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Vol. 12 No. 6 - June 2, 2012


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Contents

the PDF file. This is a 23.2 Mbyte high-resolution file with color photos.

individual pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40

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Monument Art Hop opens for the season, May 17

Photos by David Futey.

Below: At Bella Casa during Art Hop May 17, paper sculptor Wilhelmina Steenbergen showed that paper could be used to create a variety of art objects. Steenbergen makes her own cotton and abaca paper and sculpts it in necklaces finished with acrylic and designs on a variety of media. Information on her works is at www.wilhelminasgallery.com. Art Hop is held 5-8 p.m. on the third Thursday of every month from May through September. For information, visit www.monumentmerchants.com

Below: Brad Unfred of Shades of Amber demonstrates chalk paint.

Below: At Margo’s on the Alley, Tri-Lakes Monument FPD firefighter Franz Hankins displayed his photographs of landscapes, textures, and architecture.

Below: Palmer Lake resident James "Che" Arnholdt of Che’s Art displayed his leather and bead works, North American art pieces, and carvings from aspen and pipestone.

By David Futey

The Monument Art Hop began on May 17 with its usual mix of art, food, and other entertainment. Downtown Monument galleries and businesses open their doors from 5 to 8 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month through September. Information on the Art Hop is at www.monumentarthop.org.

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

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Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District special board meeting, May 8: Fire district launches investigation

By Bernard L. Minetti

The need for an investigation into "numerous allegations of misconduct" within the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District’s fire department triggered a special meeting of the board on May 8. Board President Charlie Pocock announced that this meeting was called to "approve estimated cost and not-to-exceed cost for third-party management review, which may include investigation, analysis, and recommendations" regarding the allegations. He explained that the investigation would "include" the board, the fire chief, and the battalion chiefs.

Board members Bill Ingram and Barbara Kelly were not present at the meeting. About 15 to 20 district fire employees were in attendance.

Pocock did not say who had made the allegations or whom the allegations were against. He did say that he had a meeting that morning, and two or three other meetings, with the three battalion chiefs. It should be noted that Fire Chief Robert Denboske, who Pocock indicated is one of those to be investigated, was on vacation; the action was initiated despite Denboske’s absence.

He said there is a list of things that the district would like to know from the investigators and that anyone "will have an equal opportunity to refute or support the allegations, and any misconduct will be corrected according to their recommendations." When Pocock continued, "We estimate that there are probably 15 people who would testify or give interviews to—" he was interrupted by Director John Hildebrandt, who demanded that the board go into executive session because it was dealing with personnel issues. The board voted unanimously to go into executive session.

The executive session lasted about 40 minutes. At the resumption of the open session, the board discussed monetary limits for the "management audit" (meaning, the investigation) and unanimously agreed that the cost should not exceed $10,000. The board then adjourned.

Mill levy announcement

On the following day, May 9, the district issued a press release—dated April 25—announcing that the board had voted at its regular meeting April 25 to put a 3 mill tax levy increase on the November ballot. Tri-Lakes’ homeowners currently pay 8.5 mills, so if the measure passes, that would increase to 11.5 mills. The board made this decision late into the April board meeting (it was not on the agenda and was not announced at the start of the meeting), noting that "expenses have continued to rise."

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

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Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District, May 23: Sibell calls investigation of personnel a "witch hunt"

Photos by Bernard Minetti.

Below: Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District members are sworn in. From left are (seated) Rod Wilson, (standing) Bill Ingram, Charlie Pocock, Barbara Kelly, Roger Lance, and Bruce Fritsche.

Below:
Former Monument Mayor Si Sibell called the investigation into certain allegations regarding the district leadership "a witch hunt."

By Bernard L. Minetti

Former Monument Mayor Si Sibell labeled an investigation into complaints about Fire Department personnel a "witch hunt" during a recess midway through the May 23 meeting of the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District.

Board President Charlie Pocock explained at the start of the meeting that about "two and a half weeks ago … several of the senior members of the department came to me.… We met on a Saturday morning, and they had several complaints against several people in the department, and we decided that those complaints were so severe that we did not … that I did not feel comfortable addressing them and suggested that we retain ... an independent contractor to address those complaints."

The board met in a special session on May 8 (see article) and agreed to pay Mountain States Employers Council, which the district has used in the past, $10,000 to investigate. At the May 23 meeting, the board increased that sum by another $2,000.

Pocock said the Employers Council would report its findings the week after Memorial Day. When that happens, the board will hold a special meeting, with notices posted at Station 1, the Administration Center, and the post office. "The first portion of the briefing will be open to the public and that will just be introductions, and then we will go into executive session where we will receive the summary of their findings. ... So tonight, we will not discuss any portion of that investigation and we will not discuss any personnel matters."

During the meeting, Sibell asked the board who initiated the investigation. Pocock replied, "There were several … the board initiated the investigation." At this point, Treasurer John Hildebrandt interrupted by saying "No" and that the board had to go into executive session if the issue was going to be discussed. Director Barbara Kelly seconded that statement. The board did not go into executive session at that point.

Kelly remains on board; election of officers postponed

Kelly had previously indicated that she was resigning her position following the May meeting. Pocock said that she had decided to retain her position until the investigation is complete. Pocock indicated that he had talked with the general counsel of the Special District Association and was told that the action was proper. The motion to retain Kelly then passed.

None of the directors whose terms were up in May were opposed and therefore no election was necessary. Those directors—Bill Ingram, Roger Lance, and Bruce Fritsche, —automatically retained their seats and were sworn in. Kelly was also sworn in since she had reversed her decision; if she vacates her seat, it will be filled by appointment. After the swearing in, the agenda called for election of officers.

The board modified the evening’s agenda to account for Kelly remaining on the board. Hildebrandt called for an executive session to be held later to discuss personnel matters, and that motion was approved. The amended agenda and minutes of the previous meeting were then accepted.

Pocock asked the board if they wanted to go ahead with the election of board officers. There was a suggestion that the election be postponed until the investigation was resolved. Hildebrandt said that the board should go ahead with the election since new directors had just been sworn in. He said that he wanted to see who would be leading the board during "these difficult times ahead." He added that the election of board officers was on the approved agenda. Despite the approved agenda, Pocock asked if the board still wanted to have the election of officers. Pocock said to go ahead with the elections, then changed his mind and asked for a motion. The board voted 4-3 to delay the election of officers.

Update to April’s meeting report

Since OCN published its article on the April 25 meeting (May 5 issue, page 21 or at www.ocn.me/v12n5.htm#tlmfpd), it has been learned that after an executive session, the board considered two matters of great interest to the public that were not on the agenda: forming a "fire authority" with the Donald Wescott Fire Protection District, and deciding to put a mill levy increase of three mills on the November ballot.

For the fire authority discussions, Roger Lance was designated as the Tri-Lakes board’s representative, and Chief Robert Denboske and a firefighter would also be participants in these discussions.

At the March 28 meeting, Pocock had suggested reasons for wanting a mill levy increase when he said: "All I want the board to do is think about this for the time being. We got several things on our plate … for example, the Supreme Court decision on the healthcare is going to be a big decision-maker for us, because right now we pay for 100 percent of our employee medical … and I don’t expect that to change … unless we decide that the costs are going to go through the roof."

Director Hildebrandt talked at that same meeting about the fact that many municipalities were going bankrupt. "For us to be paying 100 percent of everything is rather unusual. … Can we afford to pay for 100 percent of everything?" He noted that "if the court threw out ‘Obamacare,’ and if we had to continue paying the premiums, we are going to have to do something." Pocock responded, "Exactly!"

Pocock then indicated that something had to be done to alleviate what he anticipated would be a shortfall in funds. To this point, there had been no public discussion indicating where costs could be reduced or efficiencies accomplished prior to a tax increase.

It should be noted that at the May 23 meeting, no alternative was given to spending $12,000 for the current investigation even though, according to Pocock, money was tight.

Treasurer’s report

Treasurer Hildebrandt reported that April represents 33.33 percent of the budget year and that year-to-date:
  • The district had received $1.3 million in property tax revenues (45.38 percent of the budgeted property tax revenue).
  • Specific ownership taxes received were $90,581 (36.33 percent), with the budgeted revenue at $249,360, down $24,766 from 2011.
  • Ambulance revenues were $169,324 (30.79 percent).
  • Administrative expenses were up with payment of liability insurance and maintenance contracts. Salaries were up due to three paydays in January but have equalized. Many payments over the year-to-date budget are due to insurance policy payments and one-time contract payments. Gas for Station 2 and electricity for Station 1 continue to run high, along with water and sewer for Stations 1 and 2.
  • Overall expenses were 32.84 percent of the annual budgeted amount, or 0.49 percent under budget year-to-date; earlier this year, expenses were over by 3.12 percent in January, 1.92 percent in February, and 0.63 percent in March.
Hildebrandt stated, "There are very few [expenses] that are over budget here today" and concluded by noting that "we are a half percent under budget this year."

**********

The next meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 27, in the Administration Center at 166 Second St. in Monument. For further information regarding this meeting, contact Jennifer Martin at 719-484-0911.

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

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Donald Wescott Fire Protection District, May 23: Two directors, new firefighter sworn in

Photos by Jim Kendrick.

Below (L to R): Donald Wescott FPD Board Secretary Greg Gent swore in President Scott Campbell and Director Bo McAllister for new four-year terms.

Below: Donald Wescott FPD Board President Scott Campbell swore in new career Firefighter/EMT Jake Alcorn to a full-time position on A shift. Alcorn has been serving as a volunteer at Wescott for a year.

By Jim Kendrick

On May 23, Donald Wescott Fire Protection District incumbent President Scott Campbell and Director Bo McAllister were sworn in for their next terms by Secretary Greg Gent. Then Campbell swore in new firefighter/EMT Jake Alcorn. Jake’s father Mark pinned on Jake’s new badge as his mom, Heather, brother, Luke, and sister, Sloan, observed proudly (see photos above).

All members of the board were present.

Summer Safety Fair

Wescott will hold its annual Summer Safety Fair on Saturday, June 2, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Station 1, 15415 Gleneagle Drive. Some of the options that will be available are:
  • Home safety: fire, insurance, disaster preparedness
  • Personal health: vision, dental, physical
  • Flight for Life helicopters
  • El Paso County K team
  • Fire apparatus on display
  • Smokey Bear appearance
Bring canned goods or personal care items such as diapers, laundry soap, toilet paper, etc. to benefit Partners in Housing. You will be entered into a drawing to win a dinner at the firehouse, cooked by Wescott firefighters.

For more information, see www.wescottfire.org or call 488-8680.

Administrative items

The board unanimously approved a resolution to reappoint the district’s attorney Pat Hrbacek, who has begun work with a new law firm, Forbush Legal Offices PC in Colorado Springs.

The board unanimously approved minutes for the regular meeting held April 25 and a special meeting held May 16. The minutes for the May 16 meeting stated that an executive session for negotiations began at 7:17 p.m. and that "Roger Lance, board member from Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District, joined the executive session to answer general questions about the Tri-Lakes board’s intent."

These minutes also noted that the executive session was ended at 9:04 p.m. and that Gent made a motion "to support gathering information and entering discussions with Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District on a variety of issues. Campbell seconded the motion. The board voted, and all members agreed with the motion."

During discussion of the April financial report, the board unanimously approved a motion to place the $12,000 in cash value that the district would receive following cancellation of Wescott-financed insurance policies. The policies provide $10,000 in the general fund for accidental death of employees while the staff finalizes a proposal to self-insure the members of the staff for the same amount.

Colarelli Construction submitted a final construction invoice for about $42,000. The only remaining invoice for the new Shamrock Station on Highway 83 and Stagecoach Road will cover landscaping and will not exceed $23,000.

Chief’s report

There were 175 calls in April, up from the 136 runs in April last year. The district conducted 637 man-hours of training for its career and volunteer staff members.

The meeting adjourned at 7:49 p.m.

**********

The next meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on June 27 in Station 1, 15415 Gleneagle Drive. Meetings are normally held on the fourth Wednesday of the month. Information: www.wescottfire.org or call 488-8680.

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

Correction

In the April Wescott article, Brett Lacey was incorrectly identified as the El Paso County fire marshal. He actually is the fire marshal for the Colorado Springs Fire Department.

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Tri-Lakes Joint Use Committee, May 8: Looper’s nutrients bill killed in State Senate

By Jim Kendrick

On May 8, Monument Sanitation District Manager Mike Wicklund updated the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility Joint Use Committee (JUC) on the 4-3 party-line vote by the Colorado Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Energy Committee that killed HB12-1161, which called for scientific review of water quality Regulations 85 and 31. The regulations would impose tighter rules regulating nutrients in treated wastewater effluent. The vote came after a very technical three-hour hearing May 3.

Wicklund also updated the JUC on other issues related to near- and long-term requirements that will be mandated by the state Water Quality Control Commission of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and their related new costs for removing phosphorus and nitrogen compounds from treated effluent.

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 from each of the three districts also attend JUC meetings.

Original Looper bill requirements

Wicklund reviewed the evolution of the nutrients bill, HB12-1161, that the Colorado Rural Communities Coalition had been able to put before the Legislature. This coalition consists of about 40 small districts in El Paso County and throughout the Western Slope. The coalition is led by Wicklund and Fountain Sanitation District Manager Jim Heckman.

This bill was sponsored by Rep. Marsha Looper (D-19) and co-sponsored by Sen. Keith King (D-12). Originally, the bill established a nutrients scientific advisory board, appointed by leadership of the state Legislature, to review proposed numeric water quality nutrient standards regulating nitrogen and phosphorus to determine how the proposed rules:

  • Comply with an executive order.
  • Reflect active stakeholder participation.
  • Fully consider a cost-benefit study.
  • Are structured to avoid unnecessary regulation and minimize the fiscal impact to state agencies and local governments.
  • Are designed to address basin-specific conditions.
The advisory board was supposed to deliver a report to the Water Quality Control Commission and the Legislature by Feb. 1, 2013.

Furthermore, the original bill also stated that the commission cannot adopt the proposed rules until they are approved by the Legislature acting by bill.

House amendments to bill’s requirements

Following negotiations by Rep. Looper with other house legislators, the House Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources and Appropriations Committee approved an amended version of the bill that dropped the requirement of the Legislature to approve these two regulations before the Water Quality Control Commission could enact them and dropped the scientific advisory board requirement due to a lack of funding to pay the members of the advisory board.

The amended bill called instead for a review of the new nutrient regulations in a public meeting by the Joint Interim Water Resources Committee by Oct. 1 to consider whether the proposed regulations:

  • Comply with Gov. John Hickenlooper’s Executive Order D 2011-005 that prohibits unfunded mandates by the state on local governments.
  • Reflect active stakeholder participation.
  • Fully consider the conclusions of the cost-benefit study conducted on behalf of the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority.
  • Are structured to avoid unnecessary regulation and minimize the fiscal impact to state agencies and local governments.
Also, the Joint Interim Water Resources Committee was required by the House’s amendments to deliver a report containing its findings on these factors to the Water Quality Control Commission by Nov. 1.

The final version of HB12-1161 approved by the House on April 18 by a vote of 36-29 can be found at: www.leg.state.co.us/CLICS/CLICS2012A/csl.nsf/fsbillcont3/6F619450AD9CF93287257981007F3AFA?Open&file=1161_ren.pdf

Senate amendment to bill’s requirements

Following negotiations by Sen. King with other senators on a number of different potential amendments, the Democrats of the Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Energy Committee agreed to Amendment 19. King noted in his statement of support to the committee that he wanted a bill that would find answers to concerns and questions raised about the regulations:
  • What is the true cost of these regulations?
  • Who is going to pay for these costs?
  • How are these costs going to be paid?
  • Were these costs required by an EPA mandate or not?
  • Have the regulations gone through a scientific peer review?
  • When should the regulations be implemented?
Amendment 19 eliminated even more requirements from the already watered-down bill passed by the House. Amendment 19 called for the Joint Interim Water Resources Committee to hold at least one public hearing before or on Oct. 1 to consider Regulation 85 and revisions to Regulation 31 regarding total nitrogen, total inorganic nitrogen, total phosphorus, and chlorophyll a to discuss:
  • Site-specific infrastructure costs that will likely be incurred by entities subject to these new standards.
  • Potential sources of additional funding other than rate increases and fees that could be used for the infrastructure costs.
  • An assessment of whether the potential sources of additional funding will be sufficient.
The interim committee would have been required to deliver a report on its findings by Jan. 15 to the House Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources and Appropriations Committee.

