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Vol. 11 No. 2 - February, 5, 2011


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Contents

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Daffodil Days, March 4-6

Above: Covered Treasures bookstore owner Tommie Plank, left, and associate Paula Primavera announce the Tri-Lakes Cares Daffodil Days fundraiser to be held March 4-6. Covered Treasures has been in Monument for 18 years, sells new and used books for all ages, and is a member of Historic Monument Merchants Association. Plank said that the merchants will be fronting the cost of the daffodils and making them available for a $1 donation. Rhoda Archuleta of the Secret Window, Gallery of Fine Arts and Flowers, will obtain the daffodils for the merchants. Photo by Bernard Minetti.

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Lewis-Palmer D-38 Board of Education, Jan. 20: Board approves programs, recognizes essay winners

Below: Students who participated in the Alpine Achievement Systems essay contest were, from left, finalist Anna Rokke of Prairie Winds Elementary, champion Steven Panoncillo of Prairie Winds, and finalist Adam Teske of Palmer Lake Elementary. All students are sixth-graders competing in the middle school division. Photo by Harriet Halbig

By Harriet Halbig

The District 38 Board of Education approved reports from three programs at its Jan. 20 meeting.

Gifted/Talented Education report

The Colorado Department of Education (CDE) did a review of the district’s Gifted/Talented Education (GTE) program last November and suggested improvements in the program’s identification process based on the fact that the program qualified 14 percent of the student body for the program, whereas the state average is 5 percent.

Susan Anderson, Gifted/Talented program facilitator, reported that identification is based on intellectual ability, academic achievement, behavior characteristics, and demonstrated performance. Among those identified are English Language Learners and twice exceptional individuals (those who have an Individual Education Plan or IEP and those who are gifted in one or more categories).

The CDE said that the district needs to improve identification among these final two groups.

This year, the program will add performing arts, visual arts, creativity, and leadership to the categories of identification. Present categories are language arts, mathematics, language arts/mathematics, and other.

Program members will meet with a fine arts specialist from CDE in February and will also work with other nearby districts to learn of their techniques for identifying gifted students in the arts.

Once a student is identified as gifted, the program creates an Advanced Learning Program (ALP) for that student. The student retains the gifted status until graduation.

Anderson said that she has no concerns about identification in the new categories because District 38 has programs in the arts from kindergarten through high school.

Interim Superintendent Ted Bauman said that the district has been praised by the state for its level of support for the GTE program.

The board voted to approve the program.

Special Education program

Special Education Director Mary Anne Fleury reported that the district’s program had been recently reviewed by CDE and told that it was disproportionately identifying students of diverse ethnicity as needing the services of the program.

The primary concern was that the program identified English Language Learners as being in need of services when their primary issue was language rather than inability to process information.

The program has written an improvement plan to correct this issue and is now compliant.

A new focus of the program is on post-secondary goals including the ability of graduates of the program to live independently and successfully find employment. Services are available to individuals in the program until they reach 21 years of age.

English Language Learners program

Stephanie Johnson, English Language Learning facilitator, said that the district’s English Language Learners program now employs eight licensed teachers, four tutors and some volunteers. The program is federally funded under No Child Left Behind Title III.

There will be a federal review of the program on Feb. 28, following a CDE review that has already taken place. Since 1974, law requires that separate instruction be available for students with limited English proficiency.

The number of students in the program has grown about 30 percent per year in the recent past, with a present enrollment of 261 students who speak a total of 37 languages.

Ratings of the students are NEP (non-English proficient), LEP (limited English proficient), and FEP (fully English proficient).

Students complete a home language survey upon enrolling in the district and take a Colorado English Assessment test that assesses their ability to speak, read, write and learn in English. They must pass all four areas to be considered fully English proficient.

A Language Acquisition Plan is developed by teachers for each individual, and testing is done annually in January to measure progress. Students are monitored until they graduate because it has been found that vocabulary in the higher grades can be a problem, especially in the sciences.

There are presently four children attending full-day kindergarten on scholarship from the district.

The board approved the plan as policy.

Student winners of essay contest

The board congratulated the winner and finalists of the essay contest sponsored by Alpine Achievement Systems. There were 90 entries representing 52 schools in three states. Steven Panoncillo, a sixth-grader from Prairie Winds Elementary, was a winner in the middle school category, including students in grades six through eight. Anna Rokke, a sixth-grader from Prairie Winds, and Adam Teske, a sixth-grader from Palmer Lake Elementary School, were finalists.

Other business

Bob Cito of the Colorado Association of School Boards spoke briefly on progress in the search for a new permanent superintendent for the district.

To date, 23 applications have been received. The board will meet on Feb. 12 to screen the applications and narrow the number to about 10. These applicants will then undergo background checks. Interviews of the four or so finalists will take place on Feb. 13. The interviews will be open to the public. For further information, please see the district website, lewispalmer.org.

Bauman reported on progress on the school calendar for the 2011-12 school year. He said that it was developed with consideration toward possible savings in utility and transportation costs and addressing parent concerns about starting too early in August. He will now present the calendar to the District Accountability Advisory Committee and other groups with the hope of final board approval in February.

Bauman displayed a large banner announcing the district’s accreditation with distinction and said that three of these banners have been made and will be displayed in prominent places such as banks and homebuilder offices in the district to encourage enrollment in the district.

He said that District Community Relations Manager Robin Adair is developing a publicity campaign to encourage enrollment among employees of new businesses moving to the area and students from Falcon District 49 who have lost their transportation for the coming year.

The board approved a list of routine matters such as minutes of previous meetings, appointment and retirement of staff, list of substitute staff, contracts, and other matters.

**********

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

Harriet Halbig can be reached at harriethalbig@ocn.me

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District Accountability Advisory Committee, Jan. 11: Two members chosen to interview superintendent candidates

By Harriet Halbig

Interim Superintendent Ted Bauman contacted District Accountability Advisory Committee (DAAC) Chair Steve Braun following a special meeting of the Board of Education, asking DAAC to select two representatives to help interview candidates for superintendent.

Bauman said that DAAC was a good source for such a task because all members are actively involved in the district and know the opinions of parents and teachers.

Braun asked for volunteers at the Jan. 11 DAAC meeting, stressing that they must be willing to ask tough questions and express the opinions of DAAC during the process. Interviewers must attend a training session to learn to draft questions that will elicit the information they require and must attend the interviews for the entire day on Feb. 12.

Six committee members volunteered for the job. Cathy Wilcox and Deb Goth were chosen by election, but Deborah Stumpf, the alternate, will replace Goth, who is unable to participate.

The interviews for superintendent will be conducted by the administrative council of the district and two teams of 11 to 13 people with experience in the community, including business and other representatives. At the end of the day of interviewing, a public reception will be held for those interviewed so that the public can see how the candidates relate to the public.

The interviews will also be open to the public.

SchoolDude demonstration

Jim Carter, a former district employee and current consultant, demonstrated the use of SchoolDude software in the planning process within the district. The software is used to facilitate capital planning by tracking the value of all district property with a value exceeding $5,000, tracking the estimated replacement date of equipment, and assigning priorities to proposed projects. The Colorado Department of Education assessed the value of all district property about five years ago.

When Carter receives a request for a project, he enters it into SchoolDude, where it is categorized and assigned a priority by the Operations Advisory Committee (OAC). If an item is funded, it is then assigned a project number. Items in the system are projected forward as far as 2025.

Carter said that cost projections can be problematical, and he tries to base the estimates on local costs. He also said that some projects, such as concrete work, may be completed by district employees.

Projects are reviewed with District Assistant Superintendent of Operations Cheryl Wangeman and reviewed by the OAC which then makes recommendations to the Board of Education. Once the board approves a project, the information becomes public.

Another use of SchoolDude is in tracking utility expenses. Costs are calculated at expense per square foot of a facility. If there is a jump in cost, the operations staff is cued to check for leaks or meter malfunction.

Finally, Carter said that he is making energy efficiency a priority for the near future. He is encouraging custodians to turn off the lights at night, planning to replace light bulbs with more efficient types, considering solar water heating, and investigating energy grants for the district.

Board of Education liaison Gail Wilson said that new Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia will be the director of Higher Education for the Colorado Department of Education in the coming administration. The governor is also creating a P-20 (preschool-college) council to study education issues. Enrollment statewide increased 1 percent in the last year.

At the state level, there continues to be a discussion about the issue of local control of curriculum and other matters.

It is unlikely there will be new initiatives in the near future due to lack of funding.

Wilson urged the Committee for Political Achievement to continue its contact with state Rep. Amy Stephens in her new role as majority leader. The committee agreed to seek a meeting with Stephens in the near future.

Co-Chair Cori Tanner encouraged members to attend the special meeting of the Board of Education on Feb. 3 to hear findings of the new planning task force.

Interim Superintendent Bauman will attend the February DAAC meeting to discuss the calendar for the coming school year.

**********

The District Accountability Advisory Committee meets on the second Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. Locations vary. The Feb. 8 meeting will be held at Prairie Winds Elementary School, 790 Kings Deer Point East, Monument.

Harriet Halbig can be reached at harriethalbig@ocn.me

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Exceptional Students Learning Team, Jan. 12: State official describes developments

By Harriet Halbig

Ed Steinberg, assistant commissioner of the Colorado Department of Education and state director of Special Education, spoke to members of the Exceptional Students Learning Team at its Jan. 12 meeting at Palmer Ridge High School.

Before serving at the state level, Steinberg had served at the district level as director of Special Education for the Cherry Creek school district.

Steinberg spoke briefly about the history of special education under federal law. This year marks the 35th anniversary of the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDA), an act based in the civil rights arena. Before 1975, children who tested below a given score on an IQ test were barred from public schools. Under this law, education could not be denied to anyone.

More recently, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (otherwise known as No Child Left Behind) requires states to report on progress of students with disabilities.

IDA is a largely unfunded mandate, approaching special education as a moral obligation. At present, federal funds cover about 17 percent of the cost of special education programs. In good times, the state contributes another 18 percent, with local districts making up the remainder. Special education must compete with gifted/talented, English as a Second Language (ESL), and other programs for funding. In this part of the country, only Wyoming fully funds special education at the state level.

Although he does not feel that special education is specifically being shortchanged in funding, he said that education as a whole is suffering from a weak economy.

American Reinvestment and Recovery Act funds received over the past year may have helped local programs but are a one-time source of funding. In many districts, teachers were retained and assistive technology was purchased with these funds. Locally, the funds were used to improve accessibility to schools, salaries, and assistive technology. Steinberg said that he feared using one-time funds for salaries was not the most effective approach.

A new priority in the special education field is literacy. The attainment of literacy is a new civil right and one that he said has been neglected for the past two decades. He said that 20 to 30 percent of students need a very structured method of learning to read, and there is a serious shortage of skilled reading teachers. Reading is a major deficit among students who enter the special education system.

In Colorado, there is a trend toward the system of Response to Intervention (RtI) as a way to monitor progress among students. Rather than following the old model of waiting for a student to fail (testing three years behind his peers) before steps are taken, this system allows professionals to deliver services to a student as soon as the need is recognized. These services could include having support personnel in the classroom or pulling a student out for individual help, and including parents and psychologists in the team to evaluate the effectiveness of the services.

When asked about the value of online education, Steinberg said that online services became available to special education students about 12 years ago. Offerings are now multiplying rapidly, but it is essential to combine the online aspect of a program with classroom time to include the social aspect of education.

When asked about full inclusion in the general education classroom for special education students, Steinberg said that full inclusion is not legally required. The legal requirement is that a student be provided instruction in the least restrictive environment, and schools are required to report regularly on students’ progress. Due to restrictions in funding, schools can sometimes not provide the para-educators necessary to support students in class, he said.

He also expressed concern that with the new teacher evaluation standards that reward teachers based on growth of their students, inclusion will be discouraged.

Steinberg said that there is an increased concern about what special education students will do when they leave the school environment, and these transition programs are seeing increased emphasis. It is important to seek the support of the entire community for these students. The goal for these students is independent living and employment. At present, adults with disabilities have a very high unemployment rate.

Schools in Colorado are required to count students in the special education system each Dec. 1. As of Dec. 1, 2009, there were 83,000 students involved, a little over 10 percent of the student body.

**********

The Exceptional Students Learning Team meets on the second Wednesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. The next meeting will be on Feb. 9 at the district’s learning center, 146 Jefferson St., Monument.

Harriet Halbig can be reached at harriethalbig@ocn.me

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Wescott FPD director Feltz resigns

By Jim Kendrick

The Donald Wescott Fire Protection District Board went into executive session at 7:06 p.m. on Jan. 26 to receive legal advice from the district’s attorney immediately after President Scott Campbell read a short letter of resignation that Dennis Feltz had delivered to the staff that afternoon, prior to the 7 p.m. meeting.

The Wescott board has 60 days to appoint a replacement director to fill this vacancy. The appointment will last until the next regularly scheduled district election in May 2012.

The absence of Director Harland Baker was unanimously excused. Attending the meeting were Directors Joyce Hartung and Greg Gent, Chief Vinny Burns, Assistant Chief Scott Ridings, and Administrative Assistant Cheryl Marshall.

The meeting returned to open session at 8:06 p.m.

Residential home sprinkler code update discussed

Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District Fire Marshal Curtis Kaufman gave an information update on the International Residential Code for fire sprinkler systems for residential homes that were approved 18 months ago. He said Pikes Peak Regional Building Department has chosen to adopt all aspects of this code update except for the requirement for sprinkler systems to be installed in all new residential homes that are now being constructed. Kaufman said a letter that was signed by all county fire departments that opposed the exemption for new residential home construction was sent to the Regional Building Department. Code adoption updates are on a three-year cycle.

Kaufman stated that new homes of 3,600 to 6,000 square feet in the wildland-urban interface area will be required to have a sprinkler system unless they have 45 feet of wildfire mitigation around the home’s perimeter. The standard "fire-wise mitigation" spacing required by the county is 30 feet. All houses that are 6,001 square feet or larger will be required to have a sprinkler system. The cost for the sprinkler systems that have been required over the past few years has ranged from $14,000 to $16,000.

Final approval of this amended North Group sprinkler code revision by the Board of County Commissioners is expected in April.

2011 monthly board meeting schedule approved

The board unanimously approved the required annual resolution that again set the standard date, time, and location for regular Westcott district board meetings as the fourth Wednesday of the month, at 7 p.m. in the Station 1 conference room, 15415 Gleneagle Drive. As before, for information regarding board meetings call 488-8680 or see www.wescottfire.org

2010 budget close-out items discussed

Marshall noted that actual expenditures for 2010 were about 85 percent of the total income budgeted and appropriated for the year. About $275,000 will be rolled over to the 2011 beginning district fund total. Bunker gear costing $9,000 was ordered in November but the gear and bill have not yet been delivered. About $13,600 in information technology equipment approved for 2010 has not been installed or billed either. These two 2010 items will reduce the net amount rolled over from 2010 to below $275,000. Marshall noted that the net district income from wildland fire support was about $12,000 for 2010, and revenue received for development of fire plans was about $3,000.

