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Vol. 11 No. 7 - July 2, 2011


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Contents

the PDF file. This is a 23.8 Mbyte high-resolution file with color photos and will take about 145 minutes to download using a dial-up modem. 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

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Above: During the Soul-stice celebration in Monument, June 18, Connie Wetterer looks on as her son Luke enjoys a cotton candy "beard" aboard the hayride. Photo by Jack Wetterer. Click here for additional Soul-stice coverage.

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Extreme fire danger

Stage I Fire Restrictions are now in effect for all unincorporated areas of El Paso County. This is due to very high to extreme fire danger ratings resulting from continued dry conditions and the National Weather Service forecast for dry and warmer-than-normal conditions. The following activities are prohibited:

  1. Open burning, except fires and campfires within permanently constructed fire grates in developed campgrounds and picnic grounds; charcoal grills and wood burning stoves at private residences in areas cleared of all flammable materials.
  2. The sale or use of fireworks.
  3. Outdoor smoking except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area at least 3 feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials.

Violations of Stage I Restrictions may result in a fine of up to $600. Click here for details.

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Independence Day Festivities

Sat., July 2

    7 p.m., Barn Dance, Sibell’s Barn, Front Street, Monument. Info: 481-3382.

Mon., July 4

    7 a.m., Pancake Breakfast, St Peter Church, Monument
    7:15 a.m., Fun Run begins, Palmer Lake Trailhead, Palmer Lake
    7:30 a.m., Parade line-up begins, Old Denver Hwy, Monument
    8 a.m.-5 p.m., Secret Window Tribal Exposition and Indian Market, 47 Third St., Monument.
    8:30 a.m., Parade entry judging begins, Monument
    9:30 a.m., Children’s parade begins, Monument
    10 a.m., Main parade begins, Monument
    10 a.m.-2 p.m., After the Parade, Monument Community Presbyterian Community Church, 238 Third St., Monument.
    11 a.m., Street fair begins, Monument
    11 a.m., Tractor Pull begins, County Line Road, Palmer Lake
    11 a.m., Palmer Lake Festival begins, Palmer Lake
    Noon, Live music begins, Palmer Lake
    Noon, Flag Disposal Ceremony, Limbach Park, Monument
    Noon, Tractor Pull begins, County Line Road, Palmer Lake
    2-9 p.m., Live music, Palmer Lake
    8:30 p.m., Balloon Lift-Off (2500 Balloon release in honor of Della Gray. Wish cards for $2 can be bought at the Palmer Lake Town Hall or the Palmer Lake Country Store. The fireworks committee will provide a balloon to attach your card to on July 4 in Palmer Lake.)
    9:15 p.m., Palmer Lake Fireworks Extravaganza. Tune your radio to 92.9 FM the PEAK to listen to live broadcast choreographed to the Palmer Lake Fireworks Show

Details

Barn Dance - Hosted by Si and Dorothy Sibell, sponsored by the Historic Monument Merchants Association. 7 p.m.-midnight. Admission: $10 per person, $15 per couple. All proceeds go to Wounded Warriors. Reckless will perform, beer, wine, and soda available. ID required for alcohol. Info: Si or Dorothy, 481-3382.

Ride The Bus - Transportation is sponsored by Kiwanis and Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce. Shuttle buses (District 38 yellow school buses) will shuttle event attendees from parking facilities to Vitamin Cottage 8-10 a.m., July 4. Parking areas are located at LPHS, Monument Park and Ride, and PRHS. Eating, drinking, or smoking is not allowed. You may bring strollers, coolers, and folding chairs on the bus. A donation of $1 per person is appreciated to help pay the cost of operating the buses. Return trips noon-2 p.m. No shuttle to Palmer Lake after parade. Info: Patrick, 488-8111.

30th Annual Fun Run - Sponsored by Palmer Lake Elementary PTO. Register at www.july4funrun.com.

Cost: Age 15 and under $12, age 16 and up $23. Pick up packets July 3, 1-3 p.m., at Palmer Lake Elementary School. On site registration July 4 until 7 a.m. at Palmer Lake Park, cost $30. Chip timing by Colorado Race Timings. Kids fun run after main run. Participants may return to start by shuttle. No shuttle to Palmer Lake after parade. All proceeds go to PLES PTO. Info: e-mail Maria Mattea, m_mattea@yahoo.com or visit www.july4funrun.com.

Pancake Breakfast - Sponsored by St Peter’s Knights of Columbus. 7-10 a.m., St Peter Church at Jefferson Street and Lincoln Ave., on the cobble stone street between the school gym and the church. Breakfast served with pancakes, eggs, sausage, juice, and coffee. $6 for adults, $4 for kids. Proceeds go to charity. Info: Mark Yoder, 964-9770.

Secret Window Tribal Exposition and Indian Market, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., 47 Third St., Monument. Artisans representing the Santa Clara Pueblo, Hopi, Zuni, San Ildefonso Pueblo, and Taos Pueblo will offer fine art, jewelry, baskets, pottery, and sculpture. The Yellow House Dancers will perform traditional Native American dance. Info: 481-9600, e-mail info@secretwindowgallery.com, or visit www.secretwindowgallery.com.

4th of July Parade - "Liberty & Justice for all" sponsored by Monument Hill Kiwanis. Children’s parade starts at 9:30 a.m. at Lincoln and Jefferson Streets, main parade begins at 10 a.m. in downtown Monument. Info: Don Johnson, 302-1979; Patrick Quinlan, 488-8111; or visit www.monumenthillkiwanis.org.

After the Parade, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Monument Community Presbyterian Community Church, 238 Third St., Monument. Free! All are invited for freezer pops, music, bouncy houses, historic tours, and a cool car show during and after the Monument 4th of July Parade. Also, a BBQ fundraiser for the David Mills Scholarship Fund. Info: Barb Rusnak, 488-3942, or visit www.mcpcusa.org.

July 4th Street Fair - Sponsored by the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce. Set-up is by 9 a.m. Fair is open 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Vendors, food, & craft booths. Info: The Chamber, 481-3282 or e-mail info@trilakeschamber.com or visit www.trilakeschamber.com.

Garden Tractor Pull - Garden Tractors from 1952 and earlier pull weighted sleighs over a measured course, greatest distance determines winner. Park at the gazebo and take a free hayride to and from the event on County Line Road. Kiddie garden tractor pull, too. All kid participants will receive a trophy! Info: Al Goodman, 440-1105.

What A Blast! - Sponsored by the Palmer Lake Fireworks Committee. Noon July 3 and 11 a.m. July 4. Runs until dusk in downtown Palmer Lake at the lakeside near the ball field. Live music by local bands, vendors, kids games, bounce house, climbing wall and zip line, and much more! The finale will be the spectacular fireworks display over Palmer Lake! Info: Rhonda, 460-3496.

The Best Small Town Fireworks Show In America - Sponsored by the Palmer Lake Fireworks Committee the show begins at dusk by the lake. Tune in to 92.9 at 9 p.m. to hear the music choreographed to the fireworks.

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Tri-Lakes area population grew 65 percent during 2000-10

Below: Census tracts in the Tri-Lakes area. Portion of a slide from Bruce Fogarty's May 14 NEPCO presentation.

Below: Bruce Fogarty, vice chairman of the Pikes Peak Area Complete Count Committee, making a presentation to the NEPCO meeting May 14. Photo by John Heiser

Below: Chart from the 2007 report Families and Living Arrangements showing, among other things, the decline in married couples from 70.6% in 1970 to 50.8% in 2007. Fogarty also observed, "In 1950, 93% of families with children were married couple families. In 2007, 71% were." Portion of a slide from Bruce Fogarty's May 14 NEPCO presentation.

By John Heiser

At the May 14 meeting of the Northern El Paso County Coalition of Community Associations (NEPCO), Bruce Fogarty, vice chairman of the Pikes Peak Area Complete Count Committee, reported that from 2000 to 2010, the population of the Tri-Lakes area increased by 64.8 percent while total housing units in the area increased by 66.8 percent.

Some highlights of Fogarty’s presentation and responses to questions:

  • A census counts everyone, every organization.
  • A survey counts a representative sample of everyone, every organization.
  • The U.S. Constitution (Article I, Section 2) requires a decennial census of population and housing. A census has been conducted every 10 years since 1790.
  • In addition to the decennial census, there are a variety of surveys including the American Community Survey (ACS), Current Population Survey, Survey of Income and Program Participation, and various non-demographic surveys.
  • The decennial census data are aggregated by state, county, census tracts within each county, census block groups within each tract, and census blocks.
  • In the 2010 census, there were 201,062 census blocks, 375 block groups, and 130 tracts in El Paso County.
  • Census tracts are designed by local government and census officials to be reasonably homogeneous with clear boundaries. In the 2010 census, the median population in a census tract in El Paso County was 4,515.
  • Tri-Lakes area census tracts:

Tract 37.01 (Monument and Palmer Lake, west of I-25, south of County Line Road, north of the USAFA),

Tract 72.02 (Gleneagle; east of I-25, west of Highway 83, between Baptist Road and Northgate Road),

Tract 73 (South Woodmoor, Jackson Creek and Higby Estates; east of I-25, west of Highway 83, between Highway 105 and Baptist Road), and

Tract 74 (Woodmoor and King’s Deer; east of I-25, west of Highway 83, south of County Line Road, north of Highway 105).

  • Mail participation rate: 89 percent of the households in census tract 74 mailed in the 2010 questionnaire. That was the highest rate of any tract in El Paso County and 11th highest of all the 1,061 census tracts in the state. The rates for the other Tri-Lakes area tracts: Tract 73—86 percent, Tract 72—83 percent, Tract 37.01—80 percent. The average for El Paso County was 76 percent. The average for all of Colorado was 72 percent. The national average was 74 percent.
  • For those who did not return the questionnaire, it costs taxpayers $57 to $80 per household to send a census worker out to obtain the information.
  • From 2000 to 2010, the number of housing units in the Tri-Lakes area increased 66.8 percent, from 7,468 to 12,459. The vacancy rate increased from 4.82 percent to 5.16 percent. The population grew 64.8 percent, from 20,724 to 34,152.
  • Median household incomes have not yet been released for the 2011 census; however, the ACS reports median household incomes by census block group. In the 2005-09 ACS report, the average of the median incomes reported for each of the Tri-Lakes area census tracts and the increase from the average median incomes reported for the 2000 census were as follows: tract 37—$92,430 (up 55 percent), tract 72—$108,037 (up 31 percent), tract 73—$111,021 (up 20 percent), tract 74—$126,378 (up 27 percent). The overall average of the reported median incomes for households in the Tri-Lakes area is $109,454, up 32 percent from $82,709 in the 2000 census.
  • Census data are available at www.census.gov. There are a variety of ways to search the data, including through the American FactFinder at http://factfinder2.census.gov and the Data Ferrett at http://dataferrett.census.gov/run.html.
  • Help finding specific information is available from the Census Bureau and through the Colorado State Demographer’s Office at http://dola.Colorado.gov/demog/.

At the conclusion of the meeting, outgoing NEPCO President Hans Post thanked Fogarty for his informative presentation.

**********

NEPCO’s mission is to promote communication and interaction among the homeowners associations and residential areas of northern El Paso County in order to exchange ideas on topics of common interest and to develop collective responses to the county on issues affecting the quality of life of NEPCO member associations.

The next NEPCO meeting will be held July 16 at 10 a.m. at the Monument Town Hall and Police Building, 645 Beacon Lite Road at Highway 105. Homeowners association attorney Lenard Rioth will address homeowners association legal issues.

For more information on NEPCO, visit www.nepco.org or call Bob Swedenburg at 481-2723.

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

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Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District, June 9: Water Conservation Plan approved

By Candice Hitt

At the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District’s June meeting, board members unanimously approved the 2011 Water Conservation Plan. Board President Barry Town said, "Woodmoor Water and Sanitation is committed to efficient water use and dedicated to practical water conservation measures."

The conservation plan is part of the district’s long-range planning and includes measures to limit peak demand and rebates to consumers who replace inefficient fixtures, appliances, and irrigation controls. The Conservation Plan can be viewed at www.woodmoorwater.com.

District focuses on public relations

Board members discussed the continued progress of the public relations campaign along with suggestions from the district’s public relations consultant, Bill Ray. The objective is to get the word out to community members about renewable water sources and rebates and to raise the overall awareness of water issues facing the district. Some ideas to navigate people to the district website included using Facebook or Twitter.

Operations and construction update

Assistant Manager Randy Gillette said the district has been having some issues with several wells. Two of the wells needed a new pump and motor, and both pumps have been repaired and are now operational. A third pump is currently being evaluated and another must be pulled out of the ground to determine the problem. He also stated that all water plants are working and able to meet water demand.

Construction plans for a Kum & Go gas station on the corner of Knollwood and Highway 105 are being reviewed by the district.

JV Ranch acquisition

Jim Manire of BLX Group attended the meeting to discuss bond options to finance the JV Ranch acquisition with the board. Manire presented his overview of the potential debt structure, processes, and timing. No decisions were made. The district plans to keep the public informed of the process as it moves forward and decisions are made.

**********

The next regular board meeting will be held at 1p.m. July 14 at the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District Office, 1845 Woodmoor Dr., Monument. For information: 488-2525 or www.woodmoorwater.com.

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

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Tri-Lakes Joint Use Committee, June 14: Summer collection line cleaning projects underway

By Jim Kendrick

At the June 14 meeting of the Tri-Lakes Joint Use Committee (JUC), the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District reported that its annual collection line cleaning program was nearing completion, while two other sanitation districts, Monument and Palmer Lake, reported that their programs would begin soon. Meanwhile, the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility continues to operate at high efficiency.

The district and facility staffs discussed options to minimize discretionary spending in order to conserve funds until specific proposals for tighter short- and long-term discharge limits regarding copper, total phosphorus, and total nitrogen are revealed by the state in November.

The Tri-Lakes facility operates as a separate public utility and is jointly owned, in equal one-third shares, by Monument Sanitation District, Palmer Lake Sanitation District, and Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District. The three-member JUC acts as the board of the facility and consists of one director from each of the three owner districts’ boards: Dale Smith from Palmer Lake, Lowell Morgan from Monument, and Jim Whitelaw from Woodmoor. Typically, several other district board members and the district managers also attend the meeting.

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

Financial report

Facility Manager Bill Burks distributed copies of the final 2010 JUC audit. The total operating cost for May was $45,967. The shares of the cost were $11,416 for Monument, $9,220 for Palmer Lake, and $25,331 for Woodmoor.

District managers’ reports

Woodmoor Assistant District Manager Randy Gillette stated that the district was wrapping up its summer cleaning of sewer lines that started in late May. Woodmoor had just approved a multiyear contract for rehabilitation work on its collection lines on June 7, but work had not started yet.

Monument District Manager Mike Wicklund reported that repairs were being made to the foundation under the front doors of the district’s office building, replacing the mortar that was installed in 1984 with grout. Brick pavers next to the front of the building are being replaced with concrete to improve stormwater drainage away from the foundation into the existing drain system. He added that because of this major unplanned cost, he had asked Burks to hold off on planned new storage construction that was budgeted for the facility later this summer.

Wicklund said he would be getting an estimate in a few weeks for relining the South Monument metering vault with a polyethylene product that will eliminate long-term corrosion caused by hydrogen sulfide gas. Burks said that he was planning to rebuild the South Woodmoor flume that measures flow from that collection line next year and would investigate relining the pipes just upstream with this same material if it would not interfere with calibration.

Wicklund reported that Monument’s annual collection line cleaning is just about completed.

Wicklund added that the district is creating a website under the auspices of the state’s Statewide Internet Portal Authority (SIPA) program. The SIPA website states that the authority "was created in 2004 by an act of the Colorado State Legislature (C.R.S. 24-37.7-113) to provide efficient and effective e-Government services for eligible governmental entities and citizens through the use of modern business practices and innovative technology solutions. Eligible governmental entities include state and local governments, school districts, and other eligible entities within the State of Colorado."

Palmer Lake District Manager Duane Hanson reported that the district building’s landscaping was being converted to plants that need less care and watering. He added that collection line cleaning in his district was scheduled to start on June 21.

Facility report

Some of the entries in the May Discharge Monitoring Report that Burks noted were:

  • The treated effluent copper concentration was 7.5 parts per billion (ppb), well below the current temporary daily maximum limit of 36.4 ppb.
  • The total inorganic nitrogen concentration was 4.6 parts per million (ppm), well below the current daily maximum of 24 ppm.
  • There was 99 percent removal of wastes and suspended solids, well in excess of the minimum monthly average limit of 85 percent for each these major parameters.
  • The average flow through the facility was 1.07 million gallons per day, significantly lower than the typical May value.

The highest influent concentration of copper in April was 96 ppb. This result occurred in the South Woodmoor vault, which is a significant change from typical readings. The South Monument vault’s highest concentration was 84 ppb. South Monument has typically had the highest concentration of copper in the past few years. However, the highest weekly reading for copper in the North Monument vault was 91 ppb.

The lack of rain may have caused less dilution of Woodmoor flows from stormwater. Monument has less stormwater infiltration than Woodmoor at the present time. Monument has a much higher waste concentration than Woodmoor and Palmer Lake—nearly twice as concentrated.

Burks noted that the ongoing seasonal line cleaning by the districts has increased the amount of sediment that must be removed from the screening equipment by the treatment facility staff. The facility passed its annual fire inspection.

Engineering consultant firm Tetra Tech engineering has conducted some laboratory tests on samples of the facility’s secondary effluent to determine how effective addition of ferric chloride and aluminum sulfate would be in removing additional amounts of residual total phosphorous and total nitrogen. Ferric chloride looked initially to be the better treatment because it is less susceptible to freezing, although it is more likely to stain equipment and concrete. Protective gear like face shields, aprons, and rubber gloves are required to handle either chemical. Other chemicals that could be used are sodium aluminate and ferrous chloride.

