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Vol. 10 No. 7 - July 3, 2010


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Contents

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Anglers reel in trout at Palmer Lake Fishing Derby

 Photos by David Futey.

Below: Six-year old Armani Alarid shows off one of the fish he caught during the 2010 Kid’s Fishing Derby held June 5 at Palmer Lake. 

Below: Over 500 fishermen of all ages were expected at the event.

By David Futey

The 2010 Kid’s Fishing Derby was held at Palmer Lake on June 5. Dave Van Ness, executive director of the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce, said the 12th edition of this annual event was expected to draw nearly 500 fishermen.

The Colorado Division of Wildlife (DoW) provided rods and reels along with an Angler Education Course. After going through the course, children were given a DoW rod along with corn niblets, used as bait. The lake had been recently stocked with cut-throat trout for the event.

The Tri-Lakes Chamber, El Paso County Parks and many businesses including Mountain View Electric Association, Phil Long Ford of Chapel Hills, Kohl’s Department Store, First Bank, and O’Malley’s Steak Pub were among the sponsors who supported the event and provided prizes.

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Rabies alert issued for Tri-Lakes Area

By Harriet Halbig

The El Paso County Department of Health and Environment has issued a rabies alert following the discovery of three rabid foxes in the Woodmoor area.

Rabies is a viral disease of mammals most often spread through the bite of a rabid animal. The virus infects the brain and ultimately causes death.

The department urges residents to take steps to protect your family by vaccinating pets against rabies and not feeding wild animals. Such animals as skunks and foxes are sometimes attracted to pet food left outdoors.

Do not approach or touch wild animals, and teach children not to approach or play with unknown animals, including dogs or cats, whether dead or alive.

To protect your pets, keep dogs on a leash and keep dogs and cats indoors when unsupervised, particularly at night when foxes and skunks are most active. Contact your veterinarian if you believe your pet has been exposed to a wild animal.

Following are signs of a diseased animal:

  • Diseased animals often do not run away when spotted by people.
  • Wildlife suffering from rabies will often act aggressively and violently approach people or pets.
  • Sometimes rabid animals are overly passive and will hide. If they are hiding, leave them alone.
  • Rabid wildlife will sometimes have trouble walking.

Report sick or diseased animals to the Colorado Division of Wildlife at (719) 227-5200.

If you or a family member is bitten or scratched by a wild or unknown animal, call your doctor and the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region at (719) 473-1741.

For further information, go to the department website at www.elpasoco.com or call the Health Department’s Communicable Disease Program at (719) 578-3220.

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County candidates present their priorities

 Photos by Candice Hitt.

Below: Steve Kjonaas, candidate for County Commissioner District 1.

Below: Darryl Glenn, candidate for County Commissioner District 1.

Below: Jake Shirk, candidate for County Sheriff. Sheriff Terry Maketa who is running for re-election, did not attend the debate June 16.

By Candice Hitt

The Northern El Paso County Coalition of Community Associations (NEPCO) hosted a debate June 16 for candidates for county office. The debate provided an opportunity for voters to learn about the candidates and ask questions concerning the Tri-Lakes area while candidates discussed their positions and answered citizens’ questions.

The candidates for El Paso County sheriff are Sheriff Terry Maketa and Monument Police Chief Jake Shirk, both Republicans. The candidates for El Paso County Commissioner District 1 are Darryl Glenn, Republican, and Steve Kjonaas, Democrat.

The primary election for El Paso County candidates will be held on Aug. 10. Ballots will be sent in July. The General Election will be held Nov. 2.

Candidates for sheriff address community concerns

The meeting was moderated by Hans Post, president of NEPCO. Hans allowed candidates three minutes each to make opening statements and respond to canned and citizen questions.

Shirk said he is an experienced leader and a longtime gun rights advocate with priorities including "more guns on the street." He said he would accomplish this by increasing deputy patrols by 20 percent within the first 18 months with no tax increase. He also stated he strongly supports the 2nd Amendment in Colorado, which allows citizens the "freedom to carry" arms.

When asked about his policy on illegal immigrants that commit crimes, Shirk said there needs to be control at the borders. He stated the federal government has failed to control the borders and has therefore placed the responsibility on the state to deport illegal immigrants who commit crimes, and the county should not waste resources on these criminals.

Shirk also said crime prevention starts in the home and relies on building and sustaining good relationships with citizens.

Shirk said he wants to put more deputies on patrol to control the improper use of medical marijuana.

Commenting on fiscal transparency and responsibility, Shirk said he wants to see online fiscal records and hold public meetings every 90 days to review budgeting and priorities, and he wants to hold law enforcement to a higher standard. More information can be obtained at www.chiefshirk.com

Sheriff Maketa was unable to participate in person due to a prior fund-raising commitment. Maketa campaign manager Wendy Habert answered questions about crime prevention, stating it starts in the home. She said Maketa has been active in creating programs to reduce recidivism rates, educate prisoners, increase jail safety, lower failures to appear, and assist prisoners with reintegration.

Maketa supports the Neighborhood Watch program designed to equip individuals with the knowledge to help themselves, Habert said, and there is an active volunteer Citizens Patrol force. Habert said Maketa holds six to eight community meetings annually to keep citizens up to date on new and changing crime trends and ways to prevent crime.

Habert was asked about the issue of medical marijuana and dispensaries. She responded that they are not federally approved and have been left for local authorities to deal with. She said the Sheriff’s Office is working with the Legislature and other governmental bodies to work out the loopholes.

On illegal immigration, Habert stated that Maketa supports enforcement of the legal process for persons who are not legally present in this country. More information can be found at www.maketaforsheriff.com

Commissioner candidates discuss issues

County commissioner candidates Kjonaas and Glenn discussed their campaigns’ perspectives on some of the issues.

Kjonaas stated his leadership, budgeting and management experience and said he spent 26 years in the Air Force. He also said his priorities include "budgeting for outcomes," described as understanding citizen priorities and what they are willing to fund.

Kjonaas said his position is to control spending, manage area growth, address water and environmental issues and increase tourism. He intends to increase business’ bottom lines to create more jobs. He also wants to reduce and eliminate the budget deficit, improve public safety, and ensure the success of social services.

Kjonaas said his long-range plans for El Paso County include improving the county budget and budget process and effectively managing county and citizen needs and demands. He supports the need for more deputy patrols to provide quicker response times.

Glenn said he has been an elected official since 2003, is a proven conservative and is a strong proponent of property rights. Glenn said his number one issue is water for El Paso County. His resume includes over 21 years of military leadership experience, and he is a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel.

Glenn stated he has a regional approach to water management. When asked about his plans on water for the area, Glenn responded that he believes northern El Paso County water supply concerns must be incorporated into a regional solution.

Glenn was also asked about his ideas on long-range planning for the county and the Tri-Lakes area. He said he is dedicated to supporting four main pillars of concerns: 1. water, 2. transportation needs, 3. public safety, and 4. military support.

Glenn also discussed his priorities on the economy by stating the need for a strategic plan and funding core services to the community. He also proposed consolidating some core services with other governmental entities in an effort to improve efficiency at a reduced cost to the taxpayer.

More information is available at the NEPCO website at www.nepco.org

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D-38 Board of Education June 3, 17, and 22: Superintendent Blanch resigns; Borman appointed acting superintendent

By Harriet Halbig

Following several months of controversy, the Lewis-Palmer School District Board of Education approved the resignation of district Superintendent Dr. Raymond Blanch at its June 17 meeting.

The resignation, effective June 30, ends nine years of service to the district by Blanch, who previously has been a school principal and assistant superintendent before his appointment as superintendent in January 2007.

In his letter to the community, Blanch said that he was resigning for "personal and professional reasons," although many felt he had been forced out.

Support for Blanch

At the beginning of the June 17 meeting, several people spoke passionately in Blanch’s favor and criticized the board for not seeking public input in this decision after so openly seeking input on earlier decisions regarding the district. They felt that this was a bad time to change leadership and pointed to the expense of a national search for a new superintendent.

Georgiana Gittins of the District Accountability Advisory Committee (DAAC) had sought signatures on a petition favoring Blanch but felt that it was fruitless. Michelle Zeutzius, a parent in the district, said that she would explore the possibility of a recall of four members of the board for its defiance of public opinion. Gail Wilson, a board member who was on the board when Blanch was selected, said that she did not regret the decision to hire him and praised him for his accomplishments. Other board members thanked Blanch for his contributions.

Board Vice President Robb Pike stressed that personnel matters are confidential and that no member of the board would discuss the decision.

Acting superintendent named

During a brief meeting on June 22, with Pike presiding, the board announced that John Borman, principal of Lewis-Palmer High School, will be acting superintendent during the summer months in preparation for the 2010-11 school year. Borman has had extensive experience in administrative as well as teaching positions and was thought to bring a calming voice to the situation. Pike stressed that the focus of the board should now be to prepare for the next school year.

Pike said that the board hopes to appoint an interim superintendent by September to serve the district during the search for a permanent replacement.

In other business, the board voted at its June 3 meeting to postpone consideration of outsourcing food services until next year. The board also instructed that those currently providing the services should be allowed to submit a bid.

At that same meeting, financial advisor David Bell answered questions about the effect of ballot initiatives on the district’s investments. Some subjects discussed were refinancing of current debt and the possibility of future mill levy overrides. Bell said that, should one of the measures pass, any debt obligations would be limited to 10 years, a much shorter term than commonly used.

The board asked that Bell investigate the possibility of lining up possible refinancing in preparation for any eventual results. Treasurer Mark Pfoff reminded the board that there is a cost in the form of closing fees involved in refinancing.

Pike reported that he had met with Cori Tanner and Steve Braun of DAAC regarding the goals of the strategic task force. He said that we need to stress expertise, not just an appropriate number of participants. We must be able to tell the public how any decisions would affect an individual family. Safety and security must remain priorities. The district wants to take care of education and the employees of the district and not create legacy costs that would burden future boards.

Wilson reminded the board that the recent passage of House Bill 191 will require a new evaluation system for teachers in three years and that this requirement must be taken into account by the task force.

Wilson said that the district’s graduates have received impressive amounts of scholarship funding, and the district needs to continue to provide an excellent level of education.

Pfoff said that the impact on high achievers in the district will not be great, but he fears that those who need extra help may suffer, especially with larger classes.

Budget approved

At its June 17 meeting, following a brief budget presentation by Blanch, the board voted to approve its budget for the 2010-11 school year. Blanch reminded the board that there are several remaining uncertainties, including student population, state funding, and ballot initiatives, and that the savings resulting from outsourcing food service had been deleted due to delay of that action.

Board member Jeffrey Ferguson asked why the state’s projection of student population so frequently exceeds that of the district. Assistant Superintendent of Operations Cheryl Wangeman said that this is the case because the state cannot easily go back to the Legislature for additional funds if their projection is too low. The result of a low projection is rescission of funding from all districts throughout the state.

The board voted to approve a list of routine items such as acceptance of minutes of recent meetings, resignations and retirements of staff, appointment of staff, the retirement plan, leaves of absence, special education contracts, and various other contracts and other items costing $25,000 or more, which require board approval.

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Donald Wescott Fire Protection District board, June 23: Board selects contractor and fire trucks for new station

By Jim Kendrick

After years of research and planning, the Donald Wescott Fire Protection District board approved the final recommendations of Chief Jeff Edwards, Assistant Chief Vinny Burns, and Administrative Assistant Cheryl Marshall and selected the proposal from Colarelli Construction Inc. of Colorado Springs for general contractor of the design-build contract for construction of the district’s new Station 3.

The board also approved their recommendation to pay off the existing lease purchase agreements on its current primary Rosenbauer pumper to be able to purchase additional Rosenbauer pumper and aerial trucks from Max Fire Apparatus in Castle Rock using specially discounted federal loans. The total cost for the station and new apparatus will be about $2.5 million.

Wescott previously purchased a pumper apparatus from Max Fire. Max Fire also provides maintenance service to Wescott.

The new station will be built on a five-acre lot on the southeast corner of the intersection of Highway 83 and Stagecoach Road that was offered as a donation to Wescott last August by David Wismer, owner of the Shamrock Ranch property to the east. Wescott will be paying some of the costs for replatting the 35-acre lot on the western boundary of Shamrock Ranch that Wismer has subdivided from the rest of the Shamrock property. However, no formal steps have been taken as yet to complete the required re-plat. When the parcel is re-platted, Wismer will formally donate the five-acre lot. The five-acre lot is currently being leased by Wescott in the interim. For more details on this donation, see www.ourcommunitynews.org/v9n9.htm#dwfpd and www.ourcommunitynews.org/v9n11.htm#dwfpd

The board also reviewed the second draft of its wildfire protection plan that was presented by consultant forester Keith Worley. Worley has also consulted with the Palmer Lake Town Council on its separate wildfire protection plan.

The meeting started with a one-hour executive session to hear legal advice on negotiations from the district’s attorney, Tim Schutz. Director Dennis Feltz was absent.

Station 3 contractor approved

Secretary Greg Gent and Treasurer Joyce Hartung led a very brief discussion on awarding a design-build contract to construct Station 3. They also discussed other financing options to proactively position the district in case Amendment 101 and Propositions 60 and 61 are passed in the November 2010 election. Many special districts are restructuring their financial portfolios to avoid potential problems regarding this legislation. The discussion addressed options that are available from Wells Fargo Bank for financing additional new apparatus. One option is using new federal Buy America Bonds that offer a 35 percent interest rate discount for purchasing new equipment. Some options included paying off the remainder of the current lease purchase agreement with Wells Fargo for the primary Rosenbauer pumper in Station 1 on Gleneagle Drive.

Gent said he and the staff recommended that the district award a design-build contract to Colarelli Construction Inc. A total of 13 construction firms submitted formal proposals. Hartung and the chiefs formally endorsed Gent’s recommendation. The board unanimously approved a motion to award the contract to Colarelli.

Marshall and Gent suggested that the board approve paying off the existing loan with Wells Fargo because existing loans may not be refinanced with Build American Bonds. The fourth annual payment of about $55,000 to Wells Fargo is due on July 15.

Director Harland Baker led a lengthy discussion on whether the 2010 budget would have to be amended to pay off this loan’s balance of about $155,000 for a total payment of about $210,000. He asked the staff to determine how much interest could be saved on the existing lease purchase agreement if the payoff is completed by July 15. The consensus of the board was to meet again to discuss the amount of additional interest that might be charged by Wells Fargo if the full payoff is not completed by July 15. There is $300,000 in the new equipment line in the 2010 budget, which also covers all other equipment to be purchased through the end of this year.

Burns presented a proposal to purchase a Type 3 Rosenbauer pumper that is narrower, not as tall, and has a shorter wheelbase than a standard "full size" Type 1 pumper. This type of pumper would be advantageous in the rural heavily wooded areas with long narrow driveways that surround the new Station 3. This smaller pumper would be assigned to Station 3 upon its completion along with the district’s tender and one of its brush trucks, which are designed for grassland fires rather than dense forested areas. The base price of this custom-built truck is $251,713. Discounts are available for prepayment of the chassis. The first payment would be made in 2012, a year after it was delivered.

Burns also noted that a Type 3 pumper would be a better match for the types of out-of-state wildfires that Wescott would like to help fight. Also, the federal payments to the department for use of this type of pumper would be significantly higher than those for the brush trucks that the district has deployed in previous wildfire seasons, perhaps high enough to pay for the annual lease purchase payments.

Burns also presented a proposal to purchase a Rosenbauer 75-foot aerial truck that is a demonstration model the company is currently using for fire vehicle shows and firefighter conventions. Burns noted that there are now 70 buildings of three stories or more in the district’s area of responsibility that are too tall for Wescott’s primary pumper to properly service and 10 buildings that are at least five stories. It would be assigned to Station 1 on Gleneagle Drive. The truck has a small enough footprint to fit in tighter commercial, strip mall, and apartment areas.

Burns noted that this showpiece aerial truck would cost about $534,000. A similarly equipped custom-built truck would cost about $775,000 and would require about nine months to plan and another nine months to build. The aerial would have the same warranty as a custom-built new apparatus. As a prior customer of Rosenbauer and Max Fire, Wescott would receive several discounts totaling about $7,000, making the purchase of both trucks at the same time even more financially attractive. The total price for both engines is less than the cost of a custom-built aerial that Rosenbauer proposed to Wescott two years ago. The initial outlay in 2010 would be about $250,000, with the remainder financed by federal Build America bonds.

Board President Scott Campbell noted to the other directors, "Did anyone think we would build a new station and not put anything in it?" After further discussion, the board unanimously approved a motion to obtain discounted federal Build America bond funding from Wells Fargo for the new station, the new pumper, and the aerial demonstration vehicle with a condition that the staff finalize the various loan agreements as proposed. The board also approved a condition to postpone until July 28 a decision on paying off the existing Wells Fargo lease purchase agreement if there is an interest penalty for an early payoff.

Edwards and Burns thanked the board for supporting their lengthy planning to match the rapidly changing district requirements due to extensive recent development.

Payroll problem solved

Hartung stated that "Cheryl Marshall did a fantastic job with Paychex" in reaching a satisfactory settlement with the check writing consultant firm on a $2,200 "Paychex error" that she said led to an overpayment to three district firefighters in 2009 through no fault of the employees. Paychex will give the district a $2,000 credit that will be drawn down on future invoices until the credit is exhausted. The district will absorb the cost of the remaining $200 from the 2010 budget.

