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Our Community News - Home Vol. 7 No. 2 - February 3, 2007

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WinterFest: The cool side of frigid weather!

Photos by Mark Kirkland Photography, www.kirklandphotography.com

Many More Pictures

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Below: Low temperatures and high spirits on the ice at Palmer Lake during WinterFest, Jan. 26. The Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts is in the background.  

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Below: Children of all ages came out for the event.

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Many More Pictures

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Monument Ridge and Copper Heights developments approved

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Below: Fairfield Inn by Marriott is one of two hotels planned for the 30-acre Monument Ridge development on the southeast corner of Baptist Road and Jackson Creek Parkway. The first phase of the project was approved by the Monument Board of Trustees on Jan. 16.

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Below: Preliminary Planned Development (PD) Site Plan for the Monument Ridge 30-acre mixed-use development.

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Below: Site plan for new YMCA center proposed for construction on Jackson Creek Parkway, north of Higby Road. The building will be 45,000 square feet on 12 acres, including the first year-round synthetic ball fields, gymnasium, warm water pool, wellness center, community meeting rooms, child care facility, group exercise, and supporting locker rooms. (see www.ppymca.org for more info)

Click on the drawing to zoom in

By Jim Kendrick

At their meeting Jan. 16, the Monument Board of Trustees (BOT) approved the first phase of planned construction in the Monument Ridge mixed-use development on the southeast corner of Baptist Road and Jackson Creek Parkway. The board also approved plans for the Copper Heights residential development on the northwest corner of Leather Chaps Drive and Bowstring Road. Trustees Dave Mertz and Tim Miller were absent.

Trustee comments

Trustees Steve Samuels and Gail Drumm thanked Public Works Director Rich Landreth and his staff for their work removing snow during the holidays.

Mayor Byron Glenn said that the Rocky Mountain Rail Authority had attended the most recent Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments (PPACG) meeting and it was good for all the large cities up and down the Front Range to see Monument’s and Clear Creek County’s leadership on the commuter rail issue. Drumm, the town’s authority representative, added that Castle Rock had just joined the authority.

Reports

Public Art Committee Chair Betty Konarski briefed the board on the first "Art Walls" project that will be displayed on the east side of the town’s water treatment facility at the northeast corner of Second Street and Beacon Lite Road. The multiple images, mounted on Plexiglas sheets, will depict a historic photo of an ice harvest in Monument Lake. Konarski reported recent contributions of $500 of in-kind engineering work from GMS, Inc., and $1,000 from Home Depot. The board unanimously approved a contract with the artist and $500 of in-kind work from the Public Works Department to install the art and surrounding landscape.

Steve Meyer, the town’s representative to the PPACG Community Advisory Group, reported that Silver Key support for 2007 had dropped from $400,000 to $300,000. Support for transportation services in Monument may be dropped due to the town not participating in the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (PPRTA) one-cent sales tax. Meyer noted that other Silver Key services that will probably be lost to this area due to the cuts include other services, home checks, and financial assistance for utility payments.

Town Manager Cathy Green said a replacement transportation service had been found in Gleneagle. She said it was interesting that the Gleneagle entity would still receive PPRTA funding.

Meyer also reported on the El Paso County Highway Advisory Committee meeting he had attended earlier in the day. Weather has delayed the reopening of the Baptist Road-Leather Chaps Drive intersection for several months—until spring. Eminent domain actions on two properties adjacent to the extension of Struthers Road northward to connect to Jackson Creek Parkway may end the hold-up on that construction. Meyer said the owners of the two contested 5-acre properties opposed the right-of-way takeovers by the county because they could no longer subdivide the lots into two lots of at least 2.5 acres each (the minimum required for separate septic systems.)

Alternate Planning Commissioner Lowell Morgan asked the board to consider removing piles of snow up to 9 feet tall that were blocking visibility at downtown intersections. He proposed dumping the snow in the lake. Glenn asked Landreth to check with the state to determine if the snow would have too many pollutants for lake dumping.

YMCA construction plans

Jay Lowden, YMCA vice president for development for the Pikes Peak region, introduced Merv Bennett, Pikes Peak YMCA president and CEO, who gave a construction update for the facility to be constructed on the west side of Jackson Creek Parkway, opposite the north end of the Lewis-Palmer High School. Bennett said:

  • Construction is to start no later than April.
  • Most issues raised by town staff during planning review have been resolved and the few remaining would be resolved quickly.
  • The facility will employ 25-30 full-time staff.
  • There will be 70-75 part-time employees; most will be hired from the local area.
  • When opened, the first phase will serve 12,000 people in the first year, growing to 18,000 users per year in five years
  • The building will be 45,000 square feet on 12 acres, including the first synthetic year-round ball fields, gymnasium, warm-water pool, wellness center, community meeting rooms, child-care facility, group exercise, and supporting locker rooms. (see http://www.ppymca.org/ for more info)

Bennett said the price of the facility has escalated from $11.4 million to $15.8 million, due in part to unexpected costs for purchasing 6 additional acre-feet of water rights per year ($137,000) from the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District, new Tri-Lakes Fire Protection District impact fees ($16,000), and traffic impact fees for Jackson Creek Parkway ($120,000). Bennett said his concern about escalating costs is that "we could end up with a wonderfully graded plot of land with great road, access, adequate water and drainage utilities and we’ve run out of money to build the building."

He asked the board to waive $63,110 in town fees that would be applied to the $120,000 requirement for improvements to Jackson Creek Parkway. Bennett said the fee waiver would also help encourage out-of-area donors who want to see matching fund contributions by the trustees. Contributions to date are $8.7 million, mostly from the local area.

Green said some of the town’s fees could not be legally waived and asked for further discussions with a YMCA representative to clarify the fees for required planning and engineering reviews, inspections, drainage and traffic impact fees, and the town’s use tax for construction materials. Glenn asked Green to research the fees waived by the board when it approved the non-profit Colorado Junior Volleyball Gymnasium on Mitchell Ave. on April 3, 2006.

Director of Development Services Tom Kassawara said he would provide a complete list of required YMCA fees to the board at the Feb. 5 meeting. Kassawara noted that a cost of about $200,000 would be evenly split between the YMCA and D-38 for a new Jackson Creek Parkway traffic signal at their new shared access north of the existing Higby Road signal. The other $20,000 would be for the town’s required construction of 600 feet of curbs and gutters and for acceleration and deceleration lanes for this new intersection, as well as traffic mitigation during construction.

Drumm asked if the town’s skate board park could be moved to the YMCA parcel. Kassawara said there was no room on the YMCA site for the park. (See site plan illustration at the bottom of this page.)

Kassawara said that the YMCA plat and site plans would be reviewed by the Planning Commission in February and BOT in March.

Public notice ordinance amendment approved

The board unanimously approved an ordinance amendment that allows simultaneous public notice of Planning Commission and BOT hearings for individual land use proposals. Currently, the required notice of BOT hearings cannot be made until after Planning Commission hearings. Kassawara said the minimum 15-day notice requirement for newspaper advertisements, posting yellow notice signs on the property, and sending registered letters to adjacent landowners often delays BOT hearings up to a month, which he said was "nothing but dead time."

Shupp noted that the change would not force premature hearings. An applicant could still elect to request continuations of scheduled hearings when they are not ready on the date they had previously requested. There was no public comment in favor of or opposition to the ordinance.

Monument Ridge preliminary/final plat and preliminary PD site plan approved

The Monument Ridge 30-acre lot is bordered by the new Struthers Road (under construction) to the west, Baptist Road to the north, Family of Christ Lutheran Church to the east, and the Chaparral Hills residential development to the south. The parcel is subdivided into 10 commercial lots, one office lot, one 8-acre medium density residential lot (to be subdivided later) on the southeast corner of the parcel, and a triangular lot on the southwest corner for a detention pond. The landowner is CAA 2006 LLC of Colorado Springs.

The gross commercial area of the parcel is 17.8 acres, the gross residential area is 8.1 acres, the area dedicated to the county for required Baptist and Struthers Road right-of-way is 3.1 acres, and the detention pond on the southwest corner of the parcel requires 1 acre. There are 4.5 acres of open space throughout the property. A half-acre of land within the residential area will be dedicated to the town for a small park when a developer is identified.

The exterior designs of the three proposed buildings, a Fairfield Inn hotel, a Walgreen’s drug store, and a Chase bank, were included in the PD site plan. Each is a four-sided design to be appealing from any direction, a requirement of PD zoning. The Fairfield Inn will share a joint parking lot with a future adjacent hotel to the southeast.

Glenn asked Kassawara and the developer to present their plat and site plan information at the same time, prior to the board’s separate public hearings and votes on each.

Kassawara reported that there were no staff issues with the preliminary/final plat for the project and that it conforms to all town requirements. Kassawara recommended one condition. "Any necessary technical corrections shall be made by the applicant and approved by Staff prior to recording the Preliminary/Final Plat." The plat was unanimously approved by the Planning Commission on Dec. 13 with this single condition.

  • Kassawara said that the staff had worked with the developer to establish a consistent architectural theme throughout the site. The preliminary site plan is the development’s "master plan" and the design guidelines are required for the existing PD zoning.

Kassawara said the board was being asked to give final site plan approvals for the exterior architecture of the three proposed buildings and their lot designs. When buyers have been identified, there will be subsequent Planning Commission and BOT hearings for PD site plans for:

  • The second hotel’s exterior architectural design
  • Each of the proposals for the other commercial lots
  • The proposal for the office lot
  • The plat for subdividing the 8-acre multi-family residential lot
  • The residential PD site plan, including the style and type of medium-density housing and the specific location and design of the mandated internal half-acre park.

On Dec. 13, Commissioner Tom Martin had requested that the developer provide a "monument or other type of structure" in the gathering area of the "greenbelt" open space between the commercial and residential areas. The Planning Commission unanimously approved the preliminary PD site plan with Kassawara’s eight proposed conditions and Martin’s added condition:

  • A revised design proposal for the pedestrian plaza will be submitted before hearings are conducted on the fourth (next) lot to be developed.

Kassawara said that after the Planning Commission hearing, many of the technical corrections requested by the staff had been made. He noted that the revised preliminary PD site plan met all town requirements. However, several referral agency issues had been raised after Dec. 13 and many remained unresolved.

The town’s traffic consultant, SEH, Inc., had expressed concern prior to the Planning Commission hearing that motorists exiting Monument Ridge to go east on Baptist Road from the western right-in/right-out-only access would try to make an illegal U-turn at the Jackson Creek Crossing intersection to go west on Baptist Road. There will be three westbound lanes at this uncontrolled intersection after the widening construction is completed. The two through lanes and the adjacent new acceleration lane would provide enough room for prohibited U-turns.

Kassawara said that he had proposed internal signage throughout the 30-acre parcel that would direct motorists wishing to go west on Baptist Road to exit northbound onto the new Struthers Road segment from the new Monument Ridge Road access at the southwest corner of the parcel, then turn left to go west on Baptist Road. He said the town’s and developer’s traffic engineers had agreed to his proposal. He added that the western Baptist Road right-in/right-out-only access was "very important to the developer" and those companies planning to purchase lots.

Kassawara reported that the county Department of Transportation had notified him earlier in the day that it did not approve the western right-in/right-out-only access to Baptist Road. The county department said the Monument Ridge site plan proposal had not been approved by the Major Thoroughfares Task Force. The county asked that the BOT delay final approval of the project until the Task Force has approved the plat and site plan.

CDOT had recently expressed concerns about the developer’s traffic study.

County and state Department of Transportation issues had emerged with regard to drainage during construction of Baptist and new Struthers roads. Baptist and Struthers are county roads that drain onto the state’s I-25 Baptist Road interchange (Exit 158.)

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service expressed concerns about the effect of activity and lighting at the Chase Bank drive-through area on nearby protected Preble’s mouse habitat on the opposite side of new Struthers Road. The Chase Bank is on the corner of Baptist and Struthers roads, directly south of the Shell gas station.

Kassawara proposed six of the nine conditions for approval by the Planning Commission:

  1. More landscaping will be added along Baptist Road; the changes made by staff must be added to the landscape plan portion of the PD site plan; specifications will be added to the preliminary PD site plan for a colored and patterned concrete strip to be installed between the sidewalk and curb along Baptist Road and Struthers Road.
  2. Numerous technical changes must be made to the design guidelines for the parcel and then be approved by staff.
  3. Documentation will be provided showing that all minor issues raised by Triview Metropolitan District, town traffic consultant SEH, Inc., El Paso County, Colorado Department of Transportation, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife have been resolved to the satisfaction of staff.
  4. A master signage plan will be submitted and approved by staff before any sign permits are issued. This may be approved as an addendum to the Design Guidelines.
  5. Final technical corrections shall be made to the preliminary PD site plan, design guidelines, and zoning regulations shall be made and approved by staff prior to final approval of the site plan.
  6. Approval is subject to final approval of engineering plans by staff.

Kassawara said the other three conditions had been resolved since the Planning Commission hearing. He added that there were no developer issues with any of these staff comments and conditions.

Land planner Perry Thomas, of Thomas & Thomas Urban Design/LA Inc., gave essentially the same developer presentation he had given to the Planning Commission. Thomas noted that the developer had changed the gathering plaza to make it amenable to art displays from the local community in response to Commissioner Martin’s request.

Kassawara commended Thomas for adding the numerous features the staff had requested. He said the staff had deleted the condition Martin had requested because the developer had volunteered to comply with it. Kassawara said that the staff did not recommend Martin’s change.

There were no public comments in favor of or opposed to the proposed site plan.

Board discusses access issues with developer: Mayor Glenn directed Kassawara to require the developer to submit an escrow payment for a full-motion traffic light at the Jackson Creek Crossing intersection on Baptist Road as a condition of approval for the plat. Kassawara said the Monument Ridge developers should be required to pay only a proportionate share of the signal cost.

Background: The developer of the new Jackson Creek Market Village shopping center agreed to share these Jackson Creek Crossing traffic signal costs when their site plan was approved on Apr. 18, 2005. The Market Village center will be adjacent to the east side of the King Soopers Center,

This Jackson Creek Crossing intersection is the current unsignaled right-in/right-out-only eastern access on Baptist Road to the King Soopers Center. Jackson Creek Crossing will be the only available access road for the Jackson Creek Market Village center due to the steep uphill grade of Baptist Road to the east.

Monument Ridge Road, on the northeast corner of the Monument Ridge parcel, will be the primary internal road in the project. This road will connect to Baptist Road opposite Jackson Creek Crossing. This access will also be right-in/right-out-only for eastbound Baptist Road.

Baptist Road will be four lanes wide with a median between Gleneagle Drive and I-25 with numerous acceleration/deceleration lanes as well as single or dual left-turn lanes. County standards for this type of major arterial road mandate no less than half-mile spacing between traffic lights. Jackson Creek Crossing is much less than a half-mile east of the existing Jackson Creek Parkway traffic signal (about 900 feet.)

Glenn said he plans to have the town annex this major arterial portion of Baptist Road after the county accepts ownership of the road a year after that, about a year after construction is completed. Under county rules, left turns from the King Soopers Center and Monument Ridge onto Baptist Road will be physically prevented by the county’s concrete median.

The annexation would allow Monument to void the county’s prohibition on any Jackson Creek Crossing traffic signal. Annexation would also allow the town to permit left turns in all four directions at this intersection, as urgently requested by the developers of these two new shopping centers.

Glenn added that the proposed full-motion intersection was also needed because of all the King Soopers center traffic that is already backing up in front of the food store trying to exit onto Jackson Creek Parkway. Glenn said this problem will be worse when the Timbers development opens on the northwest corner of Baptist Road and Jackson Creek Parkway.

When constructed, Jackson Creek Market Village shopping center traffic will also cut through the King Soopers center to get to the parkway, adding further to the internal backup.

Glenn told Thomas he wanted the developer to be aware that the county might deny the northern right-in/right-out-only access to Struthers Road and the western right-in/right-out-only access to Baptist Road until the town could annex both roads. Virgil Sanchez, the developer’s engineer, said they realized that they could not build their accesses until the county’s construction has been completed.

Glenn noted that there might be a problem with traffic exiting onto Struthers Road from the northern access, 410 feet south of the Baptist Road traffic light, because it would be cutting across the two northbound through lanes to get to the two left-turn lanes to go west on Baptist Road.

The developer’s traffic consultant, Jeff Hodsdon of LSC Transportation Consultants, said that the left-turn lanes are 460 feet long, and traffic exiting onto Struthers would be less than on Baptist Road, which would be less of a safety issue than the western access to Baptist Road. Hodsdon said the peak would be 280 cars per hour exiting onto northbound Struthers Road and the light would be red most of the time for Struthers Road traffic at the Baptist Road intersection, providing gaps for cars to cut across to the left-turn lanes. He said the expected delays before a car could turn north onto Struthers Road would still be minimally acceptable if the traffic count were to double.

Glenn asked Kassawara to have an SEH traffic consultant accompany Hodsdon to the Major Thoroughfares Task Force hearing on the project to be sure that the county knows that the town also believes there will be no significant safety problems with the three right-in/right-out-only accesses. Kassawara said he would also attend that hearing.

Glenn asked Kassawara to obtain a letter from Triview Metropolitan District certifying that Monument Ridge had paid $490,000 for well A. Triview is providing water and sewer service to the development.

Glenn also asked Kassawara to confirm that the development’s commercial and homeowner associations would maintain all the green space instead of the town or Triview. Kassawara said this maintenance obligation was required by the restrictive covenants for both areas.

Glenn asked the developer to confirm that there would not be a request that the residential area be converted to commercial space. Kassawara said the 8 acres was not suitable for terraced commercial development due to its grade and the board would have to approve a request to convert to commercial after approving this site plan.

Trustee Travis Easton asked if all the utilities along Baptist Road and Struthers Road would be installed before these two roads were paved. Kassawara said no and added that the development’s acceleration/deceleration lanes would also be built after the county’s construction is completed. Installation of the utilities and the additional acceleration/deceleration lanes for Monument Ridge will tear up the county’s roadways, curbs, and gutters.

Glenn asked if the large retaining wall between the church and Monument Ridge would be built all at once. Virgil Sanchez, the developer’s engineer, said only the northern part of the wall would be built. The rest of the eastern property boundary will be graded immediately, however. The rest of the wall will be built as more commercial lots and the residential areas are developed. The developer’s retaining wall material will be the same as the county will use for its retaining wall on the north side of the church property. Glenn said a condition should be added for the site plan to restrict this temporary grading to the south to no more than a 3-to-1 slope for safety.

Glenn said that the greenbelt area would require even more landscaping and fencing to screen the pedestrian walkway and adjacent homes from the rear of the adjacent restaurant lots to the north.

Drumm said it was inappropriate to require or expect the private property owners to continually fund town art shows as well as pay for security for the displays. Glenn and Easton agreed. Trustee Tommie Plank said the decision should be left to the developer’s discretion. Sanchez said the original proposal for a sitting area was actually more appropriate. The developer’s voluntary proposal for art work displays in the green space was eliminated by consensus.

The plat, with Glenn’s added condition for traffic signal escrow money, was unanimously approved. The site plan, with Glenn’s added condition on temporary grading along the boundary with the church, was also unanimously approved.

Copper Heights preliminary/final plat and site plan approved

There were no significant changes to either proposal from the presentations made to the Planning Commission on Dec. 13. Kassawara said Mountain View Electric Association had withdrawn its request for a wider than normal easement for its utilities.