Any of these treatments will increase the amount of sludge that is produced, increasing the cost of sludge dewatering and removal from the sludge lagoon. Current plans are for new contractor Liquid Waste Management to start sludge removal in July. Sludge removal will take several months and is performed every other year.

Regulatory report

Jim Kendrick, Monument Operations, noted that on June 13, the Colorado Water Quality Control Commission extended the facility’s temporary modification to its copper limits for another year, through the end of 2013. The temporary modification increases the Tri-Lakes facility’s effluent copper limits from 8.0 ppb to 24.8 ppb for the 30-day average and from 11.7 ppb to 36.4 ppb for a daily maximum. The permits unit of the Water Quality Control Division remains three years behind statewide on renewing discharge permits for wastewater treatment facilities. The Tri-Lakes facility’s current permit expired at the end of 2009 and has been extended three times already.

The commission also approved the statewide Water Quality Master Plan—thousands of pages long—without discussion on June 13. Also, Kendrick said the commissioners were generally dismissive and showed annoyance about the joint state legislation on excessive nutrient treatment costs that was successfully sponsored by state Rep. Marsha Looper and state Sen. Keith King at the request of the Lower Fountain Metro Sewage Disposal District. These legislative resolutions prevent the Water Quality Control Division from enacting new nutrient regulations until they are reviewed by several state House and Senate committees.

Wicklund noted that Water Quality Control Division Director Steve Gunderson’s letter to Looper and King commenting on this successful resolution falsely claimed again that the 100, on average, special and metro district representatives attending the 35 nutrient stakeholder meetings show unprecedented stakeholder involvement. Wicklund added that Gunderson implied in this letter, without any justification, that the regulated community supports his claims about success of this multi-meeting process.

Wicklund countered this claim, as he has at several recent Denver stakeholder and Colorado Wastewater Utility Council meetings, saying these operators and their attorneys are sitting quietly in the audience not because they agree but are in fact very intimidated about objecting to division claims for fear of receiving future retaliation in the form of even more onerous new permit limits. Robinove said, "Their presence does not mean that they agree." Wicklund added that the council had asked him during its June 8 monthly meeting to draft the council’s formal objection to Gunderson’s claims.

Kendrick noted that he had received 192 e-mails since the last JUC meeting on May 10 regarding Water Quality Forum stakeholder meetings. There was consensus that the division is continuing to overwhelm the small districts with time-consuming information and meetings to discourage participation, much less active intervention, and objection to the terribly burdensome and expensive new regulations being demanded by the EPA.

The Colorado Nutrient Coalition’s environmental attorney, John Hall, repeatedly advises members that the division is not listening to the members of the regulated community regarding cost and the overwhelming likelihood that the billions of dollars of biological nutrient removal equipment that will be mandated by the state will have little if any impact on algae blooms and improvement of aquatic life in state waters.

There will be no results available from the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority cost-benefit study until the end of September or beginning of October. The division will then publish the final draft of the new regulation it will propose at the Nov. 14 commission hearing. There will not be enough time nor money left for the Colorado Nutrient Coalition to appropriately research nor effectively comment on the new restrictions the division is proposing to defend the state’s wastewater district constituents from the exorbitant costs that will be imposed through mandatory property taxes. This timing will also likely lead to numerous expensive and probably futile appeals of the new water quality regulations.

There was a reaffirmation from the JUC members of their previous consensus that Monument, Palmer Lake, and Woodmoor must preserve what little money they have remaining in their 2011 district budgets for regulatory and permit issues until October to oppose the state and EPA.

In other matters, Wicklund and Kendrick will attend the Permit Issues forum on June 28 to ask the division’s permit unit to give the facility 60 days notice on new permit limits rather than the current standard 30-day notice. The justification for this request is that new permits being issued are much more complicated and have had a much higher error rate over the past few years. Kendrick said that these trends mean it is far more costly and time-consuming to have the appropriate engineering and legal consultants find the errors and faulty logic in the new draft discharge permits and propose corrections and more reasonable cost-effective discharge limits.

Kendrick said these time constraints also make it more difficult to counter the demands of various environmental advocacy groups that are demanding still tighter constraints and using the intimidation of threatened lawsuits that are very difficult and costly to defend against given the limited resources that a district with only 1,000 constituents can muster against a variety of economic threats. He added that making a simple correction to data or advocating a technologically achievable level of treatment can be misrepresented as a desire to "continue polluting state waters" when a wide variety of incorrect data and scientific claims are promulgated by the state or EPA.

The JUC went into executive session at 11:40 a.m. to discuss personnel matters. There were no additional actions, motions, or votes by the JUC after coming out of the executive session before the meeting was adjourned.

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The next meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on July 12 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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Monument Sanitation District, June 16: Two 2010 audits approved

By Jim Kendrick

On June 16, Mark Gilmore of auditing firm Bauerle & Co. gave a 40-minute presentation on the results of two 2010 audits he performed for the Monument Sanitation District. One audit was for regular district activities during the past year. The second "yellow book" audit was for the separate and unique federal accounting aspects of the $2 million "forgivable" American Recovery and Reinvestment loan that was used to finance most of the $2.4 million expansion of district’s existing collection system throughout the western portion of Wakonda Hills during 2010.

Gilmore noted the increase in district assets due to the Wakonda Hills construction, praised the district for having no debt despite this costly expansion project, and stated that both audits reported "clean" results.

District Manager Mike Wicklund noted that the state Water Quality Control Division had conducted audits of the federal Wakonda Hills funding as well. As before, the amounts reported as losses in 2010 for infrastructure depreciation are large numbers, about $124,000 for the district and about $58,000 for the district’s ownership share for the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility. Gilmore praised the internal financial controls that are being used by the district staff.

The board unanimously approved both audits, with a few minor grammatical changes to better align with specific federal terminology in the "yellow book" audit. Gilmore will forward the finalized audits to the state.

Director Lowell Morgan’s absence was unanimously excused.

Treasurer’s report

Wicklund reported that contractor John Westfall of J&K Excavating had repaired and raised all the Second Street manhole lids to the level of the new asphalt overlay, at a cost of $6,000. Several of the concrete riser rings were cracked and broken or were old brick. Two manhole rings and covers had to be replaced as well.

Tap fees discussed

Wicklund said that tap fee revenue remains weak in 2011, though several Wakonda Hills property owners are joining the district and now paying the monthly residential user fee of $25. However, all but one of the Wakonda Hills tap fees for 2011 are being financed over 15 years (180 equal interest-free payments), so the actual cash received from the expansion project to date remains meager. There has been no significant new construction in the district this year. Total cash on hand was about $199,000.

Wicklund also reported that the county Planning Commission had approved the site plan for the Willow Springs Development on the former Watt Ranch at the west end of Baptist Road. The former developer had obtained Town of Monument approval of the site plan and annexation of this county ranch and had the parcel included by the district for sanitary sewer service. However, the project subsequently went bankrupt and the lender banks that now own the property prefer to leave it in the unincorporated county.

The project proposal still calls for about 400 homes, all of which would produce individual residential tap fees for the district. The approved site plan for the Zonta property on the west side of Beacon Lite Road calls for 88 homes.

Wicklund presented the results of his preliminary study of existing user and tap fees in the region to guide the board on revising district tap fees in anticipation of heavy capital construction costs that are expected to be required by new tighter EPA and state Water Quality Control Division limits for copper, total phosphorus, and total nitrogen concentrations in treated wastewater effluent.

The board asked Wicklund to prepare specific options for a resolution to increase the tap fees to meet long-range district capital requirements and language that would be used to inform the district’s constituents about the kinds of equipment that will have to be purchased and installed at the Tri-Lakes facility to meet the new proposed permit limits.

Other matters

Wicklund advised the board that the district’s attorney, Larry Gaddis, had given him a legal opinion that said it would be illegal for the board to approve a contribution from district operating fees to Tri-Lakes Views for construction of pedestals throughout the downtown area for the display of loaned statues and other types of outdoor art.

Wicklund reported that unplanned repairs had been made in early June to reinforce the areas under the sill plates and bottom hinges for each of the district building’s metal front doors. The contractor, Access Construction, also removed the existing decorative brick pavers between the foundation and the front sidewalk. These pavers have been replaced with poured solid concrete slabs to further improve drainage along the full length of the front façade by carrying the water away from the foundation. The bill for these repairs had not been received.

The board unanimously approved a motion to go into executive session at 8:56 p.m. to discuss real estate matters. The board came out of executive session at 9:12 p.m.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:13 p.m. with no further votes or discussions taking place.

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The next meeting will be held in the district conference room at 7 p.m. on July 21 at 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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Donala Water and Sanitation District, June 16: District considers additional water reclamation option

By John Heiser

At the June 16 monthly meeting of the Donala Water and Sanitation District Board of Directors, Donala General Manager Dana Duthie reported that the Donala Expanded Water Supply Study (DEWSS) team is considering a plan to use about three miles along Monument Creek to reclaim excess effluent from the wastewater treatment plant.

Each year, hundreds of millions of gallons of water are being discharged into Monument Creek by the wastewater treatment plant that the Donala district shares with the Triview Metropolitan District and the Forest Lakes Metropolitan District. The Donala district has undertaken DEWSS, a yearlong $220,000 study, to consider ways effluent from the plant could be captured, extensively treated, and mixed in with the district’s water supply.

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.

The DEWSS study team initially narrowed the project options to four, which were identified as Smith Creek, Brown Ranch/Jackson Creek, Monument Creek, and Jake’s Lake.

The Smith Creek, Monument Creek, and Jake’s Lake options would rely on enhanced wetlands, in most cases coupled with soil aquifer treatment. The Brown Ranch/Jackson Creek option would rely on constructed wetlands and employ extended water storage in a reservoir to be constructed on the Brown Ranch near Roller Coaster Road and Higby Road.

On May 5, the four options were presented to the district’s Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC). It was suggested at the CAC meeting that use of the Gleneagle Golf Course (GGC) be re-examined. Two options involving the golf course were added: One using constructed wetlands over the entire course and one using constructed wetlands on the central 42 percent of the course.

At the conclusion of the board meeting May 19, Sams was directed to investigate Monument Creek options in which the effluent would be pumped to different upstream points that would provide three miles of in-stream flow. The water then would be recovered near the district’s wastewater treatment plant and piped to one of the district’s water treatment plants. Duthie said that if three miles of in-stream flow can be achieved, the water could be considered a surface water source. He later added that the specific length of in-stream flow required is a function of the soil and streambed makeup.

Duthie said that one of several new options being considered would pipe the effluent north along Old Denver Highway and discharge into Teachout Creek that drains into Monument Creek. For this option, the district would need to obtain easements or purchase property from the property owners along Teachout Creek and the district would need to make improvements to the creek bed to channel the water. Duthie noted that the area is likely to contain protected Preble’s meadow jumping mouse habitat, which would complicate the project.

The estimated costs for the seven options (in order by cost per 1,000 gallons, with the latest option highlighted in gray with boldface type) is shown below:

Option Capital Annual Added
  Costs Costs Cost per
  (Millions) (Millions) 1,000 gal.
Monument Creek 1 $4.46 $0.58 $6.53
Monument Creek 2 $5.83 $0.65 $7.67
Jake's Lake $7.04 $0.63 $8.15
GGC partial $12.34 $0.66 $9.58
Smith Creek $11.06 $0.66 $10.37
GGC entire $16.77 $0.69 $14.41
Brown Ranch/JC $19.07 $0.76 $15.02

Duthie had previously noted that these substantial costs would be in addition to the voter-approved expenditures for infrastructure improvements to accommodate renewable water.

Duthie said he plans to meet July 12 with representatives of the Forest Lakes district to discuss various topics, including possible water reclamation options involving the Bristlecone Reservoir.

The DEWSS team will present its findings at the July board meeting. A CAC meeting is planned for early August, and a community meeting is planned for early September.

Connection to CSU one step closer

Duthie reported that the district has solicited bids for the construction work to connect the district’s infrastructure to Colorado Springs Utilities’ (CSU) pipes in the vicinity of Northgate Road. Duthie said the district plans to start construction in June and complete the connection with CSU in mid-August.

The service agreement with CSU calls for a minimum of 100 acre-feet of Colorado Springs water to be supplied to the district in 2011. An acre-foot is 326,851 gallons. The district will be required to draw a minimum of 200 acre-feet per year in subsequent years. The maximum amount that can be drawn per year is 1,000 acre-feet.

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

The highest rate the district currently charges any of its customers is about $11 per 1,000 gallons, and some customers pay as little as $3.40 per 1,000 gallons. The average rate is about $5.75 per 1,000 gallons.

Water court case still awaits judge’s decision

Duthie reported that there has been no decision rendered yet in the water court case on the 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.

The district is hoping to obtain rights to about 280 acre-feet of water per year, which would cover about 20 percent of Donala’s current demand. If that is the final figure approved by water court Judge Dennis Maes then, under the terms of the ranch purchase agreement, the district will be obligated to pay Ronald Strich, the former owner of the ranch, about $408,000.

Duthie previously reported that settlement had been achieved with all those opposing the water court case except for the State Engineer’s Office and the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB). On March 8 and 9, the case was presented to Maes. Both sides presented closing arguments March 31. Susan Schneider, first assistant attorney general in Colorado’s Natural Resources and Environment Section, represented the CWCB. Jennifer Mele, assistant attorney general in Colorado’s Natural Resources and Environment Section, represented the State Engineer’s Office. Rick Fendel and Kara Godbehere from Petrock & Fendel represented the district. The state had until April 18 to respond to the district’s arguments and then the district had 10 days to respond to the state’s response.

To address the state’s objections regarding non-irrigation season return flows, the board approved in concept a 20-year contract with the Pueblo Board of Water Works for storage of 190 acre-feet per year in Turquoise Reservoir.

It is now up to Maes to make a decision on the matter. Whichever way that decision comes out, it could be appealed to the state Supreme Court.

Duthie reported that Maes recently ruled against the Cherokee Metropolitan District’s $32 million project to use effluent to recharge the southern part of the Upper Black Squirrel Groundwater basin. Duthie said Maes ruled that once the water enters the alluvial aquifer, Cherokee no longer has rights to it. From the Cherokee district’s standpoint, that defeats the purpose of the project. There is more on the project posted at www.ocn.me/v8n11.htm#pprwa.

Other matters

  • During the three months from March 1 through May 31, the district’s $3.77 million in investments managed by Davidson Fixed Income Management showed a yield of 0.37 percent, achieving a goal of beating the Colotrust Plus fund, which yielded 0.06 percent during the same period. The weighted average maturity of the district’s investments is 10.7 months.
  • Duthie reported that injection tests of one of the district’s Arapahoe aquifer wells have been completed. Leonard Rice engineers are analyzing the results. The purpose of the tests is to determine the practicality of pumping water into the Arapahoe aquifer for recovery later during periods of higher demand.
  • The board voted unanimously to accept the 2010 audit report from Hoelting & Co.

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

**********

The Donala board will hold its next regular meeting on July 21 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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Lewis-Palmer Board of Education, June 2 and 16: Board discusses overall goals

Below: (L to R) Superintendent John Borman and board President John Mann ponder budget issues. Photo by Harriet Halbig

By Harriet Halbig

The Board of Education of the Lewis-Palmer School District met with its new superintendent, John Borman, at a work session on June 2.

The group discussed its long-term goals at that meeting, including the desire to be competitive on a national level and to restore resources that have been cut over the past three years.

Board member Jeff Ferguson said that the board should determine what excellence in education should look like. He said that many of the most recent board meetings have dealt primarily with the budget and not the goals of the district.

Members agreed that once the board determines the elements involved in excellence, the district will be prominent not only in the state but nationally. The class of 2011 excelled and received many scholarships, acceptance in universities such as Stanford and MIT and the military academies, and dominated the state in ACT scores and other measures.

Impact of budget cuts

At his final meeting with the board, Interim Superintendent Ted Bauman presented a list of cuts from the district budget that he felt would negatively impact achievement (see the D-38 article in the May issue).

Using that list as a basis for discussion, Borman expressed his views on the district’s future. He said that while the relationships between the district and the families of students are critical, the cutbacks in intervention could be damaging.

Bauman had listed the availability of reading, writing, and math teachers for those falling behind as among the resources no longer available.

Borman and board President John Mann agreed. Mann commented that students entering the district in ninth or 10th grade often have trouble keeping up with their peers. For this reason, Borman agreed that restoring intervention can be critical to retain students in the district.

Board member Mark Pfoff commented that it is important to look at the district’s competition on the national level. In this way, the district could better itself and also attract and retain enrollment. He also said that determining why students opt out of the district could lead to improvements.

Ferguson agreed that it is crucial to let people know what the district’s aspirations are and to convey the message that District 38 is the place to be.

Borman commented that, as a principal, he met each year with families who had done research on the local districts and chose Lewis-Palmer. He added that the district should identify the things it does better than others.

Board member Gail Wilson said that research shows that outstanding pre-K education is a critical basis for academic success in later years. She urged the board to learn if the Lewis-Palmer program meets industry standards in this area. She also urged the board to consider increasing the pay for the preschool teachers to confirm that their value is understood.

The board also discussed the option of contacting graduates after their second or third year in college to ask whether they felt well-prepared to continue into higher education.

Other items on Borman’s list of concerns included cuts in textbook purchases, cuts in teacher training, and cuts in technology spending. Many computers are being put out of service due to their age, and funding for technology maintenance is lacking. He said that increased class size will also have an impact. The teachers are being burdened with more class time and less planning time, and students in larger classes get less individual attention, he said.

