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Vol. 10 No. 8 - August 7, 2010


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D-38 picks Bauman as interim superintendent

By Harriet Halbig

The Lewis-Palmer School District 38 Board of Education has chosen Ted Bauman to serve as interim superintendent until July 20, 2011. Previous superintendent Raymond Blanch resigned in June of this year.

At its July 1 meeting, the board specified requirements for the position and a strict application deadline of July 9. This was because state law requires a two-week period between the announcement of the finalist and the signing of the contract. With school starting on Aug. 12, this schedule would allow for finalizing the contract on July 29, enabling the new superintendent to meet with his administrators and teachers before the start of classes.

In its job description, the board stated that the interim superintendent is responsible for the entire administration of the school district, including building positive relationships with all staff members, leading the process of responding to funding challenges while ensuring ongoing excellence in education, communicating with district communities, and working with the board to build rapport and trust.

Other qualifications include a master’s degree in a related field, organizational skills, communication and writing skills and human relations skills. Previous experience as a Colorado superintendent and experience with site-based management were also valued.

Many applications were received, and four finalists were interviewed at length.

Bauman previously served as superintendent

At its July 15 meeting, the board announced the selection of Bauman as the finalist. Bauman was superintendent of District 38 from 1998 to 2003 and assistant superintendent for eight years prior to that. He also served as principal of Kilmer Elementary School.

At its July 29 meeting, the board voted to approve the hiring of Bauman to serve as interim superintendent until June 30, 2011. During the upcoming school year, a nationwide search for a permanent superintendent will be conducted.

Bauman said that the district has been good to his family and if there is an opportunity to do something to help, he wants to participate. He said that he has spoken with Assistant Superintendent for Operations Cheryl Wangeman and Assistant Superintendent of Student Learning Shirley Trees to familiarize himself with the present atmosphere of the district. He acknowledged there are challenges in the present environment but believes that the district and the community can work together to persevere and overcome obstacles.

Director Mark Pfoff said that Bauman’s willingness to serve demonstrates his love for the district.

Board President John Mann said that he appreciates the fact that Bauman has been willing to give up a year of his retirement to spend with the children of the district. Bauman was one of the first to apply for the position.

Mann formally thanked Acting Superintendent John Borman for his time and effort during the summer. His contributions to keeping the district running smoothly during this time were much appreciated by all members of the board.

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Fox Run Aerial Adventure Park proposed

By Kate Wetterer

"What can we do to have children and teenagers enjoy the outdoors?" Chris DeCirco asked his audience at the first public meeting for his adventure park proposal, held July 15 at a Fox Run park pavilion. DeCirco, a King’s Deer resident, offered his own method for attracting youths to the park: Aerial Adventures play equipment nestled in the trees. Such parks are popular along the East Coast and in the United Kingdom, he said, and they tend to include zip lines, rope walls, and plenty of other opportunities to get the heart pumping.

DeCirco explained his vision: an adventure park built in the middle of Fox Run, spanning perhaps 5 to 10 acres and possibly including a snack bar. According to Tim Wolken, the El Paso County Parks and Leisure Services Community Services Department director who led the meeting, DeCirco approached the Parks Department with his idea in April. A decision was made to hold a public meeting to gauge reactions to the proposal.

The Parks Department has not taken a position on the idea, Wolken said, adding that public opinion will be weighed through more public meetings. If the idea is approved, multiple companies are expected to bid for the building project. DeCirco says he has already been approached by interested companies, even though he is hoping to build the adventure park himself.

The public voiced a number of concerns over the idea:

  • DeCirco envisions using bathrooms and parking slots already available in the park, which people suggested could not possibly be enough for the crowd he predicted.
  • Fox Run’s unpaved roads might not be suitable for more traffic.
  • Part of DeCirco’s plan involves generating revenue for Fox Run, though whatever profit is garnered would be divided among the nine parks within the Parks Department.
  • Trees here are a bit spindly compared to the hulking giants usually used for these parks. Will they need supports or have very strict weight limits? And if not, would they be safe?
  • Jazzing up the park with this kind of equipment might spoil the undeveloped atmosphere that draws so many to Fox Run.
  • The part of the park he wants to build in is more secluded, which drew complaints from those who struggle to find a quiet place in the heavily-used park.

Several people complained, too, about the lack of sufficient meeting notification. Wolken requested e-mail addresses from those in attendance and said he would do a better job at notifying the public for the next meeting.

DeCirco has already hired an arborist to study Fox Run’s trees and consider their safety. He said that despite their slender appearance, the trees in the area he had marked would most likely be strong enough.

He intends the adventure park for kids 10 and over, envisioning it as a fun escape and bonding experience for locals and tourists. He pointed out that it would be easier to lease a piece of land to carry out his idea, but he chose Fox Run in order to raise money for the park system.

If DeCirco completes various requirements set up by the county, including earning the public’s approval, the plans will be officially considered by the Parks Department, Wolken said. If it comes to that point, then bidding will commence.

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Donala Water and Sanitation District Workshop, July 7: District to conduct aquifer recharge feasibility study, investigate IPR project, and finance CSU connection

By John Heiser

In place of the July regular monthly meeting of the Donala Water and Sanitation District Board of Directors, the board held a workshop July 7 on water and wastewater issues.

Background

In a point paper framing the discussion, Dana Duthie, Donala’s general manager, said, "It wasn’t until the rapid growth of the Triview Metropolitan District (that serves Jackson Creek) and the formation of the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority (PPRWA) did anyone get serious about looking for a renewable source of water."

He added that PPRWA’s Water Infrastructure Planning Study (WIPS) published in February 2008 noted the water level declines in the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District’s wells and forecast that the area would be 80 percent "dewatered" by 2020.

In November 2008, Donala completed the purchase of the Willow Creek Ranch and is in the process of reducing irrigation of the ranch and seeking conversion of the excess irrigation water, which flows to the Arkansas River, for use by the district. If the water court approves the conversion, this source would cover about 20 percent of Donala’s current demand.

Donala is looking to Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) to transport that ranch water to the Tri-Lakes area and then through a connection at Northgate Road to Donala’s pipes. Duthie described the negotiations with CSU as "long and painful." He added, "It has become obvious that the result will be expensive." He said a rough guess as to the cost of operations and maintenance (O&M) to bring water from the south would be $14 per 1,000 gallons. That would be in addition to the district’s current $7 per 1,000 gallon internal O&M costs. Those figures compare to the current rates of $3.30 to $9.70 per 1,000 gallons charged Donala’s customers, depending on the amount of water they use.

Another potential source of renewable water is the Flaming Gorge Reservoir in northwestern Colorado. Donala has joined a coalition of Colorado water providers that is investigating the feasibility of piping that water east across the I-80 corridor and south along the Front Range to the Rueter-Hess Reservoir, a 70,000-acre-foot facility being constructed three miles southwest of downtown Parker. An acre-foot is 326,851 gallons. Duthie said, "At first blush it appears the Flaming Gorge water will be as expensive (if not more) by the time we actually get it to our doorstep."

He added, "The bottom line is that water from the Arkansas River may in fact be Donala’s only potential supply. However, the cost may be more than we can readily accept—at least in the short term."

Duthie stressed the importance of pursuing indirect potable reuse (IPR), in which effluent from the wastewater treatment plant is extensively processed and used in the water supply system. He added, "We currently waste 400 acre-feet per year of fully consumable water down Monument Creek."

He concluded that "except for some moderately pesky radiation issues with our groundwater, our wells are doing great. It will be many years before we actually need a supplemental supply."

Water supply and demand analysis forecasts possible shortages as soon as 2015

Jon Ford of Leonard Rice Engineers reported on his company’s forecast of the district’s water supply and demand. Some highlights:

  • A major factor affecting the forecast is the rate at which the Triview district increases its use of groundwater. Pumping by Triview will accelerate the decline in the artesian pressure in the aquifers and result in a decline in the production from Donala’s wells.
  • Donala’s demand at full build-out is projected at 1,300 acre-feet per year.
  • Groundwater supplies will likely be sufficient to meet the district’s demand to about 2015 or to about 2020 if conservation efforts are effective.
  • Adding 250 acre-feet per year of Willow Creek Ranch water would allow the full demand to be met until about 2025 or to about 2030 if conservation efforts are effective.
  • Adding 400 acre-feet per year of IPR water in about 2023 would allow the full demand to be met until about 2035 or to about 2045 if conservation efforts are effective.
  • During the early years after the Willow Creek Ranch water and IPR water become available, the water supply would exceed the demand. The excess supply could be used to recharge the Arapahoe aquifer. That would prolong the life of the aquifer and extend the available supply to meet demand until about 2060.

Attorneys negotiating with 17 organizations that object to the district’s plan to use Willow Creek Ranch water

Kara Godbehere with the law firm of Petrock and Fendel and Miranda Larsen-Funk of Leonard Rice Engineers reported on the progress preparing the water court case to convert Willow Creek Ranch irrigation water for use by the district. Some highlights of their presentation:

  • The engineering estimate is that stopping irrigation of the ranch will make available approximately 332 acre-feet per year. The available water is estimated at 46 acre-feet in May, 180 acre-feet in June, 153 acre-feet in July, 96 acre-feet in August, and 5 acre-feet in September.
  • Storage would be needed to hold the water until needed by the district. The district is in negotiations with the federal Bureau of Reclamation regarding potential storage in the Turquoise, Twin Lakes, and Pueblo Reservoirs.
  • 17 objectors have filed initial disclosures. There will be a site visit for objectors July 26. Objectors will file their alternative engineering reports in November.
  • Negotiations will be conducted with the objectors to address their objections.
  • If a settlement cannot be reached with all the objectors, trial is scheduled for March 8 through 18, 2011.

Flaming Gorge feasibility study underway

Duthie reported that there are reportedly about 140,000 acre-feet available in the Flaming Gorge Reservoir. That is subject to modification to reflect the results of the Colorado Water Conservation Board’s Colorado River Water Availability Study that found that under some climate models there might be no unallocated water available in the Colorado River.

The participants in the Colorado water provider group that is looking into the Flaming Gorge project have submitted a total demand of 100,000 acre-feet per year. Duthie said that will likely be increased to require all the available water.

The project is estimated to cost approximately $3.5 billion. Duthie said a project of that size would require state or federal sponsorship. He noted that the costs to users of the water would be highest at the greatest distance, meaning that the Donala district would pay more than those in Colorado and Wyoming closer to the Flaming Gorge Reservoir.

Duthie said two alternatives are being considered for transporting the water from Rueter-Hess Reservoir to the Tri-Lakes area. The first would be to participate in the cost of the Parker Water and Sanitation District’s new water treatment plant and then move treated water through the Castle Rock distribution system to the Tri-Lakes area. The second would be to draw untreated water from the reservoir and treat it locally.

The $240,000 Flaming Gorge feasibility study is due to be completed in the first half of 2011.

The next phase would be a $5 to $6 million environmental impact study.

Gary Barber, manager of the PPRWA, noted that the Flaming Gorge task force sponsored by the Arkansas River Roundtable is due to start its deliberations in August. One goal of the task force is to try to arbitrate the differences between the Colorado water provider group and entrepreneur Aaron Million, who is pursuing a similar project.

Super Ditch gets down to details

Rick Fendel of Petrock and Fendel explained that the Super Ditch Co. is an association of Arkansas River valley irrigation ditches for valley-wide rotating fallowing of farmland. The Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District is sponsoring the Super Ditch Co.

Rotating fallow would dry up one-third of participating farms or whole farms one year out of three. For every three farms that participate, permanently taking one farm out of production would be avoided. Despite the desire by some farmers to sell their marginally productive farms, powerful political forces favor this as a way to keep farms in production in the Arkansas Valley.

Fendel reported that the current proposal from Super Ditch Co. is for a 40-year lease of 1,700 to 2,000 acre-feet per year to be delivered to Donala through CSU’s infrastructure at a cost for the water of $500 per acre-foot or $1 million per year for 2,000 acre-feet.

While getting water from the Super Ditch Co. would be politically advantageous and would give Donala time to pursue other sources of renewable water, the arrangement is temporary, depends on CSU for delivery, would be expensive, and there remain questions as to whether enough farmers would participate, how much water would be available in dry years, and whether the substantial legal and bureaucratic hurdles can be overcome.

Aquifer recharge feasibility study approved

Ford defined aquifer recharge as "the process of injecting water into an aquifer and then recovering the water from the same well at some future date." Permits from the EPA and Colorado State Engineer’s Office are required for aquifer recharge projects.

Ford said that previously he has not been a big fan of aquifer recharge due to difficulties encountered with some of the early projects, but the research he has done recently has convinced him that it can be a viable process.

He praised CSU’s Arapahoe aquifer recharge and recovery project being conducted with two wells near Northgate Road. He said that since 2007, they have recharged 1,300 acre-feet or about 1 acre-foot per day.

Based on CSU’s experience, Ford projected that Donala could recharge 200 to 300 acre-feet per year per Arapahoe aquifer well.

Among the anticipated technical difficulties are well screen/filter pack plugging that requires periodic backwashing and chemical precipitation or leaching if the characteristics of the injected water are significantly different from the characteristics of the water in the aquifer.

Ford proposed a $50,000 to $70,000 feasibility study involving injecting Arapahoe aquifer water into one of the district’s Arapahoe aquifer wells and then recovering the water. The test would monitor injection rate, pressure, and water chemistry.

He said that if the feasibility study produces favorable results, the district could look at converting wells 2A and 3A for aquifer recharge of about 400 acre-feet per year at a cost of $400,000 to $600,000 for valves, flow meters, and related equipment. Those two wells are in an area heavily affected by Triview’s pumping. Aquifer recharge could offset the anticipated groundwater level declines in that area.

The board voted 4-1 to proceed with the feasibility study. Board member Bill Nance said he believed the feasibility study is unnecessary, because the CSU experience at its nearby wells is adequate. Other board members said they felt the study was worthwhile since it would be using Donala’s wells and would reduce the risk if the board decides to implement aquifer recharge using wells 2A and 3A.

District considers using part of the golf course for IPR project

Roger Sams of GMS noted that unplanned indirect potable reuse occurs whenever one district discharges its effluent into a river from which another district draws its water supply.

Planning for indirect potable reuse requires permitting by the EPA and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

He outlined a possible Donala IPR project using wetlands and ponds to treat effluent from the wastewater treatment plant. Such treatment requires significant land area. Sams suggested that part of the Gleneagle golf course could provide the needed area.

If this idea were to go forward, Sams said sale of the golf course could involve a third party such as El Paso County, a recreation district, or a land trust. Alternatively, Donala could buy and operate the golf course as a recreation facility combined with a water treatment and storage facility. Duthie said, "The intent would be to keep the course in operation and work the project around it."

The proposal is in an early stage of discussion. GMS and Leonard Rice were directed to investigate it further.

Floyd Ciruli of public relations firm Ciruli Associates noted that the May election results show that the district has considerable public support in water conservation and its pursuit of renewable water to extend the life of the aquifers. He added that, if properly presented, the IPR project could build on the public support for water conservation and cost savings. To use the golf course property, the district would need to convince the public that it has a well thought-out plan, use of the golf course is the best alternative, and that the neighbors’ concerns about the project would be addressed.

District to apply for financing

Joe Drew of Drew Financial, who has been the financial advisor to Donala since 1992, said the district is financially extremely strong and has been historically. He said that contributes to favorable borrowing costs. He added, "There has never been a better time to borrow money."

In May, the voters authorized up to $20 million in additional debt and up to $412,000 per year in additional tax revenue.

Drew noted that Donala could currently finance all $20 million without further tax or rate increases. He said state-subsidized financing is available through the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority (CWRPDA) with an interest rate between 3 and 5 percent. Concerns about the effects on financing if voters approve Amendment 60 (property tax), Amendment 61 (long-term government financing), or Proposition 101 (cars, communications, and Colorado income tax) in November suggest that the financing should be issued prior to Jan. 1, 2011.

The board voted for Drew to file an application with the CWRPDA for about $7 million to cover the cost to construct the connection to CSU at Northgate Road and implement upgrades to Donala’s infrastructure to transport the water from the CSU connection.

