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Vol. 11 No. 10 - October, 1, 2011


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Annual Chili Cook-Off draws crowd of more than 500

Below: Winners of the People’s Choice Award for chili and salsa, Kevin Holbrook and Lisa Shoblo. Photo by Candice Hitt.

Below: Tri-Lakes Monument FPD Chili Cook-off contestants, from left, Charlie Pocock, Marlen Pocock and Liz Gipson. Photo by Candice Hitt.

Below: The Palmer Lake Fireworks Committee took 3rd place for its green chili. (L to R) Fireworks President Mary Russelavage, committee members Ron Demeter and Rhonda Macauley, Fireworks Vice President Gloria McCarten, and committee member Julie Bille. Photo by Irene Walters.

Below: Kirk Sinnard and Cathy Green discuss their Captain Kirk’s Mean Green Chili with Cheryl Rogers. Photo by Mary Russelavage.

By Candice Hitt

Historic Downtown Monument and the Monument Merchants Association hosted the annual Chili Cook-Off and Salsa Tasting Sept. 17 at Limbach Park in historic downtown Monument. The event benefits Tri-Lakes Cares, Health Advocacy Partnership, and beautification efforts for downtown Monument. See photos on facing page.

The cook-off drew a crowd of more than 500 wanting to taste a wide variety of chili and salsas. All styles of chili were available, including green, red, and white; with or without meat or beans; mild, sweet, spicy, traditional, gourmet and distinctive. Many salsas were also on hand, ranging from traditional garden salsas to one with mangos and crab meat. There were 32 entries in this year’s cook-off.

The band Trademark Infringement entertained visitors who enjoyed a beautiful day at the park sampling chili and salsa and washing it all down with cold drinks. Wisdom Tea House was also serving gelato. Teams competed for awards and prizes. Tasters voted for their favorite chili and salsa to determine the People’s Choice Awards.

This year’s People’s Choice Awards went to Kevin Holbrook of Mountain View Electric Association and Lisa Shoblo for "Going Green" green chili and "Mango Tango" salsa, and to Bob Nissan for "Dad and Lad" red chili.

Red Chili winners—third place went to Joshua Walter with "Friend of the Devil," second place went to Karen Hood with "Hunk of Burnin’ Love," and first place went to Mark Rudolph with "Rudolph’s Red Nose" chili.

Green Chili winners—third place went to the Tri-Lakes Fireworks Committee with "Eric’s Firecracker Chili," second place went to Diane Sandoval with "Green Chili to ‘Di’ For," and first place went to Richard Carson with "Ricko’s Wild Green Chili."

Salsa winners—third place went to Angie McKearin with "Sew Good Salsa," second place went to Steve Smith with "Georgia’s Roasted Salsa," and first place went to McKearin with "Rookie Salsa." The Best in Show award also went to McKearin.

Judges for the event included Jill Prater, Monument Mayor Travis Easton, El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn, Robyn Sleeth and Col. Mickey Addison of the Air Force Academy, Monument Police Chief Jake Shirk, Don Griffin of Monument Academy, District 38 Superintendent John Borman, Mark Bagnall, Julie Bille, Rafael Dominguez, Bill Berenz, Rick Squires, Alaine Nolt, Erik Stensland, Al Fritts, Carl Nolt, and Ann Sulley.

Candice Hitt can be contacted at candicehitt@ocn.me.

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Woodmoor district moving forward with deal for ranch water

By Candice Hitt

At the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District’s (WWSD) board meeting Sept. 13, members discussed the current status of the JV Ranch acquisition. Currently the district is dependent on the Denver Basin Aquifer, which is a non-renewable source of water. Aquifers are shrinking and are not a reliable source for a long-term supply of water, so aquifer dependency is an issue.

Public meetings are being scheduled to answer questions and provide additional information on the project. For additional information, visit www.woodmoorwater.com. The first public meeting is scheduled for Sept. 27 (corrected from Oct. 27 printed in the paper) at 6 p.m. at The Barn at the Woodmoor Improvement Association.

Board members also discussed their commitment to acquiring a renewable water source for the district and working toward the goal of meeting the district’s water needs for many years to come.

WWSD will use revenue bonds to finance the JV Ranch acquisition with a 25-year repayment plan. The ranch would provide rights to roughly 2,500 to 3,400 acre-feet of water annually, a reservoir, and storage rights. The purchase price will be $25 million to $31 million, dependent on the water rights decided in water court.

A water rate increase and addition of a monthly "renewable water investment fee" is planned for customers to assist in repayment of the purchase. The new rates are anticipated to begin Jan. 1, 2012. A letter has been sent to customers outlining the rate changes the board will vote on at its Oct. 13 meeting.

An online rate calculator is available on the district’s website to estimate the cost to residential customers. Commercial and other customers should contact the district directly for cost estimates. Average customers will see a $48.50 renewable water investment fee along with a slight increase in use fees dependent on actual water use. The chart below outlines the water rate change based on use.

Water Rate per 1,000 gallons/month
Range (gallons) Old rate New rate Increase
0-6,000  $     5.38  $    5.47 2%
6,001-25,000  $     8.88  $    9.02 2%
Above 25,000  $    14.18  $  14.40 2%
     
Fixed monthly fees
Water  $     7.21  $    7.34 2%
Sewer  $    24.41  $  25.14 3%

Operations report

Assistant Manager Randy Gillette gave the operations report, saying well 7 was out of the ground and needs a new pump and motor. He also stated the district was being taken off surface water and put on ground water because of complaints about taste and odor. Meter readings in August showed a 95 percent accountability of water use. Construction plans for a Kum & Go gas station on the corner of Knollwood and Highway 105 are still under review by the district.

Wastewater nutrient conflict

District Manager Jesse Shaffer asked the board for approval of a $500 payment to voice disagreement with the state and the EPA over wastewater nutrients. The board unanimously approved the payment. The funds will go toward a letter to be written to the governor, the EPA, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and several lawmakers.

The purpose of the letter is to state that the Colorado Nutrient Coalition is not in agreement with the EPA’s feasibility results for lower total nitrogen effluent limits for small-scale wastewater facilities, to request a peer review on the science used, and to analyze financial impacts on small wastewater facilities such as WWSD.

The letter will also highlight how the division’s EPA proposal contrasts with the governor’s executive order and state the Nutrient Coalition’s objection to the nitrogen aspects of the proposed rules being scientifically inaccurate, economically harmful, and a waste of local resources.

**********

The next regular board meeting will be held at 1 p.m. Oct. 13 6:30 p.m. Oct. 17 at the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District Office, 1845 Barn, 1691 Woodmoor Dr., Monument. For information: 488-2525 or www.woodmoorwater.com.

Candice Hitt can be reached at candicehitt@ocn.me.

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Donala community meeting draws almost 200, highlights need for substantial water rate and fee increases

By John Heiser

On Sept. 7, the Donala Water and Sanitation District held a community meeting to address current and future sources of water for the Tri-Lakes area and the associated costs. Dana Duthie, Donala’s general manager, made a presentation and responded to residents’ questions. Duthie’s presentation and speaker’s notes are posted at www.donalawater.org in the "News and Events" section under "Town Meetings."

For background information on the Donala district and the local water situation see "Water for the future," OCN, Vol. 8, No. 1, Jan. 5, 2008, posted at www.ocn.me/v8n1.htm#water and "A Perspective on Our Community: Are we running out of water?" OCN, Vol. 9, No. 6, posted at www.ocn.me/v9n6.htm#water.

Below are highlights of Duthie’s presentation and the subsequent discussion:

  • Donala’s current water supply comes from 15 wells in the Denver Basin of deep aquifers. Those aquifers are a depleting, nonrenewable resource that supplies over 500,000 people along the Front Range.
  • Growth throughout the area significantly accelerates declines in the water levels in the district’s wells and reduces the number of gallons per minutes those wells can reliably produce. Although not a critical issue, with declining well levels, the district has also encountered an increasing amount of radioactivity in the well water.
  • The Board of County Commissioners and local town boards decide whether new housing subdivisions are approved. If the district has rights to sufficient water, it is obligated to serve new developments.
  • Once the current economic slowdown eases, significant additional growth is anticipated in the Triview Metropolitan District that serves the Jackson Creek area directly north of the Donala district.
  • The district has kept up with customers’ demand by drilling more wells. The district has no more room to drill additional wells.
  • Water production from the district’s wells peaked in 2002 at about 1,380 acre-feet per year. An acre-foot is 326,851 gallons. Annual well production is currently about 1,350 acre-feet and is projected to significantly decline after about 2018. Over the past year, there was an 80-foot average decline in levels in the district’s wells accompanied by an 11 percent decline in production.
  • The district purchased 711-acre Willow Creek Ranch near Leadville in 2008 and is seeking to have the water rights decreed for municipal use. Despite an initial court ruling against the district’s request, the district remains confident that the water will be available for use by the district by May 2012.
  • The district has nearly completed a $1 million connection at Northgate Road to the Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) water system and will begin to draw renewable surface water through that connection. That supply will ultimately include about 400 acre-feet of water per year from the district’s Willow Creek Ranch and other water leases.
  • CSU will charge $885,009 for treatment and delivery of 400 acre-feet of water and a system usage fee in 2012 of $470,527. CSU rates are expected to increase 12 percent per year through at least 2015. The district will have additional costs totaling $98,349, including a water storage contract with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, a 250 acre-foot per year water lease contract with the Pueblo Board of Water Works, and administrative costs to record and report the daily movement of water. The total 2012 cost for imported water will be $1.454 million for about 30 percent of the district’s annual demand. The imported water will result in a 70 percent increase in the district’s water-related costs.
  • At full build-out of the district in about 2020, demand for water by district residents and businesses is projected to increase to about 1,700 acre-feet, equaling the available supply at that point from wells and surface water drawn through CSU.
  • The district is investigating other sources of renewable water, including a proposal to pipe water from the Flaming Gorge Reservoir in northwest Colorado to the Rueter-Hess Reservoir near Parker.
  • Conservation measures could reduce demand by about 15 percent and delay until about 2026 the point at which demand equals the available supply.
  • Over 70 percent of the water the district supplies from June through September goes to irrigation.
  • Implementation of a water reclamation system that would extensively treat effluent from the wastewater plant and mix it into the potable water system could add about 300 acre-feet per year to the supply and thereby delay the point at which demand equals supply to about 2030 or 2040. A yearlong study has been looking at potential implementations and has tentatively narrowed the focus to alternatives in which the effluent would be pumped north and discharged into Monument Creek and then recovered from alluvial wells near the wastewater treatment plant. Such a system is estimated to cost at least $7 million. A final decision on implementation will be delayed until 2017 with the intention that the system would be implemented by 2020.
  • Even though the situation will not become critical for several years, district property owners should be concerned about this issue because house prices will be negatively affected once it becomes known that the district is facing significantly higher water costs. This issue has depressed house prices in Highlands Ranch, Castle Rock, and Parker.
  • The district has a shortage of facilities to store water and will likely have to store substantial amounts of renewable water from CSU during the winter for use during the summer. As a test of using the aquifers for water storage, over 41 days the district pumped 42 acre-feet of water into one of its Arapahoe aquifer wells. Initial results indicate the district might be able to store up to about 1,000 acre-feet per year in the aquifers.
  • To cover the substantial costs associated with bringing in renewable water, the district is planning significant water rate increases starting in 2012. The average will be a 40 percent increase in water bills for single-family houses and a 29 percent increase for residents of multifamily buildings.
  • As shown in the table below, even with the proposed increases, the district’s rates are competitive with other local districts.
Residential Water Service Fees, Rates, Property Taxes
Entity Fee 10,000 20,000 40,000 Mills
Donala (proposed) 25/18        69     145      327      16
Woodmoor        18        86     175      432        7
Triview        11        43       79      183      35
Monument          9        49     119      239        -
Woodman Hills        27        35     125      395        -
Parker        26        49       87      215      15
E. Cherry Creek        30        65     149      335        5
Arapahoe County        36        73     122      234      15
CSU (proposed)        36        59     133      303        -
Fees and rates shown are in dollars per month.
10,000, 20,000, and 40,000 are gallons of water per month.
  • The district is also planning to increase the property tax mill levy about 20 percent starting in 2013.
  • The district anticipates that it will need to implement additional rate and fee increases to offset the rising costs as the district increasingly relies on expensive renewable water sources.
  • Even with the proposed increases, water costs remain reasonable compared to common monthly expenses shown in the following table:
Average Monthly Expenses
Water $67 - $83
Natural Gas $58 - $85
Electricity $60 - $95
iPhone/Blackberry $75 - $130
Phone+TV+Internet $175 - $225
Gasoline $350 - $500
Bottled water x 20 $16*
Pepsi/Coke x 20 $40
Starbucks x 20 $81
*Would buy 4,102 gallons at new rates.
  • The district has implemented cost reductions such as a power partner program with Mountain View Electric that is saving about $260,000 per year. Additional staff and fleet reductions are being considered.
  • Conservation by residents is essential to reduce the amount of expensive renewable water the district has to purchase. The district offers rebates to encourage property owners to replace fixtures with more water-efficient ones. The district offers advice on converting landscaping to xeriscape. Tiered water rates penalize high water consumers. So far, the district’s conservation efforts have not yielded very good results. Residents used 17 percent more water this summer than last summer.
  • Residents may want to form a committee to pursue annexation to Colorado Springs; however, Colorado law prevents the district from participating in that effort. Annexation would offer residents lower water rates, a more secure water supply, and lower property taxes but higher sales taxes and loss of "rural perception."
  • Duthie assured residents that the district is confident it can continue to supply all the water residents need. He said, "Pueblo has more water than we can ever use" and added that the water can be transported through the district’s nearly completed connection to CSU.

    **********

The Donala board holds its regular meetings at 1:30 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month at the district offices, 15850 Holbein Drive. The next meeting will be held Oct. 20.

The district’s website is at www.donalawater.org.

John Heiser can be contacted at johnheiser@ocn.me.

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Donala Water and Sanitation District, Sept. 15: District close to agreement to use ranch water, proposes water rate increases of up to 60 percent

Below: (L to R) Newly-elected Donala board president William George congratulates Kenneth Judd on being appointed and sworn in to fill the vacancy created by Tim Murphy’s resignation. Photo by John Heiser.

By John Heiser

At the Sept. 15 monthly meeting of the Donala Water and Sanitation District Board of Directors, Dana Duthie, district general manager, reported that negotiations are going well with the Colorado State Engineer’s Office and the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB), the sole remaining objectors to the district’s request to make municipal use of the stream flows formerly used to irrigate the Willow Creek Ranch.

On July 28, when water court Judge Dennis Maes denied the district’s request for the change of use, he directed the district to continue those negotiations. Prior to the case going to Judge Maes, settlement had been achieved with all the other objectors. Duthie said the case will likely be resolved by early 2012.

In November 2008, Donala completed the purchase of the ranch near Leadville and has been reducing irrigation on the ranch and seeking conversion of the excess irrigation water, which flows to the Arkansas River, for use by the district.

The district is expecting to obtain rights to about 280 acre-feet of water per year, which would cover about 20 percent of Donala’s current demand. If that is the final figure ultimately approved by Judge Maes, then, under the terms of the ranch purchase agreement, the district will be obligated to pay Ronald Strich, the former owner of the ranch, an additional fee of about $408,000 less the value of 60 acres the district is selling back to Strich. An acre-foot is 326,851 gallons.

One of the state’s main objections was that to avoid injuring downstream water rights holders, the district must replace non-irrigation-season return flows, that is, snowmelt and other water that historically flowed from the ranch during the winter months and fed the surrounding creeks that flow to the Arkansas River. Since the district is reducing irrigation on the ranch, the return flows will be reduced. The state is seeking to have the district replace 94 acre-feet of water each year. The district’s position is that during many years, 94 acre-feet is more than what is needed to prevent injury to downstream water rights holders.

As part of resolving the state’s objections, the board approved a 20-year contract with the Pueblo Board of Water Works for release or exchange of 250 acre-feet per year from Turquoise Reservoir. The contract calls for a one-time payment of $8,000 and annual costs ranging from $12,500 to $96,470, depending on the amount of water released and the amount of water exchanged. The district will initially pay $192,940 to cover the first and last year’s maximum obligation.

The annual cost will increase based on general rate increases approved by the Pueblo Board of Water Works. The contract calls for direct release of water from Turquoise Reservoir or exchange of water in Turquoise Reservoir for water in Pueblo Reservoir. The cost for direct-released water is $386 per acre-foot. The cost for contract-exchanged water is $50 per acre-foot. In either case, the water is fully consumable, meaning that the district can reuse it to extinction. Due to TABOR restrictions, the contract must be reauthorized each year.

Duthie said the district is also negotiating with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation on a contract for water storage in Pueblo Reservoir. Duthie said that contract cannot be put in place until the district obtains a favorable decree from Judge Maes regarding the water from Willow Creek Ranch.

District representatives are continuing to meet with representatives of the State Engineer’s Office and the CWCB to reach a resolution that can be presented to Judge Maes. Duthie said the next meeting is scheduled for September 21.

Water rate increases of up to 60% proposed

Duthie proposed the water rate and fee increases shown below, which he noted would result in a 15 percent to 40 percent increase in the water bills for most users and a 50 percent to 60 percent increase for high-volume users.