Mann agreed, saying also that even in high school, there must be a relationship between teachers and individual students.

Wilson said that although there are no data to indicate that class size is harmful, personal experience indicates that it is. The board discussed the fact that class size at Monument Academy is limited to 24, which is a selling point for the school. Public schools do not have the option of refusing admission to control class size.

Mann commented that the district also needs to consider the recruitment of superior teachers in the future and that large class sizes and pay freezes impact the attractiveness of the district as a place of employment.

The board discussed the possibility of putting a mill levy override (MLO) on the ballot next year and how to promote the district in a way that would generate support from the voters. Several approaches to the question were discussed, including comparisons with other nearby districts that receive funds to support military dependents and other funds in addition to the state’s base amount.

The board agreed that the capital funding issue must also be addressed in an MLO because the continued cuts are having an impact on the infrastructure that could result in replacement of large items. Ferguson commented that it would be particularly troublesome to have a failure that would require closing schools, such as a failed boiler.

Wilson pointed out that, unlike the districts to the south, District 38 is geographically large and requires chains on its buses and other special considerations.

Board meeting, June 16

The board voted to approve its 2011-12 budget as discussed at previous meetings. Assistant Superintendent of Operations Cheryl Wangeman commented that the suggestions of the long-range planning task force resulted in a savings of over $1 million. She also said that continuing negotiations with Black Hills Energy may result in additional savings on utilities.

Borman said that enrollment figures for the coming year are ahead of last year’s at this time. If the trend continues, this could bring additional revenue to the district. He also said that negotiations with Advantage 3, the firm that arranges branding of district assets, continue.

In a brief discussion of teacher funding, Borman said that $200,000 has been set aside in the budget to allow for the hiring of additional teachers during the summer if it appears that enrollment increases significantly. He said that at Bear Creek Elementary, it appears a new math teacher will be needed at the sixth-grade level.

Board members Wilson and Ferguson commented that they are confident that there is enough in reserves to finish the coming year as planned regardless of potential rescissions.

Regarding a possible bonus for staff, Wangeman suggested waiting until after the October count of students to have a more certain idea of funding.

DAAC report

Co-Chair Steve Braun presented a report on the past year’s accomplishments of the District Accountability Advisory Committee (DAAC). He said that the committee hopes to spend more time analyzing individual school improvement plans in the coming year and that he and Co-Chair Cori Tanner have met with Superintendent Borman to discuss roles and priorities for the future.

Among DAAC’s accomplishments were involvement in interviews for the new superintendent, a funding forum sponsored by the Committee for Political Achievement, and discussion of academic integrity.

Braun said a new administrative liaison could impact future activity on the committee and that additional subcommittees could be formed. He said that the committee perceives itself as being answerable to the board rather than the superintendent.

Ferguson said that the position of DAAC within the district will be discussed at an upcoming board retreat.

Renewal of contract with Monument Academy

Board member Robb Pike, Wangeman and Superintendent Borman have been meeting with officials from Monument Academy and reported that they have not reached an agreement on a new contract. The board passed a resolution to approve the contract by July 20, retroactive to July 1.

Intent to participate in election

The board passed a resolution to notify the county of its intent to participate in the November election. An additional resolution was passed, instructing that the district seek nominations for the board.

Superintendent’s report

Borman reported that he has met with many individuals, the Chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis, and other groups in the past few months. He is scheduled to speak to the Tri-Lakes Women’s Club in the near future.

He said that the high school graduations were successful and thanked New Life Church for waiving its fees to allow the ceremonies to be moved there from the Air Force Academy because of heightened security.

Referring to a newspaper article, Borman recommended that the district not seek to receive funding from the Gates Foundation to create a new system of teacher assessment. He said it would be unwise to devote time and resources to such a project at this time.

Borman also said that curriculum mapping in the district is a priority. The district is addressing new state standards as it develops new courses of study.

Citizens’ comments

Deb Goth, a district parent and committee member, addressed the board and read a letter from Kassie Mirabel, the student body president and recent graduate of Palmer Ridge High School, expressing how much she appreciated the fact that her teachers all took a personal interest in her and encouraged her throughout her schooling in District 38. Mirabel attended schools in the district from fourth grade until graduation.

Gordon Reichel thanked Wangeman and Pfoff for meeting with him to discuss his concerns about a letter from the state Department of Education that referred to fines for misreporting enrollment figures in 2007 (see last month’s Board of Education article). He requested that any future situations of this sort be made public.

Ana Konduris commended the board for complying with recent legislation requiring the board to make financial information available online in a printable format. This information includes the annual adopted budget, financial schedules, and salary schedules.

She said that beginning in July 2011, the district must also post its credit/debit schedules and check registers. In 2012, investment information must also be made available.

Consent agenda

The board approved a list of routine items such as minutes of past meetings, hirings and retirement of staff, and contracts over $25,000, among other items. Regarding the contracts, Wangeman said they include such things as water, trash collection, custodial supplies, advanced placement testing, and supplies such as food and fuel.

**********

The Lewis-Palmer Board of Education meets at 6 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month in the district’s Learning Center, 146 Jefferson St., Monument. There will be no meeting in July. The next meeting will be on Aug. 18.

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

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Direction 38 school funding forum, June 20: School budget constraints described at forum

Below: State Rep. Amy Stephens welcomed attendees to the forum. Todd Herreid (L) of the State Legislative Council explained the funding process. State Board of Education Representative Paul Lundeen (R) suggested ways to cope with limited funding. Photo by Harriet Halbig.

By Harriet Halbig

Citizens group Direction 38 hosted a forum on K-12 education funding on June 20 at the Tri-Lakes YMCA. State Rep. Amy Stephens attended, along with Todd Herreid of the Colorado State Legislative Council and state Board of Education Representative Paul Lundeen.

Also in attendance were elected representatives of Monument and School Districts 38, 20, and 49, which are within Stephens’ district, and members of the public.

Stephens said that members of Direction 38 had asked her questions shared by many in the state. She said there is a discussion of re-examining the school funding process because the latest revisions occurred 16 years ago.

Stephens stressed that school funding is a major portion of the state budget and making major adjustments in schools would adversely affect other aspects of state finance.

Addressing the present situation, she said that current property values soon will be known, and these values have a major impact on funding, representing up to a third of total revenues.

Stephens said that District 38 Interim Superintendent Ted Bauman met with her before the last legislative session. Although his suggestions were valuable, including a request to cut back on reporting requirements, she said that it is more valuable to speak when there is time to write legislation and make plans in anticipation of the next session.

There is less than 1 percent of discretionary spending in the state budget, and education is an emotional subject, Stephens said. Contrary to popular belief, offering businesses incentives to move into the state does not impact school funding, but health care costs may impact education and health care is another emotional issue.

Stephens said that she supports all types of education including online, charter schools, and parochial schools as well as public schools. Her son attended school in Academy District 20.

Funding formula

Herreid said that the State Legislative Council provides information to the Legislature without taking a side in any debate.

He explained that school funding is determined by the state constitution and other statutes.

At present, the statewide base funding is $5,635 per pupil. In addition to this, the state provides additional funding on the basis of local cost of living, size of the district (small rural districts receive up to $14,000 per pupil because they cannot take advantage of economy of scale in purchasing and must support an infrastructure with few students), and at-risk factors based on the number of students receiving free or reduced-price lunches.

District 38 will receive $6,138 per pupil in the coming year. This district, as well as 13 others in the state, is "floor funded," meaning that it does not greatly benefit from the above considerations. Of the $6,138, $1,941 will come from local taxes on real estate and vehicles.

Herreid said that Title I funds supporting special education and other federal funds are not a part of the above figures. State funds for special education and transportation are also separate.

Funds from mill levy overrides (MLOs) and bond issues are also separate.

Herreid fielded a number of questions from the audience. He said that lobbying does not affect funding. There is no additional funding to reward a district for good performance. He said that the Legislature has studied funding in adjoining states and found a great variance in amounts and procedures.

State Board of Education

Lundeen said that the state Board of Education meets two days each month. It writes rules and makes suggestions to the Legislature and the state Department of Education. It has a say only in the selection of the commissioner of education.

Lundeen said that his family chose to live in District 38 due to the quality of its schools.

He said he is frustrated that there is unlikely to be an improvement in funding in the near future but that the answer to the frustration is to find great leadership to guide the state to a new vision of education. District 49 is now entering a period of innovation.

Lundeen said that it is critical to include parents and community in the mix when determining the strengths and goals of a district. He added that District 38 has great parents and community involvement.

He referred to Senate Bill 191, which requires a new teacher assessment process. New rules are now being written.

For districts that feel they are unnecessarily burdened with reporting tasks, Lundeen said that the state Board of Education can grant waivers and welcomed their applications.

Most critical is for educators to be creative and look for a future picture of education rather than trying to recapture the past, Lundeen said.

**********

Direction 38 will hold a forum on school choice and building community relations on July 18, 6:30 p.m. at Monument Academy, 1150 Village Ridge Point.

Direction 38’s website is www.lpd38.org.

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

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Don’t let a little rain make you forget about wildfire danger

By the Colorado State Forest Service

This year’s early wildfires in Colorado serve as a reminder that all Coloradans who live in an area at risk from wildfire can take steps to protect their homes. Firefighters, who put themselves at risk every time they fight a wildfire, cannot protect every structure from fast-moving fires, particularly in areas where no defensible space work has been done. This means firefighters will focus first on protecting structures and properties that are prepared for wildfire.

The recent rain in parts of Colorado may lure people into thinking they don’t need to take measures to protect their homes, but just a few days without measurable precipitation can turn green grasses into fine fuels that will quickly carry a fire. In other words, it’s not a matter of if a wildfire will occur; it’s a matter of when.

When we take the necessary precautions, our homes have a better chance of withstanding a wildfire. This starts by maintaining a home with wildfire safety in mind. We encourage homeowners to follow the guidelines established by the National Fire Protection Association’s Firewise Communities and Colorado’s Are You FireWise? programs. That includes giving special consideration to using fire-resistant building materials such as metal roofing, which is impenetrable to embers.

Another important recommendation is to surround homes by a ring of defensible space. In Colorado, that means removing all flammable vegetation within 15 feet of structures and extending defensible space up to 75 feet by thinning trees, mowing grasses, and keeping all vegetation trimmed. Even simple steps such as routine yard cleanup can keep homes, communities, and other property from becoming fuel for a wildfire.

The Firewise Communities and Colorado’s Are You FireWise? programs provide detailed information on building and modifying homes and landscaping to make them likelier to survive a wildfire. They can teach you how to make your community safer and help reduce the risk of losing lives, property, and our state’s important natural resources to wildfire. The Colorado State Forest Service has experts who can help you become FireWise. Free materials are available online at the Colorado State Forest Service website ( http://csfs.colostate.edu ).

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Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District, June 22: Groups criticized for plan to make soldiers, firefighters pay for breakfasts

Below: The Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District board presents Training Officer Lt. Mike Keough with the district’s Achievement of Excellence Award. From left are board members John Hildebrandt, Bill Ingram, and Rod Wilson, Lt. Mike Keough, Chief Robert Denboske, board President Charlie Pocock, and board members Roger Lance and Barbara Kelly Photo by Bernard Minetti

Below: Battalion Chief Mike Dooley explains the operation of the new self-contained breathing apparatus to the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District Board. In the background, Administrative Assistant Jennifer Martin observes the demonstration. Photo by Bernard Minetti

By Bernard L. Minetti

On June 22, the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District Board expressed its displeasure with initial plans to charge 40 soldiers from Fort Carson and firefighters for their breakfasts at this month’s Fourth of July parade in Monument.

The soldiers and firefighters were invited to participate in the parade and were to be charged $3 each for their breakfasts. Board Treasurer John Hildebrandt made a motion to express displeasure with the Kiwanis Club for allowing it and the St. Peter Catholic Church’s Knights of Columbus for initiating the charge.

The board indicated that the Kiwanis Club and the Knights of Columbus should recognize that these individuals are protecting the community and that it was inappropriate to charge them at all and in particular during an event of this nature. The motion passed unanimously.

It was noted that the Kiwanis Club eventually indicated that they would pay the Knights of Columbus for all the breakfasts of the soldiers and firefighters.

Audit approved

Rubin Brown Co. representative Julia A. Stone, CPA, presented an overview of the annual budget audit process. The results in a portion of the document were noted as follows: "In our opinion, (Bondi & Co.) the financial statements referred to previously present fairly, in all material respects, the respective financial position of the governmental activities and the major fund of the district, as of Dec. 31, 2010, and the respective changes in financial position thereof for the year ended in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America."

Stone noted that the final net assets were $2,090,906 at the end of fiscal year 2010. Following Stones’ presentation, the board voted unanimously to accept the document in its entirety.

Battalion Chief Mike Dooley presented and explained the workings of the new self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) that had been acquired. He said the new equipment is lighter and more effective in its role in firefighting.

The board noted that Dooley had been responsible for the board’s purchase of much of the district’s equipment. He was commended for his many hours of investigation and explanation of the workings and cost-effectiveness of the various equipment.

The board then recognized Dooley for exemplary and consistent performance and announced that he had been nominated for the Distinguished Manager of the Year Award to be determined by the Special District Association.

District Training Officer Lt. Mike Keough presented the monthly training report. He noted that the total training hours in May were 1,004. He noted that this figure was high because of the need to bring all firefighter certifications up to the required levels. It was further noted in the report that Fire/All Hazard Specific training hours were 695, Emergency Medical Service Specific hours totaled 285, and the Physical Fitness hours totaled 24.

The board noted the excellence of Keough’s performance as training officer and his professionalism and dedication to this assignment. It presented Keough with the district’s Achievement of Excellence Award. This award is only presented in situations where a firefighter has performed far and above the norm and has been a distinguished example for other firefighters.

**********

The next Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District Board meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 27, at the district’s Administration Center at 166 Second St. in Monument. For further information regarding this meeting, contact Administrative Assistant Jennifer Martin at 719-484-0911.

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

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Wescott breaks ground for new fire station

Below: A ground-breaking ceremony for the new Donald Wescott Fire Protection District fire station to be built on the northeast corner of the intersection of Highway 83 and Stagecoach Road was held in the damp chill of early morning on May 14, prior to Wescott’s safety fair. Manning the shovels from left to right are Wescott Chief Vinny Burns and Director Greg Gent, Kevin McCullough of general contractor Colarelli Construction, Wescott Director Bo McCallister, Brad Schmitt of Colarelli, and Wescott Assistant Chief Scott Ridings. Photo by Jim Kendrick.

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Donald Wescott Fire Protection District, June 22: Fire Marshal Margo Humes sworn in

Below: On June 22, Margo Humes was sworn in by Board Chairman Scott Campbell as the Donald Wescott Fire Protection District Fire Marshal. Left to right: Campbell, Humes, Assistant Chief Scott Ridings. Photo provided by DWFPD.

Below: On June 23, members of the Donald Wescott Fire Protection District board inspected the new Rosenbauer Type 3 pumper purchased from and custom-designed by Max Fire Apparatus in Castle Rock. The pumper was manufactured by Rosenbauer’s South Dakota Division in Lyons, S.D. The Type 3 pumper is narrower, not as tall, and has a shorter wheelbase than a standard full-size Type 1 pumper and will be more advantageous in the rural, heavily-wooded areas with long, narrow driveways on the east side of the district. From left to right, directors Bo McCallister and Greg Gent, Chief Vinny Burns, Assistant Chief Scott Ridings, directors Harland Baker and Scott Campbell. Photo provided by DWFPD.

By Jim Kendrick

On June 22, Scott Campbell, Donald Wescott Fire Protection District Board Chairman, formally swore in newly appointed District Fire Marshal Margo Humes. She then introduced El Paso County Sheriff’s Office Deputies Mark Miller and Brad Bankford, and Tom Hannick of the U.S. Forest Service who are teaching her to become an arson dog handler.

Director Bo McCallister thanked Miller and Bankford for the excellent support provided by the Sheriff’s office during the district’s funeral for the late former Wescott Chief Jeff Edwards on June 1. Campbell and Chief Vinny Burns also commended several people for the work done in organizing the funeral.

Director Joyce Hartung’s absence due to an out-of-town family emergency was excused.

Some of the items Humes noted in her first fire marshal report were:

  • She has found 106 fire code violations since she started inspections on Jan. 27; 85 have been corrected.
  • Wescott was awarded a $12,000 forest restoration pilot grant.
  • On June 12 Wescott personnel handed out literature on "firewise" wildfire mitigation at a Pleasant View Estates HOA picnic in Fox Run Park.
  • On June 18 Forester Keith Worley and Wescott personnel made a videotape on wildfire mitigation at the construction site for the new fire station on the northeast corner of Highway 83 and Stagecoach Road.
  • A North End Group subcommittee has finished the final rough draft of an International Fire Code amendment that will next be approved by the six fire departments, then forwarded to the Board of County Commissioners for approval and the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department for adoption.

Campbell asked Humes to brief the board at future board meetings on the code violations that have not been corrected.

Administrative Assistant Cheryl Marshall reported that about 38 percent of the budget has been expended. Due to the Edwards retirement and funeral ceremonies, the total budget lines for awards and uniforms have been exceeded by a small amount. Firefighters will repay the district on a time payment plan for the new class A uniforms the district purchased for them for the funeral.

Marshall distributed a draft of the 2010 audit prepared by Tom Sistare of Hoelting & Co. for the directors to review. Sistare will present his final draft to the board at the July 27 board meeting.