**********

The Donala board will hold its next regular meeting on Aug. 19 at 1:30 p.m. at the Donala office, 15850 Holbein Drive. Meetings are normally held on the third Thursday of each month.

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

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Academy Water and Sanitation District, July 7: Plan would protect local water supply

By Susan Hindman

A plan for protecting the untreated drinking water supply for Academy Water and Sanitation District residents is moving closer to reality. In May, the board voted to move forward with implementing a Source Water Protection Plan, a statewide, voluntary program for public water systems.

At the July meeting, Paul Hempel of the Colorado Rural Water Association—which is contracted through the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (which developed the plan) to work with water districts to implement it—presented an updated plan, a draft budget, and information about the grant process.

The program is designed to assist public water supply systems in preventing accidental contamination of untreated drinking water. The protection plan looks at the land use surrounding the water supply and the potential problems that could cause contamination. In Academy’s case, the three wells serving the district sit on property belonging to other landowners; the district has been granted 100-foot easements around each well, so the landowners’ cooperation in a protection plan would be encouraged.

Potential contamination could come from private septic systems, for example, or from roads that run near the wells (via pesticides used to eliminate weeds along roads or spills from tankers using the roads). A steering committee made up of "stakeholders" (mainly district residents) would develop and implement the plan. Another goal of the plan is to create a contingency plan in the event that the district’s safe water supply is disrupted or contaminated.

Hempel said the district could receive up to $5,000 in grant money. About $2,000 of it would have to go toward "best management practices," which could be anything from outreach and public education to signage and fencing around the wells. Academy’s stakeholders would decide where the money should be spent. Because this would be a matching grant, Hempel said he would set it up so that the in-kind donation would be people’s time. He provided a sample breakdown of in-kind expenses.

Board President Richard DuPont signed papers that will start the grant-writing process. Next, Hempel said he will meet with operator Anthony Pastorello and board Director James Weilbrenner to go over grant details and to identify stakeholders to contact.

Hoping to opt out of the district

The board received its first-ever petition for exclusion from the district from Raymond and Carole O’Mara, who live on Raton Road. Carole O’Mara spoke to the board, noting that for the last 10 years, "We have not used any of the district’s services in water or sanitation. However, we have paid over $13,000 to the district" through property taxes. "This came to our attention when we reviewed some finances" and realized they were being taxed for services not used. That led the couple to file the petition.

Treasurer Walter Reiss explained that of the annual taxes the couple referred to, $157 (2.937 mills) is for general operating expenses and $1,112 (20.70 mills) pays the interest and principal costs of the general obligation bond. Reiss said that because of state regulations requiring the bond payment, the couple would only save $157 per year if they opted out of the district. The bond will be paid off in 2014, which will end that portion of the mill levy for all district residents.

A decision on the matter was postponed until the August meeting, but the board decided to go into executive session after the meeting ended to discuss legal issues involved in the petition.(Note: At the Aug. 4 meeting, the board reviewed in great detail the Colorado Revised Statues governing exclusions and selected an option for moving forward proposed by the district’s lawyer, Paul Murphy. A decision will be announced in September, after a legal statement is finalized.)

Audit report holds a surprise

The district’s auditor informed Reiss that the board overspent its 2009 budget because of the unexpected expense of necessary lagoon maintenance. The district overspent by $20,000, putting the district "out of compliance." The budget needs to be revised and reviewed by the board at the August meeting. Once the budget is amended, the auditor will finish the district’s report and submit it to the state. (Note: At the Aug. 4 meeting, the board voted to revise the 2009 budget by adding $20,000.)

Penalty unknown

The district has met all its paperwork requirements for the "cease and desist order" issued by the state in late 2008 for repeatedly having carbonaceous biological oxygen demand (CBOD) numbers higher than allowed by state law. For the past year, the lagoons’ CBOD levels have registered low, and the required paperwork for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Water Quality Control Division Clean Water Assurance Unit has been completed. DuPont said that eventually the state will notify the district of any penalty, but it could take as long as a year.

Keeping the district eligible for funds

In anticipation of more stimulus money or state revolving funds becoming available, district engineer Roger Sams of GMS Engineering prepared four state eligibility documents outlining Academy’s wastewater and drinking water treatment, infrastructure, and maintenance needs for 2011. The documents will keep the district in a priority position to receive state and federal funding. Because of the district’s immediate needs, "we’re at a level one" for state funding, said operator Pastorello, meaning that the district will receive funding when money becomes available.

How deep is the sludge?

In April 2009, the district cleaned 4½ feet of sludge from two of its three wastewater lagoons, which had not been cleaned in 22 years. Pastorello said he recently took a boat out into the lagoons to measure the sludge. Measurements were taken every 30 feet, and he reported that some sections showed an increase of 8 to 10 inches since the last measurement was taken in October 2009. Some areas showed less, but "everything was below 2 feet," he reported. The total average depth of the sludge in Lagoon 1 is 10 inches and in Lagoon 2 is 7.5 inches.

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The Academy Water and Sanitation District board usually meets at 7 p.m. the first Wednesday of every month at the fire station on Sun Hills Drive. The next meeting is Aug. 4.

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Woodmoor Water and Sanitation Board of Directors, July 8: Board discusses future of water authorities

By Harriet Halbig

In the wake of the resignation of Kip Peterson, president of the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority (PPRWA) and El Paso County Water Authority, the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation Board discussed the future of these two bodies at its July 8 meeting. Peterson had also served as the head of the Cherokee Metropolitan District, which has faced a large rate increase in the recent past. There had been no announcement about Peterson’s successor before the Woodmoor board meeting.

The El Paso County Water Authority exists primarily to monitor the application of the Transit Loss Model, and its continuing existence has been in question for some time. There has been some discussion of the PPRWA taking on the monitoring responsibility.

The Woodmoor board discussed a draft of a PPRWA letter to be sent to the Colorado Water Conservation Board regarding a Colorado River water availability study recently sent to the PPRWA members. In the letter, PPRWA said that, although its members do not use Colorado River water, its use is of concern to all residents of the state. It said that it is important to remember that the majority of the population of the state is located along the Front Range, within 25 miles either side of the interstate, and that distribution of water must not favor any particular region. If Colorado River water were restricted to certain areas, the deficit must be made up elsewhere.

The PPRWA letter further stated that it had hoped to use this study in considering potential participation in the Flaming Gorge Reservoir project in Wyoming, designed to bring some of the Wyoming entitlement of Colorado River water to the Front Range. The study proved not to be useful in making this decision.

The letter also states that the assumptions used in the study regarding climate change and runoff estimates were not valid. The PPRWA expressed its concern that this study would be used as the basis for future policy when, in fact, its conclusions are inaccurate.

District Manager Jessie Shaffer said that part of the problem with the study is the use of 60 years of historical records to forecast decades into the future.

In other matters, Shaffer reported that the Pueblo Chieftain newspaper continues to publish articles criticizing the purchase of water from the lower Arkansas Valley by Woodmoor Water. The paper’s stand is that the only use for that water should be agricultural. Shaffer said that he did not think it is necessary to respond to these articles at this time, but the board may consider an "op-ed" piece in the future. He said that the individuals from whom the property was purchased have received no feedback.

Director Elizabeth Hacker suggested founding a blog in order to have a constant presence in the public consciousness. In this way, board actions and decisions could be continuously available for public scrutiny.

Board President Barrie Town said that it is essential that Woodmoor Water prove to be a good neighbor to residents of Pueblo County.

Financial advisor approved

Shaffer reported that he has spoken with two companies regarding financial advice in the face of potential passage of November ballot issues that could strongly impact the district. The advisors would analyze capital needs of the district and offer advice. The board passed a motion to enter into a contract with Bond Logistix LLC of Greenwood Village to provide this service.

Operations report

Randy Gillette reported that the district is still using primarily lake water. He said the district is also capturing water credits from Monument Creek, but there is a significant amount of silt in the creek water due to recent heavy rains. For this reason, the creek water is being used primarily for irrigation of the high school grounds.

There was a major leak in a culvert near the intersection of Woodmoor Drive and the access road during the last month and a smaller one elsewhere in the district.

The repaving of White Fawn Drive and Deer Creek is completed.

A consideration for the budget process is whether to lower well 18. Because of ample rain this year, Gillette suggested that this process be postponed until 2011. Due to lack of new construction, demand also may not favor the project at this time, he said.

Redraft of supplemental water agreement

Shaffer reported that Mark Bittaker and Bank Midwest (Misty Acres) has requested separate agreements regarding water supply for the Monument Business Park and other areas. There is presently a surcharge on each tap, and this is complicated when a property is replatted, resulting in a change in the number of taps. Bank Midwest would like to decrease the supplemental water requested. Woodmoor Water has a lien on properties until tap fees are paid. Revisions are underway.

Shaffer also reported that a sewer modeling update is underway to restructure rates for commercial vs. residential services.

Shaffer suggested that the midyear budget review take place at the board’s August meeting.

Attorney Erin Smith said that the county clerk has asked whether the board will have any measures to be included on the November ballot. She suggested that the board say yes as a precaution. The board voted its approval.

Director Elizabeth Hacker said that she is moving to Oklahoma and will have to resign from the board. Smith said that the number of directors need not necessarily be maintained and Hacker need not be replaced if the board so decides.

The board went into executive session to discuss strategies, negotiations, and other water rights/storage rights matters.

**********

The Woodmoor Water and Sanitation Board meets on the second Thursday of each month at 1 p.m. at the conference room at 1855 Woodmoor Drive. The next meeting will be held on Aug. 12. For information, call 488-2525.

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Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility Joint Use Committee, July 13: Possible methods for meeting new total phosphorus limits discussed

By Jim Kendrick

On April 13, Monument Sanitation District Manager Mike Wicklund briefed the Joint Use Committee (JUC) of the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility on recent and upcoming regulatory hearings and meetings of the Water Quality Control Division of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. These hearings are likely to lead to implementation of new tighter statewide nutrient regulations for surface water. These regulation changes will require the installation of new tertiary treatment equipment for removing more phosphorus from wastewater processed by the facility.

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

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

District managers’ reports

Wicklund reported that he had asked the Colorado Health Department, through its Permit Issues Work Group, to request that the EPA and state Legislature help fund any of the very expensive capital improvements that will be needed to attempt to partially comply with new tighter nutrient limits that are expected to be imposed by the end of 2011. Wicklund proposed that low interest loans and grant programs be created to help fund the expansion projects that will be required of nearly all wastewater plants in Colorado.

These radically reduced state stream standards for total phosphorus and total nitrogen will result in much tighter limits in new five-year wastewater facility discharge permits, even though the overwhelming majority (over 80 percent) of all these nutrients in state waters come from stormwater runoff from agricultural fields and natural background sources such as erosion or mining tailings. This category of sources of contamination are collectively called nonpoint sources.

The EPA’s policy calls for a demographic area like that of the Tri-Lakes facility to impose a fee on its residential customers of up to $80 per month before the agency will start to consider a request to limit the cost of capital expansion due to economic hardship. This EPA policy would require Monument Sanitation District to increase its current monthly fee by $55 per month.

The facility’s current five-year permit expired on Dec. 31. Due to staffing and funding shortfalls, the Water Quality Control Division of the state Health Department is three years behind on permit renewals, and the next permit is not expected to be approved until the end of 2012. The division has acknowledged at several meetings of its eight work groups that it cannot carry out the workload now being imposed by the new EPA initiatives being mandated by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.

Wicklund provided Smith with a copy of the agreement between the JUC and the Colorado Nutrients Coalition to have environmental attorneys Tad Foster and John Hall represent the Tri-Lakes facility in the coalition’s negotiations with the state Health Department in setting tighter regulatory limits on nutrients such as total phosphorus and total nitrogen in future facility discharge permits. The JUC unanimously approved the formal coalition agreement with Foster and Hall. The JUC had previously approved a payment of $1,000 to Foster and Hall at the June 8 JUC meeting to join the coalition.

Smith noted that the other participants in the Colorado Nutrients Coalition are:

  • Colorado Stormwater Utility Council
  • Colorado Wastewater Utility Council
  • Colorado River Water Conservancy District
  • City of Aurora
  • City of Pueblo
  • City of Colorado Springs
  • Centennial Water and Sanitation District
  • Metro Wastewater Reclamation District (Denver area)
  • North Front Range Water Quality Planning Association
  • Northern Colorado Water Conservation District

Wicklund added that several other wastewater treatment facilities have joined Foster’s coalition since this JUC meeting. He also noted that Upper Monument Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility, Donala Water and Sanitation District, Triview Metropolitan District, and Academy Water and Sanitation District are not participants in the Colorado Nutrients Coalition.

Foster and Hall will present a white paper at the Aug. 11 Nutrients Work Group meeting at the state Health Department in Denver that cites a lack of a scientific basis for what they say is a fundamentally flawed statistical analysis of harmful effects on existing phosphorus and nitrogen concentrations in lakes and reservoirs. The paper says that the state and EPA incorrectly assert that nutrients cause increases in the concentration of chlorophyll-A and the subsequent growth of algal blooms that destroy aquatic life by using up all the available dissolved oxygen.

The Water Quality Control Division has proposed tighter restrictions that would supposedly reduce the level of these nutrients in wastewater facility effluent in an attempt to reduce the amount of total phosphorus and total nitrogen that collects in downstream lakes and reservoirs. The white paper also notes that no significant reductions have been proposed for agricultural users of nutrients, which could possibly produce more meaningful reductions of nutrients in stormwater flows into state waters.

In a related but separate action, Foster is also directing the Colorado Wastewater Utility Council’s response to the nutrient initiative. Foster has coordinated the rehiring of environmental statistics analyst Tim Moore to develop a white paper that asserts there is a lack of any statistical correlation between total phosphorus and total nitrogen levels on the production of chlorophyll-A and algal blooms in state water. Moore’s paper also says there is a lack of any scientific basis or validity for the multi-metric indexing process and standards used to characterize aquatic life to support the state’s proposal to radically tighten the limits in reservoirs, lakes, streams, and rivers.

Foster hired Moore earlier this year to perform a statistical analysis of the state’s new proposals on whole effluent toxicity (WET) testing standards. Moore’s presentation on WET testing to the Water Quality Control Division showed that every facility in the state would have routine violations during every permit cycle due to the inherent wide variability in WET testing statistics, needlessly increasing the cost and workload for facilities and division regulatory staff. While the staff acknowledged the validity of Moore’s research, EPA has not allowed the staff to revise its subsequently proposed relaxed WET testing standards to date. See www.ourcommunitynews.org/v10n5.htm#juc for more information on Moore.

Wicklund stated, "We know we’re producing good effluent right now. We know we have a good plant. But because of the things the state and EPA are proposing, it’s going to eventually cost all of us more money to treat our wastewater."

JUC recording secretary Sue Wielgopolan, who is also the recording secretary for the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority, noted that Foster will make a presentation on nutrient criteria and other water quality and discharge permit issues to the authority at its Aug. 20 meeting at Monument Town Hall for invited candidates who are running for public office.

Palmer Lake District Manager Duane Hanson reported that about 16,000 feet of collection line had been cleaned to date by servicing consultant DRC Construction of Sedalia.

Randy Gillette, Woodmoor’s assistant district manager, noted that Woodmoor’s collection lines in district zones 4 and 5 are being cleaned this summer by members of the district staff. Some vitreous clay collection lines are also being lined to limit leaks. Gillette noted that Wicklund had provided information on methods that Monument is using to re-line leaking manholes and perform spot repairs of newer PVC collection lines.

Plant manager’s report

Facility manager Bill Burks reported on monthly and semi-annual discharge monitoring report results for June.

Burks noted that the five-day biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) test results average for June was 3 milligrams per liter or 3 parts per million (ppm). BOD tests show approximately how much dissolved oxygen is needed by aerobic biological organisms in a sample of effluent to break down the remaining organic material present at a temperature of 20 C over a five-day period. The lower the BOD test result, the lower the amount of remaining organic material and the higher the overall effectiveness of the wastewater treatment process.

The maximum limit for the average of all Tri-Lakes monthly test results is 30 ppm. The maximum limit for any monthly test result is 45 ppm. An average BOD test result of 3 millligrams per liter, which is 10 percent of the standard for the average BOD test result, shows that much more organic material has been removed from Tri-Lakes effluent than the amount required to meet the standard. Palmer Lake Director Joe Stallsmith noted, "There’s drinking water that’s worse than that. A dirty glass will give you more than that."