Senate Agriculture Committee hearing

The following industry representatives spoke in favor of HB12-1161 as amended by Amendment 19:
  • Martha Rudolph, Health Department Environmental Programs director
  • Sarah Johnson, standards unit manager of the Water Quality Control Division
  • Amy Woodis of Metropolitan Wastewater Reclamation District
  • Mike Wicklund and Jim Kendrick for the Colorado Rural Communities Coalition
  • John Hendrick of the Centennial Water and Sanitation District and representing the Colorado Nutrient Coalition
  • Dennis Stowe of the Littleton/Englewood Wastewater Treatment Plant and for the Colorado Wastewater Utility Commission
  • Jennifer Hunt for the cities of Littleton and Englewood
  • Jeff Kane of the Southwestern Water Conservation District
  • Gabe Racz representing the City of Pueblo and the Plum Creek Wastewater Authority
  • Kevin Bommer of the Colorado Municipal League
  • Doug Kemper of the Colorado Water Congress
  • Dr. Theresa Coons, former mayor of Grand Junction and representing the Mesa County Board of Health
  • Michael Canton of the Colorado Centre Metropolitan District
  • Carly Dollar of the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry
  • Evan Golding of the Special District Association
Those speaking in opposition to any legislative action at all were:
  • Becky Long of the Colorado Environmental Coalition
  • Paul Fanning of the Board of Water Works, Pueblo
  • Lane Wyant of the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments
Sen. Angela Giron (D-3) publicly reneged on her promises to King to support Amendment 19. King said the bill would be back and asked Giron to support it then.

Sens. Greg Brophy (D-1), Kevin Grantham (D-2), and Ted Harvey (D-30) objected to Giron’s "back-stabbing" of King, saying it is very rare for legislators to negotiate in good faith, reach a compromise everyone agreed with, and then have some committee members vote against the amended bill that they had negotiated. They also said that they were not sure that members of the Water Quality Control Commission and the Water Quality Control Division were in tune with the "dire economic straits" of their constituents as shown in a Senate-sponsored study of small districts. They also noted how few people spoke in opposition and that their opposition centered on questions of King’s integrity on his pledges not to have the bill altered in conference.

The Democrats on the committee said they would continue to discuss how to fund the large costs required. Senate Amendment 19 and the amended HB12-1161 forwarded by the House to the Senate were defeated on 4-3 party-line votes with the four Democrats opposed.

Impacts of the regulations

Wicklund reminded the JUC of the following impacts of the new regulations.

Control Regulation 85 sets new discharge permit limits of 1 part per million (ppm), or 1 milligram per liter, for total phosphorus (TP) and 15 ppm for total inorganic nitrogen (TIN); these limits are set to become effective for all existing facility discharge permits issued after July 1. These Reg. 85 limits will generally be superseded in 2022 by the interim nutrient values for warm-water streams specified in the Reg. 31 amendment: 0.17 ppm for total phosphorus and 2.01 ppm for total nitrogen (TN.)

The EPA has stated that it would prefer that the state immediately approve its warm-water nutrient criteria—0.067 ppm for TP and 0.88 ppm for TN—but has not yet made these criteria a federal requirement and mandate on the state.

Neither the state’s nor the EPA’s interim nutrient values can be achieved by any existing technology, Wicklund said.

There are different limits and start dates for new wastewater treatment facilities (WWTF) in Reg 85. and Reg. 31 but, as of now, they will not apply to the three existing wastewater treatment facilities in the OCN coverage area: the Tri-Lakes and Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facilities and the Academy Water and Sanitation District’s two treatment lagoons.

The Reg. 85 nitrogen limit is for total inorganic nitrogen, which is only one component of total nitrogen. The Reg. 85 TIN limit will be easier to meet than the total nitrogen limits in the amendment to Reg. 31. The actual amount of TIN that will allowed by the new Reg. 31 TN interim value will be considerably smaller than 2.01 ppm. The interim nutrient values in the Reg. 31 amendment will not generally apply to existing wastewater treatment facilities until 2022, though some exceptions could apply as early as 2017 if changes are made in the next Arkansas River basin hearings on impaired water classifications.

Wicklund said the actual chemistry and biological uptake of total phosphorus and total nitrogen in aquatic ecosystems is quite complicated and not well understood, particularly the relationship between total nitrogen and algal growth.

In a related matter, Bill Burks, the Tri-Lakes facility manager, commented on his request to the Water Quality Control Division to delay the start of operations of the previously approved total phosphorus pilot plant until 2013 due to unexpectedly high costs for its chemicals and system operation. The new permit will allow pilot plant operations to begin on April 15.

The costs will exceed the amount approved and appropriated in the 2012 facility budget that had been approved by the division, and the previously approved temporary operation permit now will not expire until Oct. 15, 2013.

Burks also noted that the treatment facility is operating well and that the ongoing additional sampling is showing good results.

2011 audit approved

John Cutler of John Cutler and Associates presented his draft report on the 2011 audit of the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility’s finances and issued an unqualified or "clean" opinion.

The meeting adjourned at 11:23 a.m.

**********

The next JUC meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on June 12 at the Tri-Lakes facility’s conference room, 16510 Mitchell Ave. Meetings are normally held on the second Tuesday of the month. Information: 481-4053.

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

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Triview Metropolitan District, May 8: Residents request upgrade of greenway; audit approved

Photos by Jim Kendrick.

Below: Residents are complaining about the neglected greenbelt near Kitchener Way and Chesapeake Avenue. Photo by Jim Kendrick.

Below (L to R): On May 8, Triview Metropolitan District Board President Bob Eskridge swore in Director Tom Harder, who was appointed to a four-year term.

By Jim Kendrick

On May 8, Triview residents Lynn and Dale Myers asked the Triview Metropolitan District board to upgrade the district’s greenbelt along Kitchener Way after years of neglect and the district’s failure to retain and use the developer’s performance bond for this purpose. The board also unanimously approved a resolution for approval of the district’s 2011 audit.

At the start of the meeting, President Bob Eskridge stated, "We will go ahead and approve the agenda and modify it as necessary whenever." No executive session topic was listed in the published agenda.

Newly appointed Triview Director Tom Harder, who is a Town of Monument Public Works water operator, was sworn in by Eskridge. Harder replaced former board Secretary/Treasurer Steve Remington, who chose not to run for a second term.

Director Robert Fisher asked Triview’s attorney Gary Shupp, "Am I supposed to do that again?" regarding taking the oath of office after being appointed for a second four-year term, due to the election being canceled. Shupp said, "You’ve done it once. I think that is sufficient." Eskridge said, "We’ll consider that like an inoculation that took." Harder and Fisher then signed their individual oath of office forms.

Note: Not taking the oath of office is unprecedented in the meetings OCN has reported on since the paper’s creation.

Director Steve Cox did not attend this meeting. The board decided to defer the appointment of the board president, vice president, and secretary/treasurer for the next year until Cox was present for a meeting. There appeared to be consensus among the rest of the directors to appoint Cox as secretary/treasurer.

Resident criticizes condition of greenbelt area

Lynn Myers, who owns the home on the southwest corner of Kitchener Way and Bridle Ridge Drive, stated that she had lived there for 6½ years in a "neighborhood of very well-kept yards. People take pride in the neighborhood." She also noted that gardens are not allowed, and she would like to have "a decent greenbelt area" near her home, the kind of greenbelt that Monument had required in approving the development’s site plan.

However, the original developer’s bond was released by the town before the greenbelt in her area was finished. The developer is no longer responsible, nor are the three area builders who took over the project and also went bankrupt, before Richmond American Homes "put in some money."

Myers then distributed pictures to the directors that she had taken of the 175-by-25-foot-wide greenbelt area and described the paucity of trees and grass in the predominantly sandy area. She also described the survival of "somebody’s idea of a shrub," which she called the "most ungainly, ugliest plant imaginable," which prevents the area from being neat, even after mowing. "It’s atrocious." See OCN’s photo above.

Myers said she had tried to get the situation resolved with petitions she had signed by her neighbors and conversations with Triview staff and board members, while trying to be pleasant and not make anybody angry. "I hope you can do something about it," she told the board.

Eskridge noted that newly hired Operations Supervisor Nick Harris would be solving the greenbelt rehabilitation problem, which is now funded with a separate line item in this year’s Triview budget. He added that he commutes to work past this greenbelt every day and he agreed that the shrub is ugly. He also thanked the Myers for the work they have done maintaining the high quality of their personal landscaping.

Home Place Ranch wants water service

Jon Witt of NavPoint Real Estate Group said he was representing the owners of the Home Place Ranch property and would like to set up a meeting with the board to discuss a phasing option to get water from Triview to the site.

Fisher said this should be done outside of a board meeting, but only after the board "receives input" from the Town of Monument regarding what has already been discussed by NavPoint and Monument Director of Development Services Tom Kassawara regarding land use issues.

The board would then designate one or two directors to have a workshop with NavPoint on water service issues. Eskridge asked Witt to have Kassawara provide a synopsis of the land use information already discussed to Triview to expedite coordination.

2011 audit approved

Auditor Tom Sistare of Hoelting and Associates gave a detailed technical briefing of the audit process that resulted in his formal unqualified or "clean" opinion. He also noted that he and a colleague conducted a four-day visit in March to ensure that internal financial controls had remained unchanged and discussed numerous specific numbers and trends in the final audit report.

Triview financial consultant Pamela Smith, who is also Monument’s town treasurer, stated that the audit process used by Hoelting for Triview is the same process used for every district and every town. She also said it is up to the board to say what additional information they want Hoelting to provide if the board wants a different audit process. If the board wants Hoelting to provide preview presentations of audit results by Sistare, Triview would be have to pay an additional cost.

The board unanimously approved a resolution to approve the 2011 audit.

Financial reports

Eskridge asked about the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority (CWRPDA) charges in the financial reports. Smith said Sistare had asked her to make small changes in her quarterly reports to CWRPDA, and the recommended changes appear to be acceptable to CWRPDA at this time with respect to the district’s loan rate stabilization fund.

Note: CWRPDA forced Triview to raise its rates by at least $4.93 in June 2011 to better ensure the district’s ability to make its semi-annual loan payment. It also required the district to create a rate stabilization fund to satisfy CWRPDA concerns about the district always having a sufficient cash reserve of a minimum of 110 percent of the next four quarterly bond principal and interest payments due to the authority. This cash reserve is required by the CWRPDA loan covenants for each of the two authority loans that total $7 million. Triview borrowed this amount from CWRPDA to help pay its share of the cost for expanding the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility. For more details, see:

www.ocn.me/v11n10.htm#tmd
www.ocn.me/v11n11.htm#tmd1003
www.ocn.me/v11n11.htm#tmd1025
www.ocn.me/v11n12.htm#tmd1108
Smith said the next CRWPDA interest-only payment of $1 million is due in April. None of the principal for this loan has been paid off yet under the previously negotiated repayment schedule.

The board unanimously accepted Smith’s February sales tax report and March financial reports.

Booster pump discussion continues

Engineer Barney Fix of Merrick & Co. presented three options of proposed locations of the water pressure booster pump system that will enhance the limited gravity water pressure from Triview’s single 1.5 million gallon water tank:
  • Adjacent to the existing water tank site
  • Adjacent to the trail on the east side of Jackson Creek at the east end of Walters Creek Drive
  • Adjacent to the trail on the east side of Jackson Creek between Agate Creek Drive and Bandit Creek Drive
The proposed pump gallery would provide an average of 145 gallons per day per person at a minimum pressure of 40 pounds per square inch (psi), though 50 psi is the preferred pressure. The gallery will create and sustain flows of 29 to 130 gallons per minute (gpm) as well as fire flows at a minimum pressure of 20 psi. The expected total flow for a structure fire in Promontory Pointe is 1,000 to 1,500 gallons, given the planned space between houses. The average water demand for a structure fire used in this analysis was 1,300 gallons.

The proposed gallery would have five variable frequency drive pumps:

  • One jockey pump to provide up to 30 gallons per minute (gpm) for overnight low flow conditions
  • Two alternating domestic pumps to provide 30 to 130 gpm for normal daytime conditions
  • Two fire flow pumps for redundancy
Other choices Fix said the board needs to make are an above-ground installation within a 12-foot-by-18-foot building or below-ground installation, whether to add a backup electric generator in case Mountain View Electric Association power for the pump gallery is lost, and the amount of security to be added. There is currently no backup power available or required for the water tank and the A and B water treatment plants. The cost of the water tank and Walters Creek site options are within $20,000 of each other.

There was a lengthy debate between Fisher and Fix and the other board members about what Fisher called booster pump project "scope creep." Some of the issues raised were:

  • Whether there was a commitment to Classic Homes that the proposed booster pump system would service Phase 4 and Phase 5 in Promontory Pointe until a second water tank is built about 350 feet higher in elevation in Sanctuary Pointe
  • Whether Classic’s contribution to Triview of $1,000 per house built in Promontory Pointe would still cover the construction costs much less any of the operational costs of the booster pump system
  • Whether the proposed booster pump system would also service only the northeast portion of the entire area of Jackson Creek until a second water tank is built about 350 feet higher in elevation in Sanctuary Pointe
  • What would happen to fire flows during a utility electrical power outage with no backup electrical generator(s) installed
  • How natural gas could be provided for the backup electrical generators
  • How long the temporary booster pump system would be required to be in service
  • Whether the booster pumps could be re-used to augment more rapid filling of the existing water tank or help fill the new second water tank
  • Whether $350,000 for the booster pump system plus $90,000 for a backup generator system plus operating costs is worth it for only five years of operation of a "throw away system" after approving the Merrick system analysis when the installation cost was expected to be only $100,000 under the original Applegate engineering proposal
  • When and where the next Triview well will be installed based on current construction projections and which entities will help pay for them, if any
  • When and where the second water tank ($1.5 million) will be installed based on current construction projections and which entities will help pay for the tank plus the additional costs for pumps and distribution pipes to the next water treatment plants, if any
  • When and where the next water treatment plants for Sanctuary Pointe and Home Place Ranch will be constructed and which entities will help pay for them, if any
  • When and where the proposed permanent booster pump system will be installed for Sanctuary Pointe water pressure maintenance
  • Whether to build a separate 300,000-gallon water tank for fire flows in Sanctuary Pointe at a likely total construction cost of $1.5 million to avoid having two fire flow pumps in the second permanent booster pump station
Eskridge said the board was not ready to choose any of the proposed Merrick solutions and would "chat in executive session about where we’re going to go with this." Fix said Merrick could look into which booster pump solution to choose at each of the three proposed locations.

Operations report

Harris reported that changes continue as Triview is once again assuming responsibility for all its operations after terminating the service intergovernmental agreements for having the Monument staff operate Triview. Harris has listed himself as the operator in responsible charge for the Triview water and wastewater collection systems.

Note: Triview has not had a district manager since Nov. 15, and individual board members are still managing the district in addition to performing their own full-time jobs.

The 8-year-old firmware in the control system for the traffic signals at the intersection of Leather Chaps Drive and Jackson Creek Parkway has been replaced with the latest version available. The camera sensors that control the intersection have been realigned.

Harris also discussed Triview’s costs for:

  • A permit for restoring native grasses in protected Preble’s mouse habitat above Triview’s wastewater interceptor—$2,500
  • Triview’s portion of a $10,000 Tri-Lakes region share of the cost for the Flaming Gorge water transfer feasibility study
  • A change in the cost structure for the Transit Loss Model for sale of Triview water credits to downstream users to a flow-based proposal—a minimum of $2,390 and up to $15,000 per year
  • About $5,200 for mowing and aerator landscape equipment that used to be borrowed from Monument Public Works
  • About $5,000 for video inspection and cleaning of Triview sewer lines, as budgeted
  • Installing an asphalt overlay on Jackson Creek Parkway north of the King Sooper’s shopping center entrance
There was board consensus to proceed with all these budgeted items.

Shupp said he would present his legal report during executive session.

A man who identified himself as Scott and a Jackson Creek resident expressed his and his neighbors’ concerns about water flow, pressure, and availability next summer due to the new construction in Promontory Pointe and in the new apartment buildings, which are being built by Ent Federal Credit Union.

Eskridge said a new well would be installed within a year and irrigation would be controlled or suspended to maintain water pressure in homes and businesses if water tank levels and pressures get too low.

Fix said that the planned booster pump system would only sustain water pressure in the higher elevation Jackson Creek houses adjacent to Promontory Pointe.

The board recessed the meeting to go into executive session at 6:17 p.m.

**********

The next meeting will held at 5 p.m. June 12 in Town Hall, 645 Beacon Lite Road. Meetings are normally held on the second Tuesday of the month. Information: 488-6868.