Water rate per 1,000 gallons/month
Range (gallons) Old rate New rate Increase
0-10,000  $     3.40  $    3.90 15%
10,001-20,000  $     4.55  $    5.90 30%
20,001-30,000  $     5.25  $    7.35 40%
30,001-40,000  $     6.60  $  10.25 55%
40,001-50,000  $     9.60  $  15.35 60%
Above 50,000  $    11.10  $  16.50 49%
     
Fixed monthly water fees
Water service SF  $    13.00  $  25.00 92%
Water service MF  $    13.00  $  18.00 38%

The fixed monthly water fee, which provides no water, includes $3 designated for water development.

The proposed water rates for townhome complexes match the proposed residential rates up to 40,000 gallons per month. Over 40,000 gallons, the rate would be $11 per 1,000 gallons per month (up from $8.50 per 1,000 gallons in 2011) or $9.50 per 1,000 gallons per month (up from $7.50 per 1,000 gallons in 2011) for those townhome projects that have made significant reductions in their irrigated landscaping.

The golf course rate for potable water is the same as the residential rate. The rate for reuse water for irrigation is proposed to increase to $3 per 1,000 gallons per month (up from $2.48 per 1,000 gallons, a 21 percent increase). Untreated water for the golf course from the district’s wells is proposed to increase to $4 per 1,000 gallons per month (up from $3.60 per 1,000 gallons per month, an 11 percent increase).

Duthie recommended keeping the sewer fee unchanged at $27 per month, with $2 of that fee designated for sewer development and used to help pay off the debt for the expansion of the wastewater treatment plant.

No changes are proposed to the water and sewer tap fees and water and sewer development fees charged to developers.

Availability of service fees charged to owners of vacant lots would remain unchanged at $300 per year.

Based on the board’s comments about the proposed rate increase, Duthie will develop a draft 2012 district budget for discussion at the board meeting Oct. 20. A final decision on the rate proposal will be made at the November board meeting.

Duthie added that a possible property tax mill levy increase is being considered for 2013.

Connection to CSU may be completed as soon as Oct. 3

Duthie reported that the project to connect the district’s water infrastructure to Colorado Springs Utilities’ (CSU) pipes in the vicinity of Northgate Road may be completed sooner than Oct. 28 as previously estimated and may be completed as soon as Oct. 3.

The service agreement with CSU calls for a minimum of 100 acre-feet of Colorado Springs water to be supplied to the district in 2011 and a minimum of 200 acre-feet per year in subsequent years. The maximum amount that can be drawn per year is 1,000 acre-feet.

Duthie said that since the connection is being completed late in the year, CSU has agreed to revise the minimum requirement to 50 acre-feet during 2011 and shift the other 50 acre-feet to 2012 so the minimum requirement during 2012 will be 250 acre-feet.

The initial rate is $11.12 per 1,000 gallons, plus a system use fee of $354,807. The district has also paid $296,902 for a CSU pump at Northgate Road. The total cost for the first 100 acre-feet to be drawn during 2011 and 2012 will be $717,319, or about $22 per 1,000 gallons. When the district obtains rights to the water from Willow Creek Ranch, the net cost for CSU transportation of the water is projected to decline to about $10.36 per 1,000 gallons.

The highest rate the district currently charges any of its customers is about $11 per 1,000 gallons, and some customers pay as little as $3.40 per 1,000 gallons. In 2010, the average rate paid in the district was about $5.60 per 1,000 gallons.

Duthie noted that the district is not permitted to reuse the water being provided by CSU. After one use, it must be discharged to Monument Creek. As a result, the associated effluent cannot be included in the current reuse program for golf course irrigation. Once the district starts drawing water from CSU, the amount of effluent available for reuse on the golf course will be reduced. Duthie said this will require pumping well water in summer months to meet the golf course irrigation demand. He noted that this "flies in the face of conservation and good stewardship of the wells and reuse."

Board approves application for $7.3 million loan for infrastructure improvements

The board unanimously approved a resolution to apply to the Colorado Water and Power Authority for a loan of about $7.3 million for infrastructure improvements needed to transport and treat the renewable water Donala will be receiving from CSU. This is the first debt to be issued under the ballot measure passed in May 2010. The loan is to carry no more than 6.5 percent interest and a maximum repayment period of 25 years.

Duthie said the infrastructure work is scheduled to be put out for bid in December, with the work to start in January and be completed during 2012.

Flaming Gorge Reservoir project update

Duthie distributed copies of a letter and status report from Frank Jaeger, manager of the Parker Water and Sanitation District and chairman of the Colorado/Wyoming Coalition of water providers that is evaluating the feasibility of the Flaming Gorge project that would bring water from the Flaming Gorge Reservoir in northwestern Colorado to the Rueter-Hess Reservoir, a 70,000 acre-foot facility being constructed 3 miles southwest of downtown Parker. Some highlights of the information from Jaeger:

  • The Colorado/Wyoming Coalition was formed in March 2010. Its Colorado members are the Donala district, Douglas County, the Parker Water and Sanitation District, the South Metro Water Supply Authority, and the Town of Castle Rock. Its Wyoming members are the City of Cheyenne, the City of Torrington, and Laramie County. Its members represent about 532,000 water users.
  • The coalition’s members have estimated their total Flaming Gorge demand through 2070 at 105,000 acre-feet.
  • The coalition supports key positions Gov. Hickenlooper’s administration has adopted: Protecting agriculture is a top goal, providing an adequate and reliable water supply is necessary for a strong economy, endorsing the 2010 Statewide Water Supply Initiative findings of a significant gap between supply and demand that cannot be met by conservation alone, and supporting a portfolio of strategies including reuse, conservation, completing identified projects, and developing new projects.
  • The coalition is concerned that some participants on the Flaming Gorge task force sponsored by the river basin roundtables and Interbasin Compact Committee are attempting to bias or terminate the evaluation of the Flaming Gorge project.
  • For the past year, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has been modeling available water supplies from Flaming Gorge. Preliminary results of that study are expected in fall 2011. Assuming that schedule holds, the coalition plans to complete its feasibility study by January 2012.
  • Over the past four years, the coalition has held numerous meetings to provide updates to Wyoming west slope groups, including opponents such as the Communities Protecting the Green River.

Elections and appointments

William George was elected board president to succeed Tim Murphy, who announced at the August meeting that he and his family would be moving to Washington, D.C., for personal reasons.

Kenneth Judd was appointed to the board to the position left vacant by Murphy.

David Powell was elected vice president, the position George formerly held.

Dale Schendzielos continues as secretary/treasurer.

Other matters

  • The Donala Extended Water Supply Study (DEWSS) draft report is scheduled for completion Oct. 20, with the final document scheduled for completion by Dec. 15.
  • During the three months from June 1 through Aug. 31, the district’s $3.78 million in investments managed by Davidson Fixed Income Management showed a yield of 0.38 percent, achieving a goal of beating the Colotrust Plus fund, which yielded 0.05 percent during the same period. The weighted average maturity of the district’s investments is 1.1 years.
  • Duthie reported on the Sept. 7 meeting of the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority (PPRWA). He noted that Gary Barber resigned as the manager of the PPRWA. Possible replacements are to be discussed at the group’s Nov. 2 meeting. The Flaming Gorge Project within the PPRWA will not be funded in 2012. Super Ditch will continue as a PPRWA project but for 2012 will consist of a pilot study with participation by the cities of Fountain and Security and may include the Cherokee Metropolitan District.
  • The district board unanimously approved inclusion of a 10-acre commercial parcel on the northeast corner of Spanish Bit Drive and Struthers Road. The parcel is being proposed as the site for a Big R store.
  • The district pumped over 47 million gallons of water in August, 9 million more than in August 2010 even though there were 3.8 inches of rain over 14 days in August 2011 compared to 3.1 inches of rain over 16 days during August 2010. Seventy-six single-family house customers each used more than 40,000 gallons during the month. The top water bill for the month was $884 for 102,000 gallons. Forty-nine irrigation warning letters and five second warning letters have been issued.
  • The district has replaced the third well motor so far this year. Duthie suggested that lightning may have been involved in the latest failure.
  • There continue to be problems with the blowers at the wastewater treatment plant. Duthie said the blowers appear to be failing due to shoddy workmanship during their manufacture; however, the failures are coming after the expiration of the warranty period. He added that new blowers cost $18,900 each and rebuilt units cost $15,400 each.
  • The Donala Gardens xeriscape demonstration garden built around and in a detention pond on the west side of Gleneagle Drive just south of the Gleneagle Shopping Center has been completed but was partially inundated by stormwater flowing from the shopping center parking lot.
  • The district’s water conservation plan is available for public comment prior to being considered by the board at its October meeting. If approved by the board, the plan will be submitted to the state for approval as required by the district’s service agreement with CSU.
  • Based on residents’ comments during and following the Sept. 7 community meeting, Duthie said he is preparing a technical presentation detailing the nature of the declining water levels and pumping rates for the district’s wells. As an example, he noted that over the past eight years, the sustainable pumping rate in one of the district’s Denver aquifer wells dropped from 250 gallons per minute to 160 gallons per minute.

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

**********

The Donala board will hold its next regular meeting Oct. 20 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 website is at www.donalawater.org.

John Heiser can be reached at johnheiser@ocn.me.

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Academy Water and Sanitation District, Sept. 7: New plan addresses safety of district’s wells

Below: Jim Weilbrenner detailed the Source Water Protection Plan at the Sept. 7 meeting of the Academy Water and Sanitation District. Photo by Susan Hindman.

By Susan Hindman

A collaborative effort between the residents and board members of the Academy Water and Sanitation District and various local and county government offices has resulted in the creation of a Source Water Protection Plan (SWPP), which was introduced to the public on Sept. 7, prior to the start of the district’s board meeting.

Jim Weilbrenner, who sits on the SWPP steering committee and the district board, gave a presentation about the plan, which has been in the works for the past year and was recently approved by the board.

At issue is the safety of two of the district’s three wells. Their water levels lie within 10 feet of the surface, leaving them susceptible to a number of threats. Those threats, detailed in the plan, include multiple sources of possible contamination:

  • Deposition of erosion materials resulting from a forest fire or flooding of the surrounding land.
  • The introduction of pollutants from improperly maintained nearby septic systems.
  • Other hazardous fluids that could drain downhill to the field containing the wells.

If those two wells were disabled for an extended period, the remaining well — which taps a much deeper aquifer and is not at risk — would likely not provide enough water to meet daily demands.

Identifying these threats helps the district take a "proactive approach to preventing pollution of our groundwater that serves as sources of our drinking water," Weilbrenner said. The plan details the strategies for identifying all the risks as well as ways to reduce them. In the event the water supply is compromised, the plan will eventually list courses of action appropriate to the type and level of contamination, including a contingency plan to provide potable water to residents.

Homes located not only within the district but in outlying areas uphill of the wells — as well as Fox Run Park — have been identified as part of the Drinking Water Supply Protection Area. Activities on those properties can impact the safety of the wells. Residents of the Academy district as well as those in those targeted outlying areas had been invited to attend the meeting.

Overseeing the plan is the Colorado Rural Water Association (CRWA), which approached the district a year ago with the SWPP idea and has helped the district secure grant money to implement components of the plan. CRWA has been involved in the development of similar plans around the state.

SWPP actions by the board

After the presentation, the board met and approved the following related to the SWPP:

  • $6,534 for implementation of a list of best management practices. Once the expected grant money is received, the district will be reimbursed for the expenditure.
  • $300 for materials that will be hand-delivered to owners of septic systems in the zone identified in the SWPP. Again the district will get the money back when the grant is received.

Fear of regulation changes unites small districts

The board approved paying $500 to join a coalition of small districts around the state in hiring a representative who will take the fight against looming regulations of nutrient standards directly to Colorado legislators. Districts of all sizes will be affected by the stringent requirements being proposed by the Water Quality Control Division, part of the state’s Department of Public Health and Environment. The state’s Regulation 31 controls water quality standards for all waters of the state. However, the Health Department is proposing a 10-year interim control regulation—Regulation 85—that will set preliminary standards for phosphorus and nitrogen concentrations in wastewater treatment facility effluent while these facilities collect and analyze stream and reservoir data from 2013 to through 2022. This new information will be used to set final standards in Regulation 31 for 2023.

"People (in small districts) are thinking we’re going to get a variance," said operator Anthony Pastorello, but an expert with the Colorado Nutrient Coalition "is saying that’s not going to happen" when the regulations are actually written. Other local sanitation districts have agreed to contribute to the cost as well, including Donala, Fountain, Lower Fountain, Monument, Palmer Lake, Security, Triview, and Woodmoor.

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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 Oct. 5.

Susan Hindman can be reached at susanhindman@ocn.me.

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Tri-Lakes Joint Use Committee, Sept. 13: Garage construction postponement for one year confirmed

By Jim Kendrick

On Sept. 13, the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility Joint Use Committee (JUC) confirmed its final decision to postpone until 2012 the construction of a $79,000 heated garage building with a crane for moving the blowers for the aeration basins and reinforcement of the existing concrete in that area.

Monument Sanitation District had asked that the project be deferred at the July 12 and Aug. 9 JUC meetings. After the Aug. 9 JUC meeting, the boards of the other two owner districts confirmed their concurrence with Monument’s request and the JUC’s approval.

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 districts’ boards: Dale Smith from Palmer Lake, Lowell Morgan from Monument, and Jim Whitelaw from Woodmoor. Typically, several other district board members and the district managers also attend the JUC meeting.

Monument Director Chuck Robinove filled in for Morgan, who was out of town.

District board opinions on storage garage

Robinove briefly noted that the Monument board’s opinion of the district’s depleted capital funds had not changed and the district’s capital reserves were "dangerously low" due to a lack of tap fees. Whitelaw asked Tri-Lakes Facility Manager Bill Burks, "How badly do we need it (the garage)?" He replied, "We don’t." Whitelaw said, "That makes it simple. I move we do it next year."

Smith added an amendment to the motion: "Should circumstances change with Monument Sanitation, it’s possible to revisit the construction proposal." Whitelaw accepted the amendment. Robinove seconded the motion and amendment. The amended motion passed unanimously.

Palmer Lake Director Joe Stallsmith said he wanted to defend Burks’ desire to build the storage garage as soon as possible. He noted that he had operated a wastewater treatment facility most of his career and storage had always been a problem. He said construction of this garage would preserve the existing concrete pad from deterioration and that a temporary rental building would be a waste of money.

Burks noted that the only unusual bills in the monthly financial report were three bills for a total of $23,440 from Liquid Waste Management for biosolid sludge removal and the Timberline bill for $11,026 for replacement of a buried control cable for alarms for the facility’s ultraviolet disinfection system with a new remote system. Burks added that there would be one more sludge bill for about $22,000 from Liquid Waste Management next month. The financial reports were unanimously accepted.

Change of auditors to be considered

Woodmoor District Manager Jessie Shaffer informed the board that Woodmoor had learned that Pat Hall, auditor for the facility and the Woodmoor district, had his license suspended for two years on Dec. 31, to be followed by three years of probation. This was discovered by Woodmoor’s bond counsel during a review of the Jaspers and Hall accounting firm as part of Woodmoor’s due diligence process for the preliminary official statement to float bonds for purchasing the JV Ranch to obtain renewable water rights. (See www.ocn.me/v11n6.htm#wwsd, www.ourcommunitynews.org/v11n7.htm#wwsd, and the Woodmoor article on page 1 for more details on the JV Ranch purchase.)

Woodmoor learned that the Jaspers and Hall accounting firm had an injunction filed against them to cease performing accounting and auditing services for public sector entities, like commercial firms, in 2008. Jaspers and Hall continued to perform services for governmental agencies.

Hall told Shaffer and Burks that he and Jaspers had "gone their separate ways" and had switched to the HCH accounting firm in Englewood when both accepted annual letters of engagement earlier this year from HCH for their 2010 audits.

Shaffer noted that Hall recently briefed the Woodmoor board. Hall said that there was no legal impropriety on his part, but his partner had his auditing revoked in the Dec. 31, 2010, settlement by the Jaspers and Hall firm with the Board of Accountancy of the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies. See www.dora.state.co.us/accountants/ for more information.

Shaffer said the Woodmoor board was concerned about Hall’s appearance of impropriety due to Hall withholding this information from Woodmoor. HCH is apparently supervising Hall’s work during his two-year license suspension. Shaffer added that Hall still had "wrap-up" work to do on Woodmoor’s 2010 audit, and Woodmoor’s current one-year letter of engagement with HCH would end at that point.

Note: The JUC approved Hall’s final Tri-Lakes 2010 "clean" audit on April 12, and it has already been signed and submitted to the state. Until this meeting Sept. 13, the JUC did not know Hall’s license had been suspended and that he had to be supervised by HCH as part of his two-year probation.

At the conclusion of a general discussion on audit options, it was the consensus of the JUC to publish a request for proposals (RFP) from other accounting/auditing firms. Shaffer suggested a joint RFP process with Woodmoor to save costs, with each entity selecting its own auditor for the 2011 reports. The JUC directed Burks to ask Tri-Lakes attorney Mike Cucullu for legal advice on how to proceed with the RFP process.