The average ammonia concentration was 0.4 ppm, with a maximum of 0.8 ppm. Ammonia will be a component of new total nitrogen limits that will be required in a year as part of EPA’s new nutrients limit program. Burks noted, "You can see how well the facility is operating. Ammonia is still not much on an issue for this plant."

Total inorganic nitrogen averaged 4.0 ppm. The daily maximum ammonia limit is 23 ppm.

The following were undetectable: copper, cyanide, arsenic, hexavalent chromium, trivalent chromium, silver, lead, nickel, selenium, oil, and grease.

Trace amounts of iron, zinc, manganese, and mercury were detected. There are no discharge permit limits for the Tri-Lakes facility for these four constituents, because the amounts present are so low that they are hard to detect. For example, the amount of mercury was 2 parts per trillion, or 0.002 micrograms per liter.

Total BOD removal was 99 percent and total suspended solids removal was 98 percent. The standard for each of these two tests is 85 percent.

Because of stormwater infiltration into leaking collection lines and inflow into loose manhole lids, wastewater flows rise significantly during the summer thunderstorm season. Monument’s average May flows rose about 20 percent above winter averages, Palmer Lake’s average May flows rose about 40 percent, and Woodmoor’s May flows increased by about 90 percent. Total average May flows for the facility were about 60 percent higher than winter averages, while June flows were only about 30 percent higher. The average June flows were about 1.35 million gallons per day, which is about 32 percent of the Tri-Lakes facility’s capacity of 4.2 million gallons per day.

The quarterly whole effluent toxicity test for the plant showed no toxicity at all. The facility has never failed a whole effluent toxicity test, which Burks noted "is amazing."

The May copper testing results showed the effluent copper concentration was 5 parts per billion. This level is the lowest amount detectable by the EPA-approved testing methodology.

Burks discussed proposed plans to remove and recycle some of the phosphorus in wastewater. He also discussed the brand new $64 million Marysville, Ohio, wastewater treatment facility, which sits on 70 acres of former agricultural land and has a capacity of 8 million gallons per day. This new plant incorporates many new state-of-the-art technologies, including those for further lowering nutrient levels in treated effluent.

The JUC approved a $4,000 contract for development of grant applications for capital improvements by consultant engineer Bob Orsatti and senior utility asset planner Susan McCannon of Frachetti Engineering Inc. Orsatti helped design the facility as well as the subsequent modifications as an employee of RTW engineering. The grant proposal will seek $300,000 for wastewater treatment expansion improvement planning and $200,000 for green infrastructure planning for energy efficiency improvements.

The state’s Water Quality Control Division conducted stream sampling operations in Monument Creek near the facility for aquatic life, nutrients, and ammonia. Split samples were provided to Tri-Lakes aquatic life consultant GEI Consulting of Denver. GEI conducts the facility’s quarterly WET testing as well as other monthly discharge monitoring report testing.

Burks noted that the concentration of total phosphorus in the plant’s effluent is currently about 3 ppm. He said the construction of conventional tertiary treatment using chemical flocculants and filtration could reduce the Tri-Lakes effluent concentration to about 1 ppm. The Water Quality Control Division’s currently proposed standard is 0.09 ppm for cold water streams and 0.135 ppm for warm water streams. Each wastewater facility will likely have to negotiate site-specific effluent criteria using a new procedure called a discharger specific variance. Extensive data collection by Burks’ staff and/or consultants will be required starting this fall to properly prepare for these negotiations.

The division will ask the EPA to postpone implementation of similar cuts in allowed levels of total nitrogen until the end of 2016.

The meeting adjourned at 11:30 p.m.

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

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Monument Sanitation District, July 15: Wakonda Hills pipeline installation concluding

By Jim Kendrick

At the July 15 meeting, District Manager Mike Wicklund advised the Monument Sanitation District Board that the ongoing collection system expansion in west Wakonda Hills is nearing completion. Brannan Construction Co. should conclude pipeline construction by the end of July. Repaving should be completed by mid-August.

All five board members were present for the meeting.

After this meeting, the district received approval of the lift station engineering design on July 22 from the Water Quality Control Division of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The two lift stations will be installed on the southwest corner of Wakonda Hills in a county easement on the east side of the Santa Fe Trail. The lift stations will serve a small number of homes that cannot be served economically by gravity lines.

Construction of these two lift stations by T. Lowell Construction should begin in August. T. Lowell was awarded the contract at the June 17 board meeting based on its low bid of $246,000. The quoted cost from Brannan Construction to connect the gravity system to the end of the lift station force mains is $22,425, for a total construction cost of $268,425. There will also be an additional cost for inspections and contract management by engineering consultant GMS Inc.

Brannan Construction contract wrapping up

Digging and installation of the new collection lines and manholes and the repaving of affected road segments should be completed in early August. Brannan crews will be conducting cleanup and landscaping surface restoration for a few weeks after that. Reseeding will be completed in the fall.

All repairs to the Zonta property fence and water stock tank have been completed. Remaining reseeding will be completed in the fall. The vacant Zonta property is adjacent to Wakonda Hills to the south, on the west side of Beacon Lite Road.

The Brannan contract is being funded by a forgivable $2 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) federal stimulus loan that was awarded to the district in September 2009. Because it is a "forgivable" loan, no principal or interest has to be repaid to the EPA. If there are any collection system expansion project costs in excess of $2 million, they will be paid from the district’s capital reserve.

None of the costs associated with lift station construction are covered by the forgivable $2 million stimulus loan, including the district’s 2009 payment to the county of $12,170 from the district’s capital fund for the easement the county granted for the lift station installation. The engineering design could not be approved and construction could not subsequently begin by the ARRA deadline of Sept. 30, 2009.

Wakonda Hills tap fees will increase soon

On Feb. 18, the board approved an increase in tap fees for Wakonda Hills properties that have not included into the district by Sept. 30. The size of the Oct. 1 tap fee increase for Wakonda Hills will be determined at a future board meeting.

Tap fees for the properties that have not yet been included in the district will remain at a fixed $5,500 until Sept. 30. The district will credit up to $1,000 of a property owner’s cost for installing a sewer service line toward the fixed tap fee. For example, if installation of a service line costs the property owner $1,500, the district will give a $1,000 credit toward tap fees, leaving a $4,500 balance.

Another incentive for the approximately 30 property owners who have not yet been included is that the tap fee can be financed through the district with no interest for 15 years. For example, a balance of $4,500 would require 180 monthly payments of $25. Once connected, monthly user fees will apply. If a property owner wishes to pay off the financed tap fee early, there is no pre-payment charge. If a property owner sells the property, the balance due on the amount financed by the district must be paid off at closing.

The district will not require any property owner to connect to the district collection system unless the property’s septic system has failed. However, the district is strongly encouraging all Wakonda Hills property owners to connect as soon as possible to protect their drinking water wells from being contaminated with bacteria and nitrates. Raw wastewater is being discharged into the ground as a result of failing septic systems and may flow into adjacent well heads. For several years, children and pets in the community have been seen playing in and walking through failed leach fields with raw sewage on the surface of the ground.

The county Department of Health and Environment will begin inspecting Wakonda Hills septic systems to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the community from raw wastewater from existing failed leach fields. If a septic system has failed or fails in the future, the county Health Department will compel the property owner to connect to the district’s collection system. A petition for inclusion is required at that time. Petitions for inclusion into the Monument Sanitation District are available at the district office at 130 Second St. A petition must be signed by each person listed as an owner on the property deed and notarized. Free notary service is available at the district office.

Those who choose not to be included by Sept. 30 may still petition to be included in the future, but the new tap fee will apply. The district’s financing option may not be available after that date, and the property owner may have to pay all legal costs associated with inclusion. For more information, contact the district at 481-4886.

Financial report

Wicklund noted that the payment of $8,200 to Bauerle and Co. P.C. included the extra cost for a separate "yellow sheet audit" of ARRA financing accounting for the Wakonda Hills project in 2009. A similar separate "yellow sheet audit" of ARRA financing will be required again as part of the 2010 audit. Both audits were approved at the June 17 meeting and have been forwarded to the state.

The monthly payment of $14,284 to engineering consultant GMS Inc. included payments for engineering work GMS performed for the Wakonda Hills lift stations.

JUC update

See the Joint Use Committee article for details of the July 13 meeting.

Director Glenda Smith suggested that the annual JUC meeting be held in the evening so that more directors from Monument, Woodmoor, and Palmer Lake Sanitation District could attend. She also suggested that the cost of a catered meal at a local restaurant during the annual meeting should be shared by the three owner districts.

Trails End lift station pump alarm analysis continuing

Consultant Joe Simcik of I&C has completed troubleshooting of recent alarms for one of the pumps in the Trails End lift station that occurred because the pump was running longer than normal. Simcik determined that there may be infiltration of groundwater into the storage tank, making the pumps run longer than expected. Simcik pumped out the tanks and removed sludge and construction dirt and debris on July 15.

Consultant Quality Pipe Services will provide an estimate for relining the storage tank to eliminate groundwater infiltration. The cost would be paid for with money from the Trails End developer that is being held in a retainage escrow account for 10 years. GMS will negotiate the proposed repair to the tank with Quality Pipe Services and payment of the cost with the developer.

Synthes commercial tap fee discussed

Wicklund said that Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District Manager Jessie Shaffer had received an e-mail from the Colorado Health Department two months ago regarding installation of a new pre-treatment plant at the Synthes industrial plant. Shaffer forwarded the Health Department e-mail to Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility Manager Bill Burks, who then forwarded it to Wicklund.

Synthes had requested that the state Health Department grant a wastewater discharge permit change for increasing the amount of wastewater it would be allowed to discharge to the Tri-Lakes facility. Wicklund learned that this was the first pretreatment permit action performed by the new state pre-treatment coordinator. The Health Department had approved the volume increase and had also removed the upper limit on the pH of the Synthes wastewater discharge permit without any consultation with Monument. Synthes also failed to notify Monument of the requested change to increase the amount discharged and to eliminate the maximum pH limit.

Wicklund will arrange a meeting with the new state pretreatment coordinator and EPA Region VIII pretreatment coordinator Al Garcia to re-establish an appropriate state procedure for notifying sanitation districts and EPA regarding industrial discharge permit changes in the future.

Wicklund then visited the Synthes construction site and discovered the half-completed new pretreatment facility. He informed them that the new facility had not been approved by the district, Synthes had not been given permission to connect to the Monument collection system, and that the district can deny connection to any industrial discharger if its new wastewater discharge will negatively affect the Tri-Lakes facility’s current discharge permit.

The initial GMS estimate for the tap fee for the new pretreatment facility is $145,340, which is directly proportional to the current residential tap fee for about 164 gallons per day. The cost of the original tap fee for Synthes’ first pretreatment facility, which was not paid, had not yet been determined.

The district will also require engineering approval from GMS for an isolated discharge system for the new pretreatment facility through a separate monitoring manhole. Synthes had planned to use a standard floor drain for this new discharge.

A new commercial tap fee will also be received from property owner SDK1 for construction of its second building in the Monument Rock Business Park on the northeast corner of the intersection of Mitchell and Synthes Avenues.

In other matters, Wicklund urged board members to make reservations for the Special District Association conference in Keystone on Sept. 22.

The meeting adjourned at 7:48 p.m.

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The next meeting is at 7 p.m. on Aug. 19 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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Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority, July 21: Petersen resigns; members discuss merger with the El Paso County Water Authority

By John Heiser

PPRWA President Kip Petersen resigns

At a special meeting June 23 of the Cherokee Metropolitan District Board of Directors, Kip Petersen resigned his position as general manager of the district that serves 15,000 customers east of Powers Boulevard.

The Cherokee district has been struggling ever since 2006, when it lost a court case at the Colorado Supreme Court and had to stop pumping from some of its wells. The district has imposed water use restrictions and substantially increased rates. The district is implementing an indirect potable reuse system and has signed a three-year contract to purchase water from Colorado Springs.

The May election replaced three incumbents who were running for re-election to the board. That changed a majority of the five-member board.

Sean Chambers, formerly manager of the Sunset Metropolitan District near Ellicott, was appointed June 23 to serve as interim district manager while the board conducts a search for a permanent district manager.

On July 1, Petersen resigned as president of the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority (PPRWA) and the El Paso County Water Authority (EPCWA).

Rich Landreth, Monument’s Public Works director and vice president of the PPRWA, presided at the PPRWA’s July 21 regular monthly meeting.

The members of the PPRWA are the Cherokee 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.

Members unable to agree on participation in Flaming Gorge project

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.

At its June meeting, the PPRWA decided to conduct participation in the Colorado Water Authority as a project. The costs, in this case $20,000, would be split among the participants. Dana Duthie, Donala’s general manager, was designated as the PPRWA’s representative, with Gary Barber, PPRWA manager, as alternate.

Jesse Shaffer, manager of the Woodmoor district, said that his district would not pay its $5,000 share unless it is formally included by modifying the agreement with the Colorado Water Authority.

Rick Fendel, attorney for the PPRWA, was asked to prepare a list of alternative ways to deal with the situation.

At the July 21 meeting, Fendel reported that he had been in contact with the Colorado Water Authority’s attorney and had prepared an intergovernmental agreement and participation agreement to convert Donala’s membership in the authority into a PPRWA project membership. The associated legal fees were $2,275.

Duthie objected to paying a one-fourth portion of the legal expenses to include the other three entities. When the other entities objected to paying the legal expenses, he withdrew his offer to have the other entities share in the membership. He told Landreth he would return the $10,000 he had received to cover participation by Monument and Triview. The Woodmoor district had not yet paid its $5,000 share.

Fendel’s legal fees for the failed effort will now be paid from PPRWA’s funds.

Consolidation of water authorities discussed

At the PPRWA’s June meeting, Barber 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.

Barber 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.

Representatives of Widefield and Security attended the July 21 PPRWA meeting and participated in the discussion.

Larry Bishop, manager of the Woodmen Hills district, noted that the EPCWA started out as a forum to address water issues throughout the county. Recently, due to apathy, it has had difficulty meeting quorum requirements for its meetings. He said that one distinction between the EPCWA and the PPRWA is that the county belongs to the EPCWA and so can represent private well owners and private water rights holders. He added that if the two groups are merged, it would be important to retain that representation.

Bishop expressed frustration that the districts "can’t work together in either organization." He added, "We have a fiduciary responsibility to pursue a renewable water supply."

Former Monument Mayor Betty Konarski noted that the PPRWA is a more regional concept in that members need not be in El Paso County. She added, "I would hate to have you lose the potential for regional cooperation."

John McGinn of JDS-Hydro, a consultant to the Widefield Water and Sanitation District, noted that the county has not participated in the EPCWA in any significant way in the past 18 months. He added that one authority would be better than two for building coalitions.

Barber said that if it would help in merging the two organizations if he significantly reduced his involvement and the associated expenses, he is willing to do that.

After Barber left to attend another meeting, Fendel said Barber’s continued participation is important to the success of the Super Ditch negotiations.

Duthie said he would work up a possible budget and dues structure for a combined authority for discussion with the EPCWA members.

Bishop and Shaffer were designated as PPRWA’s representatives to discuss a merger with representatives of the EPCWA. Konarski encouraged them to also meet with County Commissioner Amy Lathen.

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

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The next regular monthly meeting of the PPRWA will be held Aug. 18 at 8:30 a.m. at the Woodmen Hills Metropolitan District Community Center West, 11720 Woodmen Hills Drive in Falcon. The meetings are normally held on the third Wednesday of each month. The location is rotated among the PPRWA members.

The PPRWA Web site is www.pprwa.com

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Forest View Acres Water District Board of Directors, July 22: Improvements to well, treatment plant planned

By Candice Hitt

The Forest View Acres Water District (FVAWD) Board of Directors meeting July 22 focused on plans for improvements and repairs to the well located at the Arapahoe Aquifer and the surface water treatment plant that supply water to the district.