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

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Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District, May 10: New board member sworn in

By Candice Hitt

At the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District’s (WWSD) board meeting, Tommy Schwab was sworn in as a new board member. Four positions were available for election this year. Three of the positions were filled by the re-election of incumbents Beth Courrau, James Taylor, and Barrie Town. The election results are available on the district website.

The district is currently evaluating the Transit Loss Model to better align the cost with benefits. The model is used for measuring flows in Monument Creek and Fountain Creek for water transfers and effluent sales. At last month’s Transit Loss meeting, Colorado Springs Utilities said it would pay half of the cost of maintaining the Northgate gauge, one of 11 gauges used in measuring flows. This will be a cost benefit to WWSD and other northern entities that are members of the Transit Loss Model.

District Manager Jessie Shaffer gave an update on the online payment method recently approved by the board. Shaffer stated the program will be implemented in about five months.

Operations report

Assistant Manager Randy Gillette gave the operations report, stating well 6 has failed and is out of the ground. It is a Dawson well drilled in 1984. Gillette said resources are limited on repairing the well, so nothing has been done on it. The well needs to be cleaned and the district is waiting to look at the budget before scheduling anything.

Well 10 had an equipment failure with the bearings in the top end of the motor. This well has been in ground for less than a year and therefore the repair was covered under warranty. The well is scheduled to be back online May 10. Well 12 has been acid cleaned and lowered. The pump rate on this well is 400 gallons per minute.

Schaffer gave the financial report, saying the district is on budget on expenditures, but revenues are down by about 22 percent. The district should begin to see the revenues increase with the summer water use fees. June 1 starts the district’s mandatory summer water conservation program. The district plans to be using lake water by the end of May.

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The next regular board meeting will be held at 1 p.m. June 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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Donala Water and Sanitation District, May 17: Three board members sworn in; water reclamation study summarized

Below:
(L to R) Donala board members Ken Judd, William George, and Bob Denny are sworn in by board vice president David Powell. Photo by John Heiser.

By John Heiser

William George and Kenneth Judd were elected to the two open four-year positions on the Donala Water and Sanitation District Board of Directors currently occupied by Dale Schendzielos, who is term-limited, and George, who ran for re-election.

Bob Denny was elected to the one two-year vacancy created when Tim Murphy resigned. Judd was appointed by the board in September to fill the vacancy until the May 8 election.

Board Vice President David Powell swore in Denny, George, and Judd. See photo above.

George, Powell, and Judd were unanimously elected president, vice president, and secretary/treasurer, respectively.

Donala Extended Water Supply Study concluded

Each year, hundreds of millions of gallons of water are discharged into Monument Creek by the wastewater treatment plant the Donala district co-owns with the Triview Metropolitan District and the Forest Lakes Metropolitan District.

Since August 2010, the district has undertaken the Donala Extended Water Supply Study (DEWSS), a $220,000 project, to consider ways effluent from the plant could be captured, extensively treated, and mixed in with the district’s water supply. The district is looking to reclaim about 300 acre-feet per year. An acre-foot is 326,851 gallons.

The DEWSS team included 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.

Sams said the demand for water by district customers is pretty well defined since the district is nearing full build-out and most of the remaining undeveloped land has defined plans for development. Sams said build-out of the district is projected to be about 3,200 single-family equivalents that will use about 556 million gallons (1,700 acre-feet) of water per year and produce about 203 million gallons of wastewater per year. The district has obligations to discharge about 30 million gallons of effluent to Monument Creek and provide about 25 million gallons of reuse water to the Gleneagle Golf Club (GGC). That leaves about 148 million gallons or 454 acre-feet per year available for reclamation.

Sams noted that one difficulty is that during the summer when the demand for water is highest, the district’s obligations to release effluent and provide reuse water to GGC also peak, leaving less effluent available for reclamation. During the winter when there is the maximum amount of effluent available, water use is lower and so there would be less mixing of reclaimed water with water from other sources such as the renewable water the district receives through its connection with Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU). Sams added that having additional water storage could help even out those seasonal fluctuations.

Sams said there is currently no regulatory framework to address implementation of direct potable reuse (DPR) where effluent would be highly treated at the wastewater plant and then mixed into the potable water system. DPR would reduce piping costs but increase treatment costs and could pose water quality control risks. As a result, the DEWSS focused on indirect potable reuse (IPR) approaches in which the effluent is released into the natural environment where it passes through multiple barriers and is then recovered, extensively treated, and mixed into the potable water system.

Sams’ presentation provided cost estimates for nine IPR project options (sorted by added cost per 1,000 gallons) shown below.

Option Capital Annual Added
  Costs Costs Cost per
  (Millions) (Millions) 1,000 gal.
Jake's Lake $7.04 $0.63 $8.15
Monument Creek 2 $6.67 $0.67 $8.27
Monument Creek 1 $6.93 $0.67 $8.40
Monument Creek 3 $7.62 $0.67 $8.73
Bristlecone $12.00+ $0.68 $8.99
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
The costs in the table would be in addition to the district’s current cost of providing service and the voter-approved expenditures for infrastructure improvements to accommodate renewable water.

The Jake’s Lake, Smith Creek, and Monument Creek 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 storage of water for six to 12 months in a reservoir to be constructed on the Brown Ranch near Roller Coaster Road and Higby Road. Sams noted that two pump stations would be needed to lift the water from close to the lowest point in the district to close to the highest point in the district.

Two options using the GGC were retained based on suggestions from the district’s Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC). One option would use constructed wetlands over the entire golf course and the other would use constructed wetlands on the central 42 percent of the course.

The Bristlecone option would use storage in the Bristlecone reservoir, which is within the Forest Lakes district. Sams noted that the costs associated with the purchase or use of the reservoir are a substantial factor in the estimated capital costs for this option.

At the conclusion of the study, all the options except those using Monument Creek (shown in bold with gray highlighting in the table) were judged to be too expensive or had other significant issues.

In the three Monument Creek options, the effluent would be pumped to different upstream points that would provide varying amounts of in-stream flow. The water would then be recovered by wells near the district’s wastewater treatment plant and piped to one of the district’s water treatment plants. Sams noted that the Triview district has rights for four wells in the Monument Creek alluvium. He added that those wells have not been constructed and permits have not been issued for them; however, all the Monument Creek options could impact those potential wells to some degree.

Dana Duthie, Donala district general manager, noted that the capital costs for the Monument Creek options shown above are comparable to the acquisition cost for the Willow Creek Ranch near Leadville that the district purchased. He added that the amount of water gained from the ranch purchase and the projected amount of water gained from the proposed water reclamation project each represents about 25 percent of the district’s demand.

Sams laid out the following plan for achieving implementation of water reclamation by 2020, the point at which production from the district’s wells is expected to be in significant decline:

2012-15

  • Determine the treatment requirements that would likely result from revising the wastewater treatment plant’s permits. This is made difficult by the political environment surrounding treatment for nutrients.
  • Study the subsurface water quality and hydrologic conditions at the wastewater plant to ensure recovery wells there would be feasible.
  • Plan the water court actions needed.

2015-16

  • Seek site location approvals for the facilities.
  • Perform pilot testing and analysis of treatment technologies.

2017-18

  • Prepare final design and construction documents.
  • Obtain regulatory approvals.

2018-20

  • Construct the facilities.
  • Implement comprehensive monitoring and analysis programs.

Aurora exchange agreement approved

As discussed at the Feb. 16 board meeting, the City of Aurora has proposed to exchange up to 280 acre-feet of water it owns in Pueblo Reservoir for water that drains into the Twin Lakes Reservoir from the district’s Willow Creek Ranch.

Duthie noted that the benefit to the district would be about a 10 percent increase in the amount of water available for use by the district due to reduction of transit losses, but the arrangement would increase the complexity of the required periodic reports.

The board unanimously approved the exchange agreement.

Water consumption high

Duthie reported that water consumption by district customers through April was up 10 million gallons or 17 percent compared to last year. Some customers used more than 30,000 gallons during April, including two who used more than 50,000 gallons.

Mandatory irrigation restrictions apply from May 28 through Sept. 4. Irrigation is allowed on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for odd-number addresses. Irrigation is allowed on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday for even-number addresses. No irrigation is allowed on Sunday. For additional information, visit www.donalawater.org/water/irrigation-restrictioin.html.

Duthie noted that it is very dry at the Willow Creek Ranch and very little snow remains. He said run-off is averaging about one-third of what was seen at the same time last year. The water the district is currently receiving through its connection to CSU is coming from its lease with the Pueblo Board of Water Works. Due to the current high volume of water use by district customers, that lease will be exhausted by about June 10.

Susan McLean, the district’s conservation/landscape manager, is currently working on about a half dozen landscape plans for customers to reduce irrigation.

Other matters

  • During the three months from Feb. 1 through April 30, the district’s $3.19 million in investments managed by Davidson Fixed Income Management showed a yield of 0.34 percent, achieving a goal of beating the Colotrust Plus fund, which yielded 0.04 percent during the same period. The weighted average maturity of the district’s investments is 1.3 years. Davidson also separately manages $5.6 million in proceeds from the bond sale to be used to fund the infrastructure improvements needed to handle renewable water and $596,570 in a debt service reserve fund associated with the bond sale. Those accounts earned 0.18 percent and 0.09 percent, respectively.
  • The final audit for 2011 was unanimously accepted. Duthie reported that the audit found no apparent issues.
  • The board unanimously approved a $53,131 contract with Colorado Water Well to upgrade the Latrobe booster pumps. This is an initial part of the infrastructure upgrades needed to transport larger amounts of renewable water from the southern part of the district to the northern parts. Additional work, some of which will be out for bid within about a month, will include installation of a new pipeline from the Jessie facilities up Baptist Road and upgrades to other pipelines in the district. All the work is to be completed by the end of 2013.
  • Duthie reported on the May 2 meeting of the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority (PPRWA). He noted that the group appears to be closer to an equitable solution to funding the Transit Loss Model that measures and records the amount of non-native Fountain Creek watershed stream flows owned by several municipalities and water districts. The amount of this water added to native stream flows by external sources, such as effluent from wastewater treatment facilities, can be exchanged or reused. The model calculates how much of the added water is lost.
  • In response to a question from Director Bill Nance, Duthie said that, as he understands it, the recall election against members of the Cherokee Metropolitan District Board of Directors was precipitated by perceived conflicts of interest by the board members. He added that, according to the former manager of the district, the manager’s departure was also due to those conflicts of interest.
Following the public meeting, the board went into executive session to discuss personnel issues and negotiations.

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The Donala board will hold its next regular meeting June 13 at 1:30 p.m. at the Donala office, 15850 Holbein Drive. Meetings are normally held at 1:30 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month; however, no meeting will be held in November 2012, and the December 2012 meeting will be held Dec. 6.

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

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

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Monument Sanitation District, May 17: New directors sworn in; nutrients decision set for June 11

By Jim Kendrick

On May 17, two new directors were sworn in by Monument Sanitation District Manager Mike Wicklund. Don Smith and David Joss replaced Glenda Smith and Lowell Morgan, who were term-limited. Most of the meeting was devoted to Wicklund briefing these two new board members on current legislative and regulatory nutrient issues as well as the routine processes and procedures of district and Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility board meetings and operations.

Board President Ed Delaney was absent. The other members of the board decided to delay election of officers until the June 21 meeting when all five would be present.

Nutrient hearing update

Wicklund briefed the board on how the seemingly routine Water Quality Control Commission (WQCC) agenda item for giving approval to the final edits of Control Regulation 85 and the nutrient amendment to Regulation 31 turned into a 2½-hour hearing that resulted in no decision being made. The final decision was deferred to the June 11 commission meeting.

In addition to the commissioners offering yet more corrections to the very complex technical language of these regulations and their lengthier individual supporting documents called Statements of Basis and Purpose, the commissioners received the long-delayed input from Gov. John Hickenlooper that had been expected as well as new advice from EPA Region 8 administrator James Martin.

Martin’s letter offered a lot of discussion and advice but never stated that there was a specific federal mandate to create specific stringent nutrient regulations for total phosphorus, total nitrogen, and chlorophyll a. However, Hickenlooper’s letter stated that Martin’s letter was a clear statement of a federal mandate to create and enforce nutrient restrictions, which exempts these regulations from Hickenlooper’s own Executive Order 5 that prohibits the state government from imposing unfunded mandates on local governments like wastewater special districts.

These letters to the WQCC and the commission staff’s advice regarding them is available at: www.cdphe.state.co.us/op/wqcc/Hearings/Rulemaking/31_85nutrients/05142012Actions/WQCCactions.html.

All the rest of the hundreds of official documents that were provided to the WQCC during the nutrients rulemaking process are available at www.cdphe.state.co.us/op/wqcc/Hearings/Rulemaking/31_85nutrients/Nutrients.html.

Rising operating costs will force higher fees

Wicklund advised the board that he will have a legal notice prepared that states the district reserves the right to sue the commission if these two regulations are ultimately approved and adopted by the governor.

Wicklund also advised the board that even though the implementation date for these two regulations may be deferred as requested by Hickenlooper until June 30, 2013, the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility must still further expand its monitoring and testing in Monument Creek upstream and downstream of the facility’s discharge pipe for even more chemicals and forms of aquatic life as well as pay for the installation and operation of a pilot plant for chemical removal of total phosphorus. He stated again, as he has done in district meetings for the past year, that these direct short-term increases in plant operating costs will require monthly fee increases of at least $5 per customer.

Wicklund said the direct costs for the subsequent required plant expansion capital and operational costs to treat total nitrogen to attempt to just partially meet the interim values in Reg. 31 will be 10 to 20 times as much as the $5 fee increase required to start to treat total phosphorus and monitor results in Monument Creek.

For additional background on these costly and complex technical issues, see:

JUC update

Wicklund briefed the board on the defeat of state Rep. Marsha Looper’s bill, HB12-1161, by a 4-3 party-line vote by the Colorado Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Energy Committee, after a very technical three-hour hearing on May 3. See the related article the May 8 JUC meeting for more information.

New district rules and regulations adopted

Wicklund advised the board that engineering consultant firm GMS Inc. had completed the 2012 update for the district’s rules and regulations. The latest update reflects a shift from basing them on the Uniform Plumbing Code to the International Plumbing Code. The board unanimously approved a motion to adopt the new updated version of the district’s rules and regulations.

Wicklund also reported that total tap fees had increased to $21,500, considerably more than the $10,000 in the 2012 budget, and total cash assets were about $280,000. The district also received a new inclusion filing for two residential lots in Colorado Estates.

He advised the board that the district had contributed $1,500 as one of 10 entities that will participate in developing a proposal for a watershed monitoring program to be operated and managed by engineering firm Brown and Caldwell. Regional wastewater entities in El Paso County and the City of Pueblo are participating in monthly meetings hosted by the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments to develop a program similar to the South Platte Coalition for Urban River Evaluation that Brown and Caldwell has administered for over a decade.

The new coalition’s purpose is to collect and post a wide variety of data collected by wastewater facilities to determine stream health and nutrient loading from the Tri-Lakes facility down to Pueblo and in the Arkansas River from the Pueblo Reservoir to John Martin Reservoir. These data will be required by Regulation 85 and Regulation 31 and be useful for wastewater entities that want to file for site-specific variances and exemptions from these nutrient regulations.

The direct costs for consultants to perform management and engineering functions for the new group would be billed to the Tri-Lakes facility, then billed equal shares to the three wastewater districts that own the facility: Monument, Palmer Lake, and Woodmoor. The invoicing formula currently used by the South Platte Coalition for Urban River Evaluation will be the starting point for annual fee and direct operating cost payment for expenses beyond the stream sampling costs incurred by each member wastewater entity.

For more information see www.spcure.org.

The meeting adjourned at 8:53 p.m.

**********

The next meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on June 21 in the district conference room, 130 Second St. Meetings are normally held on the third Thursday of the month. Information: 481-4886 or the website addresses noted above.

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

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Lewis-Palmer School District 38 Board of Education, May 17: Wilson resigns from D-38 board

By Kate Wetterer

Treasurer Gail Wilson announced her resignation from the District 38 Board of Education at the May 17 board meeting. She said it had been an honor to serve the school district and thanked those she has worked for and alongside. Wilson is moving out of the district.

Board members recalled her dedication to "the arts, education, charities" and how she worked to ground the board, keeping proceedings as "honest" as possible.

The deadline for receiving applications for Wilson’s position is June 7, after which interviews will be conducted. For more information, see http://lewispalmer.org/.

Students read pen-pal letters

Lewis-Palmer Middle School students attended the meeting, and Principal Caryn Collette said the school makes an effort to send students out into society, giving back to their communities with special projects. One such project extending beyond class work is the pen-pal program, connecting seventh-graders with adults and allowing them to exchange letters.

