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Vol. 10 No. 6 - June 5, 2010


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Click here to view a page of higher resolution photos from this issue.

the PDF file. This is a 13 Mbyte file and will take about 79 minutes to download using a dial-up modem. Click here for help with PDF downloads. To view and print the file, you will need to download and install the free Acrobat Reader Program.

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Fraud, ID theft seen in Tri-Lakes area

Below: Sheriff Terry Maketa. Photo by Brandi Christon.

By Candice Hitt

El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa spoke to Tri-Lakes area residents about crime prevention May 20 at the Woodmoor Country Club. The Tri-Lakes area is in county District 1. Maketa talked about community statistics on crime, including fraud, theft, criminal mischief, burglary, motor vehicle theft, and tampering.

An average of 923 criminal cases per year is reported in the Tri-Lakes area. Recent crimes in this district have involved fraud/ID theft. More than half of the identity/fraud cases this year involved the unauthorized use of a victim’s credit cards. Protecting personal information is very important, Maketa said. Destroying all documents by shredding and removing all personal information is a key factor in preventing identity theft and fraud.

Colorado residents can obtain a free credit report once per year from the major credit reporting agencies.

Information on registered sex offenders: County Law Enforcement Bureau Chief Joe Breister said the investigations division is made up of computer/financial crimes, sex/general crimes, and major crimes/homicide units. There are eight registered sex offenders in the Tri-Lakes area. Information on sex offenders can be obtained on the Sheriff’s Office website. Offender Watch is a web-based service providing citizens with information about registered sex offenders in the county.

Other programs: The Sheriff’s Office website at http://shr.elpasoco.com (no "www" in this address) offers much information on crime prevention for the community. Links available on the website main page include a search for jail inmates; CopLogic, which may be used to report specific types of incidents that do not involve suspect information or evidence; and an online police blotter. Citizens can file some reports online without having to wait for a deputy to respond. A case report is instantly provided for personal records or filing insurance claims.

Neighborhood Watch is a voluntary program for citizens to make themselves, their families, and homes less vulnerable to crime and to increase cooperation between citizens and law enforcement. More information can be obtained at NeighborhoodWatch@elpasoco.com

Volunteer opportunities: In 2009, 515 volunteers contributed more than 91,000 hours of service to the Sheriff’s Office. It relies heavily on volunteers. Currently, volunteers work in 38 areas or programs.

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El Paso County Board of County Commissioners, May 27: County approves patio homes on driving range

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Below: View of the planned patio home building site as seen from the adjacent Eagle Villas complex. Photo provided by Dick Durham.

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Click on the drawing to zoom in

the planned unit development plan as a PDF file. Click here for help with PDF downloads. To view and print the file, you will need to download and install the free Acrobat Reader Program.

the BOCC packet as a PDF file. Click here for help with PDF downloads. To view and print the file, you will need to download and install the free Acrobat Reader Program.

By Susan Hindman

After a nearly five-hour hearing on May 27 that included extensive public comments, the El Paso Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) voted 3-1 to approve a housing development on the driving range of the Gleneagle Golf Course. The plan by golf course owner Miles Scully calls for 47 patio homes on 10.5 acres.

Though the driving range will close, the golf course will remain open at this point. However, more memberships are reportedly crucial to help pay for improvements to the 37-year-old irrigation system and to improve the course. The goal of attaining 200 memberships originally had to be met by 2012; the BOCC allowed that date to be extended to 2020. Currently, there are 100 golf memberships. Scully anticipates 47 new memberships from the townhouses; a total of 200 memberships are needed to break even.

Residents speaking in favor of the townhomes pointed to the need to save the community’s golf course. Those against the development complained that building patio homes is a poorly timed idea, is inconsistent with the community’s aesthetics, and would harm property values. In response to previous complaints by adjacent Eagle Villa townhome owners, Scully said the proposed patio homes were scaled back to one story high so as to not obstruct their views. Residents remain concerned about the future of the golf course, which has been the centerpiece of the residential community and whose closing would lower property values.

In July 2009, the BOCC had approved an amended sketch plan (below) and Planned Unit Development rezoning for the site. Scully had previously stated that if the surrounding property owners agreed to support the sketch plan amendment and rezone, he would agree not to begin construction of the patio homes for five years.

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Palmer Lake Town Council, May 13: Marijuana ordinance amendment tabled

By David Futey

The Palmer Lake Town Council tabled a request to amend the medical marijuana ordinance at its May 13 meeting. The council also requested that the Medical Marijuana Task Force evaluate the requested amendment.

Council member Bryan Jack was excused from the meeting by Mayor John Cressman.

The council unanimously tabled the medical marijuana dispensary/cultivation amendment until the June meeting. The amendment would add commercial areas for growing the plants. It was requested by Joseph Pernarelli so a medical marijuana facility could be moved to the Palmer Lake Technology Center.

Following the council’s request at the previous meeting, Pernarelli and his partners contacted 43 residents in the area of the proposed facility location. Thirty-five residents said they approved of the facility, two opposed it, and six had no opinion. Pernarelli said the location is away from a major road, making it discreet.

Cressman said that Jack had received calls from people who were not pleased with the possible location. "This ordinance was done very publicly, and it would be strange to change it by petition," Cressman said. Town Attorney Larry Gaddis said a variance cannot be applied for based on the way the ordinance is written, so a change in the ordinance would be necessary.

Sandra Easton, owner of the Palmer Lake Tech Center, spoke on behalf of the proposed business and said the "town needs to decide if they want this industry," because the present ordinance makes it difficult. For example, N1 zoning in Palmer Lake is not available for growing. Pernarelli said the state has set a date of July 1 for medical marijuana businesses to be functional and running for a year to comply with the new law. If businesses are not functional by July 1, they would have to follow a very different process to receive a permit and be licensed. Pernarelli also said a state permit will range from $7,000 to $18,000.

Council members Dennis Stern and Nikki McDonald suggested that the Medical Marijuana Task Force evaluate this request.

Reports

Recycling: Cressman stated that an open letter to him in a newspaper on the topic of recycling in Palmer Lake prompted inquiries to recycling companies in the area. Cressman contacted Waste Management about curbside recycling, but the town is unlikely to have enough participation to warrant such a program. The elementary school presently has recycling, with funds going to support the school.

Fire: Cressman read the Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department report. Items of note from the report included:

  • The fire volunteers logged 1,227.7 hours in April.
  • A new Fire Department entrance exam has been created and approved by all officers. Prospective members will be required to attend three business meetings, undergo training and ride along with each shift within three months, and take a written exam. Officers will review the exam answers and form on an oral board that will determine membership. New members will be on probation for one year.
  • A committee is being developed for the 24-hour shift, however getting citizens on the committee is proving to be a challenge. Citizens have said they do not have enough time.
  • Chief Shana Ball and Capt. David Farr attended the ICS 300 course and will receive their certifications.
  • Ball and Capt. Abigail Vierling received their driver/operator certifications.

Water: Trustee Max Stafford said that 15 acre-feet of water was produced in April. Water is primarily coming from the well, because water from the reservoir is unusable due to excessive silt, which causes filtration problems at the water plant. Electricity for the pumps cost $3,700. Stafford said electrical costs should be about one-tenth next year when the new water treatment plant is on line. The new plant will also be able to better treat the turbidity in the surface water from the town’s reservoir.

Police: McDonald reported that Sgt. Nikki Tezak and officer Terri Lenhard received Trauma Care for Law Enforcement training in Canon City. By completing this training, the Palmer Lake Police Department received two additional tactical load-bearing vests, which will be put into service. Also, as reported by the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch, the department responded to a total of 117 calls for service or self-initiated activities. This number does not include calls for service outside of the Town of Palmer Lake, where officers might have held the scene until another agency took over the scene or provided "cover" for the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, Monument Police Department, or other agency.

Roads: Stern reported that Town Roads Supervisor Bob Radosevich has found prospects for a chipping service at $50 to $60 per hour of operation. The cost includes two workers and a chipper, with the chipping done on site. The service lost money last year and hopes to break even at $60. Town Clerk Della Gray and Radosevich will determine if the program is financially feasible.

Staff: Gray reported that the weed grant program has been started and the county will be mapping the area for noxious weeds. She also said that state law requires a court order to put a lien on property if weeds are not removed in the prescribed time frame.
Fall festival: Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA) Executive Director Susan Adams provided an update on the art festival occurring in the fall. The festival has received a name change to the Palmer Lake Arts and Community Event (PLACE), the event now will be Sept. 25-26. Adams said this two-day festival is to "celebrate the arts, eat good food, and enjoy Palmer Lake." Adam said booths will be available to artists and art vendors at a cost of $200 and that the artists will be juried in by a committee. The fee is low compared to other similar events, she said. Among the activities will be an art sale, "quick draws," and a Harvest Ball on the evening of Sept. 25 with JC and the Domestic Engineers providing the music.

"A Taste of Palmer Lake" is scheduled for Sept. 25, with various restaurants participating. The purchase of a lanyard, to help identify those sampling the food, will help defray the cost for the restaurants. Adams asked the town for assistance in helping to determine items such as total number of volunteers needed to stage it, the number of people attending, the amount of income received, and public opinions on the quality of the event. More information is at http://palmerlakeartsandcraftsevent.org 

Chautauqua: By unanimous decision, the council approved $500 to assist the Rocky Mountain Chautauqua assembly scheduled for Aug. 7-9. The council had approved $1,000 for last year’s Chautauqua. Ron Heard made the request for funding and provided an overview of the event. Heard said the Chautauqua will focus on educating the "local population on turn of the century skills like horse shoeing." Heard said the highlight of the event will be a baseball game between the Palmer Divide Swans and the Colorado Territorial All-Stars. The mayor will throw out the first pitch. Heard said there is also a need for the rescue squad and Fire Department assistance.

Hooked on Palmer Lake Fishing Derby: Ken Valdez provided an update on the fishing derby to be held June 5 from 8 a.m. until noon. The derby is sponsored by the Tri-Lakes Chamber and hosted by the Town of Palmer Lake. Fishing is open to children ages 16 and under. Cost is $3 on the day of the derby. The Colorado Department of Wildlife has stocked the lake with cutthroat trout and will provide 200 fishing poles. Valdez said there will be a variety of prizes, including plates for Biggest Fish, Dirtiest Kid, and Ugliest Fish. Anglers will need to go through stations before getting their fishing pole. The stations include casting, learning the rules about fishing, and how to get fishing licenses.

Senior facility project: During the public input portion of the meeting, Chuck Roberts, director of the Tri-Lakes Senior Alliance, said that the Arbor Mountain Senior Citizen Residence project had failed. The facility would have had 57 units. Roberts emphasized that the Tri-Lakes area needs a senior residence. He suggested putting together a committee that would attract a developer to get a residence built. Roberts said he will also be speaking with Monument Board of Trustees about the issue.

Memorial Wall of Honor: Ron Heard provided an update on fund-raising and progress made toward the construction of a new memorial for Master Sgt. William J. Crawford and other Tri-Lakes area veterans. The memorial is to be constructed by the lake in the general area of the existing memorial. Heard said $8,000 has been committed toward the project, and the total cost is projected to be $55,000. The building of the memorial will most likely proceed in phases and a dedication is being planned for Veterans Day.

There are an estimated 1,500 veterans in Tri-Lakes area, but only 55 are registered with the committee overseeing this project. Heard asked the council for assistance from Gaddis to develop a perpetual lease for the footprint of the memorial. El Paso County wants the group to perpetually maintain the site without having land ownership. Information on the memorial can be found at www.crawfordmemorial.org

Business licenses: By unanimous decision, the council approved a business license for Honey Bee Baby Boutique. The business will be located at 192 Walnut Ave.

Gaddis reappointed: Gaddis took the oath of office for town attorney during the council meeting.

The council meeting ended at 8:38 p.m.

**********

The next regular council meeting will be held at 7 p.m. June 10 at Town Hall. Information: www.ci.palmer-lake.co.us or call 481-2953.

See a photo of new town council members on page 38.

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Palmer Lake Medical Marijuana Task Force, June 2: Neighbors complain about location of potential dispensary

By Susan Hindman

Unhappy residents crowded the Palmer Lake Fire Station to voice their opinions to the town’s Medical Marijuana Task Force about a medical marijuana dispensary proposed for the Palmer Lake Tech Center on Circle Drive, off Highway 105. (See photo on page 39) Complaints at the special meeting June 2 included concerns about drug use at the facility, crime, traffic, the attraction for local teens, lighting, and the location.

While most of the neighbors of the facility said they support the law that allows the use of medical marijuana, they disapproved of the location. Residents also expressed concern about the meeting notification process and a lack of information made available to them.

In January, the Palmer Lake Town Council issued a 90-day moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries and cultivation until a plan for dealing with business license requests could be formed. In February, the council commissioned a task force to come up with regulations. Task force members are a diverse group that includes town officials, citizens, a medical marijuana patient, and a representative from the medical marijuana industry. Members are Bryan Jack, Ken Trombley, Dennis Stern, Susie Hertz, Cyndee Henson, Dan Reynolds, Jacob Soles, and Mike DeLoach. The group drafted an ordinance that was presented to the Town Council and adopted in April.

Since then, the state Legislature has passed a bill that spells out licensing and myriad rules the industry will have to follow; it becomes effective July 1. One of the rules is that dispensaries grow at least 70 percent of the marijuana they sell.

Currently, the town ordinance specifies that dispensaries are allowed in C2 (commercial) and M1 (industrial) zones. A stand-alone cultivation facility is allowed only in the M1 zone, and the town’s only M1 zone is on County Line Road. In addition, cultivation of marijuana in dispensaries is limited to 20 percent of the floor space or 30 plants, whichever is less.

In response to the new state law, industry representatives wanting to locate in Palmer Lake asked the task force to look at modifying the ordinance to increase the amount of cultivation allowed in dispensaries, Jack said.

But before further discussion on those issues, residents complained about the difficulty of accessing information on what was planned and a feeling of not being informed. Considering the contentious nature of the issue, said Patricia Atkins, "I feel this was not handled in an appropriate manner."

Atkins and her husband, Gary, went door to door in the neighborhood the day before with a petition, and out of the 27 homes they visited, 25 were against the dispensary and one was for it; one resident could not be reached. Patricia went to nearby businesses and got more than a dozen negative responses. "There is resounding opposition to this," said Gary.

Jack responded that a dispensary would be allowed on the Tech Center property because it is zoned C2, as long as it meets the distance and other requirements in the application. "We’re not going to take this lightly," Jack said. "I guarantee you the spotlight will be on the first applicant. We’ll take every measurement and make sure they conform to our ordinance."

As for requests to change the town ordinance, Jack said the industry reps were advised to canvass the neighborhood, "and if they could bring in overwhelming neighborhood support saying that everybody’s OK with that, then we would consider it."

The industry reps eventually identified themselves—Joe Pernarelli and Steve Fetterely—and Pernarelli said they turned in a petition with 45 signatures of neighbors in favor of the dispensary. Many in attendance said they had not been contacted.

Pernarelli, a resident of Castle Pines, cited the high number of people in El Paso County who would be served by the facility. "We figure that there are 600 to 700 patients in the Tri-Lakes area," he said. The building would bear a "wellness center" sign—"it will look like a doctor’s office," he said—and would be open only from around noon to 5 p.m. on weekdays. He addressed issues of security, traffic, and lighting, and talked to residents at length following the meeting.

"Crime would not go up with a cultivation center," he added. "We already have a place up in Wheat Ridge, and … we’ve had no issues at all."

In response to a resident’s anger over the presence of marijuana in the neighborhood, Jack said, "We are not the moral or ethical police. We are not here to determine the effective use of medical marijuana. All we are doing is upholding the state constitution, which allows for the use of medical marijuana."

Hertz, who is applying to run a dispensary, said that if anyone used marijuana on the premises, she would lose her license. "It would never be allowed," she said. "I’ve been to many dispensaries as a caregiver, and I have never met nicer people. There’s never teenagers, there’s never people loitering." She said a dispensary in this area would be a great service for ill people in the Black Forest and Tri-Lakes areas.

The task force will present the feedback from this meeting to the Town Council Workshop on June 3. The Town Council is scheduled to vote on the issue on June 10.

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Monument Board of Trustees, May 3: Consultant research for proposed water purchase approved

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Drawings provided by Kevan Kuhnel of JR Engineering

Below: Village Center Filing 4 Preliminary Landscape Plan

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Below: Village Center Filing 4 Retail/office Reference Elevation

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Below: Village Center Filing 4 Branch Bank Reference Elevation

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the drawings as a PDF file. This is a 7.7 Mbyte file and will take about 47 minutes to download using a dial-up modem. Click here for help with PDF downloads. To view and print the file, you will need to download and install the free Acrobat Reader Program.

Below: On May 3, Ron Heard of the MSG William J. Crawford Memorial Committee asked the Monument Board of Trustees to support construction of an upgrade of the Crawford Memorial and surrounding memorial garden at the north end of the walking path around Palmer Lake. The committee is also seeking to identify military veterans who live in the Tri-Lakes region for a new expanded display that will list local area veterans and those who have also won medals for valor. Photo by Colonel Jim Kendrick, USAF (retired)

Click on the photo to zoom in

By Jim Kendrick

On May 3, the Monument Board of Trustees approved due diligence research by town consultants on a proposed purchase of surface water rights from the Fountain Mutual Irrigation Co. The board also approved a major Planned Development (PD) amendment, preliminary PD site plan, and preliminary/final plat for Filing 4 of the Village Center at Woodmoor development, located on the southeast corner of Highway 105 and Knollwood Drive. The commission also unanimously approved a Lake of the Rockies Metropolitan District service plan.

Trustees Rafael Dominguez and Stan Gingrich were absent.

At the start of the meeting, Mayor Travis Easton and Trustees Jeff Kaiser and Rick Squires were sworn in for new four-year terms by Town Clerk Scott Meszaros. They were elected on April 6. See photo on page 38.

Water rights purchase process approved

Town Manager Cathy Green, Public Works Director Rich Landreth, and Gary Barber, the town’s water broker, proposed preliminary acceptance of a draft 20-year lease/purchase $6 million contract for some water shares of the Fountain Mutual Irrigation Co. The funds would come from the acquisition, supply, and distribution (ASD) fund of the town’s water enterprise fund. Green provided board and staff members with three handouts on options, due diligence procedures, and financing of the Fountain Mutual water shares.

Barber presented a slide briefing on the "Comanche/Monument Transaction," which explained the rationale for this proposed purchase of a renewable water resource. Some of the points Barber made were:

  • The available water would come from very senior water rights on Fountain Creek that have already been decreed for municipal use in water court.
  • The town would have an asset to form stronger partnerships with other municipal owners of renewable surface water, such as the City of Fountain, for reuse and storage of return flows.
  • The town could show Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) that Monument has its own water to transport through the CSU’s proposed Southern Delivery System.
  • These rights would provide opportunities for collaboration on treatment and delivery infrastructure with Forest Lakes Metropolitan District and the Town of Palmer Lake.
  • Going under contract now allows the town’s consultants 20 days to perform due diligence investigations on the proposed contract and supporting documentation while retaining a firm right to purchase the water shares in a time-sensitive competitive environment for purchasing water rights.
  • Water shares have never declined in value.

Former Mayor Betty Konarski, who is Landreth’s alternate as the town representative to the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority as well as an El Paso County Water Authority representative, said these water rights are "the best I’ve seen since being involved in Monument water issues since 1997." She encouraged the board to use the advice of the staff and consultants and make a "tough" and "difficult" leadership decision.

The board unanimously approved the resolution for the proposed agreement to purchase Fountain Mutual water shares.

Flaming Gorge payment approved

The board also approved a payment of $5,000 to participate in the Flaming Gorge Project Feasibility Study of the large water transport project that the Town of Parker is sponsoring. (See PPRWA article on page 21 for more details.)

Commercial area layout changed

Major PD amendment: Applicant Kevan Kuhnel of JR Engineering, Colorado Springs, and land owner Mag II Monument LLC, St. Louis, Mo., requested a major PD amendment to Mag II’s previously approved zoning and land use plan for Filing 4, which was originally approved in 2004.

Tom Kassawara, director of Development Services, and architect John Nelson of John P. Nelson Associates briefed the board on all aspects of the project. They noted that the purpose of the amendment is to change the configuration and allowed uses in the previously approved commercial development on the northernmost portion of the filing, along Highway 105 and Knollwood Drive. Individual building pads will now be used with an L-shaped access road that is parallel to Highway 105 and Knollwood Drive. The area being reconfigured is 21.5 acres.