Grant money available

Using capital improvement funds along with an Energy Impact Assistance Fund (EIAF) grant from the state in the amount of $106,700, the district plans to improve the current well and to possibly place the pump deeper within the well to improve flow. Other improvements being considered include enhancements to the surface water treatment facility. The funds available through the EIAF grant must be used by the end of 2010.

Currently, the board is collaborating with local engineers to address how to make repairs and upgrades in the most efficient and cost-effective manner. The board would like the project to start by early September and be completed by the end of calendar year 2010 to ensure application of the EIAF funds. In addition, the board hopes to avoid a service interruption during the project. The improvement project is open for bid, with companies such as RG Consulting Engineers Inc. and Hydrokinetics providing quotes and work schedules.

The number and severity of line breaks has significantly decreased in recent years due to installing pressure-reducing valves in the old system.

The operations report indicates the Arapahoe Aquifer is operating normally and is very reliable during periods of no rain. Also, there are limited malfunctions during times of high turbidity or increased demand for water, particularly on weekends.

Overall capital improvements are expected to decrease service downtime, extend the life of the system, increase water flow, decrease breakdowns, and improve overall quality of the FVAWD.

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The next meeting will be Thursday, Aug. 26, at the Monument Sanitation District, 130 Second St., Monument. Information: (303) 381-4977.

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Triview Metropolitan District Board, July 27: Baptist Road landscape easement vacated

By Jim Kendrick

On July 27, the board of the Triview Metropolitan District approved the vacation of numerous Triview landscaping easements along Baptist Road so that homeowners could plan for building side fences.

Board President Robert Eskridge was absent. Director Robert Fisher presided over the meeting in Eskridge’s absence.

Carriage West fence and landscaping easement vacated

Monument Director of Development Services Tom Kassawara proposed a resolution that would authorize the town to pursue the necessary procedures to vacate a landscape easement along the north side of Baptist Road. The easement is recorded on the Carriage Point West plat. Eight lots that back up to Baptist have 50-foot easements and three lots have 40-foot easements to create this green space buffer.

Kassawara noted that the recorded plat assigns responsibility for maintenance of these 11 landscaping easements to Triview. Developer Classic Homes built a split-rail fence within the county’s Baptist Road right-of-way. Several trees were also planted in the Classic Homes easement. However, Triview has not maintained the landscaping on a consistent basis.

Sometime in the past four years, the Triview district manager gave a permit to one of these property owners for a side fence that extends through the buffer to connect to the split-rail fence along Baptist Road. Since the town took over maintenance of the green space, other homeowners have applied to the town for similar fence permits. If more fences were constructed, it would become very difficult for town Public Works staff to gain access to these private back yards to maintain the green space buffer for Triview. The town staff would have to retrofit gates between each yard and maintain them as well.

Kassawara proposed that all 11 easements be vacated and maintenance responsibility be re-assigned to the property owners. Kassawara said the surveyor cost for the vacation paperwork would be very small.

Monument Public Works Director Rich Landreth added that the Triview irrigation system in these 11 easements is not working. Triview operations manager Steve Sheffield said the controller for the Triview sprinkler pipes could be removed from the back yard of one of these houses.

The town staff will send a letter to each of the 11 affected property owners informing them that:

  • The Triview easement is being vacated.
  • Fences could be installed along their side property lines down to Baptist Road if they wish.
  • Triview will no longer be responsible for maintaining the 50-foot strip at the south end of their rear yards.
  • Property owners will be expected to maintain this area in the same manner that they maintain the remainder of their rear yards.
  • Property owners will be expected to maintain this area in accordance with the maintenance provisions in the covenants governing the property.
  • The town will hold hearings on these easement vacations at meetings of the Planning Commission and Board of Trustees.
  • The town will record the revised plat with the county.

The board unanimously approved a resolution to vacate these easements.

Status of 404 permit renewal discussed

Kassawara briefed the board on the town staff’s attempts to renew Triview’s 404 permit with the Army Corps of Engineers (wetlands) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (endangered species) over the past eight months. Consultant Walsh Environmental is now assisting with technical information on mitigation and how Triview should carry out its responsibilities as the 404 permit holder.

There have been problems monitoring the progress of mitigation by the various landowners within the permit area who have impacted protected Preble’s mouse habitat. The contract for the consultant who was to perform these duties expired in 2009.

Kassawara reported that the Triview manager was supposed to establish and collect an environmental fee to be paid with each permit for a home or commercial use. These fees were to be placed in a fund earmarked for Preble’s mouse mitigation so that Triview could perform mitigation tasks required by the permit if the landowners failed to do so. According to Fish and Wildlife, Triview should also have withheld permits for any development that built on mouse habitat until mitigation was completed satisfactorily by the landowner. Neither of these programs was ever instituted.

Landowners asked Triview to conduct a meeting with all the landowners and the agencies, early in the term of the permit, to develop a plan for compliance that could be agreed upon by all parties. This was deemed necessary at that time because lands suitable for mitigation were not always located on the same property as the existing habitat land being developed. So, some cooperation among the landowners was judged to be necessary in order for the terms of the 404 permit to be met. This meeting never occurred.

Those who own property within the 404 permit area are:

  • Jackson Creek Land Co. (Tim Phelan, Rick Blevins)
  • Genesis Homes/Trail Ridge Homes, Monument PRD-10/Jackson Creek Market Village (Miles Grant)
  • Pine Tree Properties/Phoenix Bell (Greg Anderson, Dan Leung)
  • ADK Properties (Allen Brown, Community Bank)
  • Triview Metropolitan District

The Corps of Engineers and Fish and Wildlife advised the town staff they were pleased to see an attempt by the staff to get the various parties together and act as a coordinator in order to obtain compliance, especially since the 404 permit was due to expire in November 2009. At that time, both agency representatives stated that none of the landowners would be permitted to modify any portion of the permit or apply to encroach upon existing wetlands or mouse habitat until the outstanding compliance issues were resolved. The agencies suggested that a modification to the permit could be considered if Triview was not able to come to an agreement with the landowners on solutions to the current problems with compliance.

The town staff has requested and received an extension to Triview’s 404 permit until Dec. 31, 2014, with the stipulation that Triview must work diligently toward the development of a modification to the permit.

Kassawara also gave an extensive report on the staff’s actions to date on the numerous technical problems that must be resolved to obtain a 404 permit renewal through the staff’s coordination of incomplete habitat mitigation and the required purchase of substitute habitat.

Sanctuary Pointe update

Kassawara reported on the background of the Sanctuary Pointe annexation and recent actions taken by the staff. Some of the items he reported on were:

  • The Annexation and Sketch Plan was approved by the Board of Trustees on November 20, 2006
  • The Annexation Agreement was fully executed May 15, 2008. The Triview Inclusion Agreement was included as Exhibit C.
  • Preliminary/Final Plats and PD Site Plans for Phase 1 (eastern portion), which included five filings, were submitted in 2008, reviewed by staff, and put on hold by the developer, Classic Homes, before any hearings were scheduled.
  • The Triview Metropolitan District Order for Inclusion was approved March 25, 2008.
  • The petition for Inclusion, as referenced in the order, included as a condition of the inclusion that "various items of municipal infrastructure will be required to be installed by petitioner in order to provide service to the property." The items listed in Section 5(A) of the attached agreement were to be initially paid for by the petitioner (Classic Homes) subject to reimbursement from the district as set forth in Section 7 of the agreement. Section 5(B) contains additional language regarding understandings between the petitioner and the district pertaining to certain infrastructure obligations. The items set forth in Section 5(C), which are roads, streets, and internal infrastructure necessary to serve the development, were to be paid for by petitioner.

Classic Homes was to construct a variety of infrastructure improvements that the Triview manager classified as "system improvements"—water and sewer installations that were perceived as benefiting the district by providing regional facilities to be used by future residents outside the annexation area. Triview was to reimburse Classic Homes for the cost of these improvements:

  • A sewer collector in Baptist Road (which was already installed during the Baptist Road widening project) ($256,500).
  • Classic’s proportionate share of a water tank to be constructed on the Sanctuary Pointe property ($380,000).
  • A booster station for water distribution ($330,000).
  • Installation and equipment for an Arapahoe aquifer well on the Sanctuary Pointe property ($550,000).
  • Installation of a water line from the new well to the new water storage tank ($127,500).
  • Installation of a sanitary sewer main on the property ($391,000).
  • Installation of a sewage lift station and a sewer force main from the new lift station to the gravity sewer system ($545,000).
  • Installation of a sewage collection main in Kingswood Drive ($162,000).
  • Installation of a water line from an existing well to the new water tank (costs not identified). Petitioner was to pay engineering and surveying costs.

The agreement states that "The district has allocated up to $3,000,000 for reimbursement to petitioner for infrastructure to be initially constructed by petitioner." No evidence has been found in previous budgets or the current budget to indicate that funds were ever encumbered or otherwise set aside for these payments. The Petition for Inclusion does state, however, that reimbursement to the petitioner from the district shall be made by "one or more tax exempt cash flow municipal bonds," and that "payments will be coordinated to meet the cash flow needs of the district taking into account the taxes and fees produced from the property." Cost recovery provisions are also mentioned in the petition.

Grant contract approved

Consultant Linda Firth described how she would write a grant proposal for the creation of a joint water conservation plan for Triview, the Town of Monument, and the Town of Palmer Lake. She would charge each $2,000 for a total of $6,000. If the grant application is unsuccessful, she would refund $1,000 each. The Triview board approved her proposal as did the Monument Board of Trustees and the Palmer Lake Town Council. See more details in the July 19 Board of Trustees article.

Draft operating agreement completed

Fisher and Director Steve Remington discussed the draft agreement for joint operations that was distributed to the other Triview directors and the Monument trustees on Aug. 2. Comments and suggestions on this final draft will be requested from the other directors and trustees.

Financial report

The board approved four checks over $5,000:

  • $7,389 to Felt, Monson, & Culichia LLC for legal work on water issues
  • $94,858 to Donala Water and Sanitation District for the third-quarter maintenance payment
  • $9,578 to PSF Company LLC for paving
  • $7,577 to Walsh Environmental LLC for environmental consulting

The meeting was recessed at 7:12 p.m. before going into executive session to receive legal advice from attorney Chris Cummins of Felt, Monson, & Culichia.

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The next meeting will be held at 5 p.m. on Aug. 24 at Town Hall, 645 Beacon Lite Road. Meetings are normally held on the fourth Tuesday of the month. Information: 884-8017.

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Donald Wescott Fire Protection District, July 28: Financing of new aerial truck finalized

By Jim Kendrick

On July 28, the Donald Wescott Fire Protection District Board approved the immediate purchase of a new Rosenbauer America aerial truck, which would retail for approximately $775,000, from Max Fire Apparatus of Castle Rock for a cash price of about $531,000.

The board also discussed options for financing the purchase of a Type 3 pumper and the construction of its new fire station for seven, 10, or 15 years, but deferred a final decision on the specific amounts to be financed and the specific lengths of the lease-purchase agreements. Financing agreements do not have to be finalized for these two items until later this year, because no payments will be due right away.

The absence of Director Harland Baker was excused.

Background

At the June 23 board meeting, the board unanimously approved a letter of intent to purchase the 75-foot ladder truck from Max Fire, after considering various options for financing the purchase of an aerial in each district budget cycle over the past five years. The discount offered for purchasing a demonstration vehicle that the Central States division of Rosenbauer America is currently using for trade shows and conventions made the purchase even more affordable and fit into the timing for equipping the new station on Highway 83 at the Stagecoach Road intersection. It would be assigned to Station 1 on Gleneagle Drive. The aerial truck has a small enough footprint to fit in the tighter parking lots at some commercial, strip mall, and apartment properties in Wescott’s service area that are too small for the larger ladder trucks used by other county fire departments that might respond to a mutual aid dispatch.

Also at the June 23 meeting, the board approved the lease purchase of a new 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 on the east side of the district. This smaller custom pumper would be assigned to Station 3 when Central States completes its construction. The base price of this custom-built truck is $251,713. Discounts are available for prepayment of the chassis. The first lease-purchase payment to Wells Fargo would be made in 2012, a year after it is delivered to Wescott.

The district’s water tender will be reassigned to Station 3 due to the absence of hydrants in Academy Water and Sanitation District and several of Wescott’s coverage areas to the south as well as a shorter response time from the new station. Similarly, one of the district’s brush trucks will also be reassigned to Station 3 because they are designed for brush fires in the grassland areas that are common in this southern area.

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

The board unanimously approved a motion on June 23 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 paying off the existing Wells Fargo lease-purchase agreement for the district’s primary Rosenbauer pumper truck that was purchased in 2006, with a condition to postpone the final payoff decision until July 28 in order to determine if there would be an interest penalty for an early payoff.

Board approves cash payment for aerial

Director Dennis Feltz, who was absent on June 23, expressed his opposition to the decisions on apparatus made at this previous meeting, as well as the decision to award a design-build contract for construction of Station 3, by asking numerous questions of other board members and staff members. Feltz was replaced as district treasurer by the board at its first meeting after the May 4 election.

Feltz started his series of questions on the aerial purchase by interrupting Treasurer Joyce Hartung before she had a chance to begin her presentation on the "Station and Vehicle Financing" agenda item. He asked the board and staff for "the justification for the ladder truck? What was it? The reason why we wanted the ladder truck was?"

Assistant Chief Vinny Burns replied, "We have tall buildings." Burns added, "70 to be exact."

Chief Jeff Edwards said, "I presented for the last five years the necessity for a ladder truck in this district."

After a lengthy contentious discussion on the numerous financing, cash reserve, and expanded payroll factors to consider, Secretary Greg Gent ended Feltz’s questioning of the June 23 letter of intent decision by offering a motion to pay cash for the new ladder truck. This would increase the amount being saved through a Max Fire preferred customer discount by avoiding interest payments, and the district would receive another 35 percent interest discount by using Buy American Bonds offered by Wells Fargo. The motion was approved 3-1, with Feltz opposed.

Treasurer’s report

Hartung noted that in June, total income was $495,289 and total expenditures were $$345,224. The final payment to Wells Fargo for the lease-purchase of the 2006 Rosenbauer pumper was $150,506.

Administrative Assistant Cheryl Marshall reported that the final copy of the district’s 2009 audit would be provided to the state by July 30. The auditor will brief the board at the Aug. 25 meeting on his separate management letter. Copies of the audit will be provided to the district in early August.

Chief’s report

There were 80 calls in June for a total of 603 this year, down 8 percent from 2009. There were no injuries. AMR had 38 ambulance calls within the district and 21 out of the district.

Edwards’ first five-year goal plan has been completed. He will develop and distribute a new set of goals for the next five years to include a merger or formation of a fire authority with Black Forest Fire/Rescue District. The district may have to increase its mill levy to cover the expenses associated with formation of an authority or if some Colorado Springs areas within the district’s service area are taken over by the city. The only other planned apparatus purchases would be to replace unsafe equipment, such as self-contained breathing apparatus. All the county fire departments will be implementing the 2009 International Fire Code, which will require some changes.

Edwards and Hartung discussed efforts to respond to a Freedom of Information Act request from former volunteer Karen Kitske. The board and staff concurred on the district providing information promptly in response to appropriate requests by any citizen. Fees will be charged when appropriate for preparing new documents to answer questions. Board Chairman Scott Campbell said the district will continue to hold itself to a high standard of conduct even to individuals who are rude and do not pay the invoices for the documentation provided.

An attorney for a few Colorado Springs property owners has requested that they no longer be included in the Wescott service area and no longer pay Wescott property taxes. The staff and the district’s attorney will meet with them and advise them that the district’s current policy is to keep all properties within the district unless directed otherwise by a judge.

The Fourth of July parade participation and family picnic went well.

The district’s website has been updated.

Station 3 report

Edwards reported that trees had been cut down, stakes have been set for the building location, soil samples have been taken for well and septic testing, and a new cattle fence has been installed around the Station 3 lot. Weekly meetings are being held with Colarelli Construction Inc. The site plan, including grading plans for the site, driveways, and new adjacent roadways, have been approved. Colarelli should make a final decision soon on selecting a design contractor from several candidates. The external design of the station will be coordinated with Shamrock Ranch owner David Wismer. Construction is expected to begin in January.