Members of the seventh-grade red team read letters extolling the benefits of the pen-pal program and explaining why it should be continued. They said the program taught them how to write letters properly and address envelopes, appreciate their places in society and befriend strangers they might not have otherwise met. The board expressed admiration for the students’ work.

A married couple involved in the pen-pal program praised the project for helping to link generations. The board agreed that it is a worthwhile project that deserves to be maintained.

Budget update

Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Wangeman said D-38’s budget is currently balanced. However, it is estimated that educating the district’s 5,763 students will cost roughly $6,142 each. Wangeman said the recently approved bus fees will help make costs more manageable. The district does not plan to request an increase in lunch fees, even though food costs are expected to rise 8 percent in the coming year.

Wangeman’s summary of the 2011-12 budget was accepted by the board. She also presented the proposed district budget for the 2012-13 year, which will be subject to a formal vote on June 21. This document can be viewed by the public. Contact Vicki Wood, the superintendent’s secretary, if interested: 719-481-9546 VWood@lewispalmer.org.

Director of Personnel and Student Services Bob Foster’s proposed compensation packages were accepted for the upcoming year, with the pay freeze remaining in effect.

The 2006 general obligation bonds were partially refunded, saving $900,000 in interest.

Feasibility Committee

The Feasibility Committee, represented by Russ Broshous and Rich Stewart, discussed the importance of maintaining the respect of D-38’s community, not only to keep the school system afloat but to contribute to the kind of stellar education the district hopes to provide students.

Broshous and Stewart discussed a young man who was placed in special-education classes as a second-grader and who, thanks to the remarkable education he received, grew up into an up-and-coming doctor.

The fear is that funding cuts will impact classrooms negatively enough to deny students the same sort of benefits. It is important, the Feasibility Committee said, to "win" voters to the school district’s cause, appealing to all age levels and getting teachers involved in particular. Mistakes were made in the past, but the committee believes that public regard for D-38 has risen in the past 10 years, and the percentage of people who will definitely vote "no" to helping the district has decreased accordingly.

Other solutions to money problems mentioned were reducing administrative staff and imposing/increasing user fees.

Despite earning state accreditation with distinction, D-38 will need $34 million to "get back to where (they are) supposed to be" monetarily. Still, it is vital that these funds not come out of students’ direct classroom experiences.

Exceptional Student Services

Mary Anne Fleury, director of Exceptional Student Services, gave an update on the Exceptional Student Services Department, which faired very well in recent Continuous Improvement Monitoring Process audit assessments. The Colorado Department of Education said that most of D-38’s Individual Education Plans (IEPs) are among the best in the state. There are currently 552 students in D-38 special education programs, with the district in good standing. Teachers were praised in the assessment for:
  • Focusing on student strengths.
  • LPedia—an online system providing access to "staff-related policies and procedures."
  • All required student timelines having been met.
  • The close collaboration between special and general education and the continued services afforded to students ages 3 to 21.
Potential corrections that could be made to the programs include:
  • Goals created for achievement during the "transition age"—ages 15 and older.
  • Goals should be kept measurable.
  • Specific disability identification could be given more emphasis.
Fleury said the state is applying for a waiver to "reinvent" special education, and meetings are being conducted with the directors of special education to come to applicable conclusions. The idea would be to "start all over" to perfect the system. Only 25 percent of special education students in the nation are deemed proficient, and it is thought that a "multi-tiered system of support" could help resolve that problem.

The final goal would be to look out for more students, provide aid for students with any learning disorder, with or without diagnosis, and hire teachers with certification in subjects like literature and math. All pupils under the 35th student growth percentile would form individual growth plans and be given attention that may help them succeed.

Recently, $11,000 in grant money was awarded to the D-38 special education program, and a teacher assistant coordinator has been assigned to the district. She has been working with school teams.

Superintendent attends events

Superintendent John Borman said he had attended various events in the school district, and remarked on the way Palmer Lake embraced its elementary school for Arbor Day and on a genuinely "amazing’ sixth-grade concert at Lewis-Palmer Middle School. He also attended the Excellence Assembly at Lewis-Palmer High School, and remarked on how wonderful it was to see kids "honor each other."

Community comments

Parent Cathy Wilcox commended the teachers at Lewis-Palmer Middle School, describing their positive effects on her children through a letter read by Collette.

Melissa Monroe, president of the Lewis-Palmer Education Association, social studies teacher at Lewis-Palmer High School, and parent of an almost-kindergartner, expressed concerns about the pay freeze. She is currently teaching one extra class essentially for free, which means she is handling a total of 188 students.

Monroe says the pay freeze should end, and perhaps it should be made less expensive for her to send her child to D-38 schools. She lives in Falcon, and it would cost her $200 more to send her son to the school system she works for. The board expressed sympathy.

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The Lewis-Palmer District 38 Board of Education meets at 6 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month at the district’s Learning Center, 146 Jefferson St., Monument. The next meeting will be at 7 p.m. June 21. For more information: (719) 488-4700 or www.lewispalmer.org.

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

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Lewis-Palmer District Accountability Advisory Committee, May 8: Committee receives update on Exceptional Student Services

Below:
Administrative Liaison Lori Benton thanks DAAC Chair Steve Braun for his leadership over the past two years. Photo by Harriet Halbig.

By Harriet Halbig

Mary Ann Fleury, School District 38 director of Exceptional Student Services (ESS), presented her annual report to the District Accountability Advisory Committee (DAAC) at its May 8 meeting.

Formerly involved only with special education, the ESS department now also monitors progress by English Language Learners (ELL), Response to Intervention (RtI) students and those with Section 504 learning plans (generally, students with problems such as vision, hearing, or emotional disabilities as well as cognitive problems).

The vision of the department is to offer access to the general education curriculum to all students.

There are currently 560 students in special education. There are resources in each school building to provide services. In addition, the new STAR program at Prairie Winds Elementary school offers services to students who have emotional disabilities or are on the autism spectrum but have high cognitive abilities.

ESS also administers the transition program for students ages 18 to 21 with an active Individual Education Plan (IEP). A recent audit by the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) praised the overall offerings of ESS, and especially the transitions program. The state officials also complimented the degree of cooperation between special education and general education teachers in the district.

Plans to rebuild special education system

Fleury also spoke of her participation in the statewide Special Education Reinvented task force, which is seeking a waiver from the federal Office of Special Education in order to entirely rebuild the system in Colorado. The task force was created because, despite heavy spending in the area of special education, a relatively small percentage of students become proficient in such areas as reading and math.

One proposal under discussion is to change certification requirements for special education teachers so that they must also be certified in reading, math or science and offer services to general education students as well.

Another is to require that all students with growth potential below the 35th percentile have individual growth plans, thus lessening the effects of labeling students.

Colorado is the only state embarking on this project and is serving as a role model.

There are currently 311 students in the English Language Learners program, speaking 37 languages. This is the fastest-growing segment of the ESS population. Each student has a Language Acquisition Plan in place stipulating accommodations and goals for the individual.

The RtI program puts intervention in place to help students to catch up before instituting an IEP. Specific goals are set and monitored.

In response to a question about plans, Fleury said that IEPs are federally funded, Advanced Learning Plans for gifted students are partially funded, and 504 plans are mandated but not funded.

ESS also administers a preschool program for students ages 3 to 5 who have been diagnosed as requiring special education, and a Child Find Program to diagnose students at the earliest possible age so that intervention may begin to prepare them for school. In many cases, those with an early diagnosis can join the general education community once kindergarten begins.

Legislative update

Board of Education Liaison Gail Wilson said that the state Legislature seems to be in a holding pattern regarding many initiatives in education. The legislative session was scheduled to end at midnight May 9. Some of the issues involved were:
  • Concurrent enrollment in high school and college
  • Certification for speech pathologists
  • Parental consent requirement for assessments—the objection is that Social Security numbers are required on applications
Wilson said the most significant item that passed was a change in mandatory expulsion rules so that only the possession of a firearm would cause expulsion.

Regarding school finance, the state will provide $1 less per pupil next year than this year.

There will be an online social studies assessment for fourth, seventh and 11th grades, with a pilot program next year. There will be an online assessment for science for fifth, eighth and 11th grades.

TBD (To Be Determined), the program launched by Gov. John Hickenlooper, involves a series of community discussions throughout the state with regard to major issues such as education, health care, public employment, and transportation. The first series of meetings, setting priorities and funding sources, has been completed. The second series will seek to find solutions. The second local meeting was scheduled for May 15.

DAAC year in review

Committee Chair Steve Braun must report to the Board of Education on the committee’s activities. Some of the highlights he plans to mention are:
  • The principal of the school where each meeting is held gives updates on that school’s status, adding depth to the committee’s understanding of the individuality of each location and its priorities.
  • A great deal of time was spent in presentation of each school’s School Improvement Plan. Members of the committee suggested that a way be found to spend less time on each plan, perhaps by creating a template that principals could use in their presentations.
  • The Committee for Political Achievement was complimented on its planning of Meet the Candidate events before last fall’s school board election
  • The committee discussed ways to improve attendance at meetings. Ideally there should be a parent and a staff representative from each school.
Braun asked for nominations for committee chair for next year. He has served two years and has reached his term limit. There were no responses. An email will be sent to all members soliciting a nominee. Several elementary school parents were absent from the meeting due to a concert.

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The District Accountability Advisory Committee meets at 7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month during the academic year. The next meeting will be held Sept. 11 at the district’s Learning Center, 146 Jefferson St., Monument.

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

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Lewis-Palmer Special Education Advisory Council, May 9: Learning profiles assist students in transition

By Harriet Halbig

The School District 38 Special Education Advisory Council discussed the importance of Personal Learning Profiles (PLPs) at its final meeting of the school year on May 9.

Following discussions about the transition process between grade levels and between schools, PLPs were presented as a successful tool in introducing special needs students to their teachers before the start of the school year.

Several members of the group commented that there is a lot of trepidation on the part of students entering a new year of school. Those with autism, especially, fear change and value routine. The prospect of going to an entirely new building adds to the anxiety.

Parents are encouraged to learn the name of the new teacher at the end of the school year preceding the change. They are also encouraged to arrange a meeting between the new teacher and the student ahead of the first class.

The PLP serves to introduce the student to the teacher, offering information about the student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP), any necessary accommodations such as extra time in taking tests, and a short explanation of the child’s disability.

The PLP can be a slideshow on a CD or a notebook containing pictures and captions, learning habits (for example, some students learn better with pictures than words, some type better than they write, some need to hear a text read rather than reading it), and potential behavioral problems. Also included in the profile is information about the student’s family and outside activities such as hobbies or sports.

Having this information makes it easier for a teacher to get to know the student and can help to avoid behavioral issues caused by misunderstanding. When the PLP is presented in notebook form, it can serve as a speedy reference for the teacher, easily accessed when problems arise.

Council members said a copy of the PLP should be given to each teacher who will have contact with the student. In this way, they all have the same information and can interact with the student in a consistent way.

Several parents in the group created PLPs for their children last year, following its introduction by a teacher from Kilmer Elementary School (see page 15 of the June 2011 issue for further information). They said that its use this year caused a great improvement in understanding on the part of general education teachers.

There was a discussion of the possibility of offering a workshop for parents to provide them with a template for creating their own PLP, showing examples and demonstrating how to insert photos and music where appropriate.

Mary Ann Fleury, the district’s director of Exceptional Student Services, gave a presentation on her department’s activities during this year. This presentation was given at the DAAC meeting the previous evening. For detailed information, see the DAAC article.

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The Special Education Advisory Council meets at 6:30 p.m. on the second Wednesday of each month during the school year. The next meeting will be held on Sept. 12.

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

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Monument Board of Trustees, May 7: State champion Lewis-Palmer basketball team recognized

Below: On May 7, the Monument Board of Trustees recognized the Lewis-Palmer High School boys’ basketball team for winning the Colorado 4A state championship with a record of 27-1. After Mayor Travis Easton presented a plaque from the board to Coach Russ McKinstry, he spoke with each of the members of the team and McKinstry’s staff. Numerous family members crowded the board room to a standing-room-only overflow. Photo by Jim Kendrick

By Jim Kendrick

On May 7, the Monument Board of Trustees recognized the Lewis-Palmer High School boys’ basketball team for winning the Colorado 4A state championship with a record of 27-1. Coach Russ McKinstry thanked the board for its recognition and support for the team’s athletic and academic performance. He introduced the team members and his coaching staff. Numerous family members crowded the room to standing room only.

Town Manager Kathy Green said that if Lewis-Palmer keeps winning championships, the town would need a bigger board room. Trustee Tommie Plank and Trustee Rafael Dominguez praised the team for their great sportsmanship and character throughout the season. Mayor Easton presented a plaque to Coach McKinstry.

Trustee Stan Gingrich did not attend this meeting.

Trustees’ comments

Outgoing Trustee Plank, who is term-limited, noted that the town’s eighth year of Art Hop will begin on May 17 in downtown Monument and that Art Hop is held on the third Thursday of each month.

Trustee Jeff Kaiser inquired about the intergovernmental agreements (IGAs) with Triview Metropolitan District that were set to expire April 30. Green stated the Administrative IGA will become a lease and the other IGAs had been terminated as scheduled.

Kaiser inquired about a town cemetery planning update. Outgoing Trustee Gail Drumm (term-limited) stated that the Cemetery Committee had held a meeting earlier in May. The committee will make a presentation for the board in June.

Outgoing Trustee and Mayor Pro Tem Dominguez, who chose not to run for re-election, challenged the Lewis-Palmer Boys Basketball team to a basketball game against the current Board of Trustees. Plank replied, "Wait a minute!"

Mayor Travis Easton commented that he had lunch with both D-38 high schools’ Student Councils to discuss engaging youths in the community. Easton suggested, as "food for thought" for the new board, allowing Student Council members to engage in a Board of Trustees meeting as a nonvoting board member and be allowed to participate in discussions from the dais.

Easton commented on the governor’s invitation to board members to discuss transportation issues on May 18 at a Colorado Springs meeting focused on transportation issues.

There were no public comments.

New trustees sworn in

Easton presented plaques to Dominguez, Drumm, and Plank and thanked them for their dedication and the high quality of their collegial service to the town. Town Clerk Cynthia Sirochman administered the oath to the new trustees: John Howe, Becki Tooley, and Jeffrey Bornstein.

The board recessed at 6:49 p.m. for a reception for the outgoing and incoming trustees. The meeting resumed at 7:09 p.m., with the new trustees taking their places at the dais.

New liquor ordinance approved

The board unanimously approved an ordinance electing the exclusive local review process for liquor license special event permit applications as authorized by Colorado Senate Bill 11-066. Sirochman said this action eliminates the need for redundant concurrent state approvals without adversely affecting the quality or thoroughness of the town review of special event applications.

Fourth of July parade permit approved

The board unanimously approved a resolution authorizing the temporary closing of Lincoln Street, Third Street, and Beacon Lite Road from Third Street to Second Street and the issuance of a special events permit for conducting the annual Fourth of July Parade. The times and route of the parade remain unchanged.

Paving contract approved

The board unanimously approved a resolution for awarding a contract to John R. Hurley Asphalt LLC for $18,360 for paving the former downtown police department parking lot now that all the modular buildings and other equipment have been removed. Public Works staff removed all the debris from the site on Washington Street, then graded and compacted the lot for Hurley.

Other costs like wheel stops for each of the planned parking spaces on the north side of the lot will bring the final cost up to $21,000. Public Works will stripe the 29 parking spaces. Tom Kassawara, director of the Development Services Department, said the two-day installation was scheduled to start on May 21.

Engineering consultant contract extended

The board unanimously approved a resolution for approving the third and final one-year extension to the four-year continuing services agreement with J3 Engineering Consultants Inc. for providing consulting engineering services to the Development Services Department on an as requested time and charges basis. Kassawara said that J3 just completed a project to mitigate sedimentation and erosion in Monument Creek just below the Monument Lake Dam spillway, "an exceptional job in a short period of time for a very good price."

Four liquor licenses renewed

The board unanimously approved an annual liquor license renewal for the Diamond Shamrock truck stop at 1310 W. Baptist Rd. The board also unanimously approved three annual art gallery liquor licenses for:
  • Margo’s Inc., 253 Washington St.
  • The Bead Corner, 251 Front St. No. 4
  • Bella Casa, 155 Second St.

Financial reports

Town Treasurer Pamela Smith presented the monthly information briefing on sales tax earnings, collections, and trends through February. Smith also presented a summary of the March financial statements for the various town funds. The March financials were unanimously accepted.