Change of JUC accountant for 2012 announced

In an entirely separate matter, Burks noted that the JUC’s accountant, Nolan Gookin, was selling his practice to Jackie Spegele, because he is retiring and moving out of state. Spegele’s firm is Numeric Strategies LLC. There was consensus that Spegele should be invited to attend the Oct. 11 JUC meeting. Palmer Lake District Manager Duane Hanson noted that Spegele had attended the Palmer Lake Board meeting on Aug. 9.

Draft 2012 budget discussed

Some of the issues raised by Burks while he reviewed his first draft of the 2012 budget were:

  • The $75,678 for constructing the new storage garage in 2011 will be deleted by the end of this year and added to the 2012 budget.
  • Legal fees may drop from the planned $37,500 to $27,500.
  • Special and chemical monitoring expenses may drop from the planned $43,000 to $30,000.
  • Sludge removal expenses will drop from the planned $165,650 to $58,010
  • About 151 dry tons were removed this year, instead of the planned 450 dry tons.
  • Liquid Waste Management has proposed that the cost for completing the 2011 sludge removal in 2012 will be $127,825. This includes a reduction in set-up fees for removing about 350 dry tons. This plan would require that another 300 dry tons would have to be removed in 2013 to get back on a schedule of removing about 450 dry tons every two years, though the cost per ton will likely increase in 2013.
  • New equipment will have to be purchased for monitoring and reporting nutrients in 2012, at a cost of about $5,000.
  • Engineering fees will increase about $5,000 in 2012.
  • Special and chemical costs for new monitoring and the nutrient removal pilot plant will go back up to about $40,000 in 2012.
  • Electrical costs will increase by $5,000 in 2012.
  • The Denver consumer price index calls for 3.8 percent cost of living increase for 2011, which was used for calculating the inflation-based salary increase for the facility staff.

Engineering consultant Tetra Tech Inc. will be setting up a pilot plant to test the preliminary design of the proposed new system for phosphorus removal in the secondary clarifiers. It will have a 2012 budget of about $25,000 to determine the cost of the final design. A permit for operating the pilot plant for three to four weeks is required from the state. The preliminary estimated amount of ferric chloride to remove total phosphates will be about 1,000 gallons per week. Delivery trucks carry about 4,000 gallons.

A containment building for the new 6,000 gallon ferric chloride storage tank will have to be built with pumps for each clarifier, telemetry, and a backup pump. A tentative location for construction of a new fourth clarifier would be south of the administration building. The containment building would probably be located west of the administration building.

A separate engineering study will still be required for designing the total nitrogen removal equipment when the new Regulation 31.17 discharge limits become effective in 2022. This new system will be extremely more expensive than the proposed ferric chloride system.

District manager’s report

Monument District Manager Mike Wicklund noted that the battery used for starting the natural gas-fueled internal combustion engine that drives the backup generator at the Trails End lift station had died after five years and he had replaced it with a similar car-sized battery. The alarm system for the battery functioned properly, notifying Wicklund with a pre-programmed recorded phone call to his cell phone.

Wicklund said he had come to the JUC meeting directly from the annual state Health Department inspection of the Synthes plant. He reviewed the very technical details of the inspection results. If a third industrial pre-treatment permit is issued for a previously unknown washing process for returned unused surgical implant parts, the state would no longer be required to manage the Synthes pre-treatment program. This would create a very expensive burden on Monument and the Tri-Lakes facility for taking over the management of a stand-alone Synthes pre-treatment program. However, there are several reasonable options available to the district and Synthes for avoiding the need to create a third pre-treatment discharge permit.

Wicklund also noted that while this inspection is technically unrelated to Monument’s tap fee issues for the new industrial process Synthes set up in a different building in newly rented space early this year, Synthes may now be more motivated to pay the tap fee once it receives the state Health Department’s annual inspection report. The district’s industrial tap fee for the new industrial process area is $44,000. (See the Aug. 9 JUC article at www.ocn.me/v11n9.htm#juc for more information on the various district issues regarding the new Synthes industrial pre-treatment tap.}

Woodmoor Assistant District Manager Randy Gillette reported that there had been some delays in obtaining the materials being used to reline the remainder of the district collection lines in this year’s program, but the full relining project would still be completed this year.

Facility manager’s report

Burks noted that the wastewater treatment plant had operated very well in August. He said that the amount of potentially dissolved copper in the effluent was undetectable. This means that the concentration was less than the minuscule lower limit of detection—5 parts per billion—for the state-approved copper concentration testing procedure. The concentration used for August will therefore be zero when calculating the yearly average.

Copper removal by the digestion of the aerobic and anaerobic "bugs" in the aeration basins is more effective in warm weather than cold weather. Winter copper concentrations often rise to a range of 15 to 16 ppb in the coldest winter months because the bugs digest a lower percentage of the dissolved copper when their metabolism slows.

Burks announced that he had received tentative notice from the state Health Department’s Water Quality Control Division that the 30-day public notice period for the facility’s new five-year discharge permit would probably be Oct. 21 to Nov. 21 for an effective date of Jan. 1, 2012. He believes that the division will set up a compliance schedule for any new or lower limits on heavy metals and nutrients like phosphates and nitrates to test and report the amounts that the plant can actually remove, before final new permit limits are set.

Burks noted that he had provided pH and ammonia data he had collected to the division’s permit writer. Tad Foster, the district’s environmental attorney, and engineering consultant Tetra Tech will conduct negotiations for the final permit limits.

Wicklund suggested that Burks involve Foster and Tetra Tech right away, as soon as he finds out what the new proposed limits are.

Note: After this meeting Burks received official notice of his permit renewal on Sept. 14. See the next issue of OCN for details of the actual proposed permit limits.]

Burks read a letter from Ginny Johnson of Colorado Springs Utilities permitting services division that requested that the facility and the owner districts notify her immediately of any spills of untreated wastewater to Monument Creek that might be taken up by Utilities’ Pikeview reservoir just east of the Garden of the Gods Road exit off I-25. This reservoir diverts creek water for treatment as a drinking water supply for treatment at the Mesa Water Treatment Plant.

The phone number Johnson provided for notifying Colorado Springs Utilities of wastewater spills to the creek will be added to the emergency action plans of the Tri-Lakes facilities and the three districts’ copies.

The test samples sent to the facility by the EPA for the facility technicians to test were correctly analyzed by the staff.

Colorado Wastewater Utility Council representative report

Jim Kendrick, Monument Sanitation District Operations, reported on several of the issues raised during the numerous state regulatory meetings he had attended in Denver in the past month.

A Colorado Nutrient Coalition meeting was held on Sept. 9 to object to what it considered another biased and distorted EPA briefing by EPA Region 8 microbiologist and environmental water engineer Bob Clement at the Aug. 29 Nutrient Criteria Workshop. The slide show that was presented is titled, "Understanding the Significance of Nutrient Loading to Drinking Water Treatment."

Kendrick said Clement’s briefing falsely claimed that if total phosphorus and total nitrogen removal limits are not drastically lowered throughout the U.S., there will be a significant potential in the near future for the formation of extremely toxic disinfection byproducts that result from the chemical interactions of nutrients with chlorine disinfection processes. Clement further claimed that these extremely toxic disinfection byproducts could become very difficult to remove by standard treatment processes in drinking water systems and kill many people.

Note: The local Tri-Lakes and Upper Monument Creek facilities do not use chlorine for disinfection. They use far more effective and benign ultraviolet light systems for disinfection of effluent just before it is discharged to Monument Creek.

Kendrick expressed regret that he had not immediately challenged Clement’s claim on Aug. 29 by clearly stating that there has never been any evidence of even the possibility of the incident of disinfection byproducts causing any illness in the United States, and he was only aware of one such very minor incident worldwide that occurred in Brazil. However, he and Wicklund had asked Clement several questions that forced him to admit that his numerous pictures in the slide show were created for "dramatic effect" only and were not actually related to or relevant to any existing situation in this country.

Wicklund advised the JUC that Clement’s briefing was willfully and deliberately misleading, which he said is common in numerous EPA presentations and policy documents on wastewater treatment issues. Wicklund also noted that Clement presented this same slide show to Congress, using pictures of algae from the Chinese Olympics while claiming that these pictures were typical of U.S. water bodies throughout the country.

Kendrick said the Colorado Nutrient Coalition continues to seek a postponement of the March Water Quality Control Commission hearing on revisions to the proposed nutrient control Regulation 85 and the amendment for permanent nutrient limits in Regulation 31.17. The basis for that requested postponement continues to be the absence of a statistically significant basis for the division’s environmental conclusions that could withstand a scientific peer review as required by EPA regulations. He noted that many districts, particularly the small ones, fear the division and the EPA and are falsely hoping that the new revisions will not be as punitive and expensive as is likely.

A small community coalition of wastewater districts has been formed to directly lobby the governor as well as state senators and representatives and persuade them to actively oppose the Water Quality Control Division and Region 8 EPA staffs’ efforts to tighten nutrient regulations to a much tighter level than is necessary or cost effective to protect the uses of state waters and the health of the state’s residents.

Kendrick also noted that he continues to forward numerous email notifications from Denver to most of the districts in El Paso County—over 200 per month—to help them track these fast-changing issues. The most significant issues are still:

  • Is nitrogen a scientifically defensible limiting factor or not?
  • Is co-limitation by simultaneous total phosphorus and total nitrogen numeric limits necessary, effective, or broadly applicable for control of algae?
  • Is total nitrogen really toxic or is ammonia the only toxic component that needs to be regulated?
  • Why won’t the Water Quality Control Division open its databases for its new regulations to stakeholders for an independent scientific peer review as required by the EPA’s own Scientific Advisory Board?
  • There are still numerous false claims of millions of dollars in additional daily revenue from angler and boating tourist revenue that will come to Colorado after phosphate and nutrient concentrations are lowered.

The meeting adjourned at 12:05 p.m.

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The next meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on Oct. 11 at the Tri-Lakes WWTF conference room, 16510 Mitchell Ave. Meetings are normally held on the second Tuesday of the month. Information: 481-4053.

Jim Kendrick can be reached at jimkendrick@ocn.me.

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Triview Metropolitan District, Sept. 13: Promontory Pointe water issues raised

By Jim Kendrick

On Sept. 13, the Triview Metropolitan District board expressed concern about whether the proposed booster pump system that Classic Homes will install in Promontory Pointe for Triview will restore pressure to the highest-elevation homes in Jackson Creek. The board also expressed concerns that the water demands for the 267 new homes in Promontory Pointe and the 177 new apartments in the Vistas project would exceed the district’s existing pumping and storage capacity.

Triview District Manager Mark Carmel was firm in stating that three engineering firms had reviewed the proposal to use a standard booster pump network very similar to those used in numerous Colorado mountain towns and found the preliminary engineering design to be satisfactory.

Operations report

Carmel gave the operations report because Monument Public Works Director Rich Landreth was unable to attend the meeting.

Carmel said the monthly report format will be modified to include data on water pressure and capacity as new construction begins in Promontory Pointe. Some of the items Carmel noted during his discussion of the operations report were:

  • Peak irrigation flows are currently occurring at the same time as peak drinking water demands. The irrigation schedule will be changed so that these two demand peaks do not conflict.
  • The Promontory Pointe agreements will provide resources for a new storage tank to ensure adequate water pressure in the long-term.
  • Engineering analyses by consultant water engineer Bruce Lytle show that the district has the capacity to supply water to Promontory Pointe (267 homes) and the Vistas apartments (177 apartments) at the completion of construction as well as the current Triview total of 1,108 homes.
  • Water cannot be delivered successfully with adequate pressure in the proper areas without the new booster system.
  • Merrick Engineering and former Triview consultant engineer Will Koger of Nolte Associates Inc. have provided independent reviews of Classic’s preliminary engineering study for Promontory Pointe booster pumps by Applegate Group Inc.
  • The new water system agreement with Classic Homes will replace previous "numerous very bad agreements" for development in Promontory Pointe, Sanctuary Pointe, Home Place Ranch, and the vacant areas of Triview as well as clarify the responsibility for the quality of new infrastructure and ability to get reimbursement from the developers.
  • Institutional knowledge from the past will be better integrated with new engineering information to make a very bad situation into a very good situation with a funding stream from Classic to solve previously created problems, even though Classic had already received all its entitlements for Promontory Pointe.
  • "I don’t fault the board for questioning the integrity behind some of these assumptions" given the failures of the past engineering proposals.
  • The total cost for the planned new well, booster pumps, and water tank is $3.6 million.
  • The amount of the data that the board requested in a specific written format on Sept. 12 was more than Landreth could provide the next day.
  • The monthly written operations report will be revised to add the directors’ lists of new report items.
  • The most important task is to get a Triview district engineer on board before completion of the request for proposal for other professional services.
  • A specific list of storm sewer inlet repairs that would cost a total of about $10,000 was presented to the board for approval.

Monument Treasurer Pamela Smith also stated that she has looked several times at Landreth’s spreadsheets that include all the data for the operations at the town’s and Triview’s water treatment plants.

Monument Water Superintendent Tom Tharnish and Triview Operations Supervisor Steve Sheffield also answered the board’s technical questions on water system operations. Koger explained how water storage capacity calculations are performed.

There was a lengthy discussion of how faulty asphalt, curb, and gutter installations had caused erosion that is undermining homeowners’ sidewalks adjacent to the listed stormwater inlets, causing numerous tripping hazards. Board President Bob Eskridge noted that the installation was completed "a long time ago" and sidewalks are the responsibility of the homeowners now.

Carmel said these problems were no fault of the property owners due to a design or construction deficiency that goes beyond the town code’s presumption of ordinary wear and tear for a satisfactory installation and that this problem is the district’s responsibility. After a lengthy discussion, Carmel was directed by Eskridge to determine the costs for various options for various levels of sidewalk repair to "fix it right." Smith noted that there is no budget item or appropriation of Triview funds for repairing the affected sidewalks.

Some of the other items that Landreth listed in his written operations report for August were:

  • Water production for August was about 31 million gallons, down very slightly from July.
  • The Well 8 transient voltage surge suppressor has been replaced and is working properly.
  • Water pressure on Saber Creek Drive and Greenrock Place is being monitored and recorded. Classic Homes is planning a connection for water at Walters Creek Drive.
  • Classic Homes will soon begin work on the infrastructure in Promontory Pointe.
  • A preconstruction meeting was held with Classic’s contractor, and the work will be monitored.
  • The rebuilt blower has been installed at the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility. The other replacement blower will not be ordered until the causes of the failures are determined.
  • The chip seal contractor has made some spot repairs to the streets that were chip sealed. The town staff will sweep the streets once more if needed. There are several thin spots, and we are going to meet with the contractor to ask that they return for more repairs
  • We are continuing the evaluation of the drip zones of the irrigation systems.

District manager’s report

Carmel reported that he had spoken with the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority about the district’s cash reserves situation. He told the board about revenue from the new construction for the Vistas apartments near the Jackson Creek Crossing shopping area. He also provided them a copy of the district’s 2010 audit.

Carmel said he does not believe that a change in fee structure will be needed as long as the district continues to make a good faith effort to resolve this issue. Eskridge asked Carmel to obtain a written statement from the authority that the issue has been satisfactorily resolved.

Background: Triview received a July 28 notice from the Colorado Water Resources & Power Development Authority saying that it was out of compliance with the loan covenants for the 2006 and 2008 Water Pollution Control Revolving Fund loans the authority made to Triview. The authority’s notice stated that its audit of Triview’s most recently submitted quarterly accounting showed that Triview must raise its user rates within 45 days of this notice and be in effect within 60 days of this notice in order to come back into compliance with the covenants. The district must sustain cash reserves in the loan reserve fund equal to 110 percent of the sum of the four quarterly principal and interest payments made to the authority for the district’s loans.

Smith said both semi-annual loan payments have been paid for 2011, and there is $500,000 in reserves not counting payments that will be received from the Vistas developments.

The board also approved $5,000 for replacing dead trees in common open spaces with new pine trees. The board added a condition that new trees could be installed only where an adequate operational drip line is already installed and that their locations will be marked so that the staff can report how many of them are still alive next June.

Carmel suggested a board work session to discuss their preferred procedures for conducting the request for proposal process for hiring professional consultants for the district to include prioritizing which types of consultants should be hired first and when they should be hired. Eskridge said, "This board is going to be involved" in the selection process. The next board work session was scheduled for Sept. 20.

Smith reminded the board that the first draft of the 2012 budget must be presented by Oct. 15.

Financial report

Some of the items Smith noted during her report were:

  • It was too early in the month for her to have received the data to complete the August financial report that was listed as an agenda item.
  • She has not yet received the new annual county property assessment for Triview properties to forecast the impact on 2012 revenues.
  • Triview typically receives about twice the annual property tax revenue that the town receives for the portion of Monument outside of Triview.
  • West Monument property values declined about 5 percent according to the latest county assessor’s report, which will reduce downtown tax revenue by about $50,000.
  • The first property tax revenue for the new construction in Promontory Pointe and the Vistas apartments will not be received until 2013 because these taxes are paid one year in arrears.
  • The board should consider adding lines to the 2012 budget for contingency expenditures such as water, sewer, and the general fund for emergency expenses—about $50,000 to $100,000 for each—which would "carry forward to the next year" if not used.
  • Enterprise Fund revenues are down 19 percent through the end of June compared to 2010.
  • General Fund expenditures are under budget by 10 percent, or $163,000.
  • Capital expenditures for well and road improvements and the new Agate Creek Park were $117,651.