Assistant Chief Scott Ridings reported that there were 124 calls in May. Burns noted that a Wescott crew and a Type 6 brush truck had deployed to Arizona to help fight the 220,000-acre Horseshoe 2 brush fire, which is excellent training for local brush fires. The district participated in the Muscular Dystrophy Association Chili Cook-off fundraiser in Colorado Springs on June 24. Wescott will enter a team in the July 30 American Cancer Society 24-hour Relay for Life fundraiser at Lewis-Palmer High School. Marshall reported that a new consultant company will be updating the district’s web site and training the staff to maintain it. The district’s information technology contractor has replaced the router.

The meeting adjourned at 7:42 p.m.

**********

The next regular meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on July 27 at Station 1, 15415 Gleneagle Drive. Meetings are normally held on the fourth Wednesday of the month. Information: 488-8680.

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

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Monument Board of Trustees, June 6: Operational agreements with Triview renewed

By Jim Kendrick

On June 6, the Monument Board of Trustees approved the annual renewal of intergovernmental agreements (IGAs) with Triview Metropolitan District to have town staff members operate the district’s drinking water system and conduct some engineering reviews.

However, the town board and the Triview board still have not been able to resolve their differences on an IGA to cover what services will be provided to Triview by the town’s department heads and how the town should be compensated for the work done for this independent and financially distressed special developer district that operates under different statutes than the town.

The engineering IGA partially solves the problem for the services provided to Triview by the town engineer. Triview has not had its own staff since March 2009 and has relied on the town staff to run the district through a variety of IGAs. Some former Triview employees have been hired by the town, but still do the same work for Triview on a contract basis through various annually renewed IGAs.

The board also approved annexation of the Family of Christ Lutheran Church property on Baptist Road, and town planned development (PD) zoning and an "as is" sketch PD site plan for these two lots. Three ordinances to amend sections of the town code were also approved.

All members of the board were present at the meeting.

Mayor Travis Easton announced at the start of the meeting that the agenda item for presentation of the Jim Moore Award would be postponed because the recipients were unable to attend the meeting. The board unanimously approved the agenda as amended.

Two Triview IGAs approved

Town Manager Cathy Green gave an overview of the 2011 IGA, which is an annually renewed flat fee contract with Triview for having licensed town Public Works water operators run and maintain the Triview water treatment plants and potable water distribution system. Although the signing of this IGA has been delayed for months, Triview already is paying the town $29,158.75 per month for providing this service. The board unanimously approved this IGA.

When questioned about the road maintenance IGA with Triview, Green noted that the current separate two-year IGA between the town and Triview for landscaping and road maintenance in Jackson Creek by town Public Works personnel was signed in 2010 and extends through the end of 2012, so that fee structure is different from and independent of the much higher fee structure of the water IGA. The town’s Public Works Department also took over roads and landscape maintenance responsibilities from a Triview contractor at the end of 2010.

A third separate and new type of IGA for engineering services provided by Director of Development Services Tom Kassawara on an hourly basis was also approved. The town will now receive $75 per hour, paid to the General Fund, for Kassawara to provide Town Engineer services outside of the defined scope of work in the IGA, only if time permits. Examples of such work are contract management and work on the district’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 404 permit for endangered species habitat. For the past couple of years, when time permitted, Kassawara has provided these kinds of services for no compensation to the town.

Town services for Triview may be coming to an end

A technical question-and-answer discussion with the trustees covered specific details in these two IGAs. The town department heads have been providing free management services to Triview for several years. During this interval there were supposed to be negotiations between the district and town boards on how the town would be compensated for this supervisory work. However, negotiations for compensation have never reached a conclusion.

Green said the fees charged in these two IGAs for 2011 have increased to cover more of the town’s actual costs for support. As a result of the fee increase the Triview board will be seeking requests for proposal for outsourcing these staff and Public Works services to private third-party contractors and consultants in 2012 since they are no longer completely or partially subsidized by the other residents of Monument who live outside of Triview. She said that Triview President Bob Eskridge has assured her that all existing IGAs with the town will remain in place through the end of 2011.

Trustee Rafael Dominguez asked Green if there would be a problem if Triview does not renew some or all of the IGAs with the town for direct staff support. Several town employees work entirely for Triview. She said if there are problems, she will bring them to the Board of Trustees.

Easton asked if the proposed IGAs were for 2012 or 2011. Green reiterated that the two proposed IGAs were for 2011 only. Town Treasurer Pamela Smith confirmed that Triview had been paying the increased 2011 fees in the water IGA, even though this 2011 IGA had never been approved.

Public Works Director Rich Landreth explained how the increased flat monthly fee for operating the Triview water distribution system in 2011 was estimated. There is a fee in this new IGA of $45 per hour per person for work performed by Public Works staff outside of the IGA scope of work, plus equipment expenses, parts, and materials. Landreth said he hoped Triview would continue to use his staff members for services "because we’re all one happy family, right?"

These two 2011 IGAs had not been brought to the town board for approval due to delays of several months by the Triview board in hiring its own full-time district manager to take over after Green told the Triview board in 2010 that she would no longer provide district manager services without compensation to the town.

The water IGA and landscape and roads maintenance IGA were unanimously approved.

Church property annexation, PD zoning, and PD sketch plan approved

The board held a public hearing on a resolution that stated that the two lots by Baptist Road owned by the Family of Christ Lutheran Church are in substantial compliance with all state statute requirements for being eligible for annexation. The church wants to annex its lots to become eligible for inclusion by Triview Metropolitan District in order to start Triview water and sewer service. There were no comments from citizens during the open portion of the public hearing on this resolution. The resolution states that the board found that:

  • Not less than one-sixth of the perimeter of the area proposed to be annexed is contiguous with the annexing municipality.
  • A community of interest exists between the area proposed to be annexed and the annexing municipality.
  • The area is urban or will be urbanized in the near future.
  • The area is integrated with, or is capable of being integrated with, the annexing municipality.

Then the board held a hearing on an ordinance for the annexation of the church property. The ordinance also assigned Town of Monument Planned Development (PD) zoning for the annexed property, lots 45 and 46 of the Chaparral Hills development. Kassawara explained how the proposal met the:

  • Five state statutory annexation requirements.
  • Four land use principles and policies in the town’s Comprehensive Plan.
  • Five annexation principles and policies in the town’s Comprehensive Plan.
  • Eleven annexation guidelines in the town’s Comprehensive Plan.

There were no comments from citizens regarding this ordinance during the open portion of this public hearing.

There were two conditions of approval recommended by the town staff for this ordinance:

  1. Any necessary technical corrections shall be made prior to recording the annexation ordinance.
  2. The property shall be included in the Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority (BRRTA) prior to recording the annexation ordinance.

BRRTA financed the construction of the new frontage road from Leather Chaps Road to the church parking lot because the county standards for a major four-lane collector with a median prohibited all the existing driveways on the original two-lane road for the church and residential lots to the east of the church on the south side of Baptist Road. Baptist Road remains a county road.

The Monument Board of Trustees had originally sought to take ownership of Baptist Road in order to be able to add a traffic light and four-way intersection at the access to the east end of the King Soopers and Monument Ridge shopping centers, since county standards for a major collector prohibit this kind of intersection so close to the Jackson Creek Parkway traffic signal. However, the town has stopped seeking this four-way intersection since the resignation of former Mayor Byron Glenn.

The Triview board has already approved inclusion of the church property into the metro district and will provide the desired water and wastewater utility connections to the two lots.

BRRTA has not yet included the church property but is expected to do so soon.

The Monument Planning Commission unanimously approved the annexation and PD zoning at a hearing on April 13.

The Board of Trustees unanimously approved the ordinance for annexation and PD zoning and the two proposed conditions.

The board then held a public hearing on an ordinance for the proposed sketch PD site plan, which simply records the existing improvements and easements on the two lots of the church’s property. There was one condition of approval recommended by the town staff for this ordinance:

  1. Any necessary technical corrections shall be made prior to recording the annexation ordinance.

Kassawara explained how the proposed sketch PD site plan proposal met the eight review and approval criteria in the town code. Some of the details in the sketch plan were:

  • The size of the property is 8.98 acres.
  • The size of the existing church and school building is 35,072 square feet.
  • The size of the existing parking lot is 1.39 acres.
  • The eastern Lot 45 is undeveloped and is currently used for overflow parking and some outdoor events.

There were no comments from citizens regarding this ordinance during the open portion of this public hearing. The board unanimously approved the ordinance for the sketch plan with the single proposed condition.

Code for signs and outdoor advertising amended

Kassawara first discussed the previous sign code revision approved in 2008. He then stated that each "key change" proposed in this latest revision is less restrictive than the current existing code to "provide more flexibility for commercial property owners" so that the code is more "user friendly" and easier to enforce. He said that the state and county standard for "Variable Message Boards" is for the message to change no less than every eight seconds and recommended that the town now adopt a minimum standard of eight seconds as well.

The current code limits message change frequency to no less than once an hour, a standard that has never been enforced and is widely ignored. The original one-change-per-hour restriction was created in response to Trustee Tommie Plank’s and former Mayor Byron Glenn’s outspoken dislike for the signs, particularly the new electronic signs, that were installed when the Rocky Mountain Oil Change Center was expanded and remodeled about four years ago.

For more information on the disparity in sign code enforcement by the Board of Trustees that this proposed revision is supposed to rectify, see:

There were numerous technical changes in the proposed code revision. Some of the key changes in this revision to the sign and outdoor landscaping code were:

  • The staff will have discretion to reduce or eliminate landscaping requirements for freestanding and monument signs in order to adjust to site conditions.
  • Monument signs will no longer have to be solid from the ground to the top of the sign.
  • Display of American flags will now be allowed for the time-temperature-date sub-category of variable electronic signs.
  • Non-conforming abandoned sign structures can be left standing on a vacant property for up to 180 days rather than the former limit of 60 days.
  • Non-conforming sign structures must be brought into code compliance if 50 percent or more of its message is changed rather than the former limit of 25 percent.
  • Any sign that is damaged by an accident or an act of God can be replaced without a permit if the sign conforms to the town code. Previously, a permit was required if a repair cost over 50 percent of the sign’s value.
  • The director of Development Services is now authorized to modify the requirements for sign configuration and/or the five feet of landscaping around the base of freestanding signs if there are physical constraints, such as an existing sidewalk, to installing the landscaping or irrigation or if the landscaping will not be readily visible to motorists or pedestrians.
  • If a sign is mounted on two columns, they now must both be "substantial" rather than each having a width at least one-third the width of the sign.
  • Freeway-oriented signs may now be mounted on a single pole if it is within 500 feet of a freeway in a C-1 commercial zone, rather than the current restriction of being mounted only on a pedestal base or on two columns with a width at least one-third the width of the sign.
  • Nonprofits may display a banner or sandwich sign for an event without obtaining the formerly required no-cost permit if the sign conforms to code.
  • A prohibition of flashing signs is deleted because it is not being enforced against necessary standard Colorado Department of Transportation signs and those of other agencies.
  • Public interest signs, such as evacuation notices, would now be allowed in all zones rather than only in nonresidential districts.

Kassawara stated that the Planning Commission recommended the sign revisions for approval by a 3 to 2 vote on May 11. The commission’s opinions on the issue were noted in the attached staff report.

After a full hour of discussion about technical issues such as the differences between time-temperature-date electronic signs and the type of electronic sign used by Walgreens, Planning Commissioner Glenda Smith made the motion to approve and Commissioner David Gwizdalla seconded. Initially only three commissioners voted, leading to a 2-1 vote, which was insufficient to approve the motion. Smith and Commissioner Kathy Spence were in favor and Commissioner Jim Fitzpatrick was opposed.

During further discussion about this still-controversial issue, Fitzpatrick said he voted no because the new ordinance only allows American flags. He objected to a Colorado or Town of Monument flag being prohibited on an electronic sign in Monument. Fitzpatrick also objected to allowing the large, fixed billboard signs along I-25 to be changed to electronic signs that could change every eight seconds.

In another vote, Commissioner Becki Tooley also voted no. Commissioner Dave Gwizdalla abstained. Commissioner John Dick voted yes. The final Planning Commission vote was 3-2-1.

As with the Planning Commission hearing just noted above, there were no citizen comments during the open portion of this Board of Trustees public hearing. The trustees unanimously approved the ordinance for the sign and landscaping code revision.

Code changes for minor subdivisions and resubdivisions approved

Kassawara stated that the proposed ordinance updates to the subdivision regulations are intended to clarify and streamline the procedures for minor subdivisions, minor resubdivisions, and lot line adjustments. He explained the new criteria for approving such requests for commercial parcels. Some of the key changes in this revision of the code were:

  • "Lot line adjustments" was added to the chapter title because this term replaced the definition of and requirement for replats.
  • The staff eliminated the provision that a commercial subdivision may only use the administrative process when commercial properties adjoin with other properties with a less intense land use.
  • The director of Development Services may schedule public hearings by the Planning Commission and Board of Trustees if any concerns or opposition to a minor subdivision are received following standard public notice of a proposed subdivision or lot line adjustment.
  • The staff deleted a requirement to submit drainage, utility, and vehicular circulation plans because this information is required to be submitted for site plan applications.
  • Public notice requirements are easier to find now.
  • A registered land surveyor now must provide appropriate information in a specified format for plat submittals.
  • Development Services may now seek comments from referral agencies or consultants.
  • All submittals must now conform to the town’s review and approval criteria.
  • Applicants must now notify mineral estate owners of their applications for subdivisions.
  • A new section was added to describe the recording requirements for a subdivision.

There were no citizen comments during the open portion of the public hearing.

Trustee Gail Drumm said he wanted to eliminate the revision that would allow the staff to administratively approve lot line adjustments rather than having the board review them. He said he wanted to be called by Kassawara because he would always be "curious" and "have a concern about any lot line adjustment application" under this chapter of the code. Kassawara said Drumm would be notified if he owned an adjacent parcel.

Green stated that any lot line adjustment would be done in a manner "so that the resulting lot is still in compliance with that zone" and no lot would be created that would be nonconforming. Any request for a nonconforming lot must go to the Board of Adjustment in any case.

Plank told Drumm that she could not remember an incident where a lot line adjustment required board intervention for an existing plat. Green confirmed Plank’s statement. Easton added that this revision would make commercial and business applicants "happy" and simplify the process. Kassawara replied that this revision would make the "process last weeks rather than months."

Trustee Stan Gingrich suggested that statements giving authority to the Department of Development Services be changed to uniformly give the authority to the department director to be consistent with the rest of the town code. There was board consensus on this suggested amendment.

The proposed ordinance change was approved as amended on a 5-1-1 vote with Drumm opposed. Dominguez abstained because he owns commercial property in downtown Monument and may be asking for a resubdivision of his lot in the future.

Code change regarding dedications approved

Kassawara explained that the proposed ordinance corrects a "scrivener’s error" that occurred when revisions to Chapter 16.32 were adopted in 2010. Section 16.32.020, which deals with "School land dedication or cash in-lieu thereof", was inadvertently deleted due to a numbering error. The proposed ordinance reinstates the item as Section 16.32.050. There are no changes or substance to the code language involved in this correction.

There were no citizen comments during the open portion of the public hearing. The ordinance for correcting this error was unanimously approved.

Pikes Peak Regional Building Commission expansion supported

Drumm recommended a proposed resolution that supported adding four members to the three-person Pikes Peak Regional Building Commission. Three of the seven seats would have elected officials or appointed representatives from the five smaller jurisdictions in the region. Drumm said this change would give Monument better representation rather than the current single elected official currently appointed to represent all five smaller jurisdiction members. The resolution of support was unanimously approved.

Two liquor licenses approved

Scott Meszaros, town clerk, briefed the board on procedures for an application for a new hotel restaurant liquor license for the Spicy Basil restaurant at 562 Highway 105. This location is the vacant space in the Safeway shopping center next to the Subway restaurant. He noted that all processing, posting, and notifications have been completed and that all fees have been collected. Background checks by the Monument Police Department had been conducted, and fingerprints of the owner and registered manager had been sent to Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

Meszaros stated that a representative of Liu Inc., Guo Wei Qiang, registered manager, was there to present the needs and desires of the neighborhood for this new license location. Guo said the new restaurant would be opening in about two months.

There were no citizen comments during the open portion of the public hearing. The board unanimously approved the new liquor license.

The board also approved a special event liquor permit for the nonprofit Starlight Children’s Foundation. The foundation is sponsoring a beer tent at 183 Washington St. as a part of the Fourth of July street fair. Meszaros stated that all fees and application items had been properly submitted and proper notice has been provided for the hearing.

There were no citizen comments during the open portion of the public hearing. The board unanimously approved the special event liquor permit with no conditions.

Western Heritage Days events previewed

John Skalla, president of the Pikes Peak Range Riders, introduced his Range Riders colleague Corliss Palmer. Both invited everyone to attend the Western Heritage Days events that support the 71st Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo starting with the Pikes Peak Sertoma’s street breakfast in Colorado Springs on June 22 followed immediately by the start of 63rd Range Ride event. Proceeds from the breakfast fee of $5 for adults and the rodeo go to local military charities. For more information on the mission and values of the Range Riders, see www.pikespeakrangeriders.net.

Brad Kreikemeier, project manager for the rodeo and a branch president at Bank of Colorado, gave an overview of the rodeo events that start with a concert on July 9 at the Norris-Penrose Event Center, followed by a parade on Tejon Street in downtown Colorado Springs on Tuesday, July 12 at 6:30 p.m. The rodeo events start July 13 and conclude July 16. For more information on all the events see www.coloradospringsrodeo.com/events.

Dayna Jenkins, Girl of the West, and Caitlin Kern, Aide to Girl of the West, gave a very detailed and carefully choreographed description of all the events of Western Heritage Days. They handed out posters, brochures, and neckerchiefs with event promotions to each member of the board. See www.coloradospringsrodeo.com/the-girls for more information.