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

  • $5,100 to Redline Pipeline to remove and replace rip rap at Monument Lake
  • $6,000 to John Cutler and Associates for a partial billing for the town’s 2011 audit

Staff reports

Town Attorney Gary Shupp noted that the final motions were filed in the Brody vs. Town of Monument case, regarding alleged town right-of-way encroachments onto the vacant Brody lot on the southeast corner of Front and Third Streets. He is waiting for the court to make a ruling.

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

**********

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

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Monument Board of Trustees, May 21: Two Monument Police Department awards presented

Photos by Jim Kendrick.

On May 21, Monument Police Department Chief Jake Shirk presented commendation plaques to Detective Steve Lontz (above) and Mary Ellen Burk (below).

Below: Former Mayor Pro Tem Rafael Dominguez, Trustee Tommie Plank, and Trustee Gail Drumm. Dominguez chose not to run for a second term. Plank and Drumm were term-limited. 

By Jim Kendrick

Monument Police Department Chief Jacob Shirk presented two awards to members of his department during the May 21 Monument Board of Trustees meeting. The board elected Trustee Jeff Kaiser as mayor pro tem, unanimously approved a three-year extension of the previously approved Village at Monument replat and planned development (PD) site plan for the southernmost filing in the Old Denver Highway development, and approved the Fourth of July downtown street fair permit.

Presentation of Police Department awards

Before making the presentations, Chief Shirk stated that he wanted "this board and the citizens to know that you have some outstanding officers that put a lot of time and effort into their jobs and really show a lot of professionalism."

Chief Shirk presented Detective Steve Lontz with a commendation plaque for his exceptional work in devising and managing the Selective Traffic Enforcement Program, which has decreased the number of traffic accidents by 20 percent in high risk areas of Monument over the past four years. Lontz made a thorough study and analysis of accident reports, planning, and updates, Shirk said.

Chief Shirk presented Mary Ellen Burk with a commendation plaque for her dedication in "being a driving force with enthusiasm" while managing the office as office administrator where she:
  • Developed computer programs to better track Police Department and municipal court records with electronic forms in a paperless system.
  • Designed and implemented an electronic timecard system that is now used by the entire town.
  • Implemented a transmittal system for tracking police and court deposits and invoices.
  • Developed an electronic daily field activity reporting system for officers.
  • Wrote training manuals, standard operating procedures, and computer checklists for the staff.

Extension for MasterBilt Homes approved

Tom Kassawara, director of Development Services, and Jack Wiepking provided a history of the town’s approvals for all three phases of the Village at Monument development’s PD site plan on the west side of Old Denver Highway at Ranchero Drive.

Wiepking was the landowner (Wiepking Real Estate Investments LLC) and the developer (owner and president of MasterBilt Homes in Monument). The project was to be a neo-traditional neighborhood development, with two filings for 44 homes, a third filing with 80,000 square feet of commercial space, and over five acres of open space with far more landscaping than a standard Monument development. The project originally had mixed-use zoning so residents could have a barber, doctor, or coffee shop within walking distance in Phase 3.

For more historical information on the changes and evolution of this development, search "Village at Monument" (select all words) on the home page www.ocn.me for the numerous articles on town actions for this development.

On July 21, 2008, the board approved:

  • A rezone of Phase 3 Lot 2 and Tract B from Planned Commercial Development to Planned Development with a single family residential use due to lack of interest in commercial development.
  • A vacation and replat revision for the new road alignment of the south end of Buffalo Valley Path, coupled with a vacation and replat of portions of Tracts C and D and a small portion of Wagon Gap Trail between these latter two tracts in Trails End.
  • A preliminary/final PD site plan creating 22 single-family home lots in Filing 3.
  • An associated major PD amendment for the Trails End development to allow driveway access for six of these 22 new residential lots to the northeast side of Wagon Gap Trail.
For more information on these decisions at this meeting, see www.ocn.me/v8n8.htm#bot.

Subsequently the board approved a town code amendment that extended the maximum time for recordation of site plans, plats, and rezones with the county from 18 months to 42 months to reflect the housing recession. The code amendment also allows the board to approve an extension for an unspecified period.

At the May 21 meeting, developer MasterBilt Homes LLC asked the board for a one-year extension on the time left for filing the three currently approved documents with the El Paso County clerk and recorder. Kassawara said the staff supports the request for several reasons:
  • The addition of new single-family homes on a vacant parcel will benefit the town’s economy.
  • The developer has agreed to all the conditions in the July 21, 2008, approvals.
  • The developer made a conscious effort to obtain an extension in 2009, then the staff advised him to wait until after the code revisions were completed.
  • There are no inconsistencies with regard to the code.
The board unanimously approved an extension until May 21, 2013, for recordation of the Village at Monument replat and amended preliminary/final PD site plan.

Liquor licenses

The board unanimously approved Town Clerk Cynthia Sirochman’s recommendation for a new liquor license request from Anthony Archuleta for WECWIN LLC, DBA Secret Windows Fine Art Gallery and Floral Studio at 47 Third St., with the condition that the Colorado Bureau of Investigation approves a second set of fingerprints to be sent to the bureau, due to the first set being defective.

Five annual liquor license renewals were unanimously approved for:

  • 1st and 10 Sports Bar and Grill, 1455 Cipriani Loop
  • The Village Merchants, 155 N. Jefferson St.
  • Conoco Store/Circle K, 534 State Highway 105
  • Eagle Wine and Spirits, 1060 W. Baptist Rd.
  • Wal-Mart Supercenter No. 3227, 16218 Jackson Creek Parkway

Financial reports

The board unanimously approved one disbursement over $5,000 for $103,919 to Triview Metropolitan District consisting of $97,251 for March sales tax, $6,417 for April motor vehicle tax, and $252 for April Pikes Peak Regional Building sales tax.

Town Treasurer Pamela Smith presented information on town sales tax earnings through March and the amount collected through May. The board unanimously accepted Smith’s April financial statements and summary.

Staff reports

Town Attorney Gary Shupp commented that he received the court ruling for the Brody vs. the Town of Monument case, regarding alleged town right-of-way encroachments onto the vacant Brody lot on the southeast corner of Front and Third Streets. All requests that the town pay court costs and attorney’s fees were denied.

Kassawara presented the Development Services report and commented on a joint letter to the Pikes Peak Region Mayors Council from him, County Engineer Andre Brackin, and Colorado Springs Transportation Manager Kathleen Krager. Some of the points these three made in their letter were:

  • They agreed with the analysis in the May 14 letter from Don Hunt, executive director of the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), to Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach stating that the Pikes Peak region has not received its fair share of road revenues from the CDOT budget in recent years.
  • The Pikes Peak region will receive $96 million from the 2012 budget of $935 million (10.27 percent).
  • The Pikes Peak region’s proportional allocation is actually 9.48 percent for 2012.
  • From 2006 to 2011, the Pikes Peak region’s portion of CDOT funding was only 7.06 percent of the state’s total for roads, $135 million less than a 9.48 percent allocation would have been.
  • Had the region received this addition $22 million per year, reconstruction of the still needed Cimarron and Fillmore I-25 interchanges could have been completed.
During public comments, Richard Arnold of DARB Group Inc. in Monument presented four options for new town logos with the motto: "Monument Colorado—The Home of Strong Families." Green and Mayor Travis Easton thanked Arnold for his unsolicited proposal and advised him that there would be considerable expense in changing the town logo, which is only a few years old, on vehicles, uniforms, and other town property and supplies.

The meeting was adjourned at 8 p.m.

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The next meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on June 4 at Town Hall, 645 Beacon Lite Road. Meetings are normally held on the first and third Monday of the month. Information: 884-8017 or townofmonument.net/TownEventsCalendar.html.

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

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Palmer Lake Town Council, May 10: Fire chief will leave department

By David Futey

On May 10, Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department Chief Greg Lokken told the Town Council that he will have to leave the department. Also, the Fireworks Committee submitted a request to operate a beer garden on July 4.

Trustee Bruce Hoover was excused from this meeting

Fire chief will leave position

Lokken told the council that his employer gave him the option to either move to Huntsville, Ala., or be laid off. Lokken accepted the offer to move and will be doing so at the end of June. He said he will work with Fire Trustee Rich Kuehster to identify a possible replacement as chief.

Mayor Nikki McDonald thanked Lokken for all his 21 years of service to the community. Lokken said he will keep his house in Palmer Lake because he hopes to return to the area.

Fireworks Committee requests beer garden

Fireworks Committee President Mary Russelavage and Vice President Gloria McCartan submitted a special events request to operate a beer garden on July 4. A property owner on County Line Road is offering space for the committee to use. The beer garden would operate from noon to 7 p.m., with all proceeds going to the Fireworks Committee. A hay wagon would be used to transport people between the beer garden and other locations. The committee will request a liquor license at the next workshop meeting.

Russelavage said the committee has funding for this year’s fireworks, but the budget for next year is in question. The committee is considering having a mascot circulate among the fireworks spectators and ask for donations. The council suggested other ideas, such as hosting a parking lot area, to assist the committee in fundraising.

Superintendent John Borman thanks council

Lewis-Palmer District 38 Superintendent of Schools John Borman thanked the council for funds received from the increase in cash in lieu of land payments. In August 2011, Borman, Interim Superintendent Ted Bauman, and Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Wangeman met with the council and asked for an increase from $300 to $1,200 per roof. The council approved the increase at that time.

Borman said he felt "Palmer Lake Elementary School is, of all our schools, the school most embraced by the community." He also looks forward to working with the new council.

Vote postponed on lease agreement with riders

The council postponed a vote on renewing the lease agreement with the Palmer Lake Sportsriders until the June meeting. The lease agreement was increased to $2,000 in March 2011. The club has 36 members.

Town Attorney Larry Gaddis said the club is required to maintain insurance. The council requested that the group increase its liability coverage to $1 million, up from the present $500,000. The council also requested representation from the club at the June meeting so it can meet with the club’s leadership and discuss the insurance increase.

Committee reports

Mayor McDonald said the bathrooms by the tennis courts in the Glen will not be available because of vandalism. A portable unit will be placed in the area. She also said this is the 30th year the town will be recognized as Tree City USA.

Roads Supervisor Bob Radosevich said new bleachers were installed at the ball field for $5,713. He reported work has started on the tennis courts and anticipates five working days to complete the project, weather permitting.

Former Economic Development Trustee Michael Maddox said the town of Larkspur will partner with Palmer Lake on the balloon festival, particularly in requesting use of an open space in Douglas County.

Police Trustee Bob Grado said he talked with Palmer Lake Police Chief Kieth Moreland about budget concerns. Grado said Chief Moreland and he want to meet with Town Accountant Linda Ousnamer to better understand how the department funding is being spent.

Grado said there were 17 police case reports in April. One case was the Internet sexual exploitation of a child, which was turned over to the Colorado Springs Police Department. Wild animal intrusions, including bears and mountain lions, occurred nearly once a week. As a result, citizens are asked to keep pets indoors and cover trash bins. Police were dispatched to 100 calls by El Paso County.

Water Trustee Michael Maddox said the town used 4.9 million gallons, or 165,000 gallons per day, in April. He toured the town’s water plant and well sites to gain an understanding of the operation. Maddox expressed a concern about the town not having a backup for Water Supervisor Steve Orcutt, given Orcutt’s extensive knowledge of the water plant and well operation.

Pumps were pulled out of Well D2 for repair because of metals in the water. Orcutt estimates repairs will cost $30,000 to $40,000. Funds from the capital improvement fund will be used to cover the repair cost.

A $5,000 payment to the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments (PPACG) is due. The council briefly discussed the pros and cons of belonging to the PPACG. They decided to continue with participating and maintaining the relationship with area water districts.

Fire Trustee Kuehster said the Fire Department responded to 21 calls in April and a total of 105 for the year. Volunteers logged 2,605 hours for the month and 10,283 hours for year. Three firefighters have completed probation and are now full members.

The Fire Department will conduct training opportunities for the community, including CPR, residential fire safety audits, and other classes. Contact the department at (719) 481-2902 for more information.

Roads Trustee Jerry Davis said the department fixed potholes on Circle Road, Wheat Ridge Street, Third Street, Trinidad Lane and other streets. The department also regraded Columbine Drive, Columbine Road, Fifth Street, Highland Street, High Street and others.

Dust control has started and began in the Glen. Roads are selected by bus route and traffic flow patterns. Grading, watering, and rolling is performed and, given the present staffing, one mile a week is being completed.

Budget on target

Ousnamer provided a budget report to council and said the budget is balanced at this time. The annual report on accounting practices recommends two signers on the account and checks. She said direct deposit needs to be setup for payroll. Town employees will be given two months’ notification because there will be a three-day lag with the initial payment. She recommended that all town staff complete job profiles in the event that an employee needs to be replaced or if cross training is needed.

Ousnamer said the auditors will provide a Report to Governance, which will include recommendations for a "safer and efficient system."

Business license

By unanimous decision, the council approved the business license of Shelly’s Hair Boutique at 104-B Highway 105. Shelly Wheeler said the shop will be located next to O’ Malley’s Pub.

The meeting adjourned at 7:53 p.m.

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The next meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. June 14 in Town Hall, 42 Valley Crescent. Meetings are normally the second Thursday of the month. Information: 481-2953.

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

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Palmer Lake Planning Commission, May 16: Plans for storage facility expansion accepted

By Kate Wetterer

On May 16, the Palmer Lake Planning Commission accepted plans for an annexation to allow the expansion of a storage facility and heard tentative plans for a housing development.

Lynn Spear of Spear Builders Inc. proposed an annexation to the east and/or south of Highway 105, extending a current storage facility into an adjacent building. The motion to accept his plans passed, which means the matter will now be taken up by the Town Council.

Under the proposal, four buildings would be "phase built," meaning they will be constructed one at a time. Spear said his company has arranged to resolve electrical concerns and sewer accommodations. The company’s existing entrance on Peak View would still be used, and the office would remain where it is.

Spear presented a copy of his plans to the board. Drainage was singled out as a potential concern, because Palmer Lake may be taking responsibility for drainage issues that would previously have belonged to the county. Spear assured the commission that an engineer is handling drainage preparations, and a cohesive plan would be ready by the time the builder enters the next stage of approval.

The commissioners expressed a bit of uncertainty about what using a semi truck in the area would do to the serenity of nearby Roberts Drive homes. The representative said that he and his company have previously worked with more semis than would likely be used in this project, with no issues. Ideas of a security fence were discussed, but no decision was made on this issue. The commission accepted the proposal.

Charlie Shea of CR Shea Homes, which he runs with his business partner and wife Nancy Shea, discussed the possibility of building a housing development in Palmer Lake. Shea was not looking for any specific motion to be passed at this time, but rather intended to check the "pulse" of the community, to gauge if the proposal would be welcome. He asked if it was worthwhile for him to fill out an application to use Palmer Lake land, hire land planners and take other steps.

CR Shea Homes specializes in luxury homes in the Colorado area, and is responsible for a handful of housing projects in Colorado Springs. These include a site near Flying W Ranch and another near the Valley High Golf Course. Both Sheas are "certified green professionals."

Shea’s proposed development in Palmer Lake would be aimed at "empty-nesters," not necessarily families. The houses probably would not be higher than 1½ stories, and while they would not have large yards there would be open space surrounding the development. Shea estimated it would take until the end of summer to come up with a full plan.

CR Shea Homes is currently working with 13 acres of land near the Mosaic Inn on Highway 105. It plans to devote five acres to each home site. The hope is to increase the development’s area, potentially building as many as 24 houses. The development would not have a separate clubhouse or community center of its own.

Water from the Clark One and potentially the untapped Clark Two wells would be used, and the sewer system already runs straight through the property. The commissioners suggested Shea consider building a trail system in the area.

The commissioners welcomed Shea’s suggestions, though they indicated that a full plan was needed before they could take any action. To decide if the housing development plan is worth pursuing, the commission advised him to hold public meetings.

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The Palmer Lake Planning Commission normally holds a workshop on the second Wednesday of each month and a meeting on the third Wednesday of each month. Both are held at Palmer Lake Town Hall, 28 Valley Crescent. The next planning commission workshop is scheduled for 7 p.m. June 13. The next meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. June 20. For information, call 481-2953 or visit www.ci.palmer-lake.co.us.

Kate Weterrer can be reached at kateweterrer@ocn.me.

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May Weather Wrap

By Bill Kappel

Overall, it was a pretty average May around the region, with temperatures close to normal and precipitation right at normal. Snow was a little less than we normally get, but that’s not too surprising since May can see quite a variation in snowfall, from none to more than a foot in any given year.