Two payments over $5,000 were approved:

  • $12,124 to Redline Pipeline for repair of the district’s 10-inch pipeline under the I-25 Baptist Road interchange
  • $5,861 to AFD Pavement Marking LLC for crosswalk striping of roads at various locations

Carmel concurred with Smith’s suggestion. He added that the Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority will likely repay the Redline bill in full since the breech of the pipeline was likely caused by the authority’s subcontractor.

Inclusion agreement revised

The board approved a requested revision to the previously approved Family of Christ Church inclusion agreement that reduced the proposed change of the requested water taps from a two-inch tap and one-inch tap to a single 1.5-inch tap. The church also provided a new separate utility easement document that provides Triview with easements for any water line infrastructure installed on the property. No easement is provided for a construction of a future Triview well on the property.

The board approved the tap revision to the inclusion agreement. The board also approved the easement document with a condition that allowed directors to make comments within the next 72 hours.

Monument Town Attorney Gary Shupp reported that traffic accident claims submitted to the town and the district should be forwarded to the district’s insurance company. An accident resulted from stormwater pushing up a manhole cover.

The board went into executive session to discuss contract negotiations at 6:35 p.m.

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The next board meeting will be held on Oct. 11 at 5 p.m. in Town Hall, 645 Beacon Lite Road. Meetings are normally held on the second Tuesday of the month. Information: 884-8017.

Jim Kendrick can be contacted at jfkendrick@ocn.me.

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Monument Sanitation District, Sept. 23: 2012 budget issues reviewed

By Jim Kendrick

On Sept. 23, Monument Sanitation District Manager Mike Wicklund reviewed a variety of issues that will directly affect the district’s still-low capital reserves and drive decisions regarding new permit limits that will be imposed on the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility by the Water Quality Control Division of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Wicklund said the potential for long-term excessive and unnecessary expenses for new capital treatment equipment for the nontoxic nutrients that comprise total phosphorus and total nitrogen remains high. The division continues to hold numerous stakeholder meetings on a variety of nutrient issues that have drastically depleted Monument’s and other county wastewater districts’ operating budgets due to higher-than-forecast legal expenses in their 2011 budgets.

The absences of Directors Lowell Morgan and Kristi Schutz were unanimously excused.

Joint Use Committee update

Wicklund briefed the board on the variety of new and continuing issues raised during the past month’s numerous stakeholder meetings in Denver that were discussed at the Sept. 13 Joint Use Committee meeting at the Tri-Lakes facility. See the JUC article on page 12 for details of this Sept. 13 meeting.

Wicklund announced that the facility’s proposed new five-year discharge permit had been published by the state Health Department on Sept. 14, the day after the monthly JUC meeting, and that the 30-day comment period would run through Oct. 17. The facility’s current five-year discharge permit expired on Dec. 31, 2009, but has not been replaced until now.

Engineers from consultant Tetra Tech and environmental lawyer Tad Foster will assist facility Manager Bill Burks in analyzing and rebutting the new more restrictive and more costly copper, nutrient, and heavy metals discharge permit concentration limits.

They also will respond to the greatly increased frequency of testing requirements—24 tests per year instead of the current two tests per year—for the minuscule and often undetectable amounts of these metals that have been found in Tri-Lakes effluent over the past several years. The three owner districts will also ask the Health Department to increase the new discharge permit limits that the plant obviously cannot comply with at this time.

The most immediate concern is the new potentially dissolved copper effluent concentration limits. They allow a maximum of 9.5 parts per billion (ppb) on average and a maximum of 15 ppb for any individual test reading. The plant has had several monthly copper tests with results of 15 to 16 ppb in the past few years. It remains unknown what actual effect the new chemical process that is proposed to remove additional amounts of phosphates will have on total copper removal.

While the Town of Monument has agreed to prevent further installation of copper water pipes in homes and commercial buildings, it has abandoned use of the installed caustic soda system in the town’s main water treatment plant, which would reduce leaching of dissolved copper from the inside of copper domestic drinking water pipes.

However, the proposed five-year permit would continue the existing temporary maximum copper concentration limits of 24.8 ppb on average and a maximum of 36.4 ppb for any individual copper concentration sample test result for another three years, from the start of 2012 through the end of 2014.

A compliance schedule has been proposed that would allow the Tri-Lakes facility’s staff to perform a number of tests over the next few years to determine the true year-round performance of the facility’s activated sludge process with regard to the variety of chemicals of concern in its treated effluent.

However, a compliance schedule may provide no future relief for the currently proposed very tight limits. Those limits may have no scientific or economic validity in terms of the costly plant improvements that would be required but may not create any significant water quality or aquatic life improvements in Monument Creek.

Years of evidence from testing by Tetra Tech and environmental consultant GEI Consulting have shown that there is little if any effect on Monument Creek aquatic life from copper or nutrients from the plant. Samples of macroinvertebrates and other aquatic life collected from the creek by GEI staff at the base of the Monument Lake dam and at Baptist Road about a mile south of the treatment facility show no significant difference in variety or density of the various biota.

The Tri-Lakes facility does not affect aquatic life in Monument Creek, and testing for such effects is the Water Quality Control Division’s chosen primary method of quantifying stream impacts caused by treated effluent, particularly total phosphorus and total nitrogen.

2012 budget draft update

Wicklund explained the changes in the most recent draft budget. While there is sufficient user fee revenue for 2012 operations, tap fee revenue is still running at less than 20 percent of the $50,000 planned revenue for 2011, with no relief in sight for 2012. These tap fee amounts are insufficient for the future short- and long-term capital requirements of the district and the facility.

A motion to appoint district accountant Ray Russell as the district’s budget officer for the 2012 budget was unanimously approved.

Wicklund noted that a JUC motion was approved on Sept. 13 to drop construction plans for the new facility storage garage this year and add it to the 2012 facility budget, as requested several times by the Monument board.

New district website update

Wicklund informed the board that the new district website is now available and can be accessed at any of these addresses:

Wicklund presented information on the use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) that he had obtained at the recent Special District Association annual conference. There was board consensus that he should continue to gather information on GIS.

Wicklund briefed the board on the new bank account at the First National Bank of Las Animas. He distributed signature sheets for board members to sign so they would have authority to sign district checks.

In other matters, the board advised Wicklund to wear the appropriate safety protection, including a smock and eye shield, whenever he enters a Synthes facility for future inspections.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:24 p.m.

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The next meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Oct. 20 in the district conference room, 130 Second St. Meetings are normally held on the third Thursday of the month. Information: 481-4886 or the website addresses noted above.

Jim Kendrick can be reached at jimkendrick@ocn.me.

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Lewis-Palmer School District 38 Board of Education, Sept. 15: Board stresses importance of district identity

Below: Gwen Shindel’s fifth-grade class from Prairie Winds demonstrated a morning meeting at the board meeting. They are, from left, Carly Araje, Tanner Volpi, Will Hollenbach, Zach Zeutzius, Zoe Meireles, Shindel, Ashley Wise (in front), Emily Gentry (in back), Sara Oliver, Kyra Edstrom, Ashley Sample, Kaylei Bristow, and Abigail Wilcox. Photo by Harriet Halbig.

By Harriet Halbig

At its Sept. 15 meeting, the Lewis-Palmer School District 38 board discussed what it means "to be LP."

Board member Dr. Jeff Ferguson and Superintendent John Borman commented that in the past few years, with the priority of budget concerns, the district has lost sight of what identifies the district and contributes to the excellence of its graduates.

Ferguson applauded the academic achievements of recent graduating classes, but said that academics alone do not identify LP. The district needs to examine the world they are entering and the skills and priorities they need to succeed, he said.

Ferguson stressed that teachers and all other staff of the district support a common culture among students and staff.

Borman agreed that culture is critical to the identity of the district. He said that the district staff had a retreat four years ago to discuss the matter, and they identified a few basic tenets of LP’s culture:

  • Students will treat one another with dignity and respect.
  • Students will care for one another and learn each other’s story.
  • The district must be known as one that cares for all within its culture.

Once these values are instilled within the staff, talk will progress to the subject of what it means to be an LP graduate. Each graduate must be given every available option to succeed in life, whether in college or the workforce. Kids must be taught to think outside of themselves and give back to the community.

Board member Gail Wilson commented that graduates must be taught to think creatively, because they may someday hold jobs that do not now exist. They must be comfortable to take a reasoned risk in their careers. Educating the whole child during their time in school will help to prepare them for their future, she said.

Board member Mark Pfoff said that he is impressed with the maturity of the students in the district and their ability to speak in public. Such skills are necessary to create the leaders of tomorrow, he said.

Board member Robb Pike said that the duty of the school system is to produce the next generation of society’s citizens. He said that it is critical to emphasize lifelong learning and a strong work ethic in order to prepare the graduates to succeed locally and globally.

Ferguson said that the board needs to develop a definition of excellence in the context of the district.

Curriculum mapping

Director of Assessment Dr. Lori Benton presented the concept of curriculum mapping to the board.

Over the past three years, the district has been working on the use of curriculum mapping to ensure that state and federal standards are being met and that instruction in any given subject is consistent throughout the district.

To do this, teachers develop maps of their classes, including objectives, resources (such as textbooks) and assessment methods. Teachers of a given subject within a single school then meet to create a collaborative map, and finally the collaborative maps are combined into a consensus map for the entire district.

All maps are accessible to all teachers.

Benton said that this method of creating curriculum is preferable to the previous method of reevaluating curriculum in a given subject every five to seven years. In this way, the curriculum can be more responsive to advances in subject matter, and unnecessary materials will not be purchased simply to meet that timeline. The curriculum mapping process allows the board to better prioritize its spending on resource materials and helps to reduce duplication in subjects covered in class. Borman added that it would aid in determining which professional development programs should be offered.

Benton said that new teachers are trained in curriculum mapping upon being hired. New teachers create their maps with access to the collaborative maps for their schools.

Wilson asked whether mapping would affect response to Proposition 191, recent legislation that requires schools to rethink their assessment processes. Benton said that the collaboration involved in the process should help support achievement throughout the district.

Asked whether recent budget cuts would harm the process, Benton said that the primary issue is the amount of time outside of class required of teachers.

Budget matters

Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Wangeman reported that the district’s audit was recently completed successfully.

There was a brief discussion of reserves in the district budget. Ferguson said the board should determine the reserves it feels are necessary.

Pike suggested that Wangeman talk with her peers to determine the level of reserves maintained by similar districts.

Pfoff reminded the board that four years ago, it inherited a budget that required a major overhaul. Within a year, a balanced budget was created. He suggested that a two- to three-year term budget plan might aid in avoiding future pitfalls.

In a related matter, Wilson said that ballot Proposition 103 could have a temporary impact on budgeting, because it would, if passed, raise taxes for the next five years to benefit k-12 education.

Wangeman mentioned that the district faces liabilities to cover $173,000 in payments to the state Department of Education over seven years, and liabilities to staff who may choose early retirement and insurance for recently retired staff.

She said that the state does not anticipate rescissions in funding for this school year, but possibly some for the 2012-13 year.

Efforts to conserve water and energy are resulting in continued savings, she said.

Wangeman was requested to return to the board with suggestions about the size of reserves and suggested uses of them.

School opening remarks

Borman reported that the beginning of the year has been very enthusiastic and positive, with students and staff benefiting from the longer summer break.

He said that enrollment levels are encouraging. The board had budgeted on the basis of 120 students fewer than last year. Instead, there are only two fewer students enrolled this year than last. The numbers may slightly decline before the Oct. 1 count.

Borman credited registrar Jim Taylor with being an excellent ambassador for the district, greeting new families and explaining the advantages of attending our schools.

Superintendent’s update

Borman reported that the district is investigating online resources for a home school academy and the possibility of a k-8 online academy within the district. These investigations were triggered by intensive surveys of home school parents and others in the context of the long range planning committee. He said that, were either of these ideas be implemented, the district would own the CSAP scores and graduation rate of these students as well as those within the traditional schools.

Borman reported that Education Funding Partners has now visited all of the district’s sites and is talking with businesses regarding sponsorship of district assets. When the figures are received, they will be compared with those of another company contacted last year.

Borman also announced that the district has again been accredited with distinction.

Prairie Winds Presentation

Prairie Winds Principal Aileen Finnegan and teacher Gwen Shindel demonstrated a morning meeting for the board. Shindel’s fifth-grade class sat in a circle and demonstrated games and greetings used on a typical day at the elementary school.

Finnegan said that Prairie Winds is a responsive school and has engaged in the morning meeting practice since its founding 11 years ago.

Benefits of the morning meeting include a feeling of inclusiveness and mutual respect among students. Each is greeted by name at least twice in the course of the meeting. Because Prairie Winds features an autism program, the meetings also supply a calming influence of routine to the school day.

Tri-Lakes Views Committee

Tommie Plank, owner of the Covered Treasures Bookstore and member of the Monument Board of Trustees, spoke briefly about improvements in the property to the north of Big Red.

The town had received complaints about the appearance of the property two years ago, when the grass was trampled and it was largely used as a parking lot and the site of a farmer’s market.

During Ted Bauman’s tenure as interim superintendent, meetings were held between the district and the town. The town agreed to install a sprinkler system if the district would mow and maintain the site.

Grass was seeded over Memorial Day weekend, and the site is now an attractive sculpture garden and a source of pride.

Plank thanked the district for their support in this project.

Tri-Lakes Views is a group of citizens who select and install works of art in the community. They have published a map for the public.

The board passed routine matters such as minutes of previous meetings, resignations, and appointments of staff, contracts, and other routine matters.

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The Lewis-Palmer School District 38 Board of Education meets at 6 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month at the district’s learning center, 146 Jefferson St., Monument. The next meeting will take place on Oct. 20.

Harriet Halbig can be reached at harriethalbig@ocn.me.

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Parents hear about school safety plans at forum

By Harriet Halbig

The School Safety Forum on Sept. 12 brought together representatives of School Districts 20 and 38, law enforcement, and private organizations that offer training and reporting capabilities. The forum was suggested by state Rep. Amy Stephens, who served on the Judiciary Committee and sponsored successful legislation on school safety and bullying prevention,

Dr. David Benke, author of Defending Your Kids, spoke about the threat of violent attacks at schools. He has researched the history of school violence and was instrumental in foiling an attack by a gunman at Deer Creek School in Jefferson County by tackling the gunman while others called for help.

Benke stressed that time is the enemy in the event of an attack. Many such attacks happen in seconds or minutes, and schools must plan responses before an attack occurs.

Benke said that attackers often act because they assume that those in the school are unarmed and helpless. They thrive on the terror they cause and often enter with the intention of committing suicide in the process. It is critical to convince them that it is not worth the risk.

He recommended that self-defense training be a part of teacher training.

Larry Borland, chief of security for Academy School District 20, said that a number of issues threaten students in Districts 20 and 38. These include:

  • Substance abuse—these are affluent districts with both parents away from the house during the day and money to spend on alcohol and drugs.
  • Risky sexual behavior.
  • Physical violence—child abuse can occur in any household and often involves individuals known to the child such as a care provider or coach.
  • Mental health—the pressures on today’s students can make them feel like a failure if they do not perform academically. This can lead to depression and suicidal thoughts.
  • Bullying and harassment in-person and online.

Borland said that there are a number of ways to mitigate dangers to students. Among these are creating a reporting environment so that students can alert school authorities to an impending danger; threat assessment; and sharing of information among agencies such as the school administration and law enforcement officials.

Regular inspections of schools and training, practice, and drills are also essential.

He said that school officials should be prepared to be on their own for 10 minutes or more in emergencies, because a response by the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office could take that long.

Borland said plans must also be in place to reunify students with their parents after an emergency, and a critique must be made after an emergency to determine the success of the response.

Detective Mark Pfoff of the Sheriff’s Office spoke about Internet and computer crimes against children. He said that computer use was the predominant problem when he began his job seven years ago. Today, social networking and interactive gaming platforms have become large problems. Even digital cameras offer dangers.

Pfoff said that 60 to 70 percent of cell phones owned by teenagers contain inappropriate photos of the phone’s owner.

He said that teenagers often do not consider the consequences of sending out a message and the fact that the message cannot be withdrawn and can be instantly forwarded to an entire school.

Pfoff said there are no government regulations to protect kids on the Internet, and predators have easy access to those online, often assuming a fictitious personality to lure teens to meet outside the home.

Pfoff had some suggestions for parents to protect their kids from Internet predators:

  • Do not allow your children to join Facebook or other social networking sites until they are in high school.
  • Do not allow your kids to have a computer where they can use it without supervision.
  • Monitor what messages and pictures are on your child’s cell phone.
  • Stress to your children that some Internet behavior is criminal. Sexually oriented photos are considered to be child pornography. Internet bullying is considered to be harassment.
  • Stress the dangers of texting while driving.

Deputy Dennis Coates, the School Resource Officer for District 38, is a former teacher and a resident of the district. Coates said that he will sometimes talk to a student who is headed for trouble and has the authority to require the student to regularly check in with him. He gets to know the students around him so that they are comfortable confiding in him when there is suspicion of an upcoming event.