Hartung and Campbell thanked Marshall for her successful negotiation. Campbell added, "The important thing here is that the firefighters did nothing wrong. There is nothing that they should be held accountable for in my opinion."

Hartung noted that Marshall has corrected all the payroll errors that occurred in 2009 and 2010, has re-run all the general ledger accounts, and has implemented new procedure with Paychex to ensure improved payroll accuracy in the future.

These errors occurred after former board Treasurer Feltz transferred payroll responsibility from Marshall to a consultant bookkeeper and obtained board approval to initiate the Paychex contract. Marshall conducted the negotiation after Hartung was elected in May and unanimously elected to the treasurer position. For more details on the history of the problems that Marshall solved in a few weeks after being reassigned as the district’s liaison to Paychex, see www.ourcommunitynews.org/v9n11.htm#dwfpd, www.ourcommunitynews.org/v10n2.htm#dwfpd, and www.ourcommunitynews.org/v10n3.htm#dwfpd

Wildfire Protection Plan nearing completion

Consultant forester Worley gave a slide presentation on the development of the department’s wildfire protection plan over the past 18 months to prepare district residents for wildfire mitigation and become eligible for federal grants. He noted that the final completion of the plan will also enable district property owners to claim a 50 percent tax deduction of up to $2,500 on the first $5,000 they spend on wildfire mitigation.

Worley also listed partnerships the district has developed with the Air Force Academy’s natural resource department, the county Parks Department, county Fire Marshal Jim Reid, the State Forest Service, NEPCO (the regional association of homeowner associations), and the Donala and Academy Water and Sanitation Districts.

Worley noted that Pleasantview Estates is one of the more challenging areas to plan for due to its housing density and narrow streets. Sun Hills and the Roller Coaster Road areas have lower fuel volumes, though they do have long driveways that make it more difficult for apparatus to reach homes. Gleneagle residents may not be aware they have a "pretty complex problem" due to large landscaping areas that Worley called "jackpots of fuel" intermixed with a high percentage of shake roof homes that may lead to "home to home" ignition in a wildfire situation.

Worley also discussed specific problems in other neighborhoods that Wescott is responsible for in northwest Colorado Springs that had been part of the district when it was created but were subsequently annexed by the city over the past 35 years.

Plans have already been developed to define firefighter safety zones as well as civilian staging areas at the School District 20 Discovery Canyon campus, commercial areas, the entrance of Fox Run Park on Stella Drive, and New Life and Family of Christ Churches. Wescott is still developing escape plans for each part of the district that differ depending on alternative emergency situations.

When the plan is finalized and adopted, more information will be available through the district website, www.wescottfire.org, and the State Forest Service website. OCN will publish the press release and a link to the plan when Wescott’s final document is approved.

If you are unsure if your home is in the wildland interface, please call Station 1 for assistance. The district also offers home and property inspections at no cost. To schedule an inspection, contact the on-duty officer at 488-8680.

Treasurer’s report

President Campbell noted to the new board members, Hartung and Baker, that "Cheryl (Marshall) and the chiefs had restructured the entire budget completely to make sure that as unexpected things occur, we could cover them or request an alteration to the budget to cover them." He added that the board has an improved method for making decisions on recommended amendments to the budget.

Treasurer Hartung noted that 40 percent of the 2010 budget had been spent through the end of May. She added that a final draft of the 2009 audit and 2009 budget will be presented at the next regular board meeting on July 28. Marshall answered technical questions on how things are being recorded in the new format.

Chief’s report

Edwards noted that a four-man Wescott firefighting team had been deployed on June 21 to help fight the ongoing wildfire in Canon City near the Royal Gorge. He expected the district’s participation to last a total of seven days. There were 92 calls in May for a total of 523 this year, down 4 percent from 2009. There were no injuries. AMR had 41 ambulance calls within the district and 26 out of the district.

Wescott will again be participating in the Monument holiday parade on July 3. There will be hot dogs and hamburgers for the families of all members of the district and board after the parade. The district will send a brush truck to support the fireworks display in Palmer Lake on July 4.

Edwards noted that the district would participate in the Eighth Annual Firefighter Chili Cookoff in Colorado Springs on June 25 that benefits the Muscular Dystrophy Association. "We did take a trophy last year," he said. "We and the fire service have been a proud sponsor of MDA for many many years."

Edwards announced that Wescott had won three banners at the annual Air Force Academy Firefighter Challenge competition on June 19. The members who qualified for the national competition in Myrtle Beach, S.C., are Scott Ridings, Curt Leonhardt, Shannon Balvanz, John Urban, and Mike Forsyth. They will be raising money by events like car washes and seeking corporate sponsors to finance the estimated $15,000 for their air fares, hotels, and transportation of all the firefighting equipment they would use in each contest. Edwards added that the budgeted cost for 14 Wescott firefighters to participate in the Air Force Academy competition was $1,000 from the morale and welfare budget line.

The meeting adjourned at 10:10 p.m.

**********

The next meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on July 28 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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Defensible space and Firewise annual checklist

By Keith Worley

  • Trees and shrubs are properly thinned and pruned within the defensible space.
  • Slash from thinning is disposed of.
  • Roof and gutters are clear of debris.
  • Branches overhanging the roof and chimney are removed.
  • Chimney screens are in place and in good condition.
  • Firewood piles are stacked well away from all structure (30 feet recommended).
  • Grass and weeds are mowed to a low height (a maximum of 6 inches high).
  • An outdoor water supply is available complete with hose and nozzle that can reach all parts of the house.
  • Fire extinguishers are checked and in working condition.
  • The driveway is wide enough. The clearance of trees and branches is adequate for fire and emergency equipment. (Check with your local fire department.)
  • Road signs, your name, and house number are posted and easily visible.
  • Easy access to a storage area with rakes, hoes, axes and shovels for use in case of fire.
  • You have practiced family fire drills and your fire evacuation plan.
  • Your escape routes, meeting points and other details are known and understood by all family members.
  • Attic, roof, eaves, and foundation vents are screened and in good condition. Stilt foundations and decks are enclosed, screened, or walled up.
  • Trash and debris accumulations are removed from the defensible space.
  • Post a checklist for fire safety needs inside the home. This is available from your local fire department.

Remember, it is up to you to create your defensible space. This zone around your home may give limited firefighting resources a safer and better chance of protecting your home. Additional Firewise information is available at the Colorado State Forest Service (www.csfs.colostate.edu) and Colorado State University Extension (www.ext.colostate.edu) websites.

I recommend that everyone who lives in a wildfire prone area like ours view the "Melody Lane Fire" on www.youtube.com. This incredible video, in which five homes were lost, shows how quickly vegetation around a home can ignite a structure.

Keith Worley is an ISA-certified arborist and forester in Larkspur. E-mail: forestreedev@aol.com 

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Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District board, June 23: Board passes resolution against ballot issues

By Bernard L. Minetti

At the June 23 meeting of the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District, Board President Charlie Pocock read into the record a proposed resolution that would demonstrate the district’s resolve against Proposition 101 and Amendments 60 and 61 on the November statewide ballot.

In officially opposing the ballot issues, the board said the measures "would significantly damage Colorado’s special districts, state and local governments from funding their most basic level of services related to safety, water, sanitation, fire protection, education, hospitals, rural health care, and transportation," the resolution states.

Amendments 60 and 61 "would slash at least $1 billion annually in state taxes, cutting in half the property tax dollars schools currently receive," it says

The resolution added that the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District "is concerned about the impact these three measures will have on our ability to work effectively with other local governments in the form of intergovernmental agreements."

Following the reading, seconding and discussion, the resolution was passed unanimously.

Budget update

Treasurer John Hildebrandt reported on the April budget figures, noting that the year-to-date numbers represent 41.66 percent of the annual budget. He said that budgetary property tax revenue was $1,861,007 or 57.84 percent of the annual revenue. Specific Ownership Taxes (auto registrations, etc.) received were only 38.40 percent ($123,291) of the annual budgeted total of $321,029. Ambulance revenues were $210,715 or 45.81 percent of the expected income. He remarked that this was excellent, since ambulance revenues were usually behind the expected income. The total expenses for the district to date (through May) were $1,577,869 or 40.16 percent of the budgeted $3,929,128 annual amount.

Chief Robert Denboske presented the board with the results of requested proposals from Integrity Bank, Vectra Bank, First National Bank, Wells Fargo Bank, and Peoples Bank to handle district funds. Wells Fargo did not submit a proposal. The board discussed the information presented and voted to accept Vectra Bank’s proposal, since it contained the highest interest rates and the lowest fees overall.

**********

The next Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District board meeting will be held on Wednesday, July 28, 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 Martin at 719-484-0911.

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Woodmoor Water and Sanitation Board of Directors, June 14: Repaving set for White Fawn and Deer Creek

By Harriet Halbig

Randy Gillette, assistant manager of the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District, reported at the board’s June 14 meeting that repaving of Deer Creek and White Fawn Drive would be complete during the following week. The condition of the roadways had been deteriorating for several months following a sewer project completed late last year.

Gillette said that he regretted the inconvenience caused to residents of the neighborhood during the months when the ground was frozen and repairs could not be completed.

District Manager Jessie Shaffer reported that the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority (PPRWA) has not yet paid to become a member the Colorado/Wyoming water coalition. He said that a feasibility study is still underway by the authority, and it is asking member entities for growth projections and information on reuse and conservation activities. He said that the study would probably require 12 to 18 months to complete.

Shaffer also reported that the PPRWA will attempt to speak with several political candidates during August to familiarize them with the activities and goals of the authority.

Shaffer also reported that the El Paso County Water Authority continues to be useful primarily as the administrator of the transit loss model. He said that it costs Woodmoor Water about $2,500 annually to belong to the authority and that its value is primarily in terms of networking and the use of the model. The authority works with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and Colorado Springs Utilities. He was uncertain whether the district would need an individual contract with USGS if it were to withdraw its membership. There has been some discussion of a merger of the El Paso County Water Authority and the PPRWA.

District continues to use lake water

In his operations report, Gillette said that the district continues to use surface water, lowering the lake by about a foot. He said that some water has been sent to the golf course and that all facilities have been inspected. He said that spraying for noxious weeds around district facilities has been completed. There is no new construction in the district.

Shaffer requested that the midyear budget review be held at the August board meeting.

Shaffer also reported that the supplemental water agreement with WED LLC has been terminated. Attorney Erin Smith said that WED was required to pay an annual fee to retain its right to additional water supplies, but it defaulted on its 2010 payment. Her office made several attempts to contact WED and has received no response. The board voted to terminate the contract. The original intention of WED was to build patio homes on the property, located on the south side of Highway 105.

*********

The Board of Directors of the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District meets on the second Thursday of each month in the conference room at 1855 Woodmoor Drive in Monument at 1 p.m. For information, call 488-2525.

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Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority, June 16: Executive director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board meets with PPRWA

By John Heiser

At the June 16 regular monthly meeting of the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority (PPRWA), the authority members met with Jennifer Gimbel, executive director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB).

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

Background on the CWCB

Founded in 1937, the CWCB’s mission is "To Conserve, Develop, Protect and Manage Colorado’s Water for Present and Future Generations." With a staff of more than 40, the CWCB is involved in many aspects of water in Colorado, including water project planning and finance, stream and lake protection, flood hazard identification and mitigation, weather modification, river restoration, water conservation and drought planning, water information, and water supply protection.

The CWCB works with local water providers, such as those in the PPRWA, to plan for future water requirements, fund water infrastructure projects, and improve conservation and drought preparedness practices.

The CWCB’s board of directors consists of 10 voting members, each appointed by the governor to three-year terms and confirmed by the state Senate. Voting members consist of the executive director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources and representatives from each of the eight major river basins in the state and the city and county of Denver.

According to information on its Web site (http://cwcb.state.co.us), the CWCB has an $8.2 million budget and does not receive any funding from the state’s general fund.

Gimbel is the ninth executive director. In 2008, she succeeded Rod Kuharich, who held the position starting in 2000.

Tim Feehan, CWCB section chief for water supply planning and finance, accompanied Gimbel at the PPRWA meeting. Gimbel described him as "the one who gives out the loans."

CWCB faces difficulties funding water projects

Gimbel described the CWCB’s two funds, both of which are revolving funds.

She said, "The construction fund is what our agency works off of. It is what helps us do all the other programs: flood response, in-stream flow, compact protection, data information, water conservation and drought planning." The construction fund receives some federal mineral lease monies each year, but "most of our income comes from repayment of loans and interest off those loans."

The other fund is the severance tax perpetual base fund that is purely for loans for water projects.

Gimbel noted, "In the past two years, between those funds, we had $120 million taken by the Legislature to help balance the budget. That is $120 million we’ll never see again, that will not go to water projects. All but $10 million came from the severance tax fund, so that doesn’t immediately affect our programs."

According to Gimbel, the situation this year got to the point that it was proposed that her operating funds be cut to $70,000 as of July 1. She added, "We were able to take more money from the perpetual base fund and still have the operating money I needed."

She added, "Right now, we have about $35 million available for loans, and we may have about $20 million in the perpetual base fund." She added that it will be much tougher when the federal stimulus funds stop in a year or so.

She encouraged the PPRWA members to stay informed and talk with the legislators. She also recommended using partnerships to leverage the available funds.

Colorado River Water Availability Study conclusions are controversial

Gimbel noted that the CWCB recently released a draft of its Colorado River Water Availability study and is seeking comments.

Dana Duthie, general manager of the Donala district, observed that the report’s conclusion that 0 to 900,000 acre-feet per year of water are available is not helpful for those trying to plan projects. An acre-foot is 326,851 gallons.

Gimbel replied that the scientists involved in the study said the conclusions needed to show the full range of possibilities based on a variety of climate change models. However, she said, "It is not the position of the state of Colorado that there might be zero. Zero is based on drastic assumptions and worst-case scenarios." She added, "Even zero doesn’t mean we’re done." By constructing additional storage, excess water in wet years can offset shortages in dry years.

She also encouraged conservation and water reuse projects. She noted that storage of water in the aquifers is promising but faces water rights administration hurdles.

She noted that the CWCB’s role is to provide information and some analysis and let the water providers decide what to do.

In response to frustration expressed regarding the PPRWA’s recently withdrawn conservation plan grant proposal that was stalled in her agency for the past two years, Gimbel said the manager in that part of the agency has only had two staff members when she was supposed to have five. She noted that the staffing has now been increased to four.

Gimbel thanked the PPRWA for the opportunity to meet with them and for their comments and suggestions. The PPRWA members thanked Gimbel for coming.

Consolidation of water authorities recommended

Gary Barber, PPRWA manager, distributed a draft report titled "The Future of the PPRWA." In it, he recommended that the PPRWA be consolidated with the El Paso County Water Authority (EPCWA) and the joint entity take over administration of the Transit Loss Model currently being administered by the EPCWA.

He said the combined entity should become a public policy think-tank on water resource issues and a voice for collaborative solutions.

He said subgroups should be formed on significant projects: common infrastructure in the north, groundwater and aquifer storage in the east, and capture of return flows, use and reuse, and brine disposal in the south.

He said the combined entity should regularly review renewable water possibilities and develop an alternative to using Colorado Springs Utilities’ (CSU) Southern Delivery System in the event that project is delayed.

The group decided to broach the subject with El Paso County, Widefield, Security, and the Forest Lakes Metropolitan District to see if they would support consolidation of the two authorities.

Super Ditch term sheet approved

The Super Ditch Co. was formed in 2007 as a way for agricultural water rights owners to temporarily fallow agricultural lands on a rotating basis and lease the associated water rights to other users. This is an alternative to the traditional "buy and dry" method under which municipalities and others purchase agricultural land in order to obtain the associated water rights. Using the Super Ditch Co. method, farmers would continue to own the water rights, which would generate a continuing income from leases, and the lands would be only temporarily dried up.

The Super Ditch Co. consists of the Bessemer Ditch, Highline Canal Co., Oxford Ditch, Catlin Canal, Otero Ditch, Holbrook Canal, and Fort Lyon Canal.

Representatives of the PPRWA have been in negotiations with the Super Ditch Co. to lease water.

Following an executive session, the PPRWA approved a term sheet already approved by the Super Ditch representatives. The vote was 5-1 with Jesse Shaffer, manager of the Woodmoor district, opposed.

The term sheet sets the lease rate at $500 per acre-foot for 8,020 acre-feet per year for up to 40 years. According to the term sheet, the Super Ditch Co. is to cover all associated legal and engineering expenses and obtain all needed approvals and storage rights sufficient for delivery of the leased water.

The term sheet includes a list of contingencies that could end the agreement including insufficient number of participants in the Super Ditch to provide the needed water, failure to obtain modifications to the ditch companies’ bylaws needed to allow transport of the water out of the Lower Arkansas River valley, failure to obtain agreement from CSU to deliver the water from Pueblo Reservoir to PPRWA members, and failure to obtain acceptable terms for permits and storage rights.

Flaming Gorge participation hits a snag

At the May 19 PPRWA meeting, representatives of Monument, Triview, and the Woodmoor 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 project’s feasibility phase is expected to take about a year.

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.

The PPRWA decided to conduct participation in the Colorado Water Authority as a project. The costs, in this case $20,000, will be split among the participants. Duthie was designated as the PPRWA’s representative, with Barber as alternate.