The 53-lot, 13.67-acre Pulte Homes subdivision is on the northwest corner of Leather Chaps and Bowstring Drives. The first phase of the Remington Hills development is adjacent to Copper Heights to the east. Bowstring Drive separates the two residential areas. There are two accesses to Bowstring at the north and south ends of the parcel.

Land-use breakdown:

  • Residential lots 9.14 acres
  • Right-of-way 3.88 acres
  • Landscape buffer 0.22 acre
  • Public park 0.64 acre
  • Gross density 3.88 dwelling units per acre
  • Net density 5.80 dwelling units per acre

Lot sizes range from 6,050 square feet to 13,318 square feet, with an average of 7,536 square feet.

The small park on the southeast corner of the parcel has street frontages on Leather Chaps, Bowstring, and Butte Circle (the southern access) to the north. This park and two other open-space tracts will be dedicated to Monument and maintained by Triview Metropolitan District

The Pulte Homes presentation was also unchanged. There were no public comments in favor of or opposed to the proposal.

Drumm expressed concern about side setbacks being only 5 feet, and asked for a 20-foot separation between houses. Kassawara said this larger separation would not allow the developer to build as many houses as called for in PRD-6 zoning. This Regency Park zoning was established in 1987, when the town annexed the land. The town recently adopted all Regency Park zoning through an intergovernmental agreement with Triview Metropolitan District.

Vision Development project manager Rick Blevins said there was enough lateral spacing and grade differences between Remington Hills and Copper Heights to preserve Remington Hills’ views of the Front Range.

Trustee Samuels, who runs a landscape architecture company in Colorado Springs, suggested that the whole play area in the development’s small park be fully sodded with fescue to better withstand heavy use. Glenn expressed concern that Samuels’ proposal might set a precedent for increased irrigation requirements for Triview Metropolitan District. During the lengthy discussion that followed, Todd Levitt, vice president of Pulte Homes, said he agreed with the reasoning and examples Samuels provided and also preferred to fully sod the park. Green said maintenance of native grasses is always "a huge issue." Kassawara will administratively change the native grass requirement in the play area.

The Copper Heights plat and site plans were unanimously approved with no additional conditions.

Monument Marketplace Filing 14 approved

The board unanimously approved the final plat for Filing 14 of the Monument Marketplace on the southeast corner of the center. There are three lots on this parcel for a Grease Monkey oil/lube center, a Checker Auto parts store along Jackson Creek Parkway, and a possible car wash behind them to the west. Kassawara noted that Triview Metropolitan District may not be able to provide water and sewer service to the proposed car wash due to infrastructure problems. The Planning Commission had unanimously approved the proposal on Jan. 10. There were no public comments on the filing.

After this hearing, Blevins reported that Pulte Homes had withdrawn from its development agreement with Vision Development for the Copper Terrace townhouse development between the Copper Heights development and Jackson Creek Parkway. Blevins said Pulte had encountered too many issues with gaining proposal approvals from town staff to be able to complete the Copper Terrace project by the end of 2007. Vision Development will take over development of the Copper Terrace project, but it is being put on "indefinite hold."

Other matters

The board unanimously approved resolutions for:

  • Continued posting of Planning Commission and BOT agendas at Town Hall and the Monument Post Office in 2007
  • Renewal of Judge John Ciccalella with a three-year contract
  • Renewal of Town Attorney Gary Shupp with a three-year contract
  • Renewal of Town Water Engineer Bruce Lytle with a two-year contract
  • A contribution of $29,137 for a water study to be performed by Bishop-Brogden Associates, Inc., for the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority

The meeting adjourned at 9 p.m. The next meeting is at 6:30 p.m., Feb. 5, at Town Hall, 166 Second St. Meetings are normally held on the first and third Monday of the month. Information: 481-2954.

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Monument Planning Commission, January 10: Monument Marketplace PD site plan amended

By Jim Kendrick

On Jan. 10, the Monument Planning Commission approved the fourth amendment to the Monument Marketplace PD (planned development) site plan. The commissioners also changed the next meeting date to Feb. 21.

Monument Marketplace is east of I-25 and north of Baptist Road on the west side of Jackson Creek Parkway.

Director of Development Services Tom Kassawara reviewed the proposals from Marketplace project manager Rick Blevins. Kassawara said the PD site plan was updated to show the actual configurations of several filings to reflect minor changes that were previously approved administratively by town staff. Other configuration changes were for future uses that were different than "contemplated in the past."

Also proposed were changes to the center’s design guidelines to allow a broader range of exterior building materials and colors "while adhering to the overall ‘Colorado Mountain’ architectural theme."

Kassawara proposed no conditions to the proposed amendment.

Texas Roadhouse requests alternative siding and roofing

In response to a request for the Texas Roadhouse now under construction, Kassawara asked the board to approve rough-sawn cedar siding, "painted or opaque stained" and eliminate the current restriction on forest green metal roofing. Kassawara said the staff had rejected Texas Roadhouse’s original request for clear-stained cedar siding and an unpainted roof like the two restaurants in Colorado Springs. He noted that a few roofing colors were added in the third amendment to the PD site plan at the request of other "national tenants" such as Home Depot. Prior to the third amendment the only color allowed for a metal roof was champagne. Forest green, blue, and red metal roofs were added to the palette, but only for small accent applications of fewer than 500 square feet.

He added that painted siding, a pastel green with 6-inch-wide horizontal lap siding, would not stand out from the other types of materials that are used in the Marketplace "in our opinion."

Kassawara reported that the proposed mansard-look roof would have no second level to a peak. There would be a flat roof above the lower part that would come out from the vertical face of the sides of the building. Kassawara said this mansard roofing would not go all the way up the vertical face. There would be a parapet above the mansard that would hide the heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment for the restaurant. The mansard would be equivalent to a continuous wrap-around metal awning in appearance and effect.

Kassawara said, "From the ground it looks very much like a full roof" but there is no peak or massive hip roof. He added approval of the mansard would not set a precedent for subsequent requests for a massive forest green metal roof on other Marketplace lots. (See: http://architecture.about.com/library/weekly/aa100900b.htm or http://architecture.about.com/library/blgloss-mansard.htm for examples of a mansard roof)

Car wash proposed to replace gas station

The other fourth amendment change Kassawara discussed was the "contemplated use" of a car wash on the southeast corner automotive service filing in lieu of a gas station for Filing 14. There are three lots in the filing, two along Jackson Creek Parkway and a larger lot behind them to the west.

Blevins said that earlier site plans for Filing 14 had shown a combination gas station and convenience store, a parts store, and a tire store. Blevins said the proposed Checker parts store would not perform any lube or oil services. The other proposed building is a Grease Monkey oil and lube center. Both would have frontages on Jackson Creek Parkway. The proposed car wash would be behind these two stores.

Blevins answered Commissioner Patricia Mettler’s questions about the car wash. He said there would be two automatic drive-through bays and four hand-held washing bays as well as the typical vacuum and drying areas. Triview Metropolitan District has not yet agreed to provide water for the car wash due to water, street, and sewer infrastructure issues. Re-used water cannot be used in hand-held car washes due to Colorado health laws.

Commissioner Kathy Spence expressed concerns about people performing repairs in the Checker parking lot. Blevins said that people may open their hoods for a few minutes to add fluids, replace a battery, or have a service representative verify that the part provided would match the vehicle component that was to be replaced. Blevins said that there would be no overhauls performed in the parking area and Kassawara said "there would be no jacks or winches" in use.

Commissioner Tom Martin asked Spence to explain her concerns. Spence said that a messy lot with a lot of inoperative vehicles around it would be the first thing visitors "from outside the community" would see driving north on Jackson Creek Parkway from Baptist Road. She added, "You know what I’m here for is to give my opinion." She compared this problem to unsightly views to the west when driving south on I-25 from County Line Road that give a bad first impression of Monument to motorists. She said she had frequently performed repairs in parts store parking lots on her "street rod," then "We of course cleaned up when we left."

Martin said the Checker store could be isolated by landscaping along the parkway. Blevins replied that there would be landscaping and the grade of Filing 14 was well below Jackson Creek Parkway, behind a berm. "It’s not all that visible." Blevins said he would discuss with owner CSK Auto, Inc., that Marketplace regulations on building owners and tenants would address the cleanliness issue. Kassawara said staff would ensure that all these suggestions were implemented in reciprocal easement agreements when it administratively approves the final site plan for each new filing.

Blevins also showed the commissioners where one of the four originally approved retail bays, building F on Lot 8, had been eliminated. The remaining bays on the northwest corner of Jackson Creek Parkway will be occupied by a PetSmart, Staples, and perhaps a national retail clothing outlet.

There was a lengthy unrelated discussion on the clock tower and surrounding gathering area and sidewalks throughout the Marketplace. Blevins said that sidewalks along all frontages and crosswalks are designed to allow people to walk between any two stores. The main east-west sidewalk is wider to allow for bikes and pedestrians.

After another 20 minutes of discussion on these same issues, Spence proposed adding a condition that the request for adding painted/stained wood siding and forest green roofing in excess of 500 square feet to the allowed materials list only apply to this specific Texas Roadhouse use as a "one-time exception." She added, "One of my pet peeves is the liquor store and the bank with the blue metal roof" on Highway 105.

Town Attorney Gary Shupp suggested reviewing use of wood siding and forest green roofing over 500 square feet via "case-by-case waiver requests" instead of amending the color and materials guidelines. Blevins suggested a compromise where only the restaurants adjacent to I-25 be allowed to use painted siding and green metal roofing. Spence countered that elimination of the two restrictions only apply to Texas Roadhouse rather than all of the restaurant lots along I-25. Blevins noted that the Texas Roadhouse contract was conditional, based on the results of this Planning Commission and future Board of Trustees hearings.

After further discussion between Spence and Shupp regarding the precise wording of her condition, the commission unanimously recommended approval of the amendment to the Board of Trustees.

The next meeting was changed to Wednesday, Feb. 21, at 6:30 p.m. in Town Hall to ensure a quorum and ensure that the proposals planned for the February session are completed.

The meeting adjourned at 7:25 p.m.

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Palmer Lake Town Council Meeting, January 11: Mayor presents "State of the Town"

By Jim Kendrick

Mayor Max Parker gave his first "State of the Town" message on Jan. 11 to start a new year of Palmer Lake Town Council meetings. The council approved a petition for annexation of two parcels on Cloven Hoof Drive to initiate the formal hearing cycle for the request. Trustee Jim Girlando’s absence was excused.

Parker asked the council to add an agenda item for a conditional use request that had been unanimously approved the night before at the combined Palmer Lake Planning Commission workshop and regular meeting. The agenda, as amended, was unanimously approved.

The council unanimously approved payment of all final bills for 2006, including those that were paid after Jan. 1.

Mayor Parker’s prepared remarks summarized noteworthy occurrences in Palmer Lake during 2006 and some proposals he plans to make for 2007. Some of the highlights were:

  • "Although we do not have the kind of growth that some entities do, I believe that we prefer it that way.
  • "One of the most notable events of the year was the retirement of Chief Dale Smith. After long and dedicated service to the job, the town, and its citizens, Dale was able to retire his holster and pick up the fishing pole.
  • "We appointed another one of our officers, Dan Gilliana, as chief … in December. Chief Gilliana’s extensive law enforcement career and stature within the law enforcement community make him an excellent choice which will serve this town well.
  • "The passage of a one-half percent sales tax increase in April to support the Police Department will ensure Chief Gilliana has the means to provide the best service possible to Palmer Lake.
  • "The Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department also saw an increase in support.
  • "The voters passed a one-half percent sales tax increase in November that will continue to provide the means for their continued support to the people of Palmer Lake.
  • "The immediate effect of the sales tax passage saw the addition of three paid part-time Emergency Medical Technicians in an effort to supplement our staff of EMT volunteers. We will continue to work with Chief Beckman in 2007 to create a vision for the Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department and how to make the most effective use of their increased revenue.
  • "The status of our ambulance agreement also changed [with] an agreement with the Larkspur Fire Department. It will be incumbent on our Council to assess the effectiveness of this agreement and to continue to make the decisions that are the best for the safety and welfare of the citizens.
  • "The year 2006 was a renaissance for the area of Economic Development. We approved 11 new business licenses. Our sales tax revenues saw an increase of approximately 130 percent.
  • "Our Streetscape Committee rejuvenated efforts to implement a part of the Comprehensive Plan with respect to our downtown corridor.
  • "There has also been an initial discussion … with the Colorado Department of Transportation on the issue of the Town of Palmer Lake assuming the responsibility of Highway 105 within the town limits. We will carefully weigh the benefits of having positive control of this thoroughfare and the outside funding it brings with the longer term prospects for sustainability.
  • "The new water rate structure brought in $560,425 while our production costs came in at $543,758. With the net result of $16,667, we did not achieve the goal of covering the cost of production while saving for potential improvements in the future.
  • "The Water Capital Improvement Fund currently stands at $266,610. There are improvements that will be necessary in the not-so-distant future that I believe require our attention now: maintenance or replacement of parts of our water delivery system (some of which is over sixty years old), and upgrades to our primary water treatment plant to ensure compliance with federal and state quality regulations. The approximate cost of these improvements alone could be several million dollars.
  • "I will ask the Council to revisit the water rate structure and to revise it in a way that saves for these future improvements. I will ask the citizens to cooperate with our efforts.
  • "In 2007 it is our goal to renew our efforts to search for alternatives that will provide a long-term, sustainable and legal method for augmenting Palmer Lake’s water levels.
  • "I will ask the Council and the Planning Commission to review and update the Palmer Lake Municipal Code. The example of the "Hillside" Ordinance is just one of the many Ordinances that are outdated and require our attention.
  • "I will be looking at the traditional workload of the staff in an effort to determine if our manning is adequate.
  • "We need to have clearer guidelines of what our expectations are, what the various roles of management and staff are, and how to evaluate the performance of the staff.
  • "The forms and procedures for routine requests such as re-plats, land use permits, etc. need to be clear and unambiguous.
  • "I will ask the Council to consider instituting the position of town manager for the benefits of myself, but more especially for the town and my successors. The continuity of knowledge, experience, and exposure is integral to the continued success of the town.
  • "We accomplished a lot, but have lots more work to do. I look forward to serving the town and working with the Council in 2007."

Trustee reports

Roads Trustee Richard Allen reported that the town had submitted a document to the county Office of Emergency Management for aid for the Dec. 20 and 28 storms.

Fire Trustee Gary Coleman reported that the Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department (PLVFD) had responded to 30 calls in December, of which 5 were for mutual aid. With new sales tax revenue approved in November, the department hired 3 part-time emergency medical technicians, Derrick Sams, Justin Latifi, and Moses Berrera, who work from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Phillip Beckman was re-elected as fire chief, his third year in that position.

Coleman said volunteers who want to help the department in other than firefighting positions are being recruited. Information is available at 481-2953 for individuals interested in volunteering. He asked residents to post address numbers in front of their homes for non-fire emergencies.

Police Trustee Trudy Finan reported that department policies and procedures were being modified so that they coincide with those of Monument’s Police Department. Former part-time Officer Joe Lundie has returned to Palmer Lake, in a full-time position. There will be 24-hour police coverage by the end of February. Cindy Beers will fill the part-time police analyst position for evidence processing and crime scene analysis.

Recreation Trustee Trish Flake reported that an extensive program of town-supported winter recreation had been initiated by Great Starts on Jan. 8. Information on 16 separate programs in the following areas is available at 488-9370 or www.gscamps.com.

Watershed study discussed

During a lengthy presentation, Fountain Creek Watershed Study representative Bob Miner reported that the study was entering a phase that would include technical advisors and representatives other than engineers who could finally speak on Palmer Lake issues. Federal, state, and local funding for the final phases of the study has not been worked out for the rest of 2007 or 2008.

Hulsmann of the Awake the Lake Committee asked that the town provide its water attorney, Ronnie Sperling, with full details of all surface and groundwater production records from recent years prior to her planned presentation at the joint council-committee water meeting that was held at Town Hall on Jan. 16. (See the article on this water meeting on page 14.)

Bob Miner asked that Sperling review the industrial water rights deeded to the town by the railroad in the past 50 years and their potential impacts on town water storage rights in the lake. Parker said Sperling had advised the town in 1994 that there were no records of previous uses for the rights given to the town in 1982. Parker added that Sperling’s opinion at that time was that the town’s rights would be considered abandoned since there has been no similar industrial use along the lake since then.

Annexation petition accepted

The board unanimously accepted a petition from Wealth Wonks Capital, LLC, for hearings on annexation and town commercial zoning of two parcels of land at 18805 Cloven Hoof Drive, adjacent to the west side of Highway 105.

Ruth Bolas, the landowner’s representative, explained that there are two other adjacent small parcels to the south for which the owners will also seek annexation and rezoning. Bolas added that construction plans call for a 20,000-square-foot building costing about $4 million to $5 million for a wedding chapel and reception hall.

Machine shop approved

Chris Olivier and Rick Hagler received unanimous approval of their request for a conditional use in a C-2 commercial zone for Protec Manufacturing at 780 Highway 105, Unit E. Their business is between GroomStar Pet Supplies and Tri-Lakes Service Center. They proposed a small machine shop to manufacture small aluminum, steel, and plastic components for local businesses like Synthes as well as Lewis-Palmer School District 38. Olivier said that normally this type of facility would go in M-1 zoning. However there are already small machine shops in the adjacent area and no molds or dies would be used by Protec.

Olivier said that Tri-Lakes Service Center already was performing welding and grinding in its shop closer to the bakery.

Coleman asked Olivier to submit letters of approval from the owners of GroomStar and Bodhicitta Bakery, tenants in this strip-mall building.

Town Attorney Jim Kin said that only the Town Council could impose conditions on granting the conditional use in a "compatible zone," and the applicants could not be required to get letters of approval from adjacent tenants. Olivier, however, volunteered to get letters from the two businesses stating that they were aware of his plans prior to the hearing for the new Protec business license in February. Kin said that provision of this additional information could not legally be required as part of the board’s decision on the business license.

Kin also noted that there had been no objections raised during the brief Planning Commission hearing leading to unanimous approval the night before. Planning Commissioner Gary Atkins said he had made the motion the previous evening to approve the use after that board had reviewed all aspects of the conditional use and notifications.

Parker, Allen appointed as representatives to water authority

The council unanimously approved Parker as the town’s primary representative to the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority and Trustee Allen as the alternate representative.

Ambulance agreement discussion continues

Trustee Flake read a prepared statement regarding Larkspur Fire Protection District qualifications and professionalism. During her presentation she said, "I would like to publicly make a correction to an article that was in Our Community News Volume 7, Number 1, dated January, 6, 2007, in an article titled "Palmer Lake Town Council meeting number 14, 2006." There’s some hurt feelings over a statement that is reported that I made and in review of the tape recording of the meeting that that article is reporting on, that statement was not made or misconstrued and that statement was quote Larkspur does not have anybody nearly as qualified as the Tri-Lakes Fire Protection District."

Flake’s clarification: Flake said, "I’d like the record to read as follows. The issue that I have brought up over the past several months starting the ambulance agreement with the town of Palmer Lake have been about response times to medical calls in Palmer Lake. In regards to the Larkspur Fire Department, Chief Baumgarner, and Chief Miller, the dialog never included any discussion about their department’s qualifications, capabilities, or training. I am confident that Larkspur personnel fully trained, highly competent, and totally professional. The issue that I have presented to my peers on the Palmer Lake Town Council over the past several months is simple. Can Larkspur provide us with the medical attention in a timely manner? I would like to recommend the contributions of the Larkspur Fire Department over the past couple months and further would like to recommend Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department as a fine representative of our quality of life in Palmer Lake and praise the time the volunteer firefighters and our fire chief, Phillip Beckman, donate to our well-being."