The district forwarded the traffic study required by the Colorado Department of Transportation on July 23. Final Highway 83 access approval by El Paso County is expected in October.

Feltz asked numerous questions about the June 23 meeting regarding contract and costs, which Gent answered. The items discussed that were not part of the executive session for legal advice were previously reported in OCN. Edwards and Gent answered these questions.

Edwards also noted that Colarelli had found $100,000 in savings in the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system, and an unnecessary door had been eliminated. Gent reminded Feltz that he was free to listen to the recordings of the executive sessions and no one is entitled to get copies of these recordings to take home. Campbell reminded Feltz that the advice of legal counsel by statute is not recorded and reiterated that Feltz is not entitled to a personal copy of the recordings of other executive session discussions.

Former Director and board President Brian Ritz stated that the district should have conducted soil sample tests before accepting Wismer’s donation of the Station 3 site.

Black Forest Consolidation Committee report

Chief Dan Qualman of the South Metro Fire Rescue Authority briefed the consolidation committee on lessons learned when the South Metro Fire Rescue District and Parker Fire Protection District created the fire authority. Some of the items noted by Campbell and Feltz were:

  • The fire authority board has seven members, three from each district and a member elected by these six members.
  • The three members from each district form a quorum for each district’s five-member boards for any financial decisions made by the authority.
  • The district boards only meet to deal with the separate district budgets and mill levies, 9.25 mills for South Metro and 14 for Parker.
  • Studies and activities for forming the district were very inclusive.
  • Consultant Emergency Service Consultants Inc. (ESCI) of Oregon performed the authority’s low-cost limited feasibility study on economies of scale and sizing.
  • Qualman will provide copies of the authority’s governing document for review.

See www.southmetro.org/File/Feasibility_Study_Report_031408_Finalcondensed.pdf for more details on formation of the South Metro Authority.

Campbell said that the Black Forest Consolidation Committee is looking at forming an authority now that merging by inclusion of Wescott into Black Forest has been determined to be not feasible.

At the end of the meeting, Campbell and Gent admonished Feltz for the numerous questions he had asked throughout the meeting regarding financial and operational decisions and procedures after Feltz asked the board to send out letters to every district constituent every time the new Type 3 pumper is deployed for wildfire training and not available for dispatch within the Wescott service area.

Edwards said, "In the history of this department has a fire truck never shown up to a fire in the Donald Wescott Fire Protection District? What leads you to believe that it wouldn’t?"

Feltz replied, "I don’t know. The comments (were) that there’s areas within our district that a fire truck can’t get to and I wanted a justification. I was just following up with a question."

Campbell replied, "Guys, this is embarrassing. Dennis, this needs to stop."

Gent said, "I do have a problem with you attacking people. I don’t particularly like for you to attack Joyce. Joyce is doing her job. Don’t question her. The board voted her in and she is now our treasurer. The chiefs run this department. We give the chiefs responsibility to run the department. We do not tell them how to run the department. I don’t want to hear you tell Joyce how to be treasurer. I don’t want to hear you tell the chiefs how to do it and I don’t want to hear you tell our chairman how he should run the meeting. OK? I’ve had enough. OK? That’s enough. If you would like to ask a question, that’s fine. But you will not attack somebody we’ve put in that office. You will not do that."

"So verifying the salaries was an attack?" said Feltz.

"Everybody here knows what you were doing. You’re instigating, OK. You were trying to attack her and I don’t like it. We support what she’s doing, OK? Don’t do it."

Campbell added, "It’s got to stop. We’ve got to act like a team. OK? We all do. That’s what I expect. That’s what the constituents expect. We can have differing opinions. We have questions. We have answers. We need to ask those, we need to be professional, and we need to do our jobs. We have to keep that in mind. That is what is expected of all of us and we need to behave that way. OK? I will entertain a motion to adjourn."

The meeting adjourned at 9:07 p.m.

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The next meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Aug. 25 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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Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District board, July 28: New ladder truck arrives

By Bernard L. Minetti

On July 28, The Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District Board of Directors got a close-up view of the new fire truck assigned to Fire Station 1. Training Officer Mike Keough and Battalion Chief Greg Lovato explained the various functions of this five-platform fire vehicle. The truck has a 100-foot aerial device that could be lowered to reach someone fallen through ice or raised upward, ground ladders, a pump, a 300-gallon water tank, and an aerial master stream device that can project water at 2,000 gallons per minute.

Keough explained that the crew on this vehicle is assigned three primary missions when operating this truck. The missions are search and rescue, forcible entry, and ventilation. While these are primary missions, there are many other missions that the crews are trained to perform.

During the meeting, Lovato discussed the qualification criteria for the drivers and backup drivers of this vehicle. Director Bruce Fritzche asked whether district liability insurance would be less expensive if all the drivers were required to obtain a commercial driver’s license. The board seemed to agree that this was something that needed to be considered. Jennifer Martin, district administrative assistant, was asked to have Fire Chief Robert Denboske obtain the information so that the board could make that determination.

Deborah Goth of the Committee for Political Achievement, which is a subcommittee of the state-mandated District Accountability and Advisory Committee for School District 38, said that she was required to formulate a strategy to educate the public so that they would be more knowledgeable about Proposition 101 and Amendments 60 and 61. She asked the board to forward the effect that passage of these items would have on the fire district. Board President Charlie Pocock said that the information would be formulated and forwarded to her. Goth stated that the purpose of her request was to gather information for a brochure to educate the public.

Fire crew commended

Fire Capt. Kris Mola and his crew were commended by the board for their actions in assisting a citizen whose home was being flooded because of a broken water pipe. They responded to a call in Century Place and immediately set about to stem the water flow and prevent the water from further damaging the home. They were successful, and damage was held to a minimum.

Training Officer Keough presented the June training figures. He stated that there were 17 classes offered, which totaled 93 class hours and 928 personnel hours. The subjects covered included fire training classes, EMS classes, and active shooter training.

Martin informed the board that the transition of bank accounts from People’s Bank to Vectra bank was proceeding on schedule and was being accomplished very smoothly.

June budget report

Treasurer John Hildebrandt presented the bookkeeping summary for June by stating that the end of June represented the half-way mark in the budget year. He said the district had received $2,194,694 of budgeted property tax revenue, which was 68.21 percent of the annual budget. He further explained that the district ambulance revenue received was $244,758, which was 53.21 percent of the budgeted amount. The amount received to date was 3.21 percent over the budgeted expectation. This was a positive factor, since in previous years the ambulance revenues generally have lagged.

Hildebrandt explained that the district had made two of the three fire truck lease payments, which accounted for 80.8 percent of the lease payments for the year. The last annual lease payment for the fire trucks would be made in November. Overall district expenses are 52.64 percent of the budget, which is slightly high, he said.

The board was required to view a video on "Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act," which describes the handling of privacy data. Battalion Chief Lovato explained that the HIPAA Privacy Rule provides federal protections for personal health information held by covered entities and gives patients an array of rights with respect to that information. At the same time, the Privacy Rule is balanced so that it permits the disclosure of personal health information needed for patient care and other important purposes.

Lovato further explained that the Security Rule specifies a series of administrative, physical, and technical safeguards for covered entities to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of electronic protected health information. The board is required to be knowledgeable on this subject.

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The next Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District Board meeting will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 25, 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 Martin at 719-484-0911.

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Palmer Lake Town Council, July 8: Medical marijuana cultivation space approved

By David Futey

A separate Palmer Lake Liquor – Medical Marijuana Licensing Authority meeting was held by the Palmer Lake Town Council on July 8 before it conducted its regular meeting. This article covers both sessions.

By unanimous decision, with Trustee Max Stafford recused from the vote, the licensing authority approved medical marijuana greenhouse and cultivation space for Mile High Holistics in a manufacturing zone.

Mile High Holistics owner Susan Herz said she has purchased security cameras and sensors and would be ready for an inspection on July 12. The cultivation space will be used in conjunction with Herz’s storefront at 630 Highway 105.

The cultivation space is 1,000 square feet and may be subdivided into two 500-square-foot spaces. Herz said that under state guidelines, it is possible to have two licenses under one address if the areas are separated by wall or floor-to-ceiling chain-link fencing.

By unanimous decision, the authority also approved 500 square feet of Herz’s rental space for Native Growers LLC. The space will be used for "infused products" cultivation.

By unanimous decision, the authority approved setting a 250-foot boundary for the state-required neighborhood survey on the acceptability of a new retail liquor store license for Sylvia Amos at 56-A Highway 105.

The meeting adjourned at 7:09 p.m.

Palmer Lake Town Council meeting

Trustee Max Stafford said plans for the water treatment plant will be ready for approval by the week of July 19. Delays in the plans will push the start date of the expansion of the plant toward the winter.

Stafford also said the Cherokee Water District will not be participating in the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority (PPRWA), which will present financial challenges for the PPRWA.

Mayor John Cressman said that according to Palmer Lake Water Superintendent Steve Orcutt, money could be saved if the project is not phased but done all at once. The issue with doing it all at once would be dependency on the wells for water. Cressman said this would be a "little risky," because he guessed it would take three to four months to complete the project.

Stafford said the wells need service because they are diminishing in output due to age. He said one well may need to be re-drilled or re-cased.

Water Conservation Plan grant writer approved

By unanimous decision, the council approved a motion to have Linda Firth hired as a consultant grant writer to assist with obtaining a grant for the preparation of the town’s Water Conservation Plan. The grant would pay Firth to write the town’s plan.

Firth said the PPRWA recently decided to withdraw its grant application for conservation planning. The PPRWA suggested that individual entities should go out to "get their own plan."

The conservation plan is a condition for the loan the town is seeking from the state to assist with the water treatment plant upgrade. Firth said it would also be worth the effort to put together a good conservation plan because a grant is available to do it and the town would have a planning document to guide the future of the water program

Firth suggested that Monument, Tri-View, and Palmer Lake could jointly produce a conservation plan to make a better case to get a grant for writing the plan. She is approaching the other entities to determine their interest in the venture. Stafford said the town will need a conservation ordinance similar to Monument’s. Firth estimated the grant would be $35,000, and she would receive $6,000 for the combined proposal from Monument, Tri-View, and Palmer Lake. Firth said Palmer Lake could do a plan itself, but if it does not meet the state guidelines it could affect the town’s ability to receive funding through the state.

Proclamation for music festival

Cressman read a proclamation concerning the Pikes Peak International Music Festival, called "In Harmony." The festival will be held July 21-24 at the Pikes Peak Center. Related to the reading of the proclamation, the Colorado Springs Children’s Chorale sang "Dream a Dream" for the council and those in attendance.

Reports

Parks and Recreation/Economic Development: Trustee Joe Polonsky said the Fourth of July Fun Run raised over $7,000 for Palmer Lake Elementary School. Polonsky is considering an opportunity to become director for the 2011 race.

Trustee Gary Coleman said he assisted with the Elephant Rock Bike Race, met with the Chautauqua event committee, and met with Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts Executive Director Susan Adams to determine locations around the lake for vendor setup for the Palmer Lake Arts and Community Event (PLACE).

Fire: Trustee Bryan Jack said there was a fire under the gazebo at the lake and that it will require board replacement before repairs occur.

Jack said Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department (PLVFD) volunteer hours for June were 1,419, increasing the total for the year to 7,587 hours. Richard Wolfe has become a member of the department.

The department was involved in a variety of activities in June, including:

  • 24 hours of Elephant Rock Bike Ride
  • Four days of active shooter training sponsored by the Monument Police Department
  • Assistant Fire Chief Greg Lokken supported burn tower training for Lockheed Martin firefighters
  • Supported the fundraiser for the Denver Burn Camp Run where the event ended at the PLVFD station. For their assistance, Fire Chief Shana Ball said the department might receive a donation from the Denver Fire Department.

Jack said $2,000 was required to repair the brush truck and that equipment has been posted on craigslist.org for sale. The PLVFD is also donating bunk beds to the Living Word Chapel.

Police: Trustee Nikki McDonald said the Palmer Lake Police Department (PLPD) received three sets of Stop Sticks, a pursuit/fleeing vehicle intervention device used to deflate tires. The Stop Sticks were purchased through a grant from the Tri-Lakes Women’s Club. The devices were already put into service during the pursuit of a stolen vehicle on June 18. The PLPD also received a beanbag shotgun used for animal control. The shotgun has already been used to persuade a bear to leave a home.

Roads: Trustee Dennis Stern said roads were prepped with approximately 17,000 gallons of dust suppressant, with another 30,000 gallons of water used in grading operations. Jack commended the Roads Department and PLVFD regarding their response to recent weather issues.

Business license fees

By unanimous decision, the council approved a reduction of a second application fee by 50 percent for the same owner and same limited liability company (LLC). Herz requested that the council reconsider the business application fee. Stern asked Town Clerk Della Gray about the cost of processing a second license. Gray said there is less processing to do, but the PLPD chief needs to do a security inspection, and a site inspection is required. Stern suggested reducing the second application fee to $250, since it equals the amount of labor required.

Park agreement approved

By unanimous decision, the council approved a memorandum of understanding with El Paso County regarding the park by the lake. The county wanted to formalize the agreement with the town. This agreement will require the town to perform some maintenance on the park. The pavilion, playground, and dock become property of the town. The town and county will coordinate use of the lake for recreational purposes.

Awards presentation

PLPD Chief Keith Moreland and PLVFD Chief Alana Ball presented community service awards to three area organizations. In spring 2010, the PLPD and PLVFD created the community service award to recognize individuals and organizations that "give up their time, talent, and resources to benefit the Town of Palmer Lake’s first responders":

  • Sundance Kennel has assisted the PLPD by receiving animals taken into protective custody and responding to the scene to take responsibility for an animal.
  • Palmer Lake Riding Stables has assisted the PLPD with the rescue and care of abandoned or cruelly treated horses.
  • The Tri-Lakes Women’s Club has assisted the PLVFD and PLPD by providing funds for a variety of equipment, including rescue suits, hand-held radios, body armor, and two beanbag shotguns.

By unanimous decision, the council approved the hiring of Police Officer Kevin Ringler.

Chief Moreland gave the oath of office to Ringler while his mother pinned on his badge.

By unanimous decision, the council approved a business license for Counter Revolution, operated by Christian Walters at 780 Highway 105, Unit F. The business is moving from Monument.

Roads Supervisor Bob Radosevich requested that the council review a draft ordinance for sidewalk maintenance. Cressman requested that discussion on the potential ordinance be placed on the next council meeting’s agenda.

The meeting adjourned at 8:53 p.m.

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The next regular council meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Aug. 12 at Town Hall, 28 Valley Crescent. Information: www.ci.palmer-lake.co.us/index.shtml or call 481-2953.

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Monument Board of Trustees, July 19: Joint water plan gets preliminary approval

By Jim Kendrick

On July 19, the Monument Board of Trustees discussed development of a water conservation plan and a strategic water plan. The agenda item for a resolution establishing an intergovernmental agreement with the Colorado High Speed Rail Authority was continued to a future meeting.

Public Works Director Rich Landreth discussed the development of short-, medium-, and long-range goals and objectives regarding Monument’s water needs. The strategic plan would also include options for purchases of renewable water rights, the development of ownership and water transport partnerships, and their associated costs. These options would be based on strategic proposals that have been raised in various water studies conducted in the region over the past few years.

Landreth also discussed the town’s separate need to develop a formal water conservation plan and obtain state approval for it. He recommended that Public Works partner with Triview Metropolitan District and the Town of Palmer Lake to create a combined conservation plan. Any Colorado entity that uses more than 2,000 acre-feet per year is required to have a state-approved water conservation plan. Once Monument has a water conservation plan approved, it becomes eligible for water conservation grants and discounted loans for conservation projects.

Landreth noted that he had arranged for a consultant who specializes in writing water conservation plans and grant proposals to draft an application for a grant that would then pay her to write the conservation plan. There would be considerable cost savings in writing one plan for Monument, Triview Metropolitan District, and Palmer Lake rather than to write three nearly identical individual conservation plans for each. The cost to have the grant proposal written is $6,000—$2,000 from each of the three entities. However, if the grant is not received, the cost for writing the joint proposal will be discounted to $3,000, or $1,000 each. Landreth noted that the Palmer Lake Town Council had approved the joint grant application effort on July 8.