The Village Center Filing 4 Preliminary Landscape Plan, Retail/office Reference Elevation, and Branch Bank Reference Elevation drawings are available on the OCN Web site at: www.ourcommunitynews.org/v10n5.htm#monpc

The request is for a more limited range of commercial uses that would add offices, office/warehouses, medium-size buildings, and convenience stores due to elimination of the previously approved big box buildings. The building lots would now have smaller parking lots, and each would have its own landscaping throughout.

The configuration and uses of the remaining portion of the Village Center commercial filing to the south are not being changed at this time. Separate similar hearings before the Planning Commission and Board of Trustees hearings will be required for each commercial lot in the southern commercial area.

The town staff analysis noted that the amendment conforms to all nine preliminary PD site plan approval criteria.

There were no referral comments to resolve at this hearing.

The staff proposed two conditions of approval:

  1. Any necessary technical changes shall be made by the applicant and approved by staff.
  2. All referral agency comments shall be resolved prior to recordation of the site plan.

The proposed major PD amendment was approved with these two conditions by a 4-0-1 vote. Trustee Gail Drumm abstained. He did not give a reason for abstaining, such as actual or perceived conflict of interest, as is traditionally done at public meetings.

Preliminary/final plat: The plat proposes 16 lots and one tract on the 21.5 acre parcel.

The town staff analysis noted that the plat met the 12 review criteria of the purpose statement in the town’s subdivision regulations.

There were no referral comments to resolve at this hearing.

The staff proposed two conditions of approval:

  1. Any necessary technical changes shall be made by the applicant and approved by staff. This includes providing two permanent reference monuments outside the subdivision.
  2. All referral agency comments shall be resolved prior to recordation of the site plan.

The proposed preliminary/final plat was approved with these two conditions by a 4-0-1 vote. Trustee Gail Drumm abstained. He did not give a reason for abstaining.

Preliminary PD site plan amendment: Kassawara and Nelson said the revised layout will include entry signage and landscape amenities including a pathway and seating area. The entry roundabout on Gold Canyon Road will also include enhanced landscaping. A final PD site plan will have to be reviewed and approved by the Planning Commission and Board of Trustees for each lot when detailed development plans are submitted.

Some of the details of the staff analysis of how this proposal meets all review criteria were:

  • The county’s Major Thoroughfares Task Force has approved the conceptual access plan including the right-in right-out access road (Midland Center Heights) midway between Knollwood Drive and Gold Canyon Road.
  • All Phase 1 (west end) and Phase 2 (east end) infrastructure must be completed before the first certificate of occupancy will be issued for each phase.
  • Construction of an eastbound turn lane for southbound traffic on Knollwood Drive, traffic signal improvements, and striping changes will be evaluated as each lot’s final PD site plan is approved. It will be constructed when traffic counts show they are needed.
  • The need for a traffic signal at the Gold Canyon Road intersection of Highway 105 will start to be evaluated at the completion of Phase 1.

There were no referral comments to resolve at this hearing.

Consultant traffic engineer Jeff Hodsdon of LSC Transportation Consultants Inc. discussed the expected effects of phased commercial construction on traffic flows at the existing Highway 105 traffic signal at Knollwood Drive and the future addition of a signal at the recently completed Gold Canyon Road intersection to the east. An additional lane will be added along the Village Center frontage for eastbound Highway 105 traffic as new traffic is created within the Village Center.

The staff proposed five conditions of approval:

  1. A permit for overlot grading will not be approved until a phased grading plan is submitted and approved by the town.
  2. No site development permits shall be issued for Filing 4 until an analysis of the existing and/or expanded detention pond system for the entire Village Center development is reviewed and approved by the town and appropriate improvements, as necessary, are completed and approved by the town.
  3. A site plan improvement agreement shall be executed by the applicants and surety provided for all onsite improvements, and escrow will be provided for all offsite improvements, prior to recordation of the preliminary PD site plan.
  4. Any necessary technical changes shall be made by the applicant and approved by staff. This includes corrections to the design guidelines.
  5. All referral agency comments shall be resolved prior to recordation of the site plan.

The proposed preliminary PD site plan was approved with these five conditions by a 4-0-1 vote. Trustee Gail Drumm abstained. He did not give a reason for abstaining.

Lake of the Rockies service plan approved

Attorney Peter Susemihl represented principal land owner Jerry Biggs’ request for approval of a proposed metropolitan district service plan for the vacant Lake of the Rockies parcel near the southwest corner of the Second Street intersection with Mitchell Avenue. A sketch plan had been approved for the 70-acre parcel that includes 152 lots for single-family homes. Biggs is proposing the creation of the metropolitan district as a financing mechanism for necessary infrastructure improvements.

Some of the points made by Kassawara and Susemihl, the former attorney for the Triview Metropolitan and Cherokee Metropolitan Districts, were:

  • The district’s only purpose is to obtain cheaper financing for construction with no other ongoing governmental functions.
  • The district will finance the wastewater and water lines and roads, which will all be dedicated to the Town of Monument and constructed to its standards.
  • The estimated cost of these improvements is $2,308,500, which would be financed by a property tax of a maximum of about 30 mills to repay tax-free municipal bonds with terms of 20 to 40 years.
  • Buildout of the development is estimated to take six years.
  • The maximum debt authorization for the metro district is $5 million in case buildout takes longer.
  • Homebuyers are made aware of the district’s mill levy with a form of disclosure signed at closing and recorded against each lot.
  • The estimated metro district debt for each lot will be $19,000 to $40,000.
  • The average value of a property is estimated to be $400,000.
  • The bonds will be "limited tax schedule obligation bonds," which in this case limits the maximum mill levy at 35 mills, placing the risk on the bond owner rather than the homeowner.
  • Other property taxes are estimated to be about 85 mills, for a total of up to 120 mills.
  • The district would not be able to use the power of eminent domain to condemn a private use for a private use.
  • The district would be able to use the power of eminent domain to condemn a private use for a public use, such as roads and public utilities.
  • The district will also be responsible for construction of sidewalks and also turn them over to the town.

There are three steps for establishing the metro district:

  1. Gaining town approval for the service plan, which includes the intent and powers and the financial plan of the district.
  2. Petitioning the court to hold an election.
  3. Holding an election for the first set board members, typically associates of the developer and their spouses who buy property, since there will be no residents.

Subsequent board elections are held every two years.

Biggs stated that he intends to build the project in phases, and there is no set plan for development in the next few years.

Engineering services contracts extended

The board unanimously approved resolutions for one-year extensions of existing engineering services contracts with Matrix Design Group Inc. and J3 Engineering Consultants Inc.

New dust permit fee approved

Kassawara noted that the county no longer issues its $120 "fugitive dust control" permit. The board unanimously approved the addition of a new town dust permit to the town fee schedule. This new permit will cost $50 and cover one site inspection to check compliance for new dust control plans that have been reviewed and approved by Development Services staff.

First-quarter financial status analyzed

Town Treasurer Pamela Smith discussed her report on the town’s financial results for January through March. The general fund exceeded the budgeted amount by about $230,000, or about 6 percent. Development Services fees were $26,000, or about 17 percent higher than budgeted. The water fund exceeded the budget by about $140,000, or about 11.3 percent. Water billing revenues were about $40,000, or 24 percent, below the budgeted amount, though this is typical before summer lawn watering resumes. Tap fees were about $18,000 more than budgeted.

Support for Crawford Memorial requested

Crawford memorial to be redesigned: Ron Heard of the Master Sgt. William J. Crawford Memorial Committee asked the board to support construction of an upgrade of the Crawford Memorial and surrounding memorial garden at the north end of the walking path around Palmer Lake. The committee, besides seeking sponsors for the much larger display, is also seeking to identify military veterans who live in the Tri-Lakes region. The expanded display will have room for entries on local area veterans and those who have also won medals for valor.

Crawford, who was born and raised in Pueblo, was awarded the Medal of Honor for his military service in World War II for individually destroying one machine emplacement and forcing the Germans in another machine gun emplacement to flee their position in a long battle near Altavilla, Italy. Crawford was captured shortly after that engagement when he stayed behind the subsequent advance of his platoon to care for a fellow soldier who had been shot. He survived a 52-day winter forced march to a German prison camp as well as 19 more months of confinement, which included a severe beating to the head with a rifle butt.

His capture was unknown to the surviving members of his platoon. He was presumed dead, and his father accepted his "posthumously" awarded Medal of Honor on May 11, 1944, at Camp Carson, now Fort Carson. During the winter of 1944, he and the other members of his POW camp marched another 52 days for over 500 miles while eating only one potato per day to avoid the advancing Russian attack from the east. He was liberated on VE Day.

Crawford married Eileen Bruce in January 1946 and moved to Palmer Lake. He re-enlisted in 1947 and retired in 1967. In 1970, he took a job at the Air Force Academy. Later, a cadet discovered Crawford’s war history. President Ronald Reagan formally re-presented the "posthumous" Medal of Honor to Crawford at the 1984 U.S. Air Force Academy commencement, 40 years after his heroic achievement. Crawford is one of four Medal of Honor winners from Pueblo.

Crawford became very active in town affairs as president of the Palmer Lake Historical Society, a Yule Log lighter, election judge, Sunday school superintendent, and member of Kiwanis and VFW Post 4051. Crawford died in September 2000 and is buried at the Air Force Academy.

The rededication of the new Crawford Memorial is scheduled for Veterans Day, Nov. 11. For more information, go to www.crawfordmemorial.org

The board agreed to consider a donation after the mid-year budget restatement that follows the final approval of the 2009 audit. The audit will confirm the actual amount of cash that rolled over to 2010 and completion of Smith’s financial status report for the first half of 2010. Smith will add an unfunded line item to the 2010 budget to remind trustees of this request later in the budget cycle.

County seeks road input from citizens

Victoria Chavez, a county transportation planner, discussed county road plans with the board. She asked all county citizens to take a survey online at www.2040MTCP.com regarding the county’s new Master Transportation Corridor Plan or fill out a county postcard with the same questions.

The meeting adjourned at 9:17 p.m.

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Monument Board of Trustees, May 17: Fountain Mutual Irrigation water purchase canceled

By Jim Kendrick

On May 17, the Monument Board of Trustees unanimously approved a motion to terminate the contract to purchase Fountain Mutual Irrigation Co. water shares through Comanche Resources LLC. Town Manager Cathy Green and Public Works Director Rich Landreth indicated that there were too many variables beyond the town’s control at this time to be sure this would be a productive purchase for the town.

Trustees Stan Gingrich and Rick Squires were absent from the meeting.

The town staff held a telephone conference call on May 14 with town consultant water attorney Bob Krassa, consultant water engineer Bruce Lytle, and Town Attorney Gary Shupp to discuss issues raised in a staff meeting on May 4 with Trustees Gail Drumm, Tommie Plank, and Krassa. During the second teleconference, Krassa and Lytle listed enough concerns point by point to lead the staff to conclude it was in the town’s best interest to terminate the agreement to purchase in accordance with a "bailout" clause in paragraph 9(A) of the agreement.

After a 45-minute technical discussion exploring all issues that are risky in any water rights purchase under Colorado state water law, the board unanimously approved a motion to terminate the agreement and have Mayor Travis Easton sign a letter of termination to Comanche Resources dated May 17.

Chili Cook-off liquor license approved

The board unanimously approved a special liquor license request from the Historic Monument Merchants Association (HMMA) for the annual Chili Cook-off on Sept. 18. There will be a beer tent erected on Front Street just south of the Second Street intersection in front of the brick Mountain View Medical Group building. The street closure is required because alcohol is prohibited in Limbach Park where the rest of the cook-off festivities will be held.

Front Street will be closed to through traffic from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Access to Front Street homes between First and Second Streets will be available from the First Street intersection and the alley behind these homes. Access to the medical building parking lot will be from the alley behind the building where it intersects Second Street next to the Wisdom Tea House.

Financial reports

The board approved a single payment of over $5,000 for $102,785 to Triview Metropolitan District for March sales tax ($95,904), April motor vehicle tax ($6,638), and April Regional Building sales tax ($243).

Treasurer Pamela Smith reported that the final sales tax figures from the state for the first quarter were less than the budgeted amount by $43,835 or 7.3 percent. Most of the dip in revenues occurred in March. The 2010 budget for revenue is about the same as for 2009, so this is not a big problem yet. Smith also noted that the town’s annual sales tax revenues have risen about $1 million since 2004, when the total revenue was $539,317.

Green reported that the town’s 3/50 project will begin on June 1. HMMA will hold two raffles for one $500 prize each this year. The second raffle runs from Sept. 1 to Nov. 31. Turning in receipts from participating HMMA merchants totaling at least $350 will qualify a shopper for one raffle ticket. The town will contribute $10.50 toward the raffle prize fund for each set of receipts totaling $350 or more that is turned in.

Chillino changing careers

Tri-Lakes Tribune reporter Nicole Chillino stated that this was the final board meeting she will be covering as a reporter for the Tribune. She discussed some of the "many milestones" such as the Baptist Road interchange and the new Town Hall and Police Station she has witnessed in the previous five years while covering the meetings and wished the board continued successes into the future. She will be pursuing a master’s degree in teaching.

Senior residence project terminated

Chuck Roberts, advocate for Tri-Lakes Senior Citizens, noted that after 10 years of frustrating starts and stops, the Arbor Mountain Senior Living Facility project has been terminated by the developer. Roberts said he had recently talked to another developer about building a senior residence on Jackson Creek Parkway. He told Roberts it would take at least four years to open an operating residence under the most optimistic assumptions.

Roberts asked the trustees, "Why do we have to wait for an offer to come to us? Why can’t we have this community come together and proactively find appropriate developers and offer them some kind of incentives to quickly build a facility somewhere in the Tri-Lakes? I’m here to ask tonight to ask for your ideas and help in mobilizing our community to take the initiative in getting a residence for our senior citizens."

Easton said he appreciated Roberts’ continued efforts. "I know it’s frustrating. As I mentioned to you earlier, if we all work together, we’ll get there," Easton said.

High speed rail discussed

Westminster City Councilman Bob Briggs asked the board to join a new "Colorado High Speed Rail Authority" with an initial membership fee of $5,000 per year, which is half the fee charged by the Rocky Mountain Rail Authority. Briggs thanked Trustee Gail Drumm for his participation in the Rocky Mountain Rail Authority to help further high speed rail construction in Colorado. He said that there would be a 15-member board and joining promptly would ensure the town a seat on the board.

Briggs suggested that the long freight trains that go through Westminster and Monument be moved to the eastern plains on new tracks so the existing tracks could be used for passenger and commuter rail.

During a lengthy discussion with the trustees, some of the other points Briggs made were:

  • Monument is one of three "bottlenecks" for Class 1 train companies like Union Pacific & Burlington Northern. This makes Monument’s membership in the new authority very important in dealing with the railroads on a statewide basis.
  • The other two bottlenecks are the Moffat Tunnel (about 10 miles west of Rollinsville) and Denver.
  • A master plan for securing financing in the future will take about three years to complete.
  • The number of stops for the high speed trains will be "as many stops as it takes to fill up" the high speed trains.
  • A problem that needs to be solved is having only a single track between Monument and Colorado Springs.
  • A feasibility study has shown that the maximum fee that can be charged is 30 cents per mile.
  • Separate tracks will bypass each station so that express trains do not have to stop at each one.
  • The Rocky Mountain Rail Authority’s sole function was to fund a study on the feasibility of high speed rail in Colorado; the study is completed and that authority has no more money.
  • The new authority will have no taxing authority.

The board thanked Briggs for his comments but made no decision on paying $5,000 for a membership.

The board went into executive session at 7:40 p.m. to receive legal advice from Shupp on specific legal questions concerning contracts.

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The next meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on June 7 at Town Hall, 645 Beacon Lite Rd. Meetings are normally held the first and third Monday of the month. Information: 884-8017.

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Monument Planning Commission, May 12: Monument Marketplace auto repair shop plat approved

By Jim Kendrick

On May 12, the Monument Planning Commission unanimously approved an application from Monument Marketplace Inc. for preliminary/final plat for an auto repair shop in Monument Marketplace. The commission also unanimously approved the staff’s proposed condition that adequate water rights for this lot must be dedicated to the Triview Metropolitan District by special warranty deed prior to recordation of the plat with the county. Rick Blevins of Monument Marketplace Inc. objected to this condition.

Commissioner John Dick was absent. Alternate Commissioner Jim Fitzpatrick filled in.

This 0.92 acre lot owned by Vision Development Inc. is adjacent to I-25 and the vacant Discount Tire lot south of the Texas Roadhouse Restaurant next to I-25. Principal Planner Karen Griffith explained her analysis of how the plat met the 12 review criteria of the purpose statement in the town’s subdivision regulations. She recommended approval with three conditions:

  1. Any necessary technical changes shall be made by the applicant and approved by staff. This includes providing two permanent reference monuments outside the subdivision.
  2. All referral agency comments shall be resolved prior to recordation of the site plan.
  3. Documentation shall be provided showing there is an adequate supply of water and that adequate water rights have been dedicated by special warranty deed in conformance with Triview’s water standards in a form approved by the Triview Metropolitan District’s attorney, the town attorney, and the director of Development Services prior to recordation of the plat.

There were no referral comments or concerns made by the referral agencies.

Town Attorney Gary Shupp added, "The town does not have the water rights. The applicant would have the water rights. There is a dispute over that entire matter. What we’re doing is, we’re simply requesting that condition so that we can continue to work on the issues. There have been a number of meetings that have been held regarding that, and they are more Triview-related than they are town of Monument (issues)."

Blevins noted that access to this filing is covered by a reciprocal access easement, which is a "blanket cross access easement" for every lot in the entire 80-acre shopping center.

Griffith stated that Monument Marketplace and the town are currently negotiating a separate site plan application with Christian Brothers Auto Repair for filing 19, which the staff would approve administratively because it conforms to existing planned development zoning requirements. Blevins added that if negotiations with Christian Brothers Auto are not concluded successfully with a closing, Monument Marketplace will not record this plat with the county and seek another tenant.

Blevins formally objected to the third condition. He noted there have been more than 20 years of history between the landowner and Triview regarding the water rights within Triview and Jackson Creek, which are owned by Tim and Tom Phelan. The conditions for the lease of these water rights to Triview were well known at the time of Triview’s creation as well as annexation of the Triview district by the town of Monument. He said that Triview has never made a payment for the water lease. Two attempts were made to convert the Triview lease into a purchase agreement with Triview. Blevins said, "Triview has defaulted on both of those agreements." Discussions with Triview are continuing.

Blevins noted that all the construction within Triview to date has been completed with no water availability problems. He said a precedent has been set that the Phelans will continue to provide additional water to every new project, even though Triview has never paid for any of the water it has used in over 20 years. The third condition of approval for this plat is not appropriate, he said.

The plat with all three conditions was unanimously approved.

Comprehensive Plan update

Griffith announced that a committee would meet on March 20 to update the Town Comprehensive Plan section regarding the I-25 corridor subarea from County Line Road to the northern boundary of the Air Force Academy. There also be public meetings on this update, which will receive final consideration from the Planning Commission. The committee consists of Commissioners Fitzpatrick, Kathy Spence, and Ed Delaney (alternate commission member); and Trustees Rafael Dominguez and Rick Squires.

Griffith also noted that the Planning Commission would be reviewing a revised regulation on preliminary plats as well as a proposal for a new apartment building development in Jackson Creek north of Ent Federal Credit Union in the near future.

The meeting adjourned at 6:50 p.m.

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The June meeting of the Planning Commission has been canceled. The next meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on July 14 at Town Hall at 645 Beacon Lite Road. Meetings are normally held on the second Wednesday of the month. Information: 884-8017.

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Special district election results

Three special districts held elections in May. Here’s a look at the results. (The names of elected candidates are in boldface.)

Donald Wescott Fire Protection District

Board of Directors (The top three vote-getters earned seats on the board)

Joyce Hartung: 184
Greg Gent: 125
Harlan Baker: 123
Kevin Gould: 98
William Lowes: 79
Ed Ellsworth: 46

Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District

Board of Directors - Four-year terms (The top three earned seats on the board):

Charlie Pocock: 128
John Hildebrandt: 104
Rod Wilson: 85
Chuck Schweiss: 83
Chez Marshall: 79
Rick Cheever: 76

Board of Directors - Two-year terms (All three were elected):

Bill Ingram: 127
Bruce Fritzsche: 117
Barbara Kelly: 104

Donala Water and Sanitation District

Board of Directors (The top three were elected):

Tim Murphy: 732
Bill Nance: 673
David Powell: 641
Gene Pfeffer: 594
Warren Gerig: 526

Issue A: Tax-increase question

Yes: 1,020 (67%)
No: 495

Issue B: Debt-increase question

Yes: 1,098 (72.2%)
No: 410

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Academy Water and Sanitation District, May 5: Discussion on merging with Donala revived

By Susan Hindman

For the second time in three years, the Donala Water and Sanitation District has contacted the Academy Water and Sanitation District board about absorbing the smaller district into the larger Gleneagle-based one. Donala’s last offer was made in June 2007 and ended in May 2008 when the invitation was withdrawn. Academy President Richard DuPont received the latest letter in April, but discussion was delayed until the May 5 meeting when all board members could be present.