Shaffer said that his district would not pay unless his district is formally included by modifying the agreement with the Colorado Water Authority.

In response to a request to modify the agreement to include Monument, Triview, and Woodmoor, Rod Kuharich of the South Metro authority objected to the Woodmoor district’s participation unless it withdraws the letter of interest it sent to Aaron Million, an entrepreneur who is pursuing a similar competing project.

Shaffer said he is unwilling to withdraw the letter and asked Rick Fendel, attorney for the PPRWA, to see if a vote of Colorado Water Authority members could be taken to overrule Kuharich’s objection.

Fendel was asked to prepare a list of alternative ways to deal with the situation. In the meantime, the matter was tabled.

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The next regular monthly meeting of the PPRWA will be held July 21 at 8:30 a.m. at the Cherokee Metropolitan District, 6250 Palmer Park Blvd., Colorado Springs. The meetings are normally held on the third Wednesday of each month.

The PPRWA Web site is www.pprwa.com

The CWCB Web site is http://cwcb.state.co.us

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Monument Sanitation District, June 17: Wakonda Hills lift station contract awarded

By Jim Kendrick

On June 17, the Monument Sanitation District board approved the low bid from T. Lowell Construction Co. of Castle Rock that was recommended by Ed Meyer of engineering consultant firm GMS Inc. for construction of two prefabricated wastewater grinder lift stations and two force mains on the southwest border of Wakonda Hills. These two lift stations will transport wastewater from houses that cannot be economically connected to the gravity collection lines that are being installed in the second phase of the district’s Wakonda Hills collection system expansion.

The board also unanimously approved the final draft of the "clean" 2009 audit prepared by Mark Gilmore of accounting firm Bauerle and Co. P.C., subject to correction of any arithmetic or spelling errors. Gilmore noted the year-to-year stability of all the line item expenses in the district budget. "Overall this is a very positive audit. Everything went great." Gilmore will forward the final 2009 audit to the state.

The board also unanimously approved the separate 2009 "yellow sheet audit" of the Wakonda Hills collection system project that is being paid for by federal "stimulus" funding. Gilmore will forward a copy of this separate audit to the federal Government Accounting Office and to the state.

Director Kristi Schutz was absent.

Wakonda Hills project makes progress

Meyer briefed the board on the current status of the Wakonda Hills project and the lift station contract award process. He noted that Phase 2 of the project had been split into two parts. The collection line project is being financed by an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) forgivable loan of $2 million.

The El Paso County Health Department and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment had approved the site location application in 2009 as part of the district’s application for ARRA funding. However, the normal state approval process for the lift stations and force mains could not be completed by EPA’s Feb. 17, 2010, deadline for federal stimulus funding as a "shovel ready project," so they are being funded by the district’s capital fund.

Meyer noted that the county had already approved the site location application for the two lift stations and force mains. However, approvals for the site location application, the final engineering design, and construction had not been received from the state Health Department despite several calls from GMS and District Manager Mike Wicklund to members of the Water Quality Control Division Engineering Section staff who are still reviewing these applications.

Both lift stations will be installed in a single El Paso County easement along the east side of the Santa Fe Trail. The 1.25-inch force mains from the lift station pumps will run from this county easement to a gravity manhole in the northwest corner of the vacant Zonta parcel that is adjacent to Wakonda Hills to the south. There will also be three 1-inch PVC conduits for electrical power and supervisory control and data acquisition (typically called SCADA) wiring that will provide automatic control, notification of power interruption or pumping problems to district personnel and start-up and transfer to a natural gas-powered emergency electrical generator.

The bid opening for the eight bids received took place on June 15 at GMS in Colorado Springs with Wicklund and Jim Kendrick, district operations, in attendance. Bids ranged from T. Lowell’s winning low bid of $246,000 to a high of $486,674. The engineer’s estimate from GMS was $279,642.

The quoted cost from Brannan Construction Co., the contractor for the collection line system, to connect the gravity system it is currently constructing to the end of the force mains is $22,425, for a total construction cost of $271,425. Brannan will start this additional connection work by the end of June. Meyer also noted that in 2009, the district had paid the county $12,170 from the district’s capital fund for the county easement. This easement payment will also not be paid for by the federal ARRA forgivable loan.

Meyer said that Wicklund had also suggested installing the conduit in the same trench with the force mains rather than in a separate parallel trench in the very hard sandstone in the area. Prior to this revision, Brannan’s original quote was "more than $29,000." This single trench will be wide enough to allow for proper spacing between the conduits to ensure that there is no signal interference between them. Wicklund had also suggested that backup force mains will also be installed that could be used in the future without further excavation in the Santa Fe Trail. They also noted that Brannan will use a trencher with carbide mining tips that will be faster and cleaner than using a back hoe, making it easier to backfill the trench with the removed material.

While reviewing his spreadsheet of the details of each of the eight bids received, Meyer stated that GMS has had a positive previous experience with T. Lowell on four other projects. "They’re good guys," he said.

T. Lowell contract approved

The board unanimously approved the contract with T. Lowell contingent upon approval of the site location application and the final engineering design by the state Health Department. Meyer will forward final copies of the contract to the district and T. Lowell when the engineering design approval is received from the state. Meyer noted said that GMS expects every Colorado ARRA project to be individually audited by the EPA.

On June 30, the district received a site location approval for the lift station project. The district did not receive approval for its final engineering design before this issue of OCN went to press.

Wicklund noted that the district’s total cash assets would likely drop from about $498,000 to under $200,000 after the lift station project is completed. It will take 10 to 20 years for all the properties in Wakonda Hills to connect to the new collection system. Property owners with properly functioning septic systems will not be required by El Paso County to connect to the district system. The county will probably begin inspecting failing septic systems and require those properties to connect to the district collection system.

The consensus of the board was to charge the standard district tap fees for inclusion after these projects are completed by October. The current tap fee of $5,500 is designed to provide an incentive for Wakonda Hills property owners to join the district and solve the long-standing health hazard of raw sewage in the development. Property owners have had over 10 years to request inclusion at rates sharply below the current rates.

Wicklund reported that he and Kendrick had attended a June 14 progress meeting on ARRA projects at EPA Region 8 headquarters in Denver. They provided feedback to EPA Assistant Administrator Craig Hooks on how well the ARRA funded portion of the Wakonda Hills project had gone to date.

JUC update

In other matters, Wicklund reported on the June 8 meeting of the Joint Use Committee (JUC) for the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility. Assistant District Manager Randy Gillette of Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District noted that many of Woodmoor’s service and collection lines have been punctured by directional drillers installing other underground utilities such as cable or gas lines.

This damage was discovered by TV camera inspection of district infrastructure to determine the cause of higher than expected amounts of groundwater infiltration, which has significantly increased the total amount of Woodmoor wastewater that the Tri-Lakes facility has to process. This infiltration of groundwater substantially increases operating costs at the facility and the amount Woodmoor property owners must pay for treatment of their district’s wastewater.

Wicklund has considered ways to reduce damage by directional drilling. Recently he has required open trench installations of other utilities to preclude further directional drilling damage to district infrastructure.

Wicklund noted that Monument’s program of lining its older vitreous clay collection lines with Insituform cured in-place material has eliminated enough infiltration of groundwater to offset the increase in wastewater from new construction over the years. While the volume of Monument wastewater is essentially unchanged over the past decade, it is much stronger in waste content than that of the Woodmoor and Palmer Lake Sanitation Districts, which are being diluted by a much higher percentage of groundwater.

Wicklund noted that infiltration also results in Woodmoor and Palmer Lake having lower apparent concentrations of copper than Monument. The amount of copper per household is probably comparable for the three districts, though Monument’s overall wastewater copper concentrations are higher.

The meeting adjourned at 8:58 p.m.

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The next meeting is at 7 p.m. on July 15 in the district conference room, 130 Second St. Meetings are normally held at 7 p.m. on the third Thursday of the month. Information: 481-4886.

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Donala Water and Sanitation District, June 24: District to hold workshop on water issues July 7

By John Heiser

At the June 24 regular monthly meeting of the Donala Water and Sanitation District Board of Directors, Dana Duthie, Donala’s general manager, reported on plans for a workshop on water issues to be held July 7, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Gleneagle Golf Course Clubhouse. This will be a public meeting. Anyone interested in attending should call the district office at 488-3603.

At the workshop, the district’s lawyers and engineering consultants will discuss the

  • Latest on the Willow Creek Ranch water court case,
  • Status of the Flaming Gorge Project feasibility study,
  • Progress in negotiations on obtaining access to Super Ditch water,
  • Viability of storing water in the aquifers,
  • Prospects for indirect potable reuse of wastewater effluent,
  • Latest on potential changes in wastewater effluent standards,
  • Options for connecting to the Colorado Springs Utilities infrastructure at Northgate Road,
  • Options for financing the planned infrastructure projects.

Customer assistance program

The district has initiated a customer assistance program in conjunction with Tri-Lakes Cares to help Donala customers in financial hardship, unable to pay their water and sewer bills.

The Donala Customer Assistance Program (DCAP) will be funded from Donala customers who approve a donation of 50 cents to $1 per month on their monthly water bills. Participation is voluntary and can be canceled by the donor at any time.

Applications for assistance can be picked up at the Donala office at 15850 Holbein Dr. in Gleneagle or at Tri-Lakes Cares (TLC) in Monument.

Donala will provide account history and TLC will determine assistance eligibility.

For more information, call 488-3603.

Other matters

  • The district’s auditor, Tom Sistare of Hoelting and Co., reported that the district received an unqualified opinion, the highest rating given.
  • During the three months from March 1 through May 31, the district’s $3.753 million in investments managed by Davidson Fixed Income Management showed a yield of 0.30 percent, achieving a goal of beating the Colotrust Plus fund, which yielded 0.10 percent during the same period. The weighted average maturity of the district’s investments is 6.4 months.
  • Duthie reported that those opposing the district’s Willow Creek Ranch water court case will be hosted at the ranch on July 26 and Aug. 8.
  • Duthie reported on the June 16 meeting of the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority. See PPRWA article.
  • The board unanimously approved signing effluent leases with Fremont Paving and Ready Mix, which is operating in Stonewall Springs. Donala and the Triview Metropolitan District are jointly entering into the leases with Fremont. The leases cover 40 to 215 acre-feet of water per year and pay $500 per acre-foot. An acre-foot is 326,851 gallons.

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 Aug. 19, 1:30 p.m. at the Donala office, 15850 Holbein Drive. Meetings are normally held on the third Thursday of each month. The meeting regularly scheduled for July 15 was canceled.

The workshop on water issues will be held July 7, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Gleneagle Golf Course Club House, 345 Mission Hills Way. Those interested in attending should call the district office at 488-3603.

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Monument Board of Trustees, June 7: Restaurant owners receive Jim Moore Award

By Jim Kendrick

Shawn and Mary Morris, owners of the La Casa Fiesta Restaurant, 230 Front St., were presented the third Jim Moore Achievement Award for Excellence in Preserving and Enhancing Downtown Monument by Mayor Travis Easton at the June 7 Monument Board of Trustees meeting.

Town Manager Cathy Green gave a slide show presentation on the Morrises’ several improvements to "this anchor to downtown Monument" and the sponsorship of the award by the Historic Monument Merchants Association. Easton also congratulated them for their contributions as he presented them with a plaque. Morris replied, "It’s nice to get recognized for all the hard work and all the things we would have done anyway. This is awfully nice of you, and we appreciate it."

Green and Rich Landreth, director of Public Works, gave a lengthy presentation on the Water Infrastructure Planning Study to help the new trustees understand ground and renewable water issues facing the board.

All the trustees attended the meeting.

Police lieutenant position created

The board unanimously approved a resolution proposed by Monument Police Chief Jake Shirk to create a new classification for a lieutenant to be second in command. This is an upgrade of one of the department’s three sergeant positions, so the number of police officer positions will remain the same. Shirk and Easton noted that this creates a more natural hierarchy and pay progression within the department. The lieutenant will act as the chief during the chief’s absence.

Shirk detailed the additional duties and pay relating to the lieutenant position. He noted that the sergeant who would be promoted to this position will actually be losing money despite the $5,000 basic salary increase due to the loss of overtime.

Board invited to rodeo events

Several speakers gave a spirited presentation on this year’s annual Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo Week.

John Scabo, representing the Rocky Mountain Range Riders, introduced all members of the group’s leadership who were in attendance. He gave a short history of the Pikes Peak Range Ride. The Kick-off Street Breakfast is held in downtown Colorado Springs on June 23 at 5:30 to 9 a.m. at the corner of Pikes Peak and Tejon in downtown Colorado Springs. The breakfast is organized by the city, Colorado Springs Sertoma, and Fort Carson to serve about 8,500 people. The Ride begins at 8 a.m. when 160 riders ride off on horseback for a five-day trip. The 62nd Ride is being held to support the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo and to honor and perpetuate the Western heritage of our region. All proceeds from the breakfast go to benefit military charities. For more information, see: www.pikespeakrangeriders.net

Rick Powell, the 2010 rodeo president, discussed the history of all the rodeo events and the 70th Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo Parade that will be held on Tuesday, July 13 at 6:30 p.m. in downtown Colorado Springs. He also explained how the military and local community benefits from the event and invited the board and staff to attend the Kick-off Breakfast and rodeo.

Jessica Green and Dana Jenkins, 2010 Girls of the West, gave an entertaining promotional presentation that listed the significance and special features of all the various activities, events, and locations that comprise this weeklong celebration. See www.coloradospringsrodeo.com for a complete schedule with prices for the various events.

The board unanimously approved a request from event coordinator Rick Nasby for a resolution for the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce’s annual Fourth of July Street Fair on Second Street and in Limbach Park on Saturday, July 3.

The board unanimously continued a scheduled hearing on a preliminary/final plat for Filing 19 of the Monument Marketplace until June 21 at the request of the applicant landowner.

Liquor license actions approved

The board approved a change of premises request for the Monument Liquor Mart in the Monument Marketplace. The large building will be subdivided to create a space that will be leased to a Curves Women’s Fitness Center.

The board also approved the annual renewal of five liquor licenses:

  • Conoco Store/Circle K, 534 Highway 105
  • Tri-Lakes Liquor, 586 Highway 105
  • La Casa Fiesta, 230 Front St.
  • Cork’N’Bottle Liquor, 351 Highway 105
  • Second Street Art Market, 366 Second St.

Financial reports

The board approved a payment of $30,920 to Landscape Endeavors Inc. for Third Street landscaping improvements. The remainder of the landscaping improvements will be installed after the Fourth of July parade so that they have a better chance for survival.

The board unanimously accepted Treasurer Pamela Smith’s April financial report. Some of the items she discussed were:

  • General Fund revenues exceed budgeted estimates by about $32,000 (0.9 percent)
  • General Fund expenditures are about $208,000 (6 percent) less than projected
  • General Fund balance is up by about $240,000 (6.9 percent)
  • General Fund sales tax revenues are about $37,000 less (7.3 percent) than projected
  • Development Services fees are about $24,000 over budget (23 percent)
  • Water Fund revenues exceed estimates by about $8,000 (0.7 percent)
  • Water Fund expenditures are about $161,000 (12.6 percent) less than projected
  • Water Fund balance is up by $169,000 (13.3 percent)

Staff reports

Town Attorney Gary Shupp reported that the injunction filed against the town in the Brodie case had been dismissed on May 20 following a "case management conference with the court." Although a trial date was set for July 20, Shupp said he did not believe the case would proceed further. The suit involves an alleged property infringement at the west end of Third Street. The town has offered a quit claim deed to Brodie for the contested property.

The board asked Green to find out more information on the Colorado Rail Authority’s request for a $5,000 annual dues fee for a town membership. The purpose of the authority is to find a commercial investor for private high speed and commuter rail service along the Front Range, though the lack of two tracks through Monument remains a problem for any high speed trains. Membership may help Monument become one of the stops for either type of service.

Green also reported on several problems with the existing kiosk vendor license regulations that are making it hard to issue vendor licenses, regulate operations, and collect sales tax at the three farmers markets in Monument.

A new code enforcement officer has been hired to start work on June 14 and will address these sales tax collections with the various vendors.

Green noted that the purchase of trees from Mountain Farmer was on hold due to investigations by the El Paso County Health Department regarding dumping raw sewage into Crystal Creek. She said the town should be sure "that whoever we partner with is legal."

Tom Kassawara, director of Development Services, reported that the town is issuing six to seven building permits per month.

Landreth reported that the town staff had taken over all Jackson Creek municipal maintenance responsibilities that the Triview Metropolitan District had previously outsourced to contractors. Landreth also noted that the planned installation of the two-room public restroom, which was recently purchased from Larkspur’s rest area on I-25, at the north end of Limbach Park has been stalled due to a documentation problem with the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department that must be resolved before the department will issue a building permit.

Shirk reminded the board and staff that the Operation Overload "active shooter" emergency training exercise would take place at Palmer Ridge High School on June 16 and 18 with over 300 volunteers participating. In this type of incident, responding officers must address and engage the shooter as quickly as possible to keep the loss of human life to a minimum. They must then assess the next best course of action as part of the training exercise.