Financial report

Treasurer Smith reviewed the April 2011 Financial Statements and Summary. She also reported that a payment of $5,209 to Dutch Heritage Gardens was approved for the flowers that were planted by about 400 volunteers during the Big Plant day held on May 28.

The financial summary and payment were unanimously approved.

Easton thanked Trustee Jeff Kaiser for his leadership of about 400 volunteers from two congregations during the Big Plant day. Kaiser thanked the staff for their assistance.

Trustee Plank announced the start of the summer series of eight Wednesday evening concerts in Limbach Park from June 8 through July 27, 7-9 p.m.

Nonprofit donations discussed

Green handed out a spreadsheet to the trustees that listed budgeted obligations, such as a contribution to the Palmer Lake July 4 Fireworks Committee, as well as the amounts requested by various local area groups. She asked the board to review the staff’s recommendations and then e-mail their comments directly to her.

The board voted unanimously to go into executive session for advice on specific legal situations at 9:07 p.m. The board came out of executive session and adjourned at 9:35 p.m. without taking any further actions or votes.

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

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Monument Board of Trustees, June 20: Shirk promotes emergency evacuation planning

Below: Bobby and Arlene Padilla and their five children—Maylene, Isaiah, Jasmine, Isabella, and Jeremiah—described to the Monument Board of Trustees the time it took to evacuate their home during the railroad car hydrochloric acid spill emergency in April. Their presentation was part of the Monument Police Department’s promotion of developing emergency evacuation plans coupled with packing and storing of "72-hour" backpacks for each family member. For more information see www.readycolorado.com. Photo by Jim Kendrick

By Jim Kendrick

On June 20, the Monument Board of Trustees met an hour early so that trustees could attend a Directions 38 meeting on state contributions to public school financing that was scheduled for 6:30 p.m. the same evening at the YMCA building. Monument Police Chief Jake Shirk gave a presentation on the need for all residents to be prepared to quickly evacuate their homes for at least 72 hours. Click here for the article on the Directions 38 meeting.

The board also approved the final draft of the 2010 audit and a special events permit for the annual Fourth of July Street Fair.

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

Family describes evacuation of five kids

Shirk discussed a lesson learned during the April emergency created when a railroad tank car was discovered to be leaking hydrochloric acid, requiring the evacuation of about 250 homes. "I’ve checked with a lot of those folks, and it’s very apparent that we’re not a prepared people," he said. The department will be working to help prepare Monument residents "to be safe and to be able to evacuate in a timely manner."

Shirk invited the family of Bobby and Arlene Padilla to discuss how long it took to evacuate their five children, also in attendance at this board meeting, once they received the order. Arlene said, "Two hours. We were not prepared." Bobby added that the task was complicated because "our baby was only five days old at the time of the evacuation." Shirk presented a backpack kit to the Padillas with 72 hours worth of "survival" materials and instructions on how to prepare six other kits, one backpack for each family member.

Shirk also presented an empty backpack and set of instructions to Mayor Travis Easton, asking him to prepare his own "72-hour" kit by September, National Preparedness Month. He challenged all the board members to prepare and present a similar kit in September to set an example as well.

Shirk displayed his own personal 72-hour kit, noting that his has a lot of technical equipment that others may not need. Shirk said that during his childhood his family had a 72-hour kit in a 55-gallon drum that was too unwieldy to be useful.

Shirk asked all Tri-Lakes residents to consult www.readycolorado.com for further information such as developing a communication plan for getting a family back together if their vehicles get separated during an evacuation, as well checklists and detailed instructions on assembling individual 72-hour kits.

2010 audit approved

CPA John Cutler of John Cutler & Associates LLC answered questions from the board regarding the "clean" 2010 audit report he submitted. He noted that all the town’s funds showed an increase in the fund balance over the year. "That’s good considering the economy and the climate."

When pressed to suggest how the town’s financial management could be improved, Cutler suggested building a reserve in each town fund to cover two to three months of operation, particularly in the general fund. He also noted that a lot of government entities he looks at while performing 50 to 60 audits per year are having difficulties meeting payroll, leading to many layoffs.

Trustee Rafael Dominguez asked how much new debt the town could take on to be able to start new capital projects. Cutler said, "I’m not a bond agent" and could not answer this question. He advised Dominguez to consult a bond agent and a bond attorney to get specific professional advice on incurring more town debt.

Treasurer Pamela Smith added that she had chosen to pay cash for many bills in 2010 to avoid incurring additional interest charges. She also noted that she had invited bond agent John Self of Wells Fargo Brokerage Services to answer these kinds of public financing and debt questions at the July 5 board meeting.

There was no public comment during the open portion of the public hearing. The board unanimously approved Cutler’s 2010 audit with no changes.

Note: In September 2009, Self and bond counsel Kristine Lay of Kutac Rock LLP completed Triview Metropolitan District’s refinancing of all the district’s very high interest developer-owned bonds that financed initial Jackson Creek construction. These tax-free bonds, with interest rates ranging from 9 to 12 percent, were owned by the Jackson Creek developers, Tim and Tom Phelan. They were paid off through the sale of $47,955,000 in new fixed-rate bonds. The all-inclusive interest cost for this series of new bonds with varying maturity lengths and interest rates was about 4.78 percent. The total interest for all these new Triview bonds, if none are paid off prior to full maturity in 2039, is $44,352,566. See www.ocn.me/v9n10.htm#tmd for more details.

Street closing/fair approved

Although no representative of the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce was present to answer public or trustee questions regarding sales tax collection procedures, the board unanimously approved a standard resolution authorizing the temporary closing of portions of Second and Washington Streets from 11 a.m. on July 4 to 3 p.m. on July 4 for the annual street fair, based on the trustees’ assumption that the street fair will be run in the same manner as in 2010.

There was consensus after the vote to approve the resolution that a Chamber representative must attend the next street closure board hearing in June 2012.

Three payments over $5,000 were approved:

  • $109,318 to Triview Metro District for its share of April sales tax ($140,008), May motor vehicle tax ($5,106), and Regional Building sales tax ($203)
  • $25,378 to the Colorado Intergovernmental Risk-Sharing Agency (CIRSA) for the town’s third-quarter workers’ compensation insurance
  • $13,577 to CIRSA for the town’s third-quarter liability insurance

Total net sale tax collections were about $29,000, or 3.9 percent higher than budgeted through April, even though actual revenues for February were about $32,000 less than budgeted. The total amount collected for the first four months ($1,895,547) was higher than for each year from 2004 to 2010, except 2009 ($1,908,547).

Downtown family events praised

Trustee Tommie Plank noted record-setting attendance for the first two weekly summer concerts—held every Wednesday evening in Limbach Park—and that the first two monthly Art Hop events held in downtown Monument have also been very successful. She said there will continue to be "lots of things for Monument families to do downtown" such as the Summer Soul-stice that was held on June 18. Click here for Soul-stice coverage.

Tickets to be issued for parking on sidewalks

Dominguez asked the staff about cracked sidewalks in Triview Metropolitan District.

Town Manager Cathy Green said that homeowners are responsible for repairing their sidewalks. She noted that there are no criteria in the town code that define when a sidewalk is sufficiently cracked to require immediate repair or replacement.

Green also noted that there are rolled curbs rather than vertical curbs in Jackson Creek. Rolled curbs make it easier for vehicles to be parked with wheels on the sidewalk. Sidewalks are not designed nor constructed in a manner to support the weight of a parked vehicle. They inevitably crack under this loading. She said that cars parked with wheels on a sidewalk can be ticketed.

Plank said this is also a problem at Limbach Park because of the new rolled curb and sidewalk.

Green said she would have the code enforcement officer start issuing warning tickets for cars that are parked with wheels on a sidewalk.

The meeting was adjourned at 6:05 p.m.

**********

The next meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 5, at Town Hall, 645 Beacon Lite Road. Meetings are normally held on the first and third Monday of the month. Information: 884-8014.

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

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Palmer Lake Town Council, June 16: Teen’s tennis court project approved

By Kate Wetterer

During the June 16 Palmer Lake Town Council meeting, unanimous support was extended for teenager Morgan Day’s tennis court restoration project. Day approached the council to request help with her campaign and an authorization to raise funds that will be put toward the refurbishment of the town’s tennis courts.

Though she described the condition of the town’s two Glen Park tennis courts on Lovers Lane as "dismal" and said they have long festered in disrepair, Day said she has fond memories of romping around the courts "almost every day" as a child. She intends to organize fundraisers to gather donations for her community project.

For more information on the history of repairs to these tennis courts, see: www.ocn.me/v6n5.htm#tc0413 and www.ocn.me/v8n9.htm#pltc.

Day asked for help from the town with accounting and an introduction to someone who could resurface the courts. Mayor John Cressman read her list of "What needs fixing":

  • Clean off courts
  • Clean out drainage pipes
  • Resurface courts
  • Rewire lights
  • Replace metal cover for the drainage pipe
  • Replace practice board

Cressman said Day’s list of suggestions for raising funds included:

  • Ask local restaurants to donate a percentage at sponsored events
  • Put a flier in water bills asking for donations

Set up a stand at farmers’ markets, Safeway, and Fourth of July activities to ask for donations

  • Set up donation boxes at the Speed Trap, O’Malley’s, and the post office
  • Carwashes and bake sales

Town Clerk Tara Berreth and CPA Linda Ousnamer agreed to handle collected money through the town’s general fund. Deputy Clerk Bob Radosevich announced that he would help Day meet and negotiate with those proposing to resurface the courts.

After the council unanimously approved a motion to offer their support, Mayor Cressman said, "… I’m gonna give the first donation," and plopped $100 from his pocket on the table. To much laughter, Berreth told Day, "You need to give me the money." Berreth added, "And any other money you get needs to come to the town," setting the tone for fiscal responsibility for Day.

Berreth added that she would authorize some Conservation Trust Fund money for Day to use for advertising the project. Cressman told her he already had a lead on someone to resurface the courts.

New business license approved

The council unanimously approved a new business license requested by Jim Adams for Greenbranch Garden Services, to be run from his home at 248 Walnut Ave. One woman who did not give her name objected to Adams’ yard being already cluttered. Trustee Nikki McDonald said she and Radosevich would look at Adams’ yard during a survey of the town for code violations.

The council unanimously approved a donation of $500 to the Chautauqua Event Fund for the Palmer Lake Historical Society.

The council decided to postpone town assistance in expanding the existing William Crawford Memorial at the north end of Palmer Lake. Its specific location will be decided by the Historical Society. Construction of the revamped version of the monument will begin in August 2012. Ron Heard requested the use of one of the town’s tractors and an operator to prepare the location. He intended to plant low-maintenance grass in the area. The council declared that help from the staff will be provided closer to the construction date next year.

The existing memorial and the large rocks around the perimeter of the existing memorial will be moved next year to a location near the library building to be determined by the Historical Society. Billing for electric power and water will be determined by the town staff and the county Parks Department. For more information see: www.crawfordmemorial.org.

Committee reports

Trustee Gary Coleman announced that the community garden is coming along well, and mentioned fund-raising events such as the annual ice cream social at Town Hall for Father’s Day. He also discussed plans to generate money within the park system.

Trustee Michael Maddox listed plans for events to "draw people to the Palmer Lake area," involving several business events and, he said, "regarding the arts in particular."

Police Trustee Nikki McDonald reported 153 calls for aid in May. Local resident Logan Cauthen, police officer Ryan Busey, and members of the Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department successfully intervened in a suicide attempt on May 2, when a 53-year-old woman resident took an overdose of psychiatric medications. Officer Kevin Ringler responded to a call on May 15 that the El Paso County coroner subsequently ruled a "completed" suicide by a 42-year-old woman resident.

Trustee Max Stafford announced that the town is a "month ahead of our usual water usage," saying that normally water use peaks in July. He said 15.31 acre-feet of water are being produced per day in the region. It is important to keep an eye on water use, he said.

Trustee Richard Kuester announced that the Fire Department had responded to 19 calls in May, and16 new volunteers are undergoing rigorous training, including a Flight for Life Helicopter visit scheduled for June 18. The department planned to support a number of activities throughout June, including the annual Elephant Rock bicycle ride, tractor pull, and fishing derby.

Trustee Dennis Stern noted that Dan Orcutt is taking over the roads supervisor position from Bob Radosevich, who has become deputy clerk. Stern discussed the various street repairs and street sign installations performed in May and the need for a long-term town stormwater drainage plan.

Berreth reported that the Town of Monument had not made any changes in renewing the town’s agreement with Comcast regarding the 3 percent franchise fee. She suggested that the Palmer Lake council also make no changes in renewing its agreement with Comcast and its 3 percent franchise fee as well.

Ousnamer described the switch in recording town budget activity to Quickbooks software and new formats for listing actual versus budgeted amounts on the monthly spreadsheets for individual line items and department totals. The 2010 audit visit was scheduled to begin June 27. Ousnamer and Berreth will review the changes with staff supervisors so they can use the new tools to better monitor and control their expenditures.

Public comments

Resident Tim Wagner commented on the importance of people heeding stop signs on Palmer Lake roads such as South Valley Road and Valley Crescent, particularly in neighborhoods with small children. Wagner said that this is a problem in the area and that it would be rectified by "a stronger police presence and patrols on the town streets" and the highway. McDonald added that she has seen motorists running the stop sign next to the police station, but said speed bumps and dips present problems during snow plowing.

Bill Kerner sought council support for a Trails and Open Space Coalition proposal before he formally proposed the plan to the county. Noting the deterioration of public parks, the coalition has proposed a small sales tax to raise funds for a "safety net" to keep the parks in good working order and "take care of what we have."

The plan involves a 0.15 percent sales tax increase, less than the 0.3 percent tax increase proposed to the Monument Board of Trustees, of which 78 percent of the revenue raised would go to Colorado Springs parks, 13.5 percent to El Paso County parks, 6 percent to small cities and towns, 2 percent to a special projects fund for small cities and towns, and a 0.5 percent administration charge through the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments. Kerner said that Palmer Lake’s estimated annual share of tax revenue would be $33,910 and average special projects fund revenue would be $11,304.

There would also be a Citizens Park Advisory Board, consisting of four city members, two county representatives, and someone standing for each of the smaller entities, to be "appointed by elected officials." This board is intended to promote saving, organize resources and funds, and recommend Special Project Grant applications.

According to an April 2011 scientific poll organized by Public Opinion Strategies, 59 percent of the populace supported a 0.10 percent sales tax, and 53 percent supported a 0.25 percent sales tax. Eighty-two percent said citizens "should be given the opportunity to vote on this issue," which is the Palmer Lake council’s stance.

The board approved Kerner’s plan without debate. The council indicated the option of a sales tax for park maintenance should be given to the people to approve or reject this November.

**********

The next regular council meeting will be July 7 at 6:30 p.m. in Town Hall. Regular council meetings are normally held on the second Thursday of the month. Information: www.ci.palmer-lake.co.us or call 481-2953.

Wetterer can be reached at katewetterer@ocn.me.

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El Paso County Planning Commission, June 7: Willow Springs development recommended for approval

By Jim Kendrick

On June 7, the El Paso County Planning Commission approved the proposed zoning and conceptual plan, with many conditions, for the Willow Springs Ranch development just outside of Monument. The Board of County Commissioners will hold a hearing on this plan on July 14.

The Willow Springs Ranch development is a portion of the former Watt family’s property. It is bordered by the railroad tracks to the east, Baptist Road to the south, the Forest Lakes development to the west, and Monument’s Synthes Avenue industrial zone to the north.

In 2008, the Monument Planning Commission and Board of Trustees approved proposals for annexation, rezoning, and a planned development sketch site plan for this very controversial development, with 450 houses approved on two separated portions of the 259-acre parcel. However, neither the annexation agreement nor the site plan was ever recorded before the two banks that own the property foreclosed on the landowner, MHW LLC. The banks have chosen to leave the property in the unincorporated county. The property was included by Monument Sanitation District on Feb. 21, 2008.

For more details on the 2008 proposed site plan, see www.ocn.me/v8n2.htm#monpc, www.ocn.me/v8n3.htm#bot0204, www.ocn.me/v8n3.htm#msd, and www.ocn.me/v8n4.htm#bot0303.

For more details on the current proposed plan, see:

County Planning Commission package for Willow Springs Ranch.

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

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Woodmoor Improvement Association Board of Directors, June 22: Board seeks member votes on covenants, new director of Forestry

By Harriet Halbig

The Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA) still seeks responses from its members regarding changes in the Declaration of Covenants document. An affirmative vote of two-thirds of the homeowners is required for the changes to be passed.

Homeowners received the document and ballot in the mail during April. For those who may have lost their copy, a replacement can be picked up at the association office in the Barn, 1691 Woodmoor Drive.

At the June 22 meeting of the WIA Board of Directors, Secretary Craig Gaydos reported that at the time of the founding of the community, there were three sets of covenants governing various areas of the community. He said that it may be necessary to analyze the responses received and plan a campaign to encourage members to vote. There is no legal deadline for the balloting.

The Articles of Incorporation and association bylaws have been approved.

Board President Chuck Maher said that the association could take legal action to pass the amendments, but court action could cost the association up to $4,000.

Director of Forestry resigns

Carolyn Streit-Carey, WIA’s director of Forestry, has resigned her post. Maher said that the board would like to elect a new director at next month’s meeting.

Interested candidates must be members in good standing of WIA and should provide a brief biography to WIA Manager Matt Beseau at the association office by July 18.

Gaydos also encouraged any interested parties to e-mail members of the board with questions regarding the time commitment involved.

The position of director of Forestry will be up for election in January.

El Paso County burn ban explained

Woodmoor Public Safety (WPS) Chief Kevin Nielsen distributed a document explaining open burning rules during the burn ban declared by El Paso County. (Click here for the information.)