Allen added, "It’s déjà vu all over again. I would like to bring up the issue of the letter of agreement that we have, the current contract we have with Larkspur, and the possibility of having a letter of agreement with Tri-Lakes Fire." He added, "I would like to go back and draw on the comment that we would review it after a period of time. I feel very strongly that everything that Trish said about the Larkspur Fire Department is right on target. They’re highly trained, qualified. Their spirit of cooperation is remarkable. Their credentials are just impeccable and they’re extremely friendly to our people as well. They’re driven by the mission."

Allen also said, "The only problem that I have and that I feel very strongly about is response times. I feel that the Tri-Lakes Fire District is just as qualified and their training is just as good, and they’re two-and-a-half miles away from the heart of Palmer Lake."

Allen suggested that the council "sit down with Tri-Lakes, give it one more shot, and come up with a letter of agreement." He said, "And that’s not putting any disparaging words on the volunteer Fire Department, absolutely no disparaging words on the Larkpur Fire Department. None. I just think there’s a better solution to what I consider to be a critical problem."

He added that he would volunteer to help facilitate the negotiations with Tri-Lakes and, "If for one second that the Town of Palmer Lake is going to get the shaft, get the short end of something" he would "get up and walk out." He also noted that Spruce Mountain Road would be closed sometime in the future for two to seven months.

Flake said that there was an average response time of 12.5 minutes from Larkspur in data provided by Chief Bumgarner.

Coleman said, "I’m a little confused by this." He said Tri-Lakes Battalion Chief Bryan Jack had told him after the Dec. 14 council meeting, "What we’re doing was working out fine" with the current setup where the town or Larkspur can request mutual aid from Tri-Lakes for a dire emergency. "Does Tri-Lakes just want to put Larkspur out the window?"

Allen said that Tri-Lakes "wants to provide the best and fastest response to medical emergencies in the Tri-Lakes area possible. It’s nothing against Larkspur." Coleman replied, "But when they sent us a certified letter canceling the old agreement, that didn’t seem to be their attitude."

Parker said that "what transpired in the past" no longer should be considered as long as Allen only attempted to negotiate an ambulance services agreement instead of the comprehensive Tri-Lakes emergency service proposal that the town and the Palmer Lake department rejected. Allen said that the only thing that should matter is which of the equally trained people can respond fastest.

Trustee Susan Miner asked that the entire council be able to review all response records compiled by the county Sheriff’s Office for the same extended period for all North Group departments, rather than selected statistics provided only by Tri-Lakes, to get an accurate and fair assessment.

Snow removal for parking sought

Hulsmann asked the town to clear snow from the side of Highway 105 to provide additional parking for downtown restaurants and other businesses. He also asked that it be dumped on the unused town parking lot in Centennial Park.

Bob Miner suggested that staff inquire about existing snow removal agreements in Summit County ski towns.

Trustee Allen and Roads Supervisor Bob Radosevich said they would consult with the Colorado Department of Transportation on what snow removal the town could perform within the state’s right of way.

The meeting adjourned at 8:50 p.m.

**********

The next meeting is a combined workshop and regular council meeting on Feb. 8 at 7 p.m. in Town Hall, 54 Valley Crescent. Workshops are normally held on the first Thursday of the month. Regular meetings are normally held on the second Thursday of the month. Meetings are often combined, so check for actual dates at 481-2953.

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Palmer Lake Town Round Table Discussion on Refilling the Lake, January 16: Town to discuss cost to refill the lake

By John Heiser

On Jan. 16, Palmer Lake Mayor Max Parker, Water Trustee Jim Girlando, and Trustee Richard Allen met with representatives of the Awake the Lake Committee to discuss strategies for refilling the nearly empty lake. Town water attorney Ronni Sperling, town water superintendent Steve Orcutt, and Paul Gilbert, Linda Firth, and R.D. Wiley of engineering company RTW also attended the meeting.

A variety of alternatives were discussed. For example, Awake the Lake Committee spokesman Jeff Hulsmann suggested that a well could be drilled to supply water to the lake. He noted that he had estimates of about $50,000 for a 4-inch well into the Denver aquifer that would supply about 18 gallons per minute.

Orcutt noted that 18 gallons per minute would be insufficient to offset the rate of evaporation, estimated by Sperling at about 30 acre-feet (9.8 million gallons) per year. Orcutt said, "You need to find a renewable source." Referring to groundwater, he said, "When it is gone, it’s gone." Orcutt added that the reservoir cannot supply the town’s needs year-round, so the town relies on its wells during the summers.

Another alternative debated would be that once the reservoir is full, to release excess water into the lake. Sperling noted that a court-approved augmentation plan would be required. That plan would call for 100 percent replacement of the excess water diverted into the lake. The replacement would be required to satisfy the senior water rights of downstream users.

One of the ways suggested to achieve the replacement would be to pump water from the town’s D3 well into Monument Creek. Some additional infrastructure would be required to accomplish that.

Sperling asked, "Are people willing to jeopardize the long-term reliability of the town water system?"

Hulsmann said, "The lake is a natural resource and should be preserved."

Parker noted, "You have to convince people it is as important as drinking water."

Allen said, "I have lived in Palmer Lake for 16 years. Every time we discussed it, we always walked away saying it is too expensive or impossible to do. We never proceeded past a meeting like this."

Awake the Lake committee member Jeannine Engel cited the narrow defeat of the November ballot measure as a sign that people will support doing something to refill the lake if the details can be defined.

Parker asked Gilbert to prepare an estimate of the legal and other costs to implement taking excess water from the reservoir and replacing that water using the D3 well. The estimate is to be presented at the Town Council’s February meeting.

Allen said, "It’s a beginning."

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Donala Water and Sanitation District, January 24: New water authority main topic of discussion

By Sue Wielgopolan

General manager Dana Duthie briefed members on the first meeting of the new Pikes Peak Water Authority at the Jan. 24 Donala Water and Sanitation District Board of Directors meeting. Bishop Brogden Associates received permission from the authority to begin work on an ambitious engineering scoping study that will guide future cooperative efforts to share resources and infrastructure among Palmer Divide-area water providers.

Duthie announced that the drilling operation on the new well in Fox Run Park was successful. The well will probably yield a respectable 600 gallons per minute.

Quick action on water main break minimizes disruption

Duthie told board members that Donala experienced a 10-foot-long water main split just after 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 20, near the intersection of Rangely and Wuthering Heights. Maintenance operator Terri Ladouceur, upon learning of the break, acted immediately to bring on other employees to help. Duthie, Ladouceur, superintendent of operations Robert Hull, maintenance operator Troy Vialpando, and water operator Mike Lavin worked for about 12 hours until around 10 p.m. to repair the water line. Office manager Jackie Sipes manned the district office to field phone calls.

Most customers who were affected regained service within two hours. Only two homes on Rangely lost water for the day. Duthie said that Donala offered to pay for hotel rooms for the occupants. One family accepted, but they decided to return home once the pipeline was repaired and did not stay the night.

Duthie said he was very pleased with the quick response and extra effort exhibited by his team. The weather was cold, and the frozen ground extremely difficult to dig through.

In recognition of their hard work and dedication, the board presented Ladouceur, Hull, Vialpando, Lavin, and Sipes with gift certificates to Chili’s.

Ladouceur was also named the employee of the quarter for the months of October through December 2006. She has received the award two out of the past three quarters. Ladouceur was rewarded with a day off and a gift certificate to Chili’s.

Financials

Duthie distributed the investment updates Davidson Fixed Income Management prepares each month for the district.

Director Dennis Daugherty voiced concern that investment returns were not as high as the district would have realized through Colo Trust, a fund approved by the state for special districts.

Daugherty also suggested Davidson put together a proposal for a retirement program for district employees. He said that he felt part of the board’s responsibility was to ensure that Donala employees were receiving the best value for their retirement investments and were not paying unreasonable commission fees, which he said were not always shown on investment fund statements.

Other members agreed to allow Daugherty to "check the market" to compare returns and rates on district investments and various retirement funds.

Board approves 2006 budget and amendment

Duthie told members that they would need to amend the 2006 budget, and distributed copies with the final figures incorporated.

The budget was originally passed in October, with projections for the remaining months.

Donala would have collected enough money this year to pay off the old debt, but would not be allowed to do so until 2009. Rather than put the money in an escrow account and keep the debt on their books, the district purchased state and local securities with money collected through the mill levy to pay off the debt, and turned management over to another agency that is then responsible for making loan payments until the debt is retired.

The process has several advantages. It allows the district to take the debt off its books and use interest earned toward the debt payment, and removes responsibility from the district. However, the defeasement must be claimed as an expense that was not listed in the 2006 budget. So the board amended the budget to reflect the expense.

Duthie told the board that he had also added two line items in the 2007 budget reflecting the combination of all previous budgets into one.

The directors passed three resolutions: one to adopt the 2007 budget, another to appropriate funds for the coming year as described in the budget, and the third to amend the 2006 budget.

El Paso County Water Authority elects 2007 officers

Duthie distributed summaries of the El Paso County Water Authority’s (EPCWA) December and January meetings. New officers were nominated and elected for 2007. Betty Konarski of Monument will serve as president; Kip Petersen of the Cherokee Metro District will serve as vice president, Ann Nichols of Forest Lakes Metro District as secretary, and Duthie as treasurer. Triview Metro District’s manager Larry Bishop and Security’s Roy Heald were elected at-large members.

Pat Ratliff will continue as lobbyist for the authority. Her contract and executive agent Gary Barber’s were approved.

Although Duthie’s written memo mentioned that the state engineer and representatives of the U.S. Geological Survey gave a lengthy presentation on the history and future of the Transit Loss model at the December meeting, he did not elaborate on the contents of the program.

Duthie told the Donala board that Ratliff briefly discussed a couple of bills that have been introduced and have the potential to affect northern El Paso County water providers. The most relevant was HB07-1132, co-sponsored by Rep. Buffie McFadyen of Pueblo. Essentially, the bill states that water quality must be taken into account when water is exchanged, or transferred from one area to another. The former Palmer Divide Water Group has been negotiating to buy Arkansas Basin agricultural water to supply areas north of Colorado Springs with a surface water source. The salinity of that water could become an issue.

Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority holds first meeting

Duthie announced the formation of the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority (PPRWA) and the dissolution of the Palmer Divide Water Group (PDWG). Money remaining in the former PDWG’s account after all bills have been settled will be transferred to the authority’s account. The intergovernmental agreement (IGA) between the agencies involved was modified to reflect the transfer of funds. Donala directors voted unanimously to approve the new IGA.

Duthie told board members that Phil Steininger of Woodmoor had been elected president, Rich Landreth of Monument vice president, Bishop secretary, and Duthie treasurer.

Duthie said that Petrock and Fendel, PC, the law firm that represents Donala in water matters, was selected as the newly formed authority’s legal representation. He expects the amount Donala spends on legal fees to decrease this year, as the new water authority will pay its own legal expenses.

In the past, Donala paid water attorney Rick Fendel for any work done for the Palmer Divide Water Group. Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District contributed an equivalent financial portion by assuming the bill for PDWG work performed by its engineer. Triview district’s lawyer handled legal matters at Triview’s expense. Beginning this year, the new authority will pay for those services through dues.

Duthie stated that there was potential for conflict of interest, as Petrock Fendel will be representing Donala and the PPRWA.

As expected, PDWG former manager Barber was hired to manage the PPRWA at a salary of $51,000 per year.

Hydrologic consulting firm Bishop Brogden Associates (BBA) presented its formal proposal for a regional engineering study that will identify cooperative projects Palmer Divide-area water providers will undertake to consolidate and share infrastructure and maximize exchange credits.

The study will cost approximately $246,000. That cost will be divided among participating entities based on an estimate of the number of homes in each district by the year 2020. Donala’s share is about $45,000.

The study will consist of seven phases; BBA expects to complete it by September 2007.

Members debated whether to retain the dues structure previously used by the PDWG and offer full voting memberships for $20,000 per year as well as associate memberships for $2,500 per year for small districts, or to require that all members pay $20,000 for full membership and a single vote regardless of size. After discussion of the pros and cons of the two options, members decided to retain the old dues structure for another year and revisit the issue at a later meeting.

The authority discussed meeting schedules and decided to meet monthly for the time being, possibly breaking into small subcommittees that get together more frequently to address specific topics or projects. As the cooperative engineering study progresses and larger projects get under way, the authority might decide to meet twice a month. They settled on the third Thursday of every month as the date, and set 8:30 as the time. Members will take turns hosting the group. The next full membership meeting will be at the Donala district office on Feb. 15.

Palmer Divide-area districts will institute conservation measures

Duthie told the Donala board that Barber and the PPRWA officers gathered for an impromptu discussion on Jan. 8. Cherokee, Palmer Lake, and Academy did not attend. The small group talked about establishing a logo for the authority, ideas for setting dues for 2008, and Barber’s duties as manager.

Donala, Woodmoor, Triview, and Monument decided to institute water-rationing programs in their districts this summer. Representatives rejected the "diamond, circle , square" program used in many Front Range communities and tried at Woodmoor last summer, primarily because of the difficulty in programming irrigation systems with a 14-day timer to water every third day.

Instead, customers will be allowed to water between the hours of 6 p.m. and 9 a.m. on a Monday-Wednesday-Friday or Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday schedule. The rationing program will be in place from June through September.

Duthie said that in order for a program to be successful, it must be user-friendly. He intends to offer help to the elderly and others in the Donala district who may need assistance in programming their irrigation system.

Waste plant buildings finally receive approval

Duthie informed board members that the preliminary treatment room and influent pump station have been approved by the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department, and plans for the electrical room are in review. Duthie had become frustrated by the unnecessary delays in construction resulting from rejection of the plans due to inspectors’ lack of familiarity with waste plant construction.

To compound the problem, GMS engineering was unable to meet with or talk to the inspectors to explain the plans or discuss the reasons for rejection in spite of numerous attempts.

Finally, Duthie wrote a letter of protest to Henry Yankowski, the new building department director, enumerating the various errors made by the department and pointing out that the delays could result in the inability of the waste plant to complete the expansion on time.

Yankowski was receptive and moved immediately to expedite approval. He also came out for a tour of the plant.

Weaver construction is moving the yard piping for the influent pump station, and removing and repairing an air line that was incorrectly installed while waiting for plans for the three buildings to be approved. Duthie expects construction of the pump station and electrical and treatment rooms to begin in March, with completion scheduled for May or June.

Price of expansion nears $10 million

Duthie mentioned that he would like to include a bedroom in the new administration building so that operators or others working at the plant overnight during inclement weather have a room away from the computer in which to rest.

However, any additions to the administration building may not be workable, as the costs continue to skyrocket due to price increases in steel, copper, and concrete. The contractor estimates that the price tag for the waste plant will be close to $10 million, significantly higher than the original projection. Sams believes the cost will exceed that figure.

Donala and Triview obtained approval from Colorado Water and Power for loans up to $5 million each, which would cover the revised figures but leaves no room for contingencies.

Duthie said Bishop will have to work with his board to decide what course of action to take. Duthie is confident that due to Donala’s good financial position, the district would probably be successful in securing additional loan funds from Colorado Water and Power if necessary. But that may not be an option for Triview.

Change orders to the contract, in the form of emergency generators (the existing generator was found to be insufficient for the expanded plant), new denitrification filters, and repair of the air line have also increased the price of the expansion.

Struthers pipeline started

Frazee construction has begun installing the pipeline along Struthers Road, which will eventually connect Donala’s 12-inch water main on the north end of Struthers Ranch to Triview’s system. Due to the delay caused by El Paso County’s dispute with two Chaparral Hills homeowners over the price of the right-of-way for the road, Triview will have a second opportunity to install its share of the pipeline while the road is under construction and avoid the expense of digging up asphalt later.

Donala had planned to put a valve at the end of the district’s portion, as Triview had not been ready to construct the remainder. The delay may give Triview enough time to finish the plans.

Donala finishes drilling new well

Duthie informed the directors that Henkel had finished drilling new well 14A, which was now in the development stage. The company had drilled to a depth of 2,240 feet; Duthie expects to have a yield of 600 gallons per minute.

Donala contracted to have the initial development water, which contains a high level of the mud used in drilling, hauled away. Once the water is mostly clear, the remainder will be released down Smith Creek. When their portion of the operation is finished, Henkel will regrade the site and put a chain-link fence around the well mud pit, which contained the water, media and bentonite mixture used during drilling. They will fill it in after it has had an opportunity to dry.

AmWest will conduct testing on the well.

Eventually, Donala will erect a stockade around the well controls and surround the site with a split-rail fence.

The district is holding off on construction of the pipeline from Tari Drive to the Holbein plant until the new well is complete. An 8-inch pipeline will carry the water along the right-of-way between Pleasant View Estates and the Ridge at Fox Run to Tari Drive. From there, a larger pipeline will eventually carry water to the treatment plant.

Due to the difficulty and expense involved in digging through the rock along Baptist Road to reach the Holbein plant, the district is considering boring through instead.

Classic asks Donala for sewer service to east side of Sanctuary Pointe

Duthie said he has been approached by Triview and Classic Homes about providing sewer service to homes on the east side of Sanctuary Pointe. As part of Classic’s concessions to homeowners in Kingswood Estates, Classic agreed not to run a sewer line through the subdivision, which was the only gravity-feed route available for a sewer line.

Donala has a lift station in nearby Fox Run, but has already promised service to Randall Construction, which plans to build 30 homes on 2.5-acre lots and 66 patio homes on the former Brown Ranch. The ranch property has already been annexed to the district. Donala’s lift station can handle only an additional 60 homes above the total number of patio homes Randall hopes to construct, which is insufficient to provide service to all the homes on the east side of Sanctuary Pointe.

Randall must gravity-feed through Sanctuary Pointe to reach Donala’s lift station or lift his waste to the Donala tank site in the park where it will gravity feed down Baptist Road.

Classic has proposed using Randall’s capacity until he constructs the patio homes. The development has not moved past the planning stage.

Duthie is still discussing the issue but has made no promises to Classic or Triview. He assured the board that he would charge rates that would reflect the total cost district customers pay for their service, including taxes, if an agreement was reached.

Other district operations

  • Duthie told the board that the redrill of well 2A is complete. He plans to get it equipped and ready for operation during the first quarter.
  • Well 9A went down in December. Operators found that the motor was burned up, but luckily it was still under warranty. The well will be operational again by the time it’s needed in the spring
  • Rocky Mountain Materials and Asphalt is installing the electrical lines along the north side of Baptist Road. When the work is complete, they will start on the water lines. The Gleneagle-Baptist intersection will be shut down for several weeks during construction.

District employees will study xeriscaping

Ladouceur and Mark Parker will attend the 2007 Peak to Prairie landscaping symposium at the Doubletree Hotel at the World Arena on Feb. 9-10 to learn more about xeriscaping. By educating Donala employees, the district hopes to incorporate xeriscaping on district property as well as provide expertise to customers wanting to know how to modify their landscaping to reduce water consumption.

The board went into executive session at 2:53 p.m. to discuss the purchase, acquisition, lease or transfer of water, and personnel matters.

The Donala board will hold its next regular meeting on Feb. 21 at 1:30 p.m. at the Donala office, 15850 Holbein Drive. Meetings are normally held on the third Wednesday of each month.