Peoples National Bank will be setting up a money market account to hold cash amounts in excess of $250,000 in the district’s checking account. This will reduce the total cost of transferring money from the district’s Colotrust account to Peoples Bank.

Note: Colotrust is the trade name for the Colorado Local Government Liquid Asset Trust, an investment trust that was established for use by all state special districts as a financially secure source of interest income for uncommitted reserve funds that would be free of conflicts of interest. See www.colotrust.com for more information.

Marshall confirmed that the 2011 Westcott budget had been filed with the state Department of Local Affairs.

Chief’s report

Burns reported that the changes in leadership roles resulting from the retirement of former Chief Jeff Edwards have been completed. Capt. Sean Pearson has been appointed training officer. Some of the other items Burns noted were:

  • The district’s volunteer firefighter pension board will be conducting a biennial actuarial study of the pension fund.
  • The door for the ladder truck bay has been enlarged.
  • Installation of new upgraded information technology equipment and software is nearing completion. Service support, response, and security have been excellent.

Pearson presented several summary report formats for 2010 that showed the new IT system’s report-generating capabilities. There were 120 calls in December for an annual total of 1,328.

Station 3 update

Burns reported that there may be a March ground-breaking ceremony for Station 3. Construction completion is expected in late December or January. Meetings with the contractor on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month will resume.

Black Forest Consolidation Committee

Campbell said that Black Forest Consolidation Committee meetings will be suspended until Black Forest Fire & Rescue Protection District can resolve its budget shortfall.

Potential budget issues discussed

Ridings informed the board that the staff is moving forward with the formal creation of a new part-time fire marshal position as budgeted for 2011. Firefighter-EMT Margo Hughes will fill this new part-time position.

Ridings proposed the purchase of a new vehicle for the assistant chief to replace the existing 1999 vehicle that was donated to the district by the Colorado Springs Police Department. The total cost for a four-wheel drive sport utility vehicle with special paint, auxiliary lighting, and radio equipment through the state police vehicle purchase program is about $50,000. The 1999 vehicle would be offered for donation to another state fire department. This proposed vehicle purchase is not part of the approved 2011 budget, but could be funded by the remaining amount rolled over from 2010.

Marshall also noted that the amount budgeted in 2011 for legal professional services may not be enough to cover emerging legal issues.

Burns suggested four other potential reallocations from the 2010 rollover of about $275,000:

  • Adding $50,000 of the rollover amount to the 2011 apparatus fund for the assistant chief vehicle
  • Adding $10,000 of the rollover amount to the 2011 legal fund
  • Adding $10,000 of the rollover amount to the 2011 district equipment fund for outfitting the new ladder and pumper trucks
  • Adding an unspecified amount of money to the personnel line for creation of three new firefighter positions at Station 3 at the end of 2011.

There was also a discussion of the need for a staffing model for setting larger payroll requirements starting in 2012. Hartung suggested hiring a CPA to help Marshall with evaluating options to meet these potential new additional financing requirements. Burns and Ridings said they would provide additional specific cost information at the next board meeting regarding these suggestions.

The board unanimously approved a motion to have the district’s attorney file a notice of appeal on a recent district court decision that approved a request that several properties at the south end of the district service area be "dis-included" from the Westcott district without fair and reasonable financial compensation for loss of revenue.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:26 p.m.

**********

The next board meeting will be at 7 p.m. on Feb. 23 at Station 1, 15415 Gleneagle Drive. Meetings are normally held on the fourth Wednesday of the month. Information: 488-8680.

Jim Kendrick can be reached at jimkendrick@ocn.me

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Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District, Jan. 26: Directors review 2010

By Bernard L. Minetti

The January meeting of the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District Board of Directors was marked by a review of the 2010 statistics generated by the various sections of the organization.

Treasurer John Hildebrandt said that the property tax revenue dedicated to the fire district had fallen short of the budgeted amount. The budgeted amount was $3,207,225, which was $10,430 more than received. Specific ownership taxes were $298,191 which was under budget by $22,898 for the year. Ambulance revenues were $558,119, which was 121 percent of the amount budgeted. The overage amounted to $98,119.

Hildebrandt said that the total 2010 annual revenue for the district was $4,094,234. This was 100.78 percent of the budgeted amount, which is an overage of $31,550. This was used to cover the deficit in the tax receipts. Total expenses exceeded the budgeted amount of $4,059,417 by $130,545, or 3.32 percent.

Representing Chief Robert Denboske was district training officer Lt. Mike Keough, who cited the training statistics for 2010. He advised that with the exception of the physical fitness statistics, the statistics covered the June through December period. The physical fitness tally covered the November through December time frame.

Keough stated there was a total of 298 class/training sessions. A total of 860.5 training hours were offered, while the training hours received amounted to 5,513 hours.

Administrative Assistant Jennifer Martin stated that in 2010, Fire Marshal Curtis Kauffman, had performed 61 plan reviews consisting of two commercial plans, 35 residential plans, and 24 plans in the "other" category. Kauffman had performed 211 building inspections in the Tri-Lakes area and 14 with the Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department. The Palmer Lake inspections covered the last quarter of 2010.

Denboske said that there were 2,051 total responses for 2010, down from 2,075 in 2009. The 2010 total call volume consisted of 287 fire/fire alarm, 504 traffic accidents, 1,005 medical responses, (without subsequent transportation) 156 citizen assists, 99 hazmat, and 812 transportation calls.

Martin gave a breakdown of senior safety services, citing 10 calls for smoke detector checks, two carbon monoxide detector checks, two senior safety checks, and five newsletter education items. The 2010 community education projects consisted of 21 station tours, 15 public education events, five car seat checks, and four community service calls.

Sprinkler education program

Continuing the board’s sprinkler education program, President Charlie Pocock read the third article into the record for media dissemination:

"Residential fire sprinklers or no sprinklers (third article)

In the first article, we discussed the National Fire Code and how it is used. In the second article we discussed the type of sprinkler system being proposed. This article will briefly discuss the nature of the risk as it applies to our Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District.

The reason for requiring residential fire sprinkler systems is to preserve and protect lives, the lives of residents and fire fighters. Colorado ranks eighth from the best in the number of fire deaths per million population. The District of Columbia is the worst with a rate of 39.2 and Mississippi is next with a rate 28.4. Hawaii is the best with a rate of 3.9, next is Rhode Island with 5.7. Colorado has 8.3 deaths per 1,000,000 people (NFPA data for 2007).

Now, if we say that half of the deaths are in residential fires and half in commercial structures, we could draw the conclusion that the 25,000 people in the Tri-Lakes region could expect one death due to a residential fire about every 10 years. However, looking back through our records for 20 years we cannot find a single case where fire was the cause of death. Why? The Home Builder’s Association would have us believe that we have a greater number of newer homes which are built to better fire and construction standards and our population is more inclined to maintain their homes, including the built-in safety equipment, in better condition. However, most new homes use some form of light-weight, engineered, trusses in their floors and roof construction and these are far less fire-tolerant than ‘legacy’ type construction. We would like to think our fire department is better, but the best we can average is 10 minutes from placing a 911 call to water on the fire, and a fully engulfed floor truss can burn through in 4.8 minutes compared to 24 minutes for legacy construction.

It is true that the chances of being killed in a residential fire are far less than the chances of being killed in an automobile, train or even an airplane accident, but are the added costs of fire sprinkler installation, and the future costs of maintenance, in new homes worth the added cost?"

Appearance Policy

The board discussed the district’s Appearance Policy for employees, for whenever they are "wearing any official fire department uniform," whether on-duty or off-duty. The policy specifies that hair "must be clean, groomed, and neatly trimmed so as not to present a ragged, bushy, unkempt, or eccentric appearance. Hair color must be consistent with the natural human hair spectrum. Hair must not obstruct an employee’s vision."

There were more hair specifics for men and women. The policy also details the length and style of sideburns, mustaches, and lip beards; prohibits beards and goatees; and addresses jewelry, earrings, and piercings.

**********

The next Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District Board meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 23, at the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District Administration Center at 166 Second St. in Monument. For further information regarding this meeting, contact Fire District Administrative Assistant Jennifer Martin at 719-484-0911.

Bernard Minetti may be contacted at bernardminetti@ocn.me

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Monument Board of Trustees, Jan. 18: Monument police assist DEA in crystal meth arrest

By Jim Kendrick

On Jan. 18, Police Chief Jake Shirk reported that Monument assisted the Drug Enforcement Agency in a local arrest that netted over six pounds of crystal meth and the seizure of over $100,000. Shirk also noted that the Monument Police Department is taking the lead on coordinating a response to criminal activity at several Front Range Home Depots. See Chief Shirk’s related letter to the editor on page 25.

The Monument Board of Trustees unanimously reappointed incumbent Planning Commissioners Glenda Smith, John Dick, and Becki Tooley to the Monument Planning Commission for terms ending in January 2013. These reappointments keep all seven seats on the commission filled.

The board also unanimously reappointed Public Works Director Rich Landreth and former Monument Mayor Betty Konarski as primary and alternate town representatives for 2011 to the now merged Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority and El Paso County Water Authority. The Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority was absorbed into El Paso County Water Authority. However, the merged organization has subsequently changed its name to Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority.

Trustee Gail Drumm did not attend the meeting.

Trustees’ comments

Trustee Rafael Dominguez asked about the status of new town code requirements for farmer’s markets. Town Manager Cathy Green said that "it’s a lot messier than we thought" and that she did not expect the code revision to be an agenda item for the Feb. 9 Planning Commission as previously planned. This code change had been continued at the Jan. 12 Planning Commission. Dominguez said that recently these events had evolved from a "farmer’s market to more of a flea market or yard sale."

Mayor Travis Easton asked Green to provide a status report on the success of the Historic Monument Merchant Association’s 3/50 campaign project at a future meeting. See monumentmerchants.com/350shoplocal.html for more information.

Easton also asked the staff to try to find a Monument resident who would volunteer to fill the vacant Town of Palmer Lake seat on the county Citizen’s Advisory Committee of the Pikes Peak Area Council of Government. Palmer Lake has been unable to fill the seat and offered it to Monument to fill.

Commissioner Dick advised the board about recent events at the Citizen’s Advisory Committee. Green and Tom Kassawara, director of Development Services, noted that many members of this committee are strong advocates of personal agendas, and that Dick was providing strong balanced representation for Monument.

Dominguez and Easton announced that Synthes would be adding some warehouse space in Colorado Springs. No Monument operations will be curtailed or relocated.

Willow Springs Ranch regional park update

Background

On Jan. 9, 2008, by a 4-2 vote, the Monument Planning Commission narrowly approved the serial annexation of two filings in the 259-acre Willow Springs Ranch development just west of the railroad tracks, between the Synthes plant and the west end of Baptist Road. Also approved were requests for town Planned Development zoning and the requested densities for a maximum of 450 houses in the sketch PD plan.

On Feb. 4, 2008, the Monument Board of Trustees approved the Willow Springs Ranch development annexation and rezoning by a 5-2 vote. The sketch plan was unanimously continued, however, due to concerns about the complexity and cost of extending Mitchell Avenue southward to connect to Baptist Road. Also, the available groundwater on the Willow Springs Ranch parcel is about 70 acre-feet less than the annual minimum supply requirement for 450 houses. While a "handshake agreement" had been made by the landowners to purchase the necessary additional water rights from the adjacent Forest Lakes Metropolitan District, no contract had been signed. See www.ocn.me/v8n3.htm#bot0204 for more details.

On Feb. 21, 2008, the Willow Springs Ranch development was included by a unanimous vote of the Monument Sanitation District board. A lift station is required to transport most of the domestic wastewater uphill to the adjacent Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility at the south end of Mitchell Avenue. Forest Lakes Metro District has no excess wastewater treatment capacity at Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility to provide to this project.

On March 3, 2008, the Monument Board of Trustees held a half-hour "town meeting" to hear the comments of adjacent county property owners on town plans to extend Mitchell Avenue from the current dead-end next to the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility to Baptist Road. The town preferred to connect Mitchell to Forest Lakes Drive, which was under construction, to save money. Members of the board and staff reiterated that the Mitchell Avenue extension was an entirely separate issue from the Willow Springs Ranch annexation ordinance that was also on the agenda. The town still has no funds available to pay for any of the proposed Mitchell Avenue extension options.

After a contentious 3 1/2-hour hearing, the Willow Springs Ranch sketch planned development site plan was approved by 5-2 vote with 10 conditions.

The landowners and developer never filed the board-approved annexations, the board-approved rezoning, or the board-approved sketch planned development site plan with the county.

Hillcrest Bank of Kansas financed the land purchase and has since foreclosed on the bankrupt landowners. Hillcrest was taken over by the Federal Deposit Insurers Corporation in October 2010. Integrity Bank financed the purchase of the Watt residences. Both banks are trying to sell their portions of the project.

Staff update

On Jan. 18, 2011, Kassawara said that Tim Wolken, director of the El Paso County Community Services Department, had met with him and his staff on Dec. 16, 2010, regarding development of a regional park on the Willow Springs Ranch property. Kassawara referenced a letter of Dec. 23 that Wolken had sent the town staff that further defined the possibilities in the county’s proposal to convert this parcel into a regional park. Wolken’s letter listed these proposed county improvements:

  • A passive open space with hiking trails
  • Active recreation facilities, including ball fields
  • A school site
  • A site for a county maintenance garage
  • Habitat preservation
  • Connection to existing trail systems
  • A visual buffer for I-25

Wolken’s letter asked the town to partner with the county to try to obtain all or some of the Willow Springs parcel at a reduced price. Hillcrest is listing the vacant land for $9 million. Wolken’s letter added that Integrity is offering the residences for $1.2 million. Wolken suggested applying jointly for Great Outdoors Colorado Legacy Grant and City of Colorado Springs Trails, Open Spaces, and Parks Committee funding. Kassawara told the county it could not offer any money but could offer in-kind services.

Kassawara added that representatives of the two banks also met separately with town staff to try to negotiate cancellation of the open space donation requirements in the board-approved sketch. The banks also asked the town to purchase the Watt homestead and the 15 acres that were to be donated to the town by the previous land owners as park space for about $650,000. The banks also wanted the town to remove the site plan requirement for the developer to donate $500,000 for purchase of land needed to extend Mitchell Avenue down the west side of the Willow Springs parcel. Several other board-approved conditions of approval for the sketch planned development site plan were also taken off the negotiating table by the banks.

The banks recently filed for a rezone of the property from RR-5 to conceptual planned urban development (PUD) and a replat with the county. Kassawara provided the county a six-page letter of concerns on Oct. 18 about the plan the banks proposed for a county residential development without most of the amenities that the developers had agreed to provide the town.