Warm and dry weather started off the month, along with plenty of sunshine. High temperatures reached the low 70s each afternoon from the 1st through the 3rd after seasonably cool starts to each day. Temperatures warmed even more over the next couple of days, with highs touching the low 80s on the 4th and 5th. This put us in near record high territory each afternoon. But changes began to move in on Sunday the 6th, as clouds increased and temperatures cooled by 20 to 30 degrees. This was the initial push of cool air that would continue to increase over the next few days.

The second week of May started off cool and unsettled. Temperatures struggled to reach the low 40s on the 7th, as a storm moved through the region. This combined with low-level easterly flow and cold air to produce snow off and on from mid-morning through evening. A little more than a half inch accumulated during the morning hours, then most melted as it fell during the day. This storm cleared out of the region the next day, with temperatures quickly rebounding to seasonal levels, then slightly above normal on the 9th and 10th.

Another storm moved into the region over the next few days, with a strong cold front racing through just after midnight on the 11th. Temperatures were just a little warmer with this storm, so we received less snow and more rain. Highs still struggled to reach the low 40s on the 11th, with rain and snow mixed at times. Brief accumulations occurred with the heaviest showers, but overall it was a cold, gray day. The easterly winds and low-level moisture stuck around through the weekend, with temperatures remaining 10 to 15 degrees below normal, rounds of showers and even a few rumbles of thunder.

Temperatures started off the next week right around normal as a departing storm system left behind clear skies on the 14th as temperatures reached the upper 60s. Temperatures continued to warm for most of the week, with plenty of sunshine. Highs were consistently in the mid- to upper 70s, about 5 to 10 degrees warmer than normal for mid-May. Cooler air moved in just before midnight on the 19th, with highs not reaching above the low 40s with low clouds, rain, and fog off and on all day. This cool, moist air quickly moved out by that evening and sunshine returned to end the weekend, with temperatures rebounding back to the upper 60s.

Warm conditions took hold as high pressure moved out of the Southwest and brought with it a warm air mass. This allowed high temperatures to jump into the upper 70s on the 21st and low to mid-80s on the 22nd. Several daily record highs were broken around the region that afternoon as well. Unsettled weather moved back over the next few days, bringing temperatures down to normal levels, in the 60s to low 70s, and higher levels of moisture. This combined with the stronger May sunshine to produce areas of thunderstorms and rain. Most of the region received a half-inch of rain from the afternoon of the 23rd through the morning of the 24th.

Dry and warm conditions again returned on the 26th, starting off Memorial Day weekend with gusty winds and accompanying high temperatures in the low to mid-80s. Slightly cooler air moved in over the remainder of the weekend, with highs holding at near normal levels, in the upper 60s to low 70s. This was accompanied by plenty of sunshine, and with the expectation of the gusty winds at times, made for a nice holiday weekend.

Seasonal conditions with mostly sunny skies continued to grace the region through the end of the month, as highs stay in the upper 60s to low 70s with morning sunshine and scattered afternoon clouds. This cool, dry air mass did allow for overnight lows to drop well below normal, reaching as low as the upper 20s on the morning of the 29th.

A look ahead

By June, we can usually say goodbye to our chances of snow, but hello to frequent afternoon and evening thunderstorms. There are times when we see a little snow in June in the region, but most of the time we can expect warm, sunny days with afternoon and evening thunderstorms.

May 2012 Weather Statistics

Average High 68.6° (+2.0°) 100-year return frequency value max 75.7° min 57.9°
Average Low 37.1° (+1.5°) 100-year return frequency value max 43.2° min 32.5°
Highest Temperature 84° on the 22nd
Lowest Temperature 28° on the 14th, 29th
Monthly Precipitation 1.70" (+0.00" normal) 100-year return frequency value max 6.94" min 0.15"
Monthly Snowfall 1.1" (-4.0" 78% below normal)
Season to Date Snow 107.3" (-22.0" 17% below normal) (the snow season is from July 1 to June 30)
Season to Date Precip 19.09" (-0.15" 1% below normal) (the precip season is from July 1 to June 30)
Heating Degree Days 379 (-49)
Cooling Degree Days 0

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

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

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Letters to Our Community

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

Please identify your submission as a letter to the editor and include your full name, home address, and day and evening phone numbers.

A limit of 300 words is recommended. Letters may be edited for length, grammar, and accuracy.

Send your letter to editor@ocn.me or mail to Our Community News, P.O. Box 1742, Monument, Colorado 80132-1742. In response to problems receiving e-mail, if you send your letter by e-mail, we will send an e-mail acknowldegement. If you do not receive an acknowledgement, please call Susan Hindman at 481-8511 to confirm that we have received your letter.

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

A lack of critical thinking at D-38

Like many others, I am concerned about the future of public education. Lewis-Palmer School District 38 has many of the very same problems that plague education across the U.S. I have a vested interest, as we have lived in the area for over 20 years, both inside and just outside LPSD, we had three boys attend LP schools K-12, I taught at both high schools, and my wife is starting her 18th year as an excellent district teacher.

Rather than do nothing but complain, I became involved with Direction 38!, whose primary goal is to become knowledgeable about public schools and share information through our website and summer forums. I share the same pride as other district patrons in D-38, but find it unproductive to stand by and blindly accept the increasing lack of forward thinking in district administration.

Most of D-38’s accolades center on CSAP scores. Educators understand that CSAP scores are but a single indicator of quality schools, and these scores are directly tied to the economic wealth and education of the parents within a school district. In a recent Newsweek article, six criteria were used to rank the nation’s top 1,000 high schools. Neither of LPSD’s schools made the list, but Cheyenne Mountain, Douglas County, and D-20’s TCA did. US News & World Report named the top 30 high schools in Colorado, and LPHS was 29th.

If district leadership continues to keep blinders on and is unwilling to look critically at more than one indicator of success, the district is losing out on myriad opportunities to build upon all that the parents and students bring to the mix, and truly become a world-class school system. In the end, it is the students who will pay the price for this lack of critical thinking. That is my motivation.

Stephen Boyd

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It’s time for a teacher pay raise in D-38

I just reviewed the Lewis-Palmer School District’s proposed budget for 2012-13. According to that budget, the district expects to end the current year with a General Fund surplus of $302,000. It also expects General Fund revenues to increase by $363,000 and General Fund spending to increase by $556,000 next year—resulting in a General Fund surplus of $109,000 next year.

But according to the most recent monthly budget summary posted on the district’s website, this proposed 2012-13 budget appears to overstate current year spending by almost $1.5 million. As a result, the district may actually end this year with a General Fund surplus of $1.8 million and a balance in its General Fund savings account of $11.9 million (larger than at any time in district history and $8 million more than the balance just three years ago).

If the district’s monthly budget summaries are accurate, the district should be able to spend approximately $1.6 million on additional salaries and benefits for district employees next year, while still balancing its budget and leaving the $11.9 million in its General Fund savings account untouched. And … this can be done without asking local taxpayers for a mill levy override that would raise property taxes!

David J. Cloud

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Stephens an effective leader

There is one important question in this hotly contested House District 19 primary: Why did the redistricting process target Amy Stephens’ seat by lumping Monument with Fountain, Widefield, Calhan, and Falcon? The answer to the question "why" is because she has been very effective as a leader. Her opponent has no leadership experience in the Colorado House. The Democrats know this and are targeting their most effective opposition leadership.

Amy has led effectively against the Washington, D.C., political agenda that is trying to force mandates down the throats of Colorado citizens. These federal rules are in a wide variety of areas including health care and how we use energy to generate our electricity. As the majority leader, Amy Stephens has stopped the feds from having their way. The pro-big government liberals who wish to diminish Colorado rights want to get rid of Amy Stephens. Please don’t let them have their way by voting for Amy Stephens in the June mail-in Republican primary.

Gary Caletti

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Anti-Stephens campaign tactics criticized

Having moved to Monument just last year, my husband and I have been so impressed with the small-town feel and the friendliness of our neighbors and the entire Tri-Lakes community. We have felt very welcome here. That’s why it has come as such a shock to see the definitely un-neighborly tactics being brought into our community by some opponents of Republican House Majority Leader Amy Stephens in her House District 19 campaign.

Stolen and destroyed Stephens yard signs are not the worst of it. At least two Monument businesses have received threatening phone calls because they displayed signs in support of Amy Stephens—a Monument resident! On top of these attacks, we’ve received ridiculous mailers and e-mails from the Looper campaign—like the one that puts Amy Stephens’ photo next to a photo of President Obama and implies she had something to do with his liberal tax increases and abortion policies. Outrageous!

We are happy to see that Amy Stephens has not been distracted by these underhanded tactics which belong in Chicago—not the Tri-Lakes community. Amy doesn’t have to resort to mud-slinging, because she has a record any conservative Republican would be proud to stand on. From cutting taxes and regulations that hampered Colorado businesses and job growth (like the Amazon tax and software tax), to defending Colorado against "Obamacare" and EPA overreach, to protecting traditional family values—House Majority Leader Amy Stephens has proven she is the bold, conservative leader we need to re-elect to represent House District 19!

Margie Locke

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Stephens cites "courage"

Courage is one of the four cardinal virtues.

Winston Churchill believed courage was the most important of human qualities, because it guaranteed all of the others.

Having been drawn into a new district by malicious Democrats and forced into a primary with a fellow Republican, the last few months have been very instructional for me. I have learned firsthand it is easy to run a negative, bullying, and distorted campaign like my opponent has run to fool a portion of the people.

What takes courage is to run a clean campaign based on accomplishment, integrity, and a clear vision for Colorado.

It took courage to win back the state House majority for the Republicans and defend us against the job-killing Democrat agenda, but I did it. I was unanimously elected Republican House majority leader for that reason.

It took courage to defend Colorado against Obama’s EPA and stand for state’s rights, but I did it without hesitation.

It took courage to defend Colorado against "Obamacare" with SB11-200, even when faced with a misinformation campaign and criticism—but I would do it again today to protect our small group and individual health market from being ravaged by the threat of "Obamacare."

It took courage to defeat the recent civil union bill amid threats, police escort, and a frenzied media—but I did it without wavering.

Leaders lead. When confronted with challenges, they face them head-on. This is the stark contrast between me and my opponent.

Being a back-bencher and tearing down others is easy when you are only looking out for yourself. Governing, however, is not for the faint of heart.

It is my honor to serve this wonderful district as your representative and House majority leader. I am asking for your vote for courage on the all-mail-in primary election June 6-26.

Representative Amy Stephens

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Between The Covers at the Covered Treasures Bookstore: Celebrating Female Authors

By the staff at Covered Treasures

Generations ago, female authors were obliged to use pseudonyms or initials if they wanted a chance to have their works published and read. Not so in today’s world where many best-selling authors and Pulitzer Prize winners are women. Some examples of their work are described below.

The Beginner’s Goodbye
By Anne Tyler (Alfred A. Knopf) $24.95

Aaron, a middle-aged man, ripped apart by the death of his wife, is gradually restored by her frequent, unexpected appearances—in their house, on the roadway, in the market. The family publishing business also helps Aaron heal in this subtle exploration of loss and recovery, pierced throughout with Tyler’s humor, wisdom, and penetrating look at human foibles.

Wicked Eddies
By Beth Groundwater (Midnight Ink) $14.95

River ranger Mandy Tanner had no idea fly-fishing could be dangerous until would-be competitor Howie Abbott is found with a hatchet in his neck, days before a huge tournament in Salida, Colo. While casting about for suspects, Mandy seeks clues from Abbott’s family members, including her best friend, bartender Cynthia Abbott. When Cynthia becomes the prime suspect, Mandy realizes that trolling for the true killer has plunged her way too deep into wicked eddies.

The Garden of Happy Endings
By Barbara O’Neal (Bantam) $15

After tragedy shatters her small community in Seattle, the Rev. Elsa Montgomery has a crisis of faith. Returning to her hometown of Pueblo, Colo., she seeks work in a local soup kitchen, keeping her hands busy while her heart searches for understanding. Meanwhile, her sister, Tamsin, as pretty and colorful as Elsa is unadorned and steadfast, finds her perfect life shattered when she learns that her financier husband is a criminal. The woman who had everything now has nothing but the clothes on her back. A community garden becomes a lifeline for Elsa and Tamsin, and the renewing power of rich earth and sunshine helps them discover that with time and care, happy endings flourish.

Grace
By T. Greenwood (Kensington Books) $15

For 13-year-old Trevor Kennedy, taking photographs helps make sense of his fractured world. His father struggles to keep a business going while caring for Trevor’s aging grandfather, and his mother all but ignores him and dotes on his 5-year-old sister Gracy. While Trevor knows he can count on the unconditional love of his sister and his art teacher’s encouragement, the bullying he endures at school finally sends an uncontrollable surge of anger through him. Shattering, unforeseeable consequences result when he reaches the breaking point.

Learning to Swim
By Sara J. Henry (Broadway Books) $15

Freelance writer Troy Chance’s life changes dramatically after she dives into the frigid waters of Lake Champlain to rescue a child tumbling from the ferry. The boy’s name is Paul, he speaks only French, and no one is looking for him. Troy’s determination to protect Paul and unravel the mystery of his abandonment takes her far from a small Adirondack town into an unfamiliar world of wealth and privilege in Canada and Vermont. The dangers that evolve force her to evaluate everything she thought true about herself.

The Lost Daughter
By Lucy Ferriss (Penguin Putnam) $15

Brooke O’Connor has a happy marriage and family until the reappearance of her high school boyfriend, Alex, threatens the life she has so carefully constructed and fortified by denial. Only Alex knows the shameful secret Brooke has kept from everyone she loves. This haunting novel reveals the profound ways in which remorse over the past cannot only derail lives, but sometimes can also redeem them.

Caleb’s Crossing
By Geraldine Brooks (Penguin Putnam) $16

Bethia Mayfield is a restless, curious young woman growing up in Martha’s Vineyard in the 1660s amid a small band of pioneering English Puritans. At 12, she meets Caleb, the young son of a chieftain, and the two forge a secret bond that draws each into the alien world of the other. Inspired by a true story, this novel brilliantly captures the triumphs and turmoil of two brave, openhearted spirits who risk everything in a search for knowledge at a time of superstition and ignorance.

Female authors have made immeasurable contributions to the body of literature available today. Why not try some of their offerings?

Until next month, happy reading.

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Bird Watch on the Palmer Divide: Brown-headed cowbird: Molothrus ater

Click here or on the photo to zoom in

Below: Photo of a brown-headed cowbird by John Thorpe.

By Elizabeth Hacker

Now that summer has arrived, many birds are busy attending nests, but all may not be peaceful for nesting songbirds. Parasites and predators abound and only a small percentage of hatchlings survive to migrate in the fall.

One advantage to living on the Palmer Divide is that there are very few parasitic insects. Many birds migrate to northern climates to avoid insects that often devour their young in warmer tropical climates, but mites can pose problems here. Birds, snakes, and animals that eat eggs or birds are a constant threat for nesting birds. But there is one native bird species that has contributed to the decline of the songbird population as much as any predator or parasite, and that is the brown-headed cowbird. It is classified as a brood parasite because it lays its eggs in the nests of other birds and does not care for its young but relies on other birds to do it for them.

Description

The brown-headed cowbird is a member of the blackbird family and is about the size of a red-winged blackbird, but it is stouter and has a shorter tail. It’s strong, conical black beak is well adapted to its diet of seeds, berries, and insects, and is shaped more like that of a grosbeak or sparrow than the pointed beak of most blackbirds. The male, with its coffee-colored brown head and iridescent black body, is easily identified but the drab female is a pale brown with a grayish head and could be mistaken for any female blackbird.

Evolution

Cowbirds followed grazing animals like the bison and pronghorn that traveled many miles a day, and keeping up with these nomadic animals meant they didn’t have time to build a nest, incubate eggs, and raise a brood of chicks. To ensure their survival, cowbirds developed a unique strategy: Females lay as many as 70 eggs in a two-month cycle. A female deposits one egg in another bird’s nest and then moves on to the next hosts’ nest, relying on hosts to incubate, brood, feed, and raise all of her offspring.

Behavior

A pair of cowbirds will often feed alongside other birds or unobtrusively observe them from a nearby branch. Cowbirds are looking for nests to deposit their eggs, and when the potential host parents are not attending their nest for even a few minutes, the female cowbird will fly to it and quickly lay an egg.

There is speculation that the male may distract nesting birds, drawing them away from their nest so the female will have time to deposit an egg and rearrange the nest. If there is time, the female cowbird may dispose of one of the hosts’ eggs by dumping it on the ground, but if time is limited she will lay her egg next to the eggs already in the nest. Most often cowbirds eggs are slightly larger than the other eggs in the nest.