Academy faces major decisions regarding its wastewater operations because of new state ammonia-level standards being imposed on the water that is discharged from the lagoons into streams. The standards are set to go into effect in 2012. The district’s current lagoon system will not be able to meet those standards, so the board is faced with the decision of either upgrading the current system—which could involve building a treatment facility—or becoming part of another district’s operations.

Donala "wants us to take another look at it," said DuPont. Academy’s wastewater would be pumped by a new lift station over the ridge to the west of its treatment facility and to Donala’s gravity collection system. Academy’s wastewater would be treated by the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility, located off Baptist Road west of Interstate 25. Operated by Donala, that facility is jointly owned by Donala and the Triview and Forest Lakes metropolitan districts.

DuPont said that even if the decision was made to merge with Donala, Academy would have to get approvals from the county, state, and other outside groups as well as district residents.

Another option is to connect to Colorado Springs Utilities’ (CSU) wastewater collection system through pipes on Northgate Road. Going with CSU, which is "all very preliminary in nature," DuPont emphasized, would involve eliminating the lagoons and running a gravity-feed pipeline down Smith Creek, avoiding the need for a new lift station. CSU would pipe the wastewater away for treatment. Academy would save 55 percent of its monthly energy bill—around $1,200 to $1,500 a month. The cost to Academy would be the development and construction of the pipeline.

DuPont said the benefit to going with CSU is that "we would have no facilities on our side to worry about except infrastructure. We would have to probably improve the lift station on the other side, but we wouldn’t have to build a lift station." Academy would also benefit by receiving new fees from homeowners on the five-acre lots along the pipeline route who might want to tap into those lines, said Anthony Pastorello, Academy’s operator.

The third option is for Academy to build its own wastewater treatment facility, a move that requires engineering studies, money, and possibly (when operational) more personnel.

DuPont said meetings are planned with GMS Engineering to look at the costs involved with all of the options. Meanwhile, GMS submitted the application for the district’s wastewater permit renewal to the state; the current permit expires this year. In a memo to the board, GMS pointed to the "more stringent effluent water quality limits" that will likely be imposed with the new permit and that "those limits cannot be attained by the existing wastewater treatment system."

Donala’s letter also addressed the issue of water, noting that "we see the writing on the wall regarding access of water." Previously, Donala’s position was that it would connect Academy residents to Donala’s water system and shut down Academy’s water plant, which won’t be paid off until 2014. The April letter brought up Donala’s efforts to acquire renewable water sources and noted, "We are simply offering (this) as another step in securing the future of your district." DuPont read that aloud and responded, "We appreciate that."

DuPont says that water is not as urgent an issue at the moment.

"I think the most pressing thing we have for the next three or four years is the processing of our wastewater," DuPont said. "I think we should address that at this time, and we can address the water aspect later." He added that "right now we’re in very good shape water-wise. We have a very good producing deep well. We also have two very good alluvial wells that just seem to go on and on and have for the last 40 years."

But, he added, "There is a future. Somewhere down the line, we may have to take action in acquiring water."

Donala’s letter also addressed a series of wastewater overflows at Academy’s lower lift station that had triggered repeated alarms at Donala. The two districts have an agreement regarding overflows into each other’s systems. DuPont said he acknowledged the problem in a letter of response to them: "I told them we expected to be billed for past overflows. We’ve been working on that problem. Anthony has made a lot of improvements. It’s working extremely well right now."

Ironically, the roughly eight-hour power outage on April 23, which affected many district residents, caused Donala’s Fox Run lift station to shut down and overflow into Academy’s wastewater facility for the entire time the power was out. The effect, however, was "minimal." Although Academy’s water plant and tank were affected by the outage, its lift stations were not affected.

Plan would teach residents about water issues

In September 2009, representatives from the Colorado Rural Water Association gave a presentation about the benefits of having a Source Water Protection Plan, a statewide program for public water systems geared to preventing contamination.

Having this plan would "create a good assessment of vulnerable points in our system, to our source water and wells," said Pastorello. "It will help provide funding for teaching residents what issues to be aware of, and, most valuable for us, it would compile data that would help us to establish connections with other stakeholders who have resources that we can utilize in an emergency situation."

The plan would not cost the district any money; a $5,000 grant would fund the effort. The board had delayed making a decision but finally voted to move forward with implementing the plan. A committee that will include district residents is being established.

New face on the board

Syd Cline was introduced as a new board member, replacing June Walters who is moving out of the district.

Compliance, construction, and other news

The CBOD readings in the lagoons continue to be low, which keeps the district in compliance with state requirements. The district’s wells produced 1,446,869 gallons of water, and 1,297,400 gallons of that were sold to district users. There was a 10.3 percent loss of water because of the amount needed for sewer cleaning, which was performed on lines along Becky Drive from Stella to Tari Drive, and along Tari from Becky to Pleasant View drives. The lines looked good, Pastorello said, and "nothing of significance" was found in the cleaning.

Construction on the drainage ditch around the rear of the water plant has begun and should be completed soon. The new ditch is 6 feet wide (enlarged from 3 feet) and 2 feet deep, with a foot of 4- and 6-inch stone to carry the water from the hillside. Previously, the water was carried via "an inadequate channel" and overflowed into the smaller ditch and then into the lagoon, leading to a "huge deposit of silt," Pastorello said. Now it will drain around the lagoon and toward the creek.

Treasurer Walter Reiss noted that water rates were increased in February, but so far no feedback had come in from residents. However, board member Ron Curry acknowledged resident Sue Wielgopolan, who attended the April meeting and had thanked the board for the increase at that time, as she felt strongly that it was necessary. She was also present at the May meeting.

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The Academy Water and Sanitation District board usually meets at 7 p.m. the first Wednesday of every month at the fire station on Sun Hills Drive. The next meeting is July 7.

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Woodmoor Water and Sanitation Board, May 6: Nasser retires from board; new officers installed

By Harriet Halbig

Following eight years of service, President Benny Nasser retired from the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation Board at its May meeting. In his remarks, he listed some of the achievements of his tenure, including construction of the south treatment plant, continuing rehabilitation of sewer lines, construction of at least two wells, institution of a public outreach program, and revision of the Joint Use Committee agreement. See photos on page 39.

Nasser said that the board has always been forward-looking in its decisions and praised the district’s staff and consultants for their input. As a memento, District Manager Jessie Shaffer presented Nasser with a keepsake made from a water meter.

Remapping the district

Assistant Manager Randy Gillette spoke about the recent remapping of the district by engineer Zach Collins. Collins has created map books for desk and field use, including streets and subdivisions. The district is divided into 45 map sheets. It is hoped that eventually the district will be put into a global satellite system. There will also be a digital map to include owner names and other information. Nasser presented Collins with a bonus check to acknowledge his achievement.

Board officers elected

Barrie Town was elected as the new president of the board. Elizabeth Hacker will serve as secretary, James Whitelaw as assistant secretary, and James Wyss will continue as treasurer.

Financial matters

There was no financial report due to the early date of the meeting.

Pat Hall of Jaspers and Hall presented a report on the annual audit of the district. He said that the audit went smoothly and that revenues were down during the year due to a combination of wet weather and conservation activities. Tap fees were also quite low, as were interest revenues. Expenditures were also down to compensate. District investments were conservative.

Hall said the board must approve the audit by June 30 and it must be presented to state authorities by July 31.

Courrau named to board

In public discussion, Beth Courrau was introduced by Hacker as a potential candidate for board membership. Courrau has been a Woodmoor resident for many years, with a history of volunteer service with the Woodmoor Improvement Association (past president) and committees of the school district and El Paso County. Courrau said that she follows water issues in the news and has toured the district’s facilities. She said that water resources must be considered when planning for growth. Later in the meeting, the board voted to include her on the board. Her term will last two years.

JUC report

Reporting on the meeting of the Joint Use Committee, Hacker said that there is continued concern about a revision of Environmental Protection Agency water standards regarding phosphorus and other substances beginning in 2011. She said the committee is considering some proactive testing. The area under the purview of the committee has never failed a test.

Manager’s report

Shaffer reported that the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority (PPRWA) is continuing its discussion of joining the Colorado/Wyoming Coalition. The Woodmoor Water board voted to authorize the expenditure of $5,000 to cover costs of a feasibility study by the coalition. Attorney Erin Smith confirmed that she has reviewed the establishing contract and bylaws. Further details of this action can be found in the article on the PPRWA in this issue of OCN, page 21.

Shaffer also confirmed that Woodmoor Water and Sanitation has once again been invited to participate in negotiations with Super Ditch, a consortium offering water leases in the lower Arkansas Valley.

In his operations report, Gillette reported that 90 percent of the previous month’s water was accounted for. He said the lake was doing well, and all of the water sold in April was from the lake. He said that, due to heavy snowfall, the level of the lake was 2 feet below the spillway. In addition, the heavy precipitation was causing groundwater problems in parts of the district.

Plans for summer activity include rehabilitation of parts of the sewer system and of several manholes.

The contractor for the White Fawn/Deer Creek project was expected to be on site the following week to arrange for the repaving of Deer Creek. The district had recently received complaints from some homeowners in the area.

There was no new subdivision building activity.

Shaffer reported that there had been recent changes in various water augmentation contracts. Airport Equities, owners of the property to the west of the lake spillway, has canceled its request for supplemental water. The owner of the Misty Acres property has reduced its request for supplementary water.

Owners of a property on the south side of Highway 105 have been defaulting on payment of its reserve fee, Shaffer said. They will be invited to attend the next meeting of the board.

Shaffer reported that the district’s poster contest drew over 700 posters from three schools. The theme this year was "Water Is Fun." He also reported that he had just received the brochure regarding rebate programs and that information on irrigation restrictions would be enclosed with next month’s bill.

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The June meeting of the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation Board will be held on Tuesday, June 14, at 1 p.m. at the conference room at 1855 Woodmoor Drive in Monument. For information, call 488-2525.

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Joint Use Committee, May 11: Crystal Creek health hazard discussed

By Jim Kendrick

On May 11, Monument Sanitation District Manager Mike Wicklund advised the Joint Use Committee (JUC) of the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility that he had been attending meetings with Town of Monument and county staff members regarding a request from Dave Hellbusch to annex his Monument Small Engine property at 137 N. Monument Lake Rd. Pat Hall of Jaspars and Hall PC presented his audit for 2009 to the JUC.

The Tri-Lakes facility operates as a separate public utility and is jointly owned, in equal one-third shares, by Monument Sanitation District, Palmer Lake Sanitation District, and Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District. The three-member JUC acts as the board of the facility. The JUC consists of one director from each of the three owner boards.

Palmer Lake representative and JUC President Dale Smith and Monument Director Lowell Morgan attended this meeting. Woodmoor’s alternate representative, Director Elizabeth Hacker, filled in for Director Jim Whitelaw. The three district managers and several other district directors also attended.

Health hazard to Crystal Creek discussed

Monument District Manager Mike Wicklund discussed the problems he had discovered in responding to a request from the Town of Monument that the Monument Sanitation District include Dave Hellbusch’s portion of the Mountain Farmer property at the intersection of Mitchell Avenue and Monument Lake Road.

Background: The original Mountain Farmer parcel was owned by Dave’s father, Norm Hellbusch. None of this original parcel is located within either Monument or Palmer Lake Sanitation District. Norm Hellbusch had discussed inclusion of his property by Monument Sanitation District with Wicklund in the past but never applied.

This parcel has since been subdivided into two parts and deeded to Dave Hellbusch and his sister Julie Gardner. The parents still reside in their home located in the southwest portion of Gardner‘s property. The parents and his sister are not parties to Dave Hellbusch’s annexation request.

Dave Hellbusch is considering construction of a replacement commercial building for his business and needs to resolve several issues raised by the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department in order to be issued a building permit.

Hellbusch’s property is located entirely in unincorporated El Paso County and surrounded by the remainder of the original Mountain Farmer property. A triangle-shaped portion of the northeast part of Gardner’s property, next to the railroad tracks, is located inside the western boundary of the town. The rest of Gardner’s property is in the county.

Stormwater from these two properties drains directly into adjacent Crystal Creek and then flows directly to nearby Monument Lake through adjacent lakefront properties on the south side of Monument Lake Road.

Inclusion by a sanitation district would be a condition of approval for Hellbusch’s proposed request for annexation of his Monument Small Engine business property into the town. The town requires the availability of urban utility services to properties that are being annexed.

Hellbusch has been operating his small engine business within the Mountain Farmer property for about 25 years without public water or sanitary sewer service. This business is currently relying solely on a rented Portolet. His property is over 400 feet from the nearest Monument or Palmer Lake Sanitation District collection line and cannot be compelled by either district to connect to a system.

Hellbusch has also stated that his sister does not want the rest of her surrounding property to be annexed into Monument or any of her property included by either sanitation district.

Wicklund noted that the topography of these two properties would make it easier and cheaper for Palmer Lake Sanitation District to provide sanitary sewer service by gravity. Monument Sanitation’s adjacent collection line in downtown Monument is on the opposite side of the railroad tracks. A service line from Hellbusch’s or Gardner’s property would have to be bored under the railroad tracks, a far more expensive and administratively difficult option. Utility and access easements through Gardner’s property to Hellbusch’s property would have to be provided to a sanitation district whether Gardner’s property was included or not.

Wicklund said that the only sensible approach for either sanitation district is to require that both properties be included at the same time. Wicklund and Palmer Lake District Manager Duane Hanson also confirmed that they had discussed inclusion of Hellbusch’s property with their boards, and both boards agree on requiring inclusion of both properties at the same time. Hanson also noted that Gardner had first inquired about inclusion of her property by Palmer Lake in 2002.

Wicklund also noted that the town staff had referred Dave Hellbusch’s annexation request to El Paso County agencies as part of its preliminary annexation application review. Wicklund noted problems he had discussed with Dave Hellbusch during a May 4 meeting in Monument Town Hall attended by town, district, and county staff. He also pointed out problems discovered during a prior joint inspection of Gardner’s property with town staff and during two subsequent follow-up inspections. Hellbusch may face losing his business if he cannot persuade the county or the town to replat his property.

The county staff members that Wicklund and Jim Kendrick, Monument Sanitation District Operations, have met with are: planner Kari Parsons and Code Enforcement Officer Gayle Jackson of the Development Services Department, Environmental Health Specialist Sarah Brustkern of the Department of Health and Environment, and Stormwater Project Manager John Chavez of the Department of Transportation.

Some of the problems with the Hellbusch and Gardner properties that would have to be resolved with the county prior to the town resuming a review of the annexation are:

  • A separate house on the northwest corner of Gardner’s property was found by Brustkern and Chavez to be discharging raw sewage directly into adjacent Crystal Creek. Brustkern said the county had no record of the failed septic system installed about 40 feet from the undocumented well for this house and would not have allowed them to be so close together if the county Health Department had known of their existence.
  • Wicklund observed raw sewage on the ground next to this house during a separate prior inspection of the two properties.
  • Brustkern and Chavez have also determined that three mobile homes on town property on the northeast corner of Gardner’s property may not have authorized septic systems and may be discharging directly into Crystal Creek.
  • Brustkern and Chavez determined that a fourth mobile home—next to the house on the northwest corner of Gardner’s property—has no approved septic system and also appears to be discharging raw sewage directly into adjacent Crystal Creek. Wicklund and town staff members observed raw sewage on the ground next to this mobile home during a separate prior inspection.
  • All four county staff members observed that there are several other existing mobile home pads on Gardner’s property. Each pad has unapproved sewage discharge pipes for hooking up mobile home toilets, and these pipes may discharge directly to Crystal Creek. There are no mobile homes on these pads at this time, though there have been in the past.
  • Parsons determined that the parents’ property had been illegally subdivided into the current non-conforming Monument Small Engine and Mountain Farmer properties. Neither property meets the county’s RR-5 zone land use requirement for a minimum rural residential lot size of five acres.
  • Parsons has advised Dave Hellbusch that no variance of use permit for his currently unapproved non-conforming commercial use will be issued by the county because his lot has not been legally platted as required by a state law created in 1972 for lots less than 35 acres.
  • Parsons also advised Hellbusch that the county would require both properties to "tie into" water and sewer services as part of the county’s subdivision process for creating two legal conforming lots in a county replat.
  • Parsons told Hellbusch that his sister’s property may be a public safety and civil litigation issue because of the possibility of apparently failing septic systems adjacent to nearby permitted wells. The county’s subdivision process will require a geology and soils study as well as water quality and sufficiency for both properties.
  • Parsons advised Hellbusch that getting the state engineer to approve a new commercial septic system next to Gardner’s failed residential septic system with raw sewage on the ground would be "challenging."
  • A separate county Health Department approval for a new commercial septic system will also be required by the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department.
  • Parsons stated that there will be no future building permits for new construction for new uses on either non-conforming property until all these issues are resolved.
  • Jackson noted that the county had previously found evidence of failing septic systems on the Gardner property in 2007.

Palmer Lake Director Joe Stallsmith said that the county Health Department should have taken control of the Mountain Farmer situation "years ago." Tri-Lakes Facility Manager Bill Burks said he was surprised that the county had not shut down Mountain Farmer immediately and plugged all the sewage pipes on the property that are draining into Crystal Creek. Hacker suggested that the EPA address the problems with Crystal Creek contaminating Monument Lake.

2009 audit approved

The committee unanimously approved Hall’s "clean" unqualified audit, subject to final review and approval by the facility’s CPA Nolan Gookin and the directors of the JUC.

Hall stated that internal control processes and policies "were as good as they can be." He noted that he and Burks had added a separate budget line item for "compensated absences" for accrued but unused vacation and sick time payments that facility employees would receive on retirement or resignation. Facility operating expenses were up $138,000 from the previous year. The members of the JUC noted that Hall’s 12-minute summary, including questions and answers, was exceptionally succinct yet complete.

April meeting minutes praised

Smith, Morgan, and Stallsmith complimented JUC recording secretary Sue Wielgopolan for the quality of her "thorough" and concise minutes on a "very complicated topic" for the April 13 meeting. These minutes documented the contents of a lengthy and very technical presentation by the facility’s environmental attorney, Tad Foster, and Kendrick on regulatory hearings and meetings of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment regarding the state’s June 7-8 hearing on basic standards and methodologies regulations for surface water and their application to the Arkansas River basin’s water quality standards and the high costs of proposed tighter regulation of whole effluent toxicity, phosphate, nitrogen, arsenic, heavy metals, temperature, E. coli, dissolved oxygen, nonylphenol, and dilution standards. See www.ourcommunitynews.org/v10n5.htm#juc for a summary of these issues.

District manager reports

Construction resumes in Monument’s Wakonda Hills: Wicklund also briefed the JUC on the resumption of Phase 2 construction of new collection lines in Wakonda Hills following the winter break. Construction of the new lines should be concluded by the end of October. Monument will have to do a separate federal audit for the forgivable federal loan that is paying for the pipe and manhole installation under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Wicklund noted that Joe Simcik of I&C had increased the spacing between the floats in the Trails End lift station. The increased spacing prevents accumulated grease from "hanging up the floats." Recently, the floats were getting stuck in one position due to grease buildup between floats, and the attached electrical switches were not turning on and off correctly. This was causing alarms to his cell phone, mostly in "the middle of the night," when the pumps ran longer than would normally be necessary to empty the accumulated wastewater in the lift station storage tank. Simcik also ensured that there was no damage to the pumps.

Wicklund said that Monument Mobile Home Park on Beacon Lite Road is mapping its service lines, using cameras to take internal videos of its pipes. The manager will provide a copy of the map to the district. Wicklund helped the owner dissuade Comcast from doing directional drilling through the property.

Kendrick reviewed the highlights of the Water Quality Forum work group and Colorado Wastewater Utility Council meetings he had attended in the past month. He noted the special forum work group meeting presented by statistical expert Tim Moore on whole effluent testing statistics and the nutrient work group. Moore is a consultant to the utility council. Wicklund asked Kendrick to have the Water Quality Forum forward Moore’s study and cover letter to the state attorney general to analyze EPA’s requirements that appear to violate Science Advisory Board requirements for "good science" and transforming guidance statements into de facto regulations.

Hanson discussed his recent meeting with Dave Hellbusch on inclusion and discussions about the mobile homes on Gardner’s property. He said that in 2002, the Palmer Lake Sanitation District Board had voted to require that the Hellbusch and Gardner properties be included at the same time.