Some of the town’s concerns listed in Kassawara’s letter to Project Manager Tony Deconinck of El Paso County Development Services were:

  • The town did not receive copies of most of the supporting documents mentioned in the new developers’ letter of intent so these comments are to be considered incomplete by the county until the town staff can review them.
  • Monument is asking for the same commitments as those listed in the town’s approved PD site plan and annexation agreement.
  • The banks stated in their PUD proposal that this is the same plan proposed to Monument, but it is not the same because many commitments to the town on the approved PD sketch plan were removed.
  • There is inadequate infrastructure and insufficient commitments to support the density and number of units proposed in the PUD application to the county.
  • Provisions for potable water need to be determined. There is no commitment to provide water service by the Forest Lakes or Triview Metropolitan Districts, the only entities with planned future potable water service lines that are nearby this proposed development. The Town of Monument does not provide water outside the town’s boundaries.
  • The lack of facilities and services in the new PUD application that should be provided by the developer will place an undue burden on Monument facilities and services.
  • There is inadequate access and an inadequate road network.
  • There is no commitment to construct parks as the previous developers had agreed to do.
  • It is unclear that the parks are being dedicated to the county at no cost as the town required.
  • The town questions whether the county can provide adequate police service with prompt emergency response, which would add a burden to the Monument Police Department under a shared emergency response agreement, with no revenue or reimbursement to the town to pay for the additional service demands on the town’s police staff.
  • The proposal to complete development of Willow Springs without extending Mitchell Avenue south to Baptist Road as a minor arterial is inconsistent with chapter 6 of the Tri-Lakes Comprehensive Plan which calls for a connected, efficient, safe, aesthetically appealing, and environmentally sensitive transportation system as required in the town’s annexation agreements and PD site plan.
  • The amount of right-of-way being dedicated for Mitchell Avenue is only a small portion of the actual requirement. Although the previous developers agreed to share the costs of extending Mitchell Avenue, this proposal only offers a small amount of right-of-way if the county chooses to require such a donation.
  • The portions of Mitchell Avenue and internal roads that are addressed in the new PUD proposal are not within the town boundaries, so town participation in construction and maintenance will not occur, adding to the overall costs to the county compared to the previous developer’s proposal.
  • The Mitchell Road extension to Baptist Road is needed to provide for faster wildfire evacuations from the adjacent unincorporated areas.
  • The northern half of the proposed Willow Springs development would add to the traffic on Mitchell Avenue and worsen backups that occur at the Second Street intersection due to frequent passages of trains at the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad crossing.
  • The required new traffic study for the revised proposal must be forwarded to the town so that it can determine town traffic impacts that should be built by or cost shared with the new developers.
  • A town construction permit will be required of the new developer to connect development roadways to adjacent town roadways.
  • The proposed internal development emergency access route crosses the 100-year floodplain where bridges have been washed out in the recent past. This access route would also not be available during heavy snows as proposed. Easements for this emergency access route should be clearly shown on the PUD site plan and dedicated to the county prior to filing of the subdivision plat.
  • The commitment to comply with the town’s requirements for preservation of trees and avoidance of building on steep slopes on the portions of the development most visible to I-25 have been removed in the new PUD plan, making this plan inconsistent with the Tri-Lakes Comprehensive Plan.
  • The elementary school site to be provided to the Lewis-Palmer School District in the adjacent proposed Forest Lakes development has been deemed unworkable by D-38 because it is too narrow. The previous developers had agreed to the town’s requirement to pay $1,350 per - family home or $607,500 to D-38.

See www.ocn.me/v10n12.htm#bot1101 for more information on Kassawara’s letter.

During the Jan. 18 discussion, Dominguez asked how the county could consider obtaining another regional park "when they can’t even handle what they’ve got." Green and Kassawara listed several options for the county to obtain all the parcel or parts of the parcel in sequence while allowing development of other portions if the banks can find a buyer.

At the conclusion of the discussion on this wide-ranging informational agenda item, the board encouraged the town staff to tell the county, D-38, and Colorado Springs staffs that it will participate in discussions, but cannot make a financial commitment at this time.

Staff reports

Treasurer Pamela Smith reported that total general fund revenues are still close to the amount collected in 2009 through November, but total sales tax revenue is still less than in 2009. Final revenue totals for 2010 will be available in February. Expenditures have been trimmed to offset these slight reductions in revenue. The Discount Tires and Christian Brothers stores in Monument Marketplace will be opening soon.

Police Chief Jake Shirk reported that Lt. Steve Burk is working with local ministries to set up a local ministerial fund to help transients as they come through town. Shirk and Town Attorney Gary Shupp both reported that Municipal Court will now be held on Wednesday evenings, which should ameliorate parking issues at Town Hall.

Some of the highlights from Kassawara’s monthly activity report for Development Services were:

  • A land use permit was issued for the new location of Serranos Coffee Co. on the opposite side of Highway 105.
  • Two residential land use permits were issued in December, bringing the 2010 town total to 50, with 33 of these in Triview Metropolitan District.
  • The staff hopes to complete the unification of the town and Triview Metropolitan District code specifications.
  • The sub-area plan of the I-25 corridor plan is nearing completion and will then be presented to affected property owners.
  • The staff is continuing negotiations with adjacent landowner Sally Beck to obtain an easement for the Second Street Streetscape project.
  • The staff is obtaining information from property owners for an update of the town’s water demand analysis.
  • Kassawara is working with new Triview District Manager Mark Carmel on Preble’s mouse habitat 404 permit issues and their relationship to the Triview Parks Master Plan.

Rich Landreth reported that the original contractor for removal of police trailers on Washington Street has abandoned the project. The plan to purchase trees from Mountain Farmer has been abandoned due to the business’s current financial difficulties. The sewer line to the Navsys building on Woodcarver Road is completed, and plans have been approved for a fire hydrant for this building as well.

Green reported that she would be presenting three video seminars on new urbanism that town staff, trustees, and members of the local community may attend.

The board went into executive session to discuss personnel issues at 7:30 p.m.

**********

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

Jim Kendrick can be reached at jimkendrick@ocn.me

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Monument Planning Commission, Jan. 12: St. Peter Catholic Church school site plan amendment approved

By Jim Kendrick

On Jan. 12, the Monument Planning Commission unanimously approved a minor site plan amendment for the parochial school operated by St. Peter Catholic Church at 55 N. Jefferson St. This minor site plan amendment will allow the school to add the sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-grade classes in the new space created by the recent school building expansion.

The landowner, the Diocese of Colorado Springs, is not requesting any changes to the St. Peter buildings, grounds, parking lots, drives, or drop-off facilities or the current size of the school population of 150 students.

The other scheduled public hearing on the addition of Monument Code Section 5.52 regarding "Special Events, Farmer’s Markets, and Mobile Food Carts" was unanimously continued until the next Planning Commission meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 9 in Town Hall, 645 Beacon Lite Road.

The "out-of-town absences" of Commissioners David Gwisdalla, Glenda Smith, and Becky Tooley were excused.

Background

In 2007, the Monument Board of Trustees approved a "use by special review site plan" for a pre-K to fifth-grade school. The traffic study for that 2007 approval process was based on 150 students, while the water analysis showed there was sufficient water available for the church and up to 175 students. The design of the recently completed expansion of the school building provides physical space for up to 500 students.

Principal Planner Karen Griffith noted that the St. Peter School had about 90 students (in 2007) and would be back before the Planning Commission and Board of Trustees at a later time if the number of students were to exceed the current approved maximum of 150. The staff made no recommendation at this time because there was no planned increase above 150 students.

Public hearing

Brian Bucher of Bucher Design Studios, the St. Peter Church architect, stated that he is also a parishioner. He noted that the school started as pre-K, then pre-K through second grade, and now pre-K through fifth grade. Bucher noted the number of parents in attendance (about 25) to support the value to the community of this final expansion through eighth grade as a local school choice option. He said the original traffic study for a maximum of 150 students covered the period through 2027.

Mary Hoffman, principal, explained that the middle school classrooms are physically separated from the elementary school classrooms in response to a question from Commissioner Kathy Spence. Lunch times will also be separate for these two age groups, as well as arrival and departure locations for drop-off and pick-up. Hoffman said the school expects seven new sixth-grade students for the next academic year and will add seventh- and eighth-grade classes in subsequent years "growing from bottom up" as before.

Hoffman and Polly Goodwin of the Diocese of Colorado Springs stated that there are no plans for grades 9-12 at this location. Goodwin added that any new high school would be a regional high school at a different location to service a wider geographical area.

Father Don Brownstein said he took over this parish on July 1. This is the third church school he has been in charge of.

Several parents spoke in favor of the values and morals that are taught as part of the St. Peter curriculum and how happy they are to have a choice in the local community. The additional cost for sending their children to school will prevent rapid unplanned growth.

Benny Saucreda, an adjacent homeowner on First Street, asked for help in preventing erosion due to tire tracks that occur from church vehicle traffic during rain and snow storms. Griffith asked Saucreda for his phone number to provide a more detailed answer regarding short- and long-term stormwater drainage plans for this part of downtown Monument. She noted that there is no change in planned school traffic, only in the number of grades. Hoffman added that drop-off and pick-up occur on church property. Father Brownstein offered to check with the church’s maintenance staff on how they plow in the local area.

The commission unanimously approved the site plan amendment with a standard condition that any necessary technical corrections to the proposal will be made by the applicant and approved by the staff.

Assistant planner departing

Prior to adjournment at 7:20 p.m., Griffith announced that Assistant Planner Natalie Ebaugh would be resigning in June so that she and her son Parker can move to California to join Luke Ebaugh, who is attending dental school there. She started working in the Planning Department nine years ago, transitioning from summer part time to full time. Her father, Bob Schubert, is the streets foreman for the Public Works Department and has worked for Monument for 12 years.

Luke Ebaugh worked for over five years in Monument’s Public Works Department before resigning as parks supervisor this past summer to start dental school at Western University of Health Sciences’ College of Dental Medicine in Pomona. Luke is currently a "geographic bachelor" and lives with family members in Ontario, Calif.

Parker Ebaugh was born in June 2009 with a rare genetic eye condition called aniridia (no iris), and as a result of the aniridia, he also has glaucoma. He has had numerous surgeries to help control the glaucoma and repair a detached retina, in an attempt to save his partial vision. Money raised through donations to "Cops For Kids" at P.O. Box 725, Monument CO 80132, will be used to help fund future surgeries for Parker and fund research in the field. For more information and to support research, see www.visionfortomorrow.org. See www.ocn.me/v10n2.htm#parker and www.ocn.me/v10n7.htm#ebaugh for more details.

Jim Kendrick can be reached at jimkendrick@ocn.me

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Palmer Lake Town Council, Jan. 14: Council amends medical marijuana ordinance

By David Futey

On Jan. 14, the Palmer Lake Town Council voted 5-1 to amend its medical marijuana ordinance to allow an increased amount of marijuana cultivation at town medical marijuana centers.

The absence of Trustee Joe Polonsky was excused.

The council amended Ordinance 4-2010 to allow an increased amount of cultivation at medical marijuana centers. Originally, cultivation in a C2 zone was limited to 30 plants or 20 percent of floor space, whichever was less. The proposed change would amend the ordinance to reflect the on-site cultivation specifications allowed for in Colorado House Bill (HB) 1284, which is now state law. In Palmer Lake, the current ordinance also allows cultivation in M1 zones, and that would not change. HB 1284 requires that centers grow a minimum of 70 percent of their product on-site or at another location.

Trustee Bryan Jack spoke about the initial recommendation from the Planning Commission, which said cultivation should occur in the M1 zone and dispensaries should be located in the C2 zone. Jack said, "By and large, the ordinance followed the Planning Commission’s recommendations." Jack said he could not support this ordinance change now but might in the future. He said he believes, after talking with residents and neighbors in the area of the businesses, as well as reviewing HB 1284 and the ordinance, that it is too soon to adopt a change because not enough information about the situation has been collected. Jack also said "there were isolated incidents" at the centers.

Citizen comments precede council vote

Before voting on the ordinance change, the council listened to input from medical marijuana business owners and Palmer Lake citizens. The following is a summary of the public hearing comments.

Steve Fetterley of Palmer Lake Wellness Center initially responded to Jack’s statements. He said several residents in the area of his business are his patients. Fetterley also confirmed that the center did experience a break-in but the existing security is significant.

Regarding cultivation, Fetterley said he liked the safety of having everything self-contained, meaning not transporting the product from one location to another. He emphasized that the biggest risk is in the transportation from cultivation site to dispensary. He would like to do everything on-site as it is a safety issue for him. In the present situation, he has to contact authorities with his route information, time frame of the transport, and quantity of product being transported. Fetterley said this is a bigger risk than growing within one facility. He concluded by saying he would continue to operate by state law, growing 70 percent of his company’s own product, and within the town ordinance.

At different times in the discussion Trustees Dennis Stern and Nikki McDonald, along with Mayor John Cressman, brought up the risk involved with the transportation and the risk to citizens and neighbors of the facility who could be involved should an incident occur during transport.

Palmer Lake resident Sue Coons said she lives next door to the dispensary. She suggested that the council "does not look at it as a huge risk for us who live around the facility." Coons said 10 homes and 12 businesses "touch that property and the law does not state the 70 percent cultivation has to be on-site." She asked the council to "please restrict the cultivation in the light industrial areas to 20 percent."

Joe Pernarelli of the Wellness Center said there is a limit of growing 2,000 plants in HB 1284 and that you would need a 20,000-square-foot facility to grow that number of plants. Pernarelli talked about the security at the dispensary and said the break-in suspect was caught within 72 hours. He also stated that the suspect had been involved in other break-ins in the community. He also said the number of plants would not change the environment in the building and that they just want to grow enough to take care of their patients in Palmer Lake and the outlying area. Pernarelli also said the tax revenues from the utilities being used along with sales tax have helped the town.

Jack said he thought the original ordinance struck a balance and that the town had not eliminated the possibility to expand, perhaps not at the C2 zone but at another location. Jack said he "would allow this industry to thrive under 1284." But then he stated that "We have a mechanism to dispense and cultivate and I believe we have struck a balance."

Following Jack’s comments, Planning Commissioner Jenn Martin, who was in audience, asked the council to table the vote. Martin said she was "curious to see if there is an increase in crime" at the dispensaries. She went on to state that "there is no reason for us to conform to this decision. We do not want to bring any more bad people to town and I would like council to table it."

Steve Fetterley stated, "We are limited to how much product we have on-site based on our patient count. Whether our grow is on-site or another location, we will always have the same amount of product at the dispensary. The grow itself is not a target due to the 10-day window when it is matured."

Palmer Lake Glen resident Jim Evans said, "I am pro business, and pro freedom, and want to see them remain for jobs."

Greg Easton said, "Commercial Lane was a ghost town. However, since the wellness center arrived, we have had new tenants and been able to make maintenance repairs." He further stated that he "wants to have a viable business and keep the tenant in the building."