Coates said that social chat rooms comprise a large part of his job and they are always changing. He also encouraged parents to safeguard prescription drugs in their homes so that students do not bring them to school to share.

Jan Isaacs-Henry spoke of KidPower Colorado, an organization that uses role-playing to train children to defend themselves. The goal is to teach children to be aware of their surroundings and get help if needed. Classes are offered to children ages 3 to 18, with age-appropriate exercises. For the older kids, peer abuse is also addressed.

Susan Payne represented the Safe2Tell program, which is a part of the Colorado Attorney General’s Office. This program offers a phone hotline which is answered 24 hours a day. Students and parents can report suspicious activity or concerns about individuals in their surroundings.

In the near future it will be possible to text Safe2Tell, so a person could slip away and discreetly contact the program. Safe2Tell in turn contacts local law enforcement to respond to the call for assistance.

Payne said that kids often know before adults about suspicious activities. She said that the lesson of Columbine and many attacks that were diverted is that the names of the perpetrators are often known ahead of time, and the goal is to make it possible to guarantee anonymity to those who report their suspicions ahead of time.

Harriet Halbig may be reached at harriethalbig@ocn.me.

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District Accountability Advisory Committee, Sept. 13: Committee plans Oct. 5 candidate forum

By Harriet Halbig

The District Accountability Advisory Committee (DAAC) held its first meeting of the school year on Sept. 13. New members of the committee are Dr. Lori Benton as administrative liaison and Superintendent John Borman. Board of Education liaison Gail Wilson will serve until after the Nov. 1 election, at which time three board seats will be up for election.

Committee for Political Achievement

Cori Tanner, chair of the Committee for Political Achievement, reported that she had sent invitations to all six candidates for the Board of Education to a forum on Oct. 5 at the Learning Center. The event will begin at 7 p.m.

Each candidate will be sent five questions prior to the event. These questions must be answered in writing. At the time of the event, members of the public may submit written questions. The candidates’ responses will be timed.

Tanner said that if individual Building Accountability Advisory Committees wish to speak to candidates, all candidates must be given the opportunity to speak.

The November election will be by mail-in ballot only.

In other election news, Tanner said that Proposition 103, which proposes to raise income and sales taxes for five years to benefit education funding, will also be on the ballot.

She urged all citizens to inform themselves and vote.

Board of Education and legislative report

Wilson reported that the board will discuss the charge to DAAC in advance of approving it at its November meeting. She said that the board is concerned that the required budget cuts over the past two years could impact achievement and said that DAAC’s role in monitoring School Improvement Plans (SIPs) could aid in their considerations.

Wilson reported that Colorado had applied for federal Race to the Top Funds twice without success. There will now be a new Race to the Top focusing on early childhood education. She said that District 38 is unlikely to directly benefit, because it has relatively few at-risk children, but any infusion of federal funds into the state should benefit all districts.

She also mentioned the Lobato case involving the state constitutional requirement to provide adequate, quality education for all. The state’s stand is that, by providing adequate funding for education, it will be unable to fund anything else (prisons, etc.). The case is presently in district court and a ruling is expected in 30 to 45 days. Regardless of the outcome, change will be unlikely for a few years.

Superintendent’s report

Borman said that there has been a positive and optimistic start to the school year, with students and staff appreciating a longer summer break.

Regarding enrollment, he said that the district has two students fewer than last year at this time. The board had budgeted to have 120 fewer than last year, so this represents a budgetary advantage. He said that a few new teachers have been hired to control class size, and the situation is being monitored.

New students are enrolled at all grade levels and all schools.

Committee concerns

The committee briefly discussed minor bylaw changes and the possibility of meeting at the administration building more often, rather than at a different location each month.

Committee Chair Steve Braun said that he had included a campus introduction to each meeting’s agenda, allowing the principal of that school to introduce the school and its activities.

As a compromise, it was agreed that the committee would see all campuses over a two-year period rather than annually.

Another change to recent procedure is that the committee will not discuss all SIPs at one meeting in the coming year, but rather at two meetings in January and February.

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The District Accountability Advisory Committee meets at 7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month. Locations vary. The next meeting will be held on Oct.11 at Lewis-Palmer Elementary School, 1315 Lake Woodmoor Drive, Monument.

Harriet Halbig may be reached at harriethalbig@ocn.me.

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SEAC holds resource fair

Below: Council Chair Suzanne Faber, left, and Special Education Director Mary Anne Fleury listen to Superintendent John Borman address those in attendance. Photo by Harriet Halbig.

By Harriet Halbig

The Lewis-Palmer School District 38 Special Education Advisory Council (SEAC) opened the 2011-12 school year with a Resource Fair Sept. 14 at Lewis-Palmer Middle School.

Council Chair Suzanne Faber, Special Education Director Mary Anne Fleury, Superintendent of Schools John Borman, and Board of Education member Mark Pfoff were in attendance.

The 17 vendors included the Special Olympics, the Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind, skating and riding therapy programs, financial planning assistance, and parent support groups.

Faber said that programs for the coming year include discussions on nutrition, safety education, transitions from school to school and grade to grade, and personal learning profiles.

SEAC serves as a valuable forum for parents, special education and general education teachers and paraprofessionals. Fleury will also provide monthly updates from the administration.

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The next meeting of SEAC will be at 6:30 on Oct. 19 in the district’s learning center at 146 Jefferson St. in Monument.

Harriet Halbig can be reached at harriethalbig@ocn.me.

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Final 2011 education forum seeks solutions

Below: Teachers Do Matter panel at the Direction 38 forum Sept. 27 included, from left, Dr. Mark Hatchell, superintendent of District 20, Mark Hyatt (standing), executive director of the Colorado Charter School Institute, John Borman, superintendent of District 38, and moderator Steve Green of the U.S. Air Force Academy. Photo by Harriet Halbig.

By Harriet Halbig

Direction 38’s final education forum on Sept. 27 focused on finding solutions to problems such as maintaining quality of education with declining resources, preventing loss of students to other districts, and increasing trust and transparency.

Ana Konduras, spokesperson for community group Direction 38, said that, following the second forum, she had received requests for solutions to the many problems mentioned in the first few meetings.

The fourth forum consisted of four panels of experts, including charter school officials, elected officials, school administration officials, and representatives of higher education and state government.

Amy Anderson, newly appointed assistant commissioner of Innovation and Choice for the Colorado Department of Education, said the newly created commission intends to explore ways to make maximum use of learning time in and out of the classroom. The intention is to move outside the walls of the traditional school and maximize the input of community resources and online resources, and federal and state funding to support innovation. The commission will test various models in the next year. The report of the initial research can be found on the Colorado Legacy Foundation website (www.colegacy.org).

Dr. Pamela Shockley-Zalabak, chancellor and professor of communication at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (UCCS) said that we are living in turbulent times and need to think in terms of efficiency and effectiveness.

She said that trust is paramount in such times and that we must consciously promote trust. The tendency is to turn inward when challenges appear, but we need to keep the best of our former practices and strive to support students while turning outward toward partnerships.

The newly formed Southern Colorado Education Consortium, which comprises two- and four-year colleges, is an example of such a partnership in which institutions throughout the region share technology and faculty to provide resources to all. UCCS teachers have offered online classes in nursing to a community college in Lamar. UCCS also reaches out to middle and high schools.

State Sen. Keith King, who has served on previous panels, promotes the concept of concurrent registration at the high school and college levels. He advocates personalizing an education plan to each student, allowing the individual to choose a goal from a trade certificate, a two-year associate degree (which could also include a trade such as welding) or a four-year degree, and work toward that goal using all resources available in the community. He is the administrator of Colorado Springs Early Colleges.

King’s goal is to eliminate the need for remediation as students go from high school into higher education. He advocates eliminating the CSAP test at the 10th-grade level and instead administering the Accuplace test, which determines a student’s readiness for community college. In this way, the focus is on readiness for college and the workplace.

King said that a third of students in high school are not prepared to go beyond high school without remediation, and the problem must be addressed by customizing the education program to the individual rather than trying to make the student fit into the system.

State Rep. Amy Stephens said that we must always seek ways to innovate and have as much choice as possible to maximize the achievements of each individual.

A question was asked about the most successful partnerships. The questioner said she is happy with the present administration in the district and wished to know how results could be improved.

Anderson said that the most critical partnership is between the schools and parents. Some early indicators of trouble include missed classes or lack of participation. Her commission seeks to develop models to avert problems such as this.

The panel and additional experts divided into four groups to discuss narrower subjects. At the end of the meeting, they reconvened to report on their findings as listed below.

Partnerships for Success panel

  • When seeking partners, school districts are not always seeking funds, but resources to satisfy needs in the district.
  • Partners are defined as individuals or organizations that share interests with schools.
  • Use nonprofits as a model for organization.
  • In a partnership, both parties want to win and results will be mutually beneficial.
  • Schools might prefer mentors to money.
  • Parents and students are the customers.
  • Other districts are involved in more partnerships than District 38. There is a perception that D-38 is less flexible than some.
  • Determine why students are choosing not to stay in D-38. Perhaps by differentiating more between campuses we could fill some of their needs.

Trust and Transparency panel

  • Strive for openness in all activities.
  • Strive for competence.
  • Demonstrate concern for others.
  • Demonstrate reliability by acknowledging mistakes, showing willingness to change, and demanding accountability on the part of leaders.
  • Make trust an intentional priority.

Teachers Do Matter panel

  • Take care of the teachers we have by providing needed resources.
  • Take a strategic approach to improving class offerings, such as making Chinese instruction available in light of changing economic times.
  • Do not reduce economic compensation if teachers matter.
  • Change the process for student and teacher measurement.

Sustain and Improve panel

  • Eliminate the lack of traceability in funding. The size of the bureaucracy distorts the facts.
  • Sustain the availability of opportunities.
  • Funding should follow accomplishments, not just be based on the physical presence of a student in the school.
  • Recruit new Board of Education members based on their support of these ideas.
  • Push decision-making to lower levels, not just the Board of Education.
  • Reduce the size of the administration.

In closing, Konduras said that Direction 38 plans to host a similar series of seminars next summer.

Harriet Halbig can be reached at harriethalbig@ocn.me.

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Monument Board of Trustees, Sept. 6: Mayor Easton presents two certificates of appreciation

Below (L to R): Corey Koca of Black Hills Energy receives a certificate of appreciation from Monument Mayor Travis Easton for Black Hills Energy’s contribution of trees to the town each year. Photo by Jim Kendrick.

Below: OCN volunteers (L to R) Ronald Henrikson, Jim Kendrick, Paula Kendrick, Bernard Minetti, John Heiser, Janet Sellers, Dave Futey, Susan Hindman, Chris Pollard, Candice Hitt, Natalie Barszcz, and Joyce Witte. Other OCN volunteers not pictured include George and Judy Barnes, Tim Dorman, Zach Dove, Barbara Grace, Elizabeth Hacker, Harriet Halbig, Eric Hamer, Betty Johnson, Bill Kappel, Francy Lingel, Frank Maiolo, Pete Palone, Stacey Paxson, Nancy Riesch, Katherine Wetterer, Mike Wicklund, Woody Woodworth, and the Staff at Covered Treasures Bookstore. Photo by Carolyn Henrikson.

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Website exclusive - Below: Sky Hall, president of Tri-Lakes Views, told the board he was present to thank the Town of Monument, Lewis-Palmer School District 38, and all the other partners who helped in creating the sculpture park on the north lawn of the D-38 "Big Red" building grounds adjacent to Second Street. Photo by Jim Kendrick.

By Jim Kendrick

On Sept. 6, Monument Mayor Travis Easton presented certicates of appreciation to John Heiser, publisher and advertising editor of Our Community News, and Corey Koca of Black Hills Energy for their service to Monument. Heiser was recognized for OCN’s decade of service in publishing monthly articles on all the local government meetings in the Tri-Lakes region. Koca was recognized for Black Hills Energy’s contribution of trees to the town each year.

The Board of Trustees also approved a resolution reappointing Trustee Tommie Plank, Planning Commissioner Kathy Spence, Deputy Town Clerk Claudia Whitney, and Brandy Evers to new terms on the Monument Board of Adjustment. The board also unanimously approved two proposed revisions to the town code for the chapters on site plans and site development standards.

Trustee Gail Drumm was absent.

Heiser accepts award on behalf of OCN’s volunteers

Town Manager Cathy Green stated that she is pleased to be able to read about the many meetings OCN covers rather than having to attend—which is the essence of OCN’s mission statement.

Many of the volunteers currently working on this all-volunteer effort attended the presentation. Mayor Easton presented a framed certificate to Heiser.

After the presentation, the group from OCN gathered in the foyer of Town Hall. Heiser read the certificate. "This certificate is awarded to John Heiser and Our Community News for their valued commitment to the community through their tireless reporting and the distribution of Our Community News."

Public comments

Sky Hall, president of Tri-Lakes Views, told the board he was present to thank the Town of Monument, Lewis-Palmer School District 38, and all the other partners who helped in creating the sculpture park on the north lawn of the D-38 "Big Red" building grounds adjacent to Second Street.

Plank said the board should continue to donate more money to Tri-Lakes Views "to help this group thrive." She added that this sculpture park will be "a very important aspect of what we have to show" in the downtown area to visitors and town residents.

Trustees’ comments

Easton asked for more information from the staff on the town’s roadway maintenance plan so that the board could prioritize projects based on their individual costs and the overall total. Public Works Director Rich Landreth said that if a road really needs work, he will include it in the short-term plan for immediate repairs. Otherwise, he will continue to work within the long-term budget on a prioritized basis. Landreth noted that he had initiated patches on Old Denver Highway recently, adding that complete repaving will be deferred until the road is widened to four lanes per the town’s capital improvement plan. The estimated cost for widening Old Denver Highway is about $9 million.

Plank noted that the last Art Hop for the year was scheduled for Sept. 15 in downtown Monument. (See page 28 for more details.)

Monument Police Department Lt. Steve Burk responded to an inquiry from Trustee Jeff Kaiser about women’s self-defense by noting that a two-day class was held Sept. 2-3, and another one will be held in October.

Two ordinances on town code site plan amendments approved

Director of Development Services Tom Kassawara stated that the ordinance for an amendment to Chapter 17.44 on site plans updates the zoning regulations to clarify the procedures and revise the review and approval criteria. The Planning Commission had unanimously approved the proposed ordinance on Aug. 10. Some of the other key changes were:

  • A town land use permit is now required prior to the issuing of a building permit by the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department.
  • The submittal requirements in the regulation have been deleted and the department staff will now maintain submittal checklists for use by citizens.
  • A section on signatures and recording was added to describe the requirements and process for recording a site plan.
  • A section on the procedures for amending a site was also added.

There were no public comments on the proposed amendment or any trustee questions about the specific changes prior to unanimous approval.

Next, Kassawara stated that the ordinance for an amendment to Chapter 17.48 on site development and use standards updates the zoning regulations as well as addressing inconsistencies with other sections of the town code. Kassawara reviewed the long list of technical changes regarding definitions for items such as accessory uses and structure, various minimum/maximum standards, rearrangements of sections to a more logical sequence, and deletion of repetitive and unnecessary sections.

There were no public comments on the proposed amendment or any trustee questions about the specific changes prior to unanimous approval.

Financial reports and updates

The board unanimously approved one payment over $5,000 presented by Town Treasurer Pamela Smith of $30,260 to B&M Roofing for replacement of the roof on the town’s water tank. The board also unanimously approved Smith’s July financial report. General fund revenues were 7.8 percent higher, or about $168,000, than the amount in the 2011 budget for July. General fund expenditures were $11,000 less than the amount budgeted. The general fund balance at the end of July was less than the amount in the 2011 budget by about $177,000.

Water fund revenues were 0.7 percent lower, or about $5,000 less, than the amount in the 2011 budget for July. Water fund expenditures were 28 percent lower, or about $220,000 less, than the amount budgeted. The water fund balance at the end of July was less than the amount in the 2011 budget by about $216,000.

There was a general discussion about the logical reasons for some small individual line-item dollar amount deviations that produced relatively high percentages of deviation from the linear average monthly predictions.

Staff reports and updates

Green noted that a new Monument Police Academy had begun. She also noted that the annual Chili Cook-Off would be held on Sept. 17. See page 28 for more details on this event. Green added that the Community Night Out would be held on Oct. 17.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:30 p.m.

The board then reconvened for a work session on timeframes and methodology for annual budgeting.

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Jim Kendrick can be reached at jimkendrick@ocn.me.

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Monument Board of Trustees, Sept. 19: Some progress reported on funding for Trails End repairs

By Jim Kendrick

The agenda for the Sept. 19 Monument Board of Trustees meeting was significantly curtailed due to the unexpected cancellation of the Sept. 14 Planning Commission that was caused by lack of a quorum. As a result, the three Town Code amendment ordinances that the Planning Commission had been expected to review, approve, and forward to the board for final public hearings were dropped from the agenda.

That left only routine financial and staff reports to be discussed in an abbreviated session before the board adjourned and held another budgeting workshop briefing session by Tom Kassawara, director of Development Services. The code amendments will now be heard by the board in November.

Trustee Rafael Dominguez was absent.