Hanson noted that immediately after the April blizzard, Palmer Lake’s flow had roughly doubled due to infiltration. He is conducting internal video inspections in his system to determine the cause of the additional flow of 200,000 gallons per day. Burks noted that the facility’s instrumentation had not recorded a large infiltration problem in flows from Woodmoor or any change in Monument flows.

Woodmoor District Manager Jessie Shaffer said he had detected a slight infiltration problem after the April blizzard. Shaffer also reviewed the district’s recent purchase of water shares from the Rocky Ford Highline Canal Co. and storage in the Stonewall Spring project. The Woodmoor district is using Lake Woodmoor to store the water it owns in Monument Creek.

Plant manager’s report

Burks reported that the Tri-Lakes facility is performing well. The copper concentration in the effluent was 8.2 parts per billion, less than the facility’s proposed discharge permit’s maximum of 11.7 ppb, but more than the permit average limit of 8.0 ppb and well below the temporary modification limits of 24.8 ppb on average or a single test maximum of 36.4 ppb. The current expired Tri-Lakes discharge permit for 2005-09 has been administratively extended by the division’s permit section for three years.

Burks also noted that he has begun testing the plant’s influent and effluent flows for total phosphorus. In April, total phosphorus coming into the plant was 6.1 parts per million and was reduced to 3.7 ppm after treatment. This is several times higher than the state’s and EPA’s proposed effluent limits for effluent discharged to a cold water stream. Additionally, Burks has begun testing temperatures in Monument Creek above and below the facility’s discharge point, with readings of 8 degrees C during the high post-blizzard flows.

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The next meeting is at 10 a.m. on June 8 in the facility conference room, 16510 Mitchell Ave. Meetings are normally held at 10 a.m. on the second Tuesday of the month. Information: 481-4053.

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Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority, May 19: Flaming Gorge project gains additional participants

By John Heiser

At the May 19 regular monthly meeting of the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority (PPRWA), representatives of the Town of Monument, the Triview Metropolitan District, and the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District formally agreed to participate in the feasibility study phase of the Flaming Gorge project through Donala’s membership in the Colorado Water Authority.

The Colorado Water Authority is a coalition of Colorado water providers that is looking into bringing water from the Flaming Gorge Reservoir in northwestern Colorado to the Rueter-Hess Reservoir, a 70,000 acre-foot facility being constructed three miles southwest of downtown Parker.

The current members of the Colorado Water Authority besides Donala are the Parker Water and Sanitation District, the South Metro Water Supply Authority, the Board of County Commissioners of Douglas County, and the Town of Castle Rock.

Participation in the Colorado Water Authority will be conducted as a project of the PPRWA under which the costs, in this case $20,000, are typically allocated based on the amount of water each participant is seeking. Dana Duthie, general manager of the Donala district, was designated as the PPRWA’s representative, with PPRWA manager Gary Barber as alternate.

The Flaming Gorge Project feasibility phase is expected to take about a year.

The members of the PPRWA are the Cherokee Metropolitan District, the City of Fountain, the Donala district, Monument, the Town of Palmer Lake, the Triview district, the Woodmen Hills Metropolitan District, and the Woodmoor district.

Duthie predicted that with Triview’s recently renewed membership, the PPRWA may have enough money on hand to cover its expenses through the end of 2010.

Following the public meeting, the authority went into an executive session to discuss legal issues and negotiation strategies.

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The next regular monthly meeting of the PPRWA will be held June 16 at 8:30 a.m. at the new Monument Town Hall and Police Building, 645 Beacon Lite Road at Highway 105. The meetings are normally held on the third Wednesday of each month.

The PPRWA Web site is www.pprwa.com

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Donala Water and Sanitation District, May 20: Decision by Colorado Springs may clear the way for a contract with Donala

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Below (L to R): Dana Duthie, Donala General Manager and board members Tim Murphy, Dale Schendzielos, David Powell, William Nance, and William George. Photo by John Heiser.

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By John Heiser

At the May 20 regular monthly meeting of the Donala Water and Sanitation District Board of Directors, Dana Duthie, Donala’s general manager, reported that on May 19, the Colorado Springs City Council, meeting as the Colorado Springs Utilities Board, approved changes to the policies governing the operation of Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) to allow contracts for water-related services to districts, such as Donala, that are outside the city limits. Donala is in negotiations with CSU to establish a water supply connection at Northgate Road.

Duthie added that the policy changes include limitations on contracts to a maximum term of three years, with provision for renewal, for contracts in which CSU water is included and a maximum of 25 years for contracts in which CSU water is not included.

On May 4, voters approved Donala’s ballot measures to fund the infrastructure needed to use water delivered through CSU’s infrastructure. Duthie noted that the 25-year limitation may complicate the financing.

Duthie expressed concern that the costs imposed for using CSU’s infrastructure may be exorbitant. Those costs are a topic for the ongoing negotiations.

New board takes over

Continuing board member Dale Schendzielos swore in the three directors elected May 4: Tim Murphy, William Nance, and David Powell. Murphy was elected president. Continuing board member William George was elected vice president. Schendzielos was elected secretary/treasurer.

New meeting schedule

The board approved changing its meeting day to the third Thursday of each month. The June meeting was delayed to June 24 due to vacation schedules, and the November meeting was delayed to Dec. 2 so the latest property tax figures can be included in the 2011 budget. The meeting days for the rest of the year are June 24, July 15, Aug. 19, Sept. 16, Oct. 21, and Dec. 2

Other matters

  • During the three months from Feb. 1 through April 30, the district’s $3.753 million in investments managed by Davidson Fixed Income Management showed a yield of 0.28 percent, achieving a goal of beating the Colotrust Plus fund, which yielded 0.09 percent during the same period. The weighted average maturity of the district’s investments is 5.8 months.
  • Duthie reported on the May 19 meeting of the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority (PPRWA). See article above.

Following the public meeting, the board went into executive session to discuss personnel and negotiation issues.

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The Donala board will hold its next regular meeting on June 24 at 1:30 p.m. at the Donala office, 15850 Holbein Drive. Meetings are normally held at 1:30 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month.

The district’s Web site is at www.donalawater.org

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Monument Sanitation District, May 20: Board elects officers

By Jim Kendrick

On May 20, Monument Sanitation District Directors Ed Delaney, Chuck Robinove, and Kristi Schutz were sworn in for their second terms by District Manager Mike Wicklund, who is a notary public, because outgoing board President Glenda Smith was out of town. They were unopposed for re-election. The board elected officers for the next two years. Delaney was elected president, Robinove was named treasurer, and Schutz was selected as secretary.

Director Lowell Morgan will continue as the district’s representative to the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility Joint Use Committee. Robinove will continue as his primary alternate. Smith, Delaney, and Schutz will also be listed as alternate representatives in Monument’s new letter of appointment that will be sent to the other facility owners, Palmer Lake Sanitation District, and Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District.

Wakonda Hills tap fee

Wicklund noted that a tap fee had been received from a Wakonda Hills resident on April 22, bringing the total received for 2010 to $85,400. That exceeds the expected tap fee revenue of $50,000 in the budget.

Progress on lift stations

Wicklund reported that the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment had provided verbal approval of two lift stations to be built on the southwest corner of Wakonda Hills. However, no written documentation of this approval, the final step before construction can begin, had been sent to the district. Engineering consultant GMS Inc. has estimated that the cost of the lift stations and force mains to connect them to the new gravity lines of Phase 2 will be no more than $338,000.

Wicklund also noted that Brannan Construction would complete the pipe and manhole portion of the project by the end of October.

Annexation discussed

Wicklund briefed the board on the Town of Monument staff’s request that the district consider including the Monument Small Engine property within the Mountain Farmer property at the intersection of Mitchell Avenue and Monument Lake Road. The availability of all urban services, including sanitary sewer, is a requirement for annexation. The board, as previous boards have done in the past, again took the position that the Mountain Farmer property that surrounds the Monument Small Engine property would have to apply for inclusion at the same time. For more information on this issue, see the JUC article on page 19.

Audit update

Wicklund said that the 2009 audit was proceeding normally. The district auditor will have to conduct a separate "yellow sheet" federal audit for the forgivable federal loan under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 that is paying for the pipe and manhole installation.

Lift station repaired

Wicklund discussed how trapped grease had been causing float switches that turn on the lift station pumps to stick in the "on" position after wastewater had been pumped to the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility. None of the pumps were damaged from running longer than they should have. The configuration of the float switches was re-aligned to prevent accumulated grease from Trails End homes from causing two floats to interfere with each other.

The meeting adjourned at 8:15 p.m.

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The next meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on June 17 at the district conference room, 130 Second St. Meetings are normally held on the third Thursday of the month. Information: 481-4886.

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Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District Board, April 28: Expenditures and income on track

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Below: District Administrative Assistant Jennifer Martin, standing, receives congratulations from district board members, from left, Barbara Kelly, Charlie Pocock, and Roger Lance. She was lauded for her outstanding perseverance and effort that led her to be elevated to a full-time employee. Photo by Bernard Minetti.

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By Bernard L. Minetti

At the April 28 meeting of the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District Board, Treasurer John Hildebrandt noted that the district had received $930,286 (28 percent) of its budgeted property tax revenue and that its next payment would be received in July. He said that salary numbers are normalizing and that they were only 1.72 percent over projected budget figures. Electricity costs remain elevated due to continued well augmentation at Fire Station 2.

In summarizing his report, Hildebrandt stated that overall district expenses were 23.91 percent of the annual budget, which is 1.09 percent under budget. The figures through March represented 25 percent of the annual budget.

Administrative assistant elevated to full time

District Fire Chief Robert Denboske recommended to the board that district Administrative Assistant Jennifer Martin be elevated to a full-time position. He explained that her work requirements had reached a point where the effort required would exceed her part-time hours. He said her work effort was superlative and her dedication was noteworthy. Director Charlie Pocock also complimented the work Martin had demonstrated. Pocock made a motion to change her to full time. The motion passed unanimously.

Denboske briefed the board on the status of the new truck and the process of combining leases to lower payments. He said the process was ongoing.

Denboske summarized the district’s participation in the rollover of a tanker truck on I-25 that occurred on April 7. A crew was at the scene for 12.5 hours working in conjunction with county and state Hazmat crews, the State Patrol and EPA personnel. He stated that the coordination and mutual cooperation exhibited among the participants helped to prevent the situation from being exacerbated by fire.

Denboske read a letter from the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce thanking the district for the assistance and involvement in the last Empty Bowl charity fundraiser. The letter read, in part;

"The Chamber and the organizers of the Annual Dinner would like to thank you for your very generous donation to our Silent Auction at this year’s dinner. The auction was a success because of all the businesses and individuals who gave of their products and/or services. We believe that the value of your Ride-along, station tour and dinner for 4 has been returned several times over your cost through the promotion and exposure gained."

Denboske advised the board that during the April 23 snowstorm, a High Country Trees employee accidentally punched an approximate 1-foot hole in the exterior west wall of the district’s training room while plowing to remove snow. Repairs had been ordered and will be completed soon.

Pocock reads clarification statement

Director Charlie Pocock asked for time to read a prepared statement titled, "Clarification of Motion to Refinance Two Existing Loans into the Ladder Truck Lease Purchase Agreement for Fifteen Years" which was a subject at the previous board meeting in March.

He read from a prepared document and stated that, "At our last meeting, during the discussion on the motion, Tim made the statement that we would be putting off the problem onto a future Board. Some thought this was the reason for my motion. While it will be true, it was not the reason for my motion. So I feel that some clarification is necessary.

"The Savings and Loan recession that began in 1988 lasted until 1994 was not nearly as deep as the present economic recession which began in 2007 and is ongoing. So I don’t see this recession ending before 2015 at the very earliest. Here I’m talking about unemployment at or below 5% and inflation at or about 3% per year. Right now there is great dissatisfaction in the country with high taxes and we have three anti-tax initiatives on the November ballot: Proposition 101, Reduce Vehicle, Income Tax and Telecommunication Revenues. This tax provides us with our Specific Ownership Tax revenue and will decrease by 25% per year for four years. I would give this an 80% chance of passing and we’ll just have to tighten our belt to make up for this loss of revenue.

"Amendment 60, Limit Property Tax. This should not affect us. Amendment 61, Limits Governmental Borrowing. This is the initiative my motion was intended to address. lt contains three provisions that will have adverse impacts on the District.

"(1) After 2010, Special Districts will only be allowed to borrow money after voter approval and all borrowing issues must be on the November ballot. Since November elections are only conducted in even numbered years we must decide on new fire engines/trucks or stations two or three years in advance and ask for voter approval.

"(2) Any future borrowings must be in the form of bonded debt and be for no more than 10 years. And that debt may not be refinanced to extend the term.

"(3) This is the most important reason. There is a provision that states that when any debt is repaid, the property tax mill levy must be reduced by an amount equal to the loan payment. So it doesn’t matter if we pay the money to Wells Fargo or don’t receive it from property tax—we will still be out the money. So, we might as well refinance the two loans and take advantage of the reduced payments. And hopefully our economic funk, which I mentioned above, will be over in 15 years and we can better absorb the reduced mill levy impact. Or, perhaps some other changes in the law will take place that will minimize the impact."

The board then approved a motion to go into executive session to discuss Denboske’s performance review.

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The next Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District Board meeting will be held on Wednesday, May 26, at 7 p.m. at Tri-Lakes Station 1, 18650 Highway 105 west of Monument near the bowling alley. For further information regarding this meeting, contact Jennifer at 719-484-0911.

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Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District special board meeting, May 18: New board sworn in

By Bernard L. Minetti

The Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District held a special board meeting on May 18 to swear in the board members and to select a financing method for the new ladder fire truck.

The board members were sworn in and the vote to assign officers followed. Charlie Pocock defeated Roger Lance for president, Bill Ingram defeated Roger Lance for vice president, Rod Wilson defeated Nancy Kelly for secretary, and John Hildebrandt was selected as treasurer. Hildebrandt was unopposed.

Bid for fire truck loan approved

After considering bids from several banks for a $525,000 loan to purchase a ladder truck, the board unanimously approved the bid from Vectra/Zions Bank. Loan origination fees, interest rates, annual payments, pre-payment penalty, and the term in years were considered, and the Vectra/Zions bid was determined to be the most favorable with the lowest overall cost.

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Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District, May 26: Residents praise firefighters’ efforts

By Susan Hindman

Three residents offered thanks to firefighters at the May 26 meeting of the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District board.

"I really appreciate what you all do," said Allen Harness, who was a volunteer firefighter/EMT 25 years ago. His wife, Sandy, praised the professionalism of the paramedics who quickly showed up after a 911 call to help her mother, who was "very confused" from what turned out to be a blood clot in her brain and small stroke. "The guys who came were … very respectful of my mother. They were very kind to her. … You saved my mom, and she was able to regain a lot of her memory because you were so quick," she said.

Debbie Allan lives in a trailer whose bedroom window is about 10 feet from the trailer on Westward Lane that caught fire on May 19. "I’ve never been so afraid in all my life. You did your job and you took that fire down," she said. "In a trailer park, one of our worries is that if one goes, they all are going to go. … You guys are our heroes."

The three presented firefighters with two large fruit baskets as tokens of their appreciation.

Battalion Chief Greg Lovato talked about the fire on Westward later in the meeting. He noted that youths, around 13 years old, were "playing with fire" near a vacant trailer when the larger fire started. The B-shift firefighters—who were in attendance at the meeting—responded and "did a fantastic job," he said. "They took command of that fire." Board Director Roger Lance added that he had heard of the firefighters’ "outstanding job, especially in protecting the adjacent trailers."

Audit "clean"

Evelyn Law of the district’s CPA, Bondi & Co., presented the 2009 audit of the financial statement. The audit came back clean, and the district came in under budget. The main figures reported were:

  • Net assets (such as cash investments, property tax receivables, equipment, and building) are around $7.5 million, down $356,000 from 2008.
  • Liabilities (deferred revenues and the three leases for equipment) are around $5.5 million, down $68,000 from 2008.
  • The net difference between those assets and liabilities is almost $2 million, down $298,000 from 2008.

A separate report with Bondi’s financial suggestions for the district was distributed to board members to read at a later time.

Grant money

District Administrative Assistant Jennifer Martin said that the Tri-Lakes Women’s Club has awarded a $400 grant to the district’s Senior Safety Program. The funds will pay for smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

Upcoming events

Lovato said that an Active Shooter Exercise will be held June 14-18 at Palmer Ridge High School. The "hands-on" days are June 16 and 18, when the firefighters, police, and D-38 faculty will play out a large-scale shooting exercise.

Martin said that the town of Monument will be holding a Summer Solstice on June 19, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., which will feature bands, arts, children’s crafts, and more, and firefighters will perform safety demonstrations.

Personnel manual change

The subcommittee that was formed to address concerns by the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) union regarding outlets for grievances came up with an addition to the personnel manual that was approved by the board. The change reads: "The Board of Directors expects that the firefighters and administration work together on problem solving. If/when all avenues, i.e., chain of command have been exhausted, the IAFF 4319 have the option to bring (a grievance) forward to the (board) for resolution. The subcommittee shall consist of two appointed members of the (board) and two members of the IAFF 4319."

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The Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District board normally meets at 7 p.m. the fourth Wednesday of the month at Tri-Lakes Station 1, 18650 Highway 105 west of Monument near the bowling alley. The next meeting is June 23. For further information regarding the meeting, contact Jennifer at 484-0911.

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DWFPD Safety Fair

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Below: Donald Wescott Fire Protection District held its annual summer safety fair and open house to promote health and fire safety with great attractions such as big fire engines, Flight for Life and Memorial Hospital helicopters, and ATVs and jet skis - plus a limitless supply of hot dogs and sodas. Wescott Firefighters Valerie Marshall and Bryan Ackerman show Michael and Debbie Didovic and their children Nathan and Kayleigh the jet skis on display. Photo by Jim Kendrick.

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Donald Wescott Fire Protection District Board, May 26: New board shifts focus from merger to new station

By Jim Kendrick

On May 26, two new directors of the Donald Wescott Fire Protection District were sworn in. There was a lengthy discussion, with outgoing President Kevin Gould and Director Bill Lowes giving final reports and advice on new station development and seeking some form of merger with Black Forest Fire Rescue District. The board decided to add emphasis to designing and obtaining bids for the new fire station to be built on Highway 83 at the Stagecoach Road intersection.

Gould swore in Joyce Hartung and Harlan Baker as the new directors. Incumbent Director Greg Gent was re-elected. Assistant Chief Vinny Burns presented both with their certificates of election.

Directors Scott Campbell and Dennis Feltz are midway through their current four-year terms.

Chief Jeff Edwards presented plaques to Gould and Lowes for their long and dedicated service on the Wescott board.

Election of officers

The board elected officers for the next two years. Campbell was elected president, Hartung was named treasurer, and Gent will continue as secretary. All three votes were unanimous.

Treasurer’s report

Feltz gave a lengthy review of all the problems with consultant check-writing firm Paychex Inc. that he had solved and the remaining problems he had failed to solve since taking budget and payroll management away from Edwards and Burns nearly a year ago and assigning bookkeeping duties to Paychex.

Some of the firefighters in attendance expressed concern that their paychecks and payroll records may still be in error after Feltz failed to get problems solved. The firefighters offered to help Hartung in any way they could to get these problems straightened out. Feltz also offered to meet with Hartung to explain the system he had created that led to these problems after he selected Paychex to handle the district payroll.

Edwards suggested to the board that they continue the agreement with Paychex awhile longer to see if Hartung can resolve the ongoing recordkeeping issues so that the payroll records are consistent for all of 2010 for auditing purposes. The board agreed to continue with Paychex for now but terminate the contract if the contractor continues to perform in an unsatisfactory manner. Remaining paycheck errors are estimated to total about $11,000.

Note: Feltz recommended Paychex to the board in part so that Wescott would be using the same company for issuing payroll checks that Black Forest uses to streamline a possible future consolidation with that district. Although paycheck problems began immediately, Feltz always insisted that Black Forest had not had significant problems using this firm as a consultant.

Transition briefings

Gould, a professional architect, gave a lengthy detailed summary of the district’s planning efforts to date and his views on how to make the best selection on a design/build contract. The new board members asked Gould several questions about how decisions have been made and how he thinks they could be best made in the near future. There were 13 requests for bid packets for the new fire station by potential contractors, showing that builders are eager to find work and that a very competitive construction price is still available.

Bill Lowes gave a similarly lengthy and detailed summary on Wescott’s history with Colorado Springs annexations starting south of Woodmen Road and its recent efforts to join with Black Forest as a single stronger district, making the most of each district’s differing strengths.

Priorities shifting

The new board determined that it will not be economically feasible to have Wescott included into the Black Forest district. Black Forest’s basic mill levy is too low to pay Wescott’s current and projected operating costs.