Cressman recommended voting on the ordinance. Stern made a motion to approve Ordinance 1-2011. Trustees McDonald, Stern, Max Stafford, and Gary Coleman voted for the ordinance amendment. Jack voted against it.

Business license approved

The council unanimously approved the new business license for Tri-Lakes Collision, which is located at 707 County Line Rd. and operated by William Ellison.

Committee reports

Cressman attended the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments meeting. He said a roundtable discussion occurred regarding medical marijuana, related zoning, and moratoriums. Cressman said the town operations are proceeding after the loss of Della Gray, "perhaps not emotionally but in a practical sense." Cressman complimented Deputy Town Clerk Tara Berreth for stepping in to assist with town office operations.

Parks, Recreation, and Economic Development Trustee Coleman said he had a good turnout for his Polar Express fundraiser for the Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department. Fire Chief Shana Ball thanked Coleman for his effort.

Related to parks, Jack said the Trails and Open Space Coalition is interested in approaching the county to put a sales tax initiative of 0.3 percent for trail maintenance on the ballot. Jack said the big recipients would be the county and Colorado Springs but smaller municipalities would "get something." Coalition leaders requested an opportunity to speak at an upcoming council meeting, and Jack indicated that the council would be receptive.

Jack reported that the Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department (PLVFD) responded to 326 calls during 2010. Department volunteers logged 16,094 hours. During December, the PLVFD participated in the Yule Log Hunt and Santa on Patrol. Department members are performing nightly shifts during the week from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 a.m., with 24-hour Saturday shifts. Shift leaders are Abby Vierling, Jeremiah Carpenter, and Steven Lodwig.

Police Trustee McDonald reported that the Palmer Lake Police Department responded to 156 calls for service and self-initiated activities during the year.

Water Trustee Stafford said the bid meeting for the Surface Water Treatment Plant occurred Dec. 23, and the bid process closed Jan 13. Stafford attended the meetings of the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority (PPRWA) and El Paso County Water Authority. The two water authorities are merging, with PPRWA as the name of the merged entity.

Stafford said Palmer Lake is one of 17 members of this newly formed authority. Previously the town paid membership dues of $6,000 to the El Paso County Water Authority and $4,000 to PPRWA, and is paying for the transit loss model, which measures how much water from the town’s water system reaches the Palmer Lake Sanitation District sanitary sewer system. Stafford produced an establishing contract for the newly formed water authority and said the annual cost of town membership for the newly formed authority would be $5,000. The council unanimously approved the new membership contract.

Stafford also said the sunset date for building the required emergency fund within the town’s water enterprise was Dec 31, 2010. Thus, town water bills should be reduced by $6.54 per month in January. Building the emergency fund was required by the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority as a condition for the authority’s low-interest loan for expansion of the town’s water treatment plant.

Roads Trustee Stern said the Highway User Tax Fund survey had been completed. The fund provides $80,000 to the town budget. Stern also noted that the Safe Routes to School project began in July and was completed and inspected by the Colorado Department of Transportation in September.

Water ordinance amended

The council unanimously approved an amendment to Ordinance 2-2011 amending the water ordinance requiring all buildings to pay the minimum monthly service fee, whether buildings are connected to the town water service or not, so long as water service is available for use to the property.

Street request approved

By unanimous decision with one abstention by Stafford, Nick Kapusta of 579 County Line Rd. was granted a vacation for half of Clarence Street. Town Attorney Larry Gaddis said an ordinance is required, but the council can approve the ordinance later.

Temporary accountant hired

The council unanimously approved the temporary hiring of accountant Linda Ousnamer.

The hiring must not exceed 60 days for full-time accounting services or $5,000, otherwise it would need to go out to bid. The maximum rate is $45 per hour.

Jack said the town has identified critical accounting issues. He said, "We have not closed out 2010 and are pretty much two months behind," with October the last full up-to-date month. He also said, "The mill levy has been certified and provided to the county but the budget has not been submitted to the state." Berreth said she would contact the state for an extension and determine the circumstances. Berreth thought the budget could be submitted to the state by the end of the month.

Jack said the Accounting and Auditing Committee identified the scope of accounting services needed in 2011 and that within a week a final version of requests for proposals (RFP) should be available.

Regarding auditing, Jack said they need to determine if there is an engagement letter with the current auditing firm for 2010. If so, that "will buy us a little time." He added that he does not think the RFP for auditing will be as complex.

Stern is meeting with Gaddis to determine the RFP for legal services. Berreth said Town Water Superintendent Steve Orcutt requested that the RFP for engineering be postponed until the water filtration plant is completed. Cressman said he would speak with Orcutt on the matter.

Nathan Liljestrand was introduced as the new Planning Commission member to replace Ken Trombley, who resigned.

**********

The next regular council meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Feb. 10 at Town Hall, 28 Valley Crescent. Information: www.ci.palmer-lake.co.us/index.shtml or call 481-2953.

David Futey can be reached at dfutey@ocn.me

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Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility Joint Use Committee, Jan. 11: Funding options for improvements discussed

By Jim Kendrick

On Jan. 11, Bob Orsatti of Frachetti Engineering presented to the Joint Use Committee the results of a study he had completed on grant funds that may be available for Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility improvements.

Monument Sanitation District Manager Mike Wicklund announced that the state Water Quality Control Commission rulemaking hearing on tighter nutrient standards for treated wastewater effluent had been delayed from June until March 2012 at the earliest.

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.

Woodmoor Director Barry Town attended as the alternate for Director Jim Whitelaw.

Grant options discussed

Orsatti said Tri-Lakes Facility Manager Bill Burks was interested in obtaining federal, state, county, or local funding assistance for three categories of projects:

  • Screen replacement in the facility headworks
  • Energy efficiency improvements and alternative energy source development
  • Plant security system upgrades

A total of 20 sources of grants were evaluated for eligibility, applicability, management burden, and likelihood of award to determine the "ones that really made the most sense." Orsatti concluded that seven sources were worthy of further pursuit.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) provides $10,000 planning and design grants. Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District would have to apply for the JUC since Monument and Palmer Lake have already received $10,000 grants for recent district projects.

CDPHE also gives four annual grants for small system training and technical assistance for $25,000.

The state Department of Local Affairs gives out energy and mineral impact grants that would require matching funds from the JUC or from other grants. This program is currently suspended due to state funding problems, but may resume in July.

Matching grants for low-pressure hydroelectric power generation are available up to $15,000. Effluent discharged from the facility to Monument Creek would be used to drive a water wheel to produce electricity.

Under a governor’s program, energy contractors conduct energy audits and are reimbursed based on facility savings.

Tri-State Generation is offering rebates on industrial equipment that lowers electrical energy demands. New blowers are about 25 percent more efficient than those originally installed at the Tri-Lakes facility. Rebates would partially offset acquisition and installation costs and new blowers would have lower operating costs. Similar savings can result from higher-efficiency lighting and heating ventilation and air conditioning equipment.

The state Water Quality Improvement Fund, operated by CDPHE, distributes the revenues from fines of state entities as grants of $10,000 to $15,000 each.

The award of Energy Star Label status by the EPA due to a facility’s energy efficiency improves a facility’s ranking when competing for other grant or low-interest loan program funding.

Orsatti asked the JUC to prioritize these project and financing options and recommend areas for further investigation.

Financial report

Burks reported that the unaudited final 2010 total expense and capital expenditures figure for the facility was $580,723. The total budgeted expense figure for 2010 was $694,524, for a savings of $113,801, or 16.4 percent. The JUC unanimously accepted the end-of-year interim financial statement from facility CPA Nolan Gookin.

District managers’ report

Wicklund reported that the Trails End development lift station was having freezing problems that were generating automatic pump alarms from the pumps running longer than eight minutes. District Managers Duane Hanson and Jessie Shaffer stated that Palmer Lake and Woodmoor had quiet months.

Plant manager’s report

Burks reviewed the results of monthly testing results for November. All removal rates were well above the required percentages. Burks also reported the semi-annual test results for heavy metals. Only a few heavy metals were detectable in the facility’s influent, and the removal rates for these few metals were also well above the required percentages.

Burks and Wicklund reported on an experiment they had conducted to quantitatively analyze the effect of a "standard dose" of copper sulfate (6 pounds) on Monument Sanitation District influent readings and on the facility’s effluent. These readings will be used as a reference to analyze high copper readings that occur from time to time in the wastewater from each of the three owner districts and will help better identify the source of future dumping of copper. All three districts have banned copper sulfate because it is ineffective as a treatment for tree roots in service lines as well as a likely cause of permit violations for the Tri-Lakes facility and potential fines from the state and/or EPA.

Colorado Wastewater Utility Council representative report

Wicklund reported that the Water Quality Control Commission had approved a request from the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority to delay the nutrients criteria rulemaking hearing that had been scheduled for June 13, 2011, until March 12, 2012. Jim Kendrick, Monument Sanitation District Operations, added details from this commission meeting and the other numerous water quality meetings he attends monthly in Denver and Colorado Springs as the representative for the Tri-Lakes region’s wastewater special districts.

The Water and Power Authority asked for the nutrients criteria hearing delay so that it could conduct a $400,000 cost-benefit study on the usefulness of attempting to increase removal of total phosphorus and total nitrogen by publicly owned treatment works. However, the authority subsequently asked the Water Quality Control Division to supervise the development of a request for proposals and then supervise the contractor selected to perform the study.

EPA policy calls for drastic reductions in the amount of these nutrients in discharged effluent from wastewater treatment facilities. The assumption behind this EPA policy is that reductions in these nutrients will reduce the amount of algal blooms that consume dissolved oxygen and harm the ecosystems in lakes and reservoirs.

The Water and Power Authority wants the study to estimate the increases in federal, state, and local funding that might be needed for full implementation of biological nutrient removal over time. It also wants an assessment of the priority of these kinds of projects over other projects that the authority is funding in its current intended use plan because the authority’s funding is limited. This request is identical to the Colorado Nutrient Coalition’s request made five months ago.

Kendrick noted that the EPA has no plans, much less any authority, to enforce changes in the amounts of these nutrients on agricultural lands, or from commercial cattle and swine feeding lots, that run off into state waters. There are no definitive studies or collections of data that show what the components of natural runoff, including nutrients, are from these and other non-point sources throughout Colorado.

The cost for installing additional treatment equipment at nearly every wastewater treatment facility in the state would likely double the capital investment and annual operating expenses of each at a minimum. At most, the amount of nutrients added to individual stream segments, reservoirs, and lakes is 20 percent, with most contributions being about 10 percent or less.

Kendrick and Wicklund noted that no operator or board member in the wastewater treatment industry wants to create or add to a pollution problem. Neither do professional operators or their board members want to invest amounts of new capital that are two to 10 times the present worth of existing treatment facilities for expansions that have little likelihood of making a measurable, much less substantially significant improvement in water quality. Under current EPA guidelines, residential sewer fees in this region would have to rise above $80 per month before EPA would start to consider appeals for regulatory relief from local wastewater districts. As with many growing government programs, there is no federal or state funding available to pay for these proposed mandated expansions.

Kendrick noted that the Colorado Nutrient Coalition and Colorado Wastewater Utility Council will continue to demand a scientific peer review of the tighter nutrient standards proposed by EPA and the Water Quality Control Division before making any firm plans for opposing unfunded mandates to add capital equipment and staff at treatment facilities for additional nutrient removal. Existing EPA regulations require this peer review and several state health departments have defeated similar EPA mandates in court because the EPA had not followed its own "sound science" regulations. The Colorado Municipal League has become active in this nutrient removal issue and is also protesting the very high costs that may be imposed.

Kendrick stated that the Colorado Nutrient Coalition is continuing to advocate a control regulation approach as a technology-based interim solution that will lead to about 80 percent of the nutrient removal currently being demanded by the EPA at only 2-10 percent of the total cost necessary to meet the EPA standard. Kendrick said this interim solution offers each treatment facility far more flexibility in tailoring a site-specific solution that is designed for local topography, weather, geology, and types of aquatic life. The Water Quality Control Commissioners were quite receptive to development of a cost-benefit methodology rather than the single numerical statewide standards advocated by the Standards Unit of the Water Quality Control Division’s Watershed Program. (See www.cdphe.state.co.us/wq/AboutDivision/OrgChart.pdf)

The Colorado Nutrient Coalition is also continuing to participate in lobbying of the state Legislature in partnership with the Colorado Water Congress to make elected representatives aware of what it considers arbitrary changes and deadlines being demanded by the EPA and the division’s Standards Unit despite the lack of data and science regarding the relationship between proposed tighter discharge permit standards and lake/reservoir ecosystem health.

Kendrick reported that Rich Muzzy of the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments (PPACG) received final approval from the Water Quality Control Commission on Jan. 10 for the update of this region’s 208 Plan for water quality management. The plan was forwarded to the governor’s office for final approval and signature.

Under this revised 208 Plan, PPACG identifies water quality issues and recommends future policies and technical strategies for all five of the watersheds and two drainage basins in the Pikes Peak region. The plan provides specific guidance on water quality goals and the associated social, economic, and environmental costs and benefits. PPACG also coordinates the review of site applications for the development of new wastewater treatment facilities, lift stations, and interceptors as well as modifications of existing wastewater treatment plants.

The 208 Plan was developed by PPACG with the assistance of PPACG’s Water Quality Management Committee (WQMC). The WQMC consists of representatives of special districts and local military installations who are involved with water quality management, along with local governments in El Paso, Teller and Park Counties. Through monthly meetings, members reviewed and made recommendations regarding information to be incorporated into the 208 Plan. The last 208 Plan revision was completed in 2003.

Kendrick reported that the Denver Regional Council of Governments formally withdrew from participation in all aspects of water quality management and planning at the Jan. 10 Water Quality Control Commission meeting.

Wicklund asked the representatives of the Palmer Lakes and Woodmoor districts to request that their boards contribute to the cost of Kendrick’s attendance at Denver meetings.

The meeting adjourned at 11:58 a.m.

**********

The next meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on Feb. 8 at the Tri-Lakes facility lab building, 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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Donala Water and Sanitation District, Jan. 25: District nears agreement with those opposing use of Willow Creek Ranch water

Below (L to R): Donala President Tim Murphy congratulates Thom Waite on being named employee of the quarter. Photo by John Heiser.

By John Heiser

At the monthly meeting of the Donala Water and Sanitation District Board of Directors Jan. 25, the board received a progress report from Rick Fendel, the district’s water attorney, on the negotiations with those who oppose the district’s proposed change from irrigation to municipal use for water from Willow Creek Ranch.

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. If the water court approves the conversion, this source would cover about 20 percent of Donala’s current demand.

Donala General Manager Dana Duthie said they hope to reach agreement with all the opposing parties prior to the Mar. 8 scheduled water court date. Currently, Duthie is anticipating that the district will obtain rights to about 285 acre-feet per year. An acre-foot is 326,851 gallons. If that is the final figure approved by the water court then, under the terms of the ranch purchase agreement, the district will be obligated to pay Ronald Strich, the former owner of the ranch, about $415,000.