Progress at Trails End

Kassawara stated that coordination with the Trails End Homeowners Association (HOA) board continues and their mistrust of the town is lessening. At the July 5 board meeting, Ashley Fritz, secretary/treasurer of the HOA, and Carol Kramer, HOA vice president, inquired about what the town would do for the residents now that Jim Morley’s development company had gone bankrupt.

Fritz said that she had heard that the town had pulled the surety bond for completing the subdivision’s required landscaping. She asked if the town would make needed warranty asphalt and concrete repairs and if speed limits could be installed. "We feel like the red-headed stepchild of Monument," she said. See www.ocn.me/v11n8.htm#bot0705 for more details of the lengthy discussion Fritz and Kramer had with Kassawara and the trustees.

Kassawara noted that bids have been received for repairs of faulty and incomplete infrastructure that resulted from Morley’s development company going bankrupt. The repairs will be prioritized and paid for from the $50,000 received from the surety bond company engaged by Morley. However, the amount received by the town was less than the total bond and the amounts of the bids far exceed $50,000. He noted that this bond shortfall has been well known to the staff and the HOA as previously discussed on July 5.

Kassawara also stated: "There was a quirk in the way the bond was brought in, in 2004. The bond was in favor of Morley Family Development Companies, and the subdivision improvement agreement was executed by a sub-company with Morley and four other people. So it wasn’t the same company that had the bond that signed the subdivision improvement agreement. The bonding company basically said we’re not giving you anything. So we negotiated with them and got more than half of what was in the bond, which I thought was better than getting nothing. So we had to accept that."

Kassawara also noted that the deterioration since 2004 and other things that were done inappropriately have increased the cost of repairs considerably from what they should have been. The HOA now knows the scope of work that is left to be done with the reduced amount from the bond. Now, "they’ll be happy to just get what they can get," he said.

Town Manager Cathy Green said that the town did not have inspectors when Trails End was built and problems would never have gotten to this point with inspections. No one would be able to pull a building permit for a house now if these kinds of infrastructure problems were not corrected.

Public Works Director Rich Landreth noted that vandals broke the Dirty Woman Creek Park restroom windows by throwing rocks from the rock wall. The new windows are Plexiglas.

He also said "No Swimming" signs had been added to the town sign on the entrance road for Monument Lake, off Mitchell Avenue. Landreth said there is no water quality sampling or testing to ensure that the water is safe for bathers. The signs are needed to protect the town from liability for the likelihood of swimmers getting ill. Boating is still allowed without motors.

Landreth also noted that the new water tank roof has a PVC membrane to prevent spalling. It comes with a good leak-proof guarantee and warranty against deterioration.

Kassawara reported that Classic Homes had begun cleanup work for previously installed infrastructure in its newly acquired Promontory Pointe development. The new Vistas apartment complex at the north end of Leather Chaps Drive will be bringing in revenue as well.

The board has already approved the 177-unit Vistas complex, located northeast of the Jackson Creek Crossing office building. He anticipates completion of the Vistas infrastructure by the end of this year and a ribbon cutting in April. Rentals are in demand now, with a vacancy rate for apartments in Colorado Springs of only 5 percent.

Kassawara noted that the next Board of County Commissioners hearing on the Willow Springs project, located in the county at the west end of Baptist Road, is still scheduled to be held on Oct. 27. See www.ourcommunitynews.org/v11n8.htm#bocc for details of this project.

Next Rape Aggression Defense class, Oct. 11

Lt. Steve Burk stated that Officer Chad Haynes had presented the Police Department’s first self-defense class to six women in September. The October Rape Aggression Defense class will be expanded to 12 women with three four-hour sessions at 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 11, 13, and 14 at the YMCA on Jackson Creek Parkway, just north of Higby Road. The cost is $30. For more information, contact Officer Haynes at 481-3253. Attendees should register as soon as possible at the Town Hall Police Department, 645 Beacon Lite Road, during normal business hours.

Financial reports and updates

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

  • $127,526 to Triview Metropolitan District for July sales tax ($121,116), August motor vehicle tax ($61,68), and Pikes Peak Regional Building Department sales tax ($242)
  • $6,000 to National Meter and Automation Inc. for a Trimble hand-held meter reader
  • $7,000 to J&K Excavating for a repair of a Trails End subdivision underdrain connection to a storm sewer drain box

Town Treasurer Pamela Smith added that the underdrain repair was paid for from the Trails End surety bond account as warranty work, rather than from town funds.

July sales tax revenues received from the state were 2.7 percent higher, or about $39,000 more, than the amount in the 2011 budget for July. Net sales tax received through the end of July was $1,869, or 0.2 percent, less than the amount budgeted. Gross sales tax collected to date was 2.2 percent, or $64,406, higher than the same period in 2010. The town’s gross sales tax revenue to date, after the payment to Triview noted above, is 2.8 percent, or $40,327, more than the amount in the budget.

Smith noted that new sales tax revenue reporting program software is causing some startup problems for making these reports. She said she would email the August financial figures to the trustees for their review when she resolves the software issues.

Smith also distributed a worksheet to the trustees listing some 2012 preliminary budget considerations that the various trustees had indicated they want to discuss. She asked the trustees to review and add any other topics that need to be added to the first draft of the preliminary budget for the Oct. 3 board meeting.

There was a discussion of Smith’s "very preliminary report on her survey of costs for small-town police departments that showed that Monument had the fourth lowest cost per capita in the state. Green added that small-town 24-hour departments are the most expensive because of their comparatively low population densities, but Monument’s costs are relatively low.

Trustee Tommie Plank stated that the Historic Monument Merchants Association would be donating money from cookie and soft drink sales for new lighting in Limbach Park.

Mayor Travis Easton noted Greeley, Denver, and Colorado Springs are in the top 10 in the U.S. for growth of residential building.

The meeting adjourned at 7:05 p.m. to start the budget workshop.

**********

The next meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 3 in Town Hall, 645 Beacon Lite Road. Meetings are normally held on the first and third Monday of the month. Information: 884-8017 or 481-2954.

Jim Kendrick can be reached at jimkendrick@ocn.me.

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September Weather Wrap

By Bill Kappel

Lots of much-needed moisture fell during the month, with the vast majority of it occurring during one major storm. We did see our first freeze of the season, but no snow as of yet.

The month started off with an interesting variety of weather, with warm temperatures on the first two days, then our first taste of fall through Labor Day weekend. High temperatures reached well into the 80s on the 1st and 2nd, and with plenty of late-season monsoonal moisture still hanging around, a strong line of thunderstorms developed on the 2nd. The strongest area of storms rolled through the region during the mid-evening hours, with heavy rain, small hail, and gusty winds pounding the region for about an hour.

By early the next morning, our first fall-like cold front moved through the region, with gusty winds and noticeably cooler weather. Skies cleared behind this front, leaving blue skies and chilly temperatures. Highs only reached into the low to mid-60s on the 3rd and 4th, with overnight lows almost touching the 30s. This made for some beautiful conditions for Labor Day weekend, with nothing to spoil any outdoor activities.

As usual during this time of the year, we often transition from summer to fall very quickly, even in one day, and this was the case during the beginning of the month. High temperatures went from the upper 70s on the 5th to the mid-50s on the 7th as a cold front moved through during the evening of the 6th. A nice soaking rain accompanied this system, with low clouds, fog, and drizzle noted as well.

After some patchy fog on the morning of the 8th, conditions quieted down for the remainder of the week and through the weekend. Morning became seasonably cool, with lows in the upper 30s to low 40s common. Highs reached into the 60s and 70s under mostly clear to partly cloudy skies and overall quiet conditions.

The second week of September was a wet one, with a major storm producing record rain during the middle of the week. Conditions started off mild on the 12th, with high temperatures warming to the mid- and upper 70s that afternoon. Temperatures cooled back down to normal levels the next afternoon with a few showers developing during the evening, but the real excitement was still taking shape.

Late on the 13th into the early hours of the 14th, a storm system was moving out of the desert Southwest with plenty of moisture at the same time a cold front was dropping down the Front Range. The two weather patterns came together right over the region during the afternoon and evening hours of the 14th and continued into the 15th. The low-level upslope conditions provided by the cold front produced plenty of lift that maximized the precipitation potential of the storm system moving over the region from the Southwest.

Heavy rain, initially accompanied by thunder, began during the afternoon of the 14th. Rain, heavy at times, continued through the evening, with most areas picking up 2 to 4 inches. More brief heavy rain developed in the cool, unstable air mass the next afternoon as well. Although we picked up some heavy rain around the Palmer Divide, areas around the central and southern section of Colorado Springs received even more. Some locations picked up over 5 inches of rain.

Amazingly, at the official reporting station for Colorado Springs (the airport) the highest daily and two-day rainfall totals were recorded when 4.50 inches fell on the 14th and 5.36 inches fell between the 14th and 15th. Rainfall records have been kept for Colorado Springs since 1894, so this definitely was an unusual event. To look at this another way, the average recurrence interval for this much rain in a 24-hour period at that location is less than once in 1,000 years. In other words, there is less than a .001 percent chance to receive that much rainfall at that location in any given year, so don’t plan on seeing that much rain in one day at the airport again for a while.

After this storm and its remnants finally left the region, quiet weather returned, with mostly sunny skies and seasonal temperatures returning for the weekend. It should be noted that morning lows were definitely getting colder, with mid- to upper 30s common from the 16th through the 19th.

Mild and mainly dry weather started the third week of September, as summer ended with sunny skies and mild temperatures, with highs reaching into the low 70s. Cooler air settled over the next few days, with highs falling back below average, in the low 60s. A couple showers did move through during the early evening hours of the 21st as the tail end of a storm affected the region.

Overnight lows continued to reach into the 30s, with some areas around the region falling below the freezing mark on the morning of the 22nd, our first freeze of the season. This is right about average for the first freeze of the season and definitely gives notice that summer is rapidly coming to an end. Mild and dry weather stuck around for the rest of the week and into the first weekend of fall.

Temperatures reached well into the 70s, which is about 10 degrees warmer than normal for this time of year. This occurred as a strong ridge of high pressure moved into the region and settled in for most of the remaining month.

The overall flow across the United States became blocked, as a large area of low pressure sat and spun over the Great Lakes region, which in turn was blocked by a ridge of high pressure sitting off the East Coast. This allowed mild and mostly sunny conditions to prevail for an extended period to end the month. Overall, it was not too unusual for this time of the year, as we transition from summer into fall.

September 2011 Weather Statistics

Average High 69.4° (-1.8) 100-year return frequency value max 77.5° min 63.5°
Average Low 38.6° (-0.8) 100-year return frequency value max 46.7° min 36.1°
Monthly Precipitation 3.30" (+1.58") 100-year return frequency value max 4.34" min 0.40"
Monthly Snowfall 0.0" (-0.8")
Highest Temperature 86° on the 1st
Lowest Temperature 30° on the 22nd
Season to Date Snow 0.0" (-0.8") (the snow season is from July 1 to June 30)
Season to Date Precip. 9.80" (+2.72") (the precip. season is from July 1 to June 30)
Heating Degree Days 317 (+34)
Cooling Degree Days 8 (+5)

Bill Kappel is a meteorologist and Tri-Lakes resident. He can be reached at billkappel@ocn.me.

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Letters to Our Community

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Letters to Our Community should not be interpreted as the view of OCN even when the letter writer is an OCN volunteer. For letter guidelines, click here.

Thank you from the Monument Hill Kiwanis Club

The Monument Hill Kiwanis Club would like to thank the people of the Tri-Lakes area and Colorado Springs for their generous support of our annual peach sales campaign. Your purchase of those delicious Palisade peaches resulted in net fundraising of over $5,000, which will be used to support children and the community. 

Our club is proud to be part of such a generous and caring community.

Tom Nelson
President, Monument Hill Kiwanis Club

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Removal of campaign signs diminishes the process

Competition is an essential element of who we are as Americans, exhibited in business, sports, education, or politics. Healthy competition in our country requires standards of good sportsmanship, ethics, and a sense of pride for doing your best whether or not you win. This trait plus others are what teachers and parents model for the next generation.

On a recent Friday afternoon between 4:30 and 5, I placed 12 signs on the easement on both sides of Highway 105 between Monument and Palmer Lake. These were campaign signs for (Ken) Valdez, (Gordon) Reichal, and (Al) Maurer, who are citizens running against three incumbent school board members. By Saturday morning, all of these campaign signs were gone, while other signs that had been there on Friday remained. Sometime during the night, a person or group who must be afraid of competition felt the need to remove this perceived threat to the status quo.

Please, let’s not let our local politics be degraded to the tawdry level that we see across the national scene. The school board candidates should be able to win this election on their ability to be forward thinkers who have the best interest of students, teachers, parents, and community members in mind. It is my hope that this election will be fair and square and that supporters of the three new candidates would not sink to cowardly removing the signs of any incumbents. Competition moves us out of stagnation and stimulates true progress.

There will be many forums and roundtable discussions involving all six candidates. I strongly encourage all to attend these forums and question what positive changes each candidate wants to bring to our school district and community.

Stephen Boyd

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Between The Covers at the Covered Treasures Bookstore: Tantalizing true tales

By the staff at Covered Treasures

After the light novels and relaxed pace of summer, are you ready for some thought-provoking nonfiction books? Following are some intriguing recent volumes on topics ranging from history and politics to cycling.

That Used To Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back
By Thomas L. Friedman & Michael Mandelbaum (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), $28

America is in trouble, according to Friedman, one of our most influential columnists, and Mandelbaum, one of our leading foreign policy thinkers. They analyze the four major challenges we are failing to meet: globalization, the revolution in information technology, the nation’s chronic deficits, and our pattern of excessive energy consumption. The recovery of America’s greatness is within reach, they reassure the reader, and they spell out what we need to do now. If we delay any longer, the authors warn, soon it will be too late for us to pass along the American dream to future generations.

The Floor of Heaven
By Howard Blum (Crown Publishers) $26

At once a compelling true-life mystery and an unforgettable portrait on a time in America’s history when thousands were fired up with a vision of riches so unimaginable as to be worth any price, the book is an exhilarating tribute to the courage and undaunted spirit of the men and women who helped shape America. When gold is discovered in Alaska and the adjacent Canadian Klondike, tens of thousands rush northward, fleeing the depths of a worldwide economic depression. Among the throng are three unforgettable men: Charlie Siringo, a sharp-shooting cowboy; George Carmack, a California-born Marine adopted by a Native American tribe; and Soapy Smith, a sly and inventive predator-con man who rules a vast criminal empire. As we follow these three men, their lives become intertwined in a perplexing mystery with a fortune on the line.

In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir
By Dick Cheney with Liz Cheney (Simon & Schuster Inc.) $35

The public perception of Dick Cheney has long been something of a contradiction. He has been viewed as one of the most powerful vice presidents—secretive, even mysterious, and at the same time opinionated and unflinchingly outspoken. He has been both praised and attacked by his peers, the press, and the public. Through it all, he has remained true to himself, his principles, his family, and his country. In this enlightening and provocative memoir, a stately page-turner with flashes of surprising humor and remarkable candor, Cheney takes readers through nearly 40 years of American politics and shares personal reflections on his role as one of the most influential statesmen in the history of our country.

The Happiness of Pursuit: A Father’s Courage, a Son’s Love, and Life’s Steepest Climb
By Davis Phinney with Austin Murphy (Houghton Mifflin) $25

For two decades, Phinney was one of America’s most successful cyclists. He won two stages at the Tour de France and an Olympic bronze medal. When he retired, he became a popular television commentator, but after years of not feeling quite right, he was diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s. Meanwhile, his son, Taylor, discovered bike racing and rose quickly in the ranks of the sport. Dad quickly dug in and reclaimed some of his old life. With humor and grace, Phinney tells this remarkable story of fathers and sons and bikes, and of victories large and small.

Mountain Brew: A Guide to Colorado’s Breweries
By James Gleick (Random House) $29.95

Colorado is the scene of a thriving culture of breweries. From Coors, America’s largest single-site brewery, to Three Barrel Brewing Co., found in the back of an insurance office, each one holds a unique place in the state’s brewing scene. With profiles of breweries ranging from the world-renowned to the isolated, this guide is a perfect companion for beer geeks and thirsty travelers.

Nonfiction books are a nice change now and then—either to spark your fall reading or to use as a gift book for someone who prefers fact to fiction.

Until next month, happy reading.

The staff at Covered Treasures Bookstore can be contacted at books@ocn.me.

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High Country Highlights: October garden care tips

By Woody Woodworth

If you want to get a jump-start on color in early spring, plant bulbs. Crocus, tulips, and daffodils are readily available, easy to plant, and easy to care for. The biggest challenge for home gardeners seems to be in remembering to plant them in fall so they’ll bloom the following spring.

When it comes to accenting gardens with bulbs, more is always more. In other words, use a lot of bulbs. Gardeners also become somewhat regimented when they plant bulbs, arranging them in precise lines and grids. The result is their gardens tend to look like a display in a municipal garden. Instead, gently throw the bulbs on the ground and plant them where they lie. Random clumps and drifts suit bulbs well, resulting in a natural-looking garden.

As far as planting depth is concerned, here are the general rules: Plant large bulbs at a depth about twice the height of the bulb; plant small bulbs slightly deeper than twice their height. In regions with extremely cold winters like Monument, plant them a little deeper than normal.