The consensus of the board was to start to evaluate the possible benefits of forming a fire authority with Black Forest as a secondary priority. The board determined that it will make its first priority the delayed completion of the new fire station on Highway 83 and the purchase of new equipment to outfit that new station, now that it is clear that Wescott will continue to base its current revenue level on its current mill levy, rather than a reduction to the Black Forest mill levy. If a fire authority were to be formed in the future, the Wescott and Black Forest districts would maintain their current individual mill levies.

Chief’s report

Edwards noted that there had been 99 runs in April, bringing the total for 2010 to 491. Captains Scott Ridings and Shawn Pearson have completed their Fire Officer II certifications with Texas A&M University. Burns noted that a one-night training class was available for new board members.

Campbell concluded the meeting by listing future action items for the board:

  • Approving the April treasurer’s report that was tabled due to the unsolved financial issues Feltz had listed.
  • Approving the April minutes that were also tabled.
  • Updating all signatures on forms for checking accounts and director bonding insurance.
  • Holding a workshop on June 9 to provide orientation information and evaluate new fire station issues.
  • Working on resolving 2009 audit and paycheck issues to determine if an extension is needed to complete the audit.
  • Distributing copies of the Paychex contract or statement of work to new board members to orient them on how to make a future decision on continuation of the consultant’s contract.
  • Correcting known unresolved paycheck problems.

The meeting adjourned at 9:20 p.m.

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The next regular board meeting is at 7 p.m. on June 23 in the Station 1 conference room, 15415 Gleneagle Drive. Meetings are normally held on the fourth Wednesday of the month. Information: 488-8680.

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Lewis-Palmer District 38 Board of Education, May 20: Board discusses outsourcing food service, hears public comments

By Harriet Halbig

District Auxiliary Services Director Hal Garland and Karen Shuman of the Operations Advisory Committee reported to the District 38 Board of Education about reviewing vendors that have applied to supply food services to the district.

Garland said at the May 20 meeting that the Colorado Department of Education provided a list of approved vendors, and the selection committee contacted them all. Of those contacted, five responded, and three toured the district’s facilities and submitted proposals. The committee is seriously considering one of these after a rating procedure. The selection committee consists of Garland, a school nurse, Assistant Superintendent for Operations Cheryl Wangeman, a member of the Operations Advisory Committee, a principal and a food services employee.

When speaking with vendors, Garland stressed that the district now has a good service. The district wants tasty and nutritious meals, using organic and fresh food if possible. A fruit and vegetable bar should be offered without charge even for those who bring lunch from home. The committee considered such factors as innovation, performance in competitions and popularity of the services in the schools where the vendors now work.

Each applicant would invest at least $100,000 in upgrading equipment and would hire most of the present employees in the district’s nutrition services department at pay equal to or exceeding their current rate. Training would be provided by the new vendor. The contract would be from year to year, and the committee estimates an annual increase in revenue of $130,000 to $150,000.

A member of the current nutritional services department said during the public comment period that she was disappointed that the current staff was not permitted to compete to continue serving the district. She said that state funding is increasing, the district has joined a nonprofit purchasing group to cut costs, and many improvements have been made, including online menus, online payment options, and an unlimited fruit and vegetable bar. In addition, nutrition information is available on the menu.

Another member of the nutritional services department expressed concern that the primary candidate is not an American company and may have a history of health code violations.

Board President John Mann suggested that the committee visit sites where the primary candidate operates, without notice, to observe how it operates. Board Vice President Robb Pike agreed and stressed that ongoing monitoring should be created when the new vendor is in place.

After further discussion, the board asked that Garland further research suspicions of health code violations and return to the June meeting to report on his findings.

The board passed salary/wage schedules for 2010-11 to require that salaries remain frozen for another year. There will be no movement within step for district employees for another year.

Teachers’ morale

Several members of the audience read anonymous letters from district teachers during the public comment period. The letters referred to low morale among the teachers, hesitance to express opinions for fear of reprisal, and the opinion that their input was not being considered in decision making.

District resident Ana Konduras also commented that the district appeared to be violating its policy governance model in its lack of openness to the community regarding financial data and the appearance of decisions being made without regard to input from the staff and community sources.

Board member Mark Pfoff said that he was concerned about the anonymity of the letters and said that he is always willing to meet one-on-one with teachers at their request. He said that he had in fact met with several in the previous week. Board member Gail Wilson said that she had visited four campuses that day and had heard no negative comments. She also stressed that those who are dissatisfied should call a member of the board directly.

The search for a task force facilitator

Steve Braun, co-chair of the District Accountability Advisory Committee (DAAC), reported to the board that the committee had met the previous week to discuss selection of a facilitator for the district’s new long-range planning task force (see article on page 27 of this issue regarding the committee’s discussion). He said that the committee would request that the board provide a list of the goals of the task force, such as the specific problems to be solved and any cautions and concerns the board may have.

Pike commented that the primary charge is to decide how to get ahead of problems that may arise after the November elections as a result of ballot initiatives that could impact funding. He said he wanted to put as much funding as possible into classroom activities and avoid reconfiguration and the stress it causes to staff and families. He agreed to speak with Braun and the DAAC about the subject.

Several members of the board disagreed with the DAAC decision that the facilitator should not be affiliated with the district. They felt that they could be excluding valuable input from someone who has previously served on the board or who had children in district schools. Board member Jeff Ferguson suggested that DAAC contact other school districts and learn how they anticipate responding to the ballot initiatives, because all districts in the state will be affected.

Dr. Shirley Trees, assistant superintendent of Student Learning, reported briefly on the progress of transitioning the sixth grade into elementary schools. She said that she had sent a packet of information to members of the board. The media and library personnel at Creekside Middle School have sorted through materials to forward to Lewis-Palmer Middle School. The middle school teachers have forwarded materials to the elementary schools. Middle school art and music teachers are excited about their new schedules, and lists of exploratory class options had been sent home with students the previous week.

Superintendent Ray Blanch reported that state Sen. Mark Scheffel had visited Lewis-Palmer High School a few days previously and visited several classes. Scheffel said he was impressed with what he saw.

Ferguson said that, as liaison to the Operations Advisory Committee, he is concerned with tracking truant students in the district. He is also concerned with the capital budget, which is currently based on a per pupil allocation.

The board approved routine matters such as minutes of previous meetings, resignations, and appointments of staff, monthly budget summaries, and other matters.

The board met in executive session before and after the public meeting to discuss personnel matters.

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The Board of Education of the Lewis-Palmer School District meets on the third Thursday of each month. The next meeting will be held on June 17 at 6 p.m. in the Learning Center, 146 Jefferson, St., Monument.

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Lewis-Palmer District 38 District Accountability Advisory Committee, May 11: Committee discusses long-term planning task force

By Harriet Halbig

Lewis-Palmer School District 38’s District Accountability Advisory Committee bid farewell to former chair Mirielle Bock and elected parent-at-large Cori Tanner and Lewis-Palmer Elementary School representative Steve Braun to take her place.

Bock emphasized that the committee’s charge of overseeing the district’s long-range planning task force and selection of a facilitator for it will require a great deal of time and effort, and that two chairs would ease the load.

Following an extended discussion, the committee came to several conclusions regarding the task force:

  • DAAC should determine how many hours of effort would be required of the facilitator.
  • DAAC would prefer that the facilitator’s services be offered pro bono, but is willing to contract if necessary.
  • DAAC would like to have a list of candidates for facilitator available by the June meeting of the Board of Education.

Board of Education liaison Gail Wilson suggested that the committee contact such organizations as the Junior League and the American Association of University Women for advice on locating and selecting a facilitator. She suggested that the selection process be similar to that of the Operations Advisory Committee, with a process for joining and exiting the group.

The committee agreed that tasks for the facilitator would include:

  • Defining the problem to be addressed
  • Eliciting innovative ideas and opportunities
  • Shifting conversation way from unproductive tangents back to the main topic
  • Determining who to include in the task force
  • Expressing cautions and concerns during discussion
  • Arriving at policy and practice recommendations

The committee felt that the facilitator should not be affiliated with District 38 or a resident of the area. Members of the task force should represent a variety of ages, with and without children, from all parts of the district. Applicants will be asked how long they have lived in the area and why they want to participate.

One committee member suggested putting the job description online as a request for proposal (RFP). Another suggested consulting the Center for Creative Leadership for guidance.

Wilson said that the timeframe for the task force will be August through December, possibly extending longer if necessary. The product of the task force would be a list of responses to potential budget cuts due to rescissions or loss of revenue due to passage of ballot initiatives in November. These responses could include changes in organizational structure and closure or reconfiguration of campuses. The board will make the ultimate policy decisions and is seeking choices at various levels of revenue loss.

Political Achievement Committee spokesperson Cori Tanner reported that she had attended a number of Great Education Colorado meetings and testified on legislation in Denver as a private citizen. She also attended Colorado School Finance meetings.

Tanner said that letters regarding pending legislation that were distributed at last month’s meeting had not yet been delivered to the governor’s office. She said that a future project for the committee would be the creation of a voter’s guide explaining the impact of various ballot initiatives on the school system.

Legislative update

Board liaison Gail Wilson reported on the progress of a number of legislative measures. She said that the following day would be the last of this year’s legislative session. Senate Bill 191, involving teacher tenure changes, had passed the Senate. (The bill passed the House the following day.) She said that state Sen. Mark Scheffel voted for it. The American Federation of Teachers was in favor, and the Colorado Education Association against.

Wilson suggested that members of the committee monitor the voting activities of Scheffel and state Rep. Amy Stephens at coloradocapitolwatch.com.

Pre-engineering program

Palmer Ridge high school teacher Tyler Bell and student Zack Smith gave a presentation on Project Lead the Way, a pre-engineering curriculum stressing innovation. The program is skills-based rather than knowledge-based, with the students given a goal (such as to create a mechanism to sort marbles by size and color) and then free reign to solve the problem. Some of the skills taught through this class are self-reliance; problem solving; critical thinking; the ability to fail, recover and learn; and presentation and group skills.

Bell said that he would welcome individuals and firms to partner with school. This year a systems engineer in the aerospace industry spoke to the students, and they toured the museum at Peterson Air Force Base.

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The District Accountability Advisory Committee usually meets on the second Tuesday of each month. Meetings are not held in June and July.

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Lewis-Palmer District 38 Special Education Advisory Committee, May 12: Principals’ panel addresses committee; board elected

Click here or on the photo to zoom in

Below: School principals participating in the panel are, from left, Gary Gabel (Palmer Ridge High School), John Borman (Lewis-Palmer High School), Caryn Collette (now of Creekside Middle School, next year at Lewis-Palmer Middle School), Aileen Finnegan (Prairie Winds Elementary), Julie Jadomski of Palmer Lake Elementary, and Peggy Parsley (currently of Grace Best Elementary, to Bear Creek Elementary next year). Photo by Harriet Halbig.

Click on the photo to zoom in

By Harriet Halbig

Six School District 38 principals addressed the Special Education Advisory Committee at its May meeting. They were: Gary Gabel of Palmer Ridge High School; John Borman of Lewis-Palmer High School; Caryn Collette of Creekside Middle School (to Lewis-Palmer Middle School next year); Aileen Finnegan of Prairie Winds Elementary; Peggy Parsley of Grace Best Elementary (to Bear Creek Elementary next year), and Julie Jadomski of Palmer Lake Elementary School.

Throughout their discussion, communication was a key subject. Jadomski stressed communication between general education and special education teachers, while others stressed communication between parents and school staff.

Inclusion of special education students in general classroom settings was also a goal of many of the principals.

Borman said that his school has gone from eight to three special education teachers in the last few years. The special education room in the older part of Lewis-Palmer High School has been upgraded.

Gabel said that Palmer Ridge considers itself a pilot school for co-teaching. Teachers seem to embrace the idea. Some students can now be teachers aides and help special needs students in the general classroom environment. In addition, the building itself is very friendly, he said. Paraprofessionals are invaluable to the success of the concept, and it is critical to keep them because they develop close relationships with students.

When asked about ways to improve teacher/parent communication, several of the principals had suggestions.

Finnegan of Prairie Winds said that it is critical to learn the preferred method of communication—whether by phone, e-mail or face to face encounters. Parents need to consider how much time teachers have to communicate. Jadomski said that the relationship between teachers and parents must be built on mutual trust and focus on the needs of the child.

Borman’s experience is slightly different as a high school principal. By the time he encounters parents, they have been in the system for some time. He said that parents are sometimes needed to advocate for students, and he often hears nothing as long as things are going well.

Gabel said that trust of a student’s caseworker is critical and sometimes takes time to develop, especially when transitioning from one school to another. He said that high school students should be involved in meetings discussing their education. When there is dissatisfaction on the part of the parent, the parent should contact the teacher before going to the principal for help, he said.

Collette said that teachers should be seen as an additional set of eyes to observe students and help suggest approaches that parents can use to further their child’s progress. It is important to tell parents about what students will experience in the near future. Teams send out a weekly newsletter to parents regarding daily activities. She said that self-advocacy begins to be taught in middle school.

Parent Chris Amenson agreed that it is good for a student and parents to meet with old and new caseworkers during transition years. He has had good experience with this concept and suggested that teachers also be included in the meetings. He also said that it is important to let general education teachers know which students have IEPs (individual education plans) prior to the beginning of classes.

Gabel said that Palmer Ridge is developing software that will indicate IEPs to the administration before school starts.

Next year’s board

Board members of the Special Education Advisory Committee for 2010-11 will be Chris Amenson, co-chair; Suzanne Faber, co-chair, Marie Jackson, vice chair, Karen Halenkamp, secretary; and Michelle Nay, the district’s parent liaison, who will act as public relations representative.

In a brief discussion of next year’s planned activities, the committee decided to hold a Back to SEAC Night on Sept. 8, during which they will discuss the goals of the group, the vision for special ed in D-38, and an update on federal stimulus funding, and will introduce new staff.

In following months, there will be a guest speaker at each meeting following the brief business meeting. The group also agreed that student participation is desirable.

It is also possible that members of SEACs from other school districts may be invited to attend meetings and plan joint activities.

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The Special Education Advisory Committee usually meets on the second Wednesday of each month during the school year. The next meeting will be held on Sept. 8 at 6:30 p.m. in the Learning Center at 146 Jefferson St. in Monument.

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Monument Academy Board of Directors, May 12: School looks to outside consulting for reorganization help

By Candice Hitt

The Monument Academy (MA) Board of Directors discussed the issue of reorganizing the current leadership structure. The board is considering the use of outside consultants in determining the new leadership structure.

In the past year and a half, MA has experienced a growth spurt in student enrollment. In response to this increased enrollment, there is heightened attention on the need for an improved leadership structure. Several consultants, including Bob Van Cleave of Woodmoor Group and Sharon McDermott, Randy Scott, and Marijane Paulsen of Front Range Executive Services Co. (FRESC) offered their professional perspective to the board for evaluation.

Each consultant presented an approach on how to enhance/develop the MA leadership team to meet the mission and future needs of MA and to best serve the organization and its students’ academic needs.

Teachers recognized for going above the call of duty: Principal Lis Richard announced commendations. Recognized was Paula Avis, Odyssey of the Mind coach, for her exceptional role in leading the students in this program as well as her fund-raising efforts to support the four-student team in attending the world competition coming up in Michigan. Melissa Dyer was also recognized.

Outstanding teachers in academic extracurricular activities were Herb Coyer, Sharon Maloof, and Karen Cromer. Parent volunteers recognized were Amy Madruga, newsletter editor, and Kelly Collier-Land, Land Sharks coach and Young Writer’s Contest coordinator. PTO officers Alex Gifford, president; Kerry Shotrzman, vice president; Sandy Ward, secretary; and Susie Velten-Treasurer were also recognized.

Finances look good

Nancy Tive gave the financial report and said the financial picture looks good. MA is under budget and, although per pupil revenue (PPR) is decreasing by $442 per student for the 2010-11 school year, MA will remain above the threshold.

Currently, MA does not charge fees except for athletics and band. However, in an effort to maintain the high level of academic excellence and offset the loss in PPR, fees for non-consumables will be introduced for the 2010-11 school year. The fees will be in line or below what other D-38 schools are charging. All fees will go toward non-consumables in the classroom.

Board member terms ending

This year there are four available board seats to be filled. Terms expired in May for board members Laura Hannon, secretary, and Jay McKeown, treasurer,. Two additional board members are being added, increasing the number of board members from five to seven.

Board Vice President Tim Reiman met with and explained the details of board membership to all interested individuals. However, the response by most was an inability to commit to the role.

Normally an election is held with votes from parents, teachers, and staff to determine new board members. In this instance, because only two candidates are running and there are four open seats, an election would not alter the results, so the two individuals will be appointed to the open positions.

New members have not yet been announced, but terms are expected to start in June.

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The next meeting of the Monument Academy Board of Directors is June 9, 7 p.m., in the school library.

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May Weather Wrap

By Bill Kappel

We skipped from winter to summer this May with about a week of spring mixed in. Temperatures for the month average 2.8° below normal, with precipitation coming in around average. The first half of the month was cool and moist with snow falling on several days, then the pattern changed and high pressure from the west/southwest dominated the region for the last two weeks. This allowed for warm and dry conditions to take control from the 21st through the 31st.

Highly variable weather affected the region during the first week of May with snow and cold on the first two days, followed by sun and wind. Temperatures were well below normal on the 1st and 2nd, with highs only managing to touch the mid-40s to low 50s for brief periods between snow showers. Snow fell heavily on the afternoon of the 2nd, with big flakes accumulating 1-2 inches for most of us from 2 to 7 p.m. Thunder also occurred around 2:30 p.m., providing a rare occurrence of "thundersnow" with the event. Sunshine returned the next day, melting the snow and pushing temperatures back to normal levels in the low 60s. Overnight lows were on the chilly side, with lows dropping into the low 20s.

Another rollercoaster ride occurred during the first full week of May, with wide swings in temperature and a little moisture as cool air was entrenched with a couple of exceptions. The week started off warm and breezy with mostly sunny skies. Highs reached into the 60s and low 70s on the 3rd and 4th as west/southwesterly winds kicked in ahead of an approaching storm.

Cooler and unsettled weather moved in from the 5th through the 8th as a series of storms moved through the Rocky Mountains. However, the storms’ tracks were a little too far north to bring much moisture for us, instead hitting northern Colorado and Wyoming. Highs were held below normal in the 50s and 60s. We also continued our string of cold mornings, with lows dipping well into the 20s each morning. Sunday the 9th saw a return to quiet and mild conditions in time for Mother’s Day. Highs reached well into the 70s, with sunny skies in the morning giving way to afternoon clouds.

It was a cool and wet week around the region from the 10th through the 16th with a little bit of everything. We started off seasonal and quiet, with mid- to upper 60s on the 10th, but this quiet weather was short lived as an unsettled pattern quickly took over when a series of storms moved in from the Pacific Northwest. On Tuesday the 11th, we saw thunderstorms, rain, hail, ice pellets, and snow all occurring late afternoon through evening. Temperatures were very cool the next day, with highs only reaching the mid-30s (about 30 degrees below normal) as clouds and fog held steady most of the day.

Temperatures were low to moderate over the next few days, with temperatures slowing warming through the 40s through Friday. Scattered rain and snow, along with fog and low clouds, hung around each day as well. Temperatures climbed into the 50s on Saturday the 15th, with a final shot of thunderstorms, rain, and ice pellets as the last of the unsettled conditions moved out. The week ended the way it started, with sunshine and seasonal temperatures, as we reached the upper 60s on Sunday.

Seasonal conditions returned to start the third week of the month, with clear skies in the morning giving way to partly cloudy skies by afternoon. Our first couple rounds of spring thunderstorms developed on the afternoons of the 17th and 19th. High temperatures reached the mid- to upper 60s from the 16th through the 20th, which is around average. Hopefully you enjoyed our one week of spring, because we then jumped immediately into summer on the 21st. Strong winds from the west/southwest brought in warm air as a storm moved to our west/northwest through Utah and Wyoming. This track left us on the warm, windy, and dry side of the storm. Highs reached into the 70s on Saturday the 21st and low 80s on the 22nd. This was the first time we’ve hit 80° or higher since Sept. 27 and was our warmest day since Sept. 8. Interestingly, overnight lows did not reach the freezing mark with the exception of the morning of the 16th. But don’t get too excited, because we can dip below freezing well into June.

The month ended with warm and dry conditions as high temperatures moved from the 60s on the 24th and 25th to the low and mid-80s from the 27th though the 29th. A cold front brought a refreshing drop of 10-15 degrees on Sunday the 30th, and then we warmed back up to 80 on Memorial Day. Overall, it was about perfect weather for the holiday weekend to end the month.