The board gave preliminary approval to the proposal to write the grant application, contingent upon the Triview board also approving the funding of the joint grant proposal.

Presentation on election issues

Town Manager Cathy Green gave a slide presentation prepared by Sherman & Howard LLC of Colorado Springs on the problems that would arise if voters approve Amendment 60 (property tax), Amendment 61 (long-term government financing), or Proposition 101 (cars, communications, and Colorado income tax) in the Nov. 2 election.

After the briefing, new El Paso County Intergovernmental Operations Officer Ron Teck introduced himself to the board and staff department heads. Teck noted his background as the state Senate Budget Appropriations Committee chairman. He noted that passage of all three amendments would cause most current state revenues to eventually be devoted entirely to education. He said the county and the Colorado Municipal League are preparing white papers to describe the likely outcome of passage of any or all of these proposed amendments.

The board unanimously approved four annual liquor license renewals:

  • Walmart Supercenter, 16218 Jackson Creek Parkway
  • Chugh Enterprises/7-Eleven Inc., 283 Highway 105
  • Jackson Creek Chinese Restaurant, 1054 West Baptist Road
  • Monument Liquor Mart, 15742 Jackson Creek Parkway

Staff reports

Town Attorney Gary Shupp reported that the Brodie case, regarding property at the corner of Front and Second Streets, had been continued but some sort of action should be taken by the court before the end of the month.

Tom Kassawara, director of Development Services, reported that a total of 37 new home permits had been issued by his department in 2010.

Landreth reported that the Colorado Department of Wildlife had inspected the mitigation areas around the shoreline of Monument Lake. Wildlife’s report will be issued shortly. He added that the town will need to continue emphasis on weed spraying and plantings near mitigation areas.

Police Chief Jake Shirk reported that the Masonic Lodge on Furrow Road had recognized Monument Police Department Detective Steve Lontz as its "Officer of the Year."

Green noted that there would be a "Monument Day" held at the County Fair on July 24.

The board went into executive session at 8:08 p.m. to receive legal advice from its attorney.

The meeting was subsequently adjourned, with no further votes, at 9:22 p.m.

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Monument Board of Trustees, Aug. 2: Water plans discussed

By Jim Kendrick

On Aug. 2, the Monument Board of Trustees unanimously approved a replat of Tract A of the Monument Rock Business Park. The board unanimously approved amendments to the sections of the Town Code on preliminary plats and final plats. The board also unanimously approved amendments to the sections of the Town Code on accumulation of junk, establishing inspection and monitoring for sanitary conditions and building maintenance, and eliminating and controlling weeds.

After a very long discussion, the board tabled a resolution for paying $5,000 for one year of town membership in the Colorado High Speed Rail Authority.

Trustees Stan Gingrich and Jeff Kaiser were absent from the meeting.

Monument Rock replat approved

Tom Kassawara, director of Development Services, briefed the board on the request from landowner SDK1 LLC of Monument for a replat of the vacant eastern tract of the Monument Rock Business Park. The approved site plan for the office/warehouse business park contains three buildings. The first building was constructed on the northeast corner of Mitchell and Synthes Avenues as soon as the site plan for the business park was approved in November 2004. Tract A is 3.3 acres. An easement from Tract A will be dedicated to the town.

The existing 20-foot utility easement around the perimeter of Tract A will be vacated. Lot 1 of Replat A, the middle lot, will be 1.38 acres, and Lot 2 on the east end of the tract will be 1.65 acres. A 20-foot-wide front utility easement in Lot 1 along Synthes Avenue will be dedicated to Mountain View Electric Association.

The staff proposed three conditions of approval for the replat:

  1. Any necessary technical corrections shall be made and approved by staff, including the addition of the following statement on the plat titled "Easements to be dedicated by this plat": "A reciprocal easement is granted across Lot 3, excluding the building site, for the benefit of Lots 1 and 2 for employees, customers, emergency and service vehicles, and other users authorized by the owners." The delineation of the temporary access easement will be dedicated by separate instrument prior to the recordation of the site plan for Lot 2.
  2. All referral agency comments shall be resolved prior to recordation of the plat.
  3. The Special Warranty Deed dedicating water rights shall be re-recorded with the original subdivision plat.

Kassawara said the temporary access easement issue had already been resolved but should still be approved by the board. Kassawara also noted that the second building will be built on the middle lot, Lot 1. He also noted a copy of the special warranty deed for water was given to the town staff but was never recorded.

The site plan for Lot 1 will be approved administratively without hearings by the Planning Commission or Board of Trustees. Kassawara will use the design guidelines approved in 2004 to evaluate the new building. There are no plans for construction on Lot 2 at this time.

Original screening requirements from 2004 will be enforced

Kassawara said that the landscaping and trees that were required as a condition of approval for the overall site plan for noise and light mitigation were never met by SDK1 for the existing building. Kassawara assured the board that SDK1 owners John Dworak, former mayor Betty Konarski, and Hermann and Nancy Spielkamp will be required to provide required screening for the adjacent property owners on Trumbull Lane that has not been installed though required for the last six years.

Background: Four separate hearings were held before the extremely controversial office/warehouse business park was approved in 2004.

The Planning Commission voted 4-2 on Sept. 8, 2004, to recommend approval of the preliminary plan and final plat/final PD site plan for Monument Rock Business Park. Issues with the project included traffic impact, noise and light pollution affecting adjacent residential areas, the industrial architectural character of the project, and damage to the value of nearby properties. (www.ourcommunitynews.org/v4n10.htm#monpc)

The Board of Trustees tabled the SDK1 site plan after a contentious hearing on Oct. 4, 2008. After 95 minutes of discussion and two failed motions, the Monument Rock proposal was neither approved nor rejected. The Planning Commission had asked that a berm be built north of the rear parking and driveways so the trees and shrubs would be further elevated. SDK1 had offered to plant twice as many trees and shrubs as required by regulation to ensure a complete visual screening of the garage doors for neighboring residences, as well as place some on adjacent town property so they could sit atop the berm that the Planning Commission had asked for to further raise the height of the natural screen. No decision on this was made by the board. A motion to approve the proposal died for lack of a second. A motion to deny the application resulted in a 3-3 deadlock. It was then tabled. (www.ourcommunitynews.org/v4n11.htm#botoct4)

At the Oct. 18, 2004, Board of Trustees site plan hearing, Konarski agreed to escrow about $6,120 for additional landscape screening along the back of the parcel in lieu of the tall screening fence required by town regulations. A split-rail fence was also required to soften the view from the homes nearby on Trumbull Lane, but it was never built.

However, Konarski objected to building or providing escrow funds of about $13,000 for 350 feet of sidewalks, curbs, and gutters along the business park frontage on Synthes Avenue. She did agree to the condition on the final plat that the town may mandate their construction in the future. No funds for the sidewalk were escrowed. (www.ourcommunitynews.org/v4n11.htm#botoct18)

Note: On Aug. 2, Kassawara said the town still has no plans to build a sidewalk on the other developed properties on Synthes Avenue.

At its Nov. 1, 2004, meeting, the Board of Trustees unanimously approved the subdivision improvement agreement (SIA) for the Monument Rock subdivision. The SIA includes copies of the easements the applicant has requested the town to grant. The 30-foot landscape easement along the south boundary of the 100-foot-wide town-owned property that separates the Trumbull Lane residential subdivision and the SDK1 Monument Rock parcel strip of land will give workers room to install and maintain the required visual screen of vegetation and drip irrigation system. The landscape easement allows SDK1 to fulfill the town requirement, as recommended by the Parks & Landscape Committee in early September 2004, to build a berm under the required landscape screen across the north boundary of the property. SDK1 volunteered to install a double row of plantings. The berm will immediately screen the Trumbull Lane residences from delivery truck headlights while the vegetation fully matures. (www.ourcommunitynews.org/v4n11.htm#botnov1)

The board approved the replat along with the three proposed conditions by a 4-0-1 vote. Trustee Rick Squires recused himself from the discussion and vote. He did not explain the reason for his recusal. This would be the last public hearing on the Monument Rock Business Park.

Preliminary Plat and Final Plat amendments approved

Kassawara said amendments to the preliminary and final plat codes remove most of the regulations regarding submittal of applications and replace them with administrative checklists that can be changed from time to time without a change in the ordinance. New checklists have been created for the review and approval process as well to make it clearer to everyone what is required. He said the same approach was used in developing the section of the Town Code on sketch plats. Kassawara added that the Housing and Building Association had no comments on the proposals after reviewing them both.

The board unanimously approved both amendments.

New code enforcement officer introduced to the board

Town Manager Cathy Green introduced the town’s new code enforcement officer, Cynthia Sirochman. She is a retired police officer who then worked as a civilian at the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office on unconcealed handgun issues and as an emergency preparedness planner and victim advocate. She said she would continue to operate under the town policy of gaining code compliance via voluntary cooperation through verbal warnings rather than the use of citations.

Sirochman reviewed the various features of each change in the code that will improve the safety and welfare of the citizens of Monument. Each of the proposed segments of new code create enforceable ordinances to give Sirochman the authority to enforce compliance from individuals who do not voluntarily work with her to remove problems. Sirochman said she and Town Attorney Gary Shupp used Colorado Springs ordinances and "common sense" to draft the ordinances required to better eliminate safety hazards, filling the ongoing enforcement void caused by the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department declining to enforce its own requirements.

Sirochman answered a number of technical questions from trustees. She said enforcement will remain complaint-driven if a serious safety issue is not involved. Her command of existing ordinances and their limitations was apparent during this exchange.

The board unanimously approved her proposed revisions.

The board unanimously approved an annual renewal of the liquor license for Safeway at 6243 Highway 105.

Financial reports

The board unanimously approved two payments over $5,000:

  • $122,276 to Triview Metropolitan District for May sales tax, June motor vehicle tax, and June Regional Building sales tax
  • $9,029 to Landscape Endeavors Inc. for the final payment and retainage for Third Street Improvements
Treasurer Pamela Smith presented the June financial report and the sales tax report. Revenues slightly improved and expenses remain well controlled and below the amount budgeted. She said the staff’s very conservative approach should ensure keeping control of the town’s finances. She added that she will delay restating the town’s annual budget until there is more certainty on how much additional revenue may be available for the remainder of the year.

Green reported that there is no resolution to the problem of the used restrooms purchased from Larkspur no longer being "grandfathered" by the code requirements in force when they were originally constructed and installed. The sinks and toilets are nine inches too close to each other to meet current requirements for wheelchair access, and the buildings will not be given a certificate of occupancy.

Representatives of Black Hills Energy met with the staff to inform them of ways they can provide programs and assistance.

The town has still not purchased $20,000 worth of trees from Mountain Farmer because it has not come into compliance after the county Health Department discovered several code violations regarding the treatment of human waste on the property. Failing septic systems are leaking into Crystal Creek, which delivers this contamination into Monument Lake. Property owner Julie Gardner’s proposed engineering solution to these human waste problems were unsatisfactory and returned to Gardner’s engineer for revision. There are several other unresolved issues as well.

Green distributed copies of the draft basic intergovernmental agreement for joint operations of Triview Metropolitan District by the town staff. She asked the trustees to read the draft and provide comments for the subcommittee that is creating this and several other agreements regarding street sweeping, landscape maintenance, irrigation and the like that will be developed in the future.

Police Chief Jake Shirk, who is running against incumbent Terry Maketa in the Republican primary for El Paso County sheriff, invited everyone to his election party at 5:30 p.m. on Aug. 10 at the Hampton Inn at 1307 Republic Drive, just southeast of the I-25 Interquest Parkway Exit (153). Country Western singer Rich Owens of Jackson Creek will provide the musical entertainment.

Trustees’ comments

Mayor Travis Easton reported that the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department had provided $25,000 to the Colorado Springs Economic Development Committee. A full-page advertisement and four-page article on the Tri-Lakes region had been printed in Engage magazine. A rotating seat on the committee’s board will be available soon and could be filled by a Tri-Lakes Economic Development Committee representative when the Manitou Springs representative steps down.

The meeting adjourned at 8:08 p.m.

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The next meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 16 at Town Hall, 645 Beacon Lite Road. Meetings are normally held on the first and third Wednesday of the month. Information: 884-8017.

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Monument Planning Commission, July 14: Two new buildings planned for business park

By Susan Hindman

On July 14, the Monument Planning Commission approved the subdividing of a 3-acre vacant lot at the Monument Rock Business Park into two lots—one 1.65 acres and the other 1.38 acres. A one-story office-warehouse building will be built on Lot 2; the other lot will remain vacant for now. A stormwater detention pond will be built to serve the two new lots as well as the existing building at the business park, located off of Mitchell Avenue, north of Synthes Avenue.

The approval of the replat carried conditions involving the wording of a reciprocal access easement across one lot that will benefit users of the other two lots. A temporary access easement that had been on the plat drawing will be removed. Two other conditions involve resolving comments by the referral agency and re-recording the special warranty deed dedicating water rights.

Two new buildings have been anticipated at the park ever since November 2004, when the site plan noted three building sites; one of the buildings was constructed the following year.

When asked what he envisioned for the new buildings, applicant John Dworak said that the new buildings’ exteriors "will look pretty much identical to the existing building"—same size, colors, and architectural style.

Commissioner David Gwisdalla commented on the trailers and storage behind the current building and asked whether some kind of screening will be put up. "We constantly are working with our tenants" on the storage issue, Dworak replied.

Dworak added, "This next building we’re trying to get going should bring a number of high-paying jobs to Monument." He said one of his current tenants is growing, which is what triggered the building plans.

Some of the conditions set by the Monument Board of Trustees in 2004 for approval of the second building are:

  • Additional landscaping will be provided on Lot 2 in the form of xeriscape grasses on the south side and within the detention pond. Drip irrigation will be used rather than sprinklers. Trees will be relocated to the town’s easement to provide a buffer for the residential area.
  • Landowners repeat their commitment to provide sidewalk, curb, and gutters along their Synthes Avenue frontage if and when the town requires them for all the other sites in the area.
  • Landowners will provide financial guarantees in a form acceptable to the town attorney.
  • Changes requested by town staff and consultants will be incorporated to the satisfaction of town staff.

No plans were announced for the third lot.

Commissioner Glenda Smith raised the hope that, considering the growth at the business park and along Mitchell Avenue—often leading to traffic backups at the railroad crossing—the town is budgeting for an upgrade of Mitchell. Principal Planner Karen Griffith said that the town is "well aware and concerned" about it and that an upgrade is part of the town’s capital improvement program.

In other action, amendments to two subdivision codes, regarding preliminary plats and final plats, were approved. The language updates are part of the ongoing updating of the Town Code that was requested by the Monument Board of Trustees.

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The next meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 11 at Town Hall, 645 Beacon Lite Road. Meetings are normally held on the second Wednesday of the month. Information: 884-8017.

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Woodmoor Improvement Association Board of Directors, July 28: Board recognizes public safety officer, considers changes in documents

By Harriet Halbig

The Woodmoor Improvement Association board joined with members of the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District in recognizing Woodmoor Public Safety Officer Dee Nevils during the board’s July 28 meeting.

Nevils was recognized for aiding the emergency medical technicians from the district in finding the address of Fred Roeming, who had suffered cardiac arrest. Due in part to Nevils’ assistance, Roeming survived and was able to attend the meeting and join in the recognition.

A community member came to the meeting hoping for a variance in fencing rules after being turned down by the Architectural Control Committee (ACC) the previous evening. ACC Director Anne Stevens-Gountanis said that the request was rejected because regulations prohibit fences in easement areas and Woodmoor’s philosophy of an open appearance must prevail. The homeowner had frequently reported trespassing by neighbors and their dogs and fireworks violations to Woodmoor Public Safety. It was suggested that she again meet with ACC to come to a resolution.

Changes in documents explored

Hans Post reported on the progress of the legal audit committee, which had investigated the association’s documents, such as its covenants, declaration, articles of incorporation, and bylaws. The committee was created last year and was reinstated at the board’s February meeting this year.

Post said that the mechanisms for altering the documents vary greatly, some requiring vote of the homeowners and others requiring action by the board of directors. In some cases, approval by 67 percent of homeowners is required. The last major changes in the documents were made in 1995 and 1998.