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Monument Sanitation District, January 18: Residential tap fees increase $500

By Jim Kendrick

The board of the Monument Sanitation District increased residential tap fees by $500 as well as fees for additional fixtures. The board also discussed potential inclusion issues for the rural Watt property, south of the current Monument town boundary, between Old Denver Highway and Monument Creek. A $60 credit for each connected user account was granted on Jan. 15. All board members were present.

Procedural question raised

At the start of the meeting, Director Kristi Schutz expressed concern about the other members of the board approving the first amendment to the cash-flow escrow agreement of the Amended Joint Use Agreement at the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility Joint Use Committee (JUC) meeting on Jan. 12. Schutz felt that this was an important enough issue that it should have been discussed as an agenda item during this regular board meeting prior to approval, and that a precedent might have been set. "I guess I just don’t want to see the JUC meeting where we do our business."

Background: The Tri-Lakes facility is jointly owned by the Monument and Palmer Lake Sanitation Districts and the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District. Several months ago, each district had agreed to increase the amount of cash escrowed to the facility for paying routine bills from $10,000 each to $17,000 to cover the "float" required until the owning districts transfer reimbursement funds to the facility checking account. Typically, when there is a significant decision to be made at a monthly JUC meeting, a quorum of directors from each of the three districts attends to immediately implement a decision rather than delaying ratification at subsequent district board meetings later in the month. The districts advertise the JUC meetings as regular board meetings in addition to the monthly board meetings held in the districts’ offices because three or more directors often attend JUC meetings.

District Manager Mike Wicklund said the simple escrow increase change to the joint use agreement had been previously discussed by all three boards and all had agreed to increase the amount "on loan" to the facility’s checking account from the original $30,000 to $51,000. The Monument check for $7,000 had already been issued to the facility. Wicklund said the other boards had previously agreed to the $7,000 change as well. The JUC meetings are advertised as Monument board meetings and a quorum of the four other boards had approved the amendment on Jan. 12.

Board President Lowell Morgan noted that the amendment was approved at the JUC meeting due to fiscal urgency. Board Secretary Glenda Smith added that the Woodmoor board had indicated that it reserved the right to discuss the specific wording of the escrow amendment at its January meeting and might bring back concerns. If Schutz or any other director had any concerns with the document, they could be brought up at the February JUC meeting, Smith said.

Wakonda Hills construction savings confirmed

Wicklund reported that the final payment of $95,277 to J&J Excavating, LTD, for the first phase of the Wakonda Hills sewer conversion project had been made. J&J had performed all its work at $40,000 less than the contract maximum. The district has offered the subdivision a program to abandon its grandfathered septic systems on lots smaller than the current 2.5-acre minimum that are roughly 30 years old or more, with the encouragement of the state and county health departments. Wicklund noted that J&J was able to reduce costs for the first phase despite substantial unexpected materials increases far above inflation after Hurricane Katrina. Material costs for the subsequent two phases of expansion will be even higher and inclusion-tap fees must increase to cover these costs.

Some tap fees increased

The board unanimously approved an immediate $500 increase for basic residential taps and light commercial taps, from $4,000 to $4,500 per lot for new construction, which includes up to 20 fixture units. The board also unanimously approved a $500 inclusion-tap fee increase for Wakonda Hills that goes into effect on Feb. 15, raising that cost to $5,500 per lot.

The fee for additional fixtures was also increased from $240 to $300 per fixture. This fixture fee increase of $60 each also applies to heavy commercial fixtures beyond the standard commercial allotment of up to 30 fixtures. The basic heavy commercial tap fee of $8,000 was not changed.

Wicklund noted that this tap fee increase was completely unrelated to the board unanimously approving a $60 credit for each connected user account. The $60 credit reimburses unbudgeted interest income that has not traditionally been used for operations or capital improvement expenses.

The board unanimously approved letters of engagement for consultant services for auditing, legal, information technology, and engineering services. A decision on the district’s accountant services was deferred until Feb. 15 to obtain more specific information on fees for 2007.

No objections raised to Watt inclusion:

Wicklund reported that the Watt inclusion would require construction of three lift stations. He noted that a primary access for the large parcel for proposed residential developments could be built on an existing 100-foot east-west utility right of way/easement from Mitchell Avenue to Old Denver Highway north of the hockey rink at much lower cost than extending Mitchell Avenue south from the wastewater facility to Baptist Road across a vast expanse of protected Preble’s mouse habitat. It was the consensus of the board after this preliminary overview that there is no reason to oppose the proposed Watt inclusion at this time.

Meeting schedule approved

The board unanimously approved two standard monthly meeting times for 2007:

  • Regular meetings will continue to be held at 6:30 p.m. on the third Thursday of the month at the district offices at 130 Second St.
  • JUC meetings are held at 10 a.m. on the second Tuesday of the month at the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Facility at 16510 Mitchell Ave.

The board also unanimously re-approved the current three posting locations of the district office, Monument Town Hall and the Monument Post office.

The meeting adjourned at 8:15 p.m. The next regular board meeting is on Feb. 15. Information: 481-4886.

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Triview Metropolitan District, January 24: Board to consider new commercial impact fee

By Elizabeth Hacker

The Triview Metropolitan board met Jan. 24 to discuss the agenda items that had been posted. The board excused Joe Martin, and no legal representative was present.

Kevin Burnett of Red Oak Consulting presented an update to the 2006 commercial impact fee study. In August, Burnett presented the study’s findings and suggested an impact fee based on approximately $14 per square foot of commercial floor space. He explained that the fee was based on infrastructure cost already incurred and estimated future cost divided equally among the anticipated future commercial developments. The board recoiled at this figure, as members felt it would be a deterrent to development and instructed Burnett to further study the issue and come back with a more reasonable figure.

In the ongoing study, Burnett used a different equation to develop a sliding-fee schedule based on approximately $11 per square foot that would charge a lesser fee to smaller commercial buildings, with the caveat that smaller commercial operations usually generate less traffic.

In response to questions from the board, district Director Larry Bishop reported that Burnett’s study was only the equation and that in February he would provide the board with actual examples with real numbers. He asked board members to evaluate the study’s findings and reserve their questions for the February meeting.

Snow removal cost hits $60,000

In the financial report, district administrator Dale Hill reported that the district had responded to the record snow accumulations by bringing on the 2007 snow removal contractor to assist the 2006 contractor through the end of the year. She reported that the district had expenditures of almost $60,000 for snow removal in December, but because the board had approved a $100,000 emergency contingency through the end of the year, it had not exceeded the funds available.

Water authority report

In the manager’s report, Bishop reported that with the formation of the new Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority (PPRWA), the former Palmer Divide Water Group had been dissolved. Triview’s membership dues of $6,700 are the same in 2007 but may increase in future years. He reported that the PPRWA was conducting the Water Infrastructure Planning Study to determine how the member water providers could work together to best use the available resources and reclaimed water, and to identify potential sources of surface water and how to make it available. He pointed out that Triview’s share of the study was assessed at $85,000 based on the numbers of taps at build-out, adding that this study had not been budgeted for 2007. Board President Steve Stephenson responded there was no additional money available for the study, to which Bishop replied the board would discuss financial matters in executive session and requested that the board to wait to vote on this issue until after they reconvened the regularly scheduled meeting.

Purchase of pump truck approved

Bishop asked the board for its approval to purchase a pump truck from Donala for $40,000, noting that the truck was in excellent condition and that the reason Donala was selling it was because they had purchased a larger pump truck. He reported that new, this truck would cost over $200,000, and that the truck was a good value. Stephenson suggested a lease-to-buy agreement to ensure that the truck was in fact in good working condition with payments the district could afford. Bishop responded that Donala was amenable to a payment plan that would work for the district. The board approved the purchase.

Pumping discrepancy resolved

At several previous board meetings, Bishop expressed serious concern over pumping statistics comparing the amount of water being pumped with that being used. He was happy to report that they had isolated the problem as system backwash that was not being metered and noted that the district was now above 85 percent efficiency in its pumping statistics. Chuck Ritter of Nolte Engineering noted that the meters were only accurate to within 3 percent, and therefore a pumping efficiency rate of 85 to 92 percent was well within an acceptable range.

Car wash agreeement reviewed

The board reviewed the draft agreement Bishop had given to Monument Marketplace project manager Rick Blevins to present to Big Wave Carwash. Blevins added that Big Wave representatives were digesting the agreement and that he anticipated he would hear back from them in a few weeks. Stephenson noted that in addition to lost residential tap fees and the cost of providing water, the district would lose the tax revenue from the homes replaced by the carwash. Blevins replied that the district would be maintaining infrastructure to one property rather than to several individual residences and therefore the tax received from Big Wave would be proportional to the services the district provided.

Smaller street signs in the works

Blevins reported that he was waiting for the new signage regulations to be approved by the town before installing new street signs and replacing others damaged by high winds and snow plowing. He said that reducing the size of street signs from 9 inches to 7 inches would lessen the wind load, noting that recent developments have come up with such long street names that the horizontal length of the sign act like sails and they have taken a beating this season. Blevins added that many sign posts had been toppled and that stronger metal post would be used in the future. Stephenson expressed concern over cracks in the pavements that may turn into potholes and undermine the road base of streets in the district. Bishop noted his concern and agreed that they should continue to monitor it so the potholes would be patched.

Development update

Bishop reported that John Laing Homes, the developer of Promontory Pointe, is ready to begin development while Classic Homes, the developer of Sanctuary Pointe, is not. Because they are jointly responsible for constructing the wastewater line along Baptist Road, Laing has agreed to design and construct the wastewater line (to Triview’s standards) along Baptist Road and initially provide funding for these improvements. Classic Homes has agreed to repay Laing two-thirds of the cost of the line. In a related matter, Chuck Ritter of Nolte Engineering reported that the sewer line along Baptist Road was not at the proper slope and undersized where it crossed over a culvert at Leather Chaps Drive. Bishop noted that this was unacceptable and said he would look into correcting it.

Bishop reported that Walgreen’s was about to break ground at the Monument Ridge shopping center. Blevins added that PetSmart and Chase Bank had signed on at the Monument Marketplace and construction should begin in the next few months.

Treatment facility estimated at $8 million

Bishop informed the board that the contractor estimate for completion of all phases for the wastewater treatment facility came in at about $8 million, with completion anticipated in 2008. He noted that Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment project administrator Bonie Pate had changed positions and that he would meet with the new administrator the following week to discuss the funding issues that had arisen over the equalization basins. Stephenson noted that the district should be paid in full and not left hanging over those expenses.

Posting locations and meeting schedule approved

As Colorado statute requires, the board designated the Tri-Lakes Tribune as newspaper for publication of legal notices, confirmed the Triview district office as the 24-hour posting location, confirmed the regular meeting date as the fourth Wednesday of the month at 4 p.m. to be held in the district headquarters building, and re-confirmed the three posting locations. Dale Hill was designated as the district’s election official and official custodian of public records. The board then approved contracts with the following consultants: Nolte Engineering, attorney Peter Susemihl, McDermott & Cowan P.C., Jim Thieme, and Pat Ratliff. The board also approved continuing the intergovernmental agreements with the Town of Monument.

In other matters, Bishop reported that the Monument Board of Trustees had requested a Jan. 31 dinner meeting with the district’s board of directors, to which the board agreed that these meetings were beneficial.

The board went into executive session at approximately 5:30 p.m. to discuss financial matters. It reconvened at approximately 6:25 p.m. and approved the expenditure of $85,000 for the Water Infrastructure Planning Study contingent upon availability of funds.

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Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District, January 11: Woodmoor looks at long-term plan

By Sue Wielgopolan

Consulting engineers Mike Rothberg and Steve Tamburini of RTW Engineering presented a program on the Woodmoor district’s long-range plan to the Board of Directors at the Jan. 11 meeting. The plan mapped out future large projects, including the importation of surface water. Woodmoor Lake figures prominently as a storage facility for drinking supplies.

The board also repealed its excess water policy and replaced it with the new supplemental water policy.

Long-range plan

Every three to five years, RTW reviews and updates the district’s long-range plan based on revised growth projections, existing and planned infrastructure, and current information about the overall condition of Denver Basin aquifers and the ability of well water supplies to meet present and future demand.

Rothberg and Tamburini discussed their assessment of Woodmoor’s water resources and wastewater handling capabilities and proposed options to meet Woodmoor customers’ future needs.

Tamburini stated that without the addition of new wells or other water sources, demand could outstrip the district’s current water system capabilities as early as 2011. Projections estimate total demand within the current district boundaries at build-out to be 6,600 single-family equivalents (sfe), which includes residential and commercial customers. (A single-family equivalent is a unit of measurement which represents the approximate volume of water used by an average single-family household.) Commercial customers range widely in the amount of equivalents each uses, depending on the business. Car washes and restaurants, for example, use much more water than offices.

With expansion of district boundaries expected in the future as the area continues to grow and more businesses move in, that number could increase by 1,200 to 7,700 sfe’s.

Lake Woodmoor will play a key role in optimizing the use of existing water resources. Once Woodmoor’s treatment facilities are equipped to handle the more stringent standards mandated by state surface water quality requirements, water stored in the lake will be used as a drinking (potable) source.

The district may then make full use of its effluent credits by pulling the maximum volume from Monument Creek allowed by the state and storing it in Lake Woodmoor. And by pumping well water into the lake during months of the year when use is low, Woodmoor will have water available to meet demand during the three months of the year when irrigation taxes the system.

Pulling non-potable water directly from the lake for use by large-volume irrigators such as Lewis-Palmer High School, the new high school and the golf course, will also reduce peak demand, postponing the need for new wells and allowing operating wells to pump at a more sustainable rate.

Drilling more wells, instituting conservation measures, and optimizing the district’s use of Lake Woodmoor for storage and to maximize effluent exchange credits will help stretch supplies. But ultimately Woodmoor will need to import surface water.

Tamburini presented a rough timeline for various district projects and their approximate costs, covering the years 2007-2016. The consulting firm proposes drilling six new wells within the next 10 years; four in the Arapaho aquifer and two in the Laramie/ Fox Hills. The plan includes major expenditures in the millions for surface water rights, a reservoir, and transmission pipelines. Smaller projects include existing well re-drills, treatment plant expansions, and the addition of pumps and pipelines.

Wastewater modeling capabilities will help RTW identify potential bottlenecks and make recommendations for pipeline upgrades and new line routes as the district grows.

To keep ahead of demand, water import projects will have to be initiated by at least 2016 but possibly earlier, depending upon population growth and aquifer depletion.

The associated cost projections were intended to provide Woodmoor with a framework to use in setting future water and wastewater rates, as well as planning for tax initiatives.

Tamburini told board members that the long-range plan could be entirely executed by Woodmoor acting alone; it did not take into consideration cooperative projects among other Palmer Divide-area communities. Opportunities available through joint projects that consolidate and share infrastructure and resources could significantly impact cost estimates and alter the district’s long-range plan.

JUC wraps up management transition loose ends

Benny Nasser, Woodmoor’s delegate to the Joint Use Committee (JUC), reported on the group’s Jan. 9 meeting. The JUC directs the activities of the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility and is composed of members from the three owning districts: Palmer Lake and Monument Sanitation districts, and Woodmoor.

As of January, the plant is an independent entity and no longer relies on Woodmoor to perform administrative functions, including bookkeeping. In order to have sufficient funds to pay utility bills by the due date, which frequently falls before some of the district boards meet and are able to approve payment of their portion, JUC members decided to increase the amount of cash in the plant’s escrow account.

All three districts signed the First Amendment to the Cash Flow Agreement, which adds an additional $7,000 to the original $10,000 each district keeps in the account. Nasser said that although he approved the amendment, at a later date he would like to revisit a change made by Palmer Lake.

The committee also authorized facility manager Bill Burks to co-sign Tri-Lakes facility checks to cover utility bills of any amount or miscellaneous expenses up to $2,000, as long as those checks are also signed by another designated signer. Two approved signatures are still required on all checks. The change will be incorporated in the policies and procedures manual, and Burks will be added to the bank’s authorized signatures list.

A memorandum authored by Woodmoor attorney Erin Smith and distributed to the board by Woodmoor manager Phil Steininger verified that the plant’s governmental immunity will not be compromised by its separation from former executive agent Woodmoor and its present status as an independent facility.

Nasser summarized other committee discussions and actions:

  • Scott Eilert resigned as operator to accept a position with Pueblo West, which is closer to his home in Canon City. The plant is advertising to fill the position.
  • Due to a clerical error in the billings for October and November, the districts were incorrectly charged. Steininger distributed corrected sheets. December’s billings were adjusted to correct for overcharges and undercharges.
  • The facility will use a different lab for "wet" testing, which determines whether plant effluent is toxic to stream organisms. The lab Tri-Lakes had been using is consolidating its testing operations at one location in West Virginia. Due to several factors, including stringent state requirements on temperature of the sample on arrival, Burks has decided to use an alternate lab in Denver.
  • The facility is applying for a 404 permit though the Army Corps of Engineers to stabilize an erosion-prone bank along Monument Creek behind the plant. Burks hopes to complete the project within the months specified for work in Preble’s meadow jumping mouse habitat.
  • Effluent copper levels for December were measured at 5 micrograms, which is well below the state’s limit.
  • The committee requested an update by RTW engineer Rothberg and attorney Tad Foster on the status of a copper study commissioned by the JUC. The conclusions reached in the study, if accepted by the state, could result in relaxed allowances for copper levels in the plant’s effluent.
  • Members continued to discuss the feasibility of purchasing land for use as a sludge-spreading site.

Woodmoor joins new water authority

Steininger announced that the Palmer Divide Water Group had been officially dissolved, being replaced by the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority. Woodmoor joins Palmer Lake, Monument, the Donala, Cherokee and Academy Water and Sanitation Districts, and Triview Metro District as members.

He told the board that several water issues were discussed during the authority’s executive session. Steininger reserved further disclosure of the details for Woodmoor’s executive session.

South Treatment Plant nearly ready for surface water treatment

Operations manager Randy Gillette told the board that he expected the South Treatment Plant to begin processing surface water from the lake during the week of Jan. 15, despite problems with one of the filters. Woodmoor operators had conducted four to five hours of "jar testing" and had also tested the surface water line at 2,800 gallons per minute. Gillette said the system had been flushed and was "good to go."

The clogged underdrains that have resulted in the shutdown and repair of one filter are probably out of warranty, according to Gillette. (Underdrains are protected openings in the bottom of a large filter that allow processed water to exit the filter body.) Each underdrain costs approximately $1,000, and 18 are malfunctioning. The temporary loss of the single filter will not affect Woodmoor’s plans to treat lake surface water.

Sewer pipe lining operations continue

Gillette said that despite weather delays, contractor TEC continues to make progress in completing the sewer lining work initially scheduled for 2006. The process involves inserting folded PVC into decaying clay lines, then heating and inflating the PVC to conform to the inner contours of the older pipes, which essentially provides a surface resistant to penetration by tree roots and leakage into and out of the lines without the expense of excavation and replacement.

However, not all lines are good candidates. Gillette said that in some areas, the clay pipes are so badly damaged that they must be dug up and replaced with PVC.

At present, Woodmoor is concentrating on areas servicing many homes or those lines that are critical to collection, and bypassing clay pipe that is in good condition.

The operation has revealed several dead-ended lines; the district may install manholes to make the lines easier to clean.

TEC will proceed immediately into lining work scheduled for 2007 after completion of the 2006 work.