Shirk also noted that the Police Department would participate in a church security seminar on June 19 to present concepts of congregational and mission-driven safety and security. Topics included:

  • Community Emergency Response Teams and ministries
  • Executive protection techniques
  • Preparing policies and procedures
  • Risk and Vulnerability Analysis for churches
  • Verbal judo for congregational disruption control
  • Mass crime scene control issues—a law enforcement view
  • Crime prevention through environmental design
  • Panel discussion of legal and insurance professionals

The meeting adjourned at 8:57 p.m.

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Monument Board of Trustees, June 21: Chief Shirk hosts promotion and awards ceremony

By Jim Kendrick

At the June 21 meeting of the Monument Board of Trustees, Monument Police Chief Jake Shirk filled the new department lieutenant position, swearing in former Sgt. Steve Burk to be second in command. This is an upgrade of one of the department’s three sergeant positions, so the number of police officer positions will remain the same.

Shirk also presented commendations to several Monument police officers and members of the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Department that recognized their commitment and bravery for acts beyond what is normally expected of them in the daily performance of their duties.

Trustee Jeff Kaiser was absent from the meeting.

Ceremony recognizes police officer and firefighter achievements

Shirk first pinned new bars on Burk as the Police Department’s first officer to be appointed to lieutenant and the first command officer other than the chief. "This is truly a great occasion to honor a man who has stepped forward and is doing a great amount of work." Shirk also presented Burk with a plaque commemorating his special status as the first lieutenant.

Burk said he was looking forward to the opportunity when he was interrupted by a huge burst of laughter from the audience when Shirk pulled a promotion gift for Burk from a shopping bag—a carton of Twinkies. When Burk said, "He just wants me to look just like him" and walked away, Shirk said, "Come back here sergeant" to much more laughter.

Four members of the police staff received Chief’s Commendations. The honored recipients and some background follow.

Police Chaplain Angela Robbins’ award

On April 7, the Monument Police Department responded to 880 Beacon Lite Rd. on the report of a juvenile male who had received a gunshot wound to the face. Upon arrival, officers found that he was receiving basic medical care from his father and neighbor.

Due to the seriousness of the incident, officers on scene called Robbins to respond to the scene. She responded immediately and was of great assistance in helping the father and neighbor deal with the high emotional stress placed upon them. Beginning that night, and extending over the next several weeks, Chaplain Robbins put the needs of the family, neighbors, and officers involved with the incident above those of her own. She took the time to help them through the incredible challenges that lay ahead, and her efforts were documented in the letter written by a neighbor commending Chaplain Robbins for her assistance.

The commendation stated that Robbins’ continued selfless dedication has earned her the respect of the citizens of the Tri-Lakes area as well as the officers with whom she serves. Her actions in this incident brought credit to not only herself but also the Monument Police Department.

Officer Joseph Lundy’s award

On April 7, Monument Police Officer Lundy responded to 880 Beacon Lite Rd. on the report of a juvenile male who had received a gunshot wound to the face. He looked through a window of the residence and saw a pool of blood in the kitchen and a trail of blood on the floor leading down the hallway toward the bedrooms.

Officer Lundy made several attempts to alert the occupants of the residence by knocking on the door and giving verbal commands to open the door, but his commands were not heeded. Based on the circumstances, the decision was made to force entry into the residence. Officer Lundy broke out a window, crawled through the opening, and unlocked the front door to allow his cover officer in. Once inside, officers found the wounded juvenile in a bedroom being cared for by his father and neighbor.

Officer Lundy’s professional demeanor helped bring calm to an extremely traumatic situation, as was evidenced by the fact that he later received a letter from the neighbor commending his actions.

The commendation stated that Officer Lundy conducted himself with a high level of professionalism during this stressful event. His actions in this incident brought credit to not only himself but also the Monument Police Department.

Special Investigator Michael Slavick’s award

For the past five years Special Investigator Michael Slavick, a civilian volunteer, has served as the Police Department’s computer forensics investigator. During that time he has proved invaluable in many criminal investigations, including those involving sexual assault, illegal narcotics, identity theft, fraud, and theft. Investigator Slavick has completed forensic analyses of countless computers, PDAs, phones, and other electronic devices. In addition to his technical expertise, he has assisted investigators in not only the gathering of intelligence and information, but also in the serving of search warrants and the gathering of evidence found during the searches.

In addition to his work at the Monument Police Department, Investigator Slavick has assisted many outside agencies including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Colorado Bureau of Investigation, Immigration Customs Enforcement, El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, Colorado Springs Police Department, Palmer Lake Police Department, and the South Metro Regional Drug Task Force.

The commendation noted that Slavick has conducted himself with the utmost professionalism and should be commended for his selfless dedication and service to the Police Department and the citizens of the Tri-Lakes area.

Officer Greg Fell’s award

On April 7, Monument Police Officer Fell responded to 880 Beacon Lite Rd. on the report of a juvenile male who had received a gunshot wound to the face. Officers saw a large quantity of blood on the floor of the residence.

Several attempts were made to alert the occupants of the residence by knocking on the door and giving verbal commands to open the door, but the commands were not heeded. Based on the circumstances, the decision was made to force entry into the residence. Officer Fell provided lethal cover to his fellow officer, who broke out a window and crawled into the residence. Once inside, officers found the wounded juvenile in a bedroom being cared for by his father and neighbor. Officer Fell immediately summoned medical personnel into the scene.

The commendation stated that Officer Fell is to be commended for the professionalism he displayed while handling this highly emotional and stressful event.

DART receives unit citation

Shirk also presented a Chief’s Unit Citation to the Monument DART Team: Team Leader Sgt. Mark Owens, Assistant Team Leader Officer Chad Haynes, Sgt. Steve Burk, Officer Joe Lundy, Detective Steve Lontz, Firefighter Lt. Mike Keough, Firefighter Rudi Gillette, Firefighter Jason Kelsey, and Firefighter Elliot Linke:

The commendation noted that the Monument Police Department and Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Department Direct Action Response Team (DART) members have performed their duties in an exceptionally effective manner. The DART handles high risk warrant services, barricaded subjects, narcotics security for undercover operations, and other operations that require a higher level of tactics and equipment than is available to patrol. The Fire Department integrated the Tactical Emergency Medics (TEMs) program, or combat medics, into the DART. The TEM members have all been SWAT-trained and are qualified on all of the Police Department weapon systems. TEM members are embedded in the team and are responsible for the overall welfare of team members and citizens.

The Monument DART is part of a Regional Response Team consisting of law enforcement members from seven counties. Through this partnership, the Police Department has received over $100,000 worth of free equipment.

According to the commendation, the DART has performed over 70 successful tactical operations since its inception in 2007. The most recent was on May 28, when Chaffee County requested assistance with an armed and barricaded suspect who had stated he had shot and killed his wife. The team responded and assisted in this eight-hour standoff. The suspect was eventually taken into custody after gas deployment, and the suspect’s wife was found dead inside the residence.

The DART is a group of highly motivated, innovative, and professional first responders who are dedicated to keeping our citizens safe. They have performed their duties in an exceptional manner and are a credit to the Monument Police Department and the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Department.

Shirk also noted how remarkable Monument’s "unheard of" level of cooperation between police and fire has been and that it has set a standard for the region. He noted the remarkable change in attitude in SWAT officers from seven counties in a recent 60-hour training course and that these police officers had elected Firefighter Gillette the "top operator" for the course.

The meeting was recessed for a reception for the family and friends of Burk and the award winners.

2009 audit approved

Auditor Uli Keeley of audit firm John Cutler & Associates reported an unqualified, or "clean," audit for 2009. She also answered questions from the trustees. She reported that the assets of the town exceeded its liabilities at the end of the year by $16,810,239. There was a decrease in cash value of $2,564,578 due primarily to capital projects like the Third Street improvements.

The board unanimously approved the 2009 audit report. Keeley will forward a copy to the state.

Marketplace auto repair shop plat approved

Director of Development Services Tom Kassawara discussed the application of Vision Development Inc. for a preliminary/final plat for a Christian Brothers auto repair shop in Monument Marketplace. This 0.92 acre lot is adjacent to I-25 and the vacant Discount Tire lot south of the Texas Roadhouse Restaurant next to I-25.

Kassawara explained how the plat met the 12 review criteria of the purpose statement in the town’s subdivision regulations. There were no referral comments or concerns made by the referral agencies.

Kassawara also noted that the Planning Commission had approved the plat on May 12 with the same three conditions he was recommending to the board:

  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.

Kassawara responded to trustees’ questions about how re-use water might be made available and used throughout Monument Marketplace. He said that the town had not installed a re-use supply line along Jackson Creek Parkway and that there was no reason at this time to require the installation of "purple pipe" for irrigation in individual lots in the shopping center at this time. It would be better and cheaper to install an entire system for the shopping center at one time, he said.

Public Works Director Rich Landreth also noted that the town’s and Triview’s water treatment plants do not have appropriate valving stations for distribution of re-use water to the Marketplace.

Rick Blevins of Monument Marketplace Inc. formally objected to the third condition for the applicant. 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. Blevins stated that the water dedication issue with Triview was primarily a financial issue.

Town Attorney Gary Shupp noted that this water condition "should have been a condition for years." Triview’s new water attorney had requested the condition and the town concurs. "Just because we didn’t do it in the past when we should have doesn’t mean we don’t do it now," Shupp added.

Town Manager Cathy Green stated that the original 1987 annexation agreement for Regency Park coming into Monument said that all developments must dedicate the water under their property if they are to receive centralized water service. The Phelans, the original developers in Triview, are "trying to sell" the water that they were supposed to have dedicated to Triview. All developments within Triview will now be required to dedicate all groundwater rights. Green also noted that the town has been cleaning up water dedications within downtown Monument in water court for the past five years to further eliminate potential similar problems.

Shupp added this third condition was a "culmination of the cooperation between Monument and Triview." He advised, "I suppose there’s the potential for litigation but don’t feel uncomfortable about that."

After further lengthy technical and legal discussions, the plat with all three conditions was unanimously approved.

The board approved the annual renewal of the liquor license for Gourmet Far East Inc. at 15910 Jackson Creek Parkway.

Financial matters

The board approved three payments over $5,000:

  • $101,145 to Triview Metro District for April sales tax ($96,700), May motor vehicle tax ($4,039), and May Regional Building sales tax ($407).
  • $26,380 for the final payment to Pioneer Sand Co. Inc. for Third Street construction.
  • $26,743 for the final payment to Landscape Endeavors Inc. for Third Street improvements.

Ray Shorette, the owner of Landscape Endeavors in Calhan, thanked the board and discussed how he had used local businesses to obtain the plants and rocks he used in the landscaping project. He said it was a "great project." He noted that 40 to 50 cars had stopped to tell his staff that "the Third Street project was the best thing that had happened to Monument." Trustee Tommie Plank said, "I hope you’ll bid on the next one that we have." Shorette replied, "I’ll take whatever you guys have."

The board unanimously accepted Treasurer Pamela Smith’s May financial report. Some of the items she discussed were:

  • General Fund revenues exceed budgeted estimates by about $55,912 (1.6 percent)
  • General Fund expenditures are about $226,000 (5.5 percent) less than projected
  • General Fund balance is up by about $282,000 (7.1 percent)
  • General Fund sales tax revenues are about $92,000 less (11 percent) than projected
  • Development Services fees are about $24,000 over budget (11 percent)
  • Water Fund revenues exceed estimates by about $11,000 (1 percent)
  • Water Fund expenditures are about $195,000 (15.2 percent) less than projected
  • Water Fund balance is up by $206,000 (16.2 percent)
  • Tap fees have already exceeded the total 2010 budget by $18,000

After a lengthy discussion on whether to pay $5,000 for the town to become a member of the Colorado Rail Authority for 2010, the board decided not to join at this time.

Trustee comments

Trustee Rafael Dominguez reported that he and Mayor Travis Easton are part of a subcommittee of town trustees with two Triview Metropolitan District directors that is meeting on the creation of a written agreement regarding integrated operations of the town and district that may be ready for consideration by the end of July.

Plank noted:

  • The success of the second annual Summer Soul-stice event in downtown Monument on June 19.
  • The June 19 dedication of two new sculptures that will be on display at Monument Town Hall by Tri-Lakes Views for one year plus a third piece of art at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts in Palmer Lake.
  • The permanent donation of the "Blades of Grass" sculpture to the town (a $5,000 piece) by the artist who created it.
  • The number of residents who have stopped her to comment on how nice Third Street looks.
  • The first of seven summer concerts in Limbach Park on June 23.

Trustee Gail Drumm reported that the number of housing starts for Pikes Peak Regional Building for May was the same as April.

The meeting ended at 8:34 p.m.

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The next meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 6, 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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Palmer Lake Town Council, June 10: Council approves replacement medical marijuana ordinance and three dispensary licenses

By David Futey

By a vote of 4 to 1, the Palmer Lake Town Council approved medical marijuana Ordinance 4, which repealed and replaced Ordinance 3. The fundamental difference between the two ordinances is that definitions within the ordinance now align with House Bill 1284. Besides those definition changes, the criteria stated for marijuana dispensaries and cultivation remain the same. Mayor John Cressman and Trustees Nikki McDonald, Joe Polonsky, and Bryan Jack voted for the ordinance change, while Trustee Dennis Stern voted against it.

The absences of Trustees Gary Coleman and Max Stafford were excused.

Prior to the vote on Ordinance 4, Stern presented a motion to allow dispensaries to grow and cultivate up to 70 percent of their needs on site. This would have put the town ordinance in line with a provision in state House Bill 1284. Without this provision, dispensaries would have to find alternative cultivation locations for growing their product and then transfer their product to the dispensary. This might make it prohibitive for them to operate in Palmer Lake. This motion was not seconded. Under Ordinance 4, each dispensary can grow plants on up to 20 percent of its floor space, or a maximum of 30 plants.

By unanimous decision in separate votes for each, the council approved the business licenses for three marijuana dispensaries:

  • Mile High Holistics LLC., 630 Highway 105, represented by Susan Herz
  • Hatch Wellness Center Cultivation Group, 597 E. County Line Rd., represented by Christopher Szeremy
  • Palmer Lake Wellness Center, 850 Commercial Lane, Unit A, represented by Steve Fetterley

The Palmer Lake Liquor-Medical Marijuana Licensing Authority subsequently approved all three licenses after the conclusion of the council meeting.

Citizen comments precede council votes

Before the votes on the ordinance and licenses, the council heard nearly three hours of comments from citizens and dispensary owners. During the discussion about the ordinance and licensing, Jack reiterated on a couple occasions that the business licenses would also have to be approved by the Palmer Lake Liquor -Medical Marijuana Licensing Authority at a separate meeting later in the evening. The state requires a separate licensing authority beyond the council to approve medical marijuana businesses.

During the lengthy discussion, Jack said he would be "compelled" to leave Ordinance 3 as is, allow the three businesses, and then "work with citizens and businesses in the following year" to resolve issues that have arisen since Ordinance 3 was passed on May 8.

Herz of Mile High Holistics was the first dispensary owner to speak to council regarding licensing. Her business would be in the Colorado Lighthouse building and offer a variety of care-giving services besides that of a marijuana dispensary. Herz said she is presently a caregiver for a few patients. She also stated the she has been a part of the town’s Medical Marijuana Task Force (MMTF) since January. Jack asked if she had contacted anyone in the area who was in favor or opposed to being located in the building. Herz said she has been in contact with the owner of the building and said that, given the way the ordinance is written, she is not near a school or other facility where a distance limitation is required. After Herz spoke, Cressman asked for audience feedback.

The majority of those who spoke were residents of the east side of Palmer Lake, many of whom stated that they had only recently heard about the possibility of such a business being located in their area.

Gary Atkins, who lives on Circle Drive in Palmer Lake said he wanted to express "the resounding disappointment that the neighbors in that neighborhood and most of the business owners have in having medical marijuana centers located in that end of town." Atkins said he had polled many neighbors and found only one in favor of the centers, and he also polled many of the businesses. Atkins said the response was "a resounding no" and he thinks that "the Town Council needs to understand that."

Atkins said the MMTF was not representative of that end of town and that the MMTF was "intended to spread centers outside of Palmer Lake proper. I think that is a shame." Atkins went on to state that "most of the businesses and most of the neighbors I visited were not informed" that medical marijuana centers might locate in the neighborhood. Atkins said he also spoke to the businesses in and the owner of the West End Center and they do not want medical marijuana centers near their businesses. Atkins concluded that "I do not believe these centers should be put in that end of town without first having some type of support from the community you are placing these centers in."