One of the more difficult parts of the negotiation has been with the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District. Duthie said the conditions in that agreement may push Donala to join the Southeastern district.

Water reclamation study status presented to the district’s citizens advisory committee

Duthie reported that on Jan. 20, the district presented to the district’s citizens advisory committee (CAC) an update on the year-long $220,000 Donala Expanded Water Supply Study (DEWSS). Each year, hundreds of millions of gallons are being discharged into Monument Creek by the wastewater treatment plant. The project is considering ways that water could be captured, extensively treated, and mixed in with the district’s water supply.

Part of the presentation to the CAC was about Aurora’s Prairie Waters, which is a large water reclamation project that is scheduled for completion by 2012. It will reportedly increase that city’s water supply by roughly 3.3 billion gallons annually. There is information on that project at www.prairiewaters.org

The DEWSS study team includes Roger Sams from GMS, Katie Fendel and David Takeda from Leonard Rice Engineers, and Floyd Ciruli from Ciruli Associates, a polling and public relations firm.

In a memo to the Donala board, Sams reported that the state Water Quality Control Division rejected the district’s grant request that would have covered part of the cost of the study; however, he noted that some funding for the study and possible implementation could come from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR). The board unanimously approved a resolution to pursue the USBR grant funding.

The DEWSS schedule calls for preliminary findings to be published in July 2011 and the final report to be published in September 2011. Preliminary design would be completed in November 2011. Community meetings to discuss the project are planned for May and September 2011.

Arapahoe aquifer injection test underway

Duthie reported that initial pumping of water at 250 gallons per minute into one of the district’s Arapahoe aquifer wells produced a rise in the level of water in the well of up to 300 feet. No significant rise was measured in the neighboring Arapahoe aquifer wells; however, some rise was measured in one of the nearby Denver aquifer wells. The plan is to increase the pumping rate to 400 gallons per minute for about a month and monitor the results. The intention of the tests is to determine the practicality of pumping water into the Arapahoe aquifer for recovery later during periods of higher demand.

Other matters

  • Thom Waite was named the employee of the quarter for the fourth quarter of 2010 for his work in maintaining the wastewater treatment plant. Waite has worked for the district since January 1995.
  • During the three months from Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, the district’s $3.77 million in investments managed by Davidson Fixed Income Management showed a yield of 0.39 percent, achieving a goal of beating the Colotrust Plus fund, which yielded 0.09 percent during the same period. The weighted average maturity of the district’s investments is 7.6 months.
  • Duthie reported on the meetings of the El Paso County Water Authority. An EPCWA article is planned for the March issue of OCN.
  • The district will be holding a Landscape Expo on Feb. 26, 1-3 p.m. at Antelope Trails Elementary School. There will be presentations on xeriscape, efficient irrigation, and lawn care. There will be a variety of displays and door prizes.

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

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The Donala board will hold its next regular meeting on Feb. 17 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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Monument Sanitation District, Jan. 20: Final state audit completed for Wakonda Hills project

By Jim Kendrick

On Jan. 20, District Manager Mike Wicklund advised the Monument Sanitation District Board that the state audit team from the Water Quality Control Division of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment had conducted its final audit of the second phase of the district’s installation of a new collection system in the Wakonda Hills development. As with previous American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) audits, no discrepancies were found in the district’s management of the project.

The bulk of the Wakonda Hills collection line project was financed by a forgivable $2 million ARRA "stimulus" loan. The Water Quality Control Division administered the EPA’s ARRA program in Colorado. Wicklund noted that an EPA inspector general team may conduct its own audit of the use of ARRA funds by the district at some point, but no inspection has been announced to date.

All Wakonda Hills construction by contractor Brannan Construction Co. and its subcontractors has been completed with the exception of some reseeding landscaping that will not be completed until after the spring thaw.

Wicklund also noted that all construction by T. Lowell Construction Co. at the two new Wakonda Hills lift stations has also been completed. These lift stations were financed from the district’s capital reserves because formal state approval could not be completed before the ARRA project submission deadline for "shovel ready" projects. Some trees remain to be installed near the lift stations in the spring. New rails to raise and lower the pumps in each wet well were installed as planned after this meeting.

Wicklund reported that the district had received a tap fee in December for the additional fixture units that Serranos Coffee Co. is installing in its new location in the bank building next to Vitamin Cottage.

Total disbursements for the period Dec. 17 through Jan. 20 were $259,522. Total cash assets were $196,111. Some of the larger payments Wicklund noted were:

  • $22,845 of ARRA funding to Brannon Construction Co. for the final Wakonda Hills construction payment
  • $5,181 of ARRA funding to GMS Inc. for engineering services
  • $12,162 of district funding to GMS Inc. for engineering services
  • $149,419 of district funding to T. Lowell Construction Inc. for construction of the Wakonda Hills lift stations
  • $14,925 to the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility—about $6,000 higher than normal due to the district’s share of the facility’s annual liability insurance payment
  • $7,985 to CO Special District Property and Liability Pool for 2011 liability insurance
  • $1,792 to CO Special District Worker Compensation for 2011 insurance

Wicklund added that the total cost of the ARRA project ran a little more than $1,000 above the $2 million ARRA forgivable loan. The district had set aside only a 5 percent contingency instead of the more typical 10 percent. The $1,000 overrun was caused by longer than expected winter weather delays, which required more on-site construction monitoring than planned by GMS. This monitoring was a condition imposed by the EPA for the ARRA loan.

Wicklund and Jim Kendrick, Operations, summarized the discussions at the Joint Use Committee meeting. See the JUC article on page 19 for details of this meeting.

Kendrick reported on new developments since Jan. 11. Two Water Quality Control Division program directors, Dave Akers (Water Pollution Control) and Dick Parachini (Watersheds), will draft the request for proposals for a $400,000 cost-benefit study to be paid for by the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority prior to setting new tighter discharge permit standards for total phosphorus and total nitrogen in wastewater treatment facility effluent.

Kendrick reported that the cost to Centennial Water and Sanitation District last month for a 2010 engineering design alternatives study was about $60,000. The proposed cost from Carollo Engineering for adding new capital equipment to treat wastewater in Highlands Ranch to be able to meet discharge permit limits of 1 part per million for total phosphorus and 10 parts per million for total nitrogen was $60 million.

Wicklund noted that he had asked environmental attorney Tad Foster to research Gov. John Hickenlooper’s executive order prohibiting unfunded mandates for state government entities like special districts to determine if the state would be required to pay for new capital equipment construction and operation for nutrient removal if the state’s Water Quality Control Division tightens nutrient standards. This executive order does not affect federal unfunded mandates.

Kendrick noted that Akers had reported at the Water Quality Forum on Jan. 18 that the permits section of the Water Quality Control Division will most likely continue to fall further and further behind on the number of overdue discharge permit renewals. Currently five-year discharge permit renewals are three years overdue. With the additional workload of establishing new nutrient limits, Andrew Neuhart of the Assessment-Based Permitting Unit said he expects that over the next three years, permit renewals will likely fall five years behind.

Wicklund reported that the Upper Monument Water Quality Management Association had again donated $900 to help pay for Kendrick’s representation in Denver and that he expected contributions again from Palmer Lake Sanitation District and Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District.

The board unanimously approved every 2011 letter of engagement for the district’s various consultants. All these new letters of engagement renewed existing relationships

The meeting adjourned at 8:08 p.m.

**********

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

Jim Kendrick can be reached at jimkendrick@ocn.me

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Academy Water and Sanitation District, Feb. 2: Board approves engineering study on wastewater options

By Susan Hindman

The Academy Water and Sanitation District board took another step in addressing upcoming compliance issues involving its wastewater system by approving documents that give GMS Engineering the go-ahead to do an engineering study.

Both of the documents, presented at the Feb. 2 meeting, relate to GMS "trying to come up with some thoughts about what the future might look like, what are some alternatives, moving forward, for what we think are going to be increased treatment requirements for wastewater utilities discharging to streams," said Roger Sams of GMS. The study would result in a report that could be used to support future funding requests.

The amount of ammonia allowed in the treated effluent that leaves the district’s lagoons and enters the creek will change at the end of 2012, and there is "no way" the current lagoon system will be able to meet the new state-mandated criteria, said Anthony Pastorello, district operator. Sams said he is "not very optimistic" that the state will renew the district’s Waste Water Treatment Facility discharge permit this year, so the district will need to work with the state toward a solution.

Other nutrient regulations, covering phosphorus, nitrogen, and chlorophyll, to be imposed by the Colorado Water Quality Control Division will follow sometime in the near future and could be equally unattainable by the current lagoon system. (For more information on nutrient regulations, see the Joint Use Committee article on page 19.)

Sams says there are three alternatives, which were presented last year: to build a new treatment facility (which would cost several million dollars), to connect with Colorado Springs Utilities’ lines, or to connect with Donala Water and Sanitation District’s lines.

One of the documents was an application for preloan assistance from the state, which would fund engineering services (and are contingent upon the approval of the district’s lawyer, who was not present). Sams said he thought the likelihood of getting funding was good. The other document signed was a professional services agreement with GMS to do the study, which would cost $24,500.

Analyzing the money flow

Treasurer Walter Reiss did an analysis of water production cost versus revenue. Water costs an average of $12,959 a month to produce, while the district takes in $10,264 in water rate charges, so there is a shortfall of almost $2,700. However, $6,000 a month comes in from the water service fee (most of which is set aside for repair and maintenance), "so we’re covered from that standpoint."

Broken down further, it costs $7.74 to produce 1,000 gallons of usable water, but the district receives an average of $7 per 1,000 gallons, "so it costs us 74 cents more, per 1,000 gallons, than we’re receiving," Reiss said. Residents are using a little less than 5,000 gallons per month, he said, adding that if residents used 6,000 gallons, the district would break even. Bottom line is, he said, "We’re close to the right water rates and service charges."

While the water and sewer side split most costs 50-50, the sewer side has higher electrical and gas costs and incurs all the engineering expenses.

Reiss reported a total revenue increase of around $11,000 at the end of December 2010. But Director James Weilbrenner commented that once the monies are apportioned to where they are needed, "We’re not making any money" and "not setting anything aside for the future," other than for short-term and required improvements. That includes saving for a new treatment facility. To do that, said board President Richard DuPont, the district would have to go to the community for a vote to increase rates.

Protecting the water supply

Weilbrenner gave an update on the Source Water Protection Plan—a program for public water systems that looks at the land use surrounding the water supply and the potential problems that could cause contamination. He has been working to finalize the plan and said his goal is to give the steering committee a draft of the plan at its next meeting (Feb. 24), so they can discuss it. Eventually, public meetings will be held to introduce and discuss the plan.

To join or not?

Weilbrenner asked Sams for his opinion about spending $1,300 to join the El Paso County Water Authority. Sams said that because Academy’s water supply comes from two sources, the Denver Basin and the Smith Creek Alluveum, he felt the supply was sufficient enough that Academy did not need to join the group, which is working to secure more water supplies. He suggested that the district stay in touch with the water authority.

**********

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 March 3.

Susan Hindman can be reached at susanhindman@ocn.me

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Woodmoor Improvement Association Board of Directors, Jan. 26: Board approves vehicle purchase, plans annual membership meeting

By Harriet Halbig

At its Jan. 26 meeting, the Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA) Board of Directors approved the purchase of a new Jeep Liberty for the use of Woodmoor Public Safety (WPS). WPS Chief Kevin Nielsen reported that WPS’s 2006 Jeep posted on Craigslist is still for sale and he obtained a bid at fleet rates for a new vehicle. He said that the cost of equipping the new vehicle with a tow package, light bar and communications equipment and adding WPS decals will still bring its cost to $19,089, far less than the suggested retail price of $26,200.

The annual membership meeting of WIA was scheduled for Jan. 31 at Lewis Palmer Elementary School.

Vice President Jim Hale reported that the League of Women Voters has received many ballots for the WIA board election at the association’s post office box. After initially declining to serve in this capacity, the League assigned an alternate individual to lead the effort to assist in counting and verifying the ballots. President Chuck Maher stressed that the number of ballots must be equal to a quorum for the election to be valid. Hale said that he will ask the League of Women Voters to keep a count of ballots received.

The board discussed the agenda of the membership meeting, including information on the revision of governing documents for the association. This is an ongoing process, and varying percentages of the membership must approve changes in such documents as the bylaws, articles of incorporation, rules and regulations, and covenants. Voting is done separately from the board election. Maher said that he plans to make the approval process simple by allowing members to vote over 60 days or so.

Election of three members of the board will also take place around the annual meeting. Candidates will be allowed to make a statement at the meeting and residents who have not voted by mail may vote at the meeting. The ballots will be counted the following day, on Feb. 1, and the board will hold a reorganization meeting on the evening of Feb. 2 to determine the duties of each member of the new board.

At its December meeting, the board voted to continue the membership of all previous committees into 2011.

There was light activity in the Architectural Control and Covenants areas.

Forestry Liaison Carolyn Streit-Carey reported that two chipping days will be held in 2011 and that there will be a Firewise Community Day on May 7 from 10 a.m. to noon at the fire station on Woodmoor Drive. Representatives of the Fire Department and Sheriff’s Office will offer fire safety and evacuation tips. The event will be promoted on the association’s website and in its newsletters.

Director of Common Areas W. Lee Murray reported continued communication from Qwest Communications to lay fiber-optic cable under the median of Fairplay from Higby Road to Caribou. Qwest is offering $1 per foot of access to the association, for a total of about $3,200. Qwest declined to send a representative to the meeting.

Maher and the board said that they wished Qwest to present its plans at a future meeting of the board. He said that members of the association had requested a trail through the Fairplay median, but county officials rejected the idea because a crosswalk would be required wherever the trail crossed a county road, and there is no funding for such improvements.

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

Harriet Halbig can be reached at harriethalbig@ocn.me

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Woodmoor Improvement Association Annual Membership Meeting, Jan. 31: New board members to be named

Below: Maggie Nealon, left, is presented with the Vincent Elorie Award by board President Chuck Maher. Photo by Harriet Halbig.

By Harriet Halbig

Woodmoor Improvement Association’s (WIA) Annual Membership Meeting was held at the association’s Barn on Jan. 31.

Due to proxies received by mail, a quorum was represented for the election of three members of the Board of Directors. Ballots will be counted on Thursday, Feb. 3, by the League of Women Voters and representatives of WIA. A board reorganization meeting will be held shortly thereafter to determine the responsibilities of each member.