New Well 20 nearly complete

District engineer Jessie Shaffer informed the board that AmWest had begun installing the test pumping equipment on Well 20, located near the intersection of Higby and Fairplay, the previous day. The district was scheduled to conduct a step test, which consists of pumping at intervals of increasing rates. The step test gives hydrologists an idea of the well’s maximum production rate. Then AmWest was expected to begin the constant rate test, which consists of pumping for 24 hours at the maximum production rate (assessed from the step test). Hydrologists would monitor the water level and measure the amount of drawdown. The results will give the district an idea of what it can expect for constant yield.

The district planned to do site grading after development was finished at the end of January.

Shaffer expects to have the pipeline plan and specifications complete before the end of February, with construction commencing in March. The well should be up and running by June.

Board President Jim Taylor asked if the water pumped during testing could be recovered and put into the lake. Steininger replied that the site was too far away to make recovery practical, and that the water would be released down a nearby drainage ditch.

Meter replacement program finishes on time, under budget

Shaffer reported that the meter replacement program, which was begun on Jan. 18, 2006, is basically complete. Only 11 meters of the 2,734 scheduled for replacement remained to be changed. The program included residential and commercial meters.

He showed a slide of the projected timeline with the completed work timeline superimposed. Although the work was slightly behind schedule until September 2006, technicians were able to catch up when one of the operators was brought over from other duties to help.

As expected, district technicians found problems with unauthorized hookups and other equipment associated with water service. Shaffer said the district was notifying its customers of violations and/or necessary repairs.

He said 45 backflow preventers require rebuilding. Technicians also observed about 20 unauthorized connections (lines hooked up before the meters), and not all were for irrigation. Some supplied outdoor faucets; others carried water to ice makers or humidifiers.

Only 16 shutoff notices had been issued; service was terminated in only 2 locations.

Shaffer had budgeted $567,600 for the project; he actually spent $540,171. A portion of the budget had been set aside for any contract services that became necessary to keep the project on schedule.. As part of the district’s incentive program, Shaffer had promised that a portion of any cost savings would be distributed among employees participating in the meter exchange project. Half of the unused allocation was equitably divided and awarded to those employees as part of a quarterly bonus.

Subdivision update

Shaffer briefed board members on the status of construction projects within the district:

  • Woodmoor conditionally accepted the utilities for the Crossroads at Monument, located east of the former BP station and north of Highway 105. Construction has moved inside the building; only one space remains unoccupied. The tenants are in the review phase with the Regional Building Department. The first bay will house a coffee shop, the second bay a drop-off location for a dry cleaner. Other tenants include a nail salon, hair salon, small fitness center, and 3 Margaritas restaurant.
  • The YMCA is moving forward with construction documents and expects to begin submitting plans to the district in February.
  • The new Lewis-Palmer School District 38 high school is in the plan development phase, and a plan review with Woodmoor is expected at the beginning of March.

Lake Woodmoor dam to undergo repairs

Steininger told the board he met with John Sikora of URS Dam Engineering Services to determine whether the Woodmoor Lake dam needs repair work. The slide gate on the toe drain, which is used to drain water from the lake, is not operating properly.

Sakora reviewed the construction profiles and topography of the dam. He told Steininger that given the age of the structure, he felt it was worthwhile to conduct a more thorough examination. After viewing a video of the toe drain, Sikora concluded that the dam is structurally sound,, but in light of the dam’s age he recommended proactive repairs.

Sikora will present a proposal for dam modifications to the board in February.

New supplemental water policy

Last year, Woodmoor directors suspended the excess water policy, revised several aspects of the policy, and included a new three-tier rate and allocation structure. Members directed attorney Smith to formulate a resolution incorporating those changes, which would then be added to Woodmoor’s Rules and Regulations. Smith presented Resolution 0702 at the January meeting for approval by the board.

The key points of the new policy are summarized as follows:

  • Tier 1. Woodmoor customers are allocated 0.5 acre-foot of water annually for every acre owned. There is no additional charge above the service and volume rate. Any customer wishing to use more than the Tier 1 allocation must appear before the board with a formal request specifying the amount needed.
  • Tier 2. The petitioner will pay a base rate (currently $20,000) for each acre-foot of supplemental water requested and granted by the board over the district’s standard allocation of 0.5 acre-foot per acre, not to exceed 1.0 acre-feet of supplemental water for every acre of land owned. (The former rate was $14,000 per acre-foot.)
  • Tier 3. Should the petitioner want to buy more than 1.0 acre-foot of supplemental water for each acre they own, the charge would be 150 percent of the base rate provided that the board grants the tier 3 request. (In other words, at the current base rate, the owner would pay $30,000 per acre-foot for Tier 3 water.)
  • Customers will be charged a higher rate for use of water in excess of their total water use allocation (i.e., standard allocation added to any supplemental water service the property owner may have purchased at some previous point). The charge for overuse will be 1.65 times the supplemental water base rate per acre foot of water used over the property owner’s total allocation.
  • Petitioners have 365 days from the time the board approves the supplemental water request to hook into Woodmoor’s system and activate their supplemental allocation.
  • The availability of and fee for supplemental water will be periodically reviewed by the board and revised if necessary.

Members voted unanimously to approve Resolution 0702.

Other business

  • The directors voted unanimously to retain last year’s officers. Taylor will again serve as board president, Nasser as vice president, Elizabeth Hacker as secretary, and Jim Wyss as treasurer.
  • Steininger told members that the YMCA is investigating other alternatives to cash payment for supplemental water.
  • The board passed Resolution 0701, which is a bookkeeping measure enabling the board to conduct business. Along with other functions, it authorizes legal counsel to perform duties in conformance to state statutes, and names The Gazette and the Tri-Lakes Tribune as the official publications that will be used to give notice of meeting dates and board activities. The resolution also specifies the Woodmoor District office, the Woodmoor Improvement Association office, and the People’s National Bank on Woodmoor Drive as the locations where meeting dates and other notices will be posted.
  • Steininger told the board that he would distribute the first draft of Woodmoor’s emergency preparedness plan at the February meeting. The plan is required by the state for any dam which, if breached, could result in loss of life.

The public portion of the meeting adjourned at 3:18 p.m., and the board went into executive session to discuss the purchase, acquisition, or sale of water rights; to consult with its attorney on specific legal questions related to negotiating positions; and to discuss personnel matters. The next regular meeting of the Woodmoor board will take place on Feb. 8 at 1 p.m. at the Woodmoor office, 1845 Woodmoor Dr.

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Donald Wescott Fire Protection District, January 17: Board switches auditors

By Jim Kendrick

After an executive session to receive legal advice from the district’s attorney, Tim Schutz, the Donald Wescott Fire Protection District board opted to change auditors Jan. 17. Director Kraig Sullivan was absent.

Negotiations with Colorado Springs continue

The executive session began at 7:10 p.m. and ended at 8:01 p.m. No decisions were made after the board returned to open session. The board asked Schutz to continue discussions with the City of Colorado Springs regarding the long-standing contract for providing emergency services in the part of the city adjacent to Wescott to the south.

New audit firm selected

The district solicited proposals from regional firms for performing the 2006 audit. The estimated maximum cost from the district’s current auditor, Hanson & Co. of Denver, was $6,800, while the proposal from Osborne, Parsons, & Rosacker of Colorado Springs proposed a cost ranging from $4,500 to $4,800. The department has used Hanson & Co. for many years.

Board President Brian Ritz said the district had to ask the state for an extension of the due date for the 2005 audit by Hanson through no fault of the district. Ritz also noted that board Treasurer Dave Cross had to go to Denver to facilitate submission of the final 2005 report to the state by Hanson. Cross recommended switching to Osborne due to comparable experience, lower cost, and closer proximity to the district. The board unanimously approved his recommendation.

Chief’s report

Chief Jeff Edwards reported the district made 122 runs in December. The total runs for the year were 1,141 of which 798 were in the district and 343 were for automatic aid or mutual aid outside the district. Edwards noted that there were 69 calls during the first major storm in December, most of which were stranded-motorist calls. The district had 17 people on shift during this storm (4 full-time and 13 volunteers).

Wescott and the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Authority established a northern emergency operations center for calls in the northern end of El Paso County. Calls were sent to all north units, and the closest units with the optimum type of available equipment at that time responded to calls during this period of unusually high activity. One example Edwards noted was Wescott picking up an emergency prescription and delivering it to a Palmer Lake resident.

Wescott will organize volunteer citizens with four-wheel-drive vehicles who can assist in future storms. Edwards is developing a plan to use Citizen Emergency Response Team (CERT) trained teams to respond to stranded-motorist calls and transport people to a central shelter. This will help keep emergency crews available for medical or fire calls. With more responders available, a stranded-motorist call will be less likely to turn into an emergency call due to more expeditious and prioritized responses. Edwards will publicize the new program when it is finalized. Residents can volunteer now at 488-8680. More information is available at the Wescott web site: www.wescottfire.org.

Edwards also reported that four firefighters attended wildfire academy training in Sterling. They completed certifications for crew boss and engine boss.

Assistant Chief Vinny Burns reported on the new pumper engine currently under construction. The engine cab and chassis are being painted red, and fabrication by Central States is on schedule.

All Wescott employees will be evaluated quarterly on their goals and objectives for the new year. All operational personnel will be required to perform 20 hours of documented training in fire and emergency medical service, as well as prevention, each month. A physical fitness and nutrition regimen is being set up for employees to achieve higher training levels. Continuing education is available through Pikes Peak Community College. Capt. Sean Pearson completed his EMS degree in 2006.

Edwards also noted that the district continues to upgrade individual firefighter equipment to match the higher level of qualifications and certifications the staff is achieving. Edwards noted that the district’s employees are all completing emergency management training. Ritz suggested that district firefighters take part in weapons of mass destruction training offered in Colorado Springs when time and training slots permit. Health screenings are being scheduled for all staff in 2007 as well.

The meeting adjourned at 8:54 p.m.

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The next regular meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Feb. 21 at Station 1, 15415 Gleneagle Drive. Meetings are normally held on the third Wednesday of the month. Information: 488-8680.

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Tri-Lakes Fire Protection District, January 24: Fire authority and districts end year within budget; board discusses Palmer Lake ambulance service

By John Heiser

The Tri-Lakes Fire Protection District Board of Directors held its regular monthly meeting Jan. 24. The meetings of the Woodmoor-Monument Fire Protection District board and Tri-Lakes-Monument Fire Rescue Authority board scheduled for the same night were cancelled because three of the five members of the Woodmoor-Monument district board were unavailable due to illness and travel, so a quorum could not be achieved.

All five members of the Tri-Lakes district board were present.

Financial report

Tri-Lakes district treasurer and Fire Authority treasurer John Hildebrandt presented the final amended 2006 budget for the two districts and the authority. He reported that the authority received 101 percent of the $3.23 million in revenue anticipated for the year. The revenue exceeded the budget by $34,077.

Ambulance revenues ended the year at $422,115, which is 121 percent of the $350,000 budgeted for the year.

Total income from specific ownership taxes of $312,626 lagged at 91 percent of the budgeted amount for the year.

Hildebrandt said the Woodmoor-Monument district received $1.24 million in revenue and had expenses of $1.15 million, for a surplus of $92,002. The Tri-Lakes district received $2.03 million in revenue and had expenses of $2.09 million, for a deficit of $62,305.

A year-end amendment to the Tri-Lakes district’s budget was approved in December, adding $175,000 to the budget. Hildebrandt reported that the Tri-Lakes district ended the year under the amended budget expenses by $81,052 (3.73 percent) and the authority ended the year under the budgeted expenses by $170,619 (5 percent).

Without the budget amendment, the Tri-Lakes district was over budget in revenue by $31,643 (1.6 percent) and over budget in expenses $93,948 (4.71 percent). Hildebrandt said that if it had not been for the unexpected expenses of $90,443 to repair Station 2 and delays in receiving the $60,000 ambulance grant from the state, the Tri-Lakes district would have been under budget in expenses. Since the Tri-Lakes district was over the un-amended budget in expenses, the authority ended the year over the un-amended budget in expenses by $4,381 (0.14 percent).

Hildebrandt noted that the districts have adequate reserves or an adequate bank line of credit to cover expenses through the early part of 2007 until they begin to receive property tax revenues in February and March.

Palmer Lake ambulance service

Larkspur has been providing ambulance service to Palmer Lake since Oct. 1, 2006. Prior to that, the Tri-Lakes district had provided ambulance service to the town for many years.

Tri-Lakes President Charlie Pocock reported that he and other representatives of the Tri-Lakes district met with Palmer Lake representatives and discussed a potential agreement to have the Tri-Lakes district again provide ambulance service. Pocock said, "We respect Larkspur." He added that Palmer Lake needs to review response times on medical calls since the town switched to using Larkspur.

Rick Barnes, Tri-Lakes district director, noted that extending service to Palmer Lake is a financial drain on the Tri-Lakes district because the revenue from medical calls there does not offset the additional costs. But he then added, "It makes no sense for Larkspur to serve Palmer Lake." Barnes cited a recent incident in which the Larkspur ambulance did not reach the scene until 19 minutes after the call to 911. Fortunately, the patient, who was then transported to the hospital, survived the incident.

Station 2 update

Barnes, also the architect for Station 2, reported that he is continuing to work with the contractor to try to resolve the remaining problems with the project. He recommended that the district contact an attorney because some of the issues will likely go to arbitration. Pocock said the district should also pursue an insurance claim based on some of the issues.

Impact fee update

Chief Robert Denboske reported that the Town of Monument’s procedure for collecting the impact fees is working well. He said that from Dec. 10 through Jan. 10, the district received $9,696.

Battalion Chief Bryan Jack added that the town has changed its application forms to include the impact fee. Pocock said, "Monument did a sterling job on this."

Denboske noted that so far, the process with El Paso County is not operating smoothly. He added that the district is working to provide the data the county is requesting.

Merger update

Pocock reported that the representatives of the Tri-Lakes and Woodmoor-Monument districts met and agreed to hire an attorney to assist in developing a merger agreement. They are scheduled to meet again Feb. 22.

Jack reported that the inventory of the Woodmoor district’s assets has been completed.

Ambulance damage

Denboske reported on two accidents involving the new four-wheel-drive ambulance while it was responding to calls during recent snowstorms. The chief added that although the vehicle was damaged, it is still usable.

Lights and siren policy

Pocock reported on recent phone calls from residents who had near-collisions with fire equipment responding to emergency calls. The drivers could not see one another because of large snow banks lining roadways at intersections.

Jack noted that the fire authority receives many noise complaints from residents regarding use of sirens. He added that state law says use of lights and siren is at the discretion of the driver.

Director John Hartling said that in the event of an accident, failure to use all available warning devices creates liability for the drivers of the emergency equipment. He urged the chief to advise the fire authority’s drivers that it is in their best interest to use lights and siren.

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The Tri-Lakes-Monument Fire Rescue Authority board normally meets the fourth Wednesday of each month following the meetings of the boards of the Tri-Lakes Fire Protection District and the Woodmoor-Monument Fire Protection District. The next meeting will be held Feb. 28 at Tri-Lakes district Station 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 District 38 School Board, January 18: Blanch named superintendent; Citizens question handling of Pomarico’s departure

Click on the photos to zoom in and view additional photos

Below: John Magerko and Deborah Goth received commendation certificates and thanks from board members LouAnn Dekleva and Jes Raintree for their work as co-chairs of the bond campaign committee last fall. Photos by John Heiser

Click on the photo to zoom in and view additional photos

Below: (L to R) Palmer Lake Elementary School teacher Steve Weiss with students Quinn Tirpak, Andrew Sargent, Codi Inloes-Williams, and Carley Wilcox. During the school board meeting, Jan. 18, the students presented the designs of the cathedrals they had constructed.

Click on the photo to zoom in and view additional photos

Below: Computer-generated 3D view of the proposed entrance to the second high school. The image is part of a 3D tool for exploring the evolving design of the building. During the school board meeting, Jan. 18, Superintendent Ray Blanch presented portions of a 3D tour of the new building.

Click on the photo to zoom in and view additional photos

By John Heiser

At the Lewis-Palmer District 38 School Board meeting Jan. 18, the board unanimously approved appointment of Ray Blanch as the new superintendent of schools. School board President Jes Raintree said Blanch, who has been with the district for 6 years, "meets or exceeds all the qualifications." She described him as "knowledgeable and sincere." Blanch’s employment contract covers Jan. 1, 2007, through June 30, 2008.

Regarding the departure of former Superintendent Michael Pomarico, Raintree described alternative possible scenarios considered and noted that the separation agreement was the least expensive option to the district. She added that the $244,262 in compensation and severance payments to Pomarico is "a big chunk of change we would have liked to spend on other things." She noted that there was no scandal or impropriety and nothing illegal associated with Pomarico’s departure, nor were any students put at risk.

During citizen comments, Tim Rector, Kathy Weiler, Candy Torrance, Lindsay Clewe, Hilary Brendemuhl, and Mary Koehler expressed concerns regarding the contract the district signed with Pomarico, communications between the board and the community, and the effects on teachers and the district. Several of the speakers expressed support for Blanch.

Rector said, "It is OK to admit when you are wrong" and called for the district to provide the maximum disclosure of information legally allowed.

Torrance said, "We need transparency in the handling of public funds."

Clewe said, "The board needs to address the perception that they are not being up-front." She added, "I’m not just upset. I’m outraged. You have lost my confidence."

Referring to comments blaming the problem on Pomarico’s attorney, Brendemuhl said, "The ultimate responsibility lies with the board." She expressed dissatisfaction that the board so quickly decided to sign a contract with Blanch. Since three board positions are up for election in November 2007, Brendemuhl said the board should have made a temporary appointment and left the final decision to the next school board.

Koehler said the board’s recent actions may result in more teacher departures and may make it harder to attract good teachers. She encouraged the board to provide immediate financial incentives for dedicated teachers to stay with the district.

Update on second high school

Jeffrey Chamberlin of RLH Engineering presented the following status for the second high school project:

  • A master program budget totaling $65.01 million has been prepared that identifies major project elements: $42.01 million for construction of the second high school; $6.18 million for purchase of land for the second high school; $4.93 million for improvements to Lewis-Palmer High School (LPHS); $3.83 million for furnishing, fixtures, equipment, and technology; and $8.06 million for a variety of services and fees including architectural and engineering fees, owner representative services, commissioning services, legal fees, geotechnical testing, and tap fees.
  • A funding schedule was developed to help plan investment of bond proceeds.
  • The schematic design was completed with information on building footprint, elevations for construction, mechanical and electrical planning, and site plans for grading. The design calls for 230,000 square feet, about 10,000 square feet more than originally anticipated.
  • The cost estimate based on the schematic design came in about 10 percent over budget. That has since been reduced to 5-7 percent over budget. Chamberlin characterized that as "within the limits of the contingency." He added that the site condition has contributed to the costs, saying that there is a significant amount of rock about 4 feet below the surface and that about 700,000 cubic yards of earth must be moved.
  • The final traffic study has been completed based on a capacity of 1,800 students at the new school. The county’s Major Transportation Thoroughfares Task Force approved the access plans.
  • Non-potable irrigation water planned for the new high school may also be available to the Lewis-Palmer middle school. Chamberlin said that although the non-potable water infrastructure is not likely to be completed prior to landscaping the second high school campus in fall 2007, it should be operational before the opening of the second high school.
  • Seven responses were reviewed for a commissioning engineer to shadow the engineering team and ensure the efficiency and sustainability of the building design. The board unanimously approved entering into contract negotiations with E-Cube, Inc., to provide services as the commissioning agent for the second high school.
  • Groundbreaking for the second high school is scheduled for April 2007, with building occupancy projected for August 2008. In response to a question from board member Stephen Plank, Chamberlin said, "We will make the schedule."
  • RLH has met with the YMCA to begin coordinating the Y’s plans and the plans for the new LPHS access from Jackson Creek Parkway.
  • Cost estimates are being reviewed for the LPHS stadium improvements that include a new track surface, synthetic turf, bleachers, concessions, restrooms, field house, lighting, and scoreboards.