Some of the other comments made by citizens in attendance were:

  • According to Colorado Springs Police Department, there are approximately 171 establishments in the city and county that are classified as medical marijuana dispensaries or dispensary growers. It is not very far to drive, so if anyone needs any there is plenty in Colorado Springs.
  • Less than 1 percent use it for terminal illness
  • I believe this will lower our property values and invite crime to our neighborhoods
  • The minimum of 500 feet from any adjoining property should be changed to 1,000 feet (as other communities are using).
  • To accuse them (the council) of not letting you know (about the centers), I think it is part of your responsibility as a member of this town to become more engaged. Because this has been in the newspapers. I know I read a big article in Our Community News.
  • I read an article in the OCN that one of the applicants said there are between 600 and 700 folks who needed this for their care. I was wondering if the task force verified that number. Because it seems excessive that Larkspur and Black Forest have them. (Jack said the number was based on county projections from industry representatives based on demographics)
  • Whatever anyone does in their own home is their business. I have two teenage sons and a possible dispensary in within a block of my house. My question is what is being done to stop getting it into their hands? (McDonald said that a principal from a District 11 school attending the last meeting said it is easier for his middle school kids to go across the street from the school to get free marijuana.)
  • I am appalled and feel victimized that the hillside community was not informed that a facility would be located right down the hill. When I did my survey, 85 signatures, 90 percent of them did not even know we were considering it in our town. I ask you to put a moratorium and not allow any of this until there is more agreement and certainly not in our neighborhood.
  • I would want anyone who needs medical marijuana to have it but I am opposed to this situation, having three in this area.
  • I am real estate broker and licensed in Colorado for 40 years. I am not here to discuss the merits of marijuana, I would just like to let you know in my opinion, which is valued as an expert witness, I do not see any way this will decrease the value of houses in the area. We are in a depressed real estate market; Palmer Lake is about as depressed as anywhere in the Front Range. What depresses values is empty buildings. In Denver we have seen resurgence in the industrial market, totally based on the medical marijuana facilities.
  • I don’t want a robbery in my neighborhood. I do not want to bring something in that is going to raise the chance of that happening. My big concern is what crowd is drawn by these businesses.
  • I have been a resident of Palmer Lake for 34 years, I have no interest in this business except being a citizen of Palmer Lake and I would like to share some of my concerns and thoughts. Are the windows covered or lights spewing out, or is the smell of marijuana coming from the building or does the filtration meet the need? Will exterior cameras assist with crime in area? In a floundering economy, to have a number of individuals who want to grow their legal business in Palmer Lake, it may just be the answer to our income for sales tax we need in a small town. Since I volunteered as one of the citizens to assist the medical marijuana ordinance writing, I have done some research on the center and talked to patients. I have been told it’s a very discreet business, not high traffic, and some centers are by appointment only. It is an expensive product which would mean tax revenue. There is a veterinarian across the street. Have they been broken in? They have lots of heavy drugs, a lot heavier than marijuana. What about The Wine Seller? Have they been broken into for their liquor? The tax revenue for the town of Palmer Lake is what it boils down to for me. With the ordinance in place and as it is written, we have the ability to re-examine and revoke the license of anyone who is not following the law.
  • If it is medical, primarily, then why isn’t it in a Walgreens? If you are concerned about this, why is it going to be in a discreet location? If it’s discreet, then you know it is more for recreational use then medical use. I have no problem with the use of marijuana but have a problem with the location. It is right between two neighborhoods and it does not make any sense to me. I am ticked off. You call yourself trustees but you can’t be trusted. Have a little sign, MM meeting. Put it out there. Medical marijuana dispensary meeting. This is about money. The town needs it, supposedly. Put it in a better, more appropriate location away from my family.

Owners respond

Herz, owner of Mile High Holistics, was the first center owner to respond to citizen concerns. Herz said, "I took a few notes while everyone was commenting. I have talked to many people in the community for months and months about this, in Monument as well, and they were very aware and very much in support. I see now there was a section that was not aware and is not in support. I don’t think that one part of town and this one opinion is representative of the whole area."

Herz also said, "I think there is this general opinion of dispensaries as these shady places where people are hanging out and smoking pot. Some of these dispensaries are nicer than my own doctor’s office. You would never know walking in or looking from the road what it is."

Herz continued, "You cannot just come to a dispensary and say I want to buy pot. It does not work that way. You have to have a license and show proof of it. It is going to get very strict with the new house bill and you will need to make me your personal caregiver in order to purchase at my dispensary. If any of my patients tried to sell the product on the black market, I would report them to the authorities. In regard to property values, in Boulder alone there are over 100 dispensaries and their property values are through the roof. As far as banning dispensaries altogether, there are already civil law suits drafted and pending because it goes against the Constitution. The town might be subject to lawsuits and legal fees. I think we have taken the right approach and wrote this (ordinance) in a smart way."

Other center owners commented:

  • Charles Fetterley said, "I am a caregiver of patients. The dates of birth of my patients are between 45 years and I have patients all the way up to 86 years old. Most young people do not need this medicine. I think there is a lot of misinformation on how we were brought up in understanding medical marijuana. There are people who need this medicine, and they might not be able to drive to Colorado Springs or Denver to get it. I do not want kids hanging out at my dispensary; if they are I am calling the police. My patients are professional people. As far as home burglaries, that is because it’s all underground. We are trying to bring it open. These home invasions are people growing it in their basement illegally. That is bringing a lot more danger to your community than having a dispensary that is open and regulated by the state. People keep going back to the kid thing. The kids can get the marijuana whenever they want it; they will not be going to a dispensary. I wish some of my patients could be here, as it has made a difference in their lives."
  • Steve Fetterley of the Palmer Lake Wellness Center said one of the misconceptions is that this is an area not already zoned for a medical marijuana center. The media is giving the impression "that we are forcing ourselves on the community." Fetterley went on to state that "we came to this community hoping to be accepted; we have an amazing product that is very beneficial to a lot of people." Fetterley said they are willing to work with the community on lighting and do what the community wants us to provide. Cameras that are required for the outside of the building are infrared, recording 24 hours, seven days a week. The information from the cameras is retained for 72 hours. He said "loitering can be a problem for any business, and it does not matter what type of business it is. Our building will not look like a place to hang out." Fetterley said odor is controlled by a charcoal filtration system and that every room will have its air scrubbed and then recirculated within the building. At certain times the air will be vented out due to high humidity. Fetterley concluded that there are many misconceptions regarding medical marijuana, among them that you can overdose on the product. The worst that can happen if you take too much is that you will fall asleep. The product has a stigma that is not warranted. We want to serve the community in a respectful way.
  • Joseph Pernarelli stated that "we have tried to make ourselves known to the town." He also reminded those in attendance that the state does not have a distance rule from residences, and the majority of cities do not have a distance rule as well. Pernarelli said that "all of us have to go through FBI checks, Colorado Bureau of Investigation checks; there has been a whole new division within the state under the Department of Revenue to monitor this. They have a force to monitor this throughout the state with branches in Colorado Springs, Denver, and Grand Junction. This will keep the people with criminal records out of the business and people from out of state out of the business."

Council members respond

Prior to the vote, some trustees offered input and addressed certain issues that arose during the citizen input session. Trustee McDonald said she "understands everyone’s fear." When she moved here 30 years ago, Palmer Lake was known as a "pot haven." McDonald said "you could get any drug you wanted in town. She said, "We are now looking at this because we know what it was like. It (drug use) was so prevalent. We were known as the drug capital of El Paso County. Now we are looking at something that has come around 360, and it is scary."

Regarding the ordinance, McDonald said, "We felt and this committee felt they put so many restrictions and guidelines and things that protected us and you as citizens, that if something is brought to our attention, we have the ability to shut them down."

Cressman said, "I think we did put a lot of safeguards in these ordinances. Their renewal fee is completely up to us on the next year. If it’s a nightmare, we have all the ability to raise that fee to whatever we think is appropriate for any kind of disturbance or problem that the dispensaries have created. Look at their licensing application—it states ‘to be determined’ for the renewal fee. And if there is any kind of security issues, we have the ability to require them to increase the security. As a baby boomer, I have a real hard time connecting marijuana with medicine, I struggle with that. I did not want marijuana in this town. But it is, because of our state government who said, ‘Yes it is legal.’ So that requires us to do something responsible and not have 15 things open before we could have done anything about it. We had the open meetings, and I am dreadfully sorry you (residents in the audience who stated they had not heard of the facilities being located near their residences) did not hear about it, it’s an absolute shame, because your voices were not heard and the ordinances are written." He added, "Unfortunately you guys live next to a C2 zone, that’s the problem."

Jack then read a provision of the ordinance that cites instances that would enable the town to revoke the license of a dispensary. Jack said, "Ordinance 3 provides safeguards, provides escape routes, and provides clauses to ensure we could uphold what the voters of Colorado intended when they amended the state constitution and also protect us as a community with some level of regulation."

At 9:20 p.m., Cressman stopped the public input and proceeded with the vote on the three business licenses. As noted above, all business licenses were approved by unanimous decision.

After a 15-minute recess, the council discussed and received public input on Ordinance 4-2010, repealing and replacing Ordinance 3-2010.

During the discussion, Jack offered the following options:

  • Align the definitions in the ordinance with House Bill 1284 and do not otherwise alter the current ordinance
  • Allow medical marijuana centers to cultivate more plants than the original ordinance allowed, cultivating more than 20 percent of their floor space or more than 30 plants. This was a request from the industry in regard to what is listed in 1284 that anyone operating a marijuana center must grow 70 percent of their product on site.
  • Add a 500-foot distance between cultivation centers.
  • Add a restriction regarding the distance between a center from a residential neighborhood
  • Leave the ordinance as is

After public input on the ordinance, the council then voted to repeal Ordinance 3 and approve Ordinance 4, only changing the definitions to align them with House Bill 1284 definitions. The vote was 4-1, with Stern opposed.

Jack designated mayor pro-tem

By unanimous decision, the council appointed Fire Trustee Jack as mayor pro-tem.

Reports

Town revenues up: Jack reported that town revenue is presently up 10 percent over projections as of May year-to-date totals.

Parks and Recreation/Economic Development: Trustee Joe Polonsky reported that he had met with race organizer Maria Brown of Palmer Lake Elementary School, regarding the Fourth of July Fun Run. The Fun Run will actually occur on July 3 at 7:15 a.m. He and Kim Polonsky will be running the water station for the race.

Polonsky is attempting to meet with Christine Ramshur of the Getting Stuff Done (GSD) committee. The GSD is interested in sanding and repainting the gazebo near the lake and may be looking into a reimbursement for a sander and paint. The committee would also like to purchase weed killer to remove weeds around the gazebo.

Fire Department: Jack reported that the Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department (PLVFD) station was broken into, with damage occurring to the fire engine. There are also reports of missing fire gear. The Palmer Lake Police Department was contacted regarding the break-in.

Jack said there were some very expensive repairs to the primary fire engine, in part due to the damages occurring during the break-in but also because of a lack of preventive maintenance being performed. The repairs totaled $8,400 and will be taken out of the PLVFD budget. Jack said that since that engine has arrived, there is no record of scheduled maintenance being performed on it.

Jack reported that the volunteer hours for the month of May were 1,448.6 hours.

As part of Operation Good Neighbor, Jack said the Fire Department is interested in selling or disposing of vehicles that are no longer in use by the department. The vehicles are located behind the Town Hall and at the town yard.

Police Department: Trustee McDonald reported that Officer Ryan Koski responded to an arson fire at the Elephant Rock Mobile Home Park. The mobile home was unoccupied/vacant at the time of the fire on May 20. After an investigation, it was determined that two local juveniles were involved. They were issued a summons to El Paso County Court and released to their parents.

As reported by Jack during the fire report, police responded to the break-in at the PLVFD building. At the time of the council meeting, no suspects had been identified. Fire Chief Shana Ball was provided with recommendations to improve security. Police officers will be making extra patrols at the PLVFD building.

The PLVFD received a grant from the Tri-Lakes Women’s Club. The funding will be used to purchase three sets of spike strips and two new beanbag shotguns.

Surface water treatment plant: Cressman said he spoke with engineering consultant firm Tetra Tech because of his frustration regarding the progress of engineering for the surface water treatment plant. Cressman was told that 90 percent of the drawings would be done by the week of June 14. Cressman said, "We have paid that firm a lot of money but have not seen a lot of drawings."

Chipping program: Stern reported that the chipping program has started and that the cost is $60 minimum per hour. Branches must be easily accessible and the chips will be left on site. If interested in this program, contact the town office and a town representative will inspect the site prior to the job.

Sports Riders renewal approved: By unanimous decision, the council approved a renewal of the annual lease with the Palmer Lake Sports Riders Association (PLSRA). Tim Tracey represented the PLSRA at the council meeting. The town requested an increase to $2,000 a year for the lease, and Tracey said that amount was "doable." The present membership of the association is 45 with 15 memberships set aside for Palmer Lake residents.

Water line easement: By unanimous decision, the council approved a water line easement on Trinidad that runs through a private lot. The request was for a variance of a 10-foot setback from the rear of the property line. The lot is not developed.

Clean and Green grant: By unanimous decision, the council approved receipt of the El Paso County sub-recipient agreement for the Clean and Green Program. Jack said that last year, the county commissioners asked about the town’s interest in participating in a Community Development Block Grant as part of an entitlement program with the county. The town can vie for funds received by the county in competition with other entitlements. The county wants to provide the city with $45,000 for nuisance code enforcement and the Clean and Green Program.

Town Clerk Della Gray said people in the low income bracket in Palmer Lake can request funding from this grant to assist in the cleanup of their property, to put in landscaping and to make repairs to their homes. Recipients can receive up to $2,000 from the program. The town decided to focus on the trailer park area and the south end of town for this program.

The council meeting ended at 10:43 p.m.

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The next regular council meeting will be held at 7 p.m. July 8 at Town Hall. Information: www.ci.palmer-lake.co.us or call 481-2953.

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Woodmoor Improvement Association Board of Directors, June 23: Board appoints new members

By Harriet Halbig

The board of the Woodmoor Improvement Association appointed three new directors at its meeting on June 23.

The board voted at its May 19 meeting to declare vacant the positions of three directors at large—George McFadden, Mari Rollins, and Larry Goad—due to their absence without cause from three consecutive board meetings.

Board Secretary Jim Wilson announced that the board had sought legal counsel and had been told that its actions were appropriate and in keeping with the association’s bylaws. Counsel had also confirmed that the board’s actions were appropriate for members at large as well as officers of the association.

There were five candidates for the three vacant positions, and all five had served in various capacities on board committees. After brief comments from each candidate, the board elected three individuals to serve the remainder of the terms vacated.

Ed Miller was elected to serve until January 2011 as director of covenant control. Craig Gaydos will serve until January 2012 as director of common areas. Carolyn Street-Carey will also serve until January 2012 and act as board liaison with the forestry committee.

All new directors may run for election at the end of their appointed term.

Rabid foxes found

In his president’s report, Chuck Maher said that the El Paso County Department of Health had notified him that three rabid foxes were found in Woodmoor. He said he would post the information on the association website. See the Rabies article.

Changes in administrative staff

Maher also reported that the association lost two of its three administrative workers in the last month.

Vice President Nick Hale thanked Matt Beseau, the remaining administrative worker, for his effort in keeping the office running under trying circumstances. Later in the meeting it was announced that Beseau will be the new manager of the association.

Financial report

Treasurer Nick Oakley reported that the association is on track with its budget for the year. He reminded those present that the majority of income comes from member dues and is received in the first three months of the year. After that, income is largely from rental of the Barn and fines for covenant violations and nonpayment of dues. Oakley reminded residents that financial information is available for consultation by residents at the office at any time.

Bear sightings

Director of Woodmoor Public Safety Paul Lambert reported a larger than average number of bear sightings in the area and reminded residents to keep pet food indoors.

Off-roading incidents

Kevin Nielsen of Woodmoor Public Safety said that all officers have completed firearms training and attended the simulated live fire training at Palmer Ridge High School held recently. He said that there have been recent incidents of young people off-roading on common areas, including one case where a nonresident got stuck in the mud in the Marsh. That incident resulted in a charge of trespassing. He reminded homeowners that a charge of covenant violation would be applied to a resident in a similar case.

Architectural Control

Anne Stevens-Goutanis, director of Architectural Control, reported on recent approvals of such routine projects as house painting, driveway paving, fences, and roofing. She also reported that there was concern that some lots on the lake front were not buildable due to high water. She said that the Army Corps of Engineers had approved backfilling some lots and that Woodmoor Water and Sanitation said that some homes could be built on stilts to avoid the problem.

Regarding the installation of above-ground swimming pools, Stevens-Goutanis said that, were a resident to install such a pool, El Paso County would require that it be surrounded by a chain-link fence with a locking gate. No requests for such a pool have been received.

Forestry

Chuck Maher, as director of forestry, reported that there will be no Fire Wise event this August. He said that the presence of mountain pine beetles appears to be low at this time, but there have been some on Mount Herman so residents must remain vigilant. He said that residents should report dead trees standing or lying in Woodmoor to the association.

Jim Hale, reporting as director of Common Areas, said that mowing operations are beginning. He also said that he had consulted legal counsel regarding the construction of the trail in the Marsh area and was advised that the association complete the project.

Survey results positive

Wilson introduced Dave Betzler, who reported on the results of the recent survey of residents. He said that about 7 percent of residents responded, a number to be expected for a client survey involving no payment or reminder to respond.

Betzler said that the response was generally positive regarding administration, communications, architectural control manual, and effectiveness of the board. He said that a significant number of residents do not use the common areas and that most are satisfied with forestry activities.

Most respondents were satisfied with the planned community activities and were very satisfied with the services of Woodmoor Public Safety.

Negative comments involved the condition of roads and trails in the community.

Wilson thanked Betzler for his and his associates’ time and effort and said that survey results would be posted on the association website. He said that the association may do future surveys now that it knows how the software works.

**********

The Board of Directors of the Woodmoor Improvement Association meets on the fourth Wednesday of each month at the Barn, 1691 Woodmoor Drive in Monument. For information, call 488-2693 or go to www.woodmoor.org

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June Weather Wrap

By Bill Kappel

Finally, after almost an entire year in which every month saw below normal temperatures, some consistent heat returned in June. Temperatures were well above normal for the month, with precipitation below normal. This was the result of a persistent ridge of high pressure dominating our weather and keeping an active and wet storm track just to our north.