Open burning is prohibited except in enclosed grills and wood-burning stoves. The use of explosives, outdoor welding, and acetylene or other torches with open flame other than in an area cleared of all flammable materials is prohibited. Use of fireworks of all kinds is forbidden, as is outdoor smoking except within an enclosed vehicle or building or in an area at least three feet in diameter that is cleared of all flammable materials.

Maher said that although grilling and other activities are permitted, the association discourages them.

Nielsen said that there will be no fireworks stand in Woodmoor this year to comply with the ban.

Nielsen further reported that there have been a number of bear sightings recently, generally involving trash that had been put out the night before it was to be picked up. He said that homeowners should put out trash in covered containers on the morning of pick up and should not have pet food or large bird feeders outdoors.

Nielsen also reported that a new officer had recently been hired for WPS.

Manager’s report

Beseau said that the association had sent a letter to the Town of Monument expressing an opinion on the proposal to build a convenience store on the corner of Knollwood and Highway 105. The letter said that the association wished the design of the structure be in keeping with surrounding buildings and expressed concern about sale of alcohol and open hours of the store.

Beseau also reported that two new employees have been hired for WIA, one a part-time covenants assistant and the other a full-time architectural control assistant.

Other business

Covenants Director Kirstin Reimann reported 20 violations during May, primarily regarding trailers parked for over 72 hours, parking on the street outside of driveways, and new homeowner inspections.

Treasurer Nick Oakley said that the association is under budget 2.3 percent as of the end of May. He said that there is no new information regarding the recent IRS audit.

Architectural Control Director Ann Stevens-Gountanis reported that her committee recently approved the installation of a plastic roof rated as a 50-year roof. She said that the committee often approves such installations on a one-time basis and monitors performances.

Stevens-Gountanis also said that she had been speaking with Pulte representatives in the Woodmoor Park area regarding trees and drainage problems.

Common Area Director W Lee Murray reported that he and Beseau continue to seek bids on mowing and noxious weed control. He also reported that someone had recently dumped slash and trash in one of the common areas. Nielsen said that he would assign his officers to monitor that area.

A homeowner from the Cove area of Woodmoor requested that the association change its assessment of annual fees for homeowners in the condominiums because they already pay a monthly maintenance fee, and the additional dues are burdensome for some residents on fixed incomes. He said that he had not signed a document regarding the annual fee at settlement.

Maher responded that the association’s bylaws required that all homeowners pay the same amount of dues annually, regardless of the size or value of the property. He suggested that those who find the one-time payment of the dues burdensome could arrange for a monthly payment plan.

Maher said that title companies are responsible for making these rules known at the time of settlement on a property.

**********

The Woodmoor Improvement Association board meets at 7 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of each month at the association’s Barn, 1691 Woodmoor Drive. The next meeting will be on July 27.

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

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June Weather Wrap

By Bill Kappel

June started out hot and dry with highs well into the 70s and low 80s, about 5 to 10 degrees warmer than normal for early June. A strong ridge of high pressure settled into the region and kept moisture off to our east. Southwesterly winds aloft allowed smoke from several fires in the region to keep the skies hazy through the week. Large fires in Arizona and some in southern Colorado kept those beautiful Colorado blue skies hidden for the first week of the month.

This was certainly unusual in that the pattern was stagnant the entire time. Normally, we might get a day or two of smoky conditions, but then the winds would shift and storms would form. However, this was not the case for the first week of June

Warm and hazy weather continued into the second week of the month. This hazy sunshine only made things feel even warmer on the 6th, when highs reached into the mid-80s, setting record daily highs at some locations along the Front Range. This was also our warmest day since July 17 of 2010. Clear and dry weather continued on the 7th and 8th and temperatures slowly cooled into the low 80s to upper 70s.

Higher levels of moisture finally made a return to the region on the 9th, 10th, and 11th as evidenced by morning low clouds, fog, and scattered thunderstorms during the day. High temperatures were also cooler during this period, with 60s and 70s each afternoon. Drier air again returned for the end of the weekend, with highs jumping back into the upper 70s on the 12th.

The middle of June continued the overall warm and dry trend that has been prevalent since last fall. Temperatures were pretty close to normal to slightly above normal from the 13th through the 18th as highs consistently reached into the mid-70s to low 80s. Skies were mostly clear during this period, with a slight increase in moisture on the 17th and 18th. High-based thunderstorms did develop on the afternoon of the 16th, but because the lower levels of the atmosphere were so dry, just a few sprinkles made it to the ground. However, the evaporating rain did produce very gusty downburst winds, blowing around lots of dust.

Wetting rain did occur on the 17th with afternoon thunderstorms after some areas of patchy morning low clouds. More of the same on the 18th with areas of low clouds early, then scattered afternoon thunderstorms. A major storm finally began to affect the region starting late on the 19th and continuing through the 20th. A well-organized and powerful area of low pressure moved through the Four Corners region, bringing with it lots of moisture, upslope flow, and efficient storm dynamics.

The first affects of this storm included thunder and rain showers late on the 19th. Colder air continued to work into the region on the 20th as clouds and rain hammered the region through late afternoon. Most areas received from a half inch to over an inch of very beneficial rain. High temperatures only reached into the 50s, making for a wet, windy, raw afternoon. Had this storm occurred in April or May, we would have been digging out of heavy wet snow, instead of trying to keep dry.

Just as quickly as this storm moved in, warm dry air returned to the region as the storm departed late on the 20th. High pressure again returned and held strong for most of the rest of the month, as high temperatures quickly returned to the 70s on the 21st and 22nd, then well into the 80s from the 23rd to the 26th, peaking in the upper 80s to low 90s on the 26th. Temperatures remained at above-normal levels, with generally dry conditions as we ended the month, with gusty winds at times.

A look ahead

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

June 2011 Weather Statistics

Average High 77.9° (+2.3°) 100-year return frequency value max 82.5° min 66.3°
Average Low 44.8° (+1.1°) 100-year return frequency value max 40.7° min 50.2°
Highest Temperature 91°F on the 29th
Lowest Temperature 36°F on the 4th
Monthly Precipitation 0.86"  (-1.57" 65% below normal) 100-year return frequency value max 6.07" min 0.18"
Monthly Snowfall 0.0"  (-0.1" 100% below normal)
Season to Date Snow 65.4"  (-72.0" 53% above normal) (the snow season is from July 1 to June 30)
Season to Date Precip 13.33"  (-8.78" 40% below normal) (the precip season is from July 1 to June 30)
Heating Degree Days 128 (-64)
Cooling Degree Days 18 (+5)

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

Remember, weather affects all of us every day and is a very important part of life for us in the Tri-Lakes region, and we want to hear from you.

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

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Letters to Our Community

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

Clarification on D-38 study

On June 4, 2011, Our Community News published an article titled "Departure of students to other districts examined." As a member of the "small committee" tasked to research and report its findings to the D-38 School Board, I’d like to offer clarification.

In paragraph 3, Harriet Halbig reports, "Several of these students attend an online academy." The word "several" denotes a few. Today, 66 D-38 students are enrolled in Adams 12 Five Star Schools, an online academy. Over the past five years, that number has ranged from a low of 51 students in school year 2005-06 to a high of 74 students—no small number.

Currently, D-38 does not offer any online options to its student population. Further, in that very same paragraph, it says, "It is difficult to be specific in numbers…." Balderdash! The historical data is clear and specific. It is available for anyone to access on the Colorado Department of Education website under "Students Attending Public Schools Not in Parent’s District of Residence."

Here’s what the data reveals. The school year 2005-06 was the last year that D-38 had more students from other districts enrolled in D-38 schools, compared to D-38 students enrolled in other districts. Specifically, this past school year, 2010-11, 664 students "choiced out" of D-38 while 320 students "choiced in." The reasons are varied, but the impact is clear.

The stunning statistics prompted one school board member to exclaim, "We (referring to the school board) are guilty of ignorance and arrogance."

Ana Konduris
Direction 38

Editor’s Note: The referenced article was written based on a recording of part of the meeting. The precise number of students attending the online academy was not included in the recording. In any case, characterizing a number that is less than 1.5 percent of the D-38 student population as "small" seems appropriate. The statement about it being difficult to be specific in numbers should have been attributed to Assistant Superintendent of Operations Cheryl Wangeman. OCN regrets the omission.

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Student calls for community support for D-38

My name is Eric Marter, and I am a student at Palmer Ridge High School. With all the negative feedback that our school district is getting, I wanted to share the way I feel.

Since I am a student who is directly influenced by decisions such as the budget, I think it’s important to know how we’ve been affected (from my point of view). Foremost, I absolutely love my school. Every day, I get to attend a beautiful campus, use the technology I need to be successful, and learn from the best faculty I could ask for. All the while, I am safe and have a good time. I do believe that these points are the highest priority for any public school system, and, in my eyes, District 38 has fulfilled all of them.

At the same time, our district is facing some difficult problems. With those come difficult decisions, such as the budget. Last month, I was able to personally meet with Interim Superintendent Ted Bauman to discuss the budgetary breakdown. Of course, it is not perfect. A perfect budget would not require losing teachers or outsourcing district staffing positions. It would allow for smaller and more intimate classrooms, and it would provide greater funds to the incredible extracurricular opportunities that our students receive. Seeing these kinds of troubles happen to the greatest people and district in Colorado troubles me. Unfortunately, due to a number of reasons, these are not the cards we were dealt.

Is the district perfect? No. Is there room for improvement? Of course. However, I applaud the superintendent and Board of Education for their leadership and care in the midst of hardship. I’m optimistic for full recovery, but it will require the support of our entire community. Often this begins with a simple change of attitude.

Eric Marter
Palmer Ridge High School Junior Class president

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D-38 should stop blaming state for budget woes

At the June 16 school board meeting, next year’s school budget was presented and approved. During discussions, board members continued to blame the state for the recent financial problems in this district.

An examination of the district’s financial statements suggests something very different. According to the latest budget, General Fund revenue for 2010-11 was down by $1.3 million from two years ago. But General Fund spending went down by $5.1 million over the same period. Meanwhile, the balance in the district’s savings account grew by $3.5 million.

If you look back further, you’ll see why these actions were required. In 2007-08, General Fund revenue was $4.9 million higher than three years earlier. Yet during those three years, the balance in the district’s savings account dropped by $4.6 million. The next year, 2008-09, General Fund revenue increased by another $729,000 and the district said it made $1.6 million in spending cuts; yet, the district’s savings account balance dropped by another $2.5 million. Incidentally, the 2008-09 budget was approved by a school board that included three current board members.

So! From 2004-05 to 2008-09, district income went way up while its savings went way down. From 2008-09 to 2010-11, income went down but savings went up while salaries were frozen and staff was reduced. Who does that? While it’s certainly true that recent state budget cuts have created problems for school districts across the state of Colorado, irresponsible financial decisions by our local leaders have made the problems in this district much, much worse!

It’s time for local leadership to stop blaming the state and take responsibility for the local decisions that made the current situation so much worse than it should be. That would certainly be a great first step in restoring community trust.

David Cloud

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Focus on what really matters

Recently there have been a couple of people continually writing negative, less-than-accurate letters concerning the Lewis-Palmer School District. There is so much we have to be proud of. Why not spend some time being positive and celebrating our students and staff for their achievements? Isn’t that what it’s really all about?

Did you know D-38 was one of 14 (out of 178) school districts to receive the highest achievement award from the state the last two years? It’s called "Accredited with Distinction" and is awarded to the top 10 percent of school districts in the state.

District 38 was honored by the College Board with a placement on its Advanced Placement Achievement list, one of fewer than 400 school districts out of 15,000 in the nation! That places us in the top 3 percent in the nation.

Lewis-Palmer High School ranked highest among traditional high schools in Colorado for preparing students for higher education. It was third in the state when all charter and alternative schools were included.

Four schools in D-38 received the John Irwin School of Excellence award for student achievement, and Lewis-Palmer Elementary also received the Governor’s Award, which represents a substantial growth in student achievement.

These are just a few examples. I could go on for hours talking about all the great things about D-38. Our staff does a fantastic job not only educating our children, but preparing them for life. I’m proud to be part of District 38, and I will take every opportunity to celebrate and thank our staff for everything they do.

If you ever have questions, feel free to contact me, and we can sit down and talk over coffee. Just be prepared to hear me brag about our great staff and kids!

Have a great summer.

Mark Pfoff
D-38 Board of Education

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District’s commitment to greater efficiency questioned

I recently attended a D-38 school board workshop on the upcoming school year budget. Most of the discussion centered on a PowerPoint presentation by the new superintendent. At one point, he pronounced to the Board of Education (BOE) that D-38 is not top-heavy, to which the BOE heartily agreed, stating that those in our community who say so just don’t understand district finances. That’s when it occurred to me that the BOE members have no experience managing a small business where a streamlined operation makes the difference between profit and loss. Four of the five members currently work for government-funded entities or retired from one. The fifth member is a professional fund-raiser for a local college.

Before retiring in 2003, I was an operations manager for a large mechanical contracting firm that did about $50 million a year with an office staff of 12. District 38 has a budget of approximately $38 million but requires a central administration office staff of 41. Perhaps it was unfair to compare the district to a private business, so how does it compare to the state of Colorado? John Borman makes $58,000 more a year than our governor. Borman has 600 employees and 37,000 stakeholders, whereas John Hickenlooper has 60,000 employees and 4.7 million stakeholders.

This still might not be the fairest comparison, so here are the numbers from Academy District 20, District 38’s neighbor to the south with similar demographics and student achievement. D-20’s upcoming budget is about $279 million with 102 central administration office employees and 90,000 stakeholders.

The Administration Department Directory for D-38 is available on the district website for anyone to peruse and wonder about apparent redundancies of some positions. These numbers truly require us to question D-38’s central operations and willingness to gain greater efficiencies. What other redundancies and inefficiencies is the district not able to see due to its tax-and-spend governmental mindset?

Stephen Boyd

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Between The Covers at the Covered Treasures Bookstore: Colorado summer fun

By the staff at Covered Treasures

The weather is beautiful, and colorful Colorado beckons at your doorstep. Why not spend some time this summer exploring the treasures of our state?

Grandparents Colorado Style: Places to Go & Wisdom to Share
By Mike Link & Kate Crowley (Adventure Publications Inc.) $14.95

For grandparents who want to take an active role in their grandchildren’s lives, showing them the best of Colorado is a way to have fun and teach some valuable lessons. The book features over 65 Colorado attractions and activities; tips on making each stop a bonding experience, "can’t miss" recommendations for every site, and suggestions for grandchildren of all ages.

Weird Colorado
By Charmaine Ortega Getz (Sterling) $19.95

For a trip off the beaten path, Getz offers some local legends, such as a ghost-ridden river where people have mysteriously disappeared and a legendary Bigfoot-type creature with eyes that glow a reddish-yellow in the dark. Your weird wanderings will unveil dramatic history, unusual festivities, Wild West characters, curious creatures, and more, all accompanied by color illustrations.

Fun With the Family: Colorado
By Doris Kennedy (Morris Book Publishing LLC) $14.95

This easy-to-use guide has hundreds of ideas to keep the kids entertained for an hour, a day, or a weekend. The whole family will enjoy searching for hidden elves in the murals at a museum, or horseback riding, cattle driving, pack trips, and panning for gold at a guest ranch. Divided into four geographic areas, the book guides families to amusement parks, historical attractions, children’s museums, wildlife habitats, and festivals.

The Best Front Range Hikes
By The Colorado Mountain Club (Colorado Mountain Club Press) $24.95

These hikes, selected by members of Colorado’s oldest and largest hiking and climbing club, cover a 150-mile stretch of foothills, rounded summits, and jagged peaks between Fort Collins and Colorado Springs. The book includes comments on the outstanding features of the hikes, accurate route descriptions, color photos and topographic maps, elevation gain, difficulty level, round-trip distance, and time.

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

From ghost towns to Native Americans to the state flower, Perry collected stories and ideas from all over Colorado in order to take a fresh approach to the state’s history. In this fun and entertaining book, many aspects of the state are explored, including national parks and wildlife, early explorers, the state’s railroading and mining days, and our state symbols.

Colorado Journey Guide
By John Kramer & Julie Martinez (Adventure Publications, Inc.) $16.95

This driving and hiking guide introduces you to Colorado’s archaeology, geology, and paleontology through rock art, fossils, and formations. The book features majestic mountains, ancient ruins, secret canyons, hidden waterfalls, and amazing illustrations.

Colorado Activity Book
By Paula Ellis (Adventure Publications, Inc.) $5.95

This book is a good way to make the perfect Colorado getaway even better while giving kids hours of fun along the way. With mazes, word finds, and maps and pictures to color, it’s a great introduction to the area and is ideal for car rides and quiet time.

Best Easy Day Hikes: Colorado Springs
By Tracy Salcedo (FalconGuides) $6.95

Featuring 22 of the best short hikes in our area, this little book guarantees hikers wonderful views and pleasant walking. Distances are from 1/2 mile to 7 miles, and elevation gains range from minimal to 1,600 feet. Concise descriptions and detailed maps are included for hikes from a short ramble through the spectacular Garden of the Gods to a lengthier jaunt through scenic Waldo Canyon.

Colorado Rocky Mountain Wide
By Jim Keen (Keen Media) $49.95

If you’re an "armchair traveler" but still want a closer look at the towering peaks of the Rockies, Keen’s unique panographic images capture the full splendor of these special mountains. All four seasons are displayed in a wide-angle view: a cold, wintry moon over Longs Peak; a bubbling stream in springtime; high alpine flowers, and many other scenic moments.

If the kids get bored by July, or if the adults in your family need a refreshing break, pack up the car and enjoy some new adventures around the Centennial State.

Until next month, happy reading.