After planting, lightly apply a complete, dry fertilizer over the bed. Use a fertilizer low in nitrogen and high in phosphate. Bone meal has a 0-10-0 formula and super phosphate has a 0-18-0 and both are perfect for bulbs. Once the bulbs are planted and fertilized, thoroughly water the bed to settle the soil. Cover the bed with an inch of organic mulch to deter future weeds and improve the soil.

Now is a good time to fertilize your spring-flowering shrubs such as lilacs, forsythia and quince. Sprinkle super phosphate around the base of the shrubs or flowering crab trees, water it in, and watch the blooms explode in the spring. You will drastically increase your blooms by applying fertilizer now.

Feed your lawn with a good quality, slow-release lawn food. There are many products available, so be sure to use fertilizer that is made for our region and designed for our growing conditions. Jirdon’s Winterizer fertilizer contains sufficient nitrogen for vigorous root development and helps build carbohydrate reserves in roots for early spring green-up. By providing food, water and protection now, your lawn and gardens will remain healthy and they will get a jump-start for the growing season next year.

Remember to water your lawn, trees, and shrubs deeply and less often. By watering less frequently, you are directing the root growth of your plants downward, and that will help develop stronger root systems.

A basic rule is that new trees should be watered regularly from early spring until the leaves drop off in the fall. During normal dry times, once a week is adequate. If the afternoon temperatures are extreme, try twice a week. But don’t stop there. When the temperatures are in the 50s during October and November, give your trees another drink. Your trees roots continue to grow in soil that is above 40 degrees. Just because their leaves are gone doesn’t mean they don’t need water.

We usually try to water our trees twice a month through December. We water at mid-day when frost is off the ground to ensure water reaches the roots. When the cold of January hits us we stop watering until mid- to late March, then start back up with twice a month through April. Resume normal watering as needed through the growing season.

Deep root watering stops wasteful runoff and concentrates on the area that matters most. Surface watering often leaves you wondering when you should stop, usually resulting in more time and water than are actually necessary. Soaker hose and slow-drip watering methods may soak the surface only, promoting root growth near the surface. Deep root development is essential for strength and drought hardiness when the tree establishes itself and the watering stops. Deep watering, to a depth of 12 to 18 inches below the soil surface, favors a vigorous root system.

Sprinkler systems are for watering your grass. No deep watering occurs. In most cases, relying on your sprinkler system will result in inadequate surface watering as only the top few inches will be soaked.

Generally speaking, a tree should be well-established in three to five years, depending on the deep root development. This means that the tree can survive drier times without help. If you want the tree to continue growing at its maximum, you should continue to water and fertilize it. As the tree grows, so does the size of the root system. You can get a general idea of the size of the root system by looking at the size of the above-ground spread.

By planting, fertilizing and watering in October, your gardens will burst with color and exhibit vigorous growth next spring.

Woody Woodworth is a member of the Garden Centers of Colorado, is actively involved in the green industry, and operates a garden center in downtown Monument. He can be contacted at woodywoodworth@ocn.me.

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Bird Watch on the Palmer Divide: Turkey vulture: Cathartes aura

Click here or on the photo to zoom in

Below: Photo of a Turkey Vulture by Elizabeth Hacker.

Click on the photo to zoom in

By Elizabeth Hacker

A bird often vilified in our culture is the turkey vulture. In the classic Disney film Fantasia, vultures are portrayed as ugly creatures lurking about in the underworld. I once bristled at the thought of a turkey vulture but as I continue to learn more about them, my opinion has changed. Some Native American cultures revere the turkey vulture as a symbol of power and energy efficiency, and it is an honor to receive it as a spiritual totem.

Description

Turkey vultures can have a body length of up to 32 inches, a wing span of up to 6 feet, and weigh as much as 7 pounds. It’s a large bird that is smaller than an eagle but bigger than a red-tailed hawk. Male and female look alike.

Mature birds have red featherless heads that resemble a domestic turkey, thus the name. Immature birds have dark gray featherless heads that turn red after the first year. Vulture feathers appear to be black but are actually a dark brown. The underside of the wing is two toned, with the leading edge being dark and the flight feathers a lighter color.

The vulture’s bald head is actually a matter of hygiene. When eating carrion, vultures reach inside the carcass with their heads. The vulture’s food would stick to a feathered head and harbor bacteria and parasites. Their white curved beak is specialized for picking the flesh from a carcass. Behind the beak is a large nasal opening, a rarity in the bird world.

Turkey vultures have a well developed sense of smell that helps them to locate food from great distances. Like other raptors, their eyesight is excellent and they can detect carrion while soaring.

However, unlike other raptors that grab and carry their prey with talon feet that bend, turkey vultures have flat chicken-like feet that they use to anchor their food and scratch the ground. This feature sets them apart from raptors, and scientists are rethinking the turkey vultures’ classification. In some ways it is more like an ibis or a stork than an eagle.

Behavior and diet

Turkey vultures are gentle, nonaggressive, and communal birds that congregate in groups called "venues" but individuals generally fly solo.

Vultures use their beak to strip the flesh from dead animals but are opportunist and will kill weak or injured animals. They also eat dung, insects, and juniper berries but much prefer the meat of dead herbivores, particularly deer. Their reputation for killing and stalking pets or livestock is unfounded and would be difficult because of their chicken-like feet and small beak.

Eating carrion may seem repugnant, but in actuality it helps to keep the environment clean and prevents the spread of disease. The strong acid in the turkey vultures’ stomach has been found to break down disease-causing organisms including anthrax.

Turkey vultures have a few unusual behavioral traits. When approached by a predator or startled, it will vomit. One thought is that this is a way it can lighten its load and escape because taking to the air is cumbersome for this big bird. Because they eat carrion, the vomit is foul smelling which may be enough of a deterrent in itself.

Turkey vultures direct their urine onto their legs in a process called urohydrosis. Birds don’t perspire, so when the urine evaporates on their legs it acts as a coolant. The urine contains strong digestive acids that wash bacteria from its legs and feet after a meal.

At night, vultures lower their body temperature by a few degrees to conserve energy. On warm mornings, they wake up and spread their wings in a horaltic pose to warm their bodies before taking to the sky.

Flight

Turkey vultures are a model of efficiency and rarely flap their wings except to lift off or brake for landing. Once in the air, they spread their wings in a dihedral, or shallow V-shape, and soar for hours. The feathers at the end of their wings are like separate fingers and help them keep their balance. Once a vulture reaches the top of the thermal air current, it glides at speeds up to 60 miles per hour to another thermal or to the ground to land.

They travel many miles each day without flapping a wing and expend more energy walking on the ground and taking off than while in flight. When turkey vultures are seen circling in the sky, the first thought is that they are hovering above carrion. But there are other reasons for circling, including courtship.

Breeding

Turkey vultures migrate north to breed. In early spring two eggs are laid in a depression in the ground, in a hollowed-out tree, or in a rock crevice. The male and female incubate the eggs for about 40 days. They care for the chicks by first feeding them regurgitated meat and then bits of flesh. Chicks will fledge after about three months but stay with their parents in a venue for a year.

Habitat, range, and protected status

In recent years, turkey vultures have increased in numbers and their range has extended further north. This may be due to a combination of factors, including warmer weather, a population explosion of deer, and successful breeding.

Turkey vultures are protected under the Migratory Species Act of 1918, and it is illegal to kill or capture one, even if it’s injured.

The Birds of Prey Foundation located in Broomfield was contacted back in 1987 when a concerned citizen reported a bird with a broken wing. Sigrid Noll Ueblacker, a licensed rehabilitator and founder of the organization, nursed the turkey vulture back to health. But unlike many of her birds, this bird would never fly again so he could not be released. She called him TV and used him in her education program.

I’ve seen many rescued birds but never one quite as entertaining as TV. He captured my attention with his showmanship and gentle manners. TV was cooperative and didn’t appear to be threatened by the audience, and he didn’t vomit!

Elizabeth Hacker is a writer and artist. Email her at elizabethhacker@ocn.me to share bird pictures and stories.

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Art Matters: Love of place: Public art makes for prosperous local culture

Website exclusive - Below: At the new Monument Sculpture Park, local sculptor Ruth Burink preps the base as artist Lou DeAngelis guides his sculpture, Blade of Grass to the pedestal for permanent installation. DeAngelis donated his sculpture to Tri Lakes Views, and the Konarski family donated the pedestal. Tri Lakes Views has made fine art shows and public art available to the Tri Lakes area for over 10 years. Photo courtesy of Tri Lakes Views.

Website exclusive - Below: Amid her vibrantly colored aerial sculptures on exhibit at Tri Lakes Center for the Arts, artist, Colorado artist Reven Swanson talks about the bright future of public art with Sky Hall, president of Tri Lakes Views. Photo by Janet Sellers.

By Janet Sellers

Well, the Art Hop is over and the fall season of art enjoyment has begun. We can still enjoy these lovely warm evenings and take a walk to enjoy art, though.

The new Monument Sculpture Park is open year round, with the large artworks set off between the green grass and the blue skies of the park. We now have three very large sculptures there.

For the third sculpture installed in Monument Sculpture Park, the Konarski family purchased a pedestal for a sculpture as a memorial for their son. Betty Konarski told me that their son had always loved the outdoors and was an avid bicyclist. He loved to do races and just be outside, and Betty said that the artwork, named Blade of Grass was just right, since her son loved the outdoors so much.

Perhaps others will have an interest in funding a sculpture pedestal in honor of a loved one. That is an enduring memorial that offers a beautiful and uplifting presence every day of the year.

The artist, Lou de Angelis, had donated the piece to Tri-Lakes Views a couple of years ago after the inaugural sculpture exhibition for Tri-Lakes Views in 2009. The Konarskis decided to donate the funds for a pedestal for the piece, and it is now on view at the Monument Sculpture Park on Second Street at Jefferson Street.

At Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts, public art is going swimmingly. Reven Swanson’s Under the Swimming Pool exhibit has supersized aerial sculptures that float overhead. For your next exciting adventure, run over to the center and enjoy a mobile like you’ve never imagined could happen. Artist Reven Swanson has done it again. The current exhibit in the Lucy Owens Gallery offers several flights of fancy swimming overhead in the form of steel wire works and color.

Reven told me that she was inspired to do the work by her thoughts of women and their strength, athletic enjoyment, and the forms of swimmers. The artwork will be installed later in the year, but we can enjoy it this very month and take in the whimsy and fun of Reven’s imagination.

This public art work sculpture grouping will eventually be installed permanently in Aurora, with a fused colorful glass set of ribbons flowing among the figures. It is an atrium piece that will float far overhead, with the ribbons of fused glass offering a sunlit illumination of color and colored shadows all day long as people enter the aquatic center there.

Discussing public art for culture and a prosperous local community, Reven and I talked over the advantages that public art offers to a community and to artists. While public art has a great impact on the town, it also is a huge effort for artists to make and get installed. Many aspects are in play for this. Many cities and public sponsors have a dedicated percentage of building projects or tax revenues to support the artworks for their community, because the art adds value to a community.

While we don’t have that in place yet, we are very fortunate that our local Tri-Lakes Views has made public art available to all of us as part of our cultural wealth and enjoyment. We are one of the very few places in the country to have a group like Tri-Lakes Views, a nonprofit organization that has taken up the call for public art enrichment for us to ensure we have that vital aspect for our area. The group is made up of locals: fine artists, photographers, merchants, and interested citizens.

Tri-Lakes Views holds an annual public art call for artists. The artists send in images of available artworks and statements of their raison d’etre, and the winning works will be exhibited for about a year in our town. Most of the artworks are for sale, and donations to Tri-Lakes Views are also welcome.

Public art in a community translates into a "love of place," an architectural term for why people choose a community to live in or in which to invest in some way. The economics of public art are such a powerful impact that more and more cities are putting a dedicated annual sum or percentage of income stream to public art.

It seems that public art infuses a place with character, interest, and above all, cultural enrichment. For centuries, cities and towns have had strong ideas about their public image, and public art had a big job to fill to portray that image. Nowadays, public art is usually voted on by a committee of local citizens and authorities and installed per the municipal or state public works. Many cities have their own deep pockets to purchase these public artworks, and their art collections grow in size and value every year.

The public art awareness for local enrichment can only grow when a place has the venue and the art. Many towns begin with traditional bronze representational works, and as the community grows in art sensibility, the works expand to more and more imaginative and abstract works, reflecting a dynamic and vibrant community.

Looking forward to seeing you out and enjoying our bright fall weather, the colors, and the art. Some of the best things in life are outdoors this season!

Janet Lee Sellers is an American painter and sculptor who works in paint, metal and, most recently, concrete. Sellers lives in Woodmoor, Colorado. She can be reached at JanetSellers@OCN.me.

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Snapshots of Our Community

Last Art Hop, Sept. 15

Photos by David Futey.

Below: At Covered Treasures Bookstore, authors Ray Golden and Elaine Pease held book signings with their recent publications. Golden’s Christiana’s Secret-The Lost Treasure of Dead Man’s Gulch is a historical fiction account about the spirit of a young girl who was taken in by Ute Indians after a massacre in 1861, leading a modern-day treasure hunter to search for a lost gold mine. Pease is a children’s/young adult author. Her recent works include I’ll Never Leave, a seasons-of-life story about a leaf that does not want to leave the mother tree when fall arrives, and Even Sharks Need Friends.

Below: Also at Covered Treasures, Sally Alberts had her handmade sparkling cards for sale.

Below: Lisa Bird demonstrates her colored pencil drawing technique at Luna Hair Studio and Spa. Bird is developing skills as a botanic illustrator, among other graphic designs.

Below: One-o- a-kind felted wool hats were the rage at Margo’s on the Alley. The hats are a creation of Susan Carnahan and her sister Sharon DeWeese, owners of Chic Chapeau.

Below: Bella Art & Frame hosted Lorry Frederick, who demonstrated a technique to create jewelry from clay silver.

Below: At Retrospect, Monument residents John and Alona Kearns provided free samples of their coffee, Kona Krazy, which will be sold at the store. The Kearnses are owners of the Coffee Courier.

Below: The Love Shop hosted Carla Willis and her mixed-media works. Willis’s works are inspired by her relationship with God, and she seeks to create works that offer hope and reassurance.

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Ronny Cox at TLCA, Sept. 1

By David Futey

On Sept. 1, actor Ronny Cox showed a little-known but lifelong passion for music as he entertained an appreciative audience at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA).

Cox, who played authority figures in film and TV roles in Deliverance, Total Recall, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Taps, started his music career at the age of 10, calling square dances with his father’s band in New Mexico. Music provided an income for him during his high school and college years as he recorded and performed with Ron’s Rockouts. He continued his musical pursuits throughout his life.

Cox said "he loves the music" more than acting because "you cannot step through the camera" and "you must stay within the confines of the character." Cox added that music "provides the possibility of a profound one-on-one sharing" with the audience. Through his performance he strives to achieve that connection and sharing with the audience.

Given the TLCA audience response to his performance, he seemed to achieve that goal. Information on Ronny Cox is at www.ronnycox.com. Information on upcoming events at the TLCA is at www.trilakesarts.org. David Futey can be reached at dfutey@ocn.me.

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Website exclusive: Realism takes the stage at art show

Photos by David Futey.

Below (L to R): Michael DeVore and Dave Hunkins shown with DeVore's painting A Distraction.

Below: Cecilia Thorell shown with her painting Lost in Thought.

By David Futey

 In September, painters Michael DeVore and Cecilia Thorell, who both studied at the Florence Academy of Art, shared the main gallery at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts. DeVore and Dave Hunkins are shown with DeVore’s work A Distraction. DeVore saw Hunkins at Sunflower Market and asked, “Have you ever been painted?” After sitting for 10 or 11 sessions, Hunkins observed that “paintings are made and not painted” and he marveled at Devore’s ability to bring “paintings alive.”

As a child, Thorell, shown with her painting Lost in Thought, tried to make her pencil drawings as realistic as possible. That sense of realism subsequently translated to her paintings.

David Futey can be reached at dfutey@ocn.me.

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Website exclusive: AARP birthday a time to honor members

Below: The Black Forest AARP Chapter 1100 celebrated its 39th year of community service on Sept. 14 by honoring several of the chapter’s 70 members. Chapter past President Waldo Pendleton awarded a Gold Achievement Pin to both Howard Pease and Steve Merrill for their work in keeping members up-to-date on Colorado legislative and political issues. Certificates of appreciation were presented to Kay Zvonkovich, Gwen Burk, and Edna Eaton for their many years of service. Special recognition was given to Waldo and Joanne Pendleton and Kelly Berner commemorating 15 years of continuous chapter membership. A Certificate of Appreciation was given to Gwynn Hall for invaluable services she has provided, and Alberta Davis was recognized for 19 years of community service with a different chapter. Pictured left to right are Waldo Pendleton, Alberta Davis, Kay Zvonkovich, Gwen Burk, Edna Eaton, Steve Merrill, and Joanne Pendleton. (Not shown are Howard Pease, Kelly Berner, and Gwynn Hall.) Photo provided by Stan Beckner.