It was a dry and mild start to June around the region as temperatures went from seasonal to warm during the first week of the month. We started the month off in the mid- to upper 70s from the 1st through the 3rd, and then jumped into the 80s from the 4th through the 6th. High pressure built into the region from the west southwest, bringing the warm and dry air into the region. There was plenty of high and mid-level moisture with this pattern as we were just on the south side of a very active weather pattern affecting the Pacific Northwest and Northern Rockies, but the warm air moving in from the southwest served to cap any organized convection. Therefore, we only saw a couple storms pop up with brief rain and hail as the stronger storms stayed farther east in the deeper layers of moisture.

The week started off with record heat but ended cold and wet. Highs hit the 90 degree mark on Monday afternoon, despite plenty of cloud cover. A westerly wind helped to enhance the warm air mass that was already in place under a ridge of high pressure that moved in from the desert southwest. All of last year we reached 90 only on two days, August 22nd and 23rd, so we are already well ahead of last year. Of course the summer of 2009 was very cold for us, so we wouldn’t expect that to happen two years in a row. Hopefully you enjoyed the heat, because quickly on the heels of this record warmth, cold air returned with plenty of low clouds, fog, rain, thunder, hail, and snow in the mountains.

Cold and wet weather started the week of the 14th, with rain and fog holding temperatures in the 50s and morning lows touching the 30s. However, this was short-lived, as high pressure again built into the region out of the west/southwest, bringing with it dry and warm air. Temperatures jumped back through the 70s on the 15th to the low and mid-80s from the 16th to the 20th. Very few clouds were seen as well, with just a few areas of morning stratus and scattered afternoon cumulus, but no precipitation reached the ground. Winds were gusty at times in the afternoons as well, and when combined with dry air made for high fire danger in the region. This will continue until the summer rains start kicking in, which should begin within the next week or two.

More warm and dry weather dominated the region through the beginning of the last weekend of June. Temperatures managed to hit the upper 70s to the mid-80s from the 21st through the 26th with mostly clear to partly cloudy skies. A bit more moisture was able to work in under the area of high pressure that had been dominating the region on the afternoons of the 26th through the 29th with scattered thunderstorms and rain showers. The strongest of these affected the area on the afternoon of the 27th with brief heavy rain and some hail. The last few days of the month saw temperatures at or slightly above normal with overall quiet conditions.

A look ahead

July can be an active weather month around the region, as the Southwest Monsoon season gets going. Afternoon and evening thunderstorms are a common occurrence, and when they are able to tap into higher levels of moisture, flash flooding can result. Hot, stagnant weather can also take hold for a few days at time, with highs hitting well into the 90s. For a complete look at monthly climate summaries for the Tri-Lakes region, please visit http://www.thekappels.com/ClimateSummary.htm

June 2010 Weather Statistics

Average High 77.7° (+2.3°)
Average Low 45.9° (+2.7°)
Highest Temperature 90°F on the 7th 
Lowest Temperature 37°F on the 14th
Monthly Precipitation 0.83" (-1.83" 69% below normal) 
Monthly Snowfall 0.0" (-0.1" 100% below normal)
Season to Date Snow 144.6" (+8.3" 8% above normal) (the snow season is from July 1 to June 30)
Season to Date Precip 20.72" (-1.89" 8% below normal) (the precip season is from July 1 to June 30)
Heating Degree Days 118 (-64)
Cooling Degree Days 22 (+6)

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

Letter Guidelines

Our Community News welcomes letters to the editor on topics of general interest. The OCN editorial board has established a policy that we do not knowingly print letters that have appeared in substantially the same form elsewhere.

Please identify your submission as a letter to the editor and include your full name, home address, and day and evening phone numbers. A limit of 300 words is recommended. Letters may be edited for length, grammar, and accuracy. Send your letter to editor@ourcommunitynews.org or mail to Our Community News, P.O. Box 1742, Monument, Colorado 80132-1742.

In response to problems receiving e-mail, if you send your letter by e-mail, we will send an e-mail acknowldegement. If you do not receive an acknowledgement, please call Susan Hindman at 481-8511 to confirm that we have received your letter.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Letters to Our Community should not be interpreted as the view of OCN even when the letter writer is a reporter or other volunteer for OCN.

Open letter to all residents of Woodmoor

Based upon letters that we three directors received, and as many of you have read in the Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA) newsletter, you should know that the WIA board "Majority 6" is attempting to remove us, as duly elected directors of your association. We represent voters who elected us and comprise one-third of the board membership.

This illegal and improper action is being attempted by flagrant misusage of the WIA bylaws. The attempted removal also violates the Colorado Non-Profit Act and the Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act, under which the WIA must operate. The board majority has used vague and misleading communications to declare that our three positions, and remaining terms, are vacant.

Despite their claims, there are no vacant board positions unless one or more of the majority have resigned without notice. The majority has no authority or ability to remove the minority members with whom they disagree, and willfully and knowingly ignoring facts or the law does not change that. We were elected by the owners and we have not resigned, nor do we have any intention of resigning to enable the majority to comprise all nine members of the board.

We minority directors will continue to monitor and challenge all actions of the majority, for the owners who elected us. We will continue to shed light on the illegal and improper actions of the majority, and we call on Chuck Maher, WIA president, to step down, as he has shown no interest or leadership to ensure that the board follows the bylaws of the association.

We call upon the board to post—on the WIA Website for owner review—legal documentation backing its action, including a full accounting of the three consecutive regular board meetings’ absences we minority directors have been charged with, which they claim provided the authority to declare our seats vacant.

We remain your representatives and faithful board members.

George McFadden (term ends January 2011)
Larry Goad (term ends January 2012)
Mari Rollins (term ends January 2012)

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Luke Ebaugh leaving Monument staff for dental school

By Jim Kendrick

Luke Ebaugh’s winding path from the Monument Public Works Department to a California dental school is nearing completion. He will be attending the Western University of Health Sciences’ College of Dental Medicine in Pomona. He will leave Monument for the four-year program in late July. James Schubauer, who was hired in April from Mountain Farmer, will replace Ebaugh as parks supervisor.

The town staff gave him a big sendoff party at Dirty Woman Creek Park on Mitchell Avenue on June 3. The event was replete with brats, hamburgers, chips, a cake decorated with a huge tooth, gag gifts, and blistered thumbs from a spirited game of horseshoes.

Like this party, work has been a family affair for Ebaugh for some time. His wife, Natalie, is the assistant planner for the Development Services Department. His father-in-law, Bob Schubert, is the streets foreman for the Public Works Department. Bob and Natalie moved to Monument 15 years ago from Riverside, Calif. Bob has worked for the town for 12 years. Natalie has worked for the town for nine years transitioning from summer part time to full time, all in the Planning Department. The recording secretary for the town’s Planning Commission, she wrote the Great Outdoors Colorado Grant application that led to several improvements in Limbach Park. Natalie and Luke will have been married seven years in August.

Luke arrived in Monument with his family in 1999 after growing up in Kansas. He attended Pikes Peak Community College and graduated from the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs in December 2008 with a degree in biology and a minor in psychology. Luke has worked in Public Works for a little over five years. He was "full time" in both roles, attending night and weekend classes. Luke will become a "geographic bachelor" for now, living with family members in Ontario, California when he starts school.

See http://www.ourcommunitynews.org/v10n2.htm#parker for information on a fundraiser for their son Parker that was organized by Monument Water Clerk Mary Russelavage. Parker was born in June 2009 with a rare genetic eye condition called aniridia (no iris), and as a result of the aniridia, he also has glaucoma. He has had six surgeries to date to help control the glaucoma and repair a detached retina, in an attempt to save his partial vision. The money raised will be used to help fund future surgeries for Parker and fund research in the field.

Donations should be sent to "Cops For Kids" at PO Box 725, Monument CO 80132. For more information and to support research, see www.visionfortomorrow.org

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Between The Covers at the Covered Treasures Bookstore: Summer fun for kids

By the staff at Covered Treasures

"I’m bored!!"

If you happen to hear that comment from your children this summer, you could give them a chore (as our mothers often did), or you can challenge and entertain them with the help of some exciting new books.

My Garden
By Kevin Henkes (Greenwillow Books) $17.99

The girl in this book grows chocolate rabbits, tomatoes as big as beach balls, flowers that change color, and seashells in her garden. The intriguing story and colorful illustrations by Caldecott Medal winner Henkes are sure to capture a young child’s imagination.

BANANA-GRAMS!
By Joe Edley (Workman Publishing) $8.95

Filled with 575 appealing word challenges, BANANA-GRAMS takes the anagram to new brain-twisting levels. Ranging from easy to extra hard, there are seven clever puzzle types from Banana Splits (solve letter substitution scrambles in rapid-fire fashion) to Banana Leaves (a progressive search for four-, five-, six-, and seven-letter words). The book is a collaboration between Abe Nathanson, his daughter and grandchildren, and word-puzzle master Joe Edley, the only three-time National Scrabble Champion.

A Really Short History of Nearly Everything
By Bill Bryson (Delacorte Press) $19.99

How big is the universe? How heavy is the Earth? Why are the oceans salty? Bill Bryson’s storytelling skill makes the "How?" and, just as importantly, the "Who?" of scientific discovery entertaining and accessible for all ages. This is a book for anyone who likes to explore the mysteries of time and space, one page at a time, with lots of colorful illustrations along the way.

50 Ways to Get Your CartOn
By Ellen Warwick (Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.) $7.95

Don’t throw those milk and egg cartons in the recycle trash. Use this "Eco-Crafty" book of 50 innovative ideas to create fun and funky crafts, such as: a Beautiful Bangle Bracelet, a Magnificent Medieval Castle, an Asteroid Treasure Box, a Carton of Eden Planter, or a Fine Feathered Friends Feeder.

Flower Fairies Activity Book & Alphabet Coloring Book
By Cicely Mary Barker (Penguin Group) $6.99 & $4.99

Based on the popular Flower Fairies books, these activities are sure to please the younger set. The activity book includes two dolls to dress up and play with on rainy summer days.

The Brainiest Insaniest Ultimate Puzzle Book!
By Robert Leighton, Mike Shenk & Amy Goldstein (Workman Publishing) $10.95

This clever, colorful bonanza of more than 250 mind-teasing mazes, word games and visual puzzles invites children to wind their way through the twisted cemetery gates in Dead End, match sunburned kids to their beach gear by examining their Hot Lines or figure out which astronaut is asleep on the job in It’s Astro-Logical. There’s even a book-wide Scavenger Hunt and a Certificate of Achievement for those who complete the hunt and earn it.

How to Kazoo
By Barbara Stewart (Workman Publishing), $10.95

Any child or adult who can hum, can kazoo with this user’s guide and practitioner’s manual. The book comes with a kazoo, fingering charts and froggy practice tunes, lip positions, and beginning and advanced techniques.

Backyard Bug Mazes
By Roger Moreau (Sterling Publishing Co. Inc.) $7.95

This colorful collection of bug mazes covers everything from the monarch butterfly to black widow spiders. Readers are encouraged to help prevent these tiny creatures from causing any damage to the great outdoors by finding their way through winding garden paths---a real eye-opening experience.

A Kid’s Look at Colorado
By Phyllis J. Perry (Fulcrum Publishing) $15.95

From ghost towns to Native Americans to the state flower, this fun and entertaining new book takes a fresh approach to our state. Every chapter contains unique photographs and intimate stories about Colorado’s fascinating and diverse characters from wildlife to early explorers. It is a unique and fun reference for young Colorado enthusiasts.

The Big Book of Fun!
By The National Geographic Society $6.99

Boredom-busting games, jokes, puzzles, and mazes, with over 200 authentic, colorful photos and illustrations, provide many hours of fascinating fun. Children discover funny zoo animals hiking in the city, slip and slide down an awesome waterslide, and go through jungles, under the sea and into outer space with totally wild mazes.

Whether you’re challenging your children this summer, entertaining them on a car or airplane trip, or providing diversion for visiting kids, there are some amazing new books to help you along the way.

Until next month, happy reading.

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Gleneagle Sertoma Club elects officers

In April, the Gleneagle Sertoma Club elected nofficers to serve July 1, 2010 through July 1, 2011. The new officers are: President–Sherry Edwards, Chairman of the Board–Kay Petersen, President-Elect–Bill George, Secretary–Duane Gritzmaker, Treasurer–Dennis Eagan, VP Membership–Bill Nance, VP Service–Mary K Jones, VP Sponsorship–Rae Berg, VP Ways and Means–Todd Sherman, VP Programs–Bob Keys, Sergeant At Arms–John Bruce, Board Members–John Bloom, Joan Miranda, Bob Duckworth, Dick Witzig, and Emil Squazzo. The Gleneagle Sertoma Club meets every Wednesday, 11:30 a.m., at the Academy Hotel, 8110 N. Academy, Colorado Springs. All are welcome. For more information, call Sherry Edwards, 488-1044, or Bill Nance, 488-2312.

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High Country Highlights: Perennials for summer color

By Woody Woodworth

Summer is officially here and most of your container gardens are planted, your hanging baskets are blooming beautifully, and your deck boxes are in full color. Now it is time to focus on what makes your summertime gardens shine: perennials. A good mix of perennials can help your gardens exhibit magnificent blooms throughout the summer and provide nectar to bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.

Remember to place perennials in areas that have similar requirements of water, sun, and protection. Many plants are xeric and too much water may not only hinder their performance, but overwatering them wastes a valuable resource. One common sense approach is to place plants that require more light in five or more hours of sun and consequently place shade plants in morning sun or filtered light areas. Some perennials need more protection from our harsh winds and winters. Find the micro climate in your yard that may offer a warmer area with less exposure to the elements.

Here are a few suggestions for full sun areas in your garden. One heat-loving xeric plant called Centaurea (Montana blue) offers continuous blue blooms throughout the summer and looks great next to the yellow canopy of moonbeam yarrow. Ice plant and acre sedum combined with Veronica can offer companion ground covers of yellow and blue while the purple spires of May night or East Friesland salvia tower over the same spot. For a little color change, use red valarian to offer a 2-foot bush-like plant covered in red flowers with the silver-gray leaves and white blossoms of snow in summer underneath as a ground cover.

In areas that have a little less sun but not shade, use coneflower, columbine and foxglove for height, then gayfeather, brookside geranium for a little lower size plant and Missouri primrose for a shorter, more ground cover type plant. Those combinations will give you a wide spectrum of color for most of the summer in three or four hours of sun.

Hosta for shade

When I think shade, the first plant that comes to mind is hosta. They offer a variety of sizes and variegations that add color and dimension to the shade garden. Brunera is shaped somewhat like hosta but with rounder leaves and will arrive earlier in the garden with small clusters of blue flowers. Astilbe is another interesting shade lover that shoots a feathery plume up over two feet of fern-like growth typically blooming in red, white, and pink. Use sweet woodruff to get a 4-inch-high ground cover with a white flower, vinca for a similar size in purple and lamium for an interesting array of variegations and a bloom in white or pink.

Wherever you have plants, remember to cover the top of the soil with about three inches of fine forest mulch such as Soil Pep. The mulch will help keep moisture in and weeds at bay. If weeds start to appear, they should be easy to pull because their root system will have difficulty getting developed in the soil below. Pull weeds before they go to seed and remember the old adage: One year of seed equals seven years of weed.

Don’t forget to fertilize

Fertilize your perennials every other week with a liquid fertilizer. I use Age Old Organic Bloom on all of my vegetable gardens, annual containers and perennials. The product is easy to use and will provide your blooming perennials the nutrients needed to perform well in the hotter months ahead. The fertilizer can be sprayed on the plant and is absorbed through the leaves. Organic-based liquid nutrients applied directly to the plants provides nutrients in forms that are immediately available to the growing plant.

Over the next couple of months, garden centers will be full of colorful perennials in many varieties and colors. Visit your favorite store and ask advice on pairing up sun, semi-shade, and shade perennials that will make your summer gardens shine.

Woody Woodworth is a member of the Garden Centers of Colorado, is actively involved in the green industry and operates a garden center in downtown Monument.

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Bird Watch on the Palmer Divide: American white pelican

Click here to view a drawing of American White Pelicans

By Elizabeth Hacker

I associate the American white pelican named by John James Audubon with the Fourth of July. In 1838, Audubon wrote: "In consequence of this discovery, I have honored it with the name of my beloved country, over the mighty streams of which may this splendid bird wander free and unmolested to the most distant times, as it has already done in the misty ages of unknown antiquity."

Birding on the Palmer Divide is always full of surprises, and this spring was no exception!

I often scan the skies looking for birds, and one day in early May while driving down Woodmoor Drive, I spotted a flock of big white birds and I knew right away it was the American white pelican.

Their large size, snow white bodies, curved necks, and orange bills and legs were right, but pelicans are often mistaken for snow geese, swans, or whooping cranes. However, their distinctive black primary and outer secondary feathers are unique, and their stocky build gives them an altogether different profile from other birds. Furthermore, there is no other bird that soars in unison and flaps its wings on the same beat like the pelican. Seeing them in flight is truly a sight to behold, and I’m still reeling from it.