A look ahead

By June, we can usually say goodbye to our chance of snow but hello to frequent afternoon and evening thunderstorms. There are times when we get a little snow in June in the region, but most of the time we can expect warm, sunny days with afternoon and evening thunderstorms. For a complete look at monthly climate summaries for the Tri-Lakes region, please visit www.thekappels.com/ClimateSummary.htm

May 2010 Weather Statistics

Average High 64.2° (-3.4°) 100-year return frequency value max 75.7° min 57.9°
Average Low 34.1° (-2.0°) 100-year return frequency value max 43.2° min 32.5°
Highest Temperature 85°F on the 28th 
Lowest Temperature 20°F on the 2nd
Monthly Precipitation 1.49" (-0.23" 13% below normal) 100-year return frequency value max 6.94" min 0.15"
Monthly Snowfall 3.5" (-1.8" 34% below normal) 
Season to Date Snow 144.6" (+8.4" 9% above normal) (the snow season is from July 1 to June 30) 
Season to Date Precip 19.89" (-0.56" 3% below normal) (the precip season is from July 1 to June 30)
Heating Degree Days 491 (-2)
Cooling Degree Days 0

For more detailed weather information and Climatology of the Palmer Divide and Tri-Lakes region, please visit Bill Kappel’s Weather Web page at www.thekappels.com/Weather.htm

Remember, weather affects all of us every day and is a very important part of life for us in the Tri-Lakes region, and we want to hear from you. If you see a unique weather event or have a weather question, please contact us at billkappel@ourcommunitynews.org

Bill Kappel is a meteorologist and Tri-Lakes resident.

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Letters to Our Community

Loss of Creekside school mourned

As a proud Creekside Middle School family for three years, we were very disappointed that the loss of our school has not been properly acknowledged.

Our two oldest children have each spent two of the happiest years of their young lives at that school, and they will miss it. It is important to teach our kids to stay positive through the difficult changes we are facing. But it is also important to teach them that it is natural and human to mourn a loss as part of the healing process.

So we take this opportunity to publicly say farewell to a beloved home away from home.

Thank you to the most incredible faculty. You were the heart of our school. We cannot express enough in words how much the happy, safe, and amazing learning environment meant to us.

Thank you to all the other families who made up the body of our school. The high level of parental involvement known in our district was very evident there. Our special gratitude goes to the dedicated parent volunteers.

We will miss you, Creekside.

Your name will be gone. Your building will serve a new purpose. Many of your wonderful teachers will move on to bless other schools with their love for children and gift for education. But your spirit will long live on through all of the students lucky enough to have called you their school. They have been forever touched by you and all you had to offer. They will go forward in life, better equipped for it, because of you.

Thank you.

Reid and Cari Bolander and family

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Get involved in local school issues

Having been a longtime resident in District 38, I have seen the results of an informed and well-run school board. I haven’t always agreed with their decisions, but I do believe that they were made with the best interests of the district as a whole. Community support was evident in the overwhelming passage of every bond issue that was brought before us.

In recent years, the actions of our school board and administration have been questionable. I believe the lack of trust in their decisions has been evident by the defeat of every mill levy override requested. Recently, with the encouragement of teachers in the district, I realized that I personally need to become more informed about what is happening in District 38 because the information is filtered by the district administration. I can’t believe or rely only on what I read in the local papers or on the district’s Web site.

The children attending schools in this district today deserve the same quality education that my children received in District 38. Also, as homeowners and taxpayers, we need to protect our property values, which do depend on the quality of the school district.

To this end, I am asking everyone to personally start delving into the issues concerning School District 38. Find out the administration and board stance (lewispalmer.org), compare it to information compiled by a group of concerned citizens (lpd38.org), contact the Colorado Department of Education to verify, and talk to teachers and staff employed by the district.

A willingness to volunteer your time is needed. Experience in management and fiscal responsibility is needed as well. It is time for each of us to become involved. Thank you!

Jody Richardson

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Thanks for Pine Forest Antiques Show support

The Tri-Lakes Women’s Club (TLWC) wishes to thank the women’s club members and our community for supporting our recent Pine Forest Antiques Show. First of all, thanks to Kathy Murphy, Debbie Heredia and Carolyn Hodges, the co-chairs for this years event. We are always grateful to our co-presidents RaeJean Claybaugh and Yvonne Jennings for their advice, support and hard work to ensure the success of the antiques show. This show requires many months of hard work by the entire membership to produce our biggest fund-raising event of the year. We want to give special mention to the Serteens for their volunteer hours they are so willing to give.

TLWC is grateful to the community for coming out and supporting the show, in spite of very unfavorable weather. The antiques show would not be possible without the support of our community.

We are thankful for Lewis-Palmer High School for use of their facilities. TLWC is especially grateful for our many sponsors and their very important financial support.

Thanks to the local newspapers and publications for their assistance in promoting this show.

TLWC has granted over $550,000 to Tri-Lakes community nonprofits, public service organizations, and public schools. For more information on TLWC and our granting program, please visit www.tlwc.net. The next fund-raising event will be Wine and Roses on Nov. 5.

The Tri-Lakes Women’s Club

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Between The Covers at the Covered Treasures Bookstore: New favorites for fathers

By the staff at Covered Treasures

Dad, Father, Papa, Pops, or even Gramps. Whatever you call him, he deserves an inviting book on June 20. Following are some new titles to entice or entertain men of different ages and those with a variety of interests.

Mike and Mike’s Rules for Sports and Life
By Mike Greenberg & Mike Golic with Andrew Chaikivsky (Ballantine Books) $26

Hosts of an ESPN radio show that attracts over 3 million listeners, the Mikes go back and forth on everything from why baseball managers should dress like real people to how to lose a fight with the wife with dignity. On the road, in the studio, and at home, Greeny and Golic have learned that it’s all about the big stuff: separating order from chaos, ensuring our survival as a species, and keeping peace. Greenberg is a New York Times best-selling author, and Golic is a nine-year NFL veteran.

Geek Dad: Awesomely Geeky Projects & Activities for Dads & Kids to Share
By Ken Denmead (Gotham Books) $17

Brimming with endlessly fun and futuristic tidbits on everything from gaming to robots to gadgets, this book helps every geeky father unleash his inner kid—and nurture the next generation of brainiacs. With illustrations throughout, there are projects for all ages to suit any timeframe or budget. With Denmead’s expert guidance, you and your child can fly a nighttime kite ablaze with lights, launch a video camera with balloons, transform any room into a spaceship, or build a working lamp out of LEGO bricks and CDs.

Henry Clay
By David S. Heidler and Jeanne T. Heidler (Random House) $30

He was the Great Compromiser, a canny and colorful legislator and leader whose life mirrors the story of America from its founding until the eve of the Civil War. Speaker of the House, senator, secretary of state, five-time presidential candidate, and idol to the young Abraham Lincoln, Henry Clay is captured in full in this rich and sweeping biography that vividly portrays all the drama of his times. As no other book, Henry Clay humanizes Clay’s marriage to plain, wealthy Lucretia Hart, a union rumored to be mercenary on his part but that lasted 53 years and produced 11 children.

The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine
By Michael Lewis (W.W. Norton & Co.) $27.95

Who understood the risk inherent in the assumption of ever-rising real estate prices, a risk compounded daily by the creation of artificial securities loosely based on piles of doubtful mortgages? To answer this question and explore what caused the 2008 crash of the U.S. stock market, Lewis illuminates the bizarre feeder markets where the sun doesn’t shine and the SEC doesn’t dare, or bother, to tread: the bond and real estate derivative feeder markets where geeks invent impenetrable securities to profit from the misery of lower- and middle-class Americans who can’t pay their debts. Who saw the real estate market for the black hole it would become and eventually made billions of dollars from that perception? In this character-driven narrative brimming with indignation and dark humor, Lewis creates some really unlikely heroes.

No Apology: The Case for American Greatness
By Mitt Romney (St. Martin’s Press) $25.99

American strength is essential—not just for our own well-being, but for the world’s. Based on this assertion, Romney draws on history for lessons on why great powers collapse, shows how and why our national advantages have eroded and offers fresh ideas to cut through complicated problems and restore our strength. He proposes solutions to restore economic vitality, create good jobs, reduce out-of-control spending on entitlements and health care, dramatically improve education, and rebuild a military battered by eight years of war. Most important, he calls for a new commitment to citizenship. Many of his solutions oppose President Obama’s policies, many also run counter to Republican thinking, but all have one strategic aim: to strengthen America and preserve our global leadership.

Whether the father in your life is a history buff, a big sports fan, a computer geek, or a financial wizard, there’s a book that will make the perfect gift for him. In the meantime, and until next month, happy reading.

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High Country Highlights: Gardening: getting started

By Woody Woodworth

The Tri-Lakes region is a unique place to garden and landscape. Our challenges include our elevation, which produces a short growing season, our weather that varies from cold, snowy conditions in the winter to hot, windy conditions in the summer, and our poor soil. Throw in the wildlife factor and you have created one of the toughest regions along the Front Range to grow plants.

If you ask advice on how to garden from some of the experienced gardeners who have lived a long time in the area, they will agree that it’s tough, but with proper technique and plant selection, anyone can be successful. I’m going to give you a few tips on how to get started.

Start with a good plan. Study your garden area well and observe how much exposure it will get to sun, wind, and the elements of nature. Use sun-loving plants in the sun and the shade-tolerant plants in less sun. Many plants have different water requirements. Make sure you keep the drought-tolerant plants away from plants you have to water daily.

Plan your watering system to water accurately in garden and turf areas. Water restrictions will be enforced along the Front Range for many years. Be sure to use water-wise plants from the X-rated program designed by experts in the Green Industry along with the Denver Water Board.

A plan should be scaled out so you know how large the plants can get. A Colorado spruce looks great up by the house when it’s only five or six feet high, but someday it will be 40 to 60 feet high. By then it may block a view, grow into the roofline of the house or block a pathway. Plans can be as simple as knowing the size of the plot, the selection of plants, and how large they will get.

The single most important detail you can give your garden or plants is to amend the soil. We have great mineral content in Colorado, but the plant medium is usually less than desirable. Decomposed granite, clay and sandy gravel are the typical types of soil conditions in our area. Plants need soil, water and air to survive. If the soil is too tight and holds too much water, your plants will drown. By adding composted material and a sandy, gravel mix to the clay, drainage will be made easier and plants will have a better chance to breathe. If you water a plant in sandy conditions, the water will quickly drain away, offering less to the plant. By adding peat moss and composted material, the soil will retain more moisture for the plant to use. Most garden centers will have the amendments you need, so be sure to ask for advice if you get confused.

When gardens sit out in the elements of our region, they are exposed to a fair amount wind and sun. The result is transpiration, or water loss, of the plant. Some of this water loss can be reduced by using mulch. Mulch is basically a shredded or milled byproduct containing scraps from trimming and cutting trees. Some companies are using old pallets and dye to achieve a longer-lasting color effect in mulch. I prefer natural cedar chips to most other kinds of mulch. They have a long life, look good and are quickly sized. Cedar is offered in large, medium, small and shredded sizes and is usually found in bags at most nurseries and garden centers. I also use Soil Pep, another fine forest mulch, around perennials and smaller gardens. Apply three to four inches of mulch around plants to keep evaporation to a minimum and four to six inches in gardens to keep weeds at bay.

Deer, gophers, and voles can wreak havoc on your gardens. In many areas, constant monitoring is essential. Deer can be deterred by spraying Liquid Fence on and around gardens. The aroma is offensive to them and they will stay away from most everything they are trying to nibble. Gophers and voles are everywhere in our area. They destroy lawns by tunneling and evergreens by eating and gnawing at root systems. Entire gardens can be lost to voles if not kept in check. Primarily the best ways are to trap or poison them, though there are some effective ways to deter them with sprays. Professional exterminators can help with problem concentrations of rodents.

Use the plan, the correct plant selection, mulch, and some common sense and ask for advice when needed. Ask your neighbor or local nurseryman to help get you on the right track with gardening in the Tri-Lakes area.

Woody Woodworth is a member of the Garden Centers of Colorado and owner of High Country Home & Garden in downtown Monument.

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Bird Watch on the Palmer Divide: Wood Duck

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Below: Drawing by Elizabeth Hacker of a Wood Duck. 

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By Elizabeth Hacker

As summer approaches, the long, frenzied flight of many migratory bird species ends. Most have built their nests and are raising families. Anne Marie Wood called me to ask if I would feature the wood duck this month, because it is her husband’s favorite bird. On June 6, Herb and Anne Marie will celebrate 50 years of dedication to each other, and I am taking this opportunity to write about Herb’s favorite bird, considered by many to be the most colorful and beautiful of all waterfowl, and one of only a few tree-nesting ducks in North America.

The wood duck is not common here, so when I first began searching for it I really didn’t expect to find it. A number of people have mentioned seeing it, and I was pleasantly surprised to find them in several locations on the Divide. It isn’t the easiest bird to spot, as it is skittish. A little smaller than a mallard, the average wood duck weighs about a pound and is 19 inches long with a wingspan of 29 inches.

The drake is strikingly handsome. He has a crested head that is iridescent green and purple with a white eye strip extending from its red eye to the bottom of its crest. The bill points downward and is brightly patterned in white, black, and orange. The ring of white around its throat extends up under its black cheeks, and the dark feathers on its back are accentuated with lines of white. Its breast is a coppery burgundy color with speckles of white. The male’s legs and feet are a dull yellow. It calls out to females in a thin, high-rising "jeeeeeee" sound.

As is typical with most birds, the female is drab. The hen’s beak and plumage are a gray-brown color. She has a crested head with a white, tear-shaped ring around a brown eye and a distinctive blue wing patch. The hen calls to the drake in a drawn-out, rising, high-pitched "oo-eek," and when alarmed she utters a sharp "cr-eek" sound.

Wood ducks feed in the shallow waters of woodland rivers, lakes, ponds, and marshes or on the forest floor. It rapidly moves its bill over the surface of the water, dabbling for insects, or it will dive under the surface to snag a small fish or invertebrate. On land it walks in the forest to gather berries, seeds, and acorns. The adult’s diet consists mainly of wild seeds, acorns, berries, aquatic invertebrates, and insects, while rapidly developing chicks require more protein derived from insects, aquatic invertebrates, and fish.

Dashing males: Courtship begins in the fall and continues through the winter. Dashing males surround a female in hopes of winning her attention. Pair bonds form in the winter and remain together through one breeding season. Breeding begins in April but, given that spring comes late on the Divide, wood ducks may not mate until June. Older ducks mate earlier in the season than the yearlings, so a younger pair may not begin nesting until July.

Wood ducks nest in tree cavities or nesting boxes several feet above ground or on the surface of the water. Abandoned woodpecker nests, natural tree cavities, and specially designed nesting boxes are the wood duck’s preferred nesting habitat. Nests may be elevated a few feet to as high as 60 feet in the air. While it is advantageous for the nests to be located above water, some nests are located as far as a mile away.

The female prepares the nest by pulling all of the down feathers from her breast. She lays an egg a day until her clutch is full. Clutches have between six and 14 eggs. When nest boxes are located too close together, hens often lay eggs in a communal nest. This is referred to as "nest dumping," because females "dump" their eggs in a common nest that may grow to contain as many as 40 eggs. The wood duck is not the only duck to engage in this behavior, which is odd because it’s not possible for a hen to successfully incubate that many eggs. Most of them are wasted.

After the last egg is laid, the female incubates them for about a month. The feathers she plucked from her breast provide soft bedding and insulate the eggs when she leaves the nest to feed or takes long flights to exercise her wings.

Ducklings don’t waste time: The eggs hatch within an hour of each other and, as soon as the ducklings’ fluffy downy feathers have dried, they climb up the wall of the cavity and jump! The ducklings are precocial and born ready to go. After the last chick jumps to the ground, they follow their mother to water but do not rely on her to feed them. This might be the time the mother regrets not locating the nest over water. It would seem that a 60-foot drop to the ground would result in a few chick fatalities, but rarely is a chick injured because the ducklings are as light as a feather. More serious is the threat of predators as the ducklings scurry behind their mother to reach water.

Ducklings grow rapidly, and within a month they are the size of an adult. Wood ducks are the only ducks that produce two broods a year, but given the short summers on the Divide, it is unlikely that a pair will have more than one brood of chicks.

At the end of summer, the ducks molt and hide for several weeks until they grow new flight feathers and once again can fly. They join a flock and begin preparing for their southward migration. In the fall, wood ducks are highly prized by hunters for their meat. But unlike the early years of the 20th century when wood ducks were hunted to near extinction for their colorful plumage that was used to decorate hats, today hunting is regulated and the wood duck population is healthy. Today the greatest threat is loss of wetland habitat.

May everyone have a safe and enjoyable summer, and congratulations to Herb and Anne Marie!

Elizabeth Hacker is an artist in the Tri-Lakes area. Her bird prints are available on her website www.ElizabethHackerArt.com with proceeds benefiting habitat preservation. E-mail her at elizabethhacker66@yahoo.com or call her at 719-510-5918 with your questions and bird stories.

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Art Matters: Drawing in our contemporary art scene

By Janet Sellers

While our local art scene is thriving and just getting a head of steam for the summer season, I thought I would bring to our readers’ attention some interesting facts about one of the most common forms of creative work known to humans that is abundant in our community but extremely rare in art shows. That said, it really should be more common in our art exhibits, and I hope our readers will ask for it at local venues.

So what is this abundant, highly creative artwork that we rarely see out in the exhibit world? It is the drawing.

There is a drawing in the development stages of just about every art form and artist. The drawings are the mental notes an artist prepares for the final works in most all forms of visual art. One could say that drawing is the basis from which many art works are generated. The word "drawing" comes from the verb "to draw," which means to pull or flow forth.

Our upcoming arts venues for June and all summer will have some of these gems available for you to see and purchase. I hope that by this introduction our readers will be able to enjoy drawings when they encounter them this year. A great joy of buying art locally is that one often has the opportunity to meet and chat with the artist or gallery owner and have a primary relationship with them as well as with the art works.

What is a drawing worth? Traditionally, drawings have not fetched the same prices as oil paintings or sculptures. This may be attributed to the simple and inexpensive materials used (generally paper and pencil). Further inquiry reveals that the drawings are a map to the impulse and inspiration of the artists, and as such they tend to be a most intimate and interesting aspect of creative work to other artists and art lovers. Older drawings by the Masters fetch the highest prices for drawings, but these are expensive not just for their aesthetic quality, but also because they are so rare and hard to come by.

In the first half of 2010, Bloomberg Business Week reported that the most expensive work on paper was sold at auction in December 2009 by Christie’s London. Raphael’s "Head of a Muse," a black chalk drawing on paper, sold for $47.9 million, surprising all in the business, because it was expected to max out around $26.3 million. By comparison, the most expensive sculpture sold at auction to date is a Giacometti work that sold for $104.3 million, and the most expensive painting was a Jackson Pollack sold by David Geffen for $140 million at auction.

In the real world, we do not see a natural, physical object with outlines, because we determine the edges of things with our perception via light and dark, color and texture, intensity and dimness and translate these into our perception for meaning by virtue of these visual clues. We perceive objects because of the light on them and the dark areas where there is less light. So artists can draw without lines as easily as with them. Using a dark pencil on a light surface, or a light chalk on a dark surface, an image will appear for us to perceive as we give it meaning while looking at it.

While paintings and illustrations have a "complete" feel to them, drawings can range from incomplete sketches of thoughts to highly rendered pieces. The range of inner thinking behind a drawing has a powerful source that is largely revealed in the drawing itself.

Historically, drawings on paper have been carefully preserved in the art world, but not as formal art (except possibly in a museum). The formal art arena has traditionally been reserved for finished paintings and not so much the drawings, as they were considered merely the plans for the works with only a historical value. In the past 50 or so years, contemporary drawing has become popular (and supported by the collectors) as its own art form.

So, where is the dividing line between drawing and painting? It rests on the principle that a drawing is the thought as impulse for process, while painting is most traditionally the rendering of a complete thought. As technical as this may sound, it is so visually clear in person that even a child can see the difference in the execution.

I invite you to join us here in Tri-Lakes for our broad variety of art and art venues. Visit a local gallery or other art venue each week. Our local businesses value art so highly that they make room for art shows and invite us all to view the art works. We have our monthly Art Hop evenings, but the art is available on a daily basis throughout our community. So make sure to get out and enjoy the many ways art is available here to purchase. And while you’re at it, take home some Colorado art for your life.

Janet Lee Sellers is an American painter and sculptor whose work is exhibited in galleries and as public art projects in Colorado. She works in paint, metal, and concrete. Sellers lives in Woodmoor.