Members of the board reported on activities of 2010 and goals for 2011. Among these were:

  • The association’s spending was 98.8 percent of the budget for 2010. Revenues were 105 percent of the budget due to receipt of fines and legal fees.
  • Woodmoor has the lowest crime rate in unincorporated El Paso County according to the Sheriff’s Office, with only one burglary in 2010. Vandalism is the primary problem, with 87 incidents.
  • The new Board of Directors, elected last year, has strived to hold as few executive sessions as possible and make information openly available via the WIA website, Woodmoor.org.
  • WIA has upgraded its computer system in the last year to make all equipment compatible.
  • Signs have been repaired and replaced in the common areas, mowing has been improved, and the association will address noxious weed control in the coming year.
  • The Forestry Committee has re-entered membership in the Firewise program, receiving $37,500 in grants for fire mitigation activities by the association and individual residents.
  • The Architectural Control Committee considered almost 250 projects in 2010.
  • The Covenants Committee considered 492 violations in 2010.

Board President Chuck Maher presented the Vincent Elorie Award for Outstanding Citizen of Woodmoor to Maggie Nealon for her volunteer participation in the office and general contributions to association special events and administration. Elorie was a WIA employee in public safety from 1978-95.

Maher explained the recent revisions in the governing documents of the association and said that the originals and revised versions were available on the association’s website. Hard copies were also available at the meeting. He said that if residents wished to hold meetings to discuss the changes, he would be willing to do so.

Much of the wording in the documents has not been revised since the 1970s, when there were several classes of ownership. In addition, some changes require a simple majority vote of owners, while others require 75 percent. The revisions will make a two-thirds vote required for all revisions, in keeping with state law. A committee reviewed the documents over the past year and a half and the board finalized the changes in the last month.

Maher said that residents will be asked to vote by March 31 to approve the documents.

During the comment section of the meeting, the board was commended for reinstating Firewise and for holding a calm and civil meeting.

**********

The membership of WIA holds its annual meeting on the final Monday of January each year.

Harriet Halbig can be reached at harriethalbig@ocn.me

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January Weather Wrap

By Bill Kappel

January started off a little cooler than normal, with typically dry conditions. Several strong cold fronts brought brief periods of very cold air to the region, interspersed with numerous sunny, quiet days.

Temperatures started well below zero on the first day of the year, with morning lows on New Year’s Day in the teens below zero. Temperatures did manage to warm to above freezing late on the 2nd and continued in the mid-30s through the 4th. Sunny skies and dry weather also greeted the region for the first week of the month.

After a frigid start to the month, seasonal to above normal conditions moved back in during the first full week of the month, as highs jumped into the 40s from the 5th through the 7th, even touching 50° F on the 8th. However, just as the temperatures peaked on the 8th, very cold air was getting ready to move back in. The high temperature on the 9th was reached at midnight as temperatures steadily fell throughout the day. Light snow developed as well and continued off and on through the evening. Most areas received 2-4 inches of new snow, normally not a big deal but compared to this winter’s lackluster snow amounts, it was nice to get enough to measure.

Another shot of very cold air started off the week of the 10th as highs struggled to reach the single digits above zero on Monday after starting in the teens and single digits below zero. Some fresh snow on the ground helped to enhance the cold air as well. A slow warming trend moved in over the next couple of days, as high temperatures climbed to the upper teens and low 20s on the 11th after again starting well below zero.

High temperatures finally pushed above freezing on the 12th as the Arctic air mass slid off to the east and away from the Palmer Divide. The remainder of the week was dry, with seasonal conditions, as afternoon highs jumped back to the 40s.

Temperatures stayed close to seasonal levels during the week of the 17th, with a brief intrusion of Arctic air dropping temperatures briefly below zero on the 20th. The warmest day of the week was Monday the 17th, when highs reached into the upper 40s as gusty west/southwest winds kept things mild and breezy through the afternoon hours. This was ahead of a storm system moving out of the Pacific Northwest and into the northern and central Rockies. As had been the case most of the winter so far, the moisture with this storm hit the mountains hard, with only a glancing blow for the Front Range.

A powerful shot of cold air did race down the Front Range during the afternoon of the 19th, with snow and blowing snow quickly filling in. This made for a messy commute, but all the action was over by later in the evening. This left behind about an inch of snow and a lot of cold air. Temperatures plummeted below zero by the morning of the 20th and didn’t reach much above 20° F during the next afternoon. This air mass moved out of the region quickly, replaced by sunny skies and quiet weather for the next few days.

Two more quick-moving cold fronts brought brief shots of snow and cold temperatures early Saturday and overnight Sunday into Monday morning. However, between the two storms we didn’t even manage to squeeze out an inch of new snow.

The last week of the month started off cool with a little snow as highs failed to reach 30° on the 24th. Temperatures remained at seasonal levels over the next couple days, before high pressure out of the southwest moved in over the area. This brought mild weather with it, and we managed to touch 60° F for the only time during the month on the afternoon of the 28th.

These mild conditions were ahead of the coldest air to hit the region in over 10 years. This first edge of this very cold air moved into the area during the morning of the 31st with light snow and blowing snow. Temperatures continued to drop during the day, reaching below zero during the early evening as the month came to an end.

A look ahead

February is often a dry and cold month in the region as we move toward the snowy and unsettled conditions of March and April. Precipitation averages less than an inch, with average high temperatures in the 30s. It can get very cold in February, with Arctic air making strong pushes into the region. However, days begin to get a little longer, which leads to some nice, sunny days and snow melts faster. For a complete look at monthly climate summaries for the region, please visit www.thekappels.com/ClimateSummary.htm

January 2010 Weather Statistics

Average High 39.2° (-1.1°) 100-year return frequency value max 48.4° min 30.8°
Average Low 9.4° (-3.3) 100-year return frequency value max 26.6° min 6.6°
Highest Temperature 60° on the 28th 
Lowest Temperature -14° on the 1st
Monthly Precipitation 0.42" (-0.37" 47% below normal) 100-year return frequency value max 1.56" min 0.01"
Monthly Snowfall 8.5" (-5.9", 41% below normal) 
Season to Date Snow 25.1" (-40.0", 59% below normal) (the snow season is from July 1 to June 30)
Season to Date Precip. 7.18" (-5.56", 44% below normal) (the precip season is from July 1 to June 30)
Heating Degree Days 1263 (+80) 
Cooling Degree Days 0

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

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

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Top weather events of 2010

By Bill Kappel

Warm and dry fall

Temperatures average more than 5° F above normal from September through November. This was combined with very few days of precipitation. Only a trace of snow was recorded in October, with September being even drier. For the entire month, only one day recorded measurable precipitation. This is about as dry as it will ever be in September.

Below average precipitation for the year

With an exceedingly dry fall and dry start to the year, we only manage a little over 16 inches of precipitation for the year, well below our normal of 22 inches. Further, snowfall for the calendar year barely reached over 100 inches, our lowest calendar year total in the last nine years.

Cold and snow during late winter

Temperatures average as much as 6° F below normal during February and stayed cold in March. Temperatures tumbled well below zero on several mornings, and snow fell on 14 days during February and 13 days during March.

Heavy snow ends April

After a quiet start to our snowiest month, things changed quickly during the last two weeks of April. Heavy snow fell on the 23rd and 24th with 20-30 inches accumulating in several areas around the region.

Cold end to the year

After having dry and mild weather through the fall and start of the winter, a strong Arctic blast of air and snow moved through the region just before the New Year. Temperatures quickly fell below zero on the evening of Dec. 30 and barely made it above zero the next afternoon. Several inches of snow fell, giving us a little hope of a snowier and cold start to 2011.

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

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.

Click here for letter guidelines.

Defending Monument police

A letter to the editor ran in The Tribune on Jan. 12 titled "Monument’s police force excessive?" The context was that the Police Department is overstaffed and that "Maybe it is time for some budget saving."

According to Monument Town Manager Cathy Green, the town’s population is 6,000 to 7,000. Information obtained from Dave Vanness of the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce states that the Tri-Lakes area supports approximately 41,000 residents. The town also supports a large number of commercial establishments, which draw a good number of nonresidents into our town on a daily basis, to visit and shop. This number is enhanced by easy access for those traveling on the interstate.

The Monument Police Department consists of 13 full-time police officers. These officers, including myself, provide 24-hour protection seven days a week. This coverage not only serves the Town of Monument but also provides assistance to the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office and the Palmer Lake Police Department in keeping the residents of the Tri-lakes area safe.

In addition to standard law enforcement patrol and response, the Monument Police Department also provides the following services and programs to our community: a state-trained commercial vehicle officer to deal with the high volume of big rigs driving on our roadways; a tactical team to assist in high-risk incidents; a community resource officer dedicated to youths, seniors, businesses, and the community in general; home safety inspections; Citizen Emergency Response Training (CERT); bicycle safety programs; enhanced child abuse and child neglect investigations; aggressive illegal drug enforcement; a reserve unit; and more. Please check out our website for additional information, www.monumentpd.org

I am a firm believer that you get what you pay for. I would personally like to invite any interested Tri-Lakes area resident to join our next Citizen Police Academy in April to learn firsthand about the Monument Police Department and how we serve and protect our community.

Thank you,

Jake Shirk, chief of police
Monument Police Department

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Between The Covers at the Covered Treasures Bookstore: February: A lovely month

By the staff at Covered Treasures

This is the time to celebrate love in all its forms—love of spouse, children, friends, country, pets, or even hobbies. Here are some books to get you in the mood.

Life with Maxie
By Diane Rehm (Gibbs Smith) $12.99

Radio journalist Diane Rehm gives readers an inside look at her life through the story of Maxie, her longhaired Chihuahua. Illustrated with photos of Diane and her dog, the book tells how Maxie’s presence and sweet personality have profoundly impacted Diane’s life. Pet lovers everywhere will enjoy this heartwarming story.

George Washington’s Great Gamble
By James L. Nelson (McGraw Hill) $26.95

The Battle of the Virginia Capes, the 1781 sea battle that won the American Revolution, came at a time when morale in the Continental Army was low, recruitment nearly impossible, and desertion high. In a fascinating narrative, Nelson describes Washington’s gamble that the French Navy would come through this time. After half a decade of seemingly futile struggle, all the elements of victory fell into place around Gen. Washington for a brief, shining moment that changed history.

Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters
By Barack Obama (Alfred A. Knopf) $17.99

This beautiful book celebrates the potential within each of us to pursue our dreams. It highlights the characteristics that unite all Americans, from our nation’s founders to the generations to come. Stunning illustrations by award-winning artist Loren Long capture the personalities and achievements of 13 groundbreaking Americans, making this a treasure to cherish with your family.

Gotta Love Cats!
By Fran Pennock Shaw (Barron’s) $9.99

Turn one page and smile … turn another and giggle … turn still another and you’ll laugh out loud at big cats and little kittens doing all kinds of silly things. The photos are as unusual as they are funny—and the captions sum up those feline attitudes that cat lovers find so adorable.

Colorado Hut to Hut Volume 2
By Brian Litz (Westcliffe) $19.95

If your great love is cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or mountain biking, Hut to Hut is the perfect reference. Volume 1 covers the network of huts and hut tours in the state’s northern and central regions, while this one highlights the southern region. The guide contains: 34 huts, cabins and yurts; 48 hut tours; 32 maps; and 90 color photos. Whether you’re an aspiring or a seasoned Colorado hut traveler, this book’s for you.

The Creation of Eve
By Lynn Cullen (G. P. Putnam’s Sons) $25.95

This riveting novel is based on the true but little-known story of the first renowned female artist of the Renaissance, Sofonisba Anguissola. In 1559, she was given the honor of learning from the Maestro himself, but she is forced to flee after a scandal involving one of Michelangelo’s students. She then becomes a lady-in-waiting and painting instructor to the young bride of the fearsome King Felipe II of Spain. This is a fascinating read, whether you’re an art lover, a history buff, or someone who loves a page-turner.

The Family Dinner: Great ways to connect with your kids, one meal at a time
By Laurie David with recipes by Kirstin Uhrenholdt (Grand Central Life & Style) $29.99

The Family Dinner is a practical, inspirational, fun, "green" guide to the most important hour in any parent’s day. It includes over 75 kid-approved recipes; tips on teaching "green" values, conversation starters, games to play at the table, ways to express gratitude, and much more.

You’re Lovable to Me
By Kat Yeh (Random House) $15.99

After a day of high jinks and high drama, six little bunnies wonder how their Mama Bunny could possibly still love them. She gives them the same answer that her own Papa Bunny offers her later that night—an answer that will help little bunnies everywhere sleep just a wee bit easier. A simple message of unconditional love lights up this book for readers, young and old.

Warm your heart during these cold winter days by spending time with a loved one, laughing over the antics of a pet, cooking a special dinner, or just doing something you love.

Until next month, happy reading.

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

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High Country Highlights: The dirt on composting

By Woody Woodworth

To help protect the natural environment, many people practice the three R’s of conservation. They recycle aluminum cans, paper, and glass. They reuse paper as scratch pads and line garbage pails with plastic grocery bags. Some reduce their use of energy and materials through energy conservation and careful maintenance to make things last.

Apply the three R’s to yard trimmings and leftover food, and you have composting—an economical way to reduce solid waste, reuse organic materials, and recycle nutrients as a soil conditioner. Composting is about being good caretakers of our environment.

One of the easiest ways to conserve is to look in the bag. To estimate how much you throw out each week, gather one day’s garbage from your household. Weigh on a bathroom scale or estimate by comparing it to a known weight, like a 20-pound sack of rice. Multiply by seven and you have the amount of garbage produced by your household each week. Look at what’s in your garbage. Is there any recyclable plastic or aluminum containers or old newspapers? Take these to be recycled. See any food stuff—banana peels, fuzzy leftovers, coffee grounds, or egg shells? These materials are easy to compost. When you remove the recyclables, 20 pounds of garbage is often reduced to as little as 5 pounds.

Imitating nature

Composting is a process by which organic materials, such as branches, leaves, and fruit, biologically decompose under controlled conditions. More simply, compost is the result of humans imitating nature’s disposal system. When vegetation dies or falls off trees in forests and fields, then insects, worms, and bacteria eat it. They leave behind small loose particles called humus. Humus binds together soil particles into larger aggregates that allow water and air to enter the soil more easily. Humus also contains important nutrients plants can easily use for healthy growth and reproduction.

Compost improves the physical condition of soil, making it easier for roots to grow. That is, it makes the soil looser, or lighter, which makes water, oxygen, carbon dioxide, and minerals more available to plants. Compost not only improves root penetration and makes the soil easier to work, but it conserves by helping the soil retain water. Because it is made from decomposed organic material from many sources, compost contains many of the nutrients plants require. Compost has even been known to reduce the incidence of certain soil-borne diseases that have devastating effects on plant health and productivity, perhaps because the beneficial soil microbes added in compost out-compete the pathogenic organisms.

Five essential ingredients

Here’s how it works. A balance of five essential ingredients is the key to rapid, trouble-free composting. If you maintain a pile with the correct balances of moisture, air, and carbon and nitrogen contents of the raw materials, then decomposing organisms will do the rest. Decomposers are bacteria or fungi that consume and break down dead organisms and wastes of other organisms.

Water is required by all living things, including decomposers. The compost pile should be moist, but not too wet. A bad odor may indicate that excess moisture is slowing decomposition.

