky Mountain National Park." Stansfield will present a one-hour, one-man performance re-enacting key moments of Mills’s life, Chautauqua-style. A question-and-answer session will follow. This event is free and open to people of all ages. The event will be held at the Division of Wildlife office, 4255 Sinton Road in Colorado Springs (about 1 block south of Garden of the Gods Road, just east of I-25); enter using the back entrance. For more information, call Dr. LeAnna DeAngelo at 481-0085 or send e-mail to LeAnna.DeAngelo@ASU.edu

Tri-Lakes Railroad Festival

The annual model train festival will return to Palmer Lake on Sept. 24, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. This year the swap meet will be at Palmer Lake Elementary School, 115 Upper Glenway. The beautifully detailed, operating layouts will be exhibited in the historic Palmer Lake Town Hall, 28 Valley Crescent, next to the fire station. Cost of the event is $3 for adults, $2 for kids 5-16, kids under 5 are free. The maximum charge per family is $10. For more information, contact Jim Lipper at 481-4050 or e-mail trainman@pcisys.net, or call Gary Coleman at 481-8937.

Christmas Crafts Festival in Palmer Lake

The 32nd Annual Christmas Crafts Festival, sponsored by the Palmer Lake Art Group, will be held Oct. 1, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Oct. 2, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The free event will be located in the quaint 68 year-old Palmer Lake Town Hall, 28 Valley Crescent, across from the Village Green just off Highway 105. The juried show is limited to 40 exhibitors. Items available for purchase will include pottery, glass, wood, metal, jewelry, basketry, pine cones, everlasting floral arrangements, and cloth items. Proceeds are used to fund art scholarships for Tri-Lakes area students. The Palmer Lake Art Group, a non-profit organization established over 40 years ago, is the oldest art group in the Tri-Lakes area. Its 90+ members are from various Front Range communities between Denver and the Pikes Peak region. For more information, call Al Hawkins, Craft Festival Chairman, 303-663-9415 or Mary Krucoff, 488-8101.

Wine and Roses IV coming in October

This annual "event to attend" is sponsored by the Tri-Lakes Women’s Club. The date is set for Oct. 20, and the place is Pinecrest Event Center in Palmer Lake. Food samplings, celebrity wine servers, and a silent auction will be part of the evening. For more information phone 351-1437.

The Tri-Lakes Women’s Club membership is open to all women living in School District 38. Luncheon meetings with programs are held September through May. The Tri-Lakes Women’s Club proudly sponsors the annual Pine Forest Antiques Show as well as the Wine and Roses event. Proceeds from these fundraisers benefit local nonprofit groups. For more information, visit the Web site at www.tlwc.net or call Linda Celestre at 481-0114 or Lorrie Jaeger at 481-2882.

Health fair in October

More than 40 vendors and health care professionals from the Tri-Lakes community and El Paso County will be at Lewis-Palmer High School Oct. 29, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to provide health and wellness information. Free health screenings, including hearing tests, vision/glaucoma tests, cholesterol tests, blood pressure checks, and cancer screenings; chair massages; reflexology; exercise program consultations; and many other services will be available. For information, call Steve Spry at the Chamber of Commerce, 481-3282, or Amy Dreher, 488-8786.

Pikes Peak Library District seeks volunteers

The library need volunteers for varied positions, including gardening and landscaping, maintenance work, print shop work, adult literacy coaches, and more. To apply, complete the appropriate volunteer application and send to the East Library, call 531-6333, x1251, or e-mail nmilvid@mail.ppld.org. Volunteer applications are available at all libraries and at ppld.org, under "Jobs and Volunteers Positions."

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