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Snapshots of Our Community

School gets pizza money for playground, April 30

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Photo by Frank Maiolo

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By Frank Maiolo

Jason Mansfield, owner of Nick-N-Willy’s pizza, presented a check for $800 to Grace Best Elementary first-grade teacher Mallori Kortes on April 30. Fliers had been sent home from the school notifying parents of this charity event. Nick-N-Willy’s donated 20 percent of its proceeds from the two days of sales based upon returned fliers from the students.

Kortes’ first-graders were treated to an in-class pizza party lunch supplied by Nick-N-Willy’s for returning the most fliers.

Grace Best Elementary School has collected over $5,000 toward its goal of $10,000 to help support the construction of a new playground facility at Bear Creek Elementary School. In the fall, school staff and students will relocate to Bear Creek (currently the Creekside Middle School campus).

Phase I of the construction is district funded, but Phase II will be funded from community donations and fundraisers. These donations will fund the shade structures, nature trails, fitness equipment and landscaping.

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Burgan entertains with tunes from the ‘50s-‘60s, May 8

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Below (L to R): Tholow Chan and Jerry Burgan perform on the TLCA stage. Photo by David Futey.

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By David Futey

On May 8, the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA) opened its doors for a unique and festive evening of music and art. Jerry Burgan, accompanied by longtime friend Tholow Chan on bass, performed an evening of "Songs & Stories."

Burgan, one of the original members of the folk rock group We Five that launched the San Francisco sound, entertained a capacity crowd by playing a wide array of songs from the early folk era, country and rock ‘n roll genres. The two-set performance included song selections such as "Goodnight Irene," "This Land Is Your Land," "Bye, Bye, Love," and "Freight Train" along with selections from Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash.

Between songs, Burgan, as only someone who lived it could deliver, captivated the audience with stories and anecdotes about the songs and music history from the 1950s and ‘60s. Burgan and Chan were also able to easily coax the audience to sing along as it was clear the memories of that era that revolutionized music were still fresh in their minds.

The opening of the stunning exhibit Ancient Futures coincided with Burgan’s performance. The exhibit, curated by debi Story Maddox, featured Maddox’s "Prophetic Series" of oil paintings, deeply spiritually based paintings by internationally renowned artist Thomas Blackshear II, sleek sculptures by Don Green, and works by Ami Blackshear and Rita Salazar Dickerson. Information on upcoming events at the TLCA is at www.trilakesarts.org

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Art sale May 15 provides support for Tri-Lakes Cares

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Below: Tri-Lakes area artist and painter John DeFrancesco, center, is shown with Tri-Lakes Cares (TLC) board members, from left, John Hartling, Kelly McGuire, Henry Brown, Cindy Rush, David Hartline, Ted Bauman, Judy Lyle, Tri-Lakes Cares Executive Director Haley Chapin, Dale Smith, and John Anderson during the TLC’s Community Open House and Art Exhibit and Sale held on May 15. DeFrancesco donated 40 of his paintings to the event, with all proceeds from the sale going directly to the TLC. Nearly $1,400 in donations was received that evening through the purchase of paintings. For those who were unable to attend the event but are still interested in supporting the TLC through this effort, there is still an opportunity. Unsold paintings from the event will be available until end of June with all proceeds still going to the TLC. Call DeFrancesco at 719-488-0459 to review the available paintings at his home gallery. Not pictured in the photo is board member Jim Bergeron. Photo by David Futey.

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Blood drive delivers "Gift of Life", May 18

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Below: (L to R) Barbara Chacon (donor) and Larry Williams (technician). Photo by Frank Maiolo

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By Frank Maiolo

Tri-Lakes Cares was visited again May 18 by the Penrose-St. Francis mobile blood bank, more affectionately known as "The Blood Vessel." In January 2009, nurse Jackie Sward started this community-based blood drive to serve the Tri-Lakes area and has worked
with Tri-Lakes Cares to coordinate this ongoing local effort. Blood drives are conducted every six weeks, and Sward’s goal is to get approximately 50 donors per visit. All blood collected is used locally.

Monument resident and frequent donor Barbara Chacon said she has lived in the Tri-Lakes area for over 12 years and has been an enthusiastic blood donor for over 20 years. She was inspired by her sister, a medical technician, who told her that on occasion they have had to ship blood in by helicopter because of shortages. Chacon said that donating blood is an excellent and easy way to give back to your community.

The entire process takes less than 30 minutes and involves a brief registration, medical history interview, and mini-physical. In five to 10 minutes, you will have donated the "Gift of Life." The Penrose-St. Francis mobile blood bank is staffed by experienced phlebotomists (technicians trained to draw blood), and lead technician Larry Williams has been doing this for over 25 years.

According to the Penrose-St. Francis Blood Bank, only 4 to 6 percent of the eligible population donates blood. The Blood Bank needs 40 donors each day to supply the 10,000 blood components used each year in the local area. Just one donation can help save the lives of up to three people. Penrose-St. Francis looks forward to seeing you at the next blood drive.

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Keeping our children safe, May 18

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Below: Monument Police Chief Jake Shirk. Photo by Frank Maiolo.

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By Frank Maiolo

The Monument Police Department, in conjunction with School District 38, sponsored a community meeting on May 18 focused on "Keeping Our Children Safe." The community event at Creekside Middle School touched on timely programs and subjects such as "Safe2Tell," issues relating to sex offenders, and an overview of
District 38’s safety and security initiatives.

This event, scheduled before the tragic incident in which a young girl’s body was found in the crawlspace of a Monument home, was an opportunity for concerned parents and the community to receive valuable information from public officials. The community turnout was small (less than 12 people) and the meeting start time was extended due to the low turnout.

Monument Police Department Chief Jake Shirk led the meeting and introduced guest speakers Susan Payne, executive director of "Safe2Tell," District Attorney Dan May, and Hal Garland and Laura Vertucci from the Lewis-Palmer Safety and Security Office.

Payne gave an informative presentation that included explanations and tips on cyber-bullying, "sexting" (act of sending sexually explicit messages or photographs, primarily between mobile phones), dating violence, and current areas of youth risk behavior. Payne’s goal through "Safe2Tell" is to promote a safe, anonymous way for students and parents to speak up and make a difference in the life of someone who needs help.

May discussed issues about sex offenders that included registration requirements, how to obtain public information regarding registered sex offenders in your local area, services available to victims of sexual offenses, and mediation services. Garland discussed the critical need for District 38 schools to stay prepared and remain proactive in the safety and security of our students and teachers. Important information for parents and students can be found at the Lewis-Palmer District 38 Web site www.lewis-palmer.org

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Tea Social treated to mini-concert, May 18

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Below: David Siegel and Linda Weise perform May 18. Photo by Bernard Minetti.

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By Bernard L. Minetti

The ladies of the Senior Tea Social were treated to a mini-concert of classical, jazz, and Spanish-themed music at the May 18 gathering. Linda L. Weise, founder and executive director of the Colorado Springs Conservatory, played the electronic piano. David Siegel, a Conservatory graduate presently attending the Manhattan School of Music, played the violin.

Weise said the Conservatory has programs year round and summer programs for students ages 8-17 in theater, musical theater, jazz and orchestral.

They entertained with the "First Movement of Concerto No. 2 in D minor" by Wiemawski. They also played the "G minor Concerto" by Bach. Following that they presented "Blue-bossa," a jazz piece. The finale was "The Girl From Ipanema."

Almost 40 ladies attended—a record gathering. The coordinators hoped that other seniors would come and be a part of these events.

The theme of this social was Cinco de Mayo. The food was truly Spanish cuisine, and many ladies said it was the best they had experienced in a long time. It was noted that the combined experience of the ladies who prepared the foods exceeded 1,000 years.

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The June Ladies Senior Tea Social will be held on June 15 at 1 p.m. at the Senior Center at Lewis-Palmer High School. The theme will be a Japanese ceremonial tea. Reiko Omura, a teacher at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, will conduct the ceremony. Anyone over 60 years old is invited to attend at no charge. 

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TLWC ends the year with sunflowers and cake

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Photo and information provided by RaeJean Claybaugh

The TLWC is a non-profit organization that has been serving the needs of the Tri-Lakes Community for more than 40 years and where they have proudly granted more than $550,000. To learn more about this club or to join, please visit www.tlwc.net or send an e-mail to membership@tlwc.net

Below: The Tri-Lakes Women’s Club (TLWC) held its May luncheon at the School District 38 Administration Building where the out-going Board was honored with Sunflowers.

Pictured from right to left: Susan Yoder, Charlie Brown, Carolyn Hodges, Suzanne D’Innocenzo, Judy Crusius, Barbara Dienes, Gerrie Maixner, Carol Reed, Peggy Lilly, Shelley Pruett, Charlie Ann Hayes, Sally Stephenson, Debbie Heredia, Mary Mills, Candyce Sylling, Karen Gruppo, Elly Hostetler, and Maureen Kral.

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Below: The out-going Co-Presidents Rae Jean Claybaugh and Yvonne Jennings hold a cake with the Tri-Lakes Women’s Club logo that was served at the last Board meeting.

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Elected officials take office

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Below: At the May 3 Monument Board of Trustees meeting, Town Clerk Scott Meszaros swore in Mayor Travis Easton and Trustees Jeff Kaiser and Rick Squires for new four-year terms. They were elected on April 6. Photo by Jim Kendrick.

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Below: Newly elected Palmer Lake Town Council members (L-R) Dennis Stern and Joe Polonsky. Photo by David Futey.

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Woodmoor district makes presentations

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Photos by Harriet Halbig.

Below: Board President Benny Nasser, left, presents a bonus to district engineer Zach Collins for his recent detailed mapping of the district.

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Below: Departing board President Benny Nasser, left, receives a keepsake from District Manager Jessie Shaffer. 

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Palmer Lake Medical Marijuana Taskforce meeting

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Below: Palmer Lake’s Medical Marijuana Taskforce includes (seated at table, from left): Bryan Jack, Ken Trombley, Dennis Stern, Susie Hertz, and Cyndee Henson. Three other members were not present. Photo by Susan Hindman.

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"Crimes of the Heart" at the TLCA, May 20-23

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Below: (L-R) Meg McGrath (Sara Crandall) and her sister Lenny (Michelle Paul) speculate on their sister Babe’s reasons for shooting her husband Zackary, a Mississippi state senator, in the play "Crimes of the Heart." The play, written by Beth Henley, takes its first of many turns when it is learned that Babe was having an affair with an underage African-American boy, which Zackary discovered.

The play was performed by the Castle Rock Players at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA) from May 20-23.This second collaboration between the two organizations was summed up by Castle Rock Players General Manager Anne McGhee-Stinson when she stated, "the TLCA was seeking an emphasis on performing arts and we needed a stage."

This mutually beneficial collaboration will be continuing in July with "The Wisdom Within These Walls."

Information and a listing of upcoming events at the TLCA is available at www.trilakesarts.org. Information on upcoming plays by the Castle Rock Players is at www.crplayers.org. Photo by David Futey taken May 21.

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Monument Art Hop begins new season, May 20

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Photos by David Futey

Below: Elizabeth Hacker

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Below: Gween David, Ron Pijut, Sandee Rogers, and Michael Zacharias

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Below: Wendy Brightbill and Donna McFarland

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Below: Janet Sellers

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Below: Vernon Dayhoff

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By David Futey

On May 20, 20 downtown Monument businesses opened their doors to authors, artists and musicians, to kick off the annual Monument Art Hop. The Art Hop occurs the third Thursday of each month from May through September.

Covered Treasures Bookstore hosted an author, two artists, and owners of Front Range area bed and breakfasts. Author Vern Dayhoff was discussing and signing his book, "A Lifetime of Jokes, Quotes, and Other Things." In 1942, Dayhoff, a retired member of the Army Air Corps, began jotting down interesting anecdotes, jokes, and other musings in a notebook. He eventually filled six notebooks, which provided the content for his book.

Also at Covered Treasures were daughter and mother artists Wendy Brightbill and Donna McFarland. Brightbill displayed a variety of her collages, while McFarland, of Bear Creek Studios, displayed her watercolor and acrylic paintings. Gwenn David of Avenue Hotel in Manitou Springs, Ron Pijut and Michael Zacharias of Pikes Peak Paradise in Woodland Park, and Sandee Rogers of Monument’s Rogers Inn the Pines offered information on area bed and breakfasts along with cookbooks for sale that contained recipes used at their respective bed and breakfasts.

Just down the street at Wisdom Tea House, Elizabeth Hacker, known for her illustrations of birds, had a variety of her works on display, including "Spring Time on the Palmer Divide." At Luna Hair Studio and Spa, Janet Sellers had sculptures, mono prints, and paintings, including "Morpho Butterflies."

Information on the Art Hop can be found at www.monumentarthop.org

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Gleneagle Sertoma’s "Spirits of Spring" raises $9,085 for charities, May 22

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Below: Terry Galloway offers chocolates at the "Spirits of Spring" May 22. Photo by Candice Hitt.

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By Candice Hitt

More than 200 guests attended Gleneagle Sertoma’s Sixth Annual Gleneagle Sertoma Spirits of Spring wine and beer tasting with silent and live auctions at the Air force Academy Stadium Press Box on Saturday, May 22. The auctions raised $9,085 for local charities.

Gleneagle Sertoma provides service and support to charities in northern El Paso County. Tri-Lakes Cares is one of the most important charities receiving support. Tri-Lakes Cares provides food, clothing, utility payments, and other relief to families in the local area who are experiencing difficulties. Gleneagle Sertoma sponsors the Sertoma HEARS program by donating funds for low-income individuals to receive low-cost audiologist services and hearing aids. The organization also supports the Boy Scouts of America, student patriotic speech contests, and many other local charities.

Restaurants provide samples: Spirits of Spring guests experienced culinary delights from local chefs. Restaurants providing savory samples included A Second Cup, Amuze Bistro, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Fusion World Cuisine, Jack Quinn’s, Maggie Moo’s, Serrano’s Coffee, Sky Box Diamond Catering, Sugarland Soda, Texas Road House, and Silverton Chocolates.

Many varieties of wine and beer were supplied by vendors chosen by Colorado’s Liquor Outlet, which is located on Briargate Boulevard. Silent auction items were provided by generous local businesses. All donations are tax deductible and support the Tri-Lakes community.

More information about Gleneagle Sertoma can be found at www.southcoloradodistrict.org

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Monument Hill Sertoma cleans up I-25, May 2

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Photos and information provided by Bob Wickham, project leader.

On May 2nd Monument Hill Sertoma conducted their twice yearly (spring and fall) highway clean-up on I-25 between County Line Road and Highway 105. Those pictured were joined by 12 other Club members in this project.

Below (L to R): Bob Hayes, Jim Harris, and Stanchneider; 

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Below (L to R): Dennis Dougherty and WayneClaybaugh; 

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Below: Al Kinchen; 

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Below (L to R): Evan Hand, Jim Woodman, and Jim Clemans. 

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May and June library events: Staff visits schools in anticipation of summer reading

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 Photos by Harriet Halbig.

Below: Children’s Specialist Julie Simmons speaks to a group at Prairie Winds Elementary School about summer reading.

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Below: Adora Cameron displays the sock puppet she made at the library.

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Below: Joel and Jocelyn Heckenkamp enjoyed the puppet workshop.

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By Harriet Halbig

May was a month of fun and anticipation at the library. Children’s specialist Julie Simmons and several other staff members made visits to area schools to promote the summer reading program, enlisting the help of student volunteers to display prizes.

Many children enjoyed a sock puppet workshop in mid-May, a group of youngsters came to dramatize some favorite children’s books for their peers, and teens held a last-day-of-school party after hours.

Registration for the summer reading program begins June 1, with programs for children up to 12 years of age and for teens. The children’s program is called Make a Splash and the teen program is Destination: Unknown. Students entering fifth or sixth grade may choose which of the two they wish to pursue. Prizes include coupons for area businesses, books, toys for the younger group, and a T-shirt for the teens. There are also drawings for more valuable prizes such as MP3 players for those who read extra books. The program will last until July 31, with a party to be held at Palmer Ridge High School on Thursday, July 22, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., to celebrate a summer of reading.

As in the past, many terrific teen volunteers will be on hand during almost every open hour at the library to help with registration and awarding of prizes. Administering summer reading would be impossible without these volunteers! Children may collect their prizes as they go along or all at once upon completion of the program. Books on CD and graphic novels count toward reading goals, as do books read to a younger sibling.

During June, regularly scheduled activities such as book break, Paws to Read, Snuggle Up Storytime and Toddler Time will continue as always. In addition, each Tuesday there will be a special program at Monument at 10:30 a.m. for those ages 3 and up. On the 1st is It’s Raining Stories. Birgitta DePree of the Manitou Arts Theater presents Big Little Mermaid on June 8, a story about a girl who finds a message from a mermaid. Neil McIntyre presents Hip Hop for Kids on the 15th. Giggle time with Beth Epley is the feature for the 22nd and Patti Smithsonian will perform a series of puppet stories on June 29. Fliers on these programs are available at the library.

For children 5 years and up, there will be a story and craft time each Thursday at 2 p.m. The 3rd will be Arctic Adventures. Animals that Make a Splash will be featured on the 10th, Everything Ducky on the 17th, and Not a Drop of Water Anywhere on the 24th.

A special program for ages 7-9 called Book Sharks will be held on June 28 from 2 to 3.

Tweens ages 9-12 will also have a series of activities during June. On the 9th from 2 until 3, create your own beach-inspired Surfer Jewelry. On June 25 from 2 until 4:30 p.m., come to the library for a scavenger hunt-type adventure called Choose Your Own Adventure. June 30 features a program called Birds, Bling and Shrinking Things, a craft program featuring sparkles, shrinky-dinks and crafts from 2 until 4 p.m.

For adults, such regularly scheduled activities as Senior Synergy, Socrates Café and History Buffs will continue during June. Life Circles, a supportive writing group that focuses on writing about memories, will meet the first and third Monday of the month at 10:30 a.m. The Monument Readers will meet at 10 a.m. on June 18 to discuss "Child of a Rainless Year" by Jane Lindskold.

For those interested in the history and collection of books, the Tri-Lakes Friends of the Library will sponsor Books: Their Stories and Values, a lecture series by Chuck Robinove. The first lecture will discuss rare, fun, and unusual books and how to determine what makes a book valuable. During the second session, attendees are encouraged to bring their own books that may be of unknown origin or value that could be considered unusual or special. Class size is limited, so register online at ppld.org under programs and events: registration. The lectures will be held on June 23 and June 30 from 5:30 until 8:30 p.m. at the Monument Library.

Displayed on the wall in June will be Portraits and Whimsy by Corky Reed-Watt, a display of acrylic paintings that tell stories, and images created with glaze on ceramic that are original illustrations for the book "Have You Ever Kissed a Camel?" by Kathy Hill.

In the display case will be Playmobile Toys from Gwenda Rosebush. Playmobile toys began in Germany in about 1974 and were sold worldwide by 1975. They are geared toward children ages 6 and 12 and have been a major competitor to Lego toys.

Palmer Lake Branch events

At the Palmer Lake Branch Library, young patrons are invited to practice reading and build fluency by reading to a Paws to Read dog on Saturday, June 5 and 26, from 11 a.m. to noon and Thursday, June 24, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

A program for tweens ages 9-12 titled Flip Flop Craft Fun will be offered on Thursday, June 24, at 2 p.m.

The Palmer Lake Book Group will discuss The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers on Friday, July 2, at 9 a.m.

Knitters are invited to bring their own projects to the Palmer Lake Knitting Group on Thursdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Cheri Monsen, expert knitter, will be on hand to chat and answer questions. Call 481-2587 for more information.

Special children’s programs in Palmer Lake will be offered on Wednesdays. On June 2, Heather Lyle will present "It’s Raining Stories in Your Library"—folktales and songs about the rain. Learn about the origin of the rainbow and take home instructions on how to make a rain hat and a rainstick. The fun begins at 10:30 a.m. each week.

On June 9, Alanna Jones will bring her Woofumdust Puppets for "By the Beautiful Sea," a program of folktales about sea creatures.

On June 16, Patti Smithsonian performs a selection of puppet stories about our fragile world. It’s all about habitat when the bears tell about their side of the story in "Goldilocks and the Three Bears." And after "The True Story of Inky the Whale," you’ll never look at a plastic water bottle the same way again.

On June 23, some miniature horses will visit the library at 10:30 a.m.

We hope to see you at the library!

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Palmer Lake Historical Society meeting, May 20: All aboard for Pikes Peak

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Below: Claude Wiatrowski, author and lecturer, provides a brief history and overview of the cog railway in Manitou Springs at the May Palmer Lake Historical Society meeting. Photo by Bernard Minetti.

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By Bernard L. Minetti

At the May 20 meeting of the Palmer Lake Historical Society, Claude Wiatrowski presented a brief history of the Manitou and Pikes Peak Railway and how it evolved over time.