Host reaction

Cowbird eggs have been found in the nests of nearly 200 species of mainly songbirds, and as might be expected, various birds respond differently to finding a strange egg in their nests. Some host species immediately recognize and reject them. Birds including robins, waxwings, and jays tend to recognize cowbird eggs and dispose of them. Species including the phoebe, wren, and song sparrow don’t seem to notice foreign eggs, accept them, and tirelessly work to raise the cowbird chicks, even though the chicks are more than twice their size and look nothing like them.

Cowbirds will lay eggs in the nests of hummingbirds and house finches, even though hummingbirds are not physically capable of rearing cowbirds and house finches consume only seeds and do not supply the protein necessary for cowbird chicks to survive.

Some birds abandon a nest if they find a foreign egg in it, while others, like the prothonatary warbler, lay material on top of the cowbird egg, burying it along with their own eggs and then lay a new clutch on top. The buried eggs are insulated during incubation and don’t hatch. Some birds that abandon a nest will build a new nest on top or near the abandoned ones.

Cowbirds watch for reaction

After the cowbird deposits its egg in a hosts’ nest, it stays nearby to observe the hosts’ reaction. If the host species dumps the egg or builds a new nest, the cowbird may aggressively tear apart the hosts’ nest, destroying any eggs in the nest.

Nesting behavior

Cowbird eggs usually hatch a day or two before the hosts’ eggs, which gives them a distinct advantage. Cowbird chicks are two to three times larger than the hosts’ chicks and look like "Baby Huey" in the nest. Its large size and aggressive nature allow the cowbird to out-compete for food and space in the nest, often resulting in demise of all the hosts’ chicks.

Conservation status

Female cowbirds can live for up to 15 years and, given they deposit an average of 40 eggs each year, it’s not surprising that their numbers are increasing at an alarming rate while many songbird species are decreasing. However, the cowbird is a native species and therefore it is protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. This means that cowbird eggs cannot be removed (by humans) from nests without a special permit, and cowbirds cannot be hunted or trapped to reduce its population.

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

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Art Matters: Sculpture bliss and a big thank you to Tri-Lakes Views

Below:
Jodie Bliss and her dog, Dakota, at Sculpture Bliss Studio, stand next to her wrought metalwork sculptures. Bliss will be doing blacksmithing demonstrations for the public while participating in the monthly Art Walks every second Friday in Monument. The studio is located directly behind the renewed High Country Homebrew (formerly High Country Store) at 243 Washington Street in Historic Downtown Monument, as part of what the Art Walk artists call "Artist’s Alley". Photo by Janet Sellers.

By Janet Sellers

Luckily for each of us, our community has long had a focus on quality of life, good neighborliness, fine schools, and an aesthetic culture. We have come to have a high percentage of fine artists in our area, and monthly and weekly arts events as well.

Our very landscape creates its own weather patterns and separates the Arkansas River drainage to the south and the Platte River drainage to the north. I think that influences our community for our rugged individualism and the ongoing necessity to adapt literally to the winds of change and dramatic weather we always have going on. And it surely gives us the strong inclination to be creative and thereby enjoy the arts.

I met sculptor Jodie Bliss recently at the Art Walk planning group. Bliss has a lifelong history with Monument. Her mom started the High Country Feed and Tack on Washington Street back in the ‘70s, and Bliss first lived in our town as a child. After college and various travels and art adventures around the country, she told me she wanted to put down roots and chose Monument, bought her house and set up shop within walking distance. Bliss chose to have her studio at the warehouse area of the historic High Country building, and that is where she now creates her art.

"It’s not a showroom, it’s a working studio," Bliss said, as she showed me the large area for the metal welding equipment, blacksmithing forge, ceramics, and kiln space. Even so, the many side shelves holding the works in progress contain fascinating objets dart that await their full completion.

A stickler on craftsmanship for her highly personal concepts that combine a variety of materials in the mixed media constructions, Bliss’ current series is a group of wall dependant works—constructions—that are ensconced as shrines that remind me of retablos with a tantric influence. The varied materials include wrought metal, ceramic, paint, and welded metals, and are cased in wood.

Bliss personally crafts all of the many parts of her art, using heavy equipment to work on the metals and ceramics, and keeping large storage areas for the works in progress and their components. Smaller shelves hold an array of metal hand-wrought jewelry and household functional art such as tongs, elaborate bottle openers, and decorative small works.

Bliss will be giving blacksmithing demos at her studio for the ongoing Art Walks on second Fridays each month. I asked her if people could drop by for a studio visit at other times, and she said that if the door is open, she is there and she’ll be very happy to welcome visitors and show them around. It is really a treat to see.

Monument Sculpture Park

Monument Sculpture Park has new pedestals and a plethora of new works are to be installed June 15 for the 2012-13 season. Tri-Lakes Views, a local arts group whose mission is to enrich our community by supporting activities that showcase the arts, juried the exhibit. By the way, pedestals can be paid for and donated to the park by anyone who would like to support the sculpture park, and many of the sculptures, if not in the town’s permanent collection, are for sale.

Most recently, Elaine Dworak secured a memorial pedestal for her beloved husband, Lt. Col. John Dworak Sr., a West Point graduate who served his country from World War II until his retirement in 1973. Dworak loved deep sea fishing, so it is fitting that Monument’s newly purchased Sailfish sculpture by Ivan Kosta will be atop that very pedestal.

Join me and give Tri-Lakes Views a big thank you for its efforts! The group also will have its handsome annual art map available for us at local merchants.

Art Walks and the Art Hop

Our two official evening arts events are now in full glory.

The Art Walk, led by local artists and galleries to showcase their art venues, also helps to introduce new artists via the festive art booths placed around town, and takes place the second Friday of each month, 4 to 8 p.m. We’ve nicknamed the alley between Washington and Front Streets "Artist’s Alley" in honor of the artists tents that give it an art festival feeling. Each tent showcases an artist or artist group, and is affiliated with the site-specific merchant.

The Art Hop is sponsored by the Historic Monument Merchants Association. On the third Thursday of each month, through September, the galleries, restaurants, and boutiques of historic downtown Monument stay open until 8 p.m. for a celebration featuring art openings, great food, live music, and other special events.

Both of these fun events are centered in the Old Town area of Monument at the moment, with the Art Walk reaching out to Palmer Lake and the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts, while keeping an eye to expanding to more areas of local artists’ studios and venues.

Keep in mind, you can always visit our art al fresco any time you wish! Get the map, grab a friend and get out to see the art. As I like to say, in art, remember to "take it easel!"

Janet Lee Sellers is an American painter and public art 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

Earth day clean-up

Below:
On April 23, as part of celebrating Earth day, the students of St. Peter Catholic School cleaned up local areas. Kindergarten, first, and second grade students cleaned up Limbaugh park. Third graders cleaned up a hiking trail. Fourth, fifth, and sixth graders cleaned up the Santa Fe trail. Pictured below are kindergarteners Dylan and Zack cleaning up Limbaugh park. Photo provided by St. Peter Catholic School.

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TLWC Presidents get together

Below (L to R):
At the Tri-Lakes Women’s Club luncheon May 18, Donna Wagner and Mary Mills, 2012-13 Co-Presidents, receive leadership of the club from Sally Stephenson and Debbie Kessler, 2011-12 Co-Presidents. Photo provided by the Tri-Lakes Women’s Club.

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Seniors advised to protect identity, money against fraud

Photos by Candice Hitt.

Below: Seniors turn-out for the Elder Watch meeting.

Below: Bob Mayer of Elder Watch.

By Candice Hitt

On May 2, Bob Mayer of the AARP’s Elder Watch program of Colorado spoke to seniors at the Lewis-Palmer District Administration Building in Monument about financial fraud and exploitation. The Elder Watch program works with, and receives grants from, the Colorado Attorney General’s office to make presentations around the state informing seniors of the risks of fraud.

Mayer discussed the 2011 fraud statistics, stating Colorado is ranked first in the nation in fraud and related complaints and 11th in identity theft complaints. Greeley, Colorado Springs and Boulder are in the top 10 largest metropolitan areas in fraud cases. Ten million adults nationwide are victims of identity theft annually.

Ways to protect against fraud

Seniors are a target for fraud because they are often isolated and grew up in a different time when fraud was not a big concern, Mayer said. Ways to protect against fraud were discussed at the meeting, including registering on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) No Call list at www.donotcall.gov or 888-382-1222 and the Colorado No Call list at www.coloradonocall.com or 800-309-7041.

Seniors were advised that the safest way to pay bills is using online bill pay instead of the Postal Service and that they shouldn’t carry their Social Security cards, or unneeded credit cards, with them.

Citizens can report fraud at 800-222-4444. For a more detailed list ways to prevent fraud or additional sources of information: www.aarpelderwatch.org.

Candice Hitt can be reached at candice.hitt@ocn.me.

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Chefs meet the challenge at Taste of Tri-Lakes Cares

Photos by Harriet Halbig.

Below: Seth Chapin, left, and Tri-Lakes Cares Executive Director Haley Chapin, right, help Katie Sauceda and Brent Hedrick of First National Bank set up their game.

Below: Publicity Chair Judy Lyle, left, and Event Chair Kathleen Fulton put a tremendous amount of time and effort into planning the event.

By Harriet Halbig

An estimated 170 people attended the second annual Taste of Tri-Lakes Cares on May 7 at the Sundance Mountain Lodge.

This event brought together chefs from six restaurants, requiring them to use items from a list of those most commonly donated to the charity. These items included canned yams and applesauce, Jell-o, Vienna sausages, processed cheese, and Hamburger Helper. Chefs were then challenged to use all of the items assigned and were allowed to add others.

Participating restaurants were Champps, the R and R Coffee Café, Bella Panini, First and Ten Sports Bar, Texas Roadhouse, and Oakley’s. In some cases, recipes were provided for those who came to taste the results of the challenge.

Several other businesses had booths offering games and other challenges. The Lewis-Palmer High School Key Club provided assistance with collecting donations and keeping supplies running smoothly.

Those who attended were charged a $10 admission fee plus the donation of one of a list of specific items provided by Tri-Lakes Cares such as toiletries, laundry soap, and diapers. Tri-Lakes Cares also provides its clients with gasoline vouchers and rental, utility, and medical assistance.

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

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Palmer Lake Community Garden members grow big plans

Photo provided by Pamela Cooley

By Kate Wetterer

On May 14, Palmer Lake Community Garden members spread mats across the Town Hall’s Village Green in a welcoming fashion and started working toward a variety of goals for the community. The garden club, set in motion by Sylvia Amos, secured a set of four raised beds last year, located behind Town Hall near the gazebo.

According to current plans, these will be rented out to gardeners willing to cultivate them with care, beautifying the area and potentially providing opportunities to "give back" to Palmer Lake. Renters would pay a minimal fee, currently estimated at $25, and be responsible for their raised plot for one growing season. The club was looking for people to claim these plots by May 21, but the hope is to initiate a self-sustaining program that will grow and later allow the beds to shift ownership each year so more people are given opportunity to use them. The intention is to acquire more beds to use.

The group also hopes to gain the use of the flowerbeds in front of Town Hall for the planting of perennial flowers, herbs, and edible annuals. These would be low-maintenance plants arranged as beautifully as possible integrating principles for sustainable gardening and community–which is the foundation of the grant. This is all part of a plan to contribute to Palmer Lake, to help build a foundation for gardening education opportunities and possibly even a community garden where residents can come together and share the experience of making things grow and using natural resources wisely.

Club members say they hope to utilize gardening spots that are already available to make the most of the grant money from the Pikes Peak Community Foundation and unused spaces in Palmer Lake, hopefully improving existing beds rather than creating new ones.

Club members also hope to incorporate schools and use gardening plots as educational tools. They intend to teach courses on gardening tactics this summer, on subjects ranging from the control of noxious weeds to different methods to prepare soil for planting.

Rebecca Angelo Duke, an influential member of the club, compared the group to a seed that can grow into whatever the community desires. The idea is to "grow this (club) together," Duke said, adding that important decisions are being made, and the group is eager to attract new members and ideas.

To get on the gardening society’s mailing list, or to express interest in lending a hand, please contact Donna at dwoodhockey@comcast.net or 963-2474.

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The next meeting is scheduled for June 11, 6 p.m. in front of Palmer Lake Town Hall, 28 Valley Crescent. If the weather is bad meeting will be held at the Palmer Lake Country Store.

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

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May and June library events: Many events in June—and get ready for Summer Reading

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On Sunday, June 3, at 2 p.m. all are invited to meet Bleuette, a French porcelain doll who was popular from 1905 to 1960. You can see her in a variety of costumes and hear her story as told by local author Mary Davis.

By Harriet Halbig

The children’s Summer Reading theme is "Dream Big! Read!" This year’s teen program is "Own the Night." The library is ready to welcome all our young friends for a season of special events and prizes, topped off by a party on the Village Green in Palmer Lake on July 20.

Summer Reading begins on June 1 with a kick-off program featuring "Live Bunnies!" Join Laura Foye for this entertaining and informative program. Lean about rabbits, pet a soft bunny, and visit the craft table to create your own rabbit creations.

On Sunday, June 3, at 2 p.m. all are invited to meet Bleuette, a French porcelain doll who was popular from 1905 to 1960. You can see her in a variety of costumes and hear her story as told by local author Mary Davis. Miss Bleuette is enjoying rave reviews from a whole new generation of doll lovers everywhere.

The Pikes Peak Regional History Symposium for 2012 takes place at the East Library on June 9 from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. This year’s theme is "Disasters of the Pikes Peak Region." The symposium is so popular that the Monument Library will host an alternate location with Internet streaming of the program. A light lunch will be served. Registration is required at 488-2370.

The teen book group, Book-eaters, will meet on Wednesday, June 13, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Call 488-2370 for this month’s selection. This group for teens grades 7 and up requires no registration and snacks are provided.

The Monumental Readers will meet on Friday, June 15, at 10 a.m. to discuss Night Villa by Carol Goodman. All patrons are invited to attend and no registration is necessary.

This month’s Lego Club meeting will be on June 16 from 10:30 until noon. We provide the Legos and you bring the creativity. Be sure to bring your camera to record your creation, because all pieces remain the property of the Pikes Peak Library District.

June’s Crafty Teens Event on Saturday, June 16, from 2 until 4 p.m. will be "Aliens and Monsters, Oh My!" Come create aliens and googly-eyed monsters as part of "Own the Night," the Teen Summer Reading Program. No registration necessary. Ages 11 and up.

The AARP Mature Driving Program will be offered on Wednesday, June 20, from 1 to 5 p.m. This is a driver refresher course designed for motorists age 50 and older. Graduates may present their course completion form to their insurance agent for a discount. Cost of the four-hour course is $12 for AARP members and $14 for nonmembers. Class size is limited and registration is required.

Meet some creatures of the night, brought to us by the staff of the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s Zoo-Mobile! This is a Teen Summer Reading Program event for ages 12 and up. Registration is required and limited to 30. The program will be on Wednesday, June 27, from 2-4 p.m.

On the walls during June are watercolors by Kathleen Murray. In the display case will be Dolls through the Decades, a collection of treasures from the Colorado Springs Doll Study Club.

During the months of June and July, there will be additional programs on Tuesday and Thursday as part of Summer Reading.

Super Tuesday programs

Welcome world class clown Jim Jackson from the Manitou Art Theater as he brings to life Busker and Me, a Circus Dog’s Tale, the adventures of Busker the circus dog using puppetry, juggling, magic and stunts. This program takes place on June 5 at 10:30 a.m.

The Scarlet Sisters and Salida Circus Dream Big is our program on June 12 at 10:30 a.m. The Scarlet Sisters Circus nannies have flown in on their umbrellas, bringing with them a suitcase of fun. Come and jump through magic picture frames and live out your circus dreams. Dare-devilish double balancing, interactive acrobatics, and silly songs will leave you dreaming big.

Tuesday, June 19, brings Monsters Beware with Denise Gard and Sienna. There’s a monster under the bed. Join Denise Gard and her border collie, Sienna, as they hunt for monsters in this interactive tale about things that go bump in the night.

Take a close peek at a variety of animals with Kathy’s Kritter Karavan on Tuesday, June 26, at 10:30 a.m. Meet Jack and Jill the tortoises, Tenrecs, and a big boa constrictor and other snakes. Add to the fun with animal crafts.

7-up programs

Programs for patrons ages 7 and up come to the library on Thursdays at 3:30 p.m.

Water Wonders, presented by Colorado Springs Utilities, will teach how to make a cloud in a bottle. Will a balloon held over a flame pop? Come enjoy this family program with fun science experiments about water, the water cycle, and saving water.

Opti-Mania! Do you believe what you see? We’ll do fun and crazy projects with optical illusions on Tuesday, June 26, at 3:30 p.m.