Due to the potential cost involved, Post suggested that limited but important changes be made. Some changes, such as a mechanism for a regular increase in fees, may be hard to sell. The use of mail-in ballots is not permitted, because bylaws require voting at the association’s annual meeting in January.

Subjects that may be reviewed include the procedure for replacing members of the board, the definition of commercial vehicles in the community, and the possible elimination of a nominating committee.

Secretary Jim Wilson said that the association’s attorneys, in a 14-page audit, said that some articles must change, some are recommended, and others should be considered. He suggested that the board meet in executive session to discuss the suggestions after all board members have a chance to read the information.

Board Vice President Jim Hale said that he wished to read Post’s background information before voting on any possible action. President Chuck Maher agreed and asked Wilson to forward all information to members of the board for a later discussion.

Post said that it is not critical to alter any of the documents, because higher law would always predominate in the case of a conflict.

Hale reported that he will do a newsletter in the next few weeks. He reported that the association’s database will be upgraded and recommended that a flat screen monitor be purchased for the front desk. He said that the association is still below budget on IT expenditures. The phone system is also faulty.

Treasurer Nick Oakley reported that the association is on track for its expenditures for the year. He said that a recent study determined that the association is well funded in its reserves to replace equipment as it is retired.

Bears sighted, but no more rabid foxes found

Woodmoor Public Safety Chief Kevin Nielsen reported that there continue to be reports of bear sightings, but there have been no injuries. No more rabid foxes have been found in the community. He reminded the community that school starts Aug. 12 and that the increased population of Lewis-Palmer Middle School may result in traffic issues between 7 and 7:30 a.m. and 2 and 2:45 p.m. There have been no other crime issues other than a few fireworks reports.

Stevens-Gountanis reported that the ACC approved its usual decks, fences, sidewalks, sheds, and driveways during the month. There is one new house under construction and one that added a stone veneer. She cautioned homeowners to consult the ACC guidelines regarding siding and roofs before beginning any project.

Carolyn Streit-Carey, forestry liaison, reported that the committee is continuing to administer the Firewise program. The committee was disappointed in the response from those in the high-risk areas to the offer of grants to help with fire mitigation. She said that the association has the opportunity to apply for another grant. She said that the committee plans to walk the common areas to see what needs to be done to correct storm damage and excessive scrub oak growth.

Director of Common Areas Craig Gaydos said that the committee has spoken with former common area captains and suggests recreating that group.

One problem that has arisen with the common areas is that there is no formal document indicating which areas are to be mowed at association expense.

Gaydos said he has not heard from the contractor who constructed the Marsh trail for several months. Members of the board suggested that the remaining funds in the contract be spent on a project that is better received by the membership of the association.

Wilson, Hale, and Streit-Carey were appointed to serve as the nominating committee for the 2011 election. Residents who express interest will be placed on the ballot if they meet the criteria.

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The Woodmoor Improvement Association board generally meets at 7 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of the month at the Woodmoor Barn, 1691 Woodmoor Drive in Monument. For information, go to woodmoor.org or call 488-2693.

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July Weather Wrap

By Bill Kappel

Temperatures were slightly below normal in July, with precipitation a little above normal. Moisture was abundant on most days, leading to thunderstorms and pockets of heavy rain at various locations around the region and in the Rampart Range almost every day. The Southwest monsoon enhanced the moisture availability as we headed into the end of the month and, when combined with slow-moving storms, led to some flash flooding issues on several days.

The numerous days with afternoon and evening clouds kept high temperatures for the month well below normal, with no days reaching the 90° mark (although we came awfully close). On the other hand, the moist air and frequent overnight clouds and fog also kept low temperatures above normal.

July started out around normal, with higher levels of moisture leading to afternoon and evening thunderstorms. The most active day weather-wise was the Fourth of July, when Mother Nature decided to show who really is in charge of the "fireworks." Storms developed during the late afternoon on the 4th and continued off and on through the evening and into the early morning hours. Some of the storms became severe, with several reports of large hail and heavy rains. Tornado warnings were issued in Douglas, Elbert and El Paso Counties from Peyton eastward. Several locations reported 2 to 4 inches of rain during this thunderstorm. Temperatures hit the low 80s from the 1st through the 3rd, with upper 70s on the 4th, which was slightly below normal for the first week of July.

High levels of moisture continued to produce rain around the region though the second week of July, with thunderstorms, hail, and heavy rain common on many of the days. Large, sometimes damaging hail fell on the 6th and the 10th. At least a trace of rain fell every afternoon and evening. Temperatures started the week in the upper 70s to near 80, then cooled to the low to mid 60s on the 7th and 8th before slowly building through the 70s through the 11th.

Warm temperatures returned in earnest during the week of the 12th as a ridge of high pressure moved in from the west/southwest, bringing in a warm air mass. However, some moisture was trapped within the ridge, and this led to afternoon and evening thunderstorms on many of the days. Areas affected by heavy rain and hail were somewhat limited, but there were a few unlucky spots. Highs reached into the 80s each afternoon, with mid- to upper 80s on the 16th and 17th. The middle two weeks of July are normally our warmest time of the year, so this isn’t too unusual.

The week of the 19th started off with active weather as a nice surge of monsoonal moisture was affecting Colorado. This brought widespread afternoon and evening thunderstorms with brief heavy rain each day from the 19th through the 22nd. With the extensive clouds and showers, temperatures were slightly below normal to begin the week as well, with highs in the upper 70s to low 80s. This plume of monsoonal moisture shifted slightly to the west during the remainder of the week, and this allowed a cool front to surge through the region over the weekend. This held high temperatures down in the mid-70s, but we remained dry, so overall it was not a bad weekend.

Just as quick as the monsoonal moisture was pushed out the region, it returned to finish the month. Several days of heavy rain were noted over the last five days of July, as upper level steering winds (around 16,000 feet and higher) were very weak. This allowed storms that developed to sit over the same general area and dump heavy amounts of rain. The hardest-hit areas were downtown Colorado Springs and Pueblo, the Rampart Range and southern Douglas County. With all the clouds and moisture, temperatures were also held to below-normal levels, with highs only in the 70s to low 80s.

A look ahead

August is the last true "summer" month for the region. We are often greeted with sunny, pleasant mornings that turn into afternoon and early evening thunderstorms. Highs during the month range from the mid-80s at the beginning of the month to mid-70s at the end. Temperatures at night get more comfortable as well, often dipping into the 40s, making for better sleeping weather. For a complete look at monthly climate summaries for the Tri-Lakes region, please visit www.thekappels.com/ClimateSummary.htm

July 2010 Weather Statistics

Average High 79.6° (-3.7°) 100-year return frequency value max 87.6° min 75.3°
Average Low 52.0° (+1.4°) 100-year return frequency value max 56.2° min 46.9°
Highest Temperature 89°F on the 17th 
Lowest Temperature 42°F on the 5th
Monthly Precipitation 3.19" (+0.11" 4% above normal) 100-year return frequency value max 6.03" min 0.98"
Monthly Snowfall 0.0" Season to Date Snow 0.0" (the snow season is from July 1 to June 30)
Season to Date Precip 3.19" (+0.11" 4% above normal) (the precip season is from July 1 to June 30) 
Heating Degree Days 39 (+9)
Cooling Degree Days 65 (-31)

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.

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Between The Covers at the Covered Treasures Bookstore: Beach and backyard books

By the staff at Covered Treasures

Can you believe the last lazy days of summer are already here? It’s time to treat yourself to some fun new reads wherever you’re headed this month, be it the beach, the backyard, or somewhere beyond.

Beach Trip
By Cathy Holton (Random House) $15

Four friends in their 40s converge on a lavish North Carolina beach house in an attempt to relive the carefree days of their years at a small Southern liberal arts college during the early 1980s. The women have traveled diverse paths since those days, and as the week wears on, each woman’s hidden story is revealed. The four friends gradually learn that they must confront their shared past—and a secret that threatens to change their bond, and their lives, forever.

Heart and Soul
By Maeve Binchy (Random House) $7.99

Dr. Clara Casey agrees to take on the thankless task of establishing a heart clinic in a community caught between the old Ireland and the new. Despite very limited funding, she is able to make the clinic a success, but now she is faced with a difficult choice: Should she leave a place where lives are saved, courage is rewarded, and humor and optimism triumph over greed and self pity, or go back to another world where her expertise is more amply rewarded? In true Binchy fashion, the characters are full of real life.

Breakfast with Buddha
By Roland Merullo (Workman Publishing) $13.95

When his sister tricks him into taking her guru, a crimson-robed monk, on a trip to their childhood home, Otto Ringling, a confirmed skeptic, is not amused. Six days on the road with an enigmatic holy man who answers every question with a riddle is not what he’d planned. In an effort to westernize his passenger—and amuse himself—he decides to show the monk some "American fun" along the way. From a chocolate factory in Hershey to a bowling alley in South Bend, from a Cubs game at Wrigley Field to his family farm in North Dakota, Otto is given a remarkable opportunity to see his world—and more importantly, his life—through someone else’s eyes.

Hearts on a String
By Kris Radish (Random House) $15

When a powerful spring storm barrels across the country, stranding travelers from California to Florida, five very different women decide to share a luxury hotel suite and begin an unlikely, unexpected, and sometimes reluctant exercise in female bonding. As the women swap stories, share secrets, and seek answers to the questions they’ve been asking about life, love, and the path to true happiness, they discover they have more in common than they ever could have imagined and forge a sisterhood born of a storm.

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
By Alan Bradley (Random House) $15

Flavia de Luce, a precocious 11-year-old, spends her summer trying to solve an enthralling mystery of deception, class, and society. An aspiring chemist with a passion for poison, Flavia stumbles upon a series of bizarre events involving a dead bird with a postage stamp on its beak and a dying man in the cucumber patch. Flavia endears herself to readers as she learns to amuse herself in a big, lonely English mansion and ends up involved in the most interesting things that ever happened to her in her entire life.

Knit One, Kill Two
By Maggie Sefton (Penguin) $7.99

This first installment in a delightful new mystery series introduces Kelly Flynn, who must untangle the mystery behind her aunt’s murder. In the process, a reluctant Kelly ends up immersed in the lives of her new friends at the knit shop near her aunt’s cottage and reluctantly decides to try her hand at some knitting. Even non-knitters will be enticed to try the simple scarf pattern included at the end of the book or the delicious recipe for a dish featured in the story. Those who are not inclined to knit or cook will still enjoy the twists and tangles of this engrossing mystery.

If you’re taking a trip by car or airplane or you’re off to the beach or heading for the backyard hammock, don’t forget to pack a paperback to top off a beautiful summer.

Until next month, happy reading.

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Art Matters: Frames shouldn’t overpower art

By Janet Sellers

It seems that "back to school" comes earlier each year, and this year for us in Tri-Lakes it is the second week of August. We’ll have summertime weather and school-time schedules for many. A change of season and schedule stirs up a lot of energy and creative thoughts. This is great news for our creative spirits.

For this column, I thought I might share how artists present artworks for exhibits. We all know that an "art show" is presented beautifully and professionally, but what does that mean, especially regarding the usual presentation in picture frames?

From a homeowner’s point of view, a painting or sculpture or fiber art can be presented in a wide variety of personal styles, from flea market savvy to traditional stuffed-shirt looks. For a business, particularly an exhibition venue, the presentation needs more consistency.

From a professional artist’s point of view, there is a lot that the artist must consider. There is such a thing called "gallery framing" for paintings and wall art. It has had a broader meaning in the last decade or so, but the basics are standard. For a presentation to the public, the art is supposed to be the important part of the exhibit, and picture frames, if used, need to reflect that.

Typically, frames of a similar look, and definitely of a single color, should be used. This offers at least some consistency for the viewer to look at the artwork and not the framing in the exhibition. While a single painting may be able to carry complex framing work, it’s really distracting to have an entire art show presentation with framing presentations all over the place in their look and deportment.

The important part of presenting artwork should be the art itself, and respect for the art and imagination of the artist. The artist imagined, manifested, and presented a creative work and shares it in the venue of his or her choice. We are fortunate to share in that experience, and it is vital to respect that honor.

As you all know, I like to tell you about the art gems of our area, and sometimes I find quite a treasure trove. Such is the case for August, with several new discoveries in town.

Southwinds gallery and studios

Nestled in the pines on the corner of Baptist Road and Rollercoaster is a gallery I just found called Southwinds Fine Art. I had a blast visiting the art and the events they offered in July. The owner, J. Clark Wider, has been in our Pikes Peak region for over 30 years, and in our OCN area for the past 12 years. Wider’s high level of fine art and community service are so vast and compelling that I will try to tell you more in September. I wanted to share the upcoming events Southwinds Fine Arts is offering before then, though:

  • End of Summer Art Sale Aug. 6,7,8.
  • Labor Day Art Festival—three days of fun, food, and fine art, Sept. 4,5,6.

Crafty Laine sewing and fabric boutique

Located at 269 Washington St. Crafty Laine is set to open on Aug. 10. Owners Angie and Tobin McKearin will offer modern fabrics, patterns, sewing notions, and handmade gifts. It is a sewing and socializing place next door to Luna Hair Studio and Spa that offers a new twist on sewing and socializing—it has a sewing studio inside. When you buy products at the shop, you can actually sew them right there and bring home the rewards of your efforts. It is a sort of party atmosphere for a sewing bee on the cutting edge of sewing and fiber arts crafting. It reminds me of the decor-it-yourself pottery places but with fabric and fiber arts.

Calls for artists

  • The Pikes Peak Library District Art Evaluation Committee will be jurying art for future monthly shows in the Carnegie Reading Room at Penrose Library, 20 N. Cascade Ave. Interested artists should bring five pieces of their work in show-ready format (matted, framed, and wired) Wednesday, Sept. 1 between10 a.m. and noon and must pick up submissions the same day from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Call Carol Brunk Harnish at 531-6333, x2332 or e-mail charnish@ppld.org
  • Tri Lakes Center for the Arts is using a couple of new systems for artist calls of late. One is "Call for Entry" (www.callforentry.org) and the other is "Zapplication" (www.zapplication.org), which are both online art call application systems.

Janet Lee Sellers is an American painter, sculptor, and writer . She makes public art for city and state buildings working in the mediums of canvas, concrete, and steel. She has taught art for children and adults in the Tri-Lakes area since 1994 in her art studios and the great outdoors.

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Snapshots of Our Community

See pages 30 through 36 of the on-line version of this issue.

Sea-to-Shining Sea visits Palmer Lake, June 18

A Glorious Independence Day Celebration

Concerts in the Park

Art Hop, July 15

"The Wisdom within These Walls" offers insight on life

By David Futey

During the weekend of July 16, the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA) in collaboration with the Front Range Theatre Company (FRTC) presented "The Wisdom within These Walls." The performance was in the tradition of oral histories, as four readers read narratives compiled from area senior citizens in an "exploration in wisdom."

Each of the seven narratives not only possessed its own unique story, but also provided a bit of wisdom on life. There was the story of the dispatcher with the Dallas Police Department when John F. Kennedy was shot in 1963, of "Granddad Billy," who was a cowboy, and of being a part of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, the precursor to NASA, as the Russian Sputnik spacecraft is launched, also launching the space race.

The points of wisdom included "Live life as it happens," "Know yourself," "It is those things we never saw coming that have an impact" on our lives, "We are living history every moment of every day. We are history," and "Don’t try to lasso an antelope." The readers were accompanied by The Tuna Boys, David Truhler and Jamie LaRue, who provided musical interludes and interjections during the readings. Also, each reading had a set of photos and imagery, related to the topics mentioned in the narrative, projected on a screen behind the reader.

The four performances held during the weekend benefited the Castle Rock Senior Center and Silver Key Senior Services in Colorado Springs, as a donation for non-perishable food items was requested. Information on upcoming events at the TLCA is at www.trilakesarts.org. Information on FRTC is at wwwcrplayers.org. 

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Benet Hill Monastery throws a picnic, July 17

By David Futey

On July 17, the Sisters of the Benet Hill Monastery opened their doors and invited the community to join them in a family-oriented event, Picnic in the Pines. Director of Development Sister Roseanne Barmann and Director of Ministries Sandra Kinchen said they wanted to share the monastery’s gorgeous location with the community and increase awareness of the monastery.