This flock was gracefully circling on the mid-day rising thermals, and I suspected they were looking for a place to land. White pelicans are boreal and will roost in trees, but they feed in water so I suspected I might find them on Monument Lake. Because pelicans feed early in the morning, I waited until next day before heading over. My guess proved to be a good one, and there was a flock of about 20 pelicans floating on the lake.

I had my binoculars, but I didn’t need them because as lakes go Monument is rather small and pelicans are huge. An adult white pelican can weigh up to 30 pounds (the average weight is closer to 16 pounds). It is truly remarkable that it can fly, and it probably takes every muscle in its 9-foot wingspan to become airborne.

Pelican teamwork

The American white pelican often works in groups to capture prey. Some birds forage individually but have a lower success rate. In a semi-circle formation, a group of pelicans can corral a school of fish by flapping their wings on the water, swishing their webbed feet, and trolling their long beaks through the water. The fish are moved close to shore where the pelicans scoop them up by filling their elastic pouches with water and then expelling the water through their bills, retaining the prey. Pelicans are opportunistic and not picky about the fish they eat.

On average, a pelican will consume 3 pounds of fish a day. During the spring and summer when pelicans breed and feed their chicks, they must consume about 40 percent of their body weight each day. White pelicans are cunning hunters and often steal prey from each other and other birds. Especially vulnerable are diving ducks as they re-emerge from the depths with a fish between their bills—the pelican is there waiting to take it from them.

White pelicans nest in large colonies and prefer remote undisturbed areas on islands or peninsulas. I’ve never seen pelicans nesting in Colorado but, according to "Sibley’s Guide to Birds of Western North America," portions of eastern Colorado are mapped as breeding habitat. It is possible that this small flock was looking for nesting habitat on the Divide, but more likely it was on its way north to join a larger colony.

Adult breeding birds develop ridges on their bills called "nuptial tubercles," ornamental plumes on top their heads, and their eyes change from dark to light. The nuptial tubercles fall off and their ornamental head plumes morph into dark feathers once the chicks hatch. The birds I observed had none of these characteristics, and the lakes on the Divide maybe too small to attract a colony of breeding pelicans.

Pelicans lay two eggs in a ground depression lined with soft vegetation. The parents take turns incubating the eggs for about a month. The chicks are hatched naked and completely dependent on their parents. The first chick hatched has a distinct advantage and is often the only chick to survive. Both parents feed the chicks regurgitated fish until the chicks are the size of an adult and able to hunt for themselves. About 10 weeks after hatching, the young birds are ready to join the colony.

What bird is it?

Tri-Lakes is a great place to live because people here appreciate the abundant wildlife. While walking with my friend Raleigh Dove one evening, we stopped to admire a flower garden and spoke to Stephanie and her son Nathan, who are relatively new to the area. Our conversation quickly turned from flowers to a beautiful blue bird Stephanie had seen in her yard that day. There are a number of blue birds here, including two varieties of bluebirds, three jays, two species of blue buntings, and probably others. So what was it?

This is when determining the "GISS" (general size and shape) of a bird is helpful. Is it the size of a robin or a sparrow? Where did you see it? Was it blue and white or orange? After a few questions, we narrowed it down to a western bluebird! Birding by impression stresses learning the basics of a bird’s relative size, structure, behavior, habitat, coloration, and voice. It is an easy and reliable starting point for initial field identification.

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. Call her at 719-510-5918 to ask questions or share bird stories.

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Art Matters: Perception creates reality

By Janet Sellers

If our perception creates our reality, then artists have the most fun of all creating ideas and putting them out for our view.

The word "perception" comes from the Latin words perceptio and percipio and means "receiving, collecting, action of taking possession, apprehension with the mind or senses."

What one perceives is a result of interplays between past experiences, including one’s culture, and the interpretation of the perceived. If the percept does not have support in any of these perceptual bases, it is unlikely to rise above a perceptual threshold.

Speaking of perception and interplay, this year is a happy, playful one for our local public art. We have some really fun art to view as we go out and about this summer. The new Tri-Lakes Views public outdoor art map is out—you can pick it up at the shops in Historic Monument. Three new sculptures were chosen this year, and there is plenty of color and a feeling of motion in each one.

Reven Swansen has a colorful metal piece called "Dancing Moon" which is exhibited at the outside entrance to Monument Town Hall for 2010-11. Every work of Reven’s that I’ve personally seen is a fun, playful and colorful piece of art that embodies her joyful spirit. This work is an extension of her figurative sculpture series, and it is possible to see it move in the breeze or with a push of a finger.

I spoke with Reven about this series when we were each installing works in other Colorado cities. She said that as a child, she and her dad would go outside in summer to look at the clear, starry Colorado skies at night. He told her that we are all part of the wonderful world and universe, and she often enjoyed talking with her dad about that while taking in the wonders of the skies.

Art Hop artists and Call for Entry news

Penny Stewart is exhibiting her oils (available for sale) at Wisdom Tea House, (65 Second St. (719-481-8822) for June and July. Penny’s luscious landscapes in oil are gems not to be missed. Her paintings include images of her travels abroad as well as here at home. A public school teacher in art for decades, she told me she "just wanted to get back to oils" after a career teaching ceramics. She said she picked up a paintbrush for oils at age 12 and has had a lifelong affair with its sensual, luminous effects.

I ventured to a new art venue at the June Art Hop at 47 Third St. (719-481-9600), where I met and talked to co-owner A.T. Archuleta. They offer their "Secret Window" art gallery and floral studio in the building that used to house Winter Gallery. His oils range from the Wild West to fantasy imagery to history, with figurative works predominant. They will be active with the Art Hop all summer.

There will be an outdoor event called PLACE on Sept. 25-26, which includes a quick draw event and a silent auction for the artwork produced at the quick draw event. The Tri- Lakes Center for the Arts is accepting entries for that in July. For artists in a wide variety of media, the TCLA has a syllabus online with details at www.trilakesarts.org

Quick Draw, Noon to 2 p.m Sept. 25: Everything about the Quick Draw is quick. All artists—competition painters, professionals, amateurs, and the simply adventurous compete and have fun. These artists have only six blocks and two hours to complete their works. During this short time, all registered Quick Draw participants will set up their supplies and paint, draw, or sculpt en plein air in downtown Palmer Lake. This is one of the most compelling experiences of the event. Together, artists and spectators are immersed in the creative process. See the scenes and how the artists interpret them. Smell the wet paint and get caught up in the excitement of watching a painting come to life before your eyes.

Select Quick Draw finished pieces will be auctioned on Saturday evening at the Harvest Ball. The entry fee is $25. A silent auction will take place at the Harvest Ball, and the highest bidder will take home original art from the Quick Draw earlier in the day. Tickets to this music/art auction event are $10.

Janet Lee Sellers is an American painter and sculptor whose work is exhibited in U.S. galleries and as civic and state public arts projects. She works in paint, metal, and concrete, and her work supports wild (and human) culture and habitat. Sellers lives in Woodmoor.

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Snapshots of Our Community

See page 33 to 37 in the on-line version of this issue.

Native American festival June 5: a learning experience

By David Futey

On June 5, the Tri-Lakes Native American Inter-Tribal Festival offered members of the Tri-Lakes community an opportunity to celebrate and gain a greater understanding of Native American history and culture. The festival was free and open to the public, with festival activities held at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA) and in the area across from the center near the lakeside gazebo.

After a blessing of the dance circle and the festival gathering, a Grand Entry by Native dancers marked the beginning of the festival. Throughout the day, jingle dress, fancy shawl, and grass dancers, storytellers from Lakota, Navajo, and Kickapoo tribes, singers, drummers, and artists demonstrating their skills in painting, jewelry, and beadwork provided insight into their culture and traditions.

The festival was primarily an educational event as performers provided background into the meaning and significance of their particular performances. Monument resident Brad Bearsheart said this Inter-Tribal Festival brought "Native Americans together to educate the non-Native community about our history and culture. This was a wonderful opportunity to learn the meaning of our songs, dances, and beliefs."

The Colorado Springs Indian Center, One Nation Walking Together, and White Bison were among the Native American organizations that were represented and provided information on their activities.

Vendors offered fry bread, Navajo tacos and other food items, books on Native American history, flutes, jewelry, and other arts and crafts for sale. The festival was sponsored by the Palmer Lake Historical Society along with the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts and Project Lighthouse.

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Arvel Bird shows versatility in concert, June 5

By David Futey

Native American Music Award (NAMA) winning violinist Arvel Bird performed an evening concert at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts to conclude the daylong activities for the June 5 Native American Festival. Bird was accompanied by Monument resident Brad Bearsheart on the drum and the Bearsheart dancers, Varinia, Ella, and Nathaniel.

Though Bird is a classically-trained violinist, his Southern Paiute and Scottish Highlands heritage along with an interest to explore beyond traditional musical boundaries has led him to apply his extraordinary talent to a variety of genres. As Bird said, he has yet "to meet a style of music he has not liked." As a result, his concert flows with influences from folk, blues, Celtic, bluegrass, jazz and traditional Native American culture. Bird attributes his ability to perform such divergent genres to the versatility of the violin.

Between songs, Bird provided background on the inspiration behind the next song and imparted philosophies from his Native American culture. Through the latter, Bird said that he hopes his audience leaves his concerts with a sense "to follow their hearts" as we are all on "a journey of self-discovery to find the purpose of life." He said the "Creator has given us our own inner guidance" if we can only "listen to it through the distractions of everyday life."

For many of those who attended his concert, those distractions were far removed. His inspirational and passionate violin and flute playing led them on a musical journey they will not soon forget. Information on Bird can be found at www.arvelbird.com. Information on upcoming events at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts is at www.trilakesarts.org.

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Art group displays works in 45th annual show, June 11

By David Futey

During June, the Palmer Lake Art Group (PLAG) held its 45th Annual Fine Art Show and Sale at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA). Judged by Mary Morrison and chaired by PLAG member Suzanne Jenne, the show demonstrated PLAG’s depth and breadth of talent, as 40 members displayed works in various media. The represented media included photography, acrylic, oil and watercolor paintings, mixed-media works, and 3D art such as jewelry and glass. Marcia Edwards’ oil painting, "By the Sea," was selected as Best of Show.

As part of the show, PLAG announced the winners of its Art Scholarship program. School District 38 graduating seniors Neil Grotzinger, Liah Hens, and Matt Regnier each received a scholarship award. Since 1977, PLAG has been awarding scholarships to selected students who will be continuing their art careers in higher education. Proceeds from sales at the show go toward funding the scholarships.

In conjunction with the PLAG show, the Collaboration of Photographers held its first annual Member Show with 29 photos exhibited in the TLCA’s Lucy Owens Gallery. Linda Kattiel’s photograph, "Blue Solitude," won Best of Show.

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Latigo entertains at Columbine Festival, June 12

By Candice Hitt

The 10th annual Columbine Festival on June 12 at the Town Hall in Palmer Lake was a social event for the community, with live entertainment by the band Latigo. More information on the band and its upcoming events can be found at www.myspace.com/rockinhorsemusic

Refreshments were served along with popcorn. Each family attending received a beautiful columbine flower that they could take home and plant. The columbine is Colorado’s state flower adopted in 1899 and protected by law. It is said the columbine was discovered in Palmer Lake by mountaineer Dr. Edwin James.

The annual festival generally draws a crowd of 100 to 150 people. There was no charge for the event, but donations were being accepted to cover the costs for the band, flowers, and refreshments.

Fireworks show: Each year, Palmer Lake has a fireworks display celebrating the Fourth of July. T-shirts were sold to raise funds for the display. The community is invited to the "What a Blast" Fourth of July celebration in Palmer Lake.

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Cruisers Car Show fundraiser for Tri-Lakes Cares, June 13

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Senior ladies participate in Japanese ceremonial tea

By Bernard L. Minetti

Sensei (teacher) Reiko Omura was the overseer of the Japanese Ceremonial Tea conducted at the Senior Tea Social on June 15. Omura told the ladies that she had been teaching this ceremony for 30 years. She related that she was a descendant of the Japanese Omotesenke group who had been passing this ceremony down to descendants for 400 years.

Omotesenke is the name of one of the three houses or families that count their founder as Sen Riukyu, the first tea master, and they are dedicated to carrying forward the Way of Tea that was developed. Omura represents the 14th generation in her family to carry on this tradition.

Omura allowed student Hiroko Tyndall to prepare the tea. Tyndall said that the tea has a tendency to be bitter and that part of the ceremony was to serve two pieces of a sweet substance that participants place in their mouths to counter the somewhat strong flavor. She also told the group that the tea must be consumed in no more and no less than four sips from the cup.

Omura said that she teaches the ceremony in local schools in Colorado Springs and in Denver and also tutors individual students in this time-honored ceremony. Sae Ichihara, one of Omura’s students, said that she is being taught the Way of Tea and that the ceremony teaches students, at the very least, harmony, cleanliness, discipline, and order. Omura said that originally only men conducted the tea ceremony, but now generally only women participate, although men may still learn it if they desire.

The sensei (teacher) told the gathering that the tea is a special tea from China. The tea is called matcha and is ground into a powder. Matcha is made from shade-grown tea. The preparation of matcha starts several weeks before harvest, when the tea bushes are covered to prevent direct sunlight. This slows down growth, turns the leaves a darker shade of green and causes the production of amino acids that make the resulting tea sweeter.

Omura told the ladies that she can be contacted at 719-266-8987 for additional information concerning tea ceremonies.

Next meeting

The July Ladies Senior Tea Social will be held on July 20 at 1 p.m. at Dirty Woman Creek Park located on Mitchell Road. It will take place as a free picnic, and the theme will be "Summer in July." Anyone over 60 years old is invited to attend at no charge. Food and drink will be provided.

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Fiber art on display at TLCA in July

By David Futey

During the month of July, the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA) will play host to a needle work and fiber art show. Artists from along the Front Range will display pieces of wall art, apparel, decorative home art and accessories.

The centerpiece of the show is the traveling National Tapestry "America the Beautiful" from the Embroiderer’s Guild of America (EGA). The five-panel piece, with each panel measuring 2 feet wide and 4 feet high, includes the work of stitchers from around the country, including Colorado.

Deb Ogden, past president of the Pikes Peak Chapter of the EGA, said the chapter "is proud to work with the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts in bringing the EGA National Tapestry to the Colorado area. The tapestry is a product of five years of embroidery completed by hundreds of stitchers from all over the United States. Panel four (counting from right to left) depicting the Rocky Mountain region traveled over 2,000 miles, with over 300 stitchers from Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and New Mexico contributing to its completion."

The exhibit will run from July 3 to 29 with the Opening Reception on July 17 from 1 to 4 p.m. An Afternoon Tea will be held in conjunction with the reception. Information about TLCA events is at www.trilakesarts.org 

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Finally Summer Soul-stice Celebration returns, June 19

By Kate Wetterer

Monument hosted its second annual Finally Summer Soul-stice Celebration on June 19, set against a backdrop of sprawling Colorado skies and a crowded farmers’ market.

Solstice literally means "sun stands still," because the sun reaches its farthest point north when rising and setting. Soul-stice, however, refers to the welcoming spirit of Monument put on display.

Musicians, artists, and businesses offered special deals and fun to visitors, ushering in a summertime mood. A hayride—the Soul Train—rumbled past cars. The Fire Department opened its doors to the curious, offering kids a perch inside a fire engine. Activity options spanned a wide range of age levels, including a table in The Bead Corner dedicated to stringing free sun catchers and book signings in the Covered Treasures bookstore.

Patches of sidewalk were offered to artists handy with chalk, so varied personalities left their art along the path. Musicians entertained onlookers throughout the town. The celebration’s spotlight targeted mostly businesspeople and local artists.

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Monument Free Concert in the Park Wednesdays

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Tri-Lakes Sparkles shines on nonprofits, June 27

By David Futey

On June 27, the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA) played host to Tri-Lakes Sparkles, a benefit tasting event sponsored by The Wine Seller. Proceeds from the benefit went to the TLCA and the Tri-Lakes Chamber Foundation’s initiative, Transport 59.

The Wine Seller owner, Dirk Stamp, conceived of the idea for the event when determining what to do with a nine-liter bottle of Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne. Stamp said, "I had this giant bottle of champagne and did not want to use it for a private party. So I decided to use it to create an event and have a way to give back to the community."

For an additional donation, attendees could get a glass of the champagne and a coupon for a discount from an area business. Local businesses that provided a donation included Colorado Villa Décor, Rosie’s Diner, Serrano Coffee, Bella Panini, Covered Treasures Bookstore, Taste of Life, Pikes Peak Gelato, and the Rock House Ice Cream Shop.

Attendees of the event were also afforded the opportunity to sample over 50 sparkling wines from Napa Valley, France, Italy, Argentina, Spain, and Australia. The champagnes were generously donated by distributors and suppliers to The Wine Seller. Dan Treanor and the Afro-Sippi Blues Band provided music for the event.

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Amateur radio operators practice for disaster

By Bernard L. Minetti

On June 26 and 27, the Tri-Lakes Monument Radio Club conducted an annual emergency radio exercise. The Field Day event brings together area amateur radio operators to practice national emergency communications in the event of a local disaster. They conducted this drill in co-sponsorship with the Pikes Peak Radio Amateur Association.

Information Officer Joyce Witte discussed the need for these emergency practice drills, stating that the groups are available to work together with and augment Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District communications in an emergency. Witte said that the radio club is open to candidates of all ages. She stated that the only qualification requirement was that the candidate have an interest in amateur radio. She can be contacted at 719-488-0859.