Oxygen is essential in breaking down organisms, and air cannot circulate well if the pile is too tight, too big, or too wet. If the pile is soaked with water, most decomposers die and composting is taken over by a few "specialists" that can live without air. Anaerobic decomposition—detected by its swampy odor—is slow and inefficient.

Carbon is abundant in most organic materials and is broken down by decomposers to create food energy. However, other nutrients are needed for carbon to be readily eaten. Wood and paper are examples of materials that are high in carbon but may be deficient in other nutrients and thus slow to decompose.

Nitrogen is required by decomposers in relatively large quantities. It is a major ingredient in protein, a basic building block of life. Without sufficient nitrogen in your compost pile to assist digestion of carbon-rich materials, decomposition goes very slowly. Green leaves and grass clippings are examples of nitrogen-rich materials.

Decomposing organisms produce heat by their activity. This heat in turn energizes them, and the whole process goes faster. Heat also helps kill disease organisms and weed seeds. The speed of composting varies, but at some point the center of the pile should feel hot or very warm to the touch. More mass (a bigger heap), more water, more air, or more nitrogen may be needed to get the process going. A well-managed pile can produce compost in about two or three months.

Next month, we’ll explore getting started with composting, investigate different types of compost enclosures, and explain helpful hints to keeping a healthy compost pile.

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

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Bird Watch on the Palmer Divide: How do birds choose a mate?

Click here or on the drawing to zoom in.

Below: Robins courting: Will she accept his proposal? Drawing by Elizabeth Hacker

Click on the drawing to zoom in

By Elizabeth Hacker

In February, the sun rises higher in the sky and daylight gains a few minutes each day. I’m already noticing the male birds, including the house finch, the goldfinch, and the western bluebirds, molting into brighter plumage. As the days grow longer, male passerines are growing new feathers in preparation for attracting a mate. By Valentine’s Day, birds are already beginning to court.

In early winter, it’s hard to imagine the little brown finches often clustered along the Santa Fe Trail and at backyard feeders being anything but drab. Fellow birder Joyce Hannigan recently e-mailed me saying that she was baffled as to why goldfinches were not coming to her thistle feeders this winter. We had a similar experience a few years ago when we saw them in different locations but for some reason they bypassed our feeder. A friend suggested a hawk might be in the area, and that night we saw an owl perched on our deck rail.

During long winter nights, I enjoy reading about birds and currently I’m reading The Nesting Season by renowned naturalist Bernd Heinrich. A little bit about the author before I share a few of his findings. He was born in Germany, and I find it interesting that as a child he was placed in a boarding school for disadvantaged children so his parents could go to Mexico and Africa to do field research. Yet, he followed in his parents’ footsteps and today his research has changed our understanding of bird behavior. At 70, Heinrich is professor emeritus in the biology department at the University of Vermont and is still fit enough to compete in ultra-marathons.

The Nesting Season details his research on various bird strategies for choosing a mate. I’ve read a few of his other books, including Mind of the Raven about the complex behavior in ravens including their use of tools. If this sounds familiar, his research is often featured on Animal Planet and other wildlife shows.

For some, The Nesting Season may not be bedtime reading, but Heinrich’s research on why and how a bird chooses a mate is a hot topic for many birders. Studying bird behavior is not new and has been done by many scientists since Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species in 1859. However, Heinrich’s observations are new and very specific. His findings are eye-opening.

Heinrich explains that while males may use all kinds of antics to attract a female, it is ultimately the female that chooses a mate. Her criteria for mate selection are based on the health and vigor of the male. How she determines this may seem obvious, but it is not. Males displaying showy behavior, colorful plumage, and vocal repertoire are easily observed. But birds such as the male penduline tit (not native to Colorado) use less obvious selection criteria. The male builds an intricate pear-shaped nest and the female determines the male’s vitality based on how well the nest is constructed.

In January, I hiked the south rim of the Grand Canyon where birds perch near the trail. I noticed that the male western bluebirds were already in bright blue breeding plumage and were bringing insects to females. Of particular interest were two female bluebirds perched on a low-hanging branch. Two males were busily bringing them insects, a courting technique used by many bird species. One of the females fluttered her wings when her male friend brought her insects, and she eagerly accepted them. However, the second female did not flutter her wings and while she accepted the insect from the second male, she spit it out as soon as he left to find another insect for her. Had she decided "to hell with him" or was she full? I assumed that she was spitting out his offering because he didn’t meet her standards but to actually make a true determination, I would have to devote years observing bluebirds.

Humans find monogamy to be an attractive trait in birds. Barn owls form a lifelong pair bond, and research indicates that when one mate dies the surviving mate actually grieves the loss and may quit eating, resulting in starvation and death. Birds that display this kind of devotion capture our hearts and imagination.

In The Nesting Season, Heinrich explores monogamy and says that parenting is rare in insects, crustaceans, fish, reptiles, and amphibians, and while it occurs sporadically in all of these, it is only common in birds and some mammals. Not all bird species are monogamous, but most birds will pair up for at least one nesting season.

Human parents understand the effort that goes into raising children and appreciate all the help they can get. During nesting season, bird parents work tirelessly feeding and caring for their chicks. Once the chicks have left the nest, the parents may go their separate ways and find a new mate the following season or, as in the case of the barn owl, may mate for life.

Heinrich explores the reasons for monogamy and suggests the answer depends on conditions. He examines the behavior of screech owls, which are known to form lifelong pair bonds, and has found that in years when food is plentiful, male screech owls will mate with more than one female. This requires him to divide his time between the nests. He considers the consequences for taking on an additional partner and his findings are revealing.

The Nesting Season is rich in details about how birds mate and Heinrich’s beautiful illustrations. I will refer to it as I do my own field investigation while I continue to look for the more than 350 bird species that fly to the Palmer Divide.

Elizabeth Hacker is a writer and artist. Prints of the birds she writes about are available on her website www.ElizabethHackerArt.com, with proceeds benefiting habitat preservation. E-mail her at elizabethhacker@ocn.me or call her at 719-510-5918 to share bird stories.

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Art Matters: Art: Touching the human heart

By Janet Sellers

Even saying the word "touch," we instinctively know that it can be about metaphorically touching the human heart. That moment is physically and mentally "out of this world" and we have a connection beyond a physical object. This connection is to the metaphorical art spirit, and this is what makes even simple artworks much more than a mere rock or utility thing.

Actually, even a stack of rocks placed just so offer the intent and recognition to us that a human being touched it, placed it, and experienced the intent prior to us. Here in our community, when we go for a hike in the hills, we may see that somebody has placed a few rocks in a small, albeit interesting, assortment. This could be a way of marking the trail, with an intention of some sort, likely to remind the hikers of a place in the path. And it could just be for fun. In any case, we recognize some intention of placement.

Likewise, if someone knocks over that little rock pile, we may feel sad at that cruel intent as well. It is remarkable that humans look for meaning in an intention with just a moment’s glance.

So how much more powerful are the public art and art experiences we share with others on a daily basis, even as we drive past a sculpture in a car and not on a human-paced walk? It only takes a second, or a nanosecond, for us to respond in our hearts, and we may carry that moment for some time: days, weeks, years, a lifetime.

From human experience far earlier than written history, our recognition of the human touch, of what a person touched and intended, can reach us tens of thousands of years later, long after the person who created the intent has left the planet we now inhabit. We only know that a person made the artifact, and it remains for us to ponder a life lived in another era.

These days, we have public art that we share on purpose in our community. Some of it we can see from along the highway, some from along a country road, and we know someone placed the art there to show it to us. No other living creature seems to make that intention, or catch on to it, either.

So let me encourage you to take notice of the art and human touch you may see around you, be it a garden, a church statue, or flowers growing in a sunny window pot. Somebody put it there, somebody wanted you to see it, and the reason is pretty darn simple: just because.

This year we’ll have some change in our outdoor public art on view again, when Tri-Lakes Views makes its vote and puts up the new artworks around town. You can see the current sculptures for a few months more at their current locations.

There are two colorful metal sculptures at the Monument Town Hall, at Beacon Light Road and Highway 105, and a few miles farther west there is one in front of the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts, on Highway 105, located smack dab across from Palmer Lake.

Local calls for artists coming up

ARTSites public art venue for 2011: Tri-Lakes Views is sending a call to artists for its 2011 ARTSites exhibit. Professional and amateur artist entries are due at Tri-Lakes Views by Feb. 15. ARTSites is a yearlong outdoor sculpture-on-loan exhibit displayed in the Tri-Lakes area.

Tri-Lakes Views was founded in 2002 to address a lack of local support for the arts and historic preservation. The group set for itself three tasks: 1. Through sponsorship, fundraising and donations, create a continuous source of funding for the arts and history of the Tri-Lakes region. 2. Create annual events focusing on the Tri-Lakes valued heritage and featuring the fine arts. 3. Be supported by a majority of the local groups and organizations, thereby encouraging a sense of community.

For more information on art entry details for the ARTSites, Tri-Lakes Views, or how to become involved, please visit its website at www.trilakesviews.org or contact Wendy Diggins at 719-660-8311 or www.coffeecupmonument.com

Crawford Memorial Garden: The Master Sgt. William Crawford Memorial Committee released their call for artists on Feb. 1. The call is for designs for a new bronze sculpture to be located at the Palmer Lake site of the Crawford Memorial. Crawford is the only Medal of Honor recipient in the Palmer Divide area, and the memorial recognizes our military veterans of the Palmer Divide.

The Crawford Memorial Committee seeks an artist to design and complete an illustrative bronze sculpture in bas-relief commemorating significant elements of Crawford’s life. Designs for the memorial sculpture will be due March 15, and the winning design will be announced on May 1. Public dedication for the monument is slated for Nov. 11, Veterans Day.

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

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Snapshots of Our Community

Art shows arise from inspiration

Photos by David Futey

Below: Ken and Tina Riesterer pose in front of some of their oil paintings and pottery that were on display for The Soarings of Our Mind art show at the TLCA.

Below: Nanci Ricks is shown with photos of Dalits, the inspiration for her book, To Love a Slumdog.

By David Futey

Artists seek inspiration, and sometimes inspiration finds them. During the month of January, the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA) hosted The Soarings of Our Mind and To Love a Slumdog. The source of inspiration defined these two shows.

Twenty-six years ago, Chicago natives and American Academy of Art graduates Ken and Tina Riesterer were looking for inspiration for landscape paintings. They discovered the Manitou Springs area and "found so much to paint close by." They have not only developed into renowned landscape oil painters but also incorporated life drawings into pottery. Their paintings and pottery were on display for the Soarings of Our Mind show. Besides works from the Riesterers, the main gallery included works from Juel Grant, Paulette Triplett, Audrey Gray, and the late Bill Hyer.

Nanci Ricks’ inspiration found her while on a medical trip to India in 2000. On that trip she became familiar with the inequality in the caste system and the trials of the Dalits. The Dalits, though a population of 250 million, are sometimes referred to as "slumdogs," are considered outcasts in Indian society and are typically forced into human trafficking and servitude. Ricks’ desire to assist the Dalits took many forms, including her book, To Love a Slumdog. Her exhibit in the Lucy Owens gallery displayed photos from the book.

Information on Nanci Ricks is www.loveslumdog.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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Electronics recycling events supports TLCA, Jan. 15

Photos by Stacey Paxson

Below: President of Blue Star Recyclers, Bill Morris and community member, Barb Barrett. 

Below: (L to R) Community member Chris Amenson and Interim Director of TLCA, Dr. Michael Maddox. 

By Stacey Paxson

On January 15, the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA) hosted an Electronics Recycling Event in partnership with Blue Star Recyclers. The event raised $564.34 for TLCA, which was an increase of $150 from the 2010 collection, by providing a drop off point for 2,910 pounds of electronic waste (broken televisions, computers, small appliances, etc.) that would otherwise sit in a landfill and leach harmful chemicals into the soil and nearby water sources. This was the third annual recycling event for TLCA with plans to host another collection event in 2012.

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Tri-Lakes HAP receives check from Wells Fargo, Jan. 18

Below: Tri-Lakes Health Advocacy Partnership (HAP) Board of Directors accepts a $2,000 grant from Wells Fargo Bank. Pictured (L to R)t: Larry Lawrence (HAP director) Linda Dameron (HAP director), Nicholas Moser (Wells Fargo Store Manager, Jackson Creek Parkway), Barbara Gritzmaker (HAP director), Angie Hermanstorfer (Wells Fargo Community Banking District Manager), Ted Rinebarger (HAP vice president), Mark Ennis (HAP president), Dave Betzler (HAP secretary), and Colleen Garwood (HAP treasurer). Photo provided by HAP.

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TLC Blood Drive – It Take All Types To Save A Life

Photos by Frank Maiolo.

Below (L to R): Tri-Lakes Cares Blood Drive Coordinators RN Jackie Sward and volunteer Marsha Ehrhardt.

Below (L to R): Penrose St. Francis Phlebotomy Technicians Laura Davis, Sherre Sanchez, Maghan Runyon and Merlyn Bernabe.

Below: The Penrose St. Francis mobile "Blood Vessel." 

By Frank Maiolo

On January 18, 2011 Tri-Lakes Cares (TLC) sponsored their on-going community blood drive supported by Penrose-St. Francis blood bank. Tri-Lakes Cares schedules their drives approximately every 8 weeks using the third Tuesday of odd months. The next community blood drive will be Tuesday Mar. 15, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

RN Jackie Sward is the TLC coordinator of the drive and she and her assistant, Marsha Ehrhardt, help donors with the simple and efficient process. From start to finish, the process takes less than an hour and the whole time you’re in the hands of experienced Penrose-St. Francis phlebotomists. With decades of experience between them these technicians help you with registration, medical history interview and a mini-physical. After all the requirements are met then approximately one pint of blood is drawn. Phlebotomy technician, Maghan Runyon, said, "Red blood cells can be stored up to 42 days and one unit of blood can be separated into several components: red blood cells, plasma, platelets and cryoprecipitate."

According to the Penrose-St. Francis Blood Bank only 4 to 6 percent of the eligible population
donates blood. The blood bank needs 40 donors each day to supply the 10,000 blood components used each year in the local area. There are four major blood types: "O", "A", "B", and "AB". Just one donation can help save the lives of up to three people.

Save the dates for this year’s TLC blood drives: Mar. 15, May 17, July 19, Sept. 20, and Nov. 15.

Frank Maiolo can be reached at frankmaiolo@ocn.me

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Wendy Woo wows TLCA

Photo of Wendy Woo by David Futey

By David Futey

On Jan. 22, Wendy Woo performed one of her fan favorite songs, Addicted to You, at her Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA) concert. From the enthusiastic audience response throughout the evening’s performance, the audience appeared addicted to her.

While performing at the TLCA over the years, Woo has garnered a very strong following in the Tri-Lakes area. With a seemingly unmatched vocal range, a powerful and at times unusual guitar technique, and comforting stage presence, Woo’s solo performance envelopes the room and draws the audience into her songs and lyrics.