After being located for 45 years in Colorado Springs, the monastery moved to this new location off Highway 83 a year ago. Sister Roseanne also said the sisters "wanted to use this event to let the community know we welcome and are open to everyone" regardless of faith. In fact, about 40 percent of the individuals and groups who participate in the monastery’s programs and use the monastery’s retreat center and facilities are from non-Catholic faiths.

Proceeds from the event, which was expected to draw over 400 attendees, went to the Benet Hill Sisters in support of their ministries. Information on the monastery is at www.benethillmonastery.org.

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Symphony concert draws 200 at Gleneagle, July 17

By David Futey

On the evening of July 17, the New Horizons Symphony Band, directed by Ed Nuccio, played a mix of marches and other tunes to a crowd of more than 200 at the Gleneagle Golf Club. Susan Kennedy of the Gleneagle Community Advisory Committee said the free concert was an opportunity "to bring the community together." In particular, the concert provided children a chance to "experience live music," she said.

The band’s 14 selections for this evening included: "America the Beautiful," The Magnificent Seven," "Viva Espania!," and "Liberty Bell."

Kennedy said before the concert that the committee "did not know what the response would be, but it has certainly exceeded expectations," because all the allotted lawn space seemed taken up by concert-goers.

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Tea time at the fiber art show, July 17

By David Futey

On July 17, the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA) hosted Tea in the Gallery as part of "America the Beautiful: The Fiber of Our Heart Exhibition." Besides sampling numerous delectable foods and drinks, such as cold melon soup, a variety of pastries, and cold and hot teas, attendees viewed the stitch work of 42 artists in the exhibition. The stitch work included jewelry, clothing, and pieces of art.

The five-panel piece, "National Tapestry—’America the Beautiful’" from the Embroiderers Guild of America was also available for viewing. Celia Reed, a volunteer for the TLCA Gallery Committee and coordinator for the catering of the event, said the "tea event went along with the fiber show." Besides the reception, there were demonstrations of stitching and weaving techniques.

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Motorcycle run raises $1,300 for Tri-Lakes Cares, July 31

By Frank Maiolo

Almost every day, A.B. Tellez, owner of Rosie’s Diner in Monument, has coffee with friends and business associates from the Tri-Lakes area. One morning, nearly three years ago, they had an idea that would not only raise money for their community but be fun for local motorcycle enthusiasts. With almost 20 businesses sponsoring this event, they started the Ride the Divide: Tri-Lakes First Annual Poker Run.

In this motorcycle poker run, riders visited five checkpoints, drawing a playing card at each stop. The best poker hand at the end of the run wins the first-place prize of $100.

On Saturday, July 31, Tellez’ hard work and planning came to fruition as 55 motorcycles and 76 riders took off from Rosie’s Diner for a 256-mile ride taking them from Monument, through Canon City, Salida, Buena Vista, Woodland Park, and back to Monument. Tellez said they had excellent weather, no accidents, and everyone was happy with the course. They hope to double the number of riders next year.

The beneficiary of this event was Tri-Lakes Cares, which accepted a check from Ride the Divide for $1,300. Haley Chapin, the new executive director of Tri-Lakes Cares, said that without fundraisers like this they would not have the extra resources to support programs such as School Supplies, Holiday Baskets, and the new Snack Pack program. After-ride events were hosted by The Depot in Palmer Lake and featured a pig roast, live music by Reckless, prizes, and a silent auction.

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Crawford Memorial Planning Meeting, July 6 and July 20: Committee discusses redesign of Crawford Memorial site

By Bernard L. Minetti

During the July 6 meeting of the planning committee for the Crawford Memorial reconstruction and additions, which was held at the site of the present Crawford Memorial, Ron Heard, committee member, discussed the progress of the various items related to the addition to the site.

The committee viewed various samples of paver stones that were then examined for appropriateness. The selection of the final stone type has not been made.

Matthew Spidel, landscape architect with Natural Design Solutions of Castle Rock, explained the progress made in the proposed design and layout.

During the July 20 meeting, the committee discussed the Palmer Lake Historical Society’s inability to sponsor the Crawford Memorial, as Heard had requested. The Society, however, is planning to provide a $2,500 grant to be used for the construction of the center section of the new Crawford Memorial.

Additional information may be found at www.crawfordmemorial.org. There will be no committee meetings in August.

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July and August library events: Summer reading ends with a gala event

By Harriet Halbig

The library district’s summer reading programs for children and teens officially ended on July 30 with great participation in our area: 1,895 children read for the Make a Splash program (157 in Palmer Lake) and 523 teens read for the Destination … Unknown program (51 in Palmer Lake).

The Monument and Palmer Lake staffs would like to extend a big thank you to the many teen volunteers who manned the desk during the program, enthusiastically registering participants and awarding prizes. Their presence always brightens the library and helps tremendously.

The Summer Reading Party at Palmer Ridge High School on July 22 was an exciting highlight of the summer, including a performance by Inspector Magic, an original play called "The Adventures of Dewey the Fish" featuring many young patrons, demonstrations by US Taekwondo Center, crafts, and visits from the local fire department and personalities from local restaurants.

The party is one of the largest events offered each year by the library, and we wish to thank the Tri-Lakes Friends of the Library, Palmer Ridge High School, and our teen summer volunteers for all their help and support. It’s an opportunity for us to celebrate our wonderful patrons, and we are grateful for their support.

August events

Beginning Aug. 1, the library will return to its regular schedule of children’s events, including Storytime on Tuesdays for ages 3 and up at 10 and 10:45 a.m. and Toddler Time on Thursdays at 10 and 10:30 a.m.

Relax! On Thursday, Aug. 5, at 1 p.m., Dr. LeAnna DeAngelo, a licensed psychologist, will present a program about the mind/body connection and simple relaxation techniques attendees can do at home.

On Aug. 7, in conjunction with the Rocky Mountain Chautauqua, the Tri-Lakes Friends will sponsor an Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Social with free ice cream from Palmer Lake’s Rock House and barbershop music sung by the America the Beautiful chorus. Families are encouraged to bring their elders to this charming event outdoors on the Village Green in Palmer Lake. The Ice Cream Social will take place rain or shine from 1:30 until 3 p.m.

The Monumental Readers book group will discuss Painted Drum by Louise Erdrich on Friday, Aug. 20 at 10 a.m. New members are welcome and no registration is required.

The AARP Mature Safe Driving Course will be offered on Saturday, Aug. 21, from 9:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. This is a classroom refresher course designed for motorists ages 50 and older. Upon completion of the course, graduates may present their course completion certificate to their insurance agent for a discount. A minimum of 10 students is required for the class to be held. Charge for the course is $12 for AARP members and $14 for nonmembers. Registration is required.

The History Buffs group will meet on Wednesday, Aug. 25, at 1 p.m. Each month the group selects a period of history and members read any book of their choice from that period.

The Life Circles group meets the first and third Monday of the month at 10:30 a.m. This group provides inspiration and structure during the process of writing one’s memories.

On the walls during August will be a collection of photographs by Emma Kisiel. In the display case will be "Stuck in the Mud," a collection of wheel-thrown objects by Glenn Hayes.

Palmer Lake events

The Palmer Lake Library enjoyed many special programs during the summer reading program as well. Looking forward, there will be Toddler Time programs on Aug. 6, 20, and 27 at 10:30 a.m.

The monthly family fun event will be the ice cream social on Aug. 7, described above.

The Paws to Read dogs will be on hand on Thursday. Aug. 19, from 4:30 to 5:30 a.m. and Saturday, Aug. 28, from 11 a.m. until noon.

The Palmer Lake Book group will discuss "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak at its meeting on Sept. 3 at 9 a.m. New members are always welcome and no registration is required.

We hope to see you at the library!

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Palmer Lake Historical Society meeting, July 15: Shamrock Ranch history presented

By Bernard L. Minetti

The Palmer Lake Historical Society heard a short history of the Shamrock Ranch on July 15 by owner David Wismer and ranch manager Jeannette Billings. Wismer cited the ownership background starting with the Pendleton family purchase to the present day Wismer ownership.

The ranch is in the center of Black Forest, east of the Air Force Academy with its western boundary along Highway 83. The Wismer family is preserving the history of the site.

Wismer has published a book, Shamrock Ranch: Celebrating Life in Colorado’s Pikes Peak Country. Billings has been the manager since 1981 and has been in this position through several owners. Wismer has dedicated his book to Billings.

Upcoming events

  • Join the Society on Aug. 19 for "Colorado’s Historic Theaters." The presenter will be Beth Barrett. This event is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Palmer Lake Town Hall.
  • The Society will host an expedition to the Pikes Peak summit on a Victorian-era rail car on Oct. 10. Tickets are $33 each. Janis Frazee is coordinating the event and may be contacted at 488-0611 to purchase tickets and for additional details.

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Historic Estemere mansion is for sale

By Bernard L. Minetti

Roger and Kimberly Ward, owners of Estemere mansion in Palmer Lake, invited interested citizens to view their home on July 24. Construction of Estemere was started in 1887 and completed in 1890. Palmer Lake Historical Society (PLHS) members helped in the display and in narrating the home’s history to visitors.

The Wards moved here in January 1998 and immediately began many restoration projects onsite. Roger Ward and Daniel Edwards are completing work on a book titled, "Estemere, The Social and Architectural History of a Victorian Mansion." Edwards has written several papers, which may be obtained from the PLHS. They are brief histories of historical figures and sites in the Palmer Lake area.

Ward said that the first owner, Dr. William Finley Thompson, was a dentist from England. He was the original developer of the entire Palmer Lake area. In addition, he was mayor and local postmaster in 1888-89. The term "Estemere" is a contraction of Thompson’s daughter Estelle’s name and the term "mere," which means "lake" in Scottish. Thompson vanished, bankrupt, circa 1890, and was thought to have ultimately died in Mexico.

The site is up for sale for $2,075,000. While the Wards enjoyed their restoration projects, they feel that now, Estemere is a little more than they can handle. Ward said that after selling, they will continue to remain in the area and are planning to build a house on a site just north of County Line Road.

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Author criticizes Canadian oil sands project

By David Futey

On July 15, Canadian journalist and award-winning author Andrew Nikiforuk presented a lecture at the Western Museum of Mining & Industry on the world’s largest energy, construction, and capital project—the oil sands of Alberta, Canada. As Nikiforuk described at the lecture and in his related book, "Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent," this project now accounts for "60 percent of all global oil investments." Throughout his presentation, Nikiforuk presented information on how the extraction of this material is a clear indicator of the end of "cheap" oil.

Oil companies from Canada, the United States, France, China, the Middle East, Norway, and South Korea among other countries are vying to extract the "tar" sand material bitumen. Bitumen contains 50 percent pitch, thus the reference to tar. Used for road construction, it has a multitude of contaminants and is extremely high in greenhouse gas emissions from the production process. It is high in hydrocarbons and extremely resource intensive to extract.

The extraction and production resources needed include "the excavation of two tons of earth and sand" along with three barrels of water to produce just one barrel of bitumen. The project also uses enough natural gas each day to heat 6 million homes, because the bitumen is basically melted out of the ground.

Nikiforuk said we in the United States should be concerned about this project for a variety of reasons. The United States now imports 20 percent of its oil from Canada, and a growing percentage of that oil is the synthetic oil made from the bitumen, presently at 1 million barrels a day.

Given the high cost of extraction and production that far exceeds extraction costs of light crude, the oil from bitumen will certainly negatively impact a U.S. economy that remains highly oil dependent, Nikiforuk said. There are also thousands of miles of pipelines in production or proposed from Canada to the United States, which lead to increased environmental risks and create vulnerabilities.

Nikiforuk suggested options to begin weaning the U.S. away from its "oil addiction." Among other options, Nikiforuk suggested a stronger national move toward renewable energy resources, noting China recently passed the U.S. in the use of renewable energy, greater support of local food production to rebuild local farming as opposed to "importing peas from Uganda," and imposing a progressive carbon tax to reduce consumption and promote conservation.

Information about Andrew Nikiforuk is at www.andrewnikiforuk.com. Additional information on the project can be found at http://oilsandstruth.org/. Information on upcoming events at the WMMI is at www.wmmi.org

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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.

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

The Palmer Lake Community will remember the Chautauqua Assembly of long ago by reliving a bit of history Aug. 6-8. The weekend features educational "how-tos," 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, the annual library ice cream social, 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

Pikes Peak Library District seeks artists for library exhibits, Sept. 1

Show your art at one of Pikes Peak Library District’s (PPLD) art galleries. The PPLD Art Evaluation Committee will jury art for future month-long, individual shows. Interested artists should bring five pieces of their work in show-ready format (matted, framed, and wired). Artists will be notified of the committee’s decision within two weeks. Submissions will be accepted Sept. 1, 10 a.m. - noon, in the Carnegie Reading Room at Penrose Library, 20 N. Cascade Ave., Colorado Springs. Pick up your submissions the same day, 4:30-6 p.m. For more information, call Carol Brunk Harnish at 531-6333, x2332 or e-mail charnish@ppld.org

Sheriff’s Office announces "Youtube" channel

The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office now uses its own "YouTube" Channel to share information on recent events and provide information on numerous office resources. The "YouTube" channel can be accessed from the front page of the Sheriff’s Office website, http://shr.elpasoco.com, or directly at www.youtube.com/EPCSheriff. This "YouTube" channel will have a variety of informational videos posted. Currently available are the full press briefing conducted July 8 regarding the Monument death investigation, information on the full scale mass casualty exercise "NOAA’s ARK," and an informational piece on the Sheriff’s Citizen Patrol.

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.

Farmers markets in our community

  • The Original Monument Farmers Market is open every Saturday through Oct. 9, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., at Monument Plaza (481 Highway 105, Behind Starbucks). For information, call 213-3323.
  • Monument Hill Farmers Market is open every Saturday through Oct. 9, 8 a.m.-1 p.m., at Grace Best School and the D-38 Administration Building at Second and Jefferson Streets in downtown Monument. Fifty-plus vendors offer food, produce, home décor items, crafts, honey, jewelry, furniture, pet products, and more. For information, call 592-9420.
  • Palmer Lake Farmers Market is open every Sunday, July 4-Oct. 3, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Highway 105 by the lake, at the Gazebo. For information, call 213-3323.
  • Another farmers market is at the entrance to the Western Museum of Mining & Industry, in front of the red farmhouse every Monday and Wednesday, 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m., with fresh vegetables from Pueblo farms, breads, meats, and more. For information, call 488-0880 or visit www.wmmi.org

Slash and Mulch season underway

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

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

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

Free gun-lock kit

The Monument Police Department is offering free firearm safety kits to local residents through a partnership with Project ChildSafe, the nationwide firearms safety education program. Each kit contains gun safety information and a cable-style gunlock that fits most types of handguns, rifles, and shotguns. The Police Department administrative offices at 645 Beacon Lite Rd. are open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Drop by during those times to pick up a free gun-lock kit. For more information, phone 481-3253.

Tri-Lakes Senior Center has fun programs!

The new Tri-Lakes Senior Citizens Center is next to the Lewis-Palmer High School Stadium (across from the YMCA) and is open noon to 4 p.m. Tuesdays, 1-4 p.m. other weekdays. The facility has a lounge, craft room, game room, and multi-purpose room. Programs offered include pinochle Tuesdays and Thursdays, noon to 4 p.m.; National Mah Jonng, Fridays, 1-4 p.m.; line dancing, first and second Wednesdays, 1-2 p.m.; bridge, second and fourth Thursdays, 1-4 p.m.; tea time, third Tuesday, 1-3 p.m.; bingo, third Wednesday, 12:30-3 p.m.; crafts, third Thursdays, 1-3 p.m.; no-cash/no host poker, second and fourth Fridays, 1-4 p.m. Also available at the center are ping-pong, Wii video games, various puzzles and board games, refreshments, a lending library, computers with Internet connections, and an information table. For more information about programs for seniors, visit www.TriLakesSeniors.org

Tri-Lakes Cares Thrift Shop in Monument

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

Tri-Lakes Senior Alliance Thrift Store: new location

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

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