The board addressed a number of other topics including:

  • Student Highlights – Palmer Lake Elementary School students Carley Wilcox, Quinn Tirpak, Andrew Sargent, and Codi Inloes-Williams presented the cathedrals they had constructed during their architectural exploratory class led by teacher Steve Weiss. Their study of architecture integrated other subjects such as social studies and technology. LPHS students Katie Rearigh (plaintiff’s attorney), Haley Householder (witness), and Jansen McAntee (defense attorney) presented direct examination of a witness and closing arguments from a civil lawsuit case that is part of a competition in which the Mock Trial Team will participate at the El Paso County courthouse.
  • Commendations – Deborah Goth and John Magerko received commendation certificates and thanks from the board for their work as co-chairs of the bond campaign committee last fall.
  • LPHS Student Council report – Kate Puckett, student body treasurer, announced that five groups had each received $1,000 from the student council for projects to change the world, community, or school. The projects will be finished in April. Food distributor Coleman Foods is helping with a tree donation project involving schools throughout Colorado to raise $20,000 to plant 40,000 trees in the Hayman burn area.
  • Telephone and Network Projects approved – The board unanimously approved projects to upgrade the district’s telephone system and wide-area network. Trillion was selected as the vendor. Trillion is donating $10,000 toward distance learning technology for the second high school.
  • Open Enrollment Policies reviewed – The board accepted as a first reading several revisions to the open enrollment policies to bring the policies and procedures in line with the new open-enrollment window process.
  • Naming Committee for the second high school appointed – The board appointed the following people to serve on the committee to gather recommendations for names for the new high school: Debbie Leasure and Becky Yoder (co-chairs), Joanne Jensen (secretary), Cathy Wilcox, Danielle Marks, Laurie Caves, and Tim Rector. District Public Information Officer Donna Wood will serve as a nonvoting member. The school board plans to select a name for the new school at its meeting in March.
  • Audit Committee – The board conducted a first reading of the formation, policy and charge for the Audit Committee and will consider approval of these documents next month.
  • District Accountability Advisory Committee (DAAC) report – Leasure reported good participation at DAAC meetings this year. In January, seven schools presented reports about parent involvement in the schools and the effects on student achievement. In February, the DAAC will conduct a workshop. In March and April, school annual reports will be given.
  • Calendar Adjustment Report – Administrators are working to address a shortage in student/teacher contact time due to winter storms. The high school and middle schools are not a concern at this point; however, there are concerns at the elementary school level due to planned early-release days. A recommendation will be made to the board regarding calendar adjustments following completion of the administrators’ study.
  • Boundary Report – Blanch reported on the work of the attendance boundary committee. In February, three public meetings (Feb. 6, 8, and 12, 7 p.m., at the district’s Learning Center) will be held to seek input on proposed scenarios to address changing boundary needs. The proposals will be placed on the district’s Web site to solicit additional community input. The committee will present 3-4 scenarios with their strengths and weaknesses to the board at the March board meeting.
  • School Accountability Reports (SARs) – Marie Revak presented a summary of the district’s SARs for 2005-06. Five district schools have been named a John Irwin School of Excellence. Two of those are part of the Monument Academy. Revak expressed concern with how the state decides each year how many schools to accept as excellent and then grades schools on a bell curve. Revak added that the state is considering legislation to track longitudinal growth of individual students.
  • Board Member Comments – Board members thanked the district administrative team for its leadership and keeping the focus on the students through the changes over the past few months and offered to meet to discuss residents’ concerns.

At the end of the meeting, the board held an executive session on a student issue and contract negotiations.

**********

The Lewis-Palmer School District 38 Board of Education normally meets on the third Thursday of each month at the Learning Center of the Lewis-Palmer Administration Building, Second and Jefferson. The next meeting is 7 p.m., Feb. 15 (not Feb. 22 as written in the paper).

The district’s Web site is at www.lewispalmer.org. The Monument Academy Web site is at www.monumentacademy.net.

Meeting highlights from the district’s Web site were used in preparing this article.

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El Paso County Planning Commission, January 16 and 23: Forest Lakes, Grandview projects approved

By Steve Sery

There were two meetings in January, as the commission tries a new schedule. The idea is to reduce the amount of time between meetings so that there is not as much pressure to get an item on the agenda. Hopefully this will produce more complete proposals with all the necessary back-up, agency reports and comments from the public.

Two items on the agenda involved northern El Paso County. Both were final plats and were on the consent calendar.

  • Forest Lakes Filing 3. Forest Lakes is located east of Old Denver Highway and north of Baptist Road. It is a PUD (planned unit development). Filing 3 is for 79 single-family lots on 40 acres. It is in accordance with the PUD and was approved unanimously.
  • Grandview Subdivision. This is a PUD of 60-plus acres located north of Hodgen Road, east of Highway 83 and west of Steppler Road. The plan is for 17 single-family lots, 4 are a minimum of 5 acres with the balance a minimum 2.5 acres. It is consistent with the PUD and was approved unanimously.
Two people at the hearing wanted to object to the Grandview Subdivision. They were not heard, as they arrived after the item was heard and approved. The other problem is that at final plat stage, unless there is a change from the PUD or preliminary plan, it is unlikely that the proposal will be denied. The people were advised to present their objections when this item is heard by the Board of County Commissioners.

Those who have an interest in an proposed project must make sure to be there when the item is heard and should voice their opinions early in the process, e.g., zoning, sketch plan or preliminary plan. Don’t wait for the final plat.

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Woodmoor Improvement Association, January 17: Superintendent reviews high school plans

By Chris Pollard

New Lewis-Palmer School District Superintendent Ray Blanch gave an updated presentation on planning for the new high school. While showing more detail, the plans have changed little since the last version. Residents present raised questions about plans for fencing and how to minimize the risk of fire to the residential area east of the site. Blanch suggested that this be addressed by representatives of the area at future planning meetings of the school construction committees.

Blanch said one obstacle was figuring out what to do with the trees currently on the site that need to be moved. He said he hoped they could be reused somewhere in the community.

Hans Post, president of the WIA, asked if the school district had talked to El Paso County about money to improve the various junctions on the way to the school. Blanch said that there would certainly be improvements to Monument Hill Road, but that they were still working with the county on other locations.

Other board members were concerned about the possibility of drivers taking short-cuts through Woodmoor if there was congestion at the Woodmoor Drive and Highway 105 intersection. Blanch said that some of this would be mitigated by a reduction in the number of student drivers because of new state legislation raising the driving age. Other residents raised concerns about the inadequacies of the first traffic studies. Blanch noted that there were now newer studies available and these had been discussed with the county several times. Audience members also questioned the brief discussion period for this issue, and Blanch suggested that they talk directly to members of the team planning the new school.

Director candidate qualifications discussed

In a previous meeting, a question arose as to who was qualified to be a director of the WIA. Post said that he had received a legal opinion on the matter, and the WIA documents say that a director must be an "owner of record" in Woodmoor. Any applicant would have to be listed on the El Paso County assessor’s record for the property. Allen McMullen, director of open space, was concerned whether the question had been posed correctly and that the board needed to determine whether a spouse not on the record would qualify. Post said the word "spouse" did not appear and it only covered "owner." He suggested that two or three of the directors get together and study the issue for a future presentation.

Employee evaluation procedure proposed

George McFadden, director of covenant control, presented a proposal to change the process for evaluating WIA employees and to add goals for each employee. He showed sample forms from his own employer and suggested that goals be written with each employee based on those of the WIA and others specific to the individual’s duties. The goals would be approved by the managers and then accepted by the board. Evaluations would follow the same path and be scheduled prior to the annual budget meeting. Previously, the timing was such that an incoming director would have to evaluate staff only a few months after being appointed. He also felt that with the higher level of review by the board, any favoritism or bias would be eliminated. Having goals and actions to achieve those goals would provide better service to Woodmoor residents going forward, McFadden said.

After some considerable discussion, the board voted to approve changing the basic review process and its timing. Details regarding the forms and goal setting would be left for the next board.

Toboggan Hill safety questioned

Kevin Nielsen, chief of Woodmoor Public Safety, said that with the recent snowfall, Toboggan Hill had become very crowded with people sledding. This had led to a number of safety problems and a number of accidents had occurred where people had run into trees or other people. One girl had to be transported by ambulance.

The sign that dictates what the hill can be used for is currently buried under the snow. It does not, however, address how people should behave when sledding. With 200 people present because of the good snow and clear skies, things have tended to get out of hand, Nielsen said. It was difficult for the Public Safety employees to be present full-time because of other responsibilities.

Post suggested that Allen McMullen, director of open space, look into the matter and come up with suggestions for the next meeting.

**********

The next board meeting will be Feb. 14 instead of the usual third Wednesday of the month.

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2006 Weather Summary

By Bill Kappel

Dec. 20th-21st blizzard

A major blizzard slammed Tri-Lakes starting on Dec. 20th and continuing through the mid-afternoon of the 21st. This storm also pounded most of the Front Range and Eastern Plains, shutting down travel and threatening lives. The first signs of this storm began to take shape early on the 17th, as the first in a series of cold fronts pushed into the region. These initial surges of cold air were not accompanied by any lift or moisture, so no more than flurries and fog formed over the next couple of days. Temperatures did remain on the cool side however, with highs holding in the 20’s and low 30’s for the next few days.

During this time, the storm gathered strength as it slowly moved through the desert Southwest. As this ball of energy approached the Front Range, a new area of low pressure rapidly developed in southeastern Colorado. The counterclockwise flow around this low drew moisture into the system and pushed it upslope against the Rockies and Palmer Divide.

Several other factors came into to play that allowed this storm to become so strong and damaging. One major factor was that it slowed down and stayed nearly stationary for more than 24 hours. Also, the pressure gradient between the center of low pressure and the area of high pressure building in behind the storm was steep (wind flows from high pressure to low pressure, like water flowing downhill, and the steeper the gradient the faster the winds) and this allowed winds to really howl for an extended period.

By the time the storm moved out of the region, 2-4 feet of snow had fallen, blanketing all of the Front Range and Eastern Plains in snow. Many areas were still digging out of the monstrous drifts when the next major snowstorm arrived a week later.

Dec. 28th-29th heavy snow

The second major snow storm in a week began dropping heavy snow on the Tri-Lakes region during the morning of the 28th. This one followed a similar life cycle to the previous week’s blizzard; however its position in relation to Tri-Lakes was not as conducive for heavy snow as the previous storm. Because of this, we "only" received 15-20 inches of fresh snow, while the southeastern Plains, southern I-25 corridor, and southern foothills received 3-4 feet, including a report of 60 inches near Raton Mesa!

Nonetheless, this was quite a storm, and when added to all the snow produced just a week prior, snow depths around the region were quite impressive, reaching 2-3 feet on the level. This storm helped bring December’s monthly snowfall total to record levels, with over 60 inches accumulating for the month.

October blizzard/heavy snow

Late on the 24th a powerful storm system began to move into the Pacific Northwest. As this storm moved toward Colorado on the 25th, moisture began to get drawn up from the Gulf of Mexico. This storm continued to deepen as it moved over western Colorado and turned along the Colorado-New Mexico border. In response to this, a strong area of low pressure developed over the southeastern corner of Colorado, turning the winds along the Front Range to the east/northeast.

All these factors combined to produce the classic setup for heavy snow and wind. And that’s just what we got on the 26th. Snow began to fall heavily around 2 a.m. and continued through late afternoon. Winds also picked up during the morning, and soon most roads in the region were impassible as snow and blowing snow made travel impossible. Schools, businesses, and the Colorado Springs Airport were closed, along with I-25 and Highway 83. Snow piled up quickly as well, with rates of over 2 inches per hour from mid-morning through early afternoon.

By the time it stopped snowing, over 2 feet of snow had fallen in only 15 hours. This turned out to be the largest snowfall in a 24-hour period in at least the last five years. Even the March 2003 blizzard didn’t deposit that much snow in a 24-hour period (of course that storm’s total snowfall was much higher but it accumulated over a 3-day period). Little did we know that this would be a sign of storms to come through the rest of the winter around Tri-Lakes.

Flash flooding and hail on June 25th

After a very dry spring around Tri-Lakes, Mother Nature started to make up the deficit in spades beginning on the first day of summer. From the 22nd to the 25th we had several rounds of strong to severe storms, with tornadoes reported 3 miles to the west of Elbert on the late afternoon of the 22nd. Closer to home, several of the storms produced large hail, including the storms on the 22nd and 25th. The strongest of the storms rolled through during the mid-afternoon hours on Sunday, the 25th. These storms produced torrential rains in a short time, causing extensive flooding, especially along the Cherry Creek drainage. Many dry channels quickly became raging torrents, especially from Highway 83 and County Line road east to Meridian Road and south to Woodmen Road. Areas within this box received 1-2 inches of rain and hail in about an hour. The flash flooding that resulted also caused some damage, with at least one house in the Walden neighborhood sustaining severe flood damage.

25 inches of precipitation June 1st through Dec. 31st

That’s right; the Tri-Lakes region received more precipitation during the last six months of the year than we average for an entire year. I don’t think anyone was complaining, however, because water is such a precious commodity around here. It’s important to remember that we live in a semi-arid environment where we are also on the edge of drought, so even in a year with such abundant moisture, conserve where you can and let Mother Nature do some of the work for you. On the other hand, it’s important to remember drought is defined in several ways. (*Definitions taken from http://drought.unl.edu/whatis/concept.htm)

Meteorological Drought*

Meteorological drought is defined usually on the basis of the degree of dryness (in comparison to some "normal" or average amount) and the duration of the dry period. Definitions of meteorological drought must be considered as region-specific since the atmospheric conditions that result in deficiencies of precipitation are highly variable from region to region. As for the Tri-Lakes region, we are not in a meteorological drought, as we have received normal or above normal precipitation over the past three years.

Agricultural Drought*

Agricultural drought links various characteristics of meteorological (or hydrological) drought to agricultural impacts, focusing on precipitation shortages, differences between actual and potential evapotranspiration, soil water deficits, reduced ground water or reservoir levels, and so forth. Many parts of Colorado had been suffering through this type of drought in recent years, but 2006’s abundant rainfall and snowfall have helped alleviate these concerns for the near future.

Hydrological Drought*

Hydrological drought is associated with the effects of periods of precipitation (including snowfall) shortfalls on surface or subsurface water supply (i.e., streamflow, reservoir and lake levels, ground water). The frequency and severity of hydrological drought is often defined on a watershed or river basin scale. Hydrological droughts are usually out of phase with or lag the occurrence of meteorological and agricultural droughts. It takes longer for precipitation deficiencies to show up in components of the hydrological system such as soil moisture, streamflow, and ground water and reservoir levels. This type of drought continues to be a major concern for the Tri-Lakes region, especially when considering aquifer levels in the region.

Socioeconomic Drought and Land Use

This type of drought is caused by over consumption of available water resources by humans. In this situation, the natural climate systems of a region are unable to produce enough water to support the consumption requirements placed on the system. This is currently the case around the Tri-Lakes region, where the average annual precipitation is not enough to supply/recharge the hydrologic system both above and below ground when compared to the demands for the water.

Weather Summary Table

The table below gives the 2006 yearly weather summary for the Tri-Lakes region. Note that the weather station is located one-half mile east of Highway 83 off Walker Road, at an elevation of 7,371 feet.

Bill's 2006 Weather Summary
  TEMPERATURE     PRECIP SNOW HEATING COOLING
     AVG AVG MONTHLY MONTHLY                EXTREMES FALL DEGREE DEGREE
     MAX MIN AVG NORMAL HIGH LOW     DAYS DAYS
                     
JAN 44.1 16.8 30.3 29.4 60 -4 0.53 9.1 1066 0
FEB 36.3 9.3 22.8 25.8 68 -15 0.40 9.5 1104 0
MAR 47.0 20.7 33.9 35.1 66 2 1.46 16 952 0
APR 61.2 29.0 45.1 43.1 80 19 0.78 6.8 547 0
MAY 71.2 36.5 53.9 52.4 86 19 1.06 1.3 351 3
JUN 78.4 45.1 61.7 59.2 88 37 3.48 0 73 43
JUL 80.7 52.9 66.7 67.5 91 45 5.10 0 27 85
AUG 76.3 50.8 63.5 63.1 86 39 3.27 0 69 28
SEP 63.7 35.7 49.7 55.3 78 24 3.91 0.5 404 0
OCT 55.7 28.7 42.3 45.4 77 11 3.48 36.4 698 0
NOV 48.1 21.3 34.7 33.2 73 -10 0.45 8.5 868 0
DEC 35.8 14.0 24.9 26.3 56 -12 4.80 62.6 1236 0
                   
ANNUAL 59.3 30.6 45.0 44.7 91 -15 28.72 150.7 7395 159
SEASON             21.01 108.0 3302 113
***NOTE: BOTH SNOWFALL AND HEATING DEGREE DAYS ARE TOTALED ON A SEASONAL BASIS (JUL 1 TO JUN 30)…AND ON A YEARLY BASIS (JAN 1 TO DEC 31).
***NOTE: BOTH NORMAL TEMPERATURES AND PRECIPITATION ARE TAKEN FROM THE CLIMATE DATA FROM MONUMENT AND BLACK FOREST COLORADO AS FOUND ON THE CLIMATE AVERAGES PAGE.
TEMPERATURE:
AVERAGE ANNUAL HIGH 59.3 NORMAL 59.5 DEPARTURE -0.2
AVERAGE ANNUAL LOW 30.6 NORMAL 29.8 DEPARTURE 0.8
AVERAGE 2006 TEMPERATURE 45.0 NORMAL 44.7 DEPARTURE 0.4
HIGHEST 2006 TEMPERATURE 91 16-Jul
LOWEST 2006 TEMPERATURE -15 18-Feb

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January Weather Wrap

By Bill Kappel

Winter’s strong grip held tight for the second month in a row around the Tri-Lakes region, with a hefty snowpack remaining on the ground for the entire month.

Temperatures were well below average for the month and snow was again well above average. In fact, temperatures for the month were more than 10 degrees colder than average, and our season-to-date snow is more than twice the normal amount and we still have some of our snowiest months ahead! Several reinforcing shots of snow and cold moved through, with brief respites of sunshine and limited warmth. One of the main reasons for the cooler-than-normal temperatures throughout much of the month was the snowpack, which was 1-2 feet for most of the month. This acts like a refrigerator for the air near the surface and also reflects much of the sun’s energy that would have helped warm the air.

The month started off on the quiet side over the first four days, but this was short-lived as a quick burst of snow and cold air moved in on the 5th to deposit 6-10 inches of fresh snow. This replenished the snowpack around the area, and temperatures were chilly for the next few days. However, under clear skies, highs were able to warm back to seasonal and slightly above normal levels from the 8th to the 11th.

As has been the case since our first December blizzard, storms have been moving through about once per week, and this weekly pattern of storms bringing snow and cold continued during the second week of the month as another 4-6 inches of snow and sub-zero lows moved in starting on the 11th. This cold air stuck around for a while, as highs stayed below freezing from the 12th through the 23rd with one exception, we managed to reach a whopping 33 degrees F on the afternoon of the 17th. Overnight lows were well below zero as well on several mornings, bottoming out at 10-20 degrees below zero on the 15th.