Woo enjoys playing the TLCA, saying, "It’s a great location and intimate for a solo performance."

Besides getting back on tour after the birth of her son in October 2010, Woo has been recording a new CD, her ninth, and developing her own record label.

**********

Upcoming performances and other information about Wendy Woo are available at www.wendywoo.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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Southwinds gallery hosts students

Photos courtesy of Southwinds Gallery.

Below: Southwinds Fine Art Gallery owner James Clark Wider hosted groups of students from The Classical Academy (TCA) in January. The gallery contains Wider’s art portraying the history of black Americans, as well as other artists and genres. Southwinds Fine Art Gallery, at 16575 Roller Coaster Road (Baptist and Roller Coaster Roads) will offer gallery tour appointments in February for Black History Month. Call Wider at (719) 481-6157. 

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January and February library events: Winter Festival planned for Feb. 12

Photos by Harriet Halbig.

Below: Deanna, left, and Kathy Thirkell enjoyed time together at the card-making workshop.

Below: Shurraya and Eleeya Polunci enjoyed the anime art class for teens at the Monument library.

By Harriet Halbig

All Pikes Peak Library District library facilities will be closed on Monday, Feb. 21, for a staff training day.

Monument Library events

Library patrons are returning to their routine at the library, with book clubs and discussion groups gathering and crafters beginning new projects. Please note that the children’s story time and Toddler Time now begin at 10:15 a.m.

February at the library will be a very exciting time. The Tri-Likes libraries will host their annual Winter Festival on Feb. 12 from 1:30 until 4:30 p.m., with a theme of "I Love My Library." We will celebrate the love of books with two "Big Bubble Circus" performances by Jim Jackson (2 and 3:30 p.m.), face-painting, crafts, and activities that center on the world of reading. Please join us for a fun and exciting afternoon at the Monument Library.

On Friday, Feb. 11, kids between the ages of 9 and 12 are invited to read The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis and come discuss it with their friends. There will be crafts, snacks, and a chance to win a pass to see the movie. Register online or call 488-2370. The program will be from 4:15 to 5:15 p.m.

The Monumental Readers will discuss The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson on Friday, Feb. 18, at 10 a.m. New members are welcome and registration is not required.

Visit the library on Friday, Feb. 25, from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. to attend our Home School Fair. This is an opportunity to meet other home-schooling parents and professionals who can support your educational needs. Find out what resources the library has to offer to supplement your efforts. Home schooling doesn’t mean you have to do it all alone.

High school teens are invited to joint the 4th Friday Anime and Manga Club. Participants can discuss their favorite anime or manga characters. Share good reads and good food with good friends. The meeting will take place on Friday the 25th from 4:15 until 5:30 p.m.

The AARP Mature Safe Driving Program will be offered on Saturday, Feb. 26, from 1 until 5 p.m. This is a refresher course specially designed for motorists age 50 and older. Graduates may present their course completion certificate to their insurance agent for a discount. Charge for the course is $12 for AARP members and $14 for non-members. Class size is limited and registration is required.

On the walls of the library this month will be art work by the students of Lewis-Palmer High School. In the display case, the Pikes Peak Depression Glass Club will display a rainbow of pastel glassware originating in the early 20th century.

Palmer Lake Library events

Come to the Palmer Lake Library to read with a friendly dog. The Paws to Read program invites children to practice reading and build fluency by reading to our friendly dogs. Misty the Sheltie will be at the library on Thursday, Feb. 17, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Kirby the golden retriever will be at the library from 11 until noon on Saturday, Feb. 26.

The February Family Fun event at Palmer Lake on Saturday, Feb. 19, at 10:30 a.m. is a program by Stefanie Garcia titled "Take Great Digital Photographs!" Learn techniques for capturing wonderful pictures of your children. All ages are welcome, but the focus will be on adults taking pictures of their children. A story and craft will be presented for children while Stefanie shares her tips with adults.

The Palmer Lake Book Group will discuss Eating Heaven by Jennie Shortridge on Friday, March 4, at 9 a.m. New members are welcome and no registration is required.

Please note that there will be no Toddler Time on Friday, Feb. 25

We hope to see you at the library!

Harriet Halbig can be reached at harriethalbig@ocn.me

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Palmer Lake Historical Society, Jan. 20: Historical Society looking for volunteers

 Photos by Bernard Minetti.

Below: From left, new Palmer Lake Historical Society Board members Rhetta Walter and Georgia Follansbee are congratulated by society Vice President Al Walter and President Phyllis Bonser. 

Below: Many members and prospective members attended the Palmer Lake Historical Society’s annual potluck dinner.

By Bernard L. Minetti

The January meeting of the Palmer Lake Historical Society was the annual potluck and membership renewal campaign. During the business section of the gathering, society President Phyllis Bonser discussed some of the challenges for the upcoming year.

Foremost on her list was the need for volunteers and another board member. She advised the membership that the Lucretia Vaile museum, the Chautauqua event, and the society in general could use volunteers. No experience is required, she told the crowd, just the will to provide time and effort. She also advised the members that the publishing of their book, Arcadia, was just about completed.

She then asked for a vote of acclamation for those on the previous board who wished to continue in their positions. The vote was unanimous. Bonser then introduced Rhetta Walter and Georgia Follansbee, who had stepped forward to fill two of the three empty positions. They were also voted in by acclamation.

Retired Coast Guard Chief Warrant Officer Roger Davis, director of the Lucretia Vaile Museum and Society Board member for the past 11 years, reviewed the needs for the museum. He indicated that his mother, Marian McDonough, had been a founder of the Palmer Lake Historical Society in 1956. His family has continued to be involved to this day. He cited the need for a volunteer curator and docents for the museum. He added that no experience was necessary. They would receive the necessary training from the society.

Volunteers wishing to help should go to the society website at www.palmerdividehistory.org. Click on the "e-mail us" title on the left side of the page and send an e-mail with your information.

**********

At the next meeting Feb. 17 at 7 p.m. at the Palmer Lake Town Hall, the presentation will be "Communities of the Palmer Divide." The presenter will be Kim Braun, who will feature a pictorial history of the Palmer Divide.

Bernard Minetti may be contacted at bernardminetti@ocn.me

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Correction

Below: This new logo will eventually be made available to the Hill Development Group by artist Anthony Archuleta, owner and operator of the Secret Window, a gallery of flowers and fine art.

Bernard L. Minetti

In the December issue, OCN mistakenly attributed the authorship of "The Hill" logo to Sunny Smaldino. The correct authorship and copyright belongs to artist Anthony Archuleta, proprietor of the Secret Window, a gallery of flowers, fine art, and art instruction. Archuleta has indicated that his intention is to transfer the copyright to The Hill Development Corp. Archuleta also said he had suggested to have fine arts fairs with Native American artisans who present their fine arts—not "arts and crafts." The gallery is located at 47 Third St. in Monument.

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.

Free income tax filing assistance by AARP

Free Income Tax Filing Assistance and e-filing is offered by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) Tax-Aide program. Trained AARP volunteers will be available every Monday and Thursday, Feb. 3-April 18, (except Feb. 21, Presidents Day), noon to 7 p.m., at Tri-Lakes Cares, 235 Jefferson St., Monument, to answer questions and to assist filers in completing their federal and state income tax returns. Please note that Feb. 17 and March 17 tax assistance will only be available 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Volunteers will assist taxpayers in preparing their Forms 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ; and will assist in claiming any Earned Income Credit, Child Tax Credit, and/or Education Credits to which the taxpayer might be entitled.

Filers are asked to bring proof of Social Security Numbers for themselves and for any dependents they are claiming. Filers should also bring their W-2s, 1099-INT, 1099-DIV, etc., to complete their 2010 return, plus a copy of last year’s (2009) tax return. For more information, or to make an appointment (recommended), please call Jim Taylor, 488-1317.

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Library’s Adult Reading Program kicks off Feb. 7

Pikes Peak Library District (PPLD) will kick off "Just Read," its annual adult reading program, on Feb. 7. The program runs through April 4, and adults 18 and older with a library card can win prizes for reading. To register, bring your library card to any PPLD library and sign up at the information desk or sign up online at ppld.org beginning Feb. 7. Reading logs will be available at all libraries, but feel free to keep track of the books you’ve read using any method you choose. For more information, call Monument Library, 488-2370; Palmer Lake Library, 481-2587; or visit www.ppld.org

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Volunteers needed for Board of Health

Practicing or retired physicians or citizens-at-large are needed as volunteer members of the local Board of Health. Applications are due by Feb. 12. The board establishes policy and budget oversight for the El Paso County Public Health Department. Applicants should possess financial and public health knowledge, and be concerned with community health issues. Further information and volunteer applications are available at the website, www.elpasoco.com. Click on the "Volunteer Boards" link at the top of the page. For more information, call 520-6436.

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Donala’s Landscaping Expo, Feb. 26

Donala Water customers can learn more about saving money on their outdoor water bills while creating healthier, more colorful landscapes through the use of xeriscape gardening techniques. The seminar is Feb. 26, 1-3pm, at Antelope Trails Elementary School, 15280 Jessie Dr., Colorado Springs. There will be presentations on xeriscape, efficient irrigation and lawn care, displays, door prizes, and a raffle for a free February water bill! For more information, call Susan, 488-3603, or visit www.donalawater.org.

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Daffodil Days Fundraiser for Tri-Lakes Cares, March 4-6

Welcome springtime into your home or office with sunny daffodils and help others in the community who continue to need assistance through Tri-Lakes Cares. Participating merchants from the Historic Monument Merchants Association will offer daffodils for sale in their shops March 4-5. The price is "a dollar a daffy." All proceeds go to Tri-Lakes Cares. Participating churches will assist as well with daffodils for sale at their Sunday coffee hour. See the ad on the back page for a list of participating shops and churches. For more information, call Linda Roberts, 488-2065.

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Tri-Lakes Women’s Club grant application cut-off March 15

The Tri-Lakes Women’s Club (TLWC) will accept grant applications until March 15. Qualified organizations that provide significant services to residents within the geographic boundaries of School District 38 are encouraged to apply. Qualified organizations include 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, public service organizations, and public schools serving primarily the District 38 area. Funding for special programs and projects will be considered. Grants will be awarded in late May.

Grant applications, instructions, and guidelines can be downloaded from the TLWC website, www.TLWC.net, or by sending a request with a stamped, self-addressed envelope to TLWC Grant Committee, P.O. Box 669, Monument, CO 80132. The mission of the club is to support the Tri-Lakes community through charitable and educational endeavors. For more information, please e-mail Donna Wagner at donnamwagner@comcast.net.

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Get traffic accident reports online

The Monument Police Department has made it possible for people to obtain traffic accident reports online 24 hours a day for $6.50 from www.docview.us.com. People can also purchase a copy of a traffic accident report for $5 at the Monument Police Department, 645 Beacon Lite Rd., Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. For more information, phone 481-3253.

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Clear snow and ice around mailboxes for letter carriers

Letter carriers are instructed to not deliver to mailboxes and locations that are too hazardous or difficult to access. Support your letter carrier in providing safe and timely delivery of your mail. Following snowstorms and bad weather conditions, please clear a safe path to your mailbox or business. If possible, do not park your vehicles in front of your mailbox. Combined with the snowy and icy conditions, this can make it very difficult for your letter carrier to access and deliver to your mailbox.

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Help 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 families with their heating bills but are not intended to pay the entire bill. Last winter, 15,999 households in El Paso County received help from the LEAP program. The eligibility period for LEAP runs through April 30. Applications are accepted each year during the eligibility period. Application packets will automatically be mailed to residents who received LEAP assistance last year at the address where they were living at that time. For more information about LEAP benefits, call 1-866 HEAT-HELP (1-866-432-8435).

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Donala’s Customer Assistance Program

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

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Tri-Lakes HAP Senior Center has fun programs!

The Tri-Lakes Health Advocacy Partnership (HAP) Senior Citizens Center is next to the Lewis-Palmer High School Stadium (across from the YMCA) and is open 1-4 p.m., Mon.-Fri. and earlier for scheduled activities. The facility has a lounge, craft room, game room, and multipurpose room. Programs include pinochle, Tuesdays and Thursdays, noon to 4 p.m.; Tai Chi for Health, Fridays, 10:30 a.m.; National Mah-jongg, Fridays, 1-4 p.m.; line dancing, first and second Wednesdays, 1-2 p.m.; bridge, second and fourth Thursdays, 1-4 p.m.; tea time, third Tuesday, 1-3 p.m.; bingo, third Wednesday, 12:30-3 p.m.; crafts, third Thursday, 1-3 p.m.; no-cash/no host poker, second and fourth Fridays, 1-4 p.m. Also available at the center are ping-pong, Wii video games, various puzzles and board games, refreshments, a lending library, computers with Internet connections, and an information table. For more information about programs for seniors, visit www.TriLakesSeniors.org.

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Tri-Lakes Cares Thrift Shop in Monument

Hangers—Your Thrift Shop is now open Tuesday-Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at 341 Front St., Monument. Shop for gently used clothing, books, and household items. Proceeds from Hangers will be used to promote the ongoing mission of Tri-Lakes Cares, a community-based nonprofit. For more information, call 488-2300 or visit the Tri-Lakes Cares website, www.trilakescares.org.

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Tri-Lakes HAP Thrift Store in Palmer Lake

The store now is located at 790 Highway 105 #D in Palmer Lake. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Weekly specials, books, antiques, clothing, and more! The thrift store is a project of the Tri-Lakes Health Advocacy Partnership (HAP) to raise funds and resources for Tri-Lakes Senior Citizen Program activities, provide volunteer opportunities for Tri-Lakes residents, and offer affordable merchandise to all Tri-Lakes residents. For more information, to donate items, or to volunteer, call 488-3495.

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Senior Beat newsletter—subscribe for free!

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

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County prescription discount program could save you money

El Paso County’s prescription discount program saved 10,000 residents $250,000 in discounted medicines over 18 months at no additional taxpayer cost. People using the card saved an average of 23 percent. There are no eligibility requirements and no strings attached to receive the discounts. You can pick up a free Prescription Discount Card at most county government locations or you can download your own personalized prescription discount card on the county website (bottom of the front page) at www.elpasoco.com

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

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Sheriff’s Office announces YouTube channel

The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office now uses its own YouTube channel to share information on recent events and provide information on numerous office resources. The YouTube channel can be accessed from the front page of the Sheriff’s Office website, http://shr.elpasoco.com, or directly at www.youtube.com/EPCSheriff.

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Senior Mondays at the Western Museum of Mining & Industry (WMMI)

Beginning in January and running each Monday through March, seniors will be admitted into the museum for just $2.50 (regularly $6). Come see the museum that works! Tours begin at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. WMMI is located at 225 North Gate Blvd. (I-25 Exit 156 A). For more information, call 488-0880 or visit www.wmmi.org

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