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June and July library events: Summer reading in full swing; big party planned

By Harriet Halbig

The summer reading program is in full swing at the library, with special programs each week for children of all ages. There’s been a lot of music, dancing, and laughter in our community room as guest entertainers come to share their talent and enthusiasm.

Young readers continue to register for the summer reading programs and are now collecting prizes for their achievements. At this time, there are 1,708 readers in the children’s program at Monument (138 in Palmer Lake) and 474 readers in the teen program (46 in Palmer Lake). Remember that out-of-town guests may also participate.

Patrons were invited to join the library staff marching in the Independence Day Parade in Monument on July 3. This is always a very satisfying event for the staff and the public. This year’s theme of "Make a Splash" is especially fun.

More programs are planned in July on Tuesdays from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. for ages 3 and up:

July 6 is Pool of Fools, a puppet show with Denise Gard and Mitzy based on Dr. Seuss’s McElligot’s Pool.

July 13 is Mrs. Armitage and the Big Wave, about Mrs. Armitage and her dog, Breakspear, becoming surfers.

July 20 Ginny Mills will bring her miniature horses to the branch for a meet and greet and information about their care and feeding

July 27 is a birthday party for everyone’s favorite fish, Dewey, who greets one and all as they enter the library. There will be fishy stories, crafts, and a birthday cake.

For patrons age 5 and up, there will be stories and crafts each Thursday from 2 to 3 p.m.

July 8 will be a program about the coral reef

July 15 is Deep Blue Sea.

For those ages 7-9, there is a program called Book Sharks on Monday, July 12, from 2 to 3 p.m., featuring stories about terrors of the deep.

Flip Flop T-shirts is a program for those 9 to 12 on July 7. Bring your own T-shirt and decorate it using flips flops and paints. The program is from 2 to 3.

Teens, tweens and everyone interested in the martial arts are welcome to attend a demonstration of Tai Kwon Do on July 9 from 2 to 3:30.

Adult discussion groups will meet during their usual times in July.

The Monumental Readers will discuss "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee on July 16 at 10 a.m. New members are always welcome.

The AARP Mature Safe Driving Course will be held on Saturday, July 17, from 9:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. This is a refresher course designed for motorists age 50 and older. Charge for the course is $12 for AARP members and $14 for nonmembers. Class size is limited and registration is required.

And finally and most especially, please join us for our Summer Reading Program Party on July 22 at Palmer Ridge High School. There will be fun activities for all, including crafts, bubble blowing, hula hoops and face painting. Entertainment will include Inspector Magic, the fire truck spraying water and demonstrations by the U.S. Tae Kwon Do center. In addition, there will be a performance of an original play featuring young patrons as the actors! If you are interested in participating, pick up a flier about the casting call at the library. Come and enjoy the fun with lemonade and a Beach Walk Snack. The fun begins at 10 a.m. Hope to see you there!

On the walls at the library in July will be Faces by Elizabeth George, a collection of watercolors.

In the display case will be a collection of lighthouse replicas made from ceramic and shells by Kathleen Jacobs.

Palmer Lake Library events

Special programs for those 3 and up continue in July on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. at the Palmer Lake Library.

Wednesday, July 7, come enjoy a program called Big Little Mermaid featuring Manitou Art Theater’s Birgitta DePree.

On July 14, join the bold but bedraggled pirate Brainless Bob (Stacy Smith) and laugh as he struggles to become a Book-aneer. Hear silly pirate songs and poems and meet Brainless Bob’s real live parrots in Pirates and Parrots.

July 21 will feature Denise Gard and Mitzy in McElligot’s Pool for Pool of Fools.

The Palmer Lake Book Group will discuss "The Accidental Tourist" by Anne Tyler on Friday, Aug. 6 at 9 a.m. New members are always welcome.

Palmer Lake patrons are also warmly invited to the Summer Reading Program Party at Palmer Ridge High School on July 22 starting at 10 a.m.

Enjoy your summer and we hope to see you at the library!

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Crawford Memorial Planning Meeting, June 10: Memorial to honor military personnel in region

By Bernard L. Minetti

During the June 10 committee meeting to plan the construction and implementation of the MSG William J. Crawford Memorial at the north end of Palmer Lake, Beverly Crawford Kite, who is Crawford’s daughter, presented the committee with various mementos of her father. There were several photographs and citations that Crawford had received during his Army career. Of these, the most prestigious was the Medal of Honor.

To fully understand the background of this World War II hero, his daughter suggested that the citation be read. It was read by Ron Heard, Memorial Committee chairperson. It follows:

"Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty in action with the enemy near Altavilla, Italy, 13 September 1943. When Company I attacked an enemy-held position on Hill 424, the 3d Platoon, in which Pvt. Crawford was a squad scout, attacked as base platoon for the company. After reaching the crest of the hill, the platoon was pinned down by intense enemy machinegun and small-arms fire. Locating 1 of these guns, which was dug in on a terrace on his immediate front, Pvt. Crawford, without orders and on his own initiative, moved over the hill under enemy fire to a point within a few yards of the gun emplacement and single-handedly destroyed the machinegun and killed 3 of the crew with a hand grenade, thus enabling his platoon to continue its advance. When the platoon, after reaching the crest, was once more delayed by enemy fire, Pvt. Crawford again, in the face of intense fire, advanced directly to the front midway between 2 hostile machinegun nests located on a higher terrace and emplaced in a small ravine. Moving first to the left, with a hand grenade he destroyed 1 gun emplacement and killed the crew; he then worked his way, under continuous fire, to the other and with 1 grenade and the use of his rifle, killed 1 enemy and forced the remainder to flee. Seizing the enemy machinegun, he fired on the withdrawing Germans and facilitated his company’s advance."

Upon receiving the Medal of Honor, Crawford said, "This country is worth fighting for. I’ve been to other countries and can appreciate being back here ... I must have been blessed to have something like this (Medal of Honor) given to me."

Crawford was a Palmer Lake resident prior to his death on March 15, 2000, at the age of 81. A neighbor and friend, Duane Hanson, was the originator of the idea for the memorial. He approached the Palmer Lake Historical Society for help in the project, and Heard, who is a member, took on the project and formed the planning committee. Hanson is now a member of the Memorial Planning Committee. The Monument Hill Kiwanis is also assisting in the sponsorship.

Memorial plan has three sections

During the meeting, Heard said that the planned memorial’s preliminary design consists of three sections. The centerpiece of the site will be the Crawford Memorial. It will be flanked by a Wall of Valor and the Freedom Trail. The Crawford Memorial section will honor the sacrifice of Palmer Divide’s only Medal of Honor recipient. The Wall of Valor section will honor the heroic acts of valor performed by veterans from the Palmer Divide region of Colorado. The Freedom Trail section, consisting of inscribed memorial paver stones, will pay tribute to the honorable service of living and deceased veterans and service retirees, and also may be used to honor active duty service personnel.

Candidates should be those who are presently residing or have lived in the Palmer Divide region or have some connection to the Palmer Divide area of Colorado. The region is defined as the area bordered on the north by County Line Road, on the east by Highway 83, on the south by North Gate Boulevard, and on the west by Pike National Forest.

The committee advised that to nominate someone to be memorialized—self, a friend, or loved one, or as a gift to any veteran or service member who has served honorably—go to the website www.crawfordmemorial.org for instructions. You may also contact Heard at 719-640-5939 for any information or eligibility criteria questions.

Donations sought

At the meeting, one of the concerns mentioned by Heard was the need for funds to assist in completing the project. He also mentioned that they still had to register as a not-for-profit organization. Since funds are scarce, he stated that he hoped that a local attorney or paralegal with a generous heart would provide the memorial with pro bono assistance to get their formalization as a nonprofit entity.

Heard stated that they had $8,500 committed, and they need $55,000 in the next 90 days to complete the project. Donations or pledges may be sent to the MSG William J. Crawford Memorial, P.O. Box 894, Palmer Lake, CO 80133 or via PayPal, which is being integrated into the website.

Commercial or organizational requests for memorial sponsorship should contact Heard. Brochure requests, questions, or inquiries may be directed to info@crawfordmemorial.com. Those who wish to volunteer to be committee members should attend the next meeting at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts located at 304 Highway 105 in Palmer Lake.

The committee thanked Susan Adams, executive director of the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts, who has donated space to the Memorial Committee for their meetings. The next meetings will be held at 6:30 p.m. on July 6 and 20. Retirees, veterans, civilians, and active duty members are invited to participate.

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Palmer Lake Historical Society meeting, June 20: Hundreds attend Fathers’ Day Ice Cream Social

By Bernard L. Minetti

The Palmer Lake Historical Society Annual Fathers’ Day Ice Cream Social on June 20 was highlighted by the many pieces played by the High Country Band. Society Vice President Al Walter described the repertoire as bluegrass, country, gospel and other pieces of the same genre. Many families with their dads lounged on the Palmer Lake Village Green and enjoyed the free ice cream and pie that is always served at this annual event. Approximately 200 to 300 attended the afternoon festivities.

Upcoming events

  • Join the society on July 15 for "Ranching on the Palmer Divide." The presenter will be Dave Wismer, owner of the Shamrock Ranch. This event is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Palmer Lake Town Hall.
  • On July 24 at 10 a.m., the society will sponsor an "Estemere Tour." This elegant mansion is located in Palmer Lake at 380 Glenway St. Tickets will be available at the door.

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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.

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 Kiwanis 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.

July 3 Community Events

Visit www.palmerlakefireworks.com 

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, 7:15 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 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.

"What a Blast" Palmer Lake Festival, noon to dusk. Live music by local bands, kids’ games, bounce house, climbing wall and zip line, and more at the lakeside near the baseball field opposite the Rock House on Highway 105. Information: 481-2953.

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.

July 4 Events

Visit www.palmerlakefireworks.com 

"What a Blast" Palmer Lake Festival, 11 a.m. to dusk. Live music by local bands (begins at noon), kids’ games, bounce house, climbing wall and zip line, and more 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 9:15 p.m. 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.

The sheriff’s office reminds us that all fireworks, even sparklers, are prohibited in the incorporated cities of Colorado Springs and Monument. In unincorporated areas permissible fireworks include fountains, ground spinners, smoke bombs, and sparklers. Unlawful fireworks include bottle rockets, firecrackers of any type, mortars, and Roman candles.

Monument Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) form Ladies Auxiliary, July 11

The members of William Crawford Post 7829 of the VFW, Monument, are forming a Ladies Auxiliary and invite eligible women to be charter members. An informational meeting will be held July 11 at 1 p.m. in the Gleneagle neighborhood. Ladies Auxiliary members serve our veterans as a testament to the sacrifices and commitment of the men and women who have served in uniform. To find out if you are eligible for membership, and for more information, contact Commander Tony Wolusky, 481-4419, or e-mail twolusky@aol.com; or Martine Arndt, 231-5323, or e-mail mctrina@att.net

Water Workshop, July 7

The Donala Water & Sanitation District Board of Directors will hold a water workshop July 7, 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., at the Gleneagle Golf Clubhouse, 345 Mission Hills Way. This will be an official meeting of the board with all its consultants. They will discuss water and wastewater projects and what they need to accomplish in the next few years. Emphasis will be on the renewable water supply and some of the infrastructure discussed previously in town meetings and newsletters. The meeting is open to the public and customer participation is welcomed. If you have some ideas or just want to listen in on the plans, please call to register. Refreshments will be served. For more information or to RSVP, call 488-3603.

Meeting on proposed adventure park in Fox Run Regional Park, July 15

The El Paso County Parks Advisory Board will host a public meeting July 15, 6:30 p.m., to solicit input on a proposed "Ape Escape Adventure Park" at Fox Run Regional Park. The meeting will be held in Pavilion 4 located in the Pine Meadows area (west side) of the park at 2110 Stella Dr. Early this year, the El Paso County Parks division was approached by Ape Escape, LLC with a proposal to lease a portion of Fox Run Regional Park to construct and manage a zip-line aerial adventure facility. After reviewing the proposal, the board requested a community meeting to obtain public comment on the proposal. Representatives from Ape Escape, LLC will attend the July 15 meeting to present a proposed design and operational plans for the facility and address citizens’ questions. For more information, phone El Paso County Parks at 520-7529.

Volunteers needed for county boards

The El Paso County Board of Commissioners is seeking a community-minded citizen volunteer to serve as an at-large member on the county Juvenile Community Review Board. The board reviews the case files of juveniles and makes decisions regarding residential community placement. At-large members are appointed for three-year terms and may serve a maximum of two consecutive terms.

Also needed is an associate member on the Board of Adjustment. This board hears and decides on issues of physical variances related to the county zoning code. Associate members are appointed for one-year terms and may serve a maximum of six consecutive terms.

Applications for both positions are due by July 16. The volunteer application is located at www.elpasoco.com. Click on the "Volunteer Boards" link.

Becoming a foster parent, July 16

Find out if you have what it takes to be a foster parent at the annual El Paso County Department of Human Services Foster Care Recruitment and Retention event July 16, 6-8 p.m., at First Lutheran Church 1515 N. Cascade Ave. Colorado Springs. Those interested in becoming a foster parent will get the chance to "speed date" and meet many experienced foster parents and talk to them about foster care. It is a child-friendly event and dinner will be provided. RSVP: Kia at 444-5460 or e-mail KiaWilliams-Maynard@elpasoco.com

Tri-Lakes Community Blood Drive, July 20

Donate blood at Tri-Lakes Cares July 20, 3-7 p.m., 235 Jefferson St., Monument. No appointment is needed, just walk in. Donated blood goes to local Penrose-St. Francis Hospitals. For information, call nurse Jackie Sward, 481-4864 x23.

Volunteer needed for Park Fee Advisory Committee

The El Paso County Board of Commissioners is seeking a volunteer to serve as a community-at-large member on the Park Fee Advisory Committee. Applications are due by July 30. The Park Fee Advisory Committee meets September through December to establish a park fee schedule. It consists of five members appointed for three-year terms. Members are limited to serving two full consecutive terms. The volunteer application is located at www.elpasoco.com; click on the "Volunteer Boards" link. For more information, call 520-6436.

2010 Return of the Rocky Mountain Chautauqua Assembly, Aug. 6-8

The Palmer Lake Community will remember the Chautauqua Assembly of long ago by reliving a bit of history Aug. 6-8. In addition to some of last years’ events, there will be demonstrations and "how tos." The weekend also features a two-day Civil War encampment by period re-enactors, a free concert by local cowboy singer and songwriter Chuck Pyle, an exhibition by the Fort Carson Mounted Cavalry, a Native American lodge, old-fashioned games for kids, vintage bicycle demonstrations, ox wagon rides, and much more. Events run 6-11 p.m. Aug. 6, 8 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Aug. 7, and 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Aug. 8. The complete schedule of events can be found at www.palmerlakechautauqua.org

A vaudeville show is planned with minstrels, illusionists, and more. If you, or anyone you know, has a musical talent or is gifted with a quirky or unusual skill that would fit into a family style 1890’s Vaudeville show, call Mary at 487-1030 or e-mail her at marymeyer53@comcast.net

Donala announces Customer Assistance Program

The Donala Water & Sanitation District has initiated a customer assistance program in conjunction with Tri-Lakes Cares to help Donala customers in financial hardship, unable to pay their water and sewer bills. The Donala Customer Assistance Program (DCAP) will be funded from Donala customers who approve a donation of 50 cents to $1 per month on their monthly water bills. Applications for assistance can be picked up at the Donala office at 15850 Holbein Dr. in Gleneagle or at Tri-Lakes Cares (TLC) in Monument. Donala will provide account history and TLC will determine assistance eligibility. Participation from the donor side is voluntary and can be cancelled by the donor at any time. For more information, call 488-3603.

Tri-Lakes Women’s Club Awards 2010 Grants

Funds raised through the Tri-Lakes Women’s Club’s 2009 Wine and Roses event and the 2010 Pine Forest Antiques Show and Sale were given back to the community as grants to Monument and Palmer Lake police, Tri-Lakes Fire Protection District, Woodmoor Public Safety, Tri-Lakes Cares, Colorado Wildlife Association, Tri-Lakes Music Association, Tri-Lakes Community Preschool, Bear Creek Elementary School, Lewis-Palmer Elementary School, Lewis-Palmer High School (two grants), Palmer Ridge High School, Lewis-Palmer Community Schools, and Lewis-Palmer school nurse. The Tri-Lakes Women’s Club is proud to have contributed over $600,000 to the Tri-Lakes community during the past 34 years. For more information about the Tri-Lakes Women’s Club, visit www.tlwc.net

Bears about; take precautions to avoid conflicts

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.

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.

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

County prescription discount program is a success

El Paso County’s prescription discount program saved residents $150,390 during its first year of availability at no additional taxpayer cost. People using the card saved an average of 22 percent. There are no eligibility requirements and no strings attached to receive the discounts. You can pick up a free Prescription Discount Card at most county government locations or you can download your own personalized prescription discount card on the county Web site (bottom of the front page) at www.elpasoco.com

Any county resident without prescription coverage can use this program. Even if you have insurance for prescription medications, you may still benefit from the discount card, since it might save you money on prescription medications your existing plan does not cover. For more information about the county prescription discount program, visit www.elpasoco.com  or call 520-6337 (MEDS).

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