Wiatrowski acquired his love for rail systems as he was growing up, said his son Kevin, who was present. His family was in the coal business in the Chicago area and trains were a part of the industry. Kevin said that his father acquired a doctorate in electrical engineering and was a professor at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.

Wiatrowski summarized the construction and operation of the cog railway system that makes its way to the top of Pikes Peak. He described the layout of the rail system and told listeners that the system climbed to the top of the peak at a 25 percent grade. This means that for every 100 feet forward, the track was elevated by 25 feet. He noted that conventional rail systems use the friction of the wheels on the rails to provide locomotive power. This is called adhesion. A cog rail system uses a gear with teeth that engages a third rail in the center of the track. This allows the system to climb much steeper grades than those possible with a standard adhesion rail system. The maximum climb grade for a standard railway is 4 to 6 percent. The altitude at the summit station on Pikes Peak is 14,110 feet.

Wiatrowski said that in 1889, the Manitou & Pike’s Peak Railway Co. was begun and track laying commenced. Laborers at that time were paid 25 cents an hour. The work was extremely dangerous, and six men died during the blasting and construction. Three engines were delivered in 1890, and service was initiated. They were called "Pike’s Peak," "Manitou," and "John Hulbert." John Hulbert was the developer of the system.

A deeper history could be found in the books he had authored concerning Colorado rail systems, Wiatrowski said. He has written Railroads of Colorado: Your Guide to Colorado’s Historic Trains and Railway Sites and Cog Wheel Route: The Manitou and Pike’s Peak Railway.

Upcoming events

  • On June 20, Father’s Day, from 2 to 4 p.m., the Historical Society will provide a "no charge" ice cream and pie social at the Town Hall green in Palmer Lake. Music will be provided. Tri-Lakes children are invited to bring dad.
  • Planning meetings are scheduled for June 14 and 28. They will be held in the Palmer Lake Town Hall at 6:30 p.m. If you would like to help out by volunteering or just want to observe, you’re welcome at these meetings.

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Palmer Lake Historical Society Chautauqua May Planning Meetings: Boy Scouts volunteer to assist Chautauqua project

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Below: From left, Richard Allen, Karen Hartling, Rich Anest, Barbara Brown, Gary Coleman, Travis Coleman, Lou Green, Lois Green, Bonnie Allen, and Mary Meyer participate in the 2010 Chautauqua fund-raiser at the Pinz Bowling center on May 16. Photo by Bernard Minetti.

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By Bernard L. Minetti

During the 2010 Chautauqua planning meeting on May 17, committee member Sally Green introduced Boy Scouts representative Dylan Fawaz. Green advised the committee that the Scouts of Monument Troop 17 would assist by doing some of the odds-and-ends work activities for the Chautauqua.

Fawaz explained that he would coordinate the activities of the Scout volunteers and that this assignment would be part of his qualification process to achieve the Eagle Scout rank. He said that he had to demonstrate satisfactory skills in organizing and directing the Scouts’ activities.

Fundraiser report

Committee member Bonnie Allen then reported on the results of the fundraiser held in cooperation with the Pinz Bowling center. She said the door-prize winners were Aiden Aubain and Travis Coleman. They had each won two hours of bowling for 10 people. Each prize is worth about $100. Karen Hartling won a Palmer Lake pottery mug made by Ann Shimeck. Allen went on to state that the fundraiser had netted $329 for the 2010 Chautauqua fund. She also expressed thanks to Pinz manager Debbie Cohen for her generosity and cooperation in allowing the fundraiser to be conducted at the bowling center.

Committee member Al Walter then stated that there would be a "hands-on" Chautauqua exhibit of alpacas, which would be conducted by a local alpaca rancher. He noted that a local donkey owner would have several small donkeys available for the same type of presentation. Walter said that the exhibits and presentations were growing and therefore the schedule needed to be revamped. The revised schedule would be presented at the next Planning Committee meeting.

The 2010 Chautauqua weekend will begin Friday, Aug. 6, at 6 p.m. and ending Sunday, Aug. 8, at 3 p.m. Events and activities will take place throughout the Town of Palmer Lake, beginning Friday night at historic Pinecrest and ending Sunday afternoon beside the lake at Palmer Lake. Most events are free. Brochures will be available soon with a schedule of all the events.

If you want to participate or volunteer your time to help, contact Walter at 719-559-0525 or attend the planning meetings. The next two are scheduled for 6:30 p.m. June 14 and 28 in the Palmer Lake Town Hall. Businesses interested in participating should contact Gary Coleman at 719-481-8937. Visit www.palmerlakechautauqua.org for information on participation in the Chautauqua event.

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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.

Hooked on Palmer Lake Kids’ Fishing Derby, June 5

This popular community event features many prizes, giveaways, and awards as well as fishing instruction for kids 16 and under. It’s at Palmer Lake June 5, 8 a.m.-noon. A limited number of free poles will be available. If you received free gear in the past or have your own, please bring it. Recommended bait is salmon eggs and worms. No child will be denied admission for lack of ability to pay. Children 10 and under must be accompanied by an adult, no exceptions. Tickets are $3. For more information, call 481-3282.

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Native American Inter-Tribal Festival, June 5

The Palmer Lake Historical Society, with the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts and Project Lighthouse, is sponsoring a free, one-day Native American Festival June 5, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts, 304 Highway 105, Palmer Lake, and across the highway next to the lake. This festival is a celebration of Native American history and culture and includes storytellers, drums and dancers, art and artisans, an exhibit of birds of prey by HawkQuest, and plenty of vendors and food for purchase (including Navajo tacos and fry bread). This is not a powwow—drums by invitation only.

Arvel Bird, a Paiute/Me’tis Native fiddler/flutist, will close out the festival with an evening concert at Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts. The Bearsheart Dancers from Monument and other Native dancers will also perform. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for the 7:30 show. The cost of the concert is $15. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. For more information, phone Al Walter, 559-0525.

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Summer Kids’ Camp at TLCA, June 7

Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA) offers Clay Camp, Draw/Cartoon, Kids’ Photography, and Painting for kids beginning June 7. Classes are also offered for tweens through adults. TLCA is located at 304 Highway 105, Palmer Lake. For more information, visit www.trilakesarts.org or call 481-0475.

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Adult Immunization Clinic, June 7

Tri-Lakes residents 18 years and older can receive immunizations June 7, 3-6 p.m., at Tri-Lakes Cares, 235 Jefferson St., Monument. Immunizations offered are TDaP (typhoid, diphtheria and pertussis), single doses for hepatitis A and B, Twinrix (a combination shot for hepatitis A and B), pneumonia, and zoster (shingles) for people over the age of 60. For more information, call nurse Jackie Sward, 481-4864 x23.

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Spring Fine Art Show opening reception, June 11

The opening reception for the Palmer Lake Art Group’s (PLAG) annual Spring Fine Art Show will be held June 11, 5-8 p.m. at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts, 304 Highway 105, Palmer Lake. Finger foods will be offered, and many of the artists will be present. More than 40 PLAG member artists will exhibit a wide variety of art works in different media in the show that will run through June 29, Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 4 p.m. Admission is free. Funds raised from the show will be used to award scholarships to Lewis-Palmer High School seniors who plan to continue their studies in art. For more information, contact Suzanne Jenne, sjenne@earthlink.net, or visit the Website, www.palmerlakeartgroup.com

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Huntington’s disease fundraiser, June 12

All are welcome to a fundraising event for the Huntington’s Disease Society of America June 12, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Limbach Park (2nd & Front Streets, Monument). The event will feature games, silent auction, bake sale, music, and food. For more information, call Kali Gilliland, 720-333-7274.

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Tri-Lakes Cruisers Car Show, June 13

The ninth annual car show, a benefit for Tri-Lakes Cares, will be held June 13 in Historic Downtown Monument, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Come one, come all—fun for all ages! Enjoy classic/collectible cars, DJ oldies music, games, trophy presentation, and more. Each car entrant gets a free breakfast. For more information, contact Dan at dano@process.com or Bill at 481-2465, or visit www.tlcruisers.org

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Tri-Lakes area election debate, June 16

NEPCO will sponsor a candidates’ debate June 16, 7-10 p.m. at the Woodmoor Barn, 1691 Woodmoor Dr. The two District 1 county commissioner candidates, Darryl Glenn (R) and Steve Kjonaas (D); and the two sheriff candidates, Terry Maketa (R) and Jake Shirk (R), will answer questions and give a closing statement. Send questions in advance to board@nepco.org. For more information, call Kelly McGuire, 481-9377. For information about NEPCO, visit www.nepco.org

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Summer Soul-stice Celebration, June 19

Come to downtown Historic Monument June 19 for a daylong community celebration featuring hayrides, kids art activities, live music, food, special merchant events, and a paint-out by local professional artists. The Soul Train hayrides will run all day from Gallery Center, Front Street Square, and the old Town Hall parking lot. Free arts and crafts activities will go on throughout the day at the old Town Hall, 166 Second St. Soul-stice Sanctuary at Limbach Park (Second and Front Streets) will have a sunrise meditation, free massages throughout the day, free glucose and blood testing, and other wellness demonstrations. A beer garden/tent will serve suds 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at the corner of Washington and Third. A chalk walk for kids, teens, and amateur and professional artists is a highlight. Chalk is supplied and participation is free. To sign up for a chalk walk square, call 460-4179. For more information, visit www.monumentmerchants.com

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Fathers’ Day Ice Cream Social, June 20

The Palmer Lake Historical Society will honor dads and their families, June 20, 2-4 p.m., at their annual ice cream social. Complimentary pie, ice cream, and live music will be offered at the historic Palmer Lake Town Hall, 28 Valley Crescent, and outside in the gazebo on the village green. For more information, call 481-3282, e-mail plhist@aol.com, or visit www.ci.palmer-lake.co.us/plhs

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Denver Burn Camp Run, June 27

Help firefighters help kids! All proceeds send kids injured by fire to the Children’s Hospital Burn Camp. Join your firefighters June 27 for a beautiful ride down the rolling hogback country to Palmer Lake, with festivities and lunch at historic Palmer Lake Town Hall. Register 8:30-10:30 a.m. at West Metro Fire Training Center, 3535 S Kipling, Lakewood (southwest corner of Hampden and Kipling). The ride ends at Palmer Lake Town Hall, 28 Valley Crescent, at noon. Festivities include a live auction, door prizes, and a 50/50 drawing. All motorcycles, cars, and trucks welcome. Cost: $15/rider $20/couples or cars. New! Sponsored riders, visit www.DenverBurnCampRun.org. For more information, call Eric Sondeen, 303-475-8210.

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Griffith Golf Tournament, June 28

Bring your friends, family, or business associates to the Golf Club at Bear Dance in Larkspur, June 28. Shotgun start is at 8 a.m. Play a challenging course, enjoy great food, and have a chance to win prizes while you help the Griffith Center change the life of a child. For more information, contact Jamie Sachtjen, jamie.sachtjen@griffithcenters.org or 303-350-2736, or visit www.griffithcenters.org

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Farmers Markets in our community

Monument Hill Farmers Market is open every Saturday, June 5 -Oct. 9, 8 a.m.-1 p.m., at Grace Best School and the D-38 Administration Building at Second and Jefferson Streets in downtown Monument. Fifty-plus vendors offer food, produce, home décor items, crafts, honey, jewelry, furniture, pet products, and more. For information, call 592-9420.

Another farmers market is at the entrance to the Western Museum of Mining & Industry, in front of the red farmhouse. Begins June 7, every Monday and Wednesday, 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m., with fresh vegetables from Pueblo farms, breads, meats, and more.

The Original Monument Farmers Market, every Saturday, June 26-Oct. 9, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., at Monument Plaza (481 Highway 105, Behind Starbucks). For information, call 213-3323.

Palmer Lake Farmers Market, every Sunday, July 4-Oct. 3, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Highway 105 by the lake, at the Gazebo. For information, call 213-3323.

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Independence Day Parade in Monument, July 3

The Monument Independence Day Parade traditionally is made up of over 100 entries and draws an estimated 20,000 spectators. The parade, sponsored by the Monument Hill Sertoma Club, begins at First and Jefferson Streets and ends at Second Street and Beacon Lite Road at noon. 7:30 a.m., parade lineup begins; 8:30 a.m., parade entry judging begins; 8:45 a.m., lineup for children’s parade begins; 9:30 a.m., children’s parade begins; 10 a.m., main parade begins; 11 a.m.-3 p.m., a street fair along Second Street in Downtown Monument, with food and refreshments, art, crafts, and live music. For more information, visit www.monumenthillsertoma.org or call 487-8710.

Ride the bus and avoid the hassle. Parking is available at local schools, with free bus shuttles running 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. On the west side of I-25, buses will run between Palmer Lake Elementary School and Beacon Lite Road at Vitamin Cottage. East of I-25, buses will be available at Lewis-Palmer Middle School, Monument Park & Ride, Lewis-Palmer High School, and Creekside Middle School to and from Beacon Lite Road and Second Street. For more information, call 487-8710.

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July 3 Community Events

Pancake Breakfast, 7-10 a.m., St. Peter Church, Jefferson Street & Lincoln Avenue. Sponsored by St. Peter Knights of Columbus. Breakfast features pancakes, eggs, sausage, juice, and coffee. Cost: $6 adults, $4 children 12 and younger. For more information, contact Tim Walter, 488-3436, or e-mail timothy.walter@lmco.com

Fun Run, 7:30 a.m. Starts at the Palmer Lake Trailhead and finishes at Limbach Park on Front Street in Monument. Cost: $23 ($12 for ages 15 and under). Register online until July 1, 6 p.m., or download a mail-in registration form at July4FunRun.com. Race day registration, $30, begins 6 a.m. at Palmer Lake Elementary School. Information: e-mail pto@weminuche.net or visit www.July4FunRun.com.

Children’s Parade, 9:30 a.m. Youngsters participating assemble in the south parking lot of St. Peter Church, First Street and Jefferson, by 8:30 a.m. No entry form is required; just show up with decorated tricycles, bicycles, wagons, animals, etc., but please, no motorized vehicles or horses.

Main Parade, 10 a.m. to noon, starts at First and Jefferson Streets and ends at Second Street and Beacon Lite Road. Parade entry forms are available at the Monument Town Hall, the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce, or download a registration packet on the Sertoma Web site at www.monumenthillsertoma.org

Street Fair in Historic Downtown Monument, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Food, art, crafts, vendors, live music, fun; sponsored by Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce. Information: 481-3282.

Parade-day open house. Monument Community Presbyterian Church will host its annual Fourth of July Celebration & Open House at 238 Third St. All are invited to extend the festivities while waiting for traffic to die down. The church parking lot will feature live music, food for purchase, shady seating, a cool car show, kids’ bounce houses, and other activities. Indoors, visitors can refresh with air conditioning, restrooms, and a tour and DVD of the 128-year-old Historic Sheldon Jackson Chapel. For more information, call 481-3902.

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July 4 Events

"What a Blast!" at Palmer Lake, 3 p.m. to dusk. Live music, old-fashioned games, an inflatable park and carnival rides at a nominal fee, at the lakeside near the baseball field opposite the Rock House on Highway 105. Information: 481-2953.

"The Best Small Town Fireworks Show in America" The fireworks begin at about 9 p.m., Sunday, July 4. The show will be choreographed and broadcast on Peak 92.9 FM. Parking will be allowed on Highway 105 along the north side only through the town of Palmer Lake. Parking will be allowed on County Line Road from Indi Drive to Spruce Mountain Road, but only on the south side (no parking on the Greenland Open Space side). The parking lots at the Santa Fe Trailhead on the east side of the lake will be designated "special needs" (handicapped, elderly, etc.) parking. Additional general parking lots will be appropriately marked. Information: 481-2953.

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Slash and Mulch season underway

The El Paso County Black Forest Slash and Mulch season is here! Slash (tree and shrub debris; no stumps) will be accepted to Sept. 12. Mulch will be available, while supplies last, to Sept. 25. Hours of operation are: Saturdays, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sundays, noon to 4 p.m.; Tuesday and Thursday evenings, 5-7:30 p.m. The mulch loader schedule is Saturdays only, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. The loader fee is $4 per bucket, approximately 2 cubic yards. The slash and mulch site is located at the southeast corner of Shoup and Herring Roads in the Black Forest area.

The program is a wildfire mitigation and recycling effort sponsored by El Paso County, co-sponsored the Colorado Forestry Association and the Black Forest Fire Department, in cooperation with Colorado State Forest Service and the State Board of Land Commissioners. The program’s purpose is to teach forest management practices and to encourage residents to clear adequate defensible space surrounding their structures by thinning trees and shrubs to reduce the spread of fire. Spreading mulch on the forest floor holds moisture, delays the spread of weeds, and provides nutrients to the forest. For more information, visit www.bfslash.org or phone 520-7878 or Jeff DeWitt, 495-8024.

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Bears out; take precautions to avoid conflicts

Bears have emerged from hibernation throughout Colorado. At this time of year, bears are looking for new plant growth and fresh grass to eat to help them restart their digestive systems. But bears will exploit any available food supply, including garbage, pet food, birdseed, and home and restaurant table scraps. When people fail to store garbage, pet food, or bird feeders properly, bears will find those sources and cause conflicts in residential and business areas. Bears that become habituated to human food sources can be dangerous and often must be euthanized.

Many communities in bear country have ordinances regarding trash storage that apply to wildlife, so abide by those rules. Detailed precautions you can take can be found at http://wildlife.state.co.us/. To report bear problems, contact your local Colorado Division of Wildlife office, 227-5200, or local law enforcement.

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Rabid fox found in Woodmoor

The El Paso County Heath Department has released information regarding a rabid fox found in Woodmoor. For the first time this year, the disease is being passed from species to species. This is a friendly reminder to not feed wild animals and to report suspicious-looking wild animals to the Department of Wildlife, 227-5200, and it will send someone to help.

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Check out energy savings at local libraries

Mountain View Electric Association (MVEA) recently started a program allowing consumers to check out "Kill-A-Watt" meters, plug-in energy meters, from local libraries and Book Mobiles in MVEA’s service territory. Kill-A-Watt meters can help consumers assess how efficient appliances really are. This program provides a free way to identify the real energy abusers and reduce energy use. People who have used the meters report unplugging appliances that weren’t being used to save energy. For more information, call MVEA, 1-800-388-9881, ext. 2602; or Monument Branch Library, 488-2370.

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Senior Beat newsletter, subscribe for free!

Each monthly Senior Beat newsletter is full of information for local seniors, including the daily menu of the senior lunches offered Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays in Monument. It also contains the schedule of the classes and events for the month at the Senior Citizens Center. There are also articles and notices of events geared toward senior citizens. To subscribe to the free newsletter, send an e-mail with your name and mailing address to SeniorBeat@TriLakesSeniors.org. Senior Beat can also be viewed online at www.TriLakesHAP.org

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Tri-Lakes Senior Citizens Center is now open

The new Tri-Lakes Senior Citizens Center is next to the Lewis-Palmer High School Stadium (across from the YMCA) and is open noon to 4 p.m. Tuesdays, 1-4 p.m. other weekdays. The facility has a lounge, craft room, game room, and multi-purpose room. Programs offered include pinochle Tuesdays and Thursdays, noon to 4 p.m.; Tai Chi for Arthritis, Mondays, 1:30 p.m., and Fridays, 10:30-11:30 a.m.; National Mah Jonng, Fridays, 1-4 p.m.; line dancing, first and second Wednesdays, 1-2 p.m.; bridge, second and fourth Thursdays, 1-4 p.m.; tea time, third Tuesday, 1-3 p.m.; bingo, third Wednesday, 12:30-3 p.m.; crafts, third Thursdays, 1-3 p.m.; Name that Tune and sing-along, fourth Wednesday, 12:30-3 p.m. Also available at the center are ping-pong, Wii video games, various puzzles and board games, refreshments, a lending library, computers with Internet connections, and an information table. For more information about programs for seniors, visit www.TriLakesSeniors.org

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Tri-Lakes Cares Thrift Shop in Monument

Hangers—Your Thrift Shop is now open Wednesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., at 341 Front St., Monument. Shop for gently used clothing, books, and household items. Proceeds from Hangers will be used to promote the ongoing mission of Tri-Lakes Cares, a community-based nonprofit. For more information, call 488-2300 or visit the Tri-Lakes Cares Web site, www.trilakescares.org.

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Tri-Lakes Senior Alliance Thrift Store: new location

The new store is located at 790 Highway 105 #D in Palmer Lake. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The thrift store is a project of the Senior Alliance in cooperation with the entire Tri-Lakes Community. The project’s mission is to raise funds and resources for Tri-Lakes Senior Citizen Program activities, provide volunteer opportunities for Tri-Lakes residents, and offer affordable merchandise to all Tri-Lakes residents. For more information call Diane, 488-0878.

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