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

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High Country Highlights: Summer perennial ideas

By Woody Woodworth

A perennial is a plant that endures more than two growing seasons. Generally, flowering perennials are herbaceous (non-woody) plants that die to the ground each fall and regrow the following spring from the same root system. If a bare winter garden is not your idea of beauty, you can grow evergreen perennials that maintain their leaves year round to offer an attractive border or groundcover.

Some perennials, such as delphiniums, can be short-lived and may last only three years, while others, like peonies, can live for decades if given the care that they need. Perennials are available for almost any type of growing site. Texture, color, form, and fragrance are some of the features that are added to a garden when perennials are planted. Coordinating the season of bloom with the unlimited range of colors keeps gardeners like you happily involved with the landscape. The size of a perennial can range from a few inches, which would be a very low, creeping groundcover, to several feet tall and wide.

Caring for a perennial garden is not a very complicated task. Knowing garden conditions, temperature, light, soil, slope, and drainage, and planting accordingly, will produce the most successful garden. It is best to plant perennials in spring and fall, except in cold areas such as the Tri-Lakes region, where they should be planted by the end of summer to give them time to become firmly rooted.

Here are a few suggestions to help stimulate your imagination for planning a perennial garden. When choosing perennials for a flower garden, select varieties with medium to long stems with a succession of bloom times. Foliage is as important as flower shapes to maintain interest. Use your favorite colors and include fragrance. Roll your landscape with small hills and boulders. Add curved pathways of mulch and flat stone to achieve a relaxing flow through your garden paradise.

Get a jump-start with some late spring and early summer bloomers that are sure to get early cuttings from your garden. Poppy, bearded iris, foxglove, lupine, and salvia will all combine well with the branches of late spring-flowering shrubs and trees. Plant plenty of these sure bets, too: columbine, coreopsis, pin cushion, and coral bells.

You’ll see a dazzling exhibition in mid-summer when garden perennials are at their best. Nonstop blooms and growth patterns are impressive to say the least. Use agastaches, liatris, delphinium, Russian sage, and penstemon to obtain sharpness and contrast. Shasta daisy, purple coneflower, monarda, valarian, and yarrow will soften the bouquet with rounded petals.

In your new garden, remember to add fillers like ornamental grasses and boulders for contrast. Garden fillers take your eye away from seeing only flowers and soften the landscape. Use three of the 5-foot Karl Forester ornamental grasses in a cluster, then border them in a semi-circle with smaller clumps of blue oat fescue. The contrast is amazing when the shorter, blue clumps send their plumes up in mid- summer against the green, bushy taller grass.

Some medium-size perennials to be used in clusters are dianthus, soapwort, goblin gaillardia, and royal candles veronica. Use them against boulders or small rock walls and ledges. Plant them in numbers near each other to achieve the color and effect you want.

Remember to use sedum, ice plant, and thyme in your hot, dry areas. They take a lot of neglect and will reward you with yellow, pink, and red flowers. Sedum tolerates poor soil conditions and is perfect for filling in between rock wall areas and along pathways. Acre, dragon’s blood, and bronze carpet are only a few of the common sedum. They are available in variegated, short and stubby and fern-like shapes that are as bullet-proof as the most common of varieties. Yellow ice plant will offer endless blooms in the full sun. Also, try various types of thyme to crawl over rocks and borders.

Eventually summer will blend to autumn and the change in the season will bring fall colors to your garden. Mums, fall asters, and autumn sedum are great for this elevation and will provide a different crop of flowers and color palette. We’ll talk more on fall plants later.

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

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Bird Watch on the Palmer Divide: Bullock’s Oriole

Click here or on the drawing to zoom in

Below: A drawing by Elizabeth Hacker of Bullock’s orioles.

Click on the drawing to zoom in

By Elizabeth Hacker

I enjoy hearing from readers and fellow birders. It did my heart good to read Tim Hartje’s e-mail saying that he and his sons Carson, 12, and Jack, 8, were exploring backyard birding. In April, they set out the bluebird houses they built over the winter. I had a good laugh when he told me that tree swallows chased off a pair of western bluebirds that had laid claim to one of the houses.

The Hartjes have swallows, bluebirds, and other birds nesting in their yard. Tim recently e-mailed that the bluebirds fledged on June 24. In addition to enjoying the great outdoors, the Hartjes are providing habitat for a variety of birds and if luck prevails, the vacated house will be reclaimed for a second clutch.

Gleneagle resident Ruth Levy, e-mailed to say that she was surprised to see two Bullock’s orioles at her feeder in May. Although I was a little envious because this is one bird that has never stopped in our yard, I was elated to hear this strikingly beautiful bird was seen in Gleneagle, because it isn’t commonly found there.

The Bullock’s oriole is a colorful medium-size songbird of the American West. It is 8 inches long with a black pointed bill. The male’s bright orange head and underside are accentuated by the jet black cap on top of its head, eye-line, throat stripe, and back. Its wings are black with large white patches on its shoulders and wing bars. In comparison, the female and juveniles are dull.

The Bullock’s oriole migrates from the tropical coasts of western Mexico and flies as far north as Canada to breed. Pairs establish nesting territories in riparian corridors along migratory routes. I’ve never seen a nest in Tri-Lakes, but that’s because much of the prime nesting habitat is located on private property or on inaccessible land bordering Monument Creek. I see a lot of nests in cottonwood trees along the Front Range Flyway between New Mexico and Wyoming. Fountain Creek Nature Preserve is where I go to see them locally. I am confident that there are nesting pairs on the Palmer Divide.

Diet, habitat, and behavior

Orioles forage in trees and shrubs for insects, berries, and nectar. Last year, Joyce Hanigan sent me a photo of an oriole perched on a hummingbird feeder. Oriole feeders are similar to hummingbird feeders but are larger and orange, reportedly the oriole’s favorite color. Are hungry birds really all that picky? Nesting birds need protein for energy, so they are more likely to consume mass quantities of insects here, which may explain the reason the fruit I set out was shunned.

During nesting season this bird is elusive. You would think a bright orange bird would be easy to spot, but it blends in amazingly well. When I spot one, it’s usually just a flash of orange near the crown of a large cottonwood. If I’m patient and sit quietly I may discover the location of its nest. Once I discover a nest, it’s then easy to watch as the male and female take turns bringing food to their nestlings.

Nest building

The Bullock’s oriole nest is a tightly woven pouch that hangs from tree branches and is often located over a road, trail, or body of water. It’s not easy to spot a nest because it is hidden among large leaves. The female builds the nest entirely by herself. She weaves grass fibers, string, cattail silk, animal hair, and any other suitable materials she can find into a pouch with an opening at the top. Lord Bullock (the male) stands watch and inspects her work. He’s picky and if he doesn’t care for a particular fiber, he’ll pull it out.

The pouch is woven around the thin outer branches of the tree about 25 feet above the ground. Locating it on the thin stems protects it from raccoons and other heavy predators that would fall if they ventured out to these tiny branches. Oriole nests are so sturdy that they weather our blustery winter winds. Orioles may recycle materials from an old nest when building a new one, but they never reuse a nest.

Nesting

Once the nest is completed, the female wastes no time in laying three to six eggs. She incubates the eggs for about two weeks. Once the chicks hatch, they grow fast and will fledge within two weeks. Orioles are the only bird that will destroy a cowbird egg if one is deposited in its nest.

Nesting season is short for the Bullock’s oriole. By mid-July, the chicks will have fledged and the birds begin to form flocks. In August, orioles are already headed back to their winter home.

The ultimate spectator sport

When recently asked my favorite sport, my response of course was bird watching. The person asking emphatically stated that it wasn’t a real sport. To me it’s the ultimate spectator sport. The fact that it doesn’t require a TV, cable connections, or electricity is an added plus for me. I’ve invested in a good pair of binoculars and several books that add to my enjoyment but aren’t absolutely necessary to participate.

Bird watching is also a humanitarian sport. During tough times like the drought we’ve been in for more than a decade, birders help these little winged creatures survive.

Do it with family and friends

Birding is a great way to share time with family and friends. As a child I observed birds with my family in rural Minnesota. At a time when farmers cleared and drained land for crop production, my parents bought a farm with a five-acre wetland and rather than clear it, they built a blind and set up feeding stations to attract birds. We spent many hours together watching amazing wildlife drama. Since that time, I’ve met many interesting people and developed a network of friends who share my passion for birds.

The fastest-growing sport

CBS News recently reported that bird watching was the No. 1 sport in the United States. It is estimated that more than 75 million people watch or feed birds. That means more people watch birds than watch football, NASCAR, basketball, and hockey combined!

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

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Art Matters: Sculptures get their own park

Photos by Sky Hall

Below: "Love Squared" by Ruth Burink features a family group standing together facing each of the four directions. It is at 2nd and Washington Streets.

Below: "Sailfish" by Ivan Kosta. Metal sculpture of a sailfish in flight suggesting it is powerfully emerging from the ocean’s waters. Located at the Monument Town Hall.

Below: "Poppy" sculpture" is made of concrete and steel and was installed at the Monument Sculpture Park. "Poppy" is in the permanent collection of the Town of Monument.

Below: "Twist and Shout" by Tucson Arizona artist, Marie Whittle-Webb Park.This bronze sculpture was installed at the Tri Lakes Chamber of Commerce on Highway 105 in Monument.

Below: "Dancing Moon" by Reven Swanson, shown here with Dr. Michael Maddox at the install site of Tri Lakes Center for the Arts. "Dancing Moon" is made of welded steel with a glass art piece in the center.

By Janet Sellers

Our community art scene has a lot to celebrate this summer. On June 24, two sculptures were installed in the brand-new Monument Sculpture Park at Second and Washington Streets.

The Town of Monument, School District 38 and Tri-Lakes Views collaborated to build a Sculpture Park on the empty fields between Big Red (the District 38 Administration Building) and Second Street in historic Monument. With the help of almost 300 volunteers, the town has installed a sprinkler system and seeded the park areas with grass. And there are flowers and flower pots all over town now!

The participants envision adding a new pedestal each year, expanding the Sculpture Park onto both grassy fields and creating a scenic and welcoming place for people to visit. Monies to construct these current pedestals were donated by Tri-Lakes Views, a nonprofit organization, and Rick and Nancy Milner, who locally own the Maxx Sunglasses company.

The pedestals were specifically designed, constructed, and installed for the park. Tri-Lakes Views welcomes individuals and groups to sponsor these pedestals and sculptures, which will facilitate ongoing additions to this beautiful outdoor art park. Also, an ArtSites 2011 map of the public art that is visible throughout the Tri-Lakes is printed each year. A PDF of the map is available at www.trilakesviews.org/pages/FS2310.tml?page=P2310-2.html.

Local sculptors Ruth Burink and Janet Sellers delivered their large public art sculptures to the newly prepared park in the morning, and by mid-day the art works were welded in place on the pedestals in the bright sunshine. Nearby benches under the ponderosa pines offer a restful spot to enjoy the art works. Sellers has donated her large concrete and steel sculpture, Poppy, to the park via the Tri-Lakes Views program. All of the other sculptures are available for sale through Tri-Lakes Views.

At the gala for this year’s ArtSites outdoor public art exhibit, the Tri-Lakes Views board members, the artists, and other supporters and sponsors joined in the fun and celebrated the art, artists, and sponsors for another grand year of fulfilling their enjoyment of outdoor art for our community.

Artist Ivan Kosta is a local sculptor here in the Tri-Lakes area. His sculpture, Sailfish, is on view at the Monument Town Hall. At the gathering, he told the story of his first sea fishing expedition when he caught an enormous, trophy-size sailfish. He said he gave the fish to the crew since "they could eat many fine meals with it." While he was at first excited about the momentous catch, he also felt that he would like to honor the life of that grand creature and immortalized the sailfish in his sculpture.

Reven Swansen’s New Dancing Moon was installed at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts and features a huge disc of aged patina metalwork with a fused colored glass disc in the center that changes colors with the play of sunlight and moonlight. There were four more sculptures installed in the community the same weekend.

How do these amazing deeds get done? The artists put in their days and nights creating the finest art possible for our enjoyment, devoting their very lives to that effort. And frankly, there are some behind-the-scenes people who’ve been very hard at work making the preparations, getting sponsors, and handling the myriad plans and production costs.

The facts behind our new outdoor park for public art include the focus and energies of the members of Tri-Lakes Views, notably Betty Konarski and Karen Ball, Tri-Lakes Views President Sky Hall, Monument Town Manager Cathy Green, and Monument Trustee Tommie Plank. All were carefully working out endless details and keeping the project going smoothly. Let’s give them all a hand and thank them! (Sound of applause). We’ve got a lot to celebrate this month thanks to everyone’s hard work and heartfelt efforts.

Join us at the new sculpture park on July 4 after the Monument Independence Day parade and the festive after-parade fun. Remember the date of July 21, for our third Thursday arts event, the Monument Art Hop. See you in town and remember, "Take it easel!"

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

Concert in the Park series begins in Monument

By David Futey

On June 8, the Monument Concerts in the Park Summer Music Series began its 10th year. The Monument Hill Brass Quintet performed to a crowd estimated at 800 at Limbach Park.

The concert series has expanded to eight performances this year with an array of music including folk, country, and jazz. The concerts are every Wednesday through July 27 from 7 to 9 p.m.

In attendance and celebrating her 78th birthday June 8 was Mary Little Deer of Palmer Lake. Little Deer has attended every concert performed during the 10 years of the series.

The concerts are sponsored by the Historic Monument Merchants Association (HMMA). Information on upcoming concerts is at www.monumentmerchants.com/Concerts.htm.

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

Below: Monument Hill Brass Quintet members, from left, Lisa Smith, Craig Kettles, Ted Bauman, and Mike Mozingo performed pop, jazz, marches and Dixieland tunes during their two-hour performance June 8. Photo by David Futey.

Below: On June 8, over 800 Tri-Lakes community members attended the opening concert of the Monument Concerts in the Park series. Photo by David Futey.

Below: The well-attended Concert in the Park June 15 was a tribute to John Denver by John Adams. Photos by Adriana Carlson.

Park concert June 22 draws 600—and a parrot

By Kate Wetterer

Limbach Park swarmed with humans, dogs, and one parrot spectator (6-year-old Blueberry) for the June 22 installment of Monument’s Concerts in the Park series, soaking in the mellow jazz fusion sounds of Hammerstadt.

An estimated crowd of more than 600 lounged on mats and in deck chairs, some with picnic dinners and others with refreshments from the bake sale table and snack stand. Options included hamburgers, hot dogs, brownies, and soft drinks.

Kids took advantage of the playground equipment beside the clearing, and cottonwood seeds drifted like slow-motion snowfall from the trees. Hammerstadt played songs from their upcoming CD, including Showdown in Kingston, which had a suitably reggae vibe, as well as some old favorites, including a cover of Shine On, You Crazy Diamond by Pink Floyd.

Every Wednesday throughout June and July, a live concert takes place in the park. The July 6 concert is expected to feature the Rocky Mountain Steel Drum Band.

The concerts will continue until July 27.

Kate Wetterer can be reached at katewetterer@ocn.me.

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Palmer Lake Art Group holds Spring Fine Arts Show

Photos by David Futey

Below: Irmgard Knoth’s Fields of Gold won Best of Show.

Below: Members of the Palmer Lake Art Group are shown in front of a sampling of the many works that were on display during their annual fine art show and sale.

Below: Each year PLAG offers scholarships to Lewis-Palmer High School (LPHS) and Palmer Ridge High School (PRHS) art students who will be pursuing degrees in art. This year’s scholarship recipients are, from left, Chris Loidolt, Kelsey Hickerson, and Seth Wilson. Loidolt and Hickerson attended LPHS, while Wilson became the first art student from PRHS to receive a scholarship. Marika Lynch (not pictured) was a fourth recipient. PLAG Fine Art Show and Sale.

Below: JoAnn Nelson represented members of the Parker Art Guild who had works displayed in the Lucy Owens Gallery.

By David Futey

During June, the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA) hosted the 46th Annual Spring Fine Arts Show and Sale conducted by the Palmer Lake Art Group (PLAG). The show was co-chaired by Suzanne Jenne and Sue Molick and judged by Kelly Jackson.

PLAG is a nonprofit organization of artists that has been in existence since 1960. The show featured an array of oil and watercolors paintings, photography, jewelry, and other art mediums. There was also a silent auction with proceeds used to support the group’s scholarship fund for high school students pursuing careers in art.

In conjunction with the PLAG show, the Our Neighbors to the North show was on display in the Lucy Owens Gallery. This show consisted of artists from the Parker Art Guild. Information on PLAG is at www.palmerlakeartgroup.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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Improv takes center stage at TLCA, June 11

By David Futey

With a nod to the TV show Whose Line Is It Anyway?, the Stick Horses in Pants comedy troupe performed one hilarious skit after another on the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA) stage on June 11.

Stick Horses in Pants, based in Colorado Springs, delivered witty performances that define improv. Prior to each skit, a cast member asked for audience assistance in developing the premise for the next skit. Troupe member Courtney Beardslee said, "Trust among cast members makes for amazing improv."

Stick Horses will return to the TLCA on July 23 and Aug. 27. Information requests about Stick Horses can be sent to info@stickhorses.com. A list of upcoming events at the TLCA is at www.trilakesarts.org.

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

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Cool cars displayed in Monument, June 11

Photos by Candice Hitt.

The 10th annual Tri-Lakes Cruisers car show in Downtown Monument.

Below: A 1949 Willys Jeepster, owned by Ervin and Carol Gibbs

Below: A 1926 Willys Knight seven-passenger sedan, owned by Steve Orcutt.

Below: Steven Saign, left, and Mike Saign with their 1965 Shelby Cobra.