Thursday stories and crafts

Stories and crafts for school-age children in conjunction with Summer Reading will be offered every Thursday at 2 p.m. during June and July.

Palmer Lake Library events

Dream Big! Read! Take a close peek at a variety of animals with Kathy’s Kritter Karavan on Wednesday, June 13, at 10:30 a.m. Meet Jack and Jill the tortoises, Tenrecs, and a big boa and other snakes. Add to the fun with animal crafts.

Research has proven that reading to a quiet and patient dog can improve fluency among young readers. Come to the Palmer Lake Library to read to Misty, the tiny Sheltie, on Thursday, June 14, from 4:30-5:30 p.m. Misty loves to listen and likes for you to give her a treat.

Read with Kirby, our golden retriever friend on Saturday, June 23, from 11 a.m. until noon.

Read to a dog and select a prize.

Toddler Time, an introduction to rhyme, rhythm and special stories, is a program offered for 1- and 2-year-old children each Friday at 10:30 a.m. This program will not be offered on June 1 and 8.

The Palmer Lake Library Knitting Group meets each Wednesday from 10 until noon. Bring your project and enjoy the fellowship of knitters of all skill levels. No registration is required.

The Palmer Lake Book Group will meet at 9 a.m. on July 6 to discuss House Rules by Jodi Picoult. All patrons are welcome and no registration is required.

There will be no Family Fun event in June.

View works from Expressions of Beauty—Shared, photography by Laurisa Rabins, on the walls of the library.

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

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Palmer Lake Historical Society, May 17: Historian depicts early life on Palmer Divide

Below:
Ranch c. 1900. Photo provided by the Palmer Lake Historical Society.

Below:
Local historian Don Ellis is pictured before his presentation on Early Life in the Palmer Divide. Ellis’ grandparents settled in the area in 1874. Photo by Bernard Minetti.

Below: The Palmer Lake Historical Society refreshment committee stands ready to serve the assembled devotees of local history. These volunteers are (L to R)) Beth Ove, Georgia Follansbee, and Bonnie Allen. Photo by Bernard Minetti.

By Bernard L. Minetti

Local historian and speaker Don Ellis provided a well-rounded and detailed account of the history of the Palmer Divide and the general area surrounding it at the May 17 meeting of the Palmer Lake Historical Society. He said that by 1830, trappers and traders had come to the Divide area. He also noted that his grandparents came to the Divide as youngsters in 1874.

Ellis said Monument was originally built as one of three forts. The two other forts were built at Franktown and at Spring Valley on West Cherry Creek. These forts were constructed to help defend the settlers from occasional conflicts with Indians in the 1860s. He said that those who came West were generally trying to take advantage of the Homestead Act. Since there were no lumberyards or architects, the settlers often had to cut timber in the hills and hew the lumber into the beams, joists, doors, and windowsills. He noted that each plank had to be hand-sawed and stone had to be quarried for each home by each homeowner.

These homes, Ellis said, had no warranty, no abstract fees, no red tape, and no "legal fuss." The settlers just came, built the West, and left all of it to us. He described the owning and developing of the sawmills along the Divide. These mills were the source of lumber to satisfy the building needs of Denver and Colorado City. Later the mills became the source of the railroad ties for the railroads that helped build the West. Ties were hauled to Kit Carson and the men were paid $1 per tie, delivered.

Ellis said the Forest Service estimated that through 1912, 600 million board feet of timber were harvested from the Divide area. Most of this timber was cut on government-owned land. There also was free-range government land, which was made available to the ranchers seeking a place to develop and grow. The first cattle drive crossed the Divide in 1866. Railroads developed track and rolling stock to haul ranchers’ cattle. The first railroad, the narrow gauge Denver & Rio Grande, was up and running in 1871.

The Denver & Rio Grande built a station in Palmer Lake and at Greenland to the north. The Greenland stationhouse was built from a converted boxcar. In describing rail development in the Divide area, Ellis said that 10 years later, in 1881 and 1882, the Denver and New Orleans Railroad built a standard-gauge line from Denver to Pueblo along a different route to the east.

The Santa Fe Railroad built a line that served Palmer Lake and Greenland with a new depot at Greenland. Ellis noted that following the construction of the depot, more cattle were shipped out from Greenland than from any other point in Colorado.

This depot served the Santa Fe and the Denver and Rio Grande railroads. Denverites began using the railroad to attend the annual Monument potato bake. The tickets cost $1.

Ellis’ grandfather wrote that the climate in Colorado was quite different then. It was too cold to raise wheat, so oats and potatoes were the favored crops of the time.

Ellis described the difficulties that were encountered due to the environment and severe weather encountered at the time. He noted that his grandfather sold their Divide-area ranch and moved to Peyton. At the time, education was hard to come by but Peyton had a high school.

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The June 17 meeting will be the annual Father’s Day free pie and ice cream fest. All dads are invited to participate with families on the green at the Palmer Lake Town Hall from 2 to 4 p.m.

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

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Independence Day Celebration

Most or all of the following activities have been canceled due to the current fire danger.

Based on information from the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce

The Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce, Monument Hill Kiwanis, and the Palmer Lake Fireworks Committee will present the 2012 Fourth of July Festivities.

The Tri-Lakes area will once again offer an entire day of festivities on the Fourth. The fun begins in downtown Monument at 9:30 a.m. with a children’s parade and main parade at 10 a.m. sponsored by the Monument Hill Kiwanis Club. For more information, visit www.MonumentHillKiwanis.org.

Following the parade, the chamber’s Annual Street Fair will get underway with over 100 vendor booths lining Second and Washington Streets. Kettle corn, funnel cakes, arts and crafts, and nonprofit vendors are expected. New this year, Limbach Park will feature fun and games in the new kid-friendly area sponsored by local churches. Although bringing pets is discouraged, there will be a pet cooling station and pet first-aid in Limbach Park provided by Angel Service Dogs. Street fair activities continue until 3 p.m. Vendor packets are available on the chamber’s website at www.trilakeschamber.com.

To follow up the morning and afternoon events, travel just a few short miles north on Highway 105 to Palmer Lake for its festivities that will culminate with the "Best Small Town" fireworks display over the lake at dusk. More detailed information can be found at www.PalmerLakeFireworks.com.

July 4 Celebration Events

    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 lineup begins, Old Denver Hwy., 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
    11 a.m.
    , Street fair begins, Monument
    Noon-9 p.m.
    , live music, vendors, children’s games, tractor pull, hay rides, train rides, and more; Palmer Lake
    9:15 p.m.
    , Palmer Lake Fireworks Extravaganza. Tune your radio to 92.9 FM the PEAK to listen to the live broadcast choreographed to the Palmer Lake display.

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 Lewis-Palmer High School, Monument Park and Ride, and Palmer Ridge High School. 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 the parade.

Annual Fun Run—Sponsored by Palmer Lake Elementary PTO. Register online until noon July 3 at www.july4funrun.com. Early packet pickup July 3, 2-5 p.m., at Palmer Lake Elementary School, 115 Upper Glenway. On site registration July 4, 5:30-6:30 a.m. Kids’ fun run after the main run. All proceeds go to PLES PTO. Info: www.july4funrun.com.

Pancake Breakfast—Sponsored by St. Peter’s Knights of Columbus. 7-10 a.m. Breakfast served with pancakes, eggs, sausage, and juice. $6 for adults, $4 for kids. Proceeds go to charity. Coffee is free.

Fourth of July Parade—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: www.monumenthillkiwanis.org.

Street Fair July 4—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, and craft booths. Info: the chamber, 481-3282 or e-mail info@trilakeschamber.com or visit www.trilakeschamber.com.

Open House July 4, Monument Community Presbyterian Church, 238 Third Street. Hot dogs and brats, sno cones, drinks, cotton candy, bouncy houses, car show, restrooms. Info: 481-3902, www.mcpcusa.org.

What a Blast—Sponsored by the Palmer Lake Fireworks Committee. Noon July 4. Runs until dusk in downtown Palmer Lake at the lakeside near the ballfield. Vendors, kids games, live music by local bands, and much more! The finale will be the spectacular fireworks display over Palmer Lake! Parking, $5, admission free. Info: www.palmerlakefireworks.com.

The Best Small Town Fireworks Show in America.

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Special Events and Notices

By Judy Barnes, Editor Emeritus with assistance by Candice Hitt

Although we strive for accuracy in these listings, dates or times are often changed after publication. Please double-check the time and place of any event you wish to attend by calling the info number for that event.

Wednesday Senior Lunch at Big Red
June Menu

    June 6—Ham, scalloped potatoes & salad
    June 13
    —Pulled BBQ pork sandwich, potato salad & pickle
    June 20
    —Meat loaf, baked potato casserole & salad
    June 27
    —Brats, coleslaw & potato chips
Rolls and butter are served with each meal except sandwiches. Dessert is also provided.

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

Hooked on Palmer Lake Kids’ Fishing Derby, June 2

This community event is sponsored by the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce, El Paso County Parks, and the Colorado Division of Wildlife. A limited number of free poles are available. If you received free gear in the past or have your own, please bring it. Recommended bait, if you can bring it, includes salmon eggs and worms. Lots of free stuff will be given away. Children 10 and under must be accompanied by an adult, no exceptions. No child will be denied admission for lack of ability to pay. Tickets are $3 in advance and can be purchased at the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce (481-3282), or $4 at the lake. For more information, call 481-3282.

Tri-Lakes Cruisers 10th Anniversary Car Show, June 10

The annual car show, a benefit for Tri-Lakes Cares, will be held June 10 in Historic Downtown Monument, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Free participant breakfast, show T-shirts, trophies, door prizes, great DJ music, Air Force Academy falcon display, food, vendors, police and fire department displays. For more information, visit www.tlcruisers.org.

Monument Hill Country Club Open House, June 6

Play a complimentary round of golf (cart required) or pick up a one-day athletic pass after the open house. Additional open houses on Sat., Jun. 16 10 a.m., Wed., Jun. 20, 7p.m., Wed., Jun. 27, 7p.m. RSVP: 884-7241. Info: www.monumenthillcc.com.

Griffith Golf Tournament, June 25

Bring your friends, family, or business associates to the Golf Club at Bear Dance in Larkspur, June 25. Shotgun start is at 8 a.m. Play a challenging course, enjoy great food, and have a chance to win prizes while you help the Griffith Center change the life of a child. For more information, contact Jamie Sachtjen, jamie.sachtjen@griffithcenters.org or 719-327-2031, or visit www.griffithcenters.org.

Mail-in primary election ballots due June 26

The election process is not over in Colorado. The next step for voters is to participate in the June 26 Primary Election. Last year legislation was passed to change Colorado’s Primary Election from August to June. This will be the first June Primary Election under the new law. Unlike past primaries that were polling place elections, voters will have to cast their ballot by mailing it or by dropping it off at one of the designated drop-off locations. Ballots will be mailed June 4. To verify your voter record and check your affiliation, visit www.GoVoteColorado.com. Voters can change affiliation at www.GoVoteColorado.com or by completing a Voter Registration form and returning it to the El Paso County Election Department, PO Box 2007, Colorado Springs, CO 80901. Voter Registration forms are available on the Clerk and Recorder’s web page, http://car.elpasoco.com/elections, or at any of the Clerk and Recorder’s offices. For more information contact Alissa Vander Veen at 351-9626 or AlissaVanderVeen@elpasoco.com.

Kiwanis Club foundation accepting grant applications until June 30

The Monument Hill Foundation is the granting arm of the Monument Hill Kiwanis Club. Its mission is to serve as a resource for the club in providing financial support to the Tri-Lakes community and its youths. The foundation is accepting applications for grants until June 30, for the upcoming granting year from Oct. 1, until Sept. 30, 2013. Forms and requirements for submission are available at the foundation’s website, www.monumenthillfoundation.org. Questions about the grant program can be directed to Bill Kaelin, director of Granting and External Relations, (719) 488-9242, williamkaelin@gmail.com.

Attention 17-year-olds who want to vote

Teens who are age 17 and will be 18 on or before Election Day are encouraged to register in advance of this year’s elections to be eligible to vote. They must be registered 29 days prior to the election even if they will not be 18 until Election Day. This applies to both the Primary Election on June 26 and the General Election on Nov. 6. Colorado law allows for pre-registration for individuals who are 17 years old a year prior to the election in which they want to cast a ballot. Here are two ways to register to vote:
  • Register to vote online at www.GoVoteColorado.com.
  • Register in person at any of the four Clerk & Recorder’s Office locations: North Branch—Union Town Center, 8830 N. Union Blvd. (Research Pkwy. and Union Blvd.)
More information about the 2012 Primary and Presidential Elections can be found at http://car.elpasoco.com/election. For additional information, contact Alissa Vander Veen at 719-351-9626 or by email at alissavanderveen@elpasoco.com.

Get volunteer help for your nonprofit

Due to popular demand, the Lewis-Palmer School District is adding a list of volunteer opportunities to its Youth Activities Directory online. Many students are required to participate in community projects for credit and others are just looking for ways to serve. If your nonprofit has a need for volunteers for a one-time project or an ongoing effort and can use volunteers under age 18, obtain a directory listing form at http://library.constantcontact.com/download/get/file/1101174229838-940/YAS+directory+form.pdf. Nonprofits may list their volunteer needs in the directory free of charge. For more information, contact Robin Adair, P.O. Box 40, Monument, CO 80132; call 785-4223 or email radair@lewispalmer.org.

Slash-Mulch season is underway

The El Paso County Black Forest Slash and Mulch season is here! Slash (tree and shrub debris; no stumps, roots, weeds, grass, lumber trash, etc.) drop-off ends Sept. 9. Mulch pickup ends Sept. 22 or when mulch runs out. Hours of operation are: Saturdays, 7 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sundays, noon-4 p.m.; Tuesday and Thursday evenings, 5-7:30 p.m. The mulch loader schedule is Saturdays only, 7 a.m.-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 by 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 bfslash.org or call Ruth Ann Steele 495-3107, Carolyn Brown, 495-3127, Jeff DeWitt, 495-8024, or the county Environmental Division, 520-7878.

Master Gardeners help desk summer hours

Colorado Master Gardeners volunteers are ready to assist you with your lawn and gardening questions Monday-Thursday during the following hours: Monday, 9 a.m.–noon and 1-4 p.m.; Tuesday, 1-4 p.m.; Wednesday, 9 a.m.-noon and 1-4 p.m.; and Thursday, 9 a.m.-noon. If the new hours don’t match your schedule, you can call and leave a message any time at 520-7684, or email your questions to CSUmg2@elpasoco.com.

Volunteer drivers needed for seniors transportation service

Mountain Community Transportation for Seniors is a nonprofit, grant-funded organization that provides free transportation to Tri-Lakes seniors 60 years old and over. It is the only transportation service in the Tri-Lakes area to take seniors to medical appointments, the grocery store or pharmacy, the bank, legal appointments, senior lunches, shopping, and to the many activities offered through the senior center and our community. The program is in need of additional volunteer drivers. Volunteers are provided with an orientation after criminal and driving records have been screened. Mileage is reimbursed if volunteers use their own vehicle. The program operates Monday-Thursday and is flexible; volunteers can be involved as much as they choose to be. For more information or to request brochures, email browneyesmlk@hotmail.com or call Mary Ketels, 481-2470, or Faye Brenneman, 481-2527, or leave a message with the dispatcher, 488-0076.

Attention Tri-Lakes residents with medical conditions

If you have a medical condition or a physical disability, please contact Jennifer at Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District, 484-0911, to register for emergency assistance if evacuation is required.

Multiple sclerosis support group

A multiple sclerosis (MS) group is forming for the Tri-Lakes and surrounding areas. If interested, please email Susan, susan@cvscorp.com, or visit http://cvscorp.homeserver.com/ms/.

Black Forest Animal Sanctuary needs volunteers

Black Forest Animal Sanctuary was founded in the late 1990s as the Charlotte & Arthur Romero Wildlife Sanctuary, an all-volunteer and not-for-profit 501c3 that helps all animals. The sanctuary is getting dozens of calls and emails every day begging for it to take in unwanted, neglected, and abused horses and other livestock animals, dogs, and cats from the Front Range area. Its goal is to rescue, rehabilitate, and retrain horses and find them permanent loving homes. It is in immediate need of funding for feed and veterinary care and significant shelter improvements to continue its work. To volunteer, adopt an animal, or make a donation, contact 494-0158, bfasfarm@aol.com, or visit www.bfasfarm.org.

Tri-Lakes HAP Senior Center has fun programs!

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

Senior Beat newsletter—subscribe for free!

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

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