Quiet conditions returned during the last week of the month, with highs reaching back into the 30s and 40s from the 23rd to the 26th, then a quick-moving cold front brought down temperatures and produced a little snow on the 27th. Highs that afternoon were stuck in the teens, but the next day saw plenty of sunshine and highs back in the low 40s. But more cold air was on the way, with a series of cold fronts moving through the region to end the month. Initially, the cold-air surges were only accompanied by some wind, which were also gusty at times, and this caused blowing snow problems over the exposed areas. More moisture became available on the 31st and we picked up some snow on the last day of the month.

A look ahead

February is often a transition month for the Tri-Lakes as we move from dry and windy conditions in January toward the snowy and unsettled conditions of March. Precipitation is still on the low side overall, with average high temperatures rising through the 30s. It can get very cold in February with arctic air making strong pushes into the region, however, days begin to get a little longer, which leads to some nice, sunny days. February 2005 was right around normal temperature-wise, while February 2006 was a little cooler than average. It looks like February 2007 will start off colder than normal as well. The official monthly forecast for February 2007, produced by the Climate Prediction Center (www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/predictions/30day/), is calling for equal chances of normal temperatures and better than average chances of above normal precipitation. For a complete look at monthly climate summaries for the Tri-Lakes region, please visit http://users.adelphia.net/~billkappel/ClimateSummary.htm.

January 2007 Weather Statistics

Average High 32.5° (-11.4°)
Average Low 6.3° (-8.9°)
Highest Temperature 52° on the 10th
Lowest Temperature -15° on the 15th
Monthly Precipitation 1.58" (+0.84")
Monthly Snowfall 26.6" (+13.1")
Season to Date Snow 134.6" (+74.2") (the snow season is from July 1 to June 30)
Season to Date Precip 22.61" (+10.7") (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 everyday and is a very important part of life for us on the Palmer Divide, and we want to hear from you. If you see a unique weather event or have a weather question, please contact us at our_community_news@hotmail.com.

Bill Kappel is a meteorologist and Tri-Lakes resident

Below: Snowdrift "giant kitty" taken during the blizzard Dec. 20, in the backyard of 418 Trail Head Road in Monument. Photo by Rebecca Whitfield

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Letters to Our Community

A vote of no confidence

As a longtime resident of Monument and D-38, I appreciate the many qualities of our local school system, especially since I have children attending D-38 schools and see first-hand how much better D-38 is than the public schools I grew up in.

However, the recent high school land and superintendent resignation/severance pay issues have made me seriously question the school board’s stewardship of precious district funds, so much so that the school board ought to issue a formal apology to the community and resign their positions immediately. Their cavalier and outrageous statements at the recent community meeting, lack of understanding of sound business principles and complete disregard for financial accountability cause me to have no confidence in their abilities and judgment.

As a result, I will never again vote for any D-38 tax increases and I encourage our citizenry to vote down any future tax increases until the Board proves itself more fiscally conservative and accountable to its constituency.

David Hollenbach

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The State of the Town of Monument

The state of the Town of Monument is strong and our future is full of promise. Over the last year we have seen the opening of Wal-Mart and Kohl’s, and many other new retail shops within the Town limits which help increase our revenue stream. Revenues are running in excess of 7% ahead of budget and expenditures are running more than 2% under budget. The Board of Trustees has also been successful in negotiating incentives with a resort developer, and if all goes well, this resort will bring in visitors from within Colorado as well as out of state. With these increased revenues we can now plan for major infrastructure improvements throughout the Town.

One major infrastructure success was the passage of Issue "A", the one cent sales tax within the Baptist Road Rural Transportation District boundaries, which will be used for the construction of the new Baptist Road and I-25 interchange. This construction will begin in the Spring of 2007 and should be completed within 15 to 18 months. The sales tax will go into effect on July 1, 2007. This interchange will provide a safe and efficient mode of transportation from the east side to the west side of Monument and allow better access to I-25. The interchange will connect with the current Baptist Road and Struthers Road improvement projects, creating a modern inter-modal transportation system where vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians can safely and easily use the corridor together.

The Town has successfully completed the planning and financing of several other large and greatly needed infrastructure projects. The new Police Station and Town Hall facility will be located at Beacon Lite Road and Highway 105. Construction is anticipated to begin this Spring, with completion in early to mid 2008. Improvements for Third Street are slated to start this year, as the engineering design team is currently being selected. It is hopeful that this project will be completed in the first half of 2008. The Board of Trustees and Town Staff are currently preparing a 10-year Capital Improvements Program (CIP) that will guide the Town into the next decade. Projects include improvements to Old Denver Highway, a pedestrian bridge over I-25 that will connect Lewis-Palmer High School to the Colorado Sports Center, a new proposed regional park, and a trail system that safely ties the east side to the west side for bicyclists and pedestrians. Among the many park improvements, we are especially pleased to announce that we now have real restrooms in Dirty Woman Creek Park!

We, as a Board, are very respectful of how hard you work to earn a living, and we are very aware of our responsibility to put your tax dollars to their best use. Our financial health has allowed the Town to pay off several long term loans which will save the Town over $530,000 in interest payments and accelerate two loans by a total of 25 years. These are your tax dollars at work, and none of this could be accomplished without you.

Water conservation and development will remain a top priority for the Town. A new water treatment plant began operation in January to better serve our residents. Meanwhile, your Board of Trustees, along with the newly formed Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority, are looking at ways to better utilize our current water supply, while planning for future water resource development.

None of these successes could be accomplished without the dedication, commitment, hard work, and professionalism of our devoted Town staff who come to work every day with a spirit of getting the job done.

Together we have achieved much, together we can achieve more, and together we can build a future for our children and their children, of which we can all be justifiably proud.

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Coverage questioned

I would like to make a correction to an article in Our Community News as referenced. The article entitled, "Palmer Lake Town Council Meeting, December 14, 2006," stated that I said, "Larkspur does not have anybody nearly as qualified as TLFPD." I would like the OCN to retract that statement as I never said it. Mayor Parker and Town Clerk Gray reviewed the tape recordings and they agree.

Let the record read as follows: The issues that I have brought up over the past several months surrounding the Ambulance Agreement for the Town of Palmer Lake have been about response times for medical calls in Palmer Lake.

In regards to the Larkspur Fire Department, Chief Baumgarner, and Chief Mills, the dialogue never included any discussion about their Department’s qualifications, capabilities, or training. I am confident that Larkspur’s personnel are fully-trained, highly competent, and totally professional.

The issue I presented to my peers on the Palmer Lake Town Council is simple - can Larkspur provide our citizens with medical attention in a timely matter?

I would like to recognize the contributions of the Larkspur Fire Department over the past couple months. Further, the Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department is a fine representative of our quality of life in Palmer Lake and I praise the time the volunteer firefighters and Fire Chief, Phillip Beckman, donate to our well-being.

Trish Flake

Editor’s Note: Reporter Jim Kendrick records all meetings of the Palmer Lake Town Council. The comment by Trish Flake that OCN printed was paraphrased from what she said at the meeting: "We have a very qualified type of officer at Tri-Lakes. We all know that. I can show you the type of personnel that responded to calls in July and August but they’re qualified. We don’t have anybody that is as qualified as closely as Tri-Lakes has." OCN stands by the report.

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Monument Hill Sertoma Red Kettles bring in more than $35,000

Monument Hill Sertoma (MHS) rang in $35,552.84 for the Salvation Army during their annual Christmas Red Kettle Program. MHS started ringing bells on Friday the Nov. 17 and ended on Christmas Eve. This amounted to 721 hours of bell ringing. MHS would like to thank Safeway, King Soopers, and Wal-Mart for allowing MHS to ring bells at their locations. Without them, this would not have been possible. MHS rang bells for 6-7 hours per day at each store except for the 2 days of the blizzard. MHS had the support of the Lewis-Palmer High School Serteen Club that rang bells at all 3 locations each Sunday except for Christmas Eve. The Boy Scout troops 6, 8, and 17 along with Cub Scout Packs 117 and 217 rang bells at all 3 locations on Saturday Dec. 9. American Legion Post (Tri-Lakes) 9-11 rang bells at Safeway on Dec. 2. Wal-Mart employees and a group of 4th grade girls from the Tri-Lakes area rang bells one afternoon. All this help is deeply appreciated. MHS would like to thank all the families in the area for their contributions. It shows that this area really cares about others.

Monument Hill Sertoma

Below:  (L to R) Mike Wicklund, Monument Hill Sertoma (MHS) Chairman of the Red Kettle Drive, Bob Robinson and Major Don Gilger of the Salvation Army, and MHS President Ron Pitt. Mike Wicklund is presenting a paper napkin IOU for $35,552.84 to the Salvation Army. The check is in the mail. Photo supplied by the Monument Hill Sertoma

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Between The Covers at the Covered Treasures Bookstore: Cozy, mouth-watering meals for cold winter nights

By the staff at Covered Treasures

If these snowy days make you long for some good, warm comfort food, pull those slow-cookers, Dutch ovens and soup pots out of the cupboard and get started. Here are a few cookbooks to point you in the right direction.

The Best Soups & Stews
By the editors of Cook’s Illustrated, $19.95

The test kitchen personnel simmered over 6,000 pots of soup and stews to come up with more than 200 foolproof recipes for this book. It also contains no-nonsense equipment ratings and tastings, and 200 illustrations showing how to cut up a chicken, de-fat stock, shape matzo balls, mince ginger, and much more.

Tom Valenti’s Soups, Stews, and One-Pot Meals
By Tom Valenti and Andrew Friedman, $30

Considered the grand master of comfort food, Tom Valenti dishes up the flavor we’ve come to expect from a celebrated New York City chef, without any of the fuss. This book presents 125 realistic recipes for the home cook, resulting in food that gets better a day or two after it’s made, food to make on the weekend and savor throughout a busy week, and food that is perfect for dinner parties and family celebrations.

Ready When You Are
By Martha Rose Shulman, $32.50

Drawing on her many years of cooking, Martha shares her favorite comfort food recipes. Many may be made hours or even days ahead. With all ingredients in one pot, clean-up is a snap. The 200 recipes are easy on the cook and a joy for eaters. This is comfort food at its best.

Fix-It & Forget-It 5-Ingredient favorites; Comforting Slow-Cooker Recipes
By Phyllis Pellman Good, $15.95

Too little time to cook or worried about your skills in the kitchen? This cookbook is for you! Each of the 700 recipes uses five ingredients or less to prepare nutritious, delicious meals in your slow-cooker while you are busy with your daily life. All the recipes come from home cooks around the nation. Let this book be your inspiration.

Quick Soups ‘n Salads
By Cyndi Duncan and Georgie Patrick, $14.95

Presenting a selection of over 150 traditional and contemporary recipes, Quick Soups ‘n Salads features helpful footnotes and easy-to-follow directions. This title is the third in the "One Foot in the Kitchen" series by these two award-winning Colorado authors.

Glorious One-Pot Meals
By Elizabeth Yarnell, $16.95

What is a glorious one-pot meal? It’s a healthy, low-fat meal prepared in a Dutch oven. The complete meal is prepared in less than 20 minutes and cooks in approximately one hour. One pot from start to finish makes preparing a meal easy. There’ll be no fussing as to who will do the dishes, either! The ultimate convenience of this method lies in the ability to use fresh, frozen, canned and dry goods all in the same pot without sacrificing flavor, nutrition, or ease.

Twelve Months of Monastery Soup
By Victor Antoine, $16.95

"Of soup and love, the first is best." Brother Victor Antoine makes a strong case for this Spanish proverb in his book of soups, bringing easy, delicious, soul-satisfying soup recipes from the monastery to your kitchen. From simple, clear broths to thick, hearty soups, there’s a recipe to appeal to every taste, arranged by month with an eye toward seasonal variety. With inspirational quotes proclaiming the goodness of soup sprinkled throughout and beautiful period block prints. This book is truly a celebration of the art of soup-making.

If you’re looking for meals that are easy on the cook and a joy for eaters, try some of the mouth-watering selections from these books. Just put on the soup or slow-cooker, and curl up with a good book. Until next month, happy reading.

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High Country Highlights: Preventing snow damage

By Woody Woodworth

According to the National Resources Conservation Center of the Department of Agriculture, snowpack in Colorado River basins, which most Front Range cities, including Colorado Springs, depend on for water, is well above average for this time of year. The Arkansas Basin is at 129 percent of normal. The Upper Colorado River Basin is 104 percent of normal, and the South Platte Basin is 126 percent of normal.

The Tri-Lakes region got hammered with back-to-back snows and high winds that pushed drifts well beyond the usual for December and January. A wild and wacky winter so far has left piles of snow from the plows and shovels along our driveways. The snow has bent branches on our trees and shrubs and left our tall perennial grass plumes shattered in our gardens. Plenty of snow is lying on our lawns and gardens, protecting the dormant plants below. Is all of this moisture too much of a good thing? Not hardly—we’ll appreciate it later. We just need to control some of the damage the snow may do to our trees, shrubs, gardens and lawns.

Here are a few tips on what to do when the heavier snows are falling:

During a heavy snowstorm, bundle up, get a broom or long pole and gently push the snow off hanging branches of your trees, evergreens and shrubs. Be careful not to work around overhead utilities. Working from the bottom up, use subtle force and let the snow fall gently away. That way, the upper branches won’t overload the lower branches.

If branches are already broken, trim a couple of feet away from the trunk of the tree to get the heavier part of the branch trimmed now, then in the spring you can trim the rest of the broken branch closer to the trunk.

Because of the density of some shrubs and evergreens, heavy snows can deform and bend main trunks, and some may never recover from the snows redesign. Gently shake the branches to get them to stand more upright.

We’ve experienced some recent melting periods that have increased the weight of the snowpack that is remaining on your lawns and gardens. Snow cover is actually desirable—except for the potential for snow mold development and harboring voles and mice. Snow protects plants from temperature extremes and moderates soil temperatures from excessively low temperatures that could damage growing points and reduce cold hardiness. Snow also helps moderate soil warming in the event of a late winter thaw."

Ice generally forms from cycles of snow melting and refreezing and is much more of a concern to the health of your lawn. The degree of ice damage is dependent on turf grass species, duration and degree of "icing." Turf that is submerged in ice will suffer greater damage than a partial submersion or an "ice cover." Thus, the severest damage is often associated with poorly drained areas.

Remember a few basics about snow and ice cover. Snow cover is not harmful to perennials or lawn areas and should not be removed early. Scraping snow off those areas may result in loss of cold hardiness. Standing water or waterlogged soils could be a precursor to severe damage from freeze-thaw cycles in late winter. If past experience is any monitor, the most likely time for freeze-thaw damage is usually middle to late February. Finally, as a cautionary statement, in Colorado ice injury is not that widespread of a problem. Low-lying turf areas are most susceptible to damage where freezing and thawing may occur.

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Palmer Lake Historical Society, January 18: Story swap and honky-tonk pep up January potluck

Below: Meals in Palmer Lake take many forms. This image portrays a delectable spread at Judd’s Eating House in the 1890’s. Photo provided by the Palmer Lake Historical Society

By Diane Sawatzki

The evening of Jan. 18 was crisp and clear as Jim and I entered the Town Hall, bearing our casserole. While local artist Joe Bohler played honky-tonk piano, we lined up with 50 other history enthusiasts, choosing our dinner from tantalizing homemade dishes. Besides ham provided by the Historical Society, there were many culinary wonders, including desserts to shatter the most iron-clad of New Year’s resolutions.

After dinner, we toured photographic displays of last year’s programs, then some of the braver members shared stories. Past President Virgil Watkins said the area’s recent weather reminds him of his boyhood in Minnesota where, "We had nine months of winter and three months of poor sleighing." He also reminisced about the 1970s, when Palmer Lake was large enough for feisty broom-ball tournaments in the dead of winter.

Museum Director Rogers Davis told us about the selection of the Palmer Lake star site: "It was 1935, and the total population of Palmer Lake was about 200, including cats and dogs. It was the height of the Depression, and people needed cheering up, so the townsfolk built a 500-foot star with donated materials. Bert Sloan’s German shepherd Dizzy carried light bulbs and other supplies up to the volunteers on Sundance Mountain, and his statue now stands in front of the Town Hall to honor this feat. Dizzy represents the great volunteer spirit of Palmer Lake that continues today. When asked why they built the star, Bert replied, "We just wanted to keep the town from dying and make this a good place to live." (They did, and I think it still is.)

The Palmer Lake Historical Society presents free programs and refreshments in the Town Hall the third Thursday of most months. The February meeting is on the 15th at 7 p.m., and presents Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address by the Rev. John Snyder, accompanied by a rousing sing-along of Civil War songs.

Membership in the Society is a mere $10 per year for individuals, $15 for families, and family membership comes with two tasteful commemorative mugs. (plhist@aol.com. or 559-0837) The Society maintains the free Lucretia Vaile Museum in the basement beneath the Palmer Lake library across from the Town Hall. Winter hours are 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays. www.ci.palmer-lake.co.us/plhs/

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Bird Watch on the Palmer Divide: Red-tailed hawk

Drawing by Elizabeth Hacker

Click here or on the drawing to zoom in

Click on the drawing to zoom in

If this year’s unusual winter weather has been challenging to we humans, imagine what it must be like to be a bird. Have you ever experienced a hawk swooping down in front of you? This happened to me the other day, and fortunately I was on a road where I could stop to watch! What a magnificent sight it was.

When I see these majestic birds in flight, I wish I could join them. However, when I see a red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) perched on top of a tall pole looking for a meal, I’m not so sure, especially when food is scarce due to the heavy snow cover. Some of the hawks I’ve observed this past month have looked a little scruffy when they should look sleek and smooth in preparation for the upcoming March madness.

Hawks are carnivores that belong to the category of birds known as raptors or birds of prey. Typically these birds are known for speed and agility, but the red-tail is slower and more deliberate in its movement. It is a member of the buteo or buzzard family that is commonly found in North America. The buteo will eat carrion as well as hunt for prey. Often one will perch for a short time near the top of one of our ponderosa pines until the other birds begin their warning cries and chase it off. There are 14 sub-species of the red-tailed hawk, each of which is specific to a geographical area and identified primarily by differences in its habitat, size, and coloration.

Those commercials on TV that feature the sound of a bald eagle are deceptive, because that loud sound you hear is really the cry of a red-tailed hawk. The eagle has a rather wimpy call, especially given its size. But the red-tail has a solid bold cry. I rarely hear it because I generally view the red-tail while driving in a vehicle or from a distance, which is why I rely on a CD for many bird calls.

The red-tailed hawk has a broad wing span that can reach up to 56 inches. Other buteos found here include the Swainson’s and the ferruginous hawk but the red-tailed is the largest and most common. It weighs between 2 and 4 pounds, and as is typical for hawks, the female is about one-third larger than the male. The adult red-tailed hawk is the most easily identified hawk because in flight its broad rounded tail is a rusty red with a black band, hence the name. But it is easy to confuse the immature red-tail with other hawks because its takes about 3 years for it to mature and develop its distinct coloration, at which time it starts to look for a mate.

Mating and nest building begin in March and continue through May. Courtship is accompanied by spectacular aerial displays by both the male and female. Circling and soaring to great heights, the male will suddenly plummet in a steep drop and just before he bottoms out, he abruptly changes direction and shoots back up to the sky at a steep angle. He repeats this maneuver until he attracts a female or tires. This may go on for several weeks until he wins the attention of his preferred female. A female will generally approach the male from above and when he sees her, he will extend his legs to touch or grasp her as she descends into a dive. It is thought that the red-tailed hawk mates for life, so it might take some time before a pair decides if they are right for each other. Many birds, like humans, have preferences, although probably not for the same reasons. Reportedly, once a pair is established the male and female will lock talons and spiral toward the ground together.