Below: Len (no last name given) with his 1968 Shelby model GT500KR.

By Candice Hitt

On June 11, the Tri-Lakes Cruisers car club held the 10th annual benefit car show in downtown Monument. Many residents of the Tri-Lakes area showed up to view specialty cars, hot rods, street rods, lead sleds, antique cars, and cars being restored.

There were 187 entries in the car show. Many awards were made in a variety of categories. Sponsors of the event included Peoples National Bank, Original Waterless Wash, Monument Motors, JJ Tracks, Medved Autoplex, Colorado Transmissions, and Spyder Paint and Collision. Much of the proceeds go to help Tri-Lakes Cares.

More information about Tri-Lakes Cruisers can be found at www.tlcruiser.com.

Candice Hitt can be reached at candicehitt@ocn.me

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Summer greeted with Soul-stice celebration, June 18

Below: "Soul train" hayride.

Below: Zumba class at the park.

Below: US Taekwondo Center booth.

Below: Karl Roscoe, ready to sign copies of his novels in the Covered Treasures Bookstore.

Below: People doodling on the sidewalk.

All the above photos taken by Kate Wetterer.

Below: Local band Lacy Grit members (L to R) Michelle Edwards, violin, Stephanie Reeves, lead vocals and guitar, and Herb Wetzel, guitar. The group played an acoustic country set at Gloss. Information on upcoming shows can be found at www.lacygrit.com. Photo by Stacey Paxson.

By Kate Wetterer

The town of Monument flaunted its charm again June 18 in the third annual Finally Summer Soul-stice celebration. The 2011 summer solstice actually fell on June 21, marking the longest stretch of daylight of the year as well as the beginning of summer. Monument’s businesses welcomed the season with the Soul-stice, offering some familiar events and a few new options.

The Soul Train hayride again swayed down roads lined by eclectic chalk-picture squares, where those interested could borrow chalk and doodle. Hamburgers and cotton candy were provided free of charge, and a "zumba" (exercise dancing with a Latin flavor) class was moved from the YMCA to the park.

Authors showed up in the Covered Treasures bookstore to promote and sign their works, and representatives from the US Taekwondo Center manned a booth loaded with T-shirts and stickers, ready to answer questions. Businesses showed support by dangling cheerful balloons from signs and foliage.

As with the previous Summer Soul-stice celebrations, the focus of this year’s event was the "soul" of Monument. The spotlight was on familiar businesses and the "regular" people meeting up for a street-wide party. The event was for the community, by the community. Shopkeepers and volunteers from local schools and businesses kept the focus close to home—on that "soul."

Kate Wetterer can be reached at katewetterer@ocn.me

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Museum rocks with Rock Fair, June 26

Photos by David Futey.

Below: Under the shade of a cottonwood tree, visitors try their hand at gold panning during the Western Museum of Mining and Industry’s Rock Fair. The gold panning was sponsored by the Gold Prospectors of Colorado.

Below: Visitors of the Western Museum of Mining and Industry’s Rock Fair watch the operation of a 1906 H.K. Porter compressed air trammer. Trammers were used to tow ore carts at mining operations.

By David Futey

From June 24 to 26, the Western Museum of Mining and Industry (WMMI) hosted a Rock Fair in collaboration with the Colorado Springs Mineralogical Society.

Visitors to the fair had their choice of activities: watching the operation of the museum’s stamp mill, the Osgood steam shovel, and the H.K. Porter compressed air trammer; browsing vendor booths that offered jewelry, polished stones, minerals, and information from the U.S. Geological Survey and Florissant Fossil Beds; participating in gold panning sponsored by the Gold Prospectors of Colorado; and attending presentations on a variety of geology related topics.

Information on upcoming events at the WMMI is at www.wmmi.org.

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

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Firefighters, police give tips at Safety Day, June 25

Photos by Kate Wetterer

Below: Master Jay Lee greets Monument Police Chief Jake Shirk.

Below: Firemen Vogl and Zubiel display their fire gear to the children’s group.

Below: Tug-of-War beside the bouncy house.in front of the USTC building.

By Kate Wetterer

On June 25, a fire truck and a police car ground to a stop in front of the US Taekwondo Center’s Monument "dojang," or school. The day’s mission was free of fires and danger—Master Jay Lee had invited firefighters from the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District, representatives from the Monument Police Department and Travis Easton, mayor of Monument, to help demonstrate safety skills and self-defense to an estimated 300 children and adults.

There were presentations geared to both age levels. The Safety Day began with an ice cream social and free time outside; a bouncy house was provided, along with free T-shirts for visitors who weren’t already enrolled in Taekwondo. Spinning a wheel allowed participants the chance to win more prizes. Water balloons were tossed, and a tug-of-war took place with a scattering of kids, teens and adults all participating.

Inside, Monument Police Chief Shirk made some introductory comments and Lee welcomed all visitors to the school. Adults and children were divided into separate audiences. Firefighters Matt Zubiel and Will Vogl tried on their uniforms for the kids’ group, letting children feel what firefighters’ gloves are like and hear the warped, "Darth Vader" way of breathing through their masks.

Police officer Bob Steine gave a talk on "stranger danger," calling on kids to act out skits demonstrating they understood the issues. In the parents’ room, John Vincent from the Fire Department informed the crowd about the current "level one" fire prevention status. An important piece of advice was the need to register cell phones online to receive reverse 911 notices when there is danger in the area.

Officer Steine discussed safety with wild animals and methods to protect homes from criminals. He advised parents to play hide-and-seek with their kids near the house, because any especially good hiding places could provide cover for intruders as well. Lee instructed the group on some self-defense maneuvers, showing how to break out of holds and potentially escape from perilous situations.

After the Safety Day presentations, Lee held a raffle and distributed prizes, including a Nintendo 3-DS and free entrance for students into Taekwondo competitions. Participants could then ask questions of the officers, explore the fire truck, and play with its hose.

Kate Wetterer can be reached at katewetterer@ocn.me.

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June and July library events: Summer Reading off to a great start; party planned for July

Photo by Harriet Halbig.

Below: Abby Knepper enjoyed the drumming program at Monument on June 21.

Below: Anna and Stephanie are two of our terrific summer reading teen volunteers.

By Harriet Halbig

The 2011 Summer Reading program is off to a strong start, with registration numbers exceeding last year’s. In mid-June there were over 1,700 students participating in the One World, Many Stories program for children and over 600 in the teen You Are Here program at the two Tri-Lakes libraries. The program ends at the close of July. Come join us for a lot of fun and excitement.

The Tuesday and Thursday programs have also been very successful. See the list below for programs during July.

Summer Morning Fun is scheduled during the library’s regular story time, 10:30 a.m. on Tuesdays. This replaces our traditional story time so that we can accommodate larger summer crowds.

  • July 5 at 10:30 a.m. come to Bugs Around the World and get an up-close look at bugs found around the globe, including a tarantula, scorpion, and millipede brought to you by Rowen Monk. Create your own pipe-cleaner insect and other cool bug crafts.
  • July 12 at 10:30 a.m. enjoy Sound Ideas, lessons from the world through the musical instruments that award-winner Michael Stanwood has collected on his travels. He plays them all and invites you to play them as well in an interactive and often hilarious program.
  • July 19 at 10:30 a.m. enjoy "Eiffel" off the Tower, fun and funky tales from France and other French-speaking parts of the world with Alphonse the Chef and his puppet sidekick Pierre.

On Thursdays at 2 p.m. join us for Stories and Crafts, appropriate for school-age children. Each session will begin with a read-aloud of some great books and continue with an activity or craft.

  • July 7—Animals of South America
  • July 14—Adventures in Africa
  • July 21—Bunnies

For ages 10 and up, put your detective skills to work by solving a 102-year-old Colorado mystery in History Mystery on Friday, July 15, from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Who knew the clues were hidden in the library? Call the library for details.

For all ages, join us at our gala summer reading party, One World, Many Rhythms, to be held at Palmer Ridge High School on Tuesday, July 26, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The schedule includes a performance by the Ballet Folklorico de la Raza with its Mexican rhythms at 10 a.m.

From 10:45 to 11:45 a.m., explore the sights and sounds of the world through crafts, snacks, face painting, musical instruments, and more.

From noon until 12:30 p.m., enjoy the dramatic production of the Power of Music, performed by local young library patrons.

This is a special and fun event for the whole family.

For adults, the Monumental Readers will discuss The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers on Friday, July 15, at 10 a.m.

The AARP Mature Safe Driving Program will be offered on Thursday, July 21, from 1 to 5 p.m. This is a driver refresher course designed for drivers age 50 and older. Graduates may present their completion certificate to their insurance agent for a discount. The cost for the course is $12 for AARP members and $14 for nonmembers. Class size is limited and registration is required.

On the walls during July are landscape oil paintings by Lori Beck. In the display case is a colorful display by the National Garden Clubs.

Palmer Lake Library events

Summer reading is also under way at Palmer Lake.

Special programs at the Palmer Lake Library take place at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesdays, the regular story time at the library.

On July 6, enjoy Animals Around the World. Take a peek at Kathy’s Kritter Karavan and meet a bearded dragon lizard, Russian Tortoise and blue-tongued skink. Add to the fun with a 3-D turtle craft and other hands-on activities.

On July 13 join Mother Goose and her puppet friends as they fly in from England to share stories, rhymes, songs, and silly hats. Everyone gets to participate and be part of the merriment. Come find a "Happily Ever After" with Cathy Kelsay.

On July 20, come meet Bugs from Around the World. Here’s a chance for an up-close look at bugs found around the globe, including a tarantula, millipede, and scorpion brought to you by Rowen Monk. Create your own pipe-cleaner insect and other cool bug crafts.

Paws to Read continues during the summer. Come read to one of our calm and patient dogs to increase your fluency and collect a prize.

Jax, our Newfoundland friend, will be at the library on Saturday, July 2, from 11 until noon.

Sweet and tiny Sheltie Misty loves to listen to readers and will walk like a human if you ask her. Read to Misty on Thursday, July 21, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Kirby is a quiet golden retriever who wants you to read to her. Read to Kirby on Thursday, July 23, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

There will be no Saturday Family Fun program in July.

Toddler Time will continue on Fridays at 10:30 a.m. for children ages 1 to 2 with a favorite adult. This program introduces toddlers to the delights of rhyme, rhythm, and a few special stories.

The Palmer Lake Book Group’s selection for August is Astrid and Veronika by Linda Olsson. The book group will meet on Friday, Aug, 1, at 9 a.m. New members are always welcome.

The Palmer Lake Knitting Group will meet during the summer from 10 a.m. until noon on Wednesdays. Cheri Monsen, expert knitter, will be here to answer questions. Bring your knitting project and enjoy the company of other knitters. Registration is not required.

The July art exhibit in Palmer Lake is Expressions of Beauty—Shared by Laurisa Rabins.

All Pikes Peak Library facilities will be closed on Monday, July 4.

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

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Palmer Lake Historical Society, June 19: Dads and families treated to ice cream, pie

Photos by Bernard Minetti

Below: Serving pie and ice cream to the guests and members on Father’s Day are, from left, Palmer Lake Historical Society members Mary Meyer, Maggie Williamson of Bella Art & Frame, and Georgia Follansbee.

Below: From the Black Forest, the Hamill family brought dad to celebrate Father’s Day. They are, from left, Tyler, Maria, dad Ches, grandmother Patricia Hoffman, and mom Linda.

Below: The Collins family celebrates Father’s Day with dad at the Palmer Lake Historical Society’s annual Father’s Day Social. They are, from left, Zoe, Lari, dad Paddy, and Audrey. In the front is their puppy, Ashley.

Below: The VanderMere family of Palmer Lake celebrates Father’s Day at the Palmer Lake Town Hall green. They are, from left, dad Mark VanderMere, Nolan, mom Shannon, and Devin.

By Bernard L. Minetti

The June 19 meeting of the Palmer Lake Historical Society was the annual Father’s Day social, which is now traditional in the area. The social always has been an annual celebration but about five years ago, a board member recommended that it be combined with Father’s Day. Since then, Palmer Lake Historical Society President Phyllis Bonser stated, it has been a Society and Tri-Lakes area tradition.

The free ice cream and pie event on the lawn in front of the Palmer Lake Town Hall was attended by many guests from the surrounding community. Jessum Buds provided bluegrass and country music for the day.

Society Vice President Al Walter announced that the second annual Palmer Lake Native American Intertribal Festival and Traditional Powwow would take place on July 16. The Palmer Lake Historical Society, the Colorado Springs Indian Center, and One Nation Walking Together are the sponsors of the powwow. It runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with the Grand Entry taking place at 11 a.m. The location is Centennial Park in Palmer Lake. Admission is free.

**********

The next Palmer Lake Historical Society event will be on Thursday, July 21, at 7 p.m. at the Palmer Lake Town Hall. In "The Last of the Best—the Mule Pack at Fort Carson," Robert Keiss will present the history of the mules of Battery A, 4th Field Artillery (Pack), 35th Quartermaster Pack Company.

Bernard Minetti can 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.

Extreme fire danger: Stage I fire restrictions now in effect

Stage I Fire Restrictions are now in effect for all unincorporated areas of El Paso County. This is due to very high to extreme fire danger ratings resulting from continued dry conditions and the National Weather Service forecast for dry and warmer-than-normal conditions. The following activities are prohibited:

  1. Open burning, except fires and campfires within permanently constructed fire grates in developed campgrounds and picnic grounds; charcoal grills and wood burning stoves at private residences in areas cleared of all flammable materials.
  2. The sale or use of fireworks.
  3. Outdoor smoking except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area at least 3 feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials.

If weather conditions do not change soon, El Paso County may go to Stage II Fire Restrictions:

  1. All open burning as defined in Stage I.
  2. The sale or use of fireworks.
  3. Outdoor smoking except within an enclosed vehicle or building.

Violations of Stage I Restrictions may result in a fine of up to $600, and violations of Stage II Restrictions may result in a fine of up to $1,000. A full copy of the Open Fire Ban Ordinance is available at http://shr.elpasoco.com/NR/rdonlyres/AE36653F-C01C-4211-9C3F-F98AF97A5438/0/Ordinance022.PDF

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County seeks "crafty" citizens for fair creative arts display

El Paso County Fair organizers are looking for crafts-inclined, culinary-accomplished, and photographically-proficient citizens to showcase their handiwork by entering this year’s Creative Arts Display. The fair runs July 23-30 in Calhan. The pre-registration deadline for Creative Arts Display entries is July 11. For more information and entry forms, visit www.elpasocountyfair.com or call 520-7880.

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Calling for musicians, July 14

Musicians are needed for Music by the Creek, a free family event July 14, 6-9 p.m., at the Western Museum of Mining & Industry, 225 North Gate Blvd. Sponsored by Coffee on the Go; call 636-1063 if you are interested in performing.

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Native American Inter-Tribal Festival and Traditional Powwow, July 16

The Palmer Lake Historical Society, with the Colorado Springs Indian Center and One Nation Walking Together, will sponsor a one-day Native American Festival and Traditional Powwow July 16, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., at Centennial Park (lakeside) across from 304 Highway 105 in Palmer Lake. This celebration of Native history and culture will include Native drums and dancers, Native art and artisans, a live wolf exhibit, and plenty of Native vendors and food. The event is a Traditional Powwow, where Native Americans from all tribes meet together to join in dancing, singing, visiting, renewing old friendships and making new ones. Drums by invitation only! Admission is free. Visit www.palmerdividehistory.org or call 559-0525 for more information.

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Tri-Lakes Community Blood Drive, July 19

Tri-Lakes Health Advocacy Partnership will sponsor a community blood drive July 19, 3-7 p.m., at Tri-Lakes Cares, 235 Jefferson St., Monument. No appointment is needed, just walk in. Donated blood goes to local Penrose-St. Francis Hospitals. For more information, call nurse Jackie Sward, 481-4864 x103.

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Attention artists and crafters

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

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Slash and Mulch season is underway

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

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

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Phase 2 of the Hodgen Road Safety Improvements

El Paso County has closed the Phase 2 portion of Hodgen Road from just west of Farrar Drive to Highway 83. This is the final leg of designed safety improvements. There will be an approximate three-week overlap when Hodgen Road will remain closed from just east of East Black Forest to Farrar Drive. All 3.8 miles of Hodgen Road will be closed to through traffic during this period. The Highway 83 to Farrar Drive segment is expected to be completed by approximately December 2011. Detours will be marked. Hodgen Road residents within the construction boundaries will be allowed to use a contractor-maintained route to regain access to an open segment of Hodgen Road at posted detour points. All commuter traffic on Hodgen Road will be redirected by a posted detour route. For more information contact Dave Rose, public information officer, 520-6540, or email DaveRose@elpasoco.com.

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Handbell ringers needed

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

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Save the date: The 2011 Return of the Rocky Mountain Chautauqua, Aug. 5-7

The Palmer Lake Historical Society presents The 2011 Return of the Rocky Mountain Chautauqua Aug. 5-7, in and around Palmer Lake. The weekend begins with the Friday Night Opening Ceremony, 6:30 p.m., and Square Dance, 8:30 p.m., at the historic Pinecrest, 106 Pinecrest Way in Palmer Lake. Saturday begins with a nature walk and a steep uphill hike to the lower reservoir, both starting at 9 a.m. at the Palmer Lake Library/Town Square. A variety of activities are scheduled 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at Town Square and by Palmer Lake and the Gazebo. An ice cream social with music by the America the Beautiful Chorus is 1:30-3 p.m. at the Town Square. Sunday’s activities are scheduled from 8:30 a.m. until the closing ceremonies at 2:45 p.m. For more information, visit www.palmerlakechatauqua.org or call 661-1167.

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Multiple sclerosis support group

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

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