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September and October Library Events: All Pikes Peak Reads starts

Website exclusive - Below: Jacob Rook at the wheel of the front end loader at the "Heavy Equipment Rendezvous" in Palmer Lake. Photo by Harriet Halbig.

By Harriet Halbig

September at the library was an active time, with grant-writing workshops for adults and story times and hedgehogs for children.

The 2011 All Pikes Peak Reads (APPR) program kicked off on Sept. 10 during the What If Festival in Colorado Springs. The year’s theme is the influence of the media on daily life. The featured title, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, was read and discussed by the Monumental Readers group and the Book Eaters teen group in September.

Two films will be shown at the Monument Library in connection with the theme. The first is The Orphan Trains, a film documenting the transport from 1854 to 1929 of orphaned children from New York on trains to the western parts of the country where they found new homes. One of the drop-off points was Colorado Springs. The showing will be on Tuesday, Oct. 4, at noon.

The second film, Play Again, documents a group of children who leave their day-to-day practice of spending hours on their cell phones and online and go into nature to discover what they have been missing. This film relates to the APPR title The Shallows by Nicholas Carr, which argues that the human brain and attention span are affected by the Internet. The film will be shown on Oct. 19 at 4 p.m. Teens and adults are encouraged to attend and discuss the film.

Also in keeping with the theme of APPR, a "Hunger Is No Game" food drive will be held during September and October. Bring nonperishable foods to the library to benefit Tri-Lakes Cares.

Monument’s Family Fun program for October is Blimp with Birgitta De Pree and Sara Barad from Manitou Art Theatre. Take two of the best improvisational actors in the area, put them together with children of all ages and watch as creative sparks fly and stories magically appear. The program will take place on Saturday, Oct. 8 at 1:30 p.m.

For teens, unleash your creative side with friends and food during Crafty Teens on Friday, Oct. 14, from 4 to 5:30 p.m.

Oct. 16 to 22 is National Friends of Libraries Week. Please plan to attend a reception and membership drive, Monday, Oct. 17, through Saturday, Oct. 22, from 3 to 5 p.m. to learn more about the Friends and enjoy light refreshments.

Tri-Lakes Friends has raised thousands of dollars for the Monument and Palmer Lake Libraries. Hundreds of community members annually contribute to the Friends through their book donations, and many of the Friends actively volunteer their time to assist the group with fundraising efforts such as the ongoing book sale, Summer Reading Party, and Ice Cream Social.

A special fun event for the younger patrons is the Pumpkin Patch Party to be held on Oct. 18 at 10:30 a.m. This event will replace the usual 10:15 and 11 a.m. story times that day.

The AARP Safe Driving Program will be offered on Thursday, Oct. 20, from 1 to 5 p.m. The charge for the course is $12 for AARP members and $14 for non-members. Class size is limited and registration is required.

The Monumental Readers will discuss Isabel’s Daughter by Judith Ryan Hendricks on Friday, Oct. 21, at 10 a.m. All patrons are welcome at this monthly book club.

On Halloween, Oct. 31, come to the library for Not So Scary Stories, stories that won’t keep you up at night. Wear a costume if you dare. There will be treats and crafts for all at 4:30 p.m.

On the walls during October will be Times Past, black and white photos by Sara Sharples. In the display case will be handmade bowls in honor of the Empty Bowl Dinner to be held Oct. 12 at Lewis-Palmer High School to benefit Tri-Lakes Cares.

Palmer Lake library events

Palmer Lake will host Stories in the Dark in a room lit only by candlelight and featuring special effects that will send chills and shivers up your spine and tickle your funny bone. This fright night is only for the brave, ages 8 and up, and will be held in the Palmer Lake Town Hall on Friday, Oct. 28, at 7 p.m.

For younger patrons, come to Not So Scary Stories in the library on Oct. 28 at 4:30 p.m.

Come read to one of our Paws to Read dogs during October. Misty, the tiny Sheltie, will be at the library on Thursday, Oct. 13, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Kirby, the quiet golden retriever, will be at the library on Saturday, Oct. 22, from 11 a.m. until noon. Read to a dog and select a prize.

The Palmer Lake Library Knitting Group meets on Thursdays from 10 a.m. until noon and invites knitters of all ages and skill levels. Bring your project and stay as long as your schedule allows.

The Palmer Lake Book Group will discuss The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins on Nov. 4 at 9 a.m. New members are welcome.

Harriet Halbig can be reached at harriethalbig@ocn.me.

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Palmer Lake Historical Society, Sept. 15: The 1890s plan for a Denver-to-Palmer Lake Cycle Path

Below: Johanna Harden, left, and Annette Gray prepare to present their research of the Denver-to-Palmer Lake Cycle Path. Photo by Bernard Minetti.

Below: Archivist presenters Harden and Gray used this picture of two vacationers on Palmer Lake to illustrate one of the reasons for construction of the Denver-to-Palmer Lake Cycle Path, circa 1890. This photograph hangs in the Palmer Lake Town Hall and was donated in April 1984 by Mary Leming in memory of her husband Arthur R. Leming, who was a Santa Fe Railroad Agent.

By Bernard L. Minetti

Douglas County archivists Johanna Harden and Annette Gray told the story of the proposed Denver to Palmer Lake Cycle Path at the Sept. 15 meeting of the Palmer Lake Historical Society. Harden and Gray are involved with the Douglas County Library group’s Douglas County History Research Center.

They explained that there was great interest in bicycling during the 1890s. In 1897, the Denver Cycle Path Association had just opened the 11-mile Denver-Littleton Cycle Path. Ten months later, a new organization was formed to extend this path to Palmer Lake.

The presenters indicated that Castle Rock, which was only 23 years old with a population of 300 in 1897, needed to "hustle" to ensure that this path went through their town. They also noted that Colorado Springs supported a flourishing tourist industry and was not particularly interested in the prospect of a cycle path.

Harden and Gray said that on April 7, 1899, the Castle Rock Journal published an item that indicated that then Sen. Ammons had successfully gotten a bill through the legislature that provided for the appropriation of $5,000 for the completion of the path.

There was major opposition to the proposed construction, and the dream never really came to fruition. Portions of the path have been incorporated into the Colorado Front Range Trail today.

During this society meeting, Dan Edwards presented Historical Society President Phyllis Bonser with a check for $500. These were the proceeds from the sale of 71 copies of his piece, The Glen Park Companies and Their Chautauquas.

**********

The next Palmer Lake Historical Society event will be on Thursday, Oct. 20, at 7 p.m. at the Palmer Lake Town Hall. The presentation that evening is titled, "Railroads of Colorado." The presenter, Claude Wiatrowski, is returning to discuss the historic preserved railroads that still exist in Colorado.

Bernard Minetti can be contacted at bernardminetti@ocn.me.

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Website exclusive: Author summarizes history of labor unions

Below: Philip Dray. Photo by David Futey

By David Futey

On Sept. 22, Pulitzer Prize finalist Philip Dray engaged an audience at the Western Museum of Mining & Industry with a lecture on the development and history of labor unions in America.

In 2010, Dray published There Is Power in a Union: The Epic Story of Labor in America, which detailed the start of labor unions in the textile mills of Massachusetts and followed their growth and change through 2010. Dray noted that mill workers, usually young farm girls, were required to work 14-hour days, because mill operators thought that equated to their work hours on the farm. Over time, mill and other workers sought shorter hours so they could have time for other duties and pursuits.

Dray described how seminal events, such as the Pullman Strike, the Railroad Strike of 1877, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in 1911, and the Ludlow Massacre in Colorado brought to light worker conditions and the impact workers had on commerce. Dray went into detail on the relationship between American society and unions being awkward at the least, given the respective focus of the individual versus the collective.

David Futey can be reached at dfutey@ocn.me.

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VFW post recognizes Whole Foods for support of military

Below: From left are Monument VFW Post Commander retired Air Force Lt. Col. Tony Wolusky, Whole Foods Academy Boulevard store Team Leader Debbie Robertson, representing store Manager Billy Windram, and Assistant Post Commander Joe Carlson. Wolusky and Carlson presented a meritorious and distinguished service award to Whole Foods Stores. Photo by Bernard Minetti.

By Bernard L. Minetti

On Sept. 23, Post Commander and retired Air Force Lt. Col. Tony Wolusky presented Whole Foods Markets with the Veterans of Foreign Wars distinguished and meritorious service award. Also, the Academy Boulevard and Powers Boulevard stores were inducted into the Monument VFW Post 7829, 2011 Order of Merit.

The annual Order of Merit award is a permanent VFW Monument Post 7829 recognition of significant and praiseworthy efforts in support of active-duty personnel and veterans and their families.

Wolusky had received a communication from a Fort Carson unit that frontline service men and women in the 13th Air Support Operations Squadron in Afghanistan were sorely in need of common items such as toothpaste, books, toiletries, etc., not readily available at their frontline locations. There are no base exchanges at frontline sites for purchasing these items. These service men and women are usually out of contact with base facilities for an extended time with the exception of mail, including packages.

Recognizing the urgency of the need, Wolusky said that he approached Whole Foods Markets and explained the situation. He indicated that the company promptly declared a "VFW day" which meant that 5 percent of the gross proceeds collected in both local stores on that day were to go to Monument VFW Post 7829 to help meet this need. The resulting collection from both stores amounted to $4,600.

The post is now assembling the items needed and will pack the care packages in the next week or so.

Items needed are multivitamins, beef jerky, trail mix, nuts/dried fruit, games (no batteries), playing cards, baby wipes, antibacterial wipes, juice boxes, hygiene products, hair clippers, energy drinks, Propel powder for drinks, Diet Snapple, air fresheners, foot powder, bug spray, DVD movies, Chapstick/Carmex, and SPF sunscreen.

If you wish to donate items or to assist in assembling the packages, contact Wolusky at 719-225-7778 or 719-481-4419. He will notify you of the day and time and instructions for pickup or delivery of donated items. There is more than just an urgent need for these items.

Donations to assist in this effort or to support veterans and their families may be sent to VFW Post 7829, PO Box 1512, Monument, CO 80132-9998. The post is a nonprofit corporation in good standing under Colorado law (ID Number 20091530354) and is a federal tax-exempt veterans organization under IRS Code Section 501(c)(19). Donations to VFW Post 7829 are tax deductible as permitted by law and a receipt will be provided.

Bernard Minetti may be contacted at bernardminetti@ocn.me.

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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.

Wednesday Senior Lunches at Big Red - October Menu

    Oct. 5: Tuna salad & sliced avocado on a croissant, chips

    Oct. 12: Meat loaf with mashed potatoes and tossed salad

    Oct. 19: Pulled barbeque chicken sandwich, coleslaw and pickles

    Oct. 26: Roast turkey, stuffing with cranberries & corn

    Rolls and butter served with each meal except sandwiches. Dessert also provided.

An activity of Tri-Lakes Health Advocacy Associates. Meals provided by Pinecrest Catering, Palmer Lake; Nikki McDonald, executive chef, 481-3307.

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County seeks final public comment on Major Transportation Corridors Plan (MTCP), Oct. 2

The MTCP identifies future transportation needs of the county, project costs, sources of funding, and how transportation projects will be prioritized. It is not too late to have your comments considered in this important planning process. The final public comment period ends Oct. 2. Review the MTCP final documents and submit comments at http://www.2040mtcp.com/.

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Voter Registration Deadline, Oct. 3

The voter registration cutoff date for the Nov. 1 Coordinated Election is Oct. 3. There are three ways for voters to register or update their information with the Clerk & Recorder’s Office.

  • Online at www.GoVoteColorado.com
  • In person at any of the four Clerk & Recorder’s Office locations: North–8830 N. Union Blvd. (Research Parkway and Union Blvd.); West–1675 W. Garden of the Gods Rd., Second Floor, Suite 2202; Downtown Central–200 S. Cascade Ave., lower level (Cascade Ave. and Vermijo); East–5650 Industrial Place (Powers and Airport)
  • Download a Colorado Voter Registration form from the website www.GoVoteColorado.com and submit it to the Clerk & Recorder’s Office by mail (must be postmarked by Oct. 3), fax, or scan and return it by email (must be received by the Election Department by 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 3). Fax: (719) 520-7327. Email: elections@elpasoco.com. Mail: Election Department, PO Box 2007, Colorado Springs, CO 80901

The November Coordinated Election will be held Nov. 1. and is an all-mail ballot election. There will be no polling places open on Election Day. All Clerk & Recorder’s Branch Offices (listed above) will have mail ballot drop-off boxes. These locations also will have Ballot Service Centers available to provide full election services. Voters who are inactive or who did not receive a mail ballot can visit any of the branch office locations to update their information and receive one. Voters may pick up a ballot in person at any of the clerk’s offices beginning Oct. 12. For more information, contact Alissa Vander Veen, 351-9626, or email AlissaVanderVeen@elpasoco.com.

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HEROES grants available for Monument-area organizations

UnitedHealth Group has announced that grants of up to $1,000 are available to Monument-area organizations and schools looking to create health-focused programs for youths. The HEROES grants can be used to create hands-on, interactive service-learning programs that reduce the prevalence of childhood obesity. Previous grant recipients have used the funds to plant community gardens, build fitness tracks, develop healthy cookbooks, and more. The deadline to apply is Oct. 17. To obtain an application and find out more, visit www.YSA.org/HEROES.

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Empty Bowls Dinner and Silent Auction, Oct. 12

Monument Hill Kiwanis proudly presents the 2011 Empty Bowls Dinner and Silent Auction Oct. 12, 5-7:30 p.m., at Lewis-Palmer High School, 1300 Higby Rd., Monument. Thanks to the generosity of several area restaurants and businesses, guests will enjoy a variety of delicious soups, wonderful breads, and mouth-watering desserts. Guests may also select a bowl handmade by regional artists. They can bid on a large selection of silent auction items provided by area businesses. The auction is sponsored by Tri-Lakes Cares volunteers. Come and enjoy a fun evening, fill your bowl, and fill a community need. Proceeds go to Tri-Lakes Cares, a 501(c) (3) organization that helps those in need in our community. Cost: $20, which includes one child under 12 free; checks payable to Monument Hill Kiwanis. Tickets are available at the door and in area stores. In Monument: High Country Home and Garden, Covered Treasures Bookstore, Rosie’s Diner, Hangers; in Palmer Lake: Rock House; in Jackson Creek: Tri-Lakes Printing. For more information call Mark Zeiger, 488-5934.

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Wine and Roses, Oct. 28

The Tri-Lakes Women’s Club will present Wine and Roses, its annual wine tasting fundraiser, Oct. 28, 6-9 p.m., check www.tlwc.net for new location. The evening features celebrity wine servers, fine wine tastings, spirits and beer tables, great local chefs, restaurant menu item tastings, a raffle, and a silent auction. Proceeds benefit the Tri-Lakes community. Tickets are available online at www.tlwc.net or contact any Tri-Lakes Women’s Club member.

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Singers and musicians needed for Christmas production

Tri-Lakes Music Association seeks singers, orchestra musicians, and anyone who would like to help in any way. Be a part of this exciting Tri-Lakes Christmas tradition. Performance dates are Dec. 9-10, 7 p.m., and Dec. 11, 2 p.m. Vocal practices meet every Sunday, 1 p.m., at The Inn at Palmer Divide, 443 Highway 105, Palmer Lake. All proceeds from the show go to Tri-Lakes Cares and two $500 college scholarships. For information, contact Bob Manning, 232-4114, or email rwgmanning@comcast.net.

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Upcoming Fall Volunteer Opportunities at Pikes Peak Library District (PPLD)

PPLD offers a wide variety of volunteer opportunities, both short term and long term, for adults and teens. For details, visit ppld.org, click "jobs," then the "volunteers" tab. For more information, call 531-6333, x1251.

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Handbell ringers needed

Handbell ringers are needed to play in the Tri-Lakes Community Handbell Choir. Experience preferred, adult or high school. If interested, please contact Betty Jenik, 488-3853.

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Attention artists and crafters

Bring your arts and crafts to sell in the Holiday Boutique and Bazaar Dec. 3, a fundraiser for St. Peter Catholic School in Monument. For information and participant forms, call Susan at 488-3308.

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Multiple sclerosis support group forming

A multiple sclerosis (MS) group is forming for the Tri-Lakes and surrounding areas. If interested, please contact Susan at susan@tinybrook.com.

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Help on the way for heating bills

The Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) helps residents struggling to pay their home heating bills. LEAP benefits provide assistance to help low-income families with their heating bills but are not intended to pay the entire bill. The eligibility period for LEAP runs Nov. 1 to Apr. 30. LEAP is a mail-in only program, and applications are accepted each year during the eligibility period. For more information about LEAP benefits, call 1-866 HEAT-HELP (1-866-432-8435).

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Library patrons can now download eBooks to their Kindles

Pikes Peak Library District (PPLD) is excited to announce that its eBook collection is now compatible with the world’s bestselling eBook reader, the Amazon Kindle. Patrons can now download popular and classic eBooks to a Kindle device or any mobile device running the free Kindle app, such as iPhone, iPad, Android, and more. PPLD also offers eBooks and audiobooks for use on a PC or Mac computer and popular mobile devices such as a smartphone, MP3 player, and eBook reader like the Barnes & Noble Nook and Sony Reader. To get started, visit www.ppld.org/cybershelf.

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Check out energy savings at local libraries

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

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