The pair steadfastly defends its territory from other raptors as it builds a nest high off the ground in the fork of a large tree or in the face of a high cliff. The large saucer-shaped nest is made of sticks about one-half inch in diameter and lined with twigs and grasses. The nest may be reused by the pair for many years. If the nest is damaged, the pair will add layers of new material to reinforce it.

The female lays 2 or 3 light-colored eggs with brown splotches and incubates them for about 30 days. The male hunts for food and feeds the female until the chicks are hatched. When hatched, the chicks are covered with white down. They grow slowly and have voracious appetites, which keeps both parents constantly busy from sunup to sundown. They remain in the nest for about 50 days. In the week prior to fledging, the young birds that are now nearly the size of their parents balance on the edge of the nest and flap their wings in preparation for their first flight. Once the juveniles fledge the nest, the parents spend a few weeks to teach them hunting skills, and then the juveniles are off on their own to find a new territory.

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Perspective on Our Community: Linda Pankratz

By Elizabeth Hacker

In January, Linda Pankratz retired and closed the Pankratz Gallery on Second Street and Beacon Lite Road that opened in 2000.

Linda Pankratz smiled as she recalled that this was not the location she and Richard originally wanted for their gallery, but similar to their journey through life, it turned out to be better than they ever imagined. With the opening of Second Street into historic downtown Monument and the reconfiguration of the I-25 and highway 105 interchange, their gallery was in an ideal location to attract business, and it did!

It was 30 years ago when Linda and her husband Richard moved from Denver to Monument with their two young children, the year Richard decided it was time to give up teaching to devote his life to his craft. It took a leap of faith to leave their stable incomes, but she would have followed Richard anywhere. And after 47 years of marriage, she knows she made the right decision. He was convinced from the very start that they could survive on income derived from selling art, but she was not as sure. Every year she renewed her teacher’s license just in case they needed it to fall back on, but Linda never returned to the classroom.

To be successful, Linda knew that Richard needed to devote his time to thinking and creating, so she became his manager and agent, thus beginning a new career. She truly enjoyed those early years building the business from home while watching their two children. She contacted galleries and gift shops, set up shows, issued press releases, and entered Richard’s art into contests around the country while tending to their home. Their first gallery was actually in their home, but they soon outgrew it. Besides, the traffic was disruptive to Richard’s work. Linda laughed when she recalled how her daughter Jodi found an iron tucked away in a closet and had no idea what it was, adding that while she worked from their home for many years, she was not domestic.

Around 1980, Linda moved the gallery to an old building with a single picture window, where Rocky Mountain Oil Change is now located. The building was nothing to write home about, but the location was ideal. Every person who drove into Monument would pass by this window where Linda artfully displayed Richard’s work. His work was eye-stopping and brought in many customers.

Richard had always dreamed of one day building a gallery with a workshop where he could work and interact with his patrons. This dream became a reality in 2000. Originally, the gallery on Beacon Lite Road and Second Street was set up as a one-man studio-gallery. But as the demand for Richard’s art grew, interacting with the public became too demanding for him. Linda was faced with the challenge of restructuring the space.

She expanded the gallery and leased out Richard’s studio to other art shops and a first-class restaurant. She viewed this as an opportunity to feature the work of other artists, but the challenge came in finding art that would complement Richard’s. She accomplished this by featuring the work of nationally recognized artists and crafters, some of whom have since moved here. Like Richard and Linda, other artists have found the landscape of Tri-Lakes inspirational and like its accessibility to some of the larger art markets.

As Richard’s reputation has grown over the years, they have traveled around the country taking his work to galleries. Communities like Santa Fe, Sedona, Park City, and Charleston inspired Linda, and she began to think of ways to bring that spirit to Monument. She often shared her experiences with other Monument merchants. Her enthusiasm was contagious, and soon many people were on board. This resulted in a plan for the historic downtown that included an attractive entrance sign, old-style street lamps, banners, sidewalks, quaint shops, restaurants, and galleries. While these changes were taking place, the merchants’ challenge was to find ways to bring the community into their shops and galleries.

Linda reminded me that when they moved here, Highway 105 was a dirt road and most people traveled to Colorado Springs to shop. She knew that changing that pattern would be difficult, so she and the merchants developed the Art Hop to meet this challenge. On the third Thursday evening of each month, Monument merchants opened their doors, served snacks, and featured artists. These festive evenings successfully brought the community into the historic downtown. But even more important to Linda, it began to dispel the myth that galleries are for the elite.

Even though she is committed to retirement, Linda has vowed to stay active in promoting the Art Hop and says the next step is to incorporate music and theater arts, possibly as street performers. As typical with many of Linda’s ideas, she isn’t always sure how it will come together, it just will!

Linda was a teen in the 1960s when President John F. Kennedy challenged America to "ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country." Whether her spirit was seeded in Kennedy’s famous words or the small Kansas community where she grew up, Linda has always been passionate about community. One example of this was in 1990, when Linda came up with the idea of organizing a dinner to raise funds for the needy by serving soup in bowls made by local potters; the first Empty Bowl. As is her way, she quickly gives credit to all those involved and says that some ideas are just miracles waiting to happen. Since that time, the Empty Bowl has become a community-sponsored event that brings in more than $10,000 annually.

The community will miss Linda and the Pankratz Gallery. She laughed when I suggested that many communities name a street or a park after people like her. But there is good news! Heather and Doug Buchman will soon open a new gallery called Second Street Art. Linda is so excited that the Buchmans share her and Richard’s vision that the location will remain a gallery. When asked if she had anything to add, she said she hopes the community will welcome the Buchmans and continue their support of local merchants by shopping in historic downtown Monument.

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Art Matters: Artists are in a class of their own

By Janet Sellers

There are at least 135,000 reasons people join art clubs in North America. That’s about how many art clubs are on this continent at the moment. Art materials manufacturers keep tabs on these things and are happy to report that being an artist is popular all over the world.

Americans invented the art club. It’s now a worldwide, popular social phenomenon that is simple to join or start up. Football widows, unite! Golfers, improve your visualization! Find a reason and enjoy your own art.

Frankly, people just like to get together over art they are passionate about. So they start a group. They may feel more stimulated regarding ideas and problem-solving in their artwork. Some art clubs have a long history; most last a few decades at most. Some have rigid entrance requirements; some invite most anybody alive with dues in hand. One thing is sure: the clubs do serve a social need and provide a sense of community. Clubs and their members hire speakers, have professional demonstrations or just hang out and talk about art.

Besides art clubs, there are art studies of all kinds. A good art-skills class will include plenty of practice. Hours to our creative mind feel like minutes, and time flies by as art participants are creatively engaged. Art classes can often be socially fun, but the focus is on skills, practice, and development. Thankfully, good practice is never boring.

It may be interesting to note that the cheapest art study is not necessarily in a class, and is actually free. Artists have studied from and watched the Masters for centuries. Here’s how they do it:

Great art is available to view in museums, in books and through multimedia access to libraries or book stores, as well as through our planet’s recent best friend, the Internet. In museums, drawings are often available as an exhibition in and of themselves, or as part of a major art exhibit. Obviously books can be a convenient reference. Looking at an artist’s drawing is one of the very best methods of learning how to understand the thinking behind that imagination. Drawing from these or copying the drawings in the same medium deepens one’s understanding. One will learn what the master artist knew about drawing by trying to make a copy of it.

More knowledge will come from copying a master drawing or painting than just about any other effort in the pursuit of understanding fine art. It is the most time-consuming effort, and going it alone will require a great deal of persistence. In practice, it doesn’t really matter if the art is abstract or realist to try this out. Given that so much effort is involved, however, it would be wise to choose at least a very fine example to emulate. That doesn’t mean the work to be copied must be complex, but it should have merit or the practice would be worthless.

Making thousands of drawings can help develop a highly competent level of artistic ability. It may require hundreds of drawings. Does that seem like a lot of prep work? You bet! The difference between an artist and a happy coincidence of materials on paper or canvas is in the perseverance of the artist to see the work through to a satisfying completion. It also helps to have enough stamina and practice behind one to be able to persevere. And that is where practice from the Masters comes in handy. One is more able to accomplish the feats of imagination in art when creativity follows the mastery of skill.

Self-taught artists are more common than any other, and they are also the very best artists. The secret here is that every artist teaches himself or herself, whether alone or in a class. Only artists can teach art skills, and art skills are only truly learned by attempting the work for oneself.

If one will apply effort and energy into skill and practice, that is enough to make a go of art as a hobby or possibly as a profession. Many people dream of retiring from their day jobs and then pursue the life of an artist, or at least take some art classes. It’s a worthy and satisfying avocation.

Art Classes in the Tri-Lakes area are offered in various venues, from private studio learning sessions, classes and events to public non-profit centers and demonstrations at local galleries. There is no single, correct way to enjoy learning to make art. It can be as simple and elegant to accomplish as one makes it.

It’s sure that every person can enjoy art in one way or another, and our area has art events, classes, clubs, and exhibits constantly available. The locations are all over our community, and are listed in the local phone book, advertised in our local news, and available by popular demand. While summer is the traditional "art season" for looking and buying, winter is the traditional time for art classes and art clubs. Check some out for yourself this month!

Here are some questions the aspiring artist might want to consider:

  1. Do I want to have some fun or do I want a demanding career?
  2. What do I want to achieve with the class or club that I don’t do on my own?
  3. What hours do I wish to put in to the class time?
  4. How much time will I put into personal practice?
  5. Do I know the cost that I’m willing to invest in my learning?

February art show

CAEA Colorado Art Education Association Exhibit 2007 Feb. 5 to March 16

The Colorado Art Education Association sponsors this juried exhibit as an annual showcase of artwork created by Teaching Artists in Colorado. Opening Reception: Friday, Feb. 9, 6-9 p.m. Awards at 7:30 p.m. Location: Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts, 304 Hwy 105, Palmer Lake, CO 80133, (719) 481-0475

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Special Events and Notices

By Judy Barnes, Editor Emeritus

Although we strive for accuracy in these listings, dates or times are often changed after publication. Please double-check the time and place of any event you wish to attend by calling the info number for that event.

D38 boundary committee seeks public input

Lewis-Palmer School District has created a committee to look at school boundaries to plan for growth in the district and to create sensible boundary system in response to growth. Parents and interested District 38 patrons are encouraged to attend one of the three Boundary Study Committee meetings being held to review and comment on school boundary criteria and the proposed map scenarios. The meetings are scheduled for Feb. 6, Feb. 8, and Feb. 12, 7 to 9 p.m., at the Administration Building Learning Center, 146 Jefferson St., Monument. For more information, phone 488-4700.

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Coffee & Conversation with Superintendent Blanch

Superintendent Ray Blanch looks forward to meeting and visiting with District 38 citizens for Coffee & Conversation. The first one is Feb. 9, 8 to 9:30 a.m., at The Speedtrap, 84 Highway 105, Palmer Lake . The second is Feb. 13, 9 to 10:30 a.m., at Serranos, 582 Highway 105 (near Safeway) in Monument. The third is Feb. 28, 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. at It’s a Grind, 15954D Jackson Creek Parkway in the Monument Marketplace. For more information, phone 488-4700.

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Rocky Mountain Music Alliance Concert

Enjoy classical music right here in the Tri-Lakes area Feb. 10, 7 p.m., at Forestgate Presbyterian Church, 970 Northgate Rd., as the Rocky Mountain Music Alliance continues its second season. This is the third of four concerts comprising the 2006-2007 series. The concert features Dr. Michael Baron, piano, performing time-tested classics and modern masterworks. Baron is a distinguished educator from Florida Gold Coast University who presents concerts, workshops, and master classes throughout the United States and Europe. Cost: $22 general admission, $18 students. Info: Pam Brunson at 484-0192.

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Rockin’ Sock Hop, Feb. 10

Swing your sweetheart to the oldies with disc jockey "G. T." (from 91.5 KRCC’s Vintage Voltage) at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA) Rockin’ Sock Hop Feb. 10, 7 to 10 p.m. Step back in time with music, food, and fun from the 50s and 60s. TLCA is located at 304 Highway 105 in Palmer Lake. Tickets are $12 for members and $15 for non-members and are available at TLCA (481-0475), The Wine Seller (488-3019), and Covered Treasures Bookstore (481-2665). Admission price includes two soft drinks and snacks. A cash bar will be available. Prizes will be awarded for Best Costumes, Craziest Socks, Best Hula Hoopers and Best Dancers. Guests will also be able to enjoy an art exhibit from the Colorado Art Educators Association members. For more information, call 481-0475.

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Heart Attack and Stroke Recognition Class in Black Forest, Feb. 14

The Black Forest Fire & Rescue and the Black Forest AARP Chapter 1100 are sponsoring a class on Heart Attack and Stroke Recognition Feb. 14, 9 to 11 a.m., at the Black Forest Fire Station #1 located at 11445 Teachout Rd. The public is invited to attend at no charge. Please call Gwen Burk at 495-2176 or the Fire Station at 495-4300 to reserve a seat for the class. This is a great Valentine’s gift to protect your loved ones and yourself. The easiest way to find the station is from the corner of Black Forest and Burgess Roads. From this intersection, go east on Burgess to Teachout, turn south and park in the fire station parking lot on the south side of the station. Enter through the door on the south side of the station.

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AARP Mature Safe Driving Program at Monument Library, Feb. 17

The AARP Mature Safe Driving Program is the nation’s first and largest classroom driver refresher course specially designed for motorists age 50 and older. Graduates may present their course completion certificate to their insurance agents for a discount. The cost for the eight-hour course is $10. Class size is limited and registration is required. The course will be held Feb. 17, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Monument Branch Library, 1706 Lake Woodmoor Dr. Bring a lunch. To register, phone 488-2370.

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Tri-Lakes Women’s Club is accepting grant applications until Mar. 15

The Tri-Lakes Women’s Club is accepting applications for grants until March 15. This year, the TLWC will consider grant requests up to $10,000. Qualified organizations that provide services to residents within the geographic boundaries of Lewis-Palmer School District 38 are encouraged to apply.

Qualified organizations are 501 (c)(3) non-profit organizations, public service agencies and organizations, and public schools. Grant applications and instructions are available at www.tlwc.net, or by sending a self-addressed stamped envelope to TLWC Grant Committee, P.O. Box 669, Monument, CO, 80132.

The TLWC sponsors Wine & Roses, a wine-tasting event in October, as well as the annual Pine Forest Antiques Show and Sale in April. Proceeds from these fundraisers benefit the Tri-Lakes community through this grant process. Last year, over $30,000 was granted to non-profit organizations, schools, and public service organizations. In the past 30 years, $470,000 has been awarded to benefit residents within the boundaries of School District 38.

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Flying Colors

This free homework help program is offered to Tri-Lakes students in grades 3-8 for assistance with reading, writing, math, science, and social studies and to students in grades 9-10 for math assistance. It meets on Monday evenings, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., through April 30 at Monument Community Presbyterian Church. For more information call 481-3902 or 488-8928, or visit www.mcpcusa.org.

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Monument Library Book Sale, Feb. 24

The Friends of the Library will be holding a huge book sale at the Monument Library, 1706 Lake Woodmoor Dr., Feb. 23, 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. (Friends Members only Preview Sale at $3 a bag, memberships available at the door) and for the general public on Feb. 24, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at $4 a bag. Come early for the best selection during this popular sale. Call the library, 488-2370, for further information.

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Adult Literacy tutors needed

Help adults improve their basic skills in reading, writing and/or English language skills. Tutors work individually with an adult learner at various library locations two to four hours weekly for a minimum of six months. Meeting times and location are flexible. Free 18-hour training is held Thursdays, March 1, 8, 15, 22, and 29, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Penrose Library, 20 N. Cascade Ave., Colorado Springs. Participants must attend all sessions to become tutors. LitSource Volunteer applications are available at all libraries and at ppld.org, under "Jobs and Volunteers Positions." Return the completed application to the LitSource Office, Penrose Library, 20 N. Cascade Ave., Colorado Springs. Call Sherrill Wyeth, 531-6333, x2223 or x2224 for more information.

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Volunteer and spread the gift of reading

Join Children’s Literacy Center in providing individual tutoring to children reading below grade level at no cost to families! Tutors are trained in the Peak Reader curriculum and matched with one child for twelve weeks. This is a great opportunity for high school students (minimum age is 14) or senior citizens to make a difference in someone’s life. For more information, call Pamela Polke, 471-8672, or e-mail Pamela@peakreader.org.

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Senior Safety Program

Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Authority and Tri-Lakes Health Advocacy Partnership, Senior Alliance, have developed a new Senior Safety Program. The free service includes installation and maintenance of smoke detectors, evaluation of seniors’ homes by fire department personnel to identify and correct safety hazards and to address seniors’ safety needs, and Vial of Life for in-home storage of medical information in case of emergency. For more information, call Lisa Frasca, 488-3304, or e-mail lfrasca@tri-lakesfire.com.

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Western Museum of Mining & Industry receives grant for the Reynolds Ranch House

The State Historical Fund, a program of the Colorado Historical Society, recently awarded the Western Museum of Mining & Industry a $10,000 Historic Structure Assessment grant for the preservation of the museum’s historic Reynolds Ranch House, a Queen Anne farmhouse built in 1894. The house is the last vestige of the once-thriving community of Husted, a former Denver & Rio Grande railroad supply town and depot. URS, one of the world’s largest engineering design firms, will coordinate the preservation and restoration work. For more information about the Reynolds Ranch project, call David Carroll, Executive Director, at 488-0880.

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County now accepting batteries and electronics at waste facility

The El Paso County Household Chemical Waste Collection Facility will now accept household batteries (AA, AAA, C, D and 9-volt) and many types of electronic equipment including computers, printers, small televisions, stereo and video components, and VCR’s, among others. According to the El Paso County Environmental Services Department, more than 40,000 tons of electronic waste is discarded yearly. Some electronics contain lead, cadmium, broken glass, and mercury and can threaten the environment if not recycled. It’s possible to recycle 99 percent of electronic goods that are discarded by breaking down the individual equipment to its raw materials and allowing it to be reused and put back into the manufacturing process, thus protecting the environment from unnecessary pollution. The Household Chemical Waste Collection Facility is open year-round and already accepts items such as paint, lawn and garden chemicals, automotive chemicals and products, and household products and cleaners. For more recycling information please call 520-7878.

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Pine Forest Antiques Show and Sale coming Apr. 21 and 22

Mark your calendars for the popular Pine Forest Antiques Show and Sale, April 21 and April 22 at Lewis-Palmer High School in Monument. The show will feature 60 antique dealers from several states. Sunday from noon to 3 p.m., on-site appraisers will provide verbal appraisals for $5 per item. The Country Café will be serving breakfast and lunch items including the ever-popular steak soup, and the Bake Sale will be offering delectable desserts. Watch for more details next month.

The Pine Forest Antiques Show and Sale is the major annual fund raising event for the Tri-Lakes Women’s Club. The proceeds from this event benefit local nonprofit groups. During the past 30 years, more than $470,000 has been awarded to District 38 schools, fire and police departments, senior citizen groups, and other nonprofit 501(c)3 organizations that provide services to residents within the community. For more information, please visit the Tri-Lakes Women’s Club website at www.